Easy home supply fixes for cleaning

November 3, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Have a cleaning emergency? You don't necessarily have to run to the store to get cleaning supplies. Things you're already likely to have at home could be a good substitute.

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Keeping smudges off your best silverware can be a chore. But the Good Housekeeping Research Institute says don't worry about breaking out the silver polish. A dab of toothpaste and a little water will remove light tarnish without damaging the surface.

"Use a basic, non-gel toothpaste. A toothpaste that has other chemicals and additives, like whiteners, could otherwise be too harsh for the surface," said Good Housekeeping Research Institute's Christina Peterson.

Run out of dish soap? Try using a teaspoonful of liquid laundry detergent. Even powdered detergent will work to cut the grease. Just be sure it's fully dissolved in the water before adding the dishes. You can take care of carpet spills with an oil-free makeup removing wipe. Once you soak up the spill with a paper towel, turn to the wipe to absorb the rest of the stain.

"In our tests, the facial wipe worked great at removing the fresh red wine without leaving a residue on the carpet," said Peterson.

Shampoo can be a good substitute to use on your hand wash delicates. Pre-treat it with a drop of shampoo. Then add a pea size drop to a sink of cold water.

More tips:

  • If you're out of stain pre-treater, try hydrogen peroxide. It has similar stain-fighting power to color-safe bleach. Be sure to spot-test on a hidden area first.
  • Don't put dish soap in an automatic dishwasher. The machine requires a low-sudsing formula; you'll have a mess of foam on the floor.
  • Don't use laundry stain remover for carpet or upholstery cleaner. Products for clothes are too soapy for carpets or furniture.
  • Don't use all-purpose cleaner on glass. All-purpose cleaners will leave soapy streaks on glass.
  • Don't use stainless steel cleaner for silver polish. This tough metal cleaner can scratch and mar fine pieces.

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