Grandma’s Goop and Other Old-School Cleaning Tips That Still Work Today

Grandma’s Goop and Other Old-School Cleaning Tips That Still Work Today


Those were the days. And when it comes to some cleaning tips, they still should be.

No one wants to hear someone talk about how they “walked to school uphill in the snow both ways” when they were kids. Still, when your grandparents were young, they really didn’t have it as easy as we do in many ways. Cleaning, in particular, required more work with fewer tools. That’s why they mixed in a healthy dose of common sense and everyday items to help them get the jobs done.

1. The Timeless Concept of Common Sense

This gets instantly placed under the “Common Sense” column. While not many people actually enjoy cleaning every day, it’s still the best thing to do in the long run. Think about what’s worse: cleaning a meal’s worth of dishes each day or an overflowing sink full of stained plates, pots and pans crusted with hard-to-remove gunk? Consider making some routines for each day, such as:
– Rinse your dishes off as soon as they go into the sink. Even if you can’t wash them that night they will at least be easier to clean the next day.
– Make your bed each morning. It improves the quality or your restfulness, believe it or not. It also helps you be more productive throughout your day.
– Leave your shoes at the door and never get into bed with socks you’ve been wearing all day
– Sweep your kitchen floor every night or morning. Food turns into a mold that turns into you and/or your kids getting sick.
There are countless other little things you can do to prevent yourself from having to deal with large messes. Make a list!

2. The Tea Towel Party

I have been known to be guilty of using too many paper towels. Using tea towels can harbor bacteria if the towels are not cleaned regularly. The solution is to buy a stack of flour-sack tea towels for the purposes of wiping down counters, dishes and more. Being 100% cotton, flour-sack towels don’t leave lint on glass items and they take well to the washing machine and dryer.

3. If You Want Something Done Right…

You know the rest. Your grandparents did too, which is why they made their own cleaning solutions. An essential favorite combined water, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol along with – you guessed it – an essential oil in a spray bottle. Lemon and Peppermint are by far the best choices for cleaning purposes.

4. “Tea” Up to Bring Linens On-Par

Tablecloths take abuse. Any linen used in the kitchen gets stained at some point. “Tea up” a homemade stain antidote by steeping 5 (give or take) tea bags in hot water for 10 minutes. Remove the tea bags, take the linen and soak it in the tea-water. Swirl it around to be sure it’s fully saturated then let it sit until it becomes the color you want it to be. There will be no more unsightly stains and the linen will have a renewed look to it.

5. They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To

Some commercial products from back in the day are still out there in this modern day. Old English is just as popular as it was when your grandparents were young. Baking soda was then as it is today a common cleaning agent. Baking soda and white vinegar can be used to clean pots and pans as well as stovetops by heating up the vinegar and sprinkling baking soda onto it while still quite hot. The foam does wonders to break away gunk you can’t remove by hand. Lemon and lemon juice is always a good option for sinks, countertops and stove ranges.

6. Cleaning Is More Than a May/September Affair

Tis the season to be cleaner! And I do mean every season. And why not? It makes it easier in the end on you and/or your family. Flip and clean your mattresses twice a year. Donate clothing annually that you no longer wear. Pull out appliances twice a year to clean behind and around them. Wash your dryer’s lint filter every 3-4 months, etc. There are so many things you can do around the year so that the big, spring cleaning event is not so burdensome.

7. More Product Does Not Mean “Cleaner”

Not “Borat,” but “Borax. Borat is a movie character/title. Borax is a cleaning agent that’s been around since the 8th century. Use a little on a microfiber cloth or sponge and go to town like you would with any other cleaner. You can also add some to your laundry to help boost your detergent’s cleaning powers or soak it into tough stains pre-wash. You don’t need a ton of modern solutions, is the point. Save your budget while still keeping your house sparkling clean! It is also better if you pick the best vacuum cleaner when cleaning your floor. Go to Vacuum Judge to learn more.

8. Clean As You Go

I had a friend in Atlanta who was a professional drummer turning into a professional chef. I was at his apartment one Sunday while he was cooking and I remember him practically shouting out, “Clean as you go!” And that he most certainly did.
Cleaning your splashes, spills, drips, and drops immediately makes cleaning your kitchen later so much easier. Wipe down your sinks – kitchen, bathroom or utility – immediately after using them. Use throw rugs at entryways to help prevent dirt from getting deeper into your home. Keep a Swiffer or small dusting tool handy and stay on top of the TV’s, laptops, speakers and other devices that visibly collect dust every day.

9. Air It Out

I always liked lavender as a general scent in the house. On bolder days I like clove and cinnamon as well. But vanilla extract is great for deodorizing your home as well. You can soak a cotton ball in 100% vanilla extract and throw that cotton ball into your vacuum cleaner bag or container (if bagless). You can wipe cool/unlit light bulbs mildly with vanilla as well. When they turn on and heat up the subtle moisture evaporates and spreads a pleasant scent around the room.
Vanilla and lemon juice both work great in microwaves for getting rid of odors. Just add some extract to a bowl of water and microwave until boiling. Let the naturally-scented steam sit in the microwave for up to a few hours before removing the bowl.

10. Vinegar: An Age-Old Solution

Showerheads get nasty inside but are commonly overlooked in the cleaning process. Fill up a plastic bag with white vinegar. Use a rubber band and/or the bag’s handles and tie the bag around the neck of your showerhead, with the head itself submerged in the vinegar. For more serious cleaning, remove the showerhead and all arts and soak them separately. Use a clean toothbrush to scrape away remaining residue.
You can also wash your shower curtains in white vinegar, borax and laundry detergent. Make sure to include a couple bath towels to help the cycle be smoother when spinning.

11. Waste Not

Every piece of clothing you own can be used for something other than wearing it. This is especially true for cleaning purposes. T-shirts, ripped jeans, old socks are all potential cleaning rags. Just be sure to use the right fabric on the right surfaces.

12. When Life Gives You Lemons, Use Them To Clean

Lemons are bright yellow but their juices help makes your whites become whiter again. The juice of just one lemon mixed into a one-gallon bucket of hot water is a great, natural whitener. Soak old clothes in the solution for a few hours then wash as normal or just run through the rinse cycle and allow to air dry in the sun.


1 Comment

  1. wendy
    / 10:01 AM

    This may seem a bit ‘new school’ but i highly recommend using microfiber cloths for cleaning. It cleans anything with the need for chemicals!
    wendy recently posted…Molly’s Marvelous Grey ClothMy Profile

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