Cleaning Products That Do Double Duty

Cleaning supplies

Want to know the cleaning products that I use regularly around my home? You may even have several of these products in your cleaning supply tool belt right now. The best part about these cleaning products? They’re cleaning products that do double-duty. No, they aren’t cleaning services (that’s what kids are for!) but they will save you time and money. What makes them so special? They’re inexpensive, quick, easy to use, and you won’t have to spend your money buying lots of different, expensive cleaning products because they all have double uses.

Cleaning Products That Do Double Duty

Lemon oil: Lemon oil is a great product for cleaning all of your wood surfaces. Squirt a little on a cleaning rag and wipe away the dust while protecting and moisturizing the wood. Next, use that same cleaning cloth to wipe down and clean all of your stainless steel appliances. Get double-duty cleaning credit by wiping your kitchen appliances and removing those pesky finger prints. Just like cleaning wood, go with the “grain” of the stainless steel. I like Weiman brand but make sure to only poke a small hole in the top when first opening it rather than removing the entire plastic covering. This will keep the oil from dispensing too quickly.

Rubbing Alcohol: Did you get sap on your hands while cutting down your Christmas tree or while doing yard work? No problem. Pour a little rubbing alcohol onto a cotton round and rub that sap right sap off. Double-duty job? Use another cotton round to give your bathroom or kitchen sink faucet fixtures a quick wipe down. You won’t believe how quickly your sink fixtures will be gleaming and germs are gone in an instant.

Baking soda: Baking soda is great to use on food that’s stuck to your pots and pans. Don’t spend time scraping or scrubbing that pie pan. Sprinkle baking soda into the dish with soapy water and let it soak over night. While you’re sleeping, the baking soda is working. Make yourself a baking soda shaker, too. It’s easy to make and pretty to look at. Double duty use? Once your sink is empty but still wet, sprinkle baking soda into your sink and rub it in for a paste. Leave for 20 minutes (or longer) and with a quick wipe and rinse, your sink will be gleaming.

Borax: Borax is a laundry booster and can help add an extra punch when cleaning your clothing. If you have a soiled garment, get a small bucket and place the item inside. Add 1 scoop of Borax and cover with 2-3 inches of water. Let soak a couple of hours (or a couple of days) and then add this mix to your laundry load when you’re running the next load of wash. You can also soak garments in the bottom of your washing machine if yours allows you to fill it a little and stop it. Double-duty use? Add a scoop to your toilet bowl and let it sit over night. When you wake in the morning, give your bowl a quick once over with a brush, flush and voilà – done!

I’ve stopped using Borax because it got a horrible review on Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) so I no longer buy it. Try Arm and Hammer Laundry Booster instead.

White vinegar: White vinegar can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner around the house and is especially good at getting rid of mildew. Make sure to dilute your white vinegar with water so that it’s not too strong. Undiluted vinegar is quite acidic. Double-duty use? If you’ve bought a new pair of jeans for the holiday season, let your jeans soak in a cup of white vinegar and water mixture overnight prior to washing them the first time. After soaking and a quick spin in your washing machine, your new jeans will retain their color longer.

These household cleaning products are great for cleaning. And, because they have double duty uses and don’t cost a lot, you’ll find that they’re great to keep in your arsenal of cleaning products or your cleaning tool belt or whatever you prefer to call it.

What’s your favorite cleaning product?

Sara

Sara, creator of Go Gingham, is passionate about cooking and feeding her family healthy, real food. She's a green enthusiast, too, who loves to grow food organically. Sara loves to travel - especially by trading houses. An avid runner, she can also be found chasing after her chickens in the backyard.

14 Comments


  1. Vinegar and baking soda are my go-to products. I use them all the time.

    Borax is also excellent for soaking yellowed or dingy whites. My white bedspread won’t fit in my washer, so I soak it in my big bathtub, then agitate it with the jets. It gets so clean – even without adding detergent – and rinses out nicely.
    Ginger Kay recently posted..How to drive your family crazy, Christmas edition.


    1. Ginger Kay,
      That is a great idea to soak your large bedspread and then agitate it. I have that problem with a few items that I think would over-tax my washing machine. There’s an eco-laundromat in our neighborhood that I take over sized items to but it would be easier to do it at home. I had a funny experience at the grocery store recently when the clerk told me anyone who buys Borax has a different story about how they use it! It’s a wonderful product.
      Thanks, Ginger.


  2. What do you use on your wooden floors to keep them clean?

    Baking soda, vinegar, alcohol, and Borax — yes those are the mainstays. I also use baby powder on those items that are stuck together, like playing cards.

    Cornstarch, talc and baking soda are supposed to be good carpet cleaners. I have yet to see that work, but then I am not very patient. I want instant results……

    I also like to use Efferdent tablets to clean jewelry, retainers, and toilet bowls. Minty fresh….


    1. Sue,
      I’m posting my recipe for homemade cleaning solution on Thursday, Jan. 10 so please look for it. It’s similar to what you’ve read already but I make it and use it in spray bottles in our bathrooms and kitchen. I use it on everything, too, except wood.
      I hadn’t heard of baby powder on playing cards but that is a terrific idea. Thank you!
      I hear ya’ on those instant results. I don’t have carpets just a few area rugs and have to admit, when it comes to stains I don’t have a good answer – other than rearrange the furniture! We don’t wear shoes inside our home and I think this really helps keep floors/rugs clean, too.
      The Efferdent tablets are another good idea. Thank you.


  3. I routinely use white vinegar instead of chlorine bleach in the washing machine. I also mix white vinegar with water to clean the tile floors in the house. My doctor has said that chlorine bleach is an eye and skin irritant, so I avoid it if at all possible.


    1. Karen, good tips! That bleach is strong and I’m with your doctor. I also like to use vinegar in my wash. Bluing is another product that helps to whiten whites. It’s blue and comes in a small blue plastic bottle.
      Thanks, Karen.


  4. Love these tips, my friend. What do you use to clean your toilets? With boys in the house, this is always a serious problem area and I can’t seem to find an “earth friendly” cleaner that gets the toilet clean and takes care of the smell. You know the smell I’m talkin’ about, don’t ya?
    Carrie Cook Minns recently posted..I Was Caught. My “Simplify the Holidays” Secret is Out.


    1. Carrie, yes, I’m familiar with that smell! 🙂
      Sue has some great suggestions that she listed below. I use the Borax in our toilet bowls but it’s also that under the rim spot on toilets that I think holds the smell! For that, it’s either a really good brush or that same cotton swab listed above wiped underneath the rim of the bowl itself. I hope that makes sense because I’m not sure we want to take pictures of that!
      Thanks, Carrie. Hope that helps.


  5. Toilet bowl
    Baking soda and vinegar. First pour the baking soda all over the toilet bowl then pour on the vinegar. Last night we had a clog, I used an entire box of baking soda and 3/4 of a bottle of white distilled vinegar. Flushed at least 20 times. Smell and clog went away. Use a brush afterwards to clean. To get rid of really bad smells, I have used a little bit of mouthwash. Now I also use my dad’s efferdent tablets– it also helped me determine how much of a clog I had. I used 4 tablets to determine how badly things were flushing or not flushing.

    For really bad smells, 1 drop of an essential oil — like lemon or orange will help with the smell. But I found a drop or two of Listerine also has worked in a real pinch.


    1. Sue, these are more great tips! I will definitely try the Listerine. While I love the smell of the essential oils, I have a hard time getting only 1 drop out – it’s more like a few – and then I feel like I’m wasting it by using too much.
      Thanks again. I can always count on you for smart and resourceful ideas!


  6. I am using white vinegar and Dawn dish washing detergent 50/50 in a spray bottle for the kitchen, bath, and the tile floors. It cleans shines leaves the rooms clean and sparkles. I love it in the bathroom for the fixtures and it’s great for scrubbing the toilet. If the sent is not a favorite then add a few drops of essential oil of your liking. It is great on the grease in the kitchen. I have been making home made laundry detergent, too. Nice to save so much on the cleaning products. I also make the home made “Fabreeze” by mixing 1/8th cup fabric softener, 1 T, baking soda, and the rest warm water in a spray bottle shake and spray the carpet, and fabrics with it to freshen the pet areas.
    Love this site so much!
    Cat


    1. Cat ~ these are great ideas, too! And you’re right, it is nice to save so much on cleaning supplies. They’re very expensive for what they are, which is mostly water. Many cleaning supplies are too toxic for me to want in our house, too.
      Thanks for your nice compliment, Cat! I appreciate it 🙂


  7. I tried the lemon oil, Sara. My house smells so good. Thanks for the tip.


    1. Mary, you’re so welcome and I’m glad the lemon oil worked out for you. Did you try it on wood furniture or stainless steel or both? Happy cleaning!

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