On-the-go cleaning kit keeps you organized
photo by syvwlch
Our favorite cleaning products, supplies and tools help us save time and effort. If you don’t have a cleaning service or utility room and have been storing these items lined up in cabinets, try putting together a cleaning-kit caddy, which makes it easy to have everything handy to carry from room to room. It’s organized and space-saving, too. No one wants to spend more time cleaning.
They make great practical gifts for family and friends. I asked readers what cleaning items they couldn’t live without. While dusters, vinegar, scrub brushes, squirt bottles and bleach were high on the list, I’ve added more materials to help you assemble a well-stocked cleaning kit. Ideally, you want products that shine, scrub, polish and sanitize. I’m pleased to share a few green options, too. Did I mention they’re frugal?
COTTON SWABS: Great for cleaning corners and crevices. Makes the job of cleaning keyboards, cameras, window tracks and shoes a breeze.
CLOTH DIAPERS: Reusable, absorbent, lint-free and perfect for polishing. Use for wiping up spills, washing your car, cleaning windows and polishing furniture.
MICRO-FIBER CLOTHS: While they’re made from nylon and polyester, they’re still a good eco-frugal choice because you’ll use less water, chemical products and paper towels.
RUBBER OR NEOPRENE GLOVES: Protect your hands from bacteria, chemicals and extended time in water with gloves. They work well to grip jars for easy opening, too.
TOOTHBRUSH: Perfect scrubbing tool for hard-to-reach places. Clean around faucets, in sliding tracks, flatware, scrubbing stains, used as a nailbrush, for toilet hinges, jewelry, shoes and combs.
DISINFECTANT WIPES: Great for quick cleanups such as counters and doorknobs. You can make your own. Use thick paper towels cut in half with the cardboard tube removed, washcloths or cotton cloths. Place them in a container with a lid, such as a plastic ice-cream tub, plastic coffee container or baby-wipes box. For the cleaner, use a two-to-one mixture of vinegar and water or your favorite antibacterial cleaner. Dilute according to your cleaner’s label instructions. You can add your favorite essential oils, such as lemon or tea tree.
BAKING SODA: It deodorizes, scours and works well to clean proteins and grease. Often used on faucets to remove spots. Add it to laundry as a booster, or make it into a paste with water and use it as a stain remover. Use it combined with water for dishes that have baked-on food or coffee/tea stains.
LOOFAH: If you frequently use scrub sponges or scouring pads, try replacing them with loofahs. Loofahs can be grown by seed in your own backyard, so are versatile, natural and biodegradable. They’re natural scrubbers for the kitchen and bath. And you can grow your own.
RUBBER BRUSH AND BROOM: Readers with pets and children mentioned they liked using the brushes and brooms to get fur off furniture and carpet. The brooms are multipurpose and can be used as a squeegee, broom, mop and scrubber. They can be used indoors and outdoors.
MELAMINE FOAM: Readers love these products for their ability to remove crayon marks, stains, adhesive residue, spots and spills from various surfaces. To get the most use, they often cut the foam into quarters and rinse to revive.
FURNITURE POLISH: Combine 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Place in a glass jar, and you have a simple, homemade polish.
EUROPEAN SPONGE CLOTH: An alternative to traditional sponges. It’s biodegradable and can be cleaned and reused. The Euro sponge has recyclable packaging, and the company has directions on its Web site for repurposing the packaging into a bird feeder. Visit Twist (www.twistclean.com).