Ten Odd Things You Can Use For Cleaning

updated: 19/10/2023

No matter what the cleaning job is, there’s probably a specialised product for it. There are probably quite a few ordinary generic cleaning products for doing the job, too. However, we sometimes find ourselves running short and looking around for some way to get that wretched mess dealt with. In this case, you can try some of the more unusual things that have been used to clean a house from time to time.

You could also just try these unusual cleaning materials and techniques just for fun.

1.       Vodka: Spray it onto clothing in between washes (especially on things that really should be dry-cleaned but you How to use vodka for cleaning purposesdon’t want to or don’t have time to head down to the local cleaners) to kill bacteria and remove any odours. Vodka is great as a disinfectant around the home in a lot of situations, and it is also superb at removing permanent marker.

2.       Tomato ketchup: The combination of acid, salt and oil in this common kitchen cupboard staple means that it’s good for polishing copper and removing that greenish patina. If you accidentally splash ketchup onto a copper kettle or get it onto a copper-bottomed saucepan, make use of it!

3.       White bread: Slightly moist white bread (e.g. just out of the packet) minus the crusts is good for cleaning gunge off wallpaper. However, you’d be better off saving the bread for feeding ducks and use a damp cloth instead. White bread also works for cleaning oil paintings.

4.       Meat tenderisers: As these work in a marinade by breaking down proteins, they’re also very good for removing protein stains such as egg and blood.

5.       Mayonnaise: The combination of oil and vinegar means that this works as a furniture polish. It’s especially good at removing those dratted white rings left when someone has put their glass down on a wooden surface without using a coaster. Olive oil also works alone.

6.       Tinfoil and baking soda: Clean metal, especially silver, by coating the metal with a paste of baking soda and water, then wrapping the foil all over the metal, making sure that it’s in contact with every bit of metal you want polished (such as inside cups). Dunk the lot in a basin of warm or hot water and let the baking soda and the aluminium in the foil react with the silver and get it gleaming. Also works for dirty metal oven racks.

7.       Coca-cola: The acids in this are pretty powerful, so it can be used for a number of cleaning purposes. The best-known one is to use it to clean a toilet bowl: pour a bottle down and shut the lid, then leave the loo untouched overnight. Stains should scrub away easily the next morning.

8.       Ice. Got chewing gum in the carpet or in someone’s hair? Freeze the gum rigid by holding an ice cube on the spot. The stiff gum should then pick off a lot more easily.

9.       Potatoes: Remove a lightbulb that’s broken at the neck and stuck in the socket by jamming a spud over the broken glass. Then twist to remove what’s left of the bulb.

10.   Tea leaves: For cleaning a carpet when you haven’t got a vacuum cleaner (what are you thinking?!) or when the power’s off.  Sprinkle them over the carpet then sweep them up. (It’s heaps easier to vacuum the carpet – believe me!).

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.