Here are some of the easiest, fastest, most effective and affordable methods/ideas I’ve tested to date:
#1: Best all-purpose (natural) cleaner, hands down
Recipe: 1C white distilled vinegar, 1C distilled water, 12 drops tea tree essential oil, 12 drops orange or lemon essential oil. Pour into spray bottle, replace sprayer, shake, then use.
Cleans: kitchen surfaces (including stainless steel), fridge interior, bath surfaces and fixtures (great on soap scum and water minerals), glass and mirror, sealed tile floors
#2: Best method for cleaning ceiling fans
Use a damp microfiber cloth. I like a microfiber facecloth for this purpose, as its easy to slide around the fan blades. The damp cloth keeps loose dust from falling or spreading into the air. It takes just about 5 minutes to clean all the blades plus the rest of one fan.
#3: Best way to care for cast iron skillets
- Wipe out skillet after every use, rub inside with a bit of olive oil and cover with a lid.
- For buildup or sticky residue pour in two cups of HOT water, let sit for a minute then use spatula to scrape up anything stuck, then rinse inside with more hot water. Dry with paper towel, rub with olive oil.
FYI, if you need to clean rust off from the bottom of the skillet, use a damp cloth to clean of rust, then rub well with a bit of olive oil. My tests have proven you do NOT need to then cure the skillet in a warm oven. In fact, I have found that the bottom is less likely to rust in the future when you simply rub the olive oil on and then use from there.
#4: Best (and natural, eco-friendly) clothes softener
Use wool dryer balls; 9 dryer balls seems to be the magic number.
- To maintain, periodically wash in hot water in mesh bags, dry in mesh bags. Mine have lasted two years so far.
#5: Best way to capture dust bunnies under furniture
Use a ceiling fan duster with an extension rod. I’ve found the duster works better for this purpose than as a ceiling fan cleaner.
#6: Best dusting method, including most lampshades and wood surfaces
Use a damp microfiber cloth. Dust clings to it and you can quickly rinse it, squeeze it out, and continue dusting. I’ve found it to work well on all types of wood surfaces, multimedia devices, even lampshades.
FYI, regular olive oil has proven to work incredibly well as a wood conditioner and polisher. It also seems to help repel dust rather well.
#7: Best pantry storage ideas
- Place wax paper on shelves. It protects painted wood, keeps anything from sticking, and also makes for easy spill clean up.
- Store small plastic containers with lids inside large clear storage containers. You can keep the lids attached, plus you can easily see what is stored in which large container. As my pantry shelves are shallow, I store these large containers on the top shelf, standing on end with the lids facing forward.
- Mesh magazine holders are great multipurpose containers for: Cake and other mixes, narrow pasta boxes, vinegars and oils, rolled towels, rollable dish drainers, produce like potatoes.
- Paper clamps work great for clipping open bags, hanging items in the pantry on wire hanging drawers, even hanging plastic dish dryers on the wall (use a large clamp on dish dryer and hang on a wall hook or screw by one of the clamp arms).
#8: Best liners for kitchen drawers
Use old kitchen/tea towels, washcloths. They keep things from sliding and they are easy to clean. You can just toss them in the wash. As an added bonus it adds some style and texture to your kitchen drawers.
#9: Best use of hall bathroom linen closet: mini emergency supply center
Since we don’t have a basement and the hall bath is the most protected room in the house, I’ve taken to storing items like the following in the linen closet (which stays very dry):
- Spare towel sets (rolled up for maximum storage efficiency)
- TP and paper towels
- Batteries, flashlights
- Candles and LED candles, lighter
- Key personal records, reading material, notepads
- Backup supplies of hair and body care items, makeup, etc.
We keep several 3-gallon jugs of water in the kitchen pantry that we can quickly and easily move into the bathroom for emergencies. We also have roll around carry-on luggage packed and ready to go there as well.
#10: Guest room closet hack
If you need to store items in the upper shelf of your guest room closet, but you’d like to hide the ugliness/prettify the closet:
- Install a tension rod (we used a shower curtain version that we stabilized with pole holders) with curtain clips attached before installing the rod.
- Hang/clip on any one of the following: Cafe curtain, oblong shawl, set of pillow shams, other creative curtain substitutes.
BONUS TEST RESULT: Tomato storage debate
My test results: Tomatoes DO keep better, longer in the refrigerator.