10 Great Uses for Ordinary Cleaning Products in Not-So-Ordinary Places
We try to keep it simple at our house, which means one product often does the work of two, or three. After all, just because the bottle says "dish liquid" or "laundry detergent" doesn't mean what's in it can't be used in other ways. Here's what we discovered:
Liquid Dish Soap is great for:
1) Cleaning lawn furniture. Fill a gallon bucket with warm water and a squirt of dish liquid, swish it around so it's all nice and soapy and use a sponge or dish rag to scrub last year's dirt and grime from vinyl or resin furniture. Then leave them in the sun to dry.
2) Removing grime from messy tools. My husband loves to work on the car, but he used to leave the tools in a greasy heap on the garage floor. Now he drops them in a bucket filled with dish soap and water when he's done. A little soak and the grime wipes away.
3) Making the grill look new. Somehow, we always end up putting the grill away for the year with a less-than-spotless rack. To get it clean again, I place the rack in a sealable plastic bag and then mix half a cup of dish liquid and a gallon of water. I pour this over over the rack, seal up the bag, and let it sit overnight. Next day, I scrub the grill with a wire brush and rinse.
4) Preserving pruning shears. I like to garden, so I invest in quality tools. My "fancy" pruning shears have lasted for years simply because whenever I'm done with them, I make a quick trip to the kitchen sink and scrub away accumulated sap and residue with a little dish liquid and a brush. Then I dry them thoroughly and put a "dot" of oil on the pivot point.
Baby Wipes make short work of:
4) Bird droppings on the car. No babies in our house anymore, but there's still a box of baby wipes in the car for when the local flock decides to bomb my vehicle. Baby wipes are also great for cleaning bird droppings from your newly cleaned lawn furniture!
5) Dusty dashboards. No multi-tasking while you're driving. But if you happen to be stuck in a traffic jam or at a red light, a quick swipe with a wipe leaves the dashboard clean and smelling very fresh.
Powdered Laundry Detergent also works to:
6) Remove oil spills on the garage floor or driveway. Cover a fresh spill with powdered laundry detergent and let it to soak up the stain. If the spill is old, dampen the area with water, apply the detergent and use a stiff-bristled brush to work the mixture into the affected area. Wait 24 hours before sweeping the residue away.
7) Clean car grease and paint from your hands. Mix one tablespoon of laundry detergent and one tablespoon of vegetable oil, rub gently, wipe away mess and finish with a conventional hand wash.
8) Kill sidewalk moss. I read this somewhere and had to try it for myself. It works. Sprinkle unwanted moss with powdered laundry detergent, let it sit for three or four days until the moss turns brownish. Brush the moss away with a stiff broom and rinse the detergent away with a hose.
Fabric Softener Sheets do a great job of:
9) Cleaning paint brushes. Soak used paintbrushes in warm water with a dryer sheet. Latex paint will come off easily in a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly and wipe the brush dry.
10) Scenting the air as you vacuum. Vacuums can get kind of "stinky." If you stuff a dryer sheet inside the vacuum cleaner bag through the hole where it attaches to the vacuum, you'll get a soft, fresh scent as you vacuum. Best of all, a used dryer sheet works as well as a new one.
What other uses have you discovered for your everyday cleaning products?
Greenwrite is a prolific writer with an eclectic range of specialties that reflects her curiosity for just about everything. A former advertising creative director, she makes her home in Vermont, but escapes to a sunny beach whenever the opportunity presents itself.