Cleaning Secret Weapons

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The collective know-how of the Apartment Therapy readers is an amazing and powerful thing — when someone shares something that they swear by in the comments, the editors take notice. For our January “Fresh Start” focus, here is a collection of great reader cleaner tips and recommendations. Think of this post as the blueprint for a nearly perfect cleaning kit; one that is filled with secret weapons to get the job done in no time!

• Club soda is a miracle cleaner. I use it to clean windows, steel appliances, chrome fixtures, the glass stovetop, small-kid-height smudges on walls, and the white leather upholstery. What soda does not remove, vodka does, like ball-point pen and even sharpie from that same white sofa. No, I don’t do all my shopping at the liquor store 🙂 – princesspea
• Regular toothpaste. I use it to remove stubborn marks from any hard surface. I first discovered it when I had a dark mark on my white Eames RAR. I didn’t want to use anything abrasive so my mum suggested toothpaste. The mark came off in seconds. – AngelaDee76
• I use olive oil to give my stainless steel appliances a nice even shine. Just buff it out with a dry cloth. – ljpasacre
• Non toxic Borax 20 Mule Team for almost everything. For kitchen counters I mix some with hot water in a spray bottle and add just a dab of dish cleans the oven like magic, cleans the fridge and really is an excellent deodorizer really takes any lingering odor AWAY! I use it to clean pots and pans, just a tablespoon and a soak it takes an burnt or grease off right away. Great for stains, I add some to Method Laundry soap to get stains out and wash my dog’s beds and use to wash and keep my whites white. I use it to clean the bathroom, make my tub and sink, tile sparkle. I even soak my hair brushes and make up brushes in Borax with hot water. Before a dinner party I wash my china with Borax it make the plates sparkle. – b77
• My favorite multi-purpose cleaner is liquid dish detergent — the sort you use for hand-washing dishes. I buy the grease-cutting sort and it’s amazingly effective on many surfaces and sorts of dirt. For instance, it’s the BEST thing for bathtubs and showers. The gunk on your tub is, after all, mostly grease — body oils and soap (which is made from grease). So get the tub wet, use a scrubby sponge and a little dish detergent to lather it up, let it sit for a few minutes, scrub off any remaining ring, and voila! Your tub is squeaky clean. It works much better than any of the expensive products I’ve tried especially designed for cleaning tubs. – mdorothy
• I always keep Mr. Clean Magic Erasers on hand to tackle any job. From wall smudges to cleaning tile, they are the first cleaning tool I grab from under the sink. – wuerin
• Vinegar and more vinegar…windows (half n half, buffed w/newspapers for no streaking), absorbs odors everywhere when left out in bowls or sprayed on surfaces, in the rinse water to eliminate hard water deposits (hair, too; and through the coffee maker and washing machine) and just about anywhere there’s sticky crud. – veslabeachgirl
• We have a stainless butcher block stand that gets stained and streaked so easily, its a chore keeping up with it. Rubbing alcohol is the best thing for removing grime and keeping it shiny. –!
• You would not BELIEVE what a paste of baking soda and water did to the nasty grout on my kitchen floor. It looks like new…seriously, my husband thought I’d regrouted! Same paste also removed the rust stains from my stainless steel dishwasher and left it perfectly polished. – Lizliterarius
Flour for stainless steel shine (thanks, AT). – veslabeachgirl
Microfiber towels — the lifting/wicking power alone helps you avoid a lot of chemicals. You can get them in a large pack at Costco or Sams. We use them every day and it has reduced our paper towel usage dramatically. They’re much more absorbent than cotton and kind on shiny surfaces — in fact, I use them daily to wipe my glasses after a spritz with water, iso-alcohol and a drop of soap. – redneckmodern
• I have to add another vote for microfiber cloths, those things are great! They do a particularly good job on fingerprint-y brushed stainless steel, always a problematic thing to clean. -AlyCatNat
Bar Keepers Friend for stainless steel pots & pans & sink, white vinegar & microfiber cloths will clean almost everything. – Kateliz
• I had the surprising experience that water alone applied with a sponge left a streak free shine on my bathroom mirror. who knew? – alexmax

And, if all else fails, you could always try this tip:

• Lock everything that’s really personal into the trunk of your car and then give your mom the keys to your apartment for the day. – mjs7640

Image: The ultra clean and tidy home of Hunter & Casie – their “Redneck Modern” Eichler