Lime, salt and vinegar, please!

Responding to several emails, phone calls and queries following my article a few weeks ago about cleaning your pots, I decided to offer a few more quick and cheap tips to help you get through your daily cleaning without using harsh, expensive chemicals; you can use regular household products found right there in your pantry.

Limes are very often free, salt costs a little over $50 per bag and a bottle of vinegar less than $100, so they're much cheaper thanchemical cleaners and in many cases, equally effective.

Village News offers some great tips, some of which I share here.

Vinegar: fights hard water stains

My housekeeper actually thought I'd bought a new dish drainer and glass kettle when she came in one Monday morning to find them both looking shiny and new. Imagine her surprise when I informed her they were simply soaked in vinegar overnight and washed clean. Vinegar is, of course, now on the weekly supermarket list.

Vinegar: Clean the Microwave

The inevitable splatter marks in the microwave can be cleaned as follows: combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup distilled vinegar in a microwave-safe mug or bowl. Microwave for two minutes and wipe clean. The vinegar helps to lift baked-on food and stains.

NB: To avoid accidents, place wooden coffee stirrer in liquid when heating it, and let all heated liquids cool for a few minutes inside microwave before removing.

Salt and Vinegar: Clean Tarnished Copper

Lime, salt and vinegar, please!

Revive your beautiful copper pieces: Fill a 16-ounce spray bottle with hot white vinegar and three tablespoons of salt. Spray it onto the copper, let it sit briefly, and then rub clean. (Don't do this to lacquered copper.)

Salt: Clean a Glass Coffeepot

Another way to clean these is to: Fill the coffeepot with 1/4 cup table salt and a dozen ice cubes. Swish the mixture around, let it sit for half an hour, fill it with cold water and rinse.

Salt and Lemon Juice: Clean Brass and Pewter

Sprinkle salt on the cut side of half a lemon. Rub down the metal, rinse and buff dry. The same process can also be used to remove rust stains.

Salt: Treat Red Wine Stains

Blot fabric or carpet to remove excess wine. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for a few minutes. Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary.

Vinegar: Remove Gunk from Base of Faucets

Soak a towel or paper towel with white vinegar. Wrap around the base of the faucet and let sit for 25 minutes. Remove towels and wipe clean. And for those annoying clogged shower heads that hardly spray or are spraying water everywhere but at you, screw off the shower head and let stand in a bowl of vinegar (that covers the holes) overnight. Holes are unclogged and good as new by morning. You can brush away excess build-up with an old toothbrush.

Vinegar: Remove Stickers, Labels and Price Tags

Soak a cloth in vinegar and press to sticker for several minutes. Lift and the sticker should peel easily away.

I know you'll find these tips useful. Have fun and enjoy your spring cleaning.