Clean Your Home With Products Already In Your Pantry

Getting low on cleaning products? Avoid the store and raid your own pantry instead!

Before you go shopping for new cleaning supplies, check your own kitchen! You might be surprised to find out that many of your common grocery staples can double as cleaners. Here are our favorite ways to clean with items straight out of the fridge or pantry.

Clean the Microwave with Lemon

To clean the interior of your microwave, look no further than the bowl of citrus sitting on your counter. Slice up a lemon and put the slices in a bowl along with a cup of water. Squeeze some of the lemon juice into the water as well. Microwave on high for about three minutes, or until the liquid boils and steams. Remove the bowl and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

Use Coffee to Fight Grill Grease

Greasy grill grates are a notoriously tough cleaning job, but you might be surprised to find out you can clean them with coffee! The acidity in the coffee eats away at the greasy gunk and makes it easy to wipe away. Here’s how to do it: Make a large pot of coffee, then pour it into a shallow tub or basin that’s big enough to fit your grill grate. Place the grate into the coffee and let it soak for about an hour. Remove the grate, scrub and rinse with warm water.

Polish Your Dashboard with Olive Oil

Clean your car’s interior like a pro, but without leaving your driveway. Start with a little bit of olive oil on the dashboard to clean, restore shine and prevent cracking caused by UV rays. Apply a small amount on a clean soft cloth and wipe. (If you don’t have olive oil, you can substitute vegetable oil or coconut oil.)

Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

There are plenty of recipes out there, but here’s one of our favorites: In a small spray bottle combine 1/2 cup white vinegar (a natural disinfectant), two tablespoons of baking soda and, if you have it, a couple drops of your favorite essential oil. Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water, and shake well before use.

Clean Stainless Steel with Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is acidic yet gentle, making it perfect for cleaning stainless steel. To clean your stainless steel sink, mix cream of tartar with a little water or lemon juice to make a paste, then apply with a sponge or scrub brush. Rinse with warm water.

Shine Copper and Brass with Yogurt

If you have copper pans or brass items that need shining, grab some yogurt from the fridge. The lactic acid in yogurt (use plain, regular or Greek) eats away at the tarnish and restores shine. Coat the brass or copper surface with yogurt, then let it sit for about 30 minutes. Wipe away with a soft clean cloth.

Use Salt to Revive Your Iron

Over time your iron can collect built-up residue. If not cleaned, that gunk can transfer onto the next shirt you try to iron. The good news is, all you need is some table salt to get your iron looking like new again. Sprinkle some onto a piece of paper, then run a warm iron over the salt a few times. Let the iron cool, then wipe it with a soft cloth.

Remove Carpet Stains with Club Soda

Club soda has long been a secret weapon for stain removing, and with good reason. The carbonation in club soda is what does the trick. All those little bubbles cause aeration, which works to lift stains and prevent them from settling down into the fibers of carpet and fabrics. To use club soda on a carpet stain, apply a little to the stain, then blot away with a clean cloth.

Clean Windows with Coffee Filters

Running low on paper towels? Reach for your stash of coffee filters! Coffee filters are great for cleaning windows because they don’t leave behind any lint. Spray on your favorite cleaner — a simple mix of vinegar and water works well — and wipe away. Use a couple layers of coffee filters for extra absorption.

Clean Wood Furniture with Black Tea

Furniture polish can build up on a wood surface over time, leaving a dull residue. Black tea can actually work to remove the polish and restore the wood’s natural sheen. Steep two black tea bags in a pint of boiling water for about five minutes, then let cool. Dip a soft cloth into the tea, then gently wipe it onto the wood. (Test it out on a small area first to ensure there’s no discoloration.)

Erica Young
Erica Young is a freelance writer and content creator, specializing in home and lifestyle pieces. She loves writing about home decor, organization, relationships, and pop culture. She holds a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Arizona State University, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.