Wait! Don’t throw those kitchen scraps in the trash: Lemon peels, coffee grounds, eggshells and more can work miracles cleaning dirt and grime, saving you time and money!
Get glass gleaming with used tea bags.
Tea leaves are rich in tannins, compounds that gently lift and absorb grease. “They’re perfect for cleaning glass and other kitchen surfaces, like the stove, microwave and counters, because they don’t cause streaks,” says Jen Stark, owner of HappyDIYHome.com. “They’ll also lift fingerprint smudges. Just rub a damp tea bag over the surface you want to clean, then wipe dry with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.” Tannins also absorb bad odors, so once you’ve enjoyed your cup of tea, you can place the used bag in a cup in the fridge as a deodorizer.
Lift garbage disposal gunk with citrus peels.
Lemon peels contain two powerful cleaning agents: citrus oil and citric acid. Plus, the bumpy skins act like little scrub brushes, while the pith absorbs grease, explains natural-cleaning expert Kristen McCalla (EarthFriendlyTips.com). “Just drop a few peels in the disposal and run it as usual to clean and freshen it.”
Outsmart dirty dishes with pasta water.
Pasta water contains starch, which acts as a natural detergent that helps lift and break down stubborn food particles on plates and glassware, reveals expert David Cusick (HouseMethod.com). “After you’ve boiled pasta, reserve the water and pour it in a basin or in your stopped-up sink and let dishes soak for a few minutes — any stuck-on food or sauce will rinse right off.”
Fix scratches on wood with coffee grounds.
Notice a hairline scratch on your wood table or hardwood floor? Simply dip a cotton swab into wet coffee grounds and spread over the spot; let sit for a few hours, then wipe away excess grounds. The coffee will gently and naturally dye the wood brown and make the scratch disappear.
Banish soap scum with eggshells.
Primarily comprised of minerals, eggshells make a great gentle abrasive cleaner, reveals Stark. “Just crush them in a bag or food processor until they form a powder and add a bit of vinegar to create a paste.” Spread the mixture over soap scum or grout stains, let sit for a few minutes and give it a quick buff.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.