14 Surprising Household Cleaners

household items used as cleaning products

​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

It can be so frustrating to discover you're out of cleaner or supplies just as you're about to tackle a messy job. Don't fret! These surprising household cleaners are here to save the day the next time you're stuck in a rut. You likely have every one of these in your pantry already. And (bonus!) they're so much better on the environment and your home than the harsh chemicals found in commercial cleaners.

  • 01 of 14


    toothpaste used as a cleaner

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    From minty fresh breath to shiny silver jewelry, here are all the ways you can use toothpaste around the house:

  • 02 of 14

    Lemon Juice

    lemon juice as a cleaner

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Outside of the kitchen, lemon juice goes to work to act as a natural stain remover, furniture polish, and glass cleaner:

  • 03 of 14

    Coconut Oil

    spoonful of coconut oil

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    We've all heard about the endless magical properties of coconut oil. See for yourself just how versatile this miracle product really is!

    • Quiet a squeaky door hinge.
    • Remove labels from glass jars.
    • Make wooden furniture gleam.
    • Restore leather furniture, handbags, and shoes.
    • Polish away streaks on stainless steel appliances.
    • Get rid of tree sap, bird droppings, and dead bugs without damaging the paint on your car.
    • Mix with baking soda to scrub away soap scum on shower stalls.
  • 04 of 14


    spoonful of ketchup

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Love it or hate it, ketchup is good for more than just a hot dog.

    • Shine silver, copper, and brass cookware and jewelry.
    • Neutralize skunk odor on human and animal hair and skin.
    • After washing your car, give it a quick shine with ketchup and a good buffing.
    Continue to 5 of 14 below.
  • 05 of 14

    Coffee Grounds

    coffee grounds

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Our favorite way to use coffee grounds is in the garden. Learn about all the benefits of this eco-friendly product and never toss your grounds again!

    • Sprinkle grounds inside and outside to keep away unwanted pests.
    • Deodorize the garbage disposal with just a tablespoon of grounds.
    • Boost the growth of acid-loving plants like azaleas, blueberries, and roses.
    • Get rid of onion odor on hands and cutting boards.
  • 06 of 14


    tea bags

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Prefer tea over coffee? Here's what to do:

    • Add a shine to hardwood floors with a tea solution.
    • Get rid of refrigerator and cooking odors with dry tea bags.
    • Freshen and clean the inside of a microwave with wet or dry tea bags.
    • Steep away toilet bowl stains.
    • Use brewed unsweetened tea to make mirrors and windows sparkle.
    • Absorb odors in stinky shoes with dry tea bags.
  • 07 of 14

    Hydrogen Peroxide

    hydrogen peroxide

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    If you're missing a bottle of hydrogen peroxide from your medicine cabinet, now's the time to stock up!

    • Whiten white clothes with hydrogen peroxide as a less harsh alternative to chlorine bleach.
    • Remove blood, berry, dye stains, and mildew odors from clothes.
    • Disinfect a clothes washer by adding one cup to an empty washer and run a hot water wash cycle.
  • 08 of 14


    bowl of cornstarch

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Do you like to wear rubber gloves when tackling particularly big messes? Grab some corn starch and thank us later.

    • Absorb grease stains on clothes, carpet, and upholstery.
    • Polish silver with a water and cornstarch paste.
    • Freshen and remove stains from stuffed animals.
    • Make rubber gloves more comfortable and keep them fresh smelling.
    • Remove oil stains from concrete floors and patios.
    • Clean glass cooktops with a paste made from one part water and two parts cornstarch.
    • Freshen mattresses and pillows.
    Continue to 9 of 14 below.
  • 09 of 14

    Rubbing Alcohol

    rubbing alcohol

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Kill bacteria, remove stains, and boost normal cleaning all with a bottle of rubbing alcohol:

    • Remove ink stains from fabrics and leather surfaces.
    • Clean washer and dryer door latches so they operate smoothly.
    • Kill bacteria and clean cell phones, keyboards, and remote controls.
    • Cut through hairspray buildup on mirrors.
    • Make bathroom sinks and faucets shine and kill bacteria. No need to rinse, the alcohol simply evaporates.
    • Quickly defrost icy windows with a quick spritz.
  • 10 of 14

    Olive Oil

    bottle of olive oil

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    As all home cooks already know, a bit of olive oil goes a long way.

    • Scrub cast iron cookware with a paste of olive oil and salt. Rinse in hot water and dry well.
    • Remove paint from hands and even window glass with a bit of oil, followed by soap or window cleaner.
    • Lighten scratches on leather furniture with a drop of oil on a cotton swab. Buff with a soft cloth.
    • Shine stainless steel appliances with a bit of oil, then buff with a soft cloth.
    • Create a great furniture polish with two parts olive oil and one part lemon juice.
    • Make patent leather shoes sparkle with a drop of olive oil and a quick cloth shine.
    • Unstick a zipper with a drop on a cotton swab rubbed along the zipper teeth.
  • 11 of 14

    Baking Soda

    baking soda as a household cleaner

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Some people swear by baking soda as an all-purpose cleaning product. Once you try it, you'll never go back to commercial cleaners.

    • Sprinkle on a small cooking fire to quickly prevent a more serious disaster.
    • Scrub away soap scum on shower stalls that could easily scratch with harsher cleaners.
    • Remove tough odors like sweat, mildew, and perfume from laundry.
    • Freshen your car's interior.
    • Soften fabrics naturally by removing soil and detergent residue by adding one cup baking soda to the rinse cycle.
    • Make your iron glide smoothly by removing gunk from the iron's soleplate.
    • Mix equal parts baking soda and distilled white vinegar to clean a garbage disposal. You'll love the bubbling action!
  • 12 of 14

    Distilled White Vinegar

    white vinegar

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Vinegar to the laundry room is like peanut butter to the pantry. Find out all the ways you can clean with this product:

    • Brighten white clothes and cut through tough odors by adding a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
    • Unclog a showerhead.
    • Lighten or erase hem lines after altering clothes by dabbing fabric with vinegar before ironing.
    • Cut through grease on countertops, cooktops, and small appliances.
    • Spritz on weeds as a natural weed killer.
    • Clean away residue from inside an empty dishwasher by adding one cup of vinegar to a bowl and running a wash cycle.
    • Safely remove a bumper sticker by soaking it in vinegar.
    • Eliminate paint fumes by placing bowls of vinegar in a freshly painted room.
    Continue to 13 of 14 below.
  • 13 of 14

    Dryer Sheets

    dryer sheets

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Not everyone uses dryer sheets in their laundry, but you might want to start once you discover all the other ways you can use them.

    • Safely scrub non-stick pans to remove stuck-on food and grease.
    • Lift away pet hair from clothes and furniture by rubbing briskly with a dryer sheet.
    • Stop static cling by rubbing legs or arms with a dryer sheet.
    • Dust electronic equipment and window screens with used sheets.
  • 14 of 14

    Coffee Filters

    coffee filters

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Just like coffee grounds, coffee filters are multi-purpose products that will have you skipping the Keurig from now on.

    • Use when reheating food plates and bowls to prevent splatters inside the microwave.
    • Leave windows and mirrors lint-free by using a filter to clean glass.
    • Keep china dishware scratch-free by placing a filter between each plate or cup.
    • Save wine drinkers from broken cork by using a coffee filter to strain the wine.
    • Make gardening easier by placing a coffee filter in the bottom of a planter to stop soil from escaping the drain holes.

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