Life Hacks: Cleaning

Frank Lillig

Sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with house cleaning when there is so much school and life going on. However, there are several ways to clean almost anything in the house.  Most of these recipes call for white or regular vinegar, baking soda or lemons, so if you have these handy you are ahead of the curve.

  • Microwaves:  I found a few ways that seem to work. One calls for a lemon cut in half and placed in a Pyrex or microwave safe bowl with about 2 cups of water. Microwave until the water is boiling, let steam for a minute, then wipe out the grime. Another recipe calls for 2 cups water, 2 tbsp. white vinegar and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Microwave the concoction for five minutes.
  • Ovens and stovetops:  There are a few different recommendations for cleaning ovens and stovetops. One asks you to combine 5 tbsp. baking soda, 4 tbsp. white vinegar and five drops of Dawn dish soap with just enough water to form the mixture into a thick paste. Spread the paste throughout the oven and let stand for approx. 15 minutes, and then wipe it out with a damp sponge. If that seems like too much work, place a bowl full of ammonia in the oven over night and clean it out the next day. A great, no fuss way to clean burners is to place them in a Ziploc bag, one burner per bag, adding a quarter cup of ammonia to each. Let stand overnight and wipe the muck away the next day. Is the stovetop covered in oil? Place a dab of cooking oil on a paper towel and wipe the surface. The oil will actually attract all the other existing oil off the stove.
  • Carpets:  When it comes to cleaning the carpet, there are a couple ways to go about it. The easiest would be to soak a rag in a two-parts water and one-part vinegar solution. Place the rag on the stain and, using a clothing iron set to steam, set the iron on the rag for half a minute. This acts like a little steam vacuum. If that doesn’t work, pour on a mound of baking soda and let it sit for 10 minutes, then vacuum it up. Then mix 1 tbsp. vinegar, 2 cups warm water and 1 tbsp. of clear dishwashing liquid. Apply the solution with a sponge, leave it alone for a few minutes, then remove with a clean damp sponge and cold water.
  • Toilets:  No one likes to scrub the toilet. An easy way to keep it clean for a while is to use a jar with a metal lid filled with vinegar. Using a nail, punch a couple holes in the lid, fill the jar with the vinegar, put the lid back on the jar and place it in the tank upside down. Now when the toilet is flushed, a small amount of the vinegar gets into the bowl and keeps it clean for a while. However, this will make your bathroom smell like vinegar. So if you’d rather just clean the toilet, toss a couple Alka-Seltzers into the bowl and let them sit for approx. 15 minutes. After that, splash in some vinegar and clean the toilet like usual. This helps to get all the little stains out of the toilet bowl.

These hacks and many more can be seen at and