1. Mattress. Ugh! Just think about the things that collect on a mattress — dust mites, mold, dead skin cells! If you're just turning it over once or twice a year, it's not enough. Here's what you should do: Strip the bed and sprinkle your bare mattress with baking soda. Let it sit while the bedclothes are washing. Before replacing the mattress pad and sheets, vacuum the baking soda with the upholstery tool. Fresh and mite-free!
2. Cutting board. Wiping down your wooden cutting board with dish soap won't get rid of sketchy food particles and nasty smells. To clean and preserve, wipe the board with a damp cloth and sprinkle with baking soda. Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the baking soda and use the lemon to scrub, scrub, scrub. Wipe clean with another damp cloth, then shine it up with some mineral oil. Your cutting board will last for years!
Image: YouTube/Dani Spies
3. Cookie sheets. Dish washing detergent won't remove baked-on gunk from your cookie sheets. (And don't believe those seasoned cooks who tell you that the build-up makes your pans work better. It's a lie!) Restore the shine with a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Use a bit of elbow grease to rub the mixture onto your pans, let sit overnight and rinse with warm water.
4. Cheese grater. Ew. The last thing you want on your freshly grated cheese is leftover grated cheese. But scrubbing the grater is tough on your kitchen sponge (and your fingertips). The solution? Just remove cheese dingleberries with a toothbrush! (A clean, unused toothbrush, of course.)
5. Paintings. Don't let your works of art become dust collectors. Keep them looking their best with a few simple steps and one surprising tool: 1) Remove from wall, 2) dust with clean soft-bristle brush, 3) pat gently with a bagel or doughy bread (seriously!), 4) give it another wipe with the brush and 5) re-hang!
6. Blender. That blade at the bottom of your blender? It's ridiculously sharp! Don't risk losing your digits by taking the blender apart to clean it. Instead, you can rinse out the pitcher, fill it with hot water, add a few drops of dish soap and blend! Remove the pitcher for a final rinse, and you're done.
7. Coffee maker. When your coffee maker is slow — or your coffee starts to taste funky — it's time for maintenance. Just fill the water chamber with half water, half vinegar. Run a brew cycle (without the coffee grounds, of course). Empty and repeat with just water to remove any remaining vinegar.
8. Microwave. Ugh. Who heated up a bowl of chili without covering it? Don't spend hours scraping the gunk off the inside of the microwave. Instead, add 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 cup of water in a glass bowl. Microwave on high for five minutes and wipe clean. (This easy, chemical-free cleaner even removes that persistent burnt popcorn smell!)
9. Toys. After your child's playmate with the snotty nose finally goes home, all you want to do is spray the house with Lysol. Calm down. To remove germs and sticky stuff from plastic playthings, you don't have to wipe down each and every toy. Instead, load them into the top rack of the dishwasher and run them through. The toys will come out clean and sanitized!
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