White vinegar cleans everything. That’s what my grandmother believed and what she practiced. She used white vinegar to clean windows (with balled up newspapers, of course!), to rinse out the sinks and make them shine and as the main ingredient in her bucket for scrubbing floors, eschewing ammonia because it was harsh on her hands. (She was a nurse’s aide in the baby nursery at the local hospital so soft hands were required work attire!) White vinegar was — and still is — a cheap, safe, green cleaning agent for lots of things in our homes and it does double duty: try baking without it!

It turns out our food pantries hold many secrets for cleaning and they are all just like white vinegar — inexpensive, safe, effective and do double duty: you likely have most of them on hand for whatever you’re making for dinner. Here’s hoping a few of these may be new and surprising!

Olive Oil — Pour some on a clean, soft cloth and wipe away fingerprints, smudges and streaks on any stainless steel appliance. Buff to shine. Surprise! It’s not greasy.

Lemons — Chop and add 1-2 pieces to each slot in an ice cube tray. Fill the slots with white vinegar and freeze. Unmold a few ice cubes, drop them into your garbage disposal and run it. The ice dislodges stuck-on gunk from the grinding elements, the vinegar disinfects and the lemon adds a fresh smell.

Onions — Cut one in half and pierce with a fork to create an handle. Rub the onion over warmed-up grill or oven racks to remove baked on food and grime.

Ketchup — It’s not just for burgers and fries! It cleans copper too. Rub it on your copper pots and pots and let it sit 30 minutes. Rinse, dry and copper is bright and shiny.

Kool-Aid — Pour one of those familiar powdered drink packets — unsweetened lemonade flavor ONLY — into the dispenser of your dishwasher for a fabulous clean.

For a clean and fresh home every day, marry these and other pantry-product tips with regular service from a professional cleaning service, like Buckets & Bows Maid Service. And find safe, green, effective cleaning products OUTside of your pantry at on-line supplier, Speed Cleaning. Delivery right to your front door!