The Unexpected Baking Ingredient That Makes A Great Cleaning Solution

We get it. Cleaning your home can be a daunting task at times, but it can be made a whole lot easier — and, dare we say, fun — if you have the right tools on hand. Spring cleaning has become a tradition that typically involves hitting the refresh button, taking inventory of the things you own (and what you no longer need), and polishing furniture and surfaces so they look, feel, and smell brand-new. With so many cleaning products on the market, though, it can get overwhelming shopping around for the materials and agents that will do the trick — and not break the bank. Perhaps surprisingly, you don't always have to reach for the factory-made countertop sprays and pricey chemical substances. In fact, you can resort to some everyday grocery items to get the job done just as effectively.

Vodka, for one, can be used for more than just amping up the ABV of cocktails. In fact, a surprising number of people swear by incorporating the clear spirit into homemade cleaners. Taste of Home explains that vodka efficiently cleans bedroom linens, chrome fixtures, mirrors, kitchen countertops, and even stained garments. And, yet another unexpectedly powerful sanitizing ingredient can be found in your pantry, likely at this very moment.

Use pure vanilla extract to clean your home

Did you know that, in addition to adding a beautiful, robust flavor to baked goods, like cookies and cakes, pure vanilla extract makes an astonishingly productive cleaning solution? Yep, you read that right! Vanilla extract. According to world-renowned vanilla brand Nielsen-Massey, vanilla extract can be used to wipe down sinks, microwaves, and fridges with a standard sponge. Dealing with a stinky garbage disposal? Just freeze a mixture of vanilla and lemon extracts and water in an ice cube tray, drop them down the drain, and let 'er rip! The odor will disappear faster than a freshly baked cookie. Vanilla extract, as you can probably imagine, emits a lovely aroma anywhere it's present, which is why Nielsen-Massey also recommends soaking a cotton ball with a few teaspoons of it and placing it in a small bowl for a simple, affordable, safe DIY air freshener.

Other consumables that also act as tried and true cleaning companions include vinegar, lemons, salt, baking soda, and walnuts, per Good Housekeeping.