5 ways to clean with products you already have

Christina Pugliese

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on cleaning products. Learn how to use what you already have lying around.

Students don’t have a reputation for being the cleanest of groups, but even the most dirt-tolerant among us will eventually break down and clean their dorm or apartment. However, relying on the use of store bought cleaning products, while familiar, can put a serious dent in a student’s budget. So, in an effort to help all students stay just a little bit cleaner, we’ve complied a list of items you likely already have which can double as effective cleaning products.


You put it on your fries and salad, now try putting it on your countertops! The acidity of white distilled vinegar is strong enough to kill most household mould and bacteria—just swipe a vinegar soaked rag across your counters and leave to dry. The smell will dissipate and leave the surface germ free after about twenty minutes. Vinegar is also a great glass cleaner as it easily cuts through grease and oils left by our hands. Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use it to clean window and mirrors instead of expensive glass cleaner.


Toothpaste is great for a multitude of cleaning jobs. Use it to make chrome fixtures sparkle by rubbing some toothpaste on and wiping clean with a damp rag. It’s also a good stain remover. Try using it with a toothbrush to remove stains from shoes or with a large abrasive brush to clean soiled caprets—just be sure to rinse well and avoid pates with coloured stripes (they’ll just add more colour to the stain).

Baking soda

You may already have some baking soda keeping your fridge odor free or lying around waiting to be used for baking, so why not put it to work? Mixed with water and poured over into pots and pans, backing soda easily lifts burnt food from cookware without the need for expensive scouring pads. You can also make a quick paste out of baking soda and water to use when scrubbing mildew off of tiles and grout, replace the water with vinegar and you have an excellent toilet bowl cleaner.

Lemon juice

Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent and thus is great for removing stains from surfaces and clothing. Just squeeze a little juice on the stain, leave to dry (preferably in the sun), and the stain will have disappeared. The acidity of lemons also makes it particularly effective on soap scum and hard water residue. Just rub a cut lemon around your taps and on your shower curtain, leave for a few minutes, then rinse. Finally, mixing one part lemon juice to two parts olive oil makes a rich furniture polish that smells divine.


Its crystallized form makes salt a great abrasive cleaner. Mixed into a paste with lemon juice it can be scrubbed into the surface of your sinks to make them sparkle like new. Had a spill in your oven? Sprinkle it with salt while still hot to avoid the need for expensive oven cleaners. After letting the salt sit for a few minutes just wipe it up (with a little water if necessary) and the stain will be lifted from the surface.

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