AARP Eye Center
The Internet is filled with cooking and cleaning hacks, but it’s hard to know what works and what just looks cool on video.
So we gathered some tips and tricks to help tackle home challenges: stubborn stains, stuck-on crud, making leftovers palatable. These creative techniques get the job done, often rely on things you already have in your home, and can be fun to try.
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
Use grapefruit and salt on soap scum. No need for fancy soap or chemicals to get rid of soap scum in your shower and tub or elsewhere — you can use grapefruit and salt. “Take half a grapefruit and pour a layer of salt over the top. Then rub the grapefruit on the affected areas and you’ll see the soap scum start to lift,” says Kathy Cohoon, franchise owner at cleaning service Two Maids & a Mop. “The grapefruit’s citric acid and the coarseness of the salt work together to power through stubborn scum.” It also leaves a pleasant, citrusy smell.
Microwave damp sponges for easy cleanup. Splattered food means microwaves can get messy. For a quick clean, Cohoon suggests microwaving a few damp sponges on high for one minute. The sponges will create moisture, making it easier to wipe down anything stuck inside the machine. You can also use the warmed sponges to do the wiping. Just be careful not to grab overheated sponges to avoid getting burned.
Deep clean a toilet with vinegar. Pour a cup or two of white vinegar in a toilet bowl and let it sit overnight to break down any debris or hard water stains, says Michael Green, vice president of operations at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing. “In the morning, use a toilet brush to scrub around the bowl. An extra toothbrush and a little baking soda can help you get to the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies,” he says.