23 Simple Spring Cleaning Hacks Worth Trying

on April 17, 2013

1) Problem: Ants

Solution: Mix 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons boric acid and 3 cups warm water. Pour the mixture in a shallow dish lined with a few cotton balls. Attracted to the sugar, ants will bring the solution back to their nest, and when ingested, the boric acid will kill them. BONUS! This solution is also proven to be toxic to disease-carrying cockroaches.

2) Problem: Spiders

Solution: Discourage spiders from entering your home by spraying a mixture of peppermint oil and water around outside doors, windows, behind furniture and in other places where spiders like to hide. Spiders are extremely sensitive to smell, and they find the strong scent of peppermint overwhelming. Spraying the mixture around the house will deter spiders, and when sprayed directly on a spider, the solution will kill it.

3) Problem: Hard water stains

Solution: “Scrub” showers and fixtures with the cut side of half a lemon or grapefruit and rinse with water. The acid from the fruit will break down tough grime.

4) Problem: Fruit flies/gnats

Solution: Pour a half-cup of wine—preferably red, as it is generally stronger smelling—or tequila into a glass, and within a day or two, your kitchen will be fly-free. The flies are attracted to the sugary alcohol, and will drown when they fly into the glass.

5) Problem: Fleas

Solution: Mix 20-30 drops of an essential oil (like lavender) with a 16-ounce box of baking soda, and sprinkle liberally on the carpet where fleas are hiding out. Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming. The scent of lavender repels fleas (as well as other insects); frequent use of the mixture keeps fleas and odors at bay.

6) Problem: Moths

Solution: Instead of mothballs, add two ounces dried lavender, one ounce dried thyme, one ounce dried ginseng and eight whole cloves to a small sachet (available at craft stores). Store with clothing in bags, boxes, chests and closets.

7) Problem: Flies

Solution: Fly paper is easy to make at home. Cut strips of brown packing tape or brown paper bags, punch a hole on one end, and tie a piece of string through the hole. Combine equal parts of honey, sugar and water in a saucepan, and boil until thick and blended. After the mixture cools, coat strips and let dry for about an hour. Then, hang the sticky strips in the areas where flies are most out of hand. The flies are attracted to the sweet-smelling solution, and when they land on the paper, they are instantly stuck.

8) Problem: Mosquitoes

Solution: If you live in an area prone to mosquitoes, lemongrass is a must-have for your herb garden or deck. The skin of the plant contains citronella, which is widely used in outdoor candles to ward off disease-carrying mosquitoes.

9) Problem: Wasps and hornets

Solution: Stuff a brown paper bag with three to four crumpled plastic bags. Gather, tie and hang the paper bag where wasps congregate. They will think it is another wasp’s nest and keep their distance.

10) Problem: Rodents

Solution: Place shallow bowls of dried mint in your pantry to discourage mice from taking up residence. If you think they’ve already settled in, you can place peppermint oil-saturated cotton balls in areas they might be hiding out, like behind furniture, in drawers and cabinets and along walls. Mice find the scent detestable, and will scurry away to find open air outdoors.

11) Problem: Smelly trashcans and diaper pails

Solution: Combine 1 cup baking soda, ¼ cup water and 20 drops essential oil; divide the mixture into 3 muffin tins. After the mixture has hardened (approximately 24 hours), remove and place disks at the bottom of trashcan or diaper pail. Place one under a car seat to freshen up your vehicle as well!

12) Problem: Dull stainless steel

Solution: Shine up dull stainless steel sinks or fixtures by applying baby oil and rubbing with a dry cloth.

13) Problem: Grease stains on clothes

Solution: Rub grease stains with plain white chalk, then toss in the wash as normal. The chalk absorbs the oil, and even the toughest of grease stains should disappear after being washed.

14) Problem: Red wine stains

Solution: Mix equal parts Dawn dish detergent with hydrogen peroxide, and let the mixture soak into the stain. Then wash as normal. It’s less harsh than bleach, but equally as effective.

15) Problem: Grimy floors

Solution: Mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide into one gallon of hot water, then mop away and let dry. This mild cleaner is non-abrasive and safe for any floor type, including wood.

16) Problem: Creaky hardwoods

Solution: To stop the noise in creaky hardwood, apply a touch of baking powder into the cracks and wipe up with a damp cloth. The baking powder acts as a lubricant to stop noise as boards rub together.

17) Problem: Dirty oven

Solution: Rub a wet pumice stone, found at most drugstores, on the inside of oven, including racks and surface. Even the darkest build-up can be easily removed with this lightweight, porous rock.

18) Problem: Mold

Solution: Tea tree oil has been proven very effective at removing and killing mold. Mix 2 teaspoons tea tree oil with 1 cup water, and spritz the affected area. Then, wipe away mold with steel wool or a bristled brush.

19) Problem: Smelly disposal

Solution: Eliminate disposal stench by putting a lemon or orange down the drain and grinding it up. Coffee grounds work for this as well.

20) Problem: Scratches on leather

Solution: Dab a quarter-sized amount of olive oil onto a cloth and rub into the furniture. Let oil sink in for 30 minutes, and then wipe off excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.

21) Problem: Tarnished copper

Solution: Erase tarnish from copper fixtures, pots, and pans, with ketchup. Dab some onto a soft cloth, gently rub and then rinse with warm water.

22) Problem: Aphids on houseplants

Solution: Aphids, or plant lice, are tiny insects that feast on the leaves of houseplants like ferns and potted palms. To kill these parasites, combine ¼ cup vegetable oil, four cups warm water and a couple drops dish detergent; spritz the plant weekly. The solution will free your plant from aphids and remove dust from leaves.

23) Problem: Nasty coffee maker

Solution: Coffee makers should be cleaned at least monthly to remove hard water buildup and leftover coffee oils. In order to clean your coffee maker, pour one cup distilled white vinegar into the appliance and let it run a full cycle. Follow up by running a pure water cycle to get rid of the remaining vinegar flavor and smell.