Microwaves are notorious for being hard to clean. Just soak a kitchen sponge in lemon water and place it in the microwave for 1 minute. Let the steam from the sponge penetrate the stuck-on grime for 5 minutes, then wipe the inside of the microwave clean. Done!
Lemons aren't the only cleaning queens. Save your fresh orange peel after a snack and use the orange side to polish your stainless steel. The citrus oils will remove fingerprints, while leaving behind a nice shine. Just make sure you rub with the grain of the stainless steel.
Orange peels can also be used to make a multi-purpose natural cleanser. Put peels from three large oranges in a quart jar and fill the jar with white vinegar. Let the mixture soak for two weeks, then strain it into a spray bottle. You can use the cleanser for fridges, stovetops, microwaves and more.
To clean windows and mirrors quickly, spray them with a little distilled vinegar mixed, half-and-half, with water. Then just wipe them down with a clean cloth. This cleaning solution prevents fogginess, so it's great for bathroom mirrors and car windows.
Salt also works great to get rid of protein stains on clothes. Dip a clean cloth in a solution of saltwater and dab the stain. Finish up by rinsing the item with cold water. Here are more ingenious uses for salt.
If you've got mold, you can clean non-porous materials (like windows) with a solution of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water, according to Michael Dooley, the Vice President of the New Mexico chapter the American Society of Home Inspectors. A paste made of borax and water also works.
If your pans are looking a little gunky on the bottom, there's a simple solution. Sprinkle a layer of baking soda on the pan, then a layer of sea salt, then spritz on a layer of vinegar. Let it soak for about 10 minutes and scrub with a sponge. The gunk will lift right off. Here are some more pan cleaning techniques.
To make your mattress look and smell like new, spray down your mattress with a light mist of water from a spray bottle, then dust the entire mattress with baking soda. Use a clean cloth to rub the baking soda into any stains. Let the baking soda dry, then use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to suck up the baking soda.
You can never be sure what's in store-bought carpet fresheners. Luckily, you can make your own all-natural version. Mix one cup of baking soda with three tablespoons of ground cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture over your carpets and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then just vacuum like normal.
Baking soda can also be used to get rid of tough soap scum in the bathroom. Just spritz the surface with water, then dust it with baking soda. Use a sponge or cleaning cloth to rub the baking soda over the soiled area and rinse.