Tipnut's Household Cleaning Library: Recipes / Tips

It's something we all strive to do: Keep our living spaces tidy, organized and efficient. It's not only healthier but I find this to be very true: When our homes are in order, our days go smoother and our family interactions are more well balanced. Some individuals may function in chaos just fine, but rarely does a family.

There are plenty of tools and products on the market that can help us get the job done...and many of them are excellent...but if you're looking for some extra help with a particular problem (maybe trying to remove a stain or getting rid of a foul odor), I have a large collection of tips and recipes here for you to browse through. Some methods are so unusual you may find yourself lifting an eyebrow or two but the results can be amazing ;).

Farmhouse Style

This website has been online for over a dozen years and it began as a place to share all the best housekeeping tips that I've collected and tinkered with as a housewife for over 30 years. I'm an avid collector of vintage advice found in old magazines, cookbooks and manuals.

Like many of you, keeping a tidy home is one of the ways I choose to nurture and care for my family so this really is a passion of mine. If you have a method that gives better results, it sure won't hurt my feelings to hear about it! Please share it with all of us to try (you'll find the comments section below each article).

Topics
In This Archive

  • DIY
  • General
  • Kitchen
  • Laundry

TN Recommends

I've had one of these Little Green carpet cleaners for years & it's saved the day many times. If you have a pet with a sensitive tummy, you'll be happy to have this.

One tool that gets put to regular use in my home is a cobweb duster, handy to reach up into corners 20 ft high. I prefer those with exchangeable heads like this one.


Disclosure

General How-To

Quick Tips & Tricks For Washing Mini-Blinds

Quick Tips & Tricks For Washing Mini-Blinds Mini-blinds may be a nice, affordable window treatment, but they sure can be a pain to maintain since each slat has to be attended to one by one. There’s no way around that but here are a few quick ideas…

Chewing Gum Mishaps? Here’s How To Get It Off

Chewing Gum Mishaps? Here’s How To Get It Off Many of us enjoy chewing it, but boy can misplaced gum sure make a mess! Here are several different ways you can try removing it from every day items. First, here are a few tips for lifting as much of…

Easy Ways To Attack Limescale Buildup With Pantry Items

Easy Ways To Attack Limescale Buildup With Pantry Items Limescale is calcium carbonate that leaves a white film over surfaces or settles inside appliances such as tea kettles and coffee pots. It’s commonly found in homes with hard water and can be stubborn to remove with regular household solvents…but…

5 Soap Scum Busters Made With Simple Ingredients

5 Soap Scum Busters Made With Simple Ingredients Soap scum is a combination of residue, mineral deposits and dirt that forms a grimy layer over surfaces and is a common trouble spot in bathroom maintenance (typically shower walls, doors, tubs and fixtures). It doesn’t have a chance to…

Caring For Suede Accessories & Footwear: Spot Cleaning

Caring For Suede Accessories & Footwear: Spot Cleaning Suede is soft and luxurious but unfortunately it’s quite porous so that makes it a stain magnet. It’s not washable so you either need to get an item handled professionally or try a few of these methods to get the…

Cleaning Concrete & Suggestions For Lifting Stains

Cleaning Concrete & Suggestions For Lifting Stains Sometimes beverages are spilled on patios, or mildew, moss and white salt spots develop (especially when located in shade or humid environments). Here are a few ways you can wash that up yourself along with tips for removing oil, rust,…

Tipnut’s Guide To Spring Cleaning

Tipnut’s Guide To Spring Cleaning Here’s a peek at this year’s battle plan for my home, I’ve also included references to homemade cleaners, tips for specific jobs and assorted fix-it projects that will help make this year’s job a big success. Every surface is conquered,…

Make Your Own Cleaners

14 Bleach-Free Surface Disinfectants

14 Bleach-Free Surface Disinfectants A mix of chlorine bleach and water is an effective household disinfectant (and it’s cheap too!), but the bleach is pretty harsh on fabrics, skin and the environment (and a bit stinky too). The good news is that you can…

Mix Up Your Own Hardwood Floor Cleaners

Mix Up Your Own Hardwood Floor Cleaners Here are several different recipes for mixing up your own cleaners for hardwood flooring, just a few simple ingredients are all that’s needed. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, you just need enough liquid to dampen…

Required: High Heat & Some Muscle For Sparkling Grills

Required: High Heat & Some Muscle For Sparkling Grills Barbecue season is finally here and that means regular grill scrubbing. It’s so nice to be able to cook outdoors but those metal spokes sure can accumulate some nasty crud buildup. I find the simplest method for removing all that…

5 Simple Deck Wash Recipes: General Maintenance & Mildew

5 Simple Deck Wash Recipes: General Maintenance & Mildew Wood decks are a nice feature for the back yard but they do require a bit of TLC to keep them looking as good as possible and extend their lifespan. Here are a handful of homemade cleaners you can try…

DIY Gel Air Freshener: {Smelly Jelly}

DIY Gel Air Freshener: {Smelly Jelly} Recipe: 2 cups water 4 packages Gelatin (plain) 15 to 20 drops Essential Oil (adjust to personal preference) 1 to 2 TBS salt Food Coloring Directions: In a small pot, mix 1 cup water, essential oil and food coloring. As…

50 Practical Uses For Baking Soda

50 Practical Uses For Baking Soda You’ll often find baking soda (also known as bicarbonate of soda or bicarb) a frequent ingredient required in many recipes, but here are 50 ways you can use it to make the job easier and save time when cleaning and…

A Variety Of Ways You Can Clean Brass, Copper & More

A Variety Of Ways You Can Clean Brass, Copper & More Here’s a list of homemade cleaners I’ve collected over the years to help remove tarnish and buff metals to a shine, some of them may surprise you! Directions For Use: Using a damp cloth or toothbrush, scrub with one of…
Chart

Freshen a thermos by first filling it with 1/4 cup vinegar or baking soda, then top with hot water. Soak for an hour then wash out.

Dishwasher: The orange Tang juice crystals contain citric acid which can lift stains nicely. If your appliance needs a little TLC to fight scum or buildup, run a full empty load with some orange Tang tossed in.

Laundry Helpers

Bring Back Freshness & Ditch Those Musty Smells

Bring Back Freshness & Ditch Those Musty Smells Are things smelling musty or “off” after being freshly laundered? It could be happening for a few reasons: You left wet garments in the washing machine for too long (overnight) before moving the load to the dryer. You packed items…

Quick Tips For Making Colors Brighter & Whites Whiter

Quick Tips For Making Colors Brighter & Whites Whiter With a few simple items that you likely already have in your home, you can boost laundry items to help keep them looking new (and prevent fading too). Here are a few quick tips from my collection separated into two…

How To Fold Towels, Sheets & More: {Handy Reference}

How To Fold Towels, Sheets & More: {Handy Reference} If you’re wondering how to fold items such as fitted sheets, t-shirts, towels and even socks, here’s a quick reference sheet I’ve put together to help you get the job done. You’ll find over a dozen items listed so far…

Can You Wash Down Filled Pillows & Comforters? Yes But…

Can You Wash Down Filled Pillows & Comforters? Yes But… Goose and duck down filled pillows, duvets and comforters are soft and luxurious to sleep on but they do require a bit of care to keep fresh and clean. It’s not advised to wash these items as frequently as you…

9 Deodorant & Yellow Underarm Stain Removal Techniques

9 Deodorant & Yellow Underarm Stain Removal Techniques Looking for ways to clear up those nasty yellow armpit stains that sweating can leave behind on shirts? Or are you trying to combat crusty residue from deodorant? Here are several different remedies you can try, each using basic items…

Hanging Laundry To Dry Outdoors: Clothesline Helpers

Hanging Laundry To Dry Outdoors: Clothesline Helpers Drying garments outdoors, done hit or miss, can be the most exhausting part of the wash-day procedure. Here are a few rules to follow which will make less stooping and straining: Don’t have the clothesline so high that each piece…

Quick Tips For Drying Laundry For Safety & Results

Quick Tips For Drying Laundry For Safety & Results If you’re in a rush for a load to dry–try tossing a thick cotton towel in with the load of wet items. The towel will absorb some of the moisture. If it’s a large load, throw in two or three…

In The Kitchen

How To Keep Stainless Steel Appliances Gleaming

How To Keep Stainless Steel Appliances Gleaming Shiny stainless steel appliances look lovely in the kitchen and even after several years of use they can still look brand spankin’ new…but there is a downside: the ever-present fingerprints, water stains and smudges (especially around the water dispenser, refrigerator…

Inside Of Your Dishwasher A Bit Funky? Here’s A Quick Fix!

Inside Of Your Dishwasher A Bit Funky? Here’s A Quick Fix! We use this appliance every day to wash the household dishes, but maintaining the inside of dishwashers isn’t high on our To-Do lists. Who would think to do so? We assume they’ll do a great job cleaning themselves everytime they…

Reclaim Your Bins From Flour Bugs & Pantry Pests

Reclaim Your Bins From Flour Bugs & Pantry Pests Opening a bag of flour and noticing the contents crawling with little critters is horrifying, but it happens. Throwing it out will not necessarily solve the problem and you may experience regular occurrences. The solution is to starve the pests…

Upkeep For Miscellaneous Kitchen Gadgets

Upkeep For Miscellaneous Kitchen Gadgets (originally published January 18, 2007) Once the toaster is completely cool and unplugged, here are a few things to try getting melted plastic off from the side of it. You may want to test a small area first to make…

Have A Tidy Refrigerator With Just A Few Minutes A Day

Have A Tidy Refrigerator With Just A Few Minutes A Day If you dread the chore of a thorough washing of your refrigerator…and this should be done regularly (or it turns into one funky mess), here’s an easy way to avoid the big task: Break the job down into 10 minute…

The Ultimate Cookware Maintenance & Care Guide

The Ultimate Cookware Maintenance & Care Guide Copper: Sprinkle tarnished area with salt then drizzle fresh lemon juice to cover. Gently rub, rinse then towel dry. You can also try mixing equal parts flour, salt and vinegar to make a thick scouring paste (Source). Cast Iron: To…

Tips For Clogged Sinks & Homemade Drain Cleaner

Tips For Clogged Sinks & Homemade Drain Cleaner Here’s a tip sheet listing a few methods to clearing out drains in the kitchen sink (plugged bathtubs can benefit from these too). At the bottom you’ll find a suggestion for monthly maintenance and a homemade recipe to keep them…


Be Ready With A Housekeeping Kit: One of the secrets to efficient housekeeping is to cart around your own customized kit from room to room, this saves you time since you have everything you need at hand.

For the kit itself, you can use a bucket, a plastic caddy, a box or whip yourself up a housekeeping apron to stick everything in. Using an apron is especially helpful when decluttering at the same time you're wiping down since you can free up an arm to cart around an empty box to fill up from room to room.

Here's a list of ideas for supplies (aside from cleaners of choice):

Rubber Gloves

Rags; I love old terry towel rags

Feather or Rag Duster

Small Spray Bottle of Plain Water

Artgum Eraser for lifting up tacky spots

Nylon Scrubbie

Small plastic tube of Baking Soda just in case a gentle abrasive is needed. You can use an old tupperware salt shaker for this (they have a snap lid).

Small Tube of Toothpaste: It's an amazing spot and mark remover

Toothbrush: For scrubbing in tiny places. Also some Detailing Brushes for dusting (cheap makeup brushes work great).

Plastic Bags: To collect bits and bobs to throw out (in other words: trash!) as well as toss dirty rags into until I take them down to the laundry room.

Sponge

Once chores are done, take out anything that needs to be chucked out or washed, restock what's needed, then store the kit away with all the tools and supplies left in it. The next time you need to start chores, your kit is ready to go.

Brooms are a tool we use daily to keep our floors dirt free. You can also use them to sweep dust bunnies from lower ceilings and walls. Something you want to do on a regular basis is to wash the nylon bristles regularly. Fill a pail with hot soapy water (just use your favorite detergent) and give the broom a few good dunks and swishes. Rinse well then set outside in the sun (bristle side up) to air dry.

It's only been the past few decades that we haven't had to hang our wet garments out to dry and thank goodness for our electronic clothes dryers! But don't put away that clothesline just yet...there's really nothing like fresh linens in from the line. Why not consider hanging bedding and sleepwear out on hot summer days? This way you can still enjoy a bit of that can't-be-beat freshness when you snuggle in for the night (without giving up the convenience of your dryer).

One of the most overlooked gadgets for housekeeping is the humble brush...it's initial purpose can be anything from painting to cosmetics to crafts. If it has bristles, it can be put to good use! I like to collect all shapes & sizes then use them for dusting knick-knacks, tight corners, grates, even behind appliance dials. One thing's for sure: keep your eyes open for tight spots that collect dirt and grime; you will definitely find a creative use for them!