Around-the-house staples that moonlight as dirt-busting superstars. By Nicole Sforza
White Bread and Ketchup
Use white bread to: Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.
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Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.
Use it to: Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.
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Use it to: Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.
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Use it to: Scour rusty garden tools. Brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth. (Wear rubber gloves or your hands will be stained.)
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Use it to: Remove dried wax drippings from candlesticks. Peel off as much wax as possible, then moisten a cotton ball with glycerin and rub until clean.
Club Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Use club soda to: Shine up a scuffed stainless-steel sink. Buff with a cloth dampened with club soda, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.
Use hydrogen peroxide to: Disinfect a keyboard. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to get into those nooks and crannies.
Use it to: Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.
Use it to: Erase permanent-marker stains from finished wood floors or solid-surface countertops. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and apply.