Home Lifestyle The Household Cleaning Hacks That Work

The Household Cleaning Hacks That Work

by InvisiblyMe
A photo of a basket with cleaning supplies, like dusters, a squeegee, cloths and bottles. Overlaid is the title: The household cleaning hacks that work.

Cleaning can be exhausting & frustrating at the best of times, not to mention time-consuming. Many of us are cleaning even more in the days of Covid, and it can be hard to keep up with when living with chronic illness or when balancing work with household upkeep. Here are a few helpful household cleaning hacks that work to save you some time, money & hassle!

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Simple Blender Cleaning

Take the effort out of cleaning your blender by squirting in the dishwashing soap, adding water, replacing the lid and whirling the concoction. Once it’s finished you can simply rinse the soapy lather out with water and wipe down to try. 

Effortless Shower Head Cleaning

Shower heads can get gunked up, rusty or mouldy with use. Remove all of that built up residue with vinegar. If it’s a shower attachment that’s hanging on the wall and it’s difficult to take it down, fill a small bag half way with white vinegar and tie it around the shower head. Leave it overnight to soak and it should be clean by the next day when you remove it. If you can take the shower head down then you can simply soak it in a plastic container with white vinegar, leave for about an hour then rinse with water. You might need to wipe the excess gunk away. With chrome shower heads, it’s best to soak just the gunked up rubber surface in a shallow dish with a little white vinegar rather than submerging too much of the shower head. I’ve tried this a few times and it works like a charm.

A photo of a shower, showing just the top part with the chrome shower head as it sprays water.

Give Your Dishwasher A Refresh

It’s always advised to check the manufacturer’s user manual first as some brands may state this shouldn’t be tried with particular machines. To give your dishwasher a clean and remove odours, pour 250ml of vinegar either into a bowl on one of the racks or into the bottom unit. Turn the dishwasher on to run a full cycle without any plates or cutlery inside. 

Clean Computer Keyboards

Aside from cans of pressurised air or mini vacuums, you can use an unused make-up brush to dust keys or a piece of sticky tape to pick up bits of debris or crumbs. 

Weeding With Vodka

This could be a little costly if you have a large garden with a lot of weeds, but instead of a chemical weedkiller solution you can try spraying the weeds with some vodka. Return to the weeds a week later and hopefully you’ll be left with dead vegetation that just needs raking into a bag. 

Microwave Cleaning Miracles

If the microwave pongs after cooking, pop in a bowl with a solution of 1/2 water and a tablespoon or two of white vinegar. Shut the door and microwave for 10 to 15 minutes. The steam will loosen the gunk causing the smell and the vinegar will help absorb the odours. 

For cleaning, you can skip scrubbing by squeezing the juice from a lemon a cup half filled with water, then drop the rest of the lemon in. Pop the lemon & the juice mixture into the microwave, turn it on and leave for about three minutes, just long enough for it to start coming to a boil. Then let it sit for five minutes to allow the steam from the lemon solution to fill the microwave. Open the microwave door, take your cleaning cloth or kitchen roll, and give the interior a wipe down, where hopefully any stuck on residue will easily wipe off and any odours will be taken care of, too. 

A close-up photo showing a white microwave with the door open. A woman is placing inside a clear bowl with water and half a lemon. This is the cleaning hack for getting rid of odours and cleaning a microwave.

A Simple Mattress Refresh 

Although we might regularly change our bedsheets, we might not pay too much attention to the cleanliness of the mattress itself. Give it a refresh and get rid of odours by sprinkling baking soda (aka bicarbonate of soda) over the mattress. Leave it for a few hours to settle then vacuuming it all off, for which a handheld vacuum will be easiest.

It’s worth keeping in mind that one expert suggests this isn’t necessary for some modern mattresses, like those using Purotex, that are designed to “naturally create a clean and healthy sleeping environment”.

Make Use Of Olive Oil

Olive oil doesn’t just have health benefits, it can also have cleaning power. Try olive oil on stainless steel appliances, pots and pans by putting some oil onto a soft cloth then rubbing gently in circular motions to buff and clean off any dirty areas. 

Removing Carpet Stains With White Wine or Vodka

It sounds strange, but clear vodka, white wine or rubbing alcohol can all be utilised for cleaning up stains on the carpet. Blot the stain first, then pour some of this clear alcohol onto the offending stain.  Vodka can be particularly good for tougher stains like blood and grease. It’s best to leave the alcohol on the carpet for a couple of hours before blotting it up with a soft microfibre cloth. 

Dust & Clean Blinds Without The Frustration

Blinds can be incredibly frustrating to clean, and even dusters designed for this purpose can fall short of doing the job well. Save your pennies and try a simple hack first. Wrap either dish towels or microfibre cloths around the ends of a pair of tongs, secure in place with rubber bands and then use this to wipe through all of the slats with relative ease. 

There’s another option if you don’t have tongs. Try popping some white vinegar in a bowl and put your hand inside an old sock. You won’t be wanting the sock back so make sure it’s not a favourite. Dip your socked fingers in the vinegar and wipe down the blinds, slotting your hand between the slats for a thorough clean.

A photo of a woman with long dark blonde hair in a white top as she stands by the window. She's looking up and smiling as the sun comes in. The curtains are open and the blinds are down but with the slats open to let in the light. The woman is smiling and looks happy.

Unblock Shower Drains & Sinks 

Soda Bicarb and white vinegar can both be versatile alternatives to harsh chemicals and can bought fairly cheaply. Pour a couple of tablespoons of soda bicarb down the drain and immediately follow them with half a cup of white vinegar.  The mixture will start to fizz and work its magic, so leave it for at least 20 minutes to an hour, then flush with a kettle full of hot water.

Sticky Removal

It’s frustrating when you’ve got a label that refuses to budge and then leaves a sticky mess behind in its wake. Whether it’s on a new picnic plate or a food jar, sometimes quickly and repeatedly pressing Sellotape over it will help. If that’s not enough, you can try rubbing some cooking oil on a cotton pad over the stickiness then wait for a couple of minutes. After the oil has had time to sink in, any residue should easily wipe away. 

Streak-Free Chemical-Free Cleaning

White vinegar is also a great alternative for cleaning windows and mirrors by creating a solution of it with cold water. Pop the white vinegar and water mix into a spray bottle and spray on the desired area, then wipe with a microfibre cloth.  

Essential Oils For Clean, Shiny Tubs & Sinks

Mix a cup of baking soda with a couple of drops of lemon juice, dish soap and basil essential oils. Apply the solution to the surface of the sink or bathtub with a sponge and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with water, which should leave them glistening and sparkling clean.

Clean Your Cleaning Materials

Not quite a hack but a way to reduce needless re-cleaning caused by dirty sponges or cloths. After even one use, sponges can get dirty and harbour bacteria along with any of the grime you’ve just cleaned off your plates or kitchen worktops. This is particularly important at the moment given the importance of cleaning with anti-bacterial solutions for protecting against Covid-19 alongside things like social distancing & wearing masks. Regularly sanitise your sponge, such as by soaking for five minutes in boiling water and wringing out, and replace as required. 

A close-up photo of a kitchen showing a white worktop with a woman in jeans and a blue shirt wearing blue rubber gloves as she cleans up. She's spraying a cleaning solution onto the top and wiping it down with a cloth.

Simple Stove-Top Solution

Pour baking soda onto the stove top, sprinkle some water over it, and leave it to sit for an hour. Wipe off with a clean cloth and hopefully all the grease and gunk will be removed a lot more quickly and easily. 

Degrease With Vodka

Vodka can cut through grease on pots and pans as well as carpet stains. Let the vodka have 20 minutes or more contact time with the surface, such as that of your greasy pan, then clean and scrub the surface as required. The alcohol will help remove the real grease with less elbow-grease required and no harsh chemicals.

A black scroll divider.

Do you fancy trying out any of these? Do you have a handy household cleaning hack you’d like to share?

Caz  ♥

It’s worth keeping in mind that if you’re unsure of whether to try something new, to test any cleaning solution on a small area first. Consult any user manuals for different products and materials first to ensure the suggested cleaning solution can be used.

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59 comments

Sandee January 26, 2021 - 4:18 pm

Most of these I didn’t know. I’m going to be using many of these. Thanks for the heads-up.

Have a fabulous day and week, Caz. ♥

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InvisiblyMe January 27, 2021 - 6:02 pm

I learned a few new ones when researching for this post, too! Hope you can try some out & save yourself a bit of time and hassle with the house cleaning ???? xx

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Robyn January 26, 2021 - 4:21 pm

I have creeper weeds that are surrounding my entire garden. I never knew vodka worked as a weed killer! I will have to give that a try. Thanks!

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InvisiblyMe January 27, 2021 - 6:03 pm

I had no idea either! I suppose if you have vodka to spare, or aren’t too keen on the stuff, then it could be worth trying it out. I know weedkiller products I’ve bought for our garden and front driveway can be quite pricey and not always that effective. Hope a little vodka can do the trick for the weeds in your garden! xx

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c.a.post January 26, 2021 - 4:26 pm

Hmm, degrease with vodka!? So that means whenever I eat fried chicken, greasy pizza or oily soup, I need to wash my esophagus with this cleaner. I had no idea that this was a cleaning solution, but I guess I will bite the bullet and suffer through a couple of shots to keep my throat degreased!! :-))))))

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InvisiblyMe January 27, 2021 - 6:28 pm

I hadn’t thought of that but you’re right – your oesophagus should also be thoroughly cleansed after any greasy food. Any excuse, eh? ???? xx

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ashleyleia January 26, 2021 - 4:35 pm

I’ll definitely have to try those tricks for cleaning blinds. Thanks, Caz! ????

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 11:52 am

I’m going to be trying that soon, too. I’ve given up with pricey ‘blind cleaning dusters’ that don’t get anywhere between the slats! I imagine a DIY solution could work much better and much more cheaply, too. Hope it works for you! xx

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Nisha January 26, 2021 - 4:41 pm

I love the solution for weeds , will try it for sure . I use the same hacks you mention for microwave,blender and dishwasher . They really work well. It’s amazing how vodka and baking soda can be used in so many of these cleaning hacks.Nice share!

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 11:53 am

It’s great you already use the hacks for the appliances in your kitchen and find they work well! You’re right, it’s pretty amazing how a few staples, like baking soda and vinegar, and even vodka, can be so multi-purpose for cleaning. xx

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Lily Pierce January 26, 2021 - 4:47 pm

Nice tips! I’ll have to try the microwave ones soon. For a keyboard, one way to clean dust and coffee stains (oops) between or on the keys is to dip a Q tip in a cleaning solution–it’s small enough to get between the keys, at least on mine.

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 11:54 am

That’s a great suggestion with the Q top, Lily, thank you for sharing! What cleaning solution would you recommend? Standard computer keyboards, with chunky keys, can have quite a lot of depth and small crevices to get through so I can imagine that working quite well. xx

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Despite Pain January 26, 2021 - 4:58 pm

Vinegar and baking soda, the two products nobody should be without. I use them a lot, but hadn’t thought of some of the tips you have here. I mix some nice smelling essential oil with baking soda, let it sit until it’s dry, then sprinkle on to carpets. After it’s vacuumed, we have lovely fresh smelling carpets. Oh, and my vacuum cleaner has a lovely smell for weeks too. It’s my homemade and healthier version of Shake’n’Vac. (You’re probably too young to even know what that is! ????)

I hadn’t heard of the oil or vodka cleaning tips. I’ll be using some of those tips, Caz. Thank you!

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 11:58 am

I’d been reading about the magical wonders of baking soda and white vinegar for so long but I’d only starting trying them last year. It’s surprising just how versatile and effective they are. That’s a great tip with the essential oil and baking soda for carpets. Would you live it long on the carpet before vacuuming? I’ll have to try that because our carpets – and vacuum – definitely need a refresh as everything is starting to smell too ‘cat’ for my liking! And nope, I absolutely know what Shake’n’Vac is (sadly that probably means I’m no longer young ????) My folks used to use it all the time when I was a kid! I used to love it. I’m glad you liked the tips, Liz, and thank you for sharing yours! xx

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Blogging_with_Bojana January 26, 2021 - 5:00 pm

Don’t even remind me. My apartment’s a mess.

Great tips, though.

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 12:01 pm

You can just skip past these. Cleaning the apartment can wait, B. Pretend you haven’t seen the tips ???? xx

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da-AL January 26, 2021 - 5:06 pm

great — but wait, nowhere does this mention saliva lol

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 3:49 pm

I should have put an asterisk next to all of these.
* It you don’t have these ingredients, just spit on it ????

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johnrieber January 26, 2021 - 5:26 pm

What a great list! I love the DIY ideas – great job!

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 3:50 pm

Thanks, John – I’m glad you like the DIY hacks! ????

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Masha January 26, 2021 - 5:39 pm

OMG all of these are such great tips, I never thought of cleaning the blender like that, or the shower head, or the microwave…I’ve removed fresh stains from the carpet with club soda, but only works good if you do it right away. What a great suggestion for the cleaning of the blinds, these are all great suggestions, I’ll be using them. Thank you Caz xoxo

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 5:42 pm

That’s the problem with stains on the carpet, trying to get to them right away. I’m glad I was able to share a few new cleaning tricks and I hope you can make use of some of them! Thanks for the comment lovely xx

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D. Wallace Peach January 26, 2021 - 6:18 pm

Great ideas. Who knew vodka was such a great cleaning solution. 😀

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 5:48 pm

I had no idea either until recently! Sip, clean, sip, clean ????

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foguth January 26, 2021 - 6:35 pm

Have you tried hydrogen peroxide for blood stains or after juicing citrus (lemons, limes, orange, grapefruit) turning the leftover peel sort of inside-out and using it as a scrubby? Not only does this work well for sinks and tubs, but it smells nice, even after rinsing.

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 5:50 pm

Ooo I hadn’t thought of either of those. I don’t think I’ve ever even purchased hydrogen peroxide before, and I’d never have considered fruit peel as a scrubby. I’m up for giving those a try, and the fruity scent would be an added bonus! Thanks for sharing your cleaning hacks too ???? xx

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Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader) January 26, 2021 - 10:00 pm

Thanks for sharing. I love the idea of putting vinegar in a plastic bag to clean the shower head. Brilliant!

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InvisiblyMe January 28, 2021 - 6:17 pm

It works surprisingly well! I was able to get the shower head down, then just dipped it in the vinegar and held it in place with a bag of bath salts. Left it for nearly 2 hours, rinsed off, wiped down and it was no longer black with gunk but totally clean and shiny. xx

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Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet January 27, 2021 - 6:02 am

Thanks, Caz, for the helpful cleaning tips. Most of your suggestions will work well for people who have allergies and sensitivities to the chemicals in commercial cleaners. We clean with many of the natural cleaners you mention for that very reason. <3 Have a great day!

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 4:23 pm

It’s great to hear you already use a lot of these more natural cleaning hacks, Cheryl. And a very good point about these alternatives to harsh chemicals being better suited to those with allergies and sensitivities. It’s surprising just how effective some of them are, too! xx

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Megala January 27, 2021 - 10:14 am

Great tips! I have been relying on the commercial cleaners all along, now I’m going to add white vinegar into my grocery list. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post.

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 4:29 pm

I was the same, Megala. I still do use mostly commercial cleaners but I’ve started adding in natural solutions as I’ve been surprised just how effective they can be. I think some of it was the assumption that chemicals and pre-made would be more trustworthy and hardcore effective, but that’s not always the case. It’s definitely worth trying a few alternatives where they might save you time and money. Glad you liked the post lovely ???? x

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trippingthroughtreacle January 27, 2021 - 10:20 am

Great tips Caz! I learned a lot of useful tips – I already do the lemon in the microwave thing, but I’ll definitely try the rest 🙂 Although I might stick to vinegar rather than vodka… I’ll treat myself to a vodka tonic after doing the housework 😉 xx

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 4:54 pm

I’d have to agree with you on the vodka one. If you don’t like vodka or have a bottle you want to get rid of then it’s a good idea, otherwise it’s a pricey way to get rid of the weeds and best saved for a post-housework treat ???? Glad you liked the cleaning hacks, Jen xx

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violaetcetera January 27, 2021 - 3:09 pm

Didn’t known white vinegar can be so helpful. Will definitely try some of these tips. Thanks for sharing, Caz xo

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 5:11 pm

It’s a newer find for me, too. It’s surprisingly versatile and effective, as is Soda Bicarb. I’m glad I could share something new with you, Viola! xx

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Rachel Duerden January 27, 2021 - 5:49 pm

I didn’t know olive oil so useful! Thanks for sharing. ????

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 5:22 pm

I had no idea about olive oil for stainless steel before doing the research for this article either. It’s a good alternative! Thanks for the comment lovely, glad you liked the post xx

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Eddie January 27, 2021 - 6:05 pm

Some great tips, I will be giving the shower head and stove cleaning a go for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 5:23 pm

I found the shower head one with white vinegar works surprisingly well, very impressive results for minimal effort. Hope they work for you, too! ????

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Michelle January 27, 2021 - 7:57 pm

These are great! I never knew about the olive oil cleaning stainless steel. I’ll have to try that on my refrigerator.

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 5:28 pm

I had no idea about that either until I was researching for this post! I’ve tried it on one pan and it worked pretty well, so I’m curious about giving it a go on a few more stainless steel things. The only issue is with the greasiness, which you need to get off afterwards. It’s always worth trying a small area first, just to make sure. Hope it can get your fridge clean and sparkling! xx

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Jay January 28, 2021 - 12:13 am

We always clean with vinegar because I’m allergic to chemical cleaners.

Your autocorrect has spelled bowl bowel every time, which makes for an interesting if disturbing visual!

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 5:53 pm

More natural solutions are a great alternative to harsh chemicals, especially in the case of sensitivities or allergies like you have. I totally hadn’t spotted the bowel/bowl thing! I wrote a stoma post a while ago for a website and misspelled in the other way, talking about how I “no longer have a small bowl”. Thanks for the heads up! x

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Carolyn Page January 28, 2021 - 11:11 am

This entire article left me feeling quite elated, Caz. Who would have thought that vodka could do so much???
xoxoxo

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 6:11 pm

I’m glad you liked the post, Carolyn! It’s surprising just how versatile & useful some things are that we probably already have in the kitchen cupboards ???? xx

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Christy B January 28, 2021 - 10:46 pm

We both published cleaning posts! Great minds think alike 🙂 Your tips for cleaning the microwave are awesome. I like the idea of not having to scrub 😉

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 6:33 pm

Great minds indeed! I’m all for less scrubbing, too. Less effort generally gets a thumbs-up ???? xx

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Leyla January 28, 2021 - 11:23 pm

Very interesting post!!

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 6:12 pm

Thanks, Leyla – Glad you liked the cleaning hacks! xx

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The Oceanside Animals January 29, 2021 - 6:00 pm

Charlee: “We’re fortunate in that we never have to do any cleaning, on account of we’re animals.”
Lulu: “However, we do have to say that we are also not fans of cleaning, especially when the vacuum cleaner is involved.”
Chaplin: “Also, from this list, we would have to strike the compressed air.”
Charlee: “Yes, it sounds too much like a cat hissing and we run away whenever Dada uses it.”
Chaplin: “We’re encouraging him to just blow on the keyboards using lung power, but apparently that’s ineffective.”
Lulu: “That means Dada needs to increase his lung capacity. Maybe we can get him to take up marathon running or something.”

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InvisiblyMe January 29, 2021 - 6:20 pm

You’s all lucky not to haves to do the cleaning! My Virgil doesn’t likes the vacuum either. Nor the hairdryer. Terrifies him. Maybe blowing the dust and dirt away is more cat-friendly. Your dada will have to get a lot of lung capacity to clean those carpets of all your cat & dog hair! x

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James Viscosi January 30, 2021 - 6:28 pm

Dada: “Considering that most of what I have to vacuum up and blow out of my keyboard with compressed air is cat and dog fur, you three can just suck it up.”
Lulu: “Suck it up?”
Charlee: “I think he’s talking about the vacuum again!”
Chaplin: “Aaaiiiieeee, run away!”

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Terri, Reclaiming Hope January 29, 2021 - 7:28 pm

Who knew vodka had so many uses???!!! I know it can be used when you’re making your own room sprays with essential oils, but I didn’t know it could do so many other things. I’ll have to try the vinegar in a plastic bag trick for my shower head. Thanks for sharing some fabulous tips Caz!

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InvisiblyMe January 30, 2021 - 3:55 pm

I had no idea about vodka for room sprays, I’ll have to investigate that. I was clueless as to many of these until doing the research for this article, but it’s amazing just how versatile some natural products we probably already have in the cupboards can be. I’ve found that white vinegar for shower heads works brilliantly well, so I hope it works for you too! Thanks for the comment, Terri ???? xx

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Michele Anderson January 29, 2021 - 11:38 pm

Love all these great ideas Caz!

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InvisiblyMe January 30, 2021 - 3:52 pm

Thanks, Michele, I’m glad you liked them! ???? xx

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Holly February 5, 2021 - 9:47 pm

These are awesome tips, Caz! It sounds like you and I have a lot in common – researching ways to clean better, easier, and with less chemicals! Who knew that vodka could do so much?! Wow, I’m surprised but pleasantly so. I’m definitely going to be giving several of those remedies a try.

I’m with you on the soaking shower heads in vinegar. We have extremely hard well water here and everything gets absolutely nasty (and clogged!) Years ago I tried the trick you mentioned and, like you, I was surprised by how well this hack works!

The lemon trick in the microwave is brilliant too! The smell of lemon is a natural anti-depressant which makes it all the more nice when you pop open the microwave door and it smells lemony-fresh. To be honest, I was skeptical but trying it out made me a believer! I did have to repeat the process twice but it worked!

Definitely going to be trying out the olive oil trick too. I had no idea! Thanks Caz!

As always, you have the most incredible tips. I also love the changes you’ve made to your fonts. Your creative flair is unmatched. Everything about your blog is special, just like you! Sending my love & many hugs to you today and always. I hope your weekend is restful and full of joy! ♥

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InvisiblyMe February 6, 2021 - 4:10 pm

Vodka surprised me too – now we can clean, sip, clean & repeat ???? In fact, I’ve been quite surprised by a lot of cleaning hacks. I’ve always been a branded-product kind of girl, but my eyes have been opened to natural, simple alternatives more and more lately.

It’s great the vinegar hack worked so well for you when you’ve used it for shower heads too! It’s disturbing how gross they can get, and taps too, just because of water plus build up residue gunk.

I wasn’t sure how well the changes would go down with the fonts so I’m really, really glad you like! Thanks Holly, you’re a superstar and you always leave such awesome comments. I hope you have a relaxing weekend lovely ???? xx

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