5 Old School Cleaning Tricks That Actually Work

Published on Oct 20, 2022

old school cleaning tips

Older generations had more chores and less technology to do it with. And as much as we love our robot vacuums and dryers, sometimes the simpler, the better.

We’re always on the look-out for ways to make housework easier and you’re going to love these cleaning tips that prove grandma really does know best.


Our 5 Favourite Old-School Cleaning Tips

old school cleaning

1. Do It Daily

With our busy lives, most of us usually set aside a time per week (normally during a well-earned weekend) to get the chores out of the way.

However, doing a little extra per day will go a long way to making Saturday morning’s clean less of a mission. Get into a daily routine of tackling what small tasks you can, such as giving the floor a quick sweep after breakfast, keeping the spray and cloth in the shower, or folding washing while watching TV.

You'd be surprised how making just a few changes can affect your day-to-day cleaning habits.

Keep on top of the mess as best you can when it happens – cleaning as you go will not only make your Saturday morning easier, it’ll be less stressful straightening up if you have friends or family pop in unexpectedly.


2. Keep It Simple

While we have a cleaning aisle full of products to pick from, older generations often had to make do with what may have already been in the pantry.

Items like white vinegar, baking soda, and even lemons are effective for myriad household cleaning tasks, and better still, they’re inexpensive and natural, making them a healthier choice for your family.

Not sure where to start your natural cleaning journey? These 7 items will get you on your way.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of boiling water. It’s a tried and tested oldie that’s often forgotten as we reach for disinfecting cleaning products. Boiling water is ideal for sterilising items like kitchen sponges and cloths, plastic toys, metal items, and baby bottles, just to name a few.

This is one that I use regularly; it's a great time saver and so easy to do.


baking soda as cleaning agent

3. Fix Nasty Smells with Baking Soda

Trusty baking soda is an excellent option for neutralising nasty home odours. This is because most smells are acidic and baking soda is a PH neutraliser.

It's such a handy little trick, especially when you've likely already got baking soda in your pantry, ready to get to work!

Some of the best baking soda uses for your home include:

  • Generously sprinkle some on your mattress and let it sit for about 20 minutes or so before vacuuming up.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons down the drain and run cold water for 30 seconds. Pour another two tablespoons of white vinegar into the drain. Cover the drain with a wet cloth for about 10 minutes then rinse with hot water.
  • Sprinkle some at the bottom of your bins – just don’t forget to wipe them up when changing bin bags.
  • Baking soda can also magically eliminate odours from vomit-stained carpet.


hard to remove stains

4. Clean Stubborn Stains With Ease

There are a few jobs around the home many of us despise – and it’s likely they did back in the day too.

There are some jobs around the home that just feel like they belong in the too-hard basket.

Older generations had some simple solutions for some of the home’s more frustrating tasks.

  • Have stuck on grease that won’t budge? Your tequila shot ingredients (minus the tequila, of course!) will do a great job. Use it on your microwave or stovetop by squeezing the lime on first, sprinkling the salt and giving it a (very) gentle clean with a wet cloth.
  • Stop scrubbing caked-on food off your plates and pans while the rest of the family relaxes after dinner - soak them instead. A soak in hot, soapy water for half an hour so will make easy work of the most stubborn of stains.
  • If you can’t seem to get your clothes white again, soak the whites in 3 litres of hot water and the juice of a whole lemon for about two hours, before running it through the washing machine.
  • Don’t forget to hang the whites out in the sunshine for optimum effect. This can make an amazing difference.


alternative to paper towels

5. Ditch the Paper Towels

You’d be hard-pressed to find a modern family home pantry that doesn’t have at least one paper towel roll in there. Some days, my pantry is home to a pile of paper towels. Unfortunately, these single-use products usually aren’t recyclable and when you add them up, are an expensive cleaning tool that we don’t really need.

Paper towels have become popular in recent years but your grandmother likely got by without them. You can too by investing in microfibre cloths, bar mop towels and flour sack towels, which are as effective but can be washed and reused.

It's all about rethinking the way we do things: even though it may feel convenient, it is likely costing you money in the long term.

You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also be helping the environment for future generations as well.


Getting it Done Right

A lot of old-school cleaning tips really work well, but don’t skimp on new technology to get the job done right and make your life easier. Here are some tips with newer technology that will make life easier!

  • Use rubbing alcohol to remove grease and oil stains - Rubbing alcohol, such as Isocol which can be bought from chemists, is an excellent solvent when used on grease and oil stains. Running alcohol is a volatile (dry) solvent that will break down many grease and oil molecules, allowing the stain to be easily removed. Just dab it onto the stain and wipe it off with a clean, white cloth.
  • Use a desiccant dehumidifier to reduce mould odours - Desiccant dehumidifiers, such as damp-rid containers or the little silica packets you find in shoe boxes, will absorb moisture and reduce humidity. Mould and bacteria are the sources of most odours as they give off gases when they are growing or colonising, but mould and bacteria need moisture to grow. If we can reduce the moisture with a desiccant dehumaniser then we will reduce mould and bacterial growth thus reducing odours.


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