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10 Vintage Cleaning Hacks That are Still Brilliant Today

When it comes to cleaning hacks, Grandma still knows best. Here's some of the best tried-and-true vintage cleaning hacks we're still using today.

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Vinegar New Africa/Shutterstock

Grab Some Vinegar

Skip the expensive store-bought surface cleaners and make a homemade cleaning solution using vinegar. Just mix one part distilled white vinegar, two parts water and a squeeze of lemon juice. This homemade cleaner works in the kitchen, bathroom and on floors. You can add a little baking soda to help whiten grout and sinks, just rinse with water after scrubbing. Learn how to make a simple, all-purpose cleaner with simple ingredients.

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clean ceiling fanMindy w.m. Chung/Shutterstock

Work Top to Bottom

Here’s an age-old cleaning hack: Work top to bottom. This is especially true when fighting dust since (thanks to gravity) it falls downward. Start dusting up high, such as with ceiling fans, and work down to table surfaces and then do the floor last. Fight household dust with these helpful tips.

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clotheslineAnna-Mari West/Shutterstock

Embrace Air Drying

Save some money and use fresh air to your advantage when drying laundry. Plus, your clothing will smell fresh and clean without the use of chemicals in dryer sheets. In the winter, you can hang a drying rack inside (which also has the effect of adding moisture to the dry indoor air). 

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plantNew Africa/Shutterstock

Let Plants Share the Workload

Let your houseplants do some of the work for you. Some plants do a good job at banishing odors, such as a pot of lavender or mint. Plants also help purify the air. Check out these 11 air-purifying houseplants.

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Make Wood Shine

Use lemons and olive oil to bring dull wood furniture back to life. Just use two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice to wipe down wood tables and chairs. This solution also works for wood flooring. Learn more about how to use natural cleaners when cleaning wood furniture.

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Fight Stains with Salt

When fighting tough laundry stains, sprinkle on some salt. Salt is absorbent and can help you soak up spilled liquids from clothing. You can also throw some salt in your washing machine to help remove perspiration stains from white shirts. And, it can be used to remove any lime buildup in the sink or shower. Avoid these 10 mistakes when doing laundry.

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BoraxAlexander Oganezov/Shutterstock

Try Borax

Borax is an old-school cleaning ingredient your grandma has used for years. Borax is a powder that can be mixed with water and used to clean sinks, faucets, tile and cabinets. When doing laundry, it also works as a pre-treatment for fighting stains.

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Clean Pots with Ease

Do you have pots, pans and cutlery that is tough to clean? Make a paste with warm water and baking soda and rub it on the item and scrub it with a course sponge or scrubbie. Then rinse with warm water and enjoy the shine. Be sure to towel-dry thoroughly. Clean a burnt pot with just two ingredients.

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vacuumBalazs Justin/Shutterstock

Clean Rugs Naturally

Clean your rugs without chemicals—use baking soda! Just sprinkle a liberal amount on the rug, leave it on for 15 minutes and then vacuum up the baking soda, dirty and odors. Learn more about how to clean area rugs yourself.

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Clean as You Go

Instead of letting cleaning chores pile up, keep up on them. A daily routine will help you keep your home looking and smelling its best. Make a point to make your bed, pick up clutter, do your dishes and wipe down the kitchen after every use. Your grandmother may have dusted every day, and we don’t believe that is necessary, but many of her other cleaning habits make a lot of sense, even today. Make your home shine with these 39 cleaning tips and tricks.

Up next, check out these money saving vinegar cleaning hacks.

Rachel Brougham
Rachel Brougham lived through a major home renovation in 2019, knows the ups and downs of home improvement, and loves sharing tips with readers. A veteran journalist of both print and television, she’s won several awards for her writing and has covered everything from the environment and education to health care, politics and food. She’s written for several publications beyond newspapers including Bob Vila, Taste of Home and Minnesota Parent, and she currently writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. Her memoir, Widowland, about the sudden loss of her husband, was published in 2022. She specializes in everything from home decor and design to lawn and garden, product reviews and pet care. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her tending to her garden (both vegetables and native plants), playing with her dog, watching sports with her family or getting some exercise. A native of Michigan, she currently lives in Minneapolis. An avid user of Instagram, you can follow her @RachBrougham.