5 best cleaning products already in your pantry

I remember as a kid my mom had a cleaning product for virtually every job in the house. When I moved out on my own, I thought that was just the way you had to do things. So I bought all-purpose cleaners, scrubbing products, glass cleaners, tiles cleaners, floor cleaners, and just about everything else on the cleaning product shelves. Then a few years later I switched to organic products and buying everything I thought I needed started to cost too much. To save money, I started trying different household products in my pantry to clean. Here are the best I've found.

White vinegar

I use diluted white vinegar to clean just about every surface in my house. I mix ¼ a cup of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle to create my own all-purpose spray. The spray works on the tile in my bathroom, my kitchen counters, and my hardwood floors.

Baking soda

I used to buy an expensive abrasive cleaner for my bathtub and to clean off the occasional tough stain in my kitchen. Now I just sprinkle on some baking soda, let it sit for about five minutes, and wipe it off with a sponge. The baking soda works as well as the abrasive cleaners and costs a fraction of the price. Plus, I've never accidentally scratched the porcelain using baking soda.

Olive oil

My house is a century old Craftsman. It has cypress mantles in every room and 13-foot cypress pocket doors. It's beautiful, but also takes a lot of work to maintain. To keep the wood in good condition, I was using an expensive wood conditioner once a week. Then a friend told me to try olive oil. It worked. Now I polish all my wood surfaces with a cheap bottle of olive oil.

Rubbing alcohol

I have found a couple of uses for rubbing alcohol. For example, I dilute 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol in four cups of water and use the mixture to clean my glass surfaces. The mixture takes off any water stains and leaves a shine. I also use undiluted rubbing alcohol to disinfect my kitchen countertops after cooking with chicken or fish.

Lemon peels

Throughout the week I save lemon peels in the refrigerator. Once a week I drop about a cup full down the drain and run the garbage disposal. The disposal chops up the lemon peel, releasing a fresh scent that takes away any funky smells.

More from this contributor:

4 Ways to keep your house clean without cleaning it

3 Ways to remove permanent marker stains

Simple and natural ways to kill flies