By PureWow
Updated February 26, 2015
Credit: © iStockphoto

This piece originally appeared on

It all started with a new picture frame and a price-tag sticker that wouldn’t budge: A quick Google search told us to rub the tag with canola oil. Lo and behold, it came off in a snap (no smudged glass, no chipped manicure).

This got us thinking that there must be a slew of half-empty bottles sitting in our pantry just waiting to remove a stain or unclog a drain. Check out our list of the best household cleaners you never knew you had.

1. Plastic Wrap


Save your sad, wilting houseplant with a little bit of the clear stuff. Water your plant thoroughly and then loosely arrange plastic wrap around the base to create a mini greenhouse. Remove after a few days and watch your greenery come back to life. No one will ever know about your black thumb.

2. Cornstarch


Eating Chinese takeout on the couch feels like a luxury...until you spill General Tso’s chicken on your pristine upholstery. Luckily, cornstarch is a secret weapon when it comes to wiping out grease. Mix equal parts cornstarch and water to form a paste, apply to the offending spot, leave overnight and brush away with a dry cloth in the morning. Good as new.

3. Olive Oil


The pantry staple works wonders on dining-room tables and other wood furniture. In a bowl, mix ¼ cup olive oil with a few drops of apple cider vinegar. The vinegar helps pull dirt out of the wood, while the oil ensures it doesn’t dry out. Dip a cleaning towel into the mixture, wipe down your furniture and then invite your friends over for dinner.

4. Grapefruit and Salt


Baking soda and vinegar are the dynamic duo of DIY bathtub cleaners, but they’re not the only show in town. The citric acid in grapefruit breaks up grime, while salt acts as a natural scrubbing agent (plus, the fresh combo smells like something you’d find at the spa). Sprinkle half a grapefruit liberally with salt, then wet your bathtub and sprinkle another 1/4 cup salt around the perimeter. Use the grapefruit to scrub the tub, making sure to squeeze a little juice over your drain and faucet. Then rinse away with lukewarm water.

5. Lemons


They’re a go-to cooking ingredient, but lemons do so much more than pep up pasta night. On laundry day, bring your button-downs back to their crisp, white glory by adding 1/2 cup lemon juice to your detergent right before pouring it into the washer. You can also deodorize your dishwasher by putting a small cup filled with lemon juice on the bottom rack and setting the machine to run on the rinse cycle.

6. Ketchup


Step aside, hamburger. This condiment can also be used to remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Simply squeeze a dollop onto a cloth and rub it onto your pots and pans. They should be bright and shiny in minutes.

7. Cinnamon


Ironically, most store-bought air fresheners are full of things you don’t actually want to breathe in. Go the natural route by tossing two cinnamon sticks, an orange peel and a handful of cloves into a pot of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, let it simmer on the stove and take all the credit for your place smelling like freshly baked pie.

8. Mouthwash


​Remember that time you served garlic-baked fish to your in-laws and couldn’t get the smell off your hands? Next time, rub your hands with a teaspoon of mouthwash and then wash with soap and water. The minty antiseptic will kill all traces of funky odors.