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Do you have a washing machine?

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Tackle 40 Cleaning Tasks With 5 Items

This post originally appeared on LearnVest, where smart people learn to manage their money and live their richest lives.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by cleaning products. Glass cleaner, floor cleaner, bathroom cleaner, stovetop cleaner, disinfectant, deodorizer … each one has  a never-ending list of chemicals, insisting you need it for the task at hand.

But do you need it, really?

Nope. Instead of spending on cabinets full of specific, expensive (and toxic) cleaning products, you can use these five basic supplies to cover 40 different household tasks, from removing tea stains to getting rid of ants.

  • Baking soda
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Ammonia
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads (the brand name for melamine foam pads, which are non-toxic and can be purchased at a discount in bulk)

Below, we’ve listed each product with the tasks it accomplishes. Now, you’ll have a much nicer problem to tackle: What will you do with all that empty cabinet space—not to mention the money you’ve saved?

Baking Soda

  • Keep bouquets fresh by adding a teaspoon of baking soda to the water at the bottom of a vase.
  • Remove grease from baking sheets by combining baking soda with hydrogen peroxide and scrubbing (detailed instructions here).
  • Ward off mustiness in your linen closet by placing an open box of baking soda in the back.
  • Dust your mattress with baking soda to remove dirt and moisture (detailed instructions here).
  • Eliminate fridge odors by placing an open box of baking soda on the back shelf.
  • Relieve baby’s diaper rash by adding 2 tablespoons of baking soda in the little one’s bath water.
  • Polish your own silver with a solution of salt, baking soda and hot water (detailed instructions here).
  • Clean your toilet bowl by scrubbing it with a two-to-one ratio of baking soda and olive oil.
  • Use as anti-itch ointment for insect bites, poison ivy or rashes by mixing baking soda with water to create an anti-itch paste. 

White Vinegar

  • Deodorize your kitchen drain by flushing it weekly with white vinegar (detailed instructions here).
  • Tie a baggie full of white vinegar around your shower head to remove grime and built-up residue in an hour (detailed instructions here).
  • Add a cup of white vinegar to your dishwater and soak for 20 minutes to shine glassware.
  • Mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water to wash windows.
  • Clean your dishwasher by getting rid of detergent buildup and hardwater stains: Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into your dishwasher and run on empty with hot water (detailed instructions here).
  • Get rid of ant infestations by spraying ants with a 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar.
  • Soften and freshen laundry by adding white vinegar to the wash water (detailed instructions here).
  • Clean chandeliers by creating a spray out of water and white vinegar (detailed instructions here).

To see the rest of the 40 cleaning tips, check out the original LearnVest article.

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