I remember one time in 10th grade history class, the pen I was taking notes with began leaking blue ink all over my white blouse. Probably because I'd been chewing on it (the pen, not the blouse). Anyway, a trip to the girls' bathroom sink followed where I unsuccessfully tried washing said ink out of said blouse.
Then someone (probably with big hair) handed me a can of hairspray and said, "use this on it. The ink will come right out. I promise."
Thinking she'd been sniffing her styling products, I laughed uncomfortably, but obediently sprayed the stain and scrubbed a little. To my astonishment, the ink began to fade. I couldn't believe it!
And I couldn't stop wondering who was the first person to discover that hairspray removes ink stains. And what desperate circumstances led them to try it in the first place? Were they just going through all the cabinets in their house spraying stains with everything from wiper fluid to insect repellent? The world may never know the story. But I was glad to stumble upon this unlikely cleaning method.
Since that fateful day in high school, I've learned about other equally strange, yet effective cleaning hacks.
Here are a few that made me laugh out loud. Until I tried them - and they actually worked. So if you're looking to spice up your cleaning routine with some off-the-wall tactics, then give these a try and let me know how they worked.
1) A paste of cigarette ashes mixed with mayonnaise will remove those white ring stains that develop from setting a water glass down on your wooden table. Yes, you read that right. And yes, I've tried it. Since I didn't know anyone with cigarette ashes, I had to start smoking again just to clean my table. (It was a low point. But where can you buy cigarette ashes? Apparently, no other kind will work.) You have to scrub, scrub, scrub.... a whole pack of Marlboro's worth, depending on the stain.
After working the ring out of my table and feeling pretty accomplished, yet short of breath, a friend told me that blowing the stain with a hair dryer works too. I've also read that scrubbing it with toothpaste can be effective. Back to my initial question, how does one happen upon a solution like this? "Wonder what'll happen if I mix cigarette ashes and mayonnaise? Or maybe honey mustard dressing? Let's give it a try!"
2) A packet of lemon or orange Kool Aid cleans your toilet bowl as well as...uh...toilet bowl cleaner. I wonder if margarita mix works also.
3) Sprinkle coffee grounds in your doorways and on window sills to repel home invading ants. As much as we humans love our coffee, ants can't stand it and will run the other way. (The article that I found this in didn't say anything about the fact that you're dumping coffee grounds on your floor. Who's gonna clean that mess up?) Apparently fleas also hate coffee. During bath time, add it to your pet's rinse water. (I'm not making this up.)
4) Use air freshener to clean your mirrors. Works just as well as glass cleaner and leaves the room smelling like paradise. I tried this with Febreeze and was impressed with the results.
5) Use Alka Seltzer to clean a vase. Just fill the vase with water and drop in two tablets. Let it sit for a few minutes to remove that stuck on grime. When done, please don't drink the contents of the vase, even if you do feel a headache coming on. You can use the same technique to polish jewelry.
6) Dab rubbing alcohol on a cloth to spot clean your microfiber couch. Just remember to use rubbing alcohol, not drinking alcohol. (Vodka's good for removing your cares but not your stains.) And I would definitely spot test this one somewhere inconspicuous.
7) Baking soda on a damp rag cleans crayon off walls. This works very well, although my son wasn't happy that I erased his masterpiece.
8) Buff a light layer of auto wax onto your household vents to keep them dust free longer. Car wax? Vents? Hmmm.
9) Polish your wood furniture with a slab of Spam. (Ok I didn't try this one because it grosses me out. Guess I'll have to let you try this one and get back to me with the results.)
10) Use Coca Cola to get rid of the black film in the bottom of your pots. Just fill it in the bottom, turn on low heat and wait an hour. Then wash the pot your usual way.
11) Dryer sheets are great for dusting electronics. They're anti-static and actually repel dust. And they smell pretty too.
12) Wipe a slightly damp sponge across your couch and chair cushions to remove pet hairs. Tried it. Love it!
Good luck - and happy cleaning!