If cleanliness is truly next to godliness, parents everywhere are in big trouble. Whether it’s a lack of time and energy or an active tot that has you longing fora visit from the housekeeping fairy, most moms find themselves overwhelmed with the formerly simple task of keeping their home spick-and-span. (And if this doesn’t apply to you, please, keep quiet. The rest of us are up to our elbows in dirty laundry over here.)
At-home solutions are just what mama ordered to handle life’s big and little messes simply, cheaply, thoroughly and safely. Plus, you likely have everything you need to whip up these concoctions on hand without so much as a stop at the store.
In the kitchen
- Tackle the job of kitchen maintenance by creating a solution of equal parts vinegar and water plus a few splashes of lemon juice in a spray bottle to sanitize kitchen counters and appliances.
- If you’re out of liquid dish soap and leaving the house to grab more is out of the question, cut a lemon in half and sprinkle it with baking soda, then scrub away at those dirty plates.
- Got grease? Squirt a dollop of liquid dish soap on a sponge and sprinkle on a little baking soda to take it down. (Lemon juice is also effective.)
- When the baby food explodes in the microwave (and has dried up nicely by the time you get around to dealing with it), create a paste of 3 to 4 tablespoons baking soda mixed with water, then scrub on with a sponge and rinse. This also works well for stubborn stains on countertops.
In the bathroom
- Squirt some white vinegar in the toilet, then scrub it clean. Powdered drinks with citric acid (like Tang) dissolve rust stains.
- Grab your toothpaste and use it to scour chrome faucets and enamel sinks, leaving them shiny and clean.
- Attack porcelain sinks, tubs and toilets by dusting them with baking soda then scrubbing with a damp sponge or cloth. (Once baby starts taking tub baths, it’s especially important to scrub with safe-for-baby cleansers.)
- Lime scale, hard water stains and soap residue clean up nicely with a little lemon action.
In the living areas
- Grimy baby fingers mean dirty windows. Two cups hot water, 1/4 cup vinegar and a tablespoon of cornstarch should fix the damage. (Add a drop of blue food coloring if you want that Windex look.)
- Create your own furniture polish by mixing one part olive oil and one part vinegar; apply and polish with a soft cloth.
- Hardwood floors can be shined up with the following mixture: 1/4 cup white vinegar and 30 ounces warm water. Dampen a towel or cotton cloth and get to moppin’.
- Counter carpet stains by liberally pouring on club soda then blotting vigorously with a towel.
In the laundry
- Treat spit-up- and breast milk-stained clothing by scrubbing in a paste made of baking soda and lemon juice (simply sprinkle on the soda, then add lemon juice as needed to achieve your desired consistency) with an old toothbrush.
- Another option: Apply a drop of liquid dish soap to the stain, then use a toothbrush to scrub in a bit of baking soda.
- Add a splash of lemon juice to your laundry’s wash cycle to brighten up your clothes (and provide a naturally fresh scent).
- Embrace the olden days! Your clothes will smell and feel great after drying in the great outdoors.