The market is flooded with cleaners for this and special do-dad for cleaning that. You could drown in the choices of cleaners, polishes, stain removers, oh my!

Dish Soap

Dish soap is essential because, well, dishes. But it can be used for a lot more than that—most notably, as a stain remover. Coffee on your shirt, other laundry stains, sponge a small amount (very small — smaller-than-dime-sized is all you need) on the stain to make it disappear. Same goes for stains on upholstery and bedding. Dish soap can also be mixed with water and white vinegar to clean hardwood floors.

If you’ve got a dishwasher, you’ll need a product for use in that machine: Opt for a powder, which can double as a soaking agent for stained or dingy whites.

Laundry Detergent

While powder detergents have a longer shelf life, choosing a liquid laundry detergent will allow you to use it to pre-treat stubborn stains (like your dress shirt collar) prior to washing, and can also be used, to remove stains from furniture, carpeting and other materials.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is God’s gift to cleaning, and we’ll not hear a cross word against it. The stuff does everything. Got salt stains on your winter boots? White vinegar will take it off. Gym clothes retaining order, even after they’ve been washed? Adding a half cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle will take those smells right out. For slow drains, flush the pipes with a combo of white vinegar and baking soda to clear the clog without harming your plumbing. White vinegar can also be used to clean appliances like your coffee pot, microwave, and refrigerator, set the color in dark denim to prevent dye transfer.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a dirt-cheap product with many uses. It’s a great carpet deodorizer, and will neutralize smells in laundry (bonus: it’ll also brighten whites). A liberal sprinkling of baking soda combined with boiling water will make short work of cleaning burnt-on food from the bottom of your favorite pots and pans. It can also be used to scrub cutting boards free of stains and smells. And combining three parts baking soda to one part water will help you polish silver.

Scrubbing Bubbles

No matter which brand you go with, these types of products make short work of cleaning toilets, sinks, and tubs with minimal effort required on your part. Just spray, and let the foam do the hard work before heading back in with a sponge or rag to wipe up the cleaner and the mess it is meant to eliminate. With this trick, you can clean your bathroom in hardly any time at all.

Magic Erasers

They’re not actually made of magic, though they might as well be: These melamine foam sponges will take smudges off walls, remove stubborn stains like coffee, ink, and fruit juice from hard surfaces, (careful on some shinny surfaces is may dull ) and will get a stained stovetop or bathtub looking brand new fast.


We could be here all day talking about the many, many, many uses (2000+ of them, according to the company s website) for WD-40. Some good ones to know: Takes stickum off of various surfaces, including leather; aids in chewing gum, tree sap, shoe polish and tar removal from clothing and accessories; takes grime, tape residue and paint off of tiled floors and walls; and is the key to getting crayon off of walls.

Extra tip

Rubbing alcohol will take ink stains off of clothing and upholstery; put paper towels under and on top to pick up the ink. It will also take it off skin.


Yeah, unfortunately you’ve gotta vacuum. Tip, a bag-less, (empty after each use) will keep dust mites and allergens from being stored in the house.