Cleaning House The Old-Fashioned Way

Modern technology is pretty darn amazing. Isn’t it? I have been known to exclaim loudly a time or two from the bathroom as I’m scrubbing the tile, “Oh, Magic Eraser! Whatever would I do without you?” Because honestly, whatever weird chemical is in it, I can’t imagine, but I do know it is heaven-sent. Heaven-sent!

But, sometimes, the new is just a poor substitute for the tried and true methods used by our grandparents and their grandparents (and their grandparents’ grandparents!).

And know what’s even better? Many of these old-fashioned cleaning supplies and remedies are cheap, green, non-toxic, and practically even edible! (Okay, that’s an exaggeration.)

After the jump, I’ve gathered up these tried and true cleaning products and presented them in our ever-so-popular slideshow format (and I’ve even thrown in a few DIY/green/old-fashioned cleaning solutions, for good measure).

  • Borax 1 of 15
    Borax was once proclaimed to be a magical crystal, used to cure all sorts of digestive ailments. as well as clean things and even make cosmetics!
    Buy yours here!
  • Bon Ami 2 of 15
    Bon Ami
    "And they used Bon Ami!" Name that movie. Can you name that movie? (It's one of my favorites.)
    Buy yours here!
  • Baking Soda 3 of 15
    Baking Soda
    Whitens, deodorizes, and makes up a tasty batch of cookies.
    Buy yours here!
  • Newspaper 4 of 15
    Have you ever used newsprint to wash windows? Have you ever stopped to think about how weird it is that something that makes your hands dirty after you read it could actually CLEAN your windows? Well, that same substance that comes off on your hands after perusing the Sunday comics helps polish your glass, and even provide a protective film on your windows to keep dirt from sticking.
  • Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap 5 of 15
    Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap
    It would have never occurred to me to use bar soap for the laundry, but apparently that is what was used for generations. (I've also read it is a good cure for poison ivy!)
    Buy yours here!
  • Almond Sticks 6 of 15
    Almond Sticks
    Great for hiding scratches and dings on wood furniture, it probably also smells amazing.
    Buy yours here!
  • Bar Keeper’s Friend 7 of 15
    Bar Keeper's Friend
    This powdered cleanser is perfect for shining steel, chrome, glass, tile, copper, brass, fiberglass and porcelain without scratching, but I'd buy this guy for the smart labeling alone!
    Buy yours here!
  • Old-Fashioned Kitchen Wax 8 of 15
    Old-Fashioned Kitchen Wax
    While this product is not generations old, it was developed by the Vermont Trading Company to resemble Jubilee, a much loved liquid wax sold years ago.
    Buy yours here!
  • Soap Flakes 9 of 15
    Soap Flakes
    Mix six tablespoons of soap flakes with two tablespoons of Borax in one pint of boiling water, let cool, whip into a froth with an egg beater, and then brush onto furniture for an effective upholstery shampoo. Wipe off with a damp sponge.
    Buy yours here!
  • Lemon Juice 10 of 15
    Lemon Juice
    A good dose of lemon juice is good for removing lime scale in the bathroom and even for polishing copper!
  • Tea Tree Oil 11 of 15
    Tea Tree Oil
    Tea tree oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal, and is especially good at fighting odors and mold growth.
  • White Vinegar 12 of 15
    White Vinegar
    Aside from a 50/50 white vinegar/tap water solution to clean anything from smudgy windows to pet accidents to food spills, you can also add a cup of white vinegar to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher for a spot-free rinse without all the chemicals (and cost!).
  • Lavender 13 of 15
    Lavender is not only beautiful to look at, but is an effective odor buster! Make satchels of dried lavender to go in smelly old shoes, tuck satchels of lavender into clothing storage to repel moths, or even slide one in between your pillow and pillow case (on the side of the pillow facing the mattress) for a soothing sleeping experience.
  • Toothpaste 14 of 15
    Have you tried using toothpaste and a soft-bristle tooth brush on your best silver? Guess what, it works!
  • Dried Yest 15 of 15
    Dried Yest
    This one is just plain out there, but so good to know — if your septic tank is constantly emitting foul odors, it could be that the your septic tank is deficient of sewage-digesting bacteria. Two teaspoons of dried yeast with two pounds of brown sugar in a gallon of hot water poured straight down the toilet oughta do ya.

What are your favorite old-fashioned cleaning tricks?

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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