This shouldn't be news to anyone, what with the plethora of products pushing the power of baking soda and all, but I'll say it anyway: Baking soda is a wonderful cleaner. We have a white Corian sink...well, white-ish. I know Corian is supposed to be non-porous, but based on the color of our sink following a tomato sauce clean-up, I have my doubts. One thing about Corian is that it's pretty easy to scratch, so you have to be very careful when you need to scrub it.
That's where baking soda comes in. It's cheap, I always have it around (as a baker and a klutz who sets the occasional kitchen fire), and it works without scratching. Make a paste of baking soda and water, scrub gently with a sponge, rinse, and our sink is mostly white again.
Bar Keepers Friend
We first discovered Bar Keepers Friend when DBF started collecting Calphalon (let's face it, that's a "one piece at a time" thing for us). This product is recommended in the Calphalon care and feeding guide so DBF picked some up.
Turns out it's an absolute must for the kitchen if you have stainless steel. It comes in both liquid and powder form and we keep both around—liquid for quick cleaning and the powder for serious scrubbing. This stuff makes stainless steel look brand-spakin' new.
If you have carpet or upholstery, you need Folex. It works incredibly well and I have never known it to affect the texture or color of our upholstery...and when you have bright red furniture, that's important. I've used a bunch of different products on our furniture and while most got rid of the spots, they also got rid of some of the color of the fabric...spot removal, good; paper towels turning pink, bad.
This stuff is amazing on pet stains, food stains, and those mystery spots that NotMe always seems to leave on your carpet.
Once upon a time, a grown man thought it would be a really good idea to put the sticker from every piece of produce he brought into his apartment on his refrigerator. After six years of produce stickers, that man moved out of the apartment and into a house with his girlfriend. Knowing that he'd be charged some outlandish "cleaning fee" if the management found the refrigerator covered in produce stickers, he tried to remove them. As it turns out, the non-sticky half of those stickers starts to disintegrate after a while and the only thing that remains is the stick. You can't peel stick.
Enter Goo Gone.
The fumes are horrible and it will leave a residue that you'll have to clean up with soap and water, but it will get rid of the stick. So if you ever come across a refrigerator that's covered in 6-year-old produce stickers that have just about disintegrated...or any other hard surface that has a really stubborn sticker, Goo Gone will take care of it.
seen what Krud Kutter can do to a 50-year-old exhaust fan, so you know it works. Seriously.
I've also used it to clean walls. Yep, walls. The walls in our basement staircase have been beaten, scuffed, dripped on, splashed, and only the Universe knows what else. During my last obsessive cleaning spree, I decided to try to get those walls white again and guess what! It worked. I couldn't scrub out the dents, but everything else...including the long pink scuff from the bright red furniture...is gone.
I haven't tried the stuff on non-white walls, so if you have in mind to try it out, please test a small hidden spot before you go Krud Kutter crazy.
I'm not usually one for testing colorfastness, which is why I end up with towels that look like this (not caused by Krud Kutter, btw). So, you know, do as I say, not as I do and test first.
I keep this stuff around in a diluted solution as well as full strength. It's a really great go-to cleaner for most surfaces and even for laundry spots. DBF came home from work one day with a blob of black sticky ick on his khakis and with just a couple of sprays of diluted Simple Green, it came right out.
As a side note, those spray bottles from the MegaHardware Store are great to keep around. They're cheap and they come in incredibly handy.
Okay, I did that a little for shock value. I don't go around cleaning my house with spit, I promise. I do, however, believe that my saliva is great for removing my own blood from fabric. There are believers and non-believers on this one, but I have successfully removed small amounts of my own blood from fabric with my saliva. I usually put a tissue (or paper towel) behind the stain, rub the stain with a saliva-coated finger, and press another tissue on top of the stain. For me, it works much better than water, which I've found just spreads out the stain. And yes, the saliva and the blood need to come from the same donor in order for this to work. Strange but true.
No, I'm not kidding. This is another great way to remove sticky stuff if you don't have any Goo Gone on hand. Because you do have WD-40 on hand...right? (Hint: If your answer isn't "of course," go get some. You need it.) Only use it on non-porous surfaces, though, because it will soak into porous stuff and leave a stain.
So there they are, folks, my weapons against my clumsiness, my cats' charming habits of leaving their mark wherever they go, and DBF's creative decorating.
If you have something in your own cleaning arsenal that I didn't list, please share! I'm always looking for better ways to clean.