Top 10 Time-Saving, MacGyver-Style Cleaning Tricks [Lifehacker Top 10]
Very few people truly enjoy spending time cleaning, and fewer still love buying expensive cleaners for every little task. Here's a handful of clever, time-saving DIY substitutes for common household cleaning jobs.
Photo by epicture.
We've already shown you 10 tricks MacGyver would be proud of, but how about when the Mac comes home to a dirty apartment? We'd like to think he might use the following cleaning methods:
10. Use cola and foil to polish chrome
Chrome looks great when it's new, and rather sad when it's accumulated dirt and discoloration. Chemical-filled and wallet-lightening cleaners aren't necessary, though. Apply a little cola—Coke, Pepsi, or whatever generic you've got handy—and rub down your shiny surface with aluminum foil, and you'll retain the eye-catching shine to your antique bar, Harley, or whatever else has a glint to it. (Original post)
9. Use baking soda and vinegar to fix funky towels
Over time, and with many washes, your bath towels will build up detergent and fabric softener residue, leaving them both unable to absorb as much water and smelling kinda funky when they do. Rather than give Target another lump sum, run them through the wash once with hot water and a cup of vinegar, then again with hot water and a half-cup of baking soda, as wikiHow suggests. That strips the residue from them, leaves them smelling fairly fresh again, and makes your post-shower experience a dryer one, at that. Photo by evelynishere (Original post).
8. Use salt to wipe up spilled egg
Even if you happen to have paper towels handy, spilled eggs tend to leave everything they touch feeling slimy and not-quite-hygienic. Sprinkle a good dose of table salt on the egg, wait about 10 minutes, and you'll have a semi-solid mass that's easy to pick up, and won't leave your towel or broom a sticky mess. Brian Lam of Gizmodo demonstrates the tip, brought to us by Urawaza author Lisa Katayama. (Original post)
7. Pour Coke into a dirty toilet
Out of Soft Scrub or other toilet-scaling potions? wikiHow recommends pouring a can of Coke into the bowl, letting it sit in the bowl for an hour or more, and then scrubbing the bowl clean. It doesn't save you the manual effort, but your bowl will eerily get clean—and your soda habit may possibly diminish. The cola color should flush away, but if you've got soda water on hand, that might do the trick just as well. (Original post)
6. DIY Drano for plugged pipes
Some landlords explicitly forbid tenants from using Drano, and some folks don't love the idea of pouring it down the same sinks they drink and shower from. Reach instead into your cupboard and pull out some—yeah, you probably guessed it—baking soda and vinegar, and match in the amounts prescribed by the Bonzai Aphrodite blog, along with some very hot water. That should agitate and gently dissolve anything that's not too greasy or stone-solid in your plumbing. If your problem specifically involves some stuff that's, ah, stuck in the toilet, try grabbing some dishwasher detergent. (Original post)
5. Use Kool-Aid lemonade to clean a dishwasher
Cleaning a dishwasher seems weird and unnecessary from a glance—doesn't the thing fill itself with soapy water all the time? Over time, though, iron will stain the surfaces and lime deposits build up on the surfaces of your dishwasher, leaving it a place you don't want to stash the plates you eat from. Real Simple finds a solution in unsweetened, lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid packets. Load a packet into your dishwasher's detergent cup, run it empty through a normal cycle, and the citric acid in everyone's favorite bug juice de-gunks the surfaces it would be a pain to reach. (Original post)
4. Clean and de-scratch an LCD monitor
The basics of cleaning any LCD monitor start with avoiding alcohol—cleaning with it, at least. Turn off the monitor, dampen a soft, lint-free cloth with water, and wipe. If it's one of those fancy high-gloss monitors, there's just a footnote of using a micro-fiber cloth and cleaning in small sections. The since-defunct Hackosis once offered tips on fixing a scratched LCD monitor, including using petroleum jelly to temporarily smooth and visually restore scratches and re-lacquering screens with notable scratches. If you've got something small, you're in luck—the pencil eraser method might work. Photo by Gepat.
3. Get rid of underarm stains
We know you use deodorant. We know you wash your clothes. Perspiration stains still somehow work their way into your lighter-colored clothes. Men's Flair runs down the best sweat-cleaning methods, such as citrus and baking soda/Borax combos, and we can also recommend an aspirin-based solution. What this guide also teaches, though, is that drying clothes in the sun helps to whiten them more than a dryer. (Original post).
2. Clean a DSLR lens
Unlike with LCD screens, a little alcohol solution is actually a good idea when you're cleaning your DSLR lens—just not too much. Digital Photography School lays out the best tools, including cleaning cloths, blowers, UV/skylight filters, and a few other items. One of the cheaper items you can supplement your camera bag with is found in all kinds of boxes: silica gel packets. Stashing them in your bag keeps moisture away from the lens, which in turn requires less time for cleaning, which frees you up to actually, you know, shoot pictures. Photo by Claudio Matsuoka. (Original post)
1. Get marker off any surface
We know how to get accidental permanent marker off a dry-erase board—write over it with a dry-erase marker, then wipe away both layers. If you or a youngster managed to run a Sharpie on something else, Public Realty Blog suggests baking soda toothpaste. Maybe it's a ringing endorsement for its ability to remove plaque and grime from your teeth. Even if not, keeping a spare tube handy seems like a good idea, as evidenced by the video demonstration. (Original post)
If you had to deliver a cleaning tip or two to, say, a kid fresh out of college in their first apartment, what would you suggest to save time and money? Tell us your own tips in the comments.