Offbeat Cleaning Tools That Really Work

Offbeat Cleaning Tools That Really Work

You’ll be happy to know that you can skip those new-fangled gadgets in the cleaning aisle of the supermarket. You already have plenty of items around the house that can serve double duty as a cleaning tool including old toothbrushes, credit cards, and socks. Here are some nifty tips from the pros behind Consumer Reports’ “How to Clean Practically Anything” as well as some how-to videos that will get you started on your spring cleaning.

Toothbrush. Don’t toss that old toothbrush. Use it to get into hard-to-reach spots like window mullions, shower-door tracks, switch plates, and around faucets. But never use a dry brush. For deep cleaning, a moistened brush helps trap the dirt.

Sticky lint remover. This handy tool isn’t just for clothes; it’s also good for removing pet hair from sofas and other upholstered furniture. For heavy shedders, try a lint brush.

Umbrella. Forget the drop cloth. Hang an opened umbrella (the kind with a U-shaped handle) upside down from a chandelier to catch drips while you’re cleaning it.

Terry-cloth towel. To remove stubborn gunk on a granite countertop, wet a terry-cloth towel with hot water, then put it over the spot for a few

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minutes. The heat will help loosen the hardened spill so that you can wipe it up. You can also wrap a towel around a screwdriver and use it to clean grimy shower-door tracks.

Credit card. Use it for scraping off baked-on spills from oven and microwave interiors. The straight edge will lift the mess without scratching.

Damp socks. Dampen a cotton sock and wear it like a glove to clean the dust from broad-leaf houseplants.

Cloth diaper. Soft and absorbent, it makes a great dusting cloth that won’t scratch surfaces. Some experts prefer one with an 8-ply thickness in the center and 4-ply on the sides. Wash diapers four or five times before using to remove lint.

Rain-X. Just like it does on your car’s windshield, Rain-X will repel the water on your shower door to keep it clean longer. Apply a coat to freshly cleaned shower doors.

Plastic wrap. After cleaning the top of the refrigerator, line it with a piece of plastic wrap. You won’t be able to see it, and future cleanings will only require peeling off the plastic, tossing it, and replacing.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website. Copyright © 2006-2016 Consumers Union of U.S.

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