19 Foods That Make Surprisingly Excellent Cleaning Products

19 Foods That Make Surprisingly Excellent Cleaning Products

Have you ever tried cleaning with food? This sounds like a bizarre idea, but it's been found that certain foods are actually very effective cleaners!

If you're a foodie anyway, then this new trend will increase your love for all things edible even further.

Brave enough to try it out? Here are 21 of the best ways you can use foods to clean your home.

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1. Use this food to clean your leather

bananas clean leather
Get your leather shining!

Have you ever used a banana peel to shine your shoes? It's one of my favourite tips.

Just like the leather on your shoes, bananas are also great for buffing leather furniture. Wipe the banana skin over leather sofas and chair - you'll be so impressed with the results!

2. Tomato ketchup is an AMAZING cleaner

Are you lucky enough to have some copper sauce pans, or perhaps a copper vase? 'Rose-gold' copper is right on trend, so you should really be making the most of these pieces.

If they're looking a little worse for wear, you can clean them using food! Ketchup and salt will get them spick and span in a flash.

Squeeze a generous blob of ketchup onto a cleaning cloth, top with a heavy sprinkling of salt, and rub in circles onto your marked copper.

3. This drink can be used to clean jewellery

Are you having a detox month? Here's a handy use for vodka that won't harm your health.

Place rings, necklaces or earrings that have lost their shine into a small pot of vodka and leave them to soak for five minutes. The alcohol will remove grease and grime. Rinse them with water afterwards, and be amazed at their dazzling shine!

Vodka is useful for so much more than Cosmopolitans. Check out these 14 clever uses for vodka to get experimenting.

 4. Use lemon as a natural limescale remover

lemon to remove limescale naturally
Lemon is surprisingly powerful!

You'll never throw a lemon half out again once you've experienced its cleaning powers!

Lemon's acidic properties make it a great limescale remover - it's one of the easiest foods to clean with. Rub half a lemon over chrome fittings (such as shower and bath taps) and rinse with water to leave them sparkling clean.

5. Clean your grill with this food

Onions promise a powerful punch of flavour when added to your favourite meals. That potent power also makes onions great for cleaning - specifically a dirty grill.

Turn on your grill, and chop an onion in half. Stab a fork into the onion, and glide it along the grill. It will remove grime and grease, ready for next weekends bacon butty! Yum.

6. Soda water is a great natural cleaner

Is soda and lime your tipple of choice? Great news - this cheap drink also makes a great natural cleaner.

Next time you're tackling a dirty car window screen, try soda water. Splash it over the screen, leave to sit for a few minutes, then wipe off with a sponge.

The drink is a great cleaner, removing debris, bird muck and anything else that could be affecting your vision.

7. How to clean dirty dishes naturally

tea bags can help clean dirty dishes
Finally, a use for brewed tea bags!

If you're a tea-lover like me, you'll be inundated with used tea bags.

Now you can make the most of them, by using tea bags to degrease your dishes. Fill your sink with hot water, throw in a few used bags, and they will make washing up much easier.

Love this tip? Read my article, 15 ways to recycle used tea bags that will make you love tea more than ever for more great ideas!

 8. Clean your whole home with bicarbonate of soda

Bicarbonate of soda isn't just useful in baking - it's a surprisingly good household cleaner!

Swap your bathroom cream cleaner for all-natural bicarbonate of soda. Just sprinkle it onto a sponge, and wipe over surfaces to remove dust and grime.

Love this tip? Check out these other great ideas for using bicarbonate of soda to clean your home.

9. Another food that's great for cleaning

Just like lemons, grapefruits are also acidic. This makes them a powerful limescale cleaner too - a great natural alternative to strong chemical products.

One grapefruit goes a long way, and can clean your whole bathroom. Cut one in half and sprinkle generously with salt. Wet the surfaces you're cleaning, sprinkle lightly with salt, and begin to rub your grapefruit on over. Be sure to squeeze the grapefruit slightly to release some of those powerful acidic juices.

Rinse, and you'll be left with a spotless bathroom!

10. Use walnuts to buff out scratches in wood

walnuts buff scratches in wood
Get your dining table ready for the next family dinner.

Dining tables often become scratched and worn from all those lovely family dinners.

Get them looking great again with this surprising ingredient - walnuts!

The natural oils in walnuts make them great for reducing the appearance of scratches and marks in wood. Press them into and along marks to buff them out. Your table will look so much better in just a few minutes.

11. Rice can get your coffee grinder sparkling clean

Instant coffee is fine, but there's nothing like the real thing. If you're lucky enough to have a coffee grinder, you'll know they can be very difficult to clean.

A super easy way to get your coffee grinder spick and span is with rice. If you'd like to try this cleaning tip out, head over to The Kitchn to learn how.

For more inventive ways to use rice, check out these 19 unusual ideas for the rice in your cupboard.

12. How to use mayonnaise to clean wood

Mayonaise? Wood?! Yes, really!

Those unsightly water stains on your tables from countless cups of tea really can be removed. Pull out your jar of mayo - it's the secret ingredient.

Apply a blob of mayonnaise onto a small towel, and lie it over the stain. Leave to rest for half an hour, then wipe away. Buff the stain with a clean cloth, and it should look good as new again - who'd have thought it?

13. Use cucumber as a natural cleaning product

cucumber is a food you can clean with
Not just good in salads!

Cucumbers are delicious in salads, but did you know they're great at removing stains, too?

Crayon stains are every parent's worst nightmare, but they're easier to remove than you may have thought. Weirdly, the outside of a cucumber makes a great natural cleaner. Rub it over crayon stains on your walls to lift them clean off - astonishing!

Try Colleen's blog post, 21 fascinating uses for cucumbers that will make you go WOW for more like this!

14. Table salt can be used for cleaning too

Table salt is essential in any kitchen - imagine what French fries would taste like without it!

Salt is also a great natural cleaner. It's particularly useful in the kitchen - you can make a stainless steel sink cleaner with just two ingredients.

Make a natural & easy stainless steel cleaner for your dirty sink by following our easy peasy tutorial.

15. Coffee grinds remove drain odour

Don't let guests be greeted into your lovely home by stinky drains. Many of us don't know the best way to tackle blocked drains, but the solution is actually surprisingly easy.

Coffee grounds are great for unblocking drains naturally. Pour the grounds into the sink, add a dash of washing up liquid, and a kettle full of boiling water. It will help flush the pipe clean, leaving your drain smelling fresh again.

Think this is weird? Check out these 21 curious uses for coffee you’ll really love for more! You can also find out more ways to remove hair from drains in our handy guide. 

16. A food to clean your stainless steel

diy natural stainless steel cleaner
It's SO easy!

Stainless steel looks wonderful when it's brand new - don't let it lose its sparkle!

To get it shining brightly again, we recommend using olive oil as a natural cleaner.

Add a small amount of oil to a soft cloth, and rub liberally in a circular motion onto your stainless steel surfaces. Once done, wipe over with a paper towel to remove any excess grease.

Prepare to be blinded by the shine!

Try these 18 unexpected ways to use olive oil around the home for more.

17. There's even a food that can clean rust

Got a rust problem? You can use food to clean it off.

All you need is a potato, and either baking soda or washing up liquid. Cut the vegetable in half, add your chosen cleaning product onto the fleshy side, and scrub over rusted areas.

The is a great natural way to remove rust using food. Potatoes contain oxalic acid, which is what makes them effective at breaking down rust.

18. This food is the best for cleaning up broken glass

Oops! There's nothing worse than the sound of shattering glass. Don't stress, there's actually a food that's great for cleaning that mess up.

Bread's spongey, porous texture lifts shards of glass easily. The thickness also helps to keep your hands protected. Simply dab it over the mess and be amazed at this food's cleaning powers!

19. This food is a versatile, all-natural cleaner

soda water is a great natural cleaner
It only takes a few minutes.

Dirty and smeared windows can soon ruin the appearance of even the best-kept home.

Our favourite way to get windows clean is using vinegar. Spray 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water onto the glass, then wipe clean with newspaper.

It's quick, easy, natural and cheap - you can't go wrong with this traditional cleaning method.

Uses for vinegar don't end there, though. Here are 21 more surprising uses for vinegar you should try.

Who knew that foods could be so useful to clean with? Which one shocked you the most? Let me know in the comments below.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Karen Sallis on June 16, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips will certainly try some of try some of these tips. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 21, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Hi Karen. I'm glad your found the article useful. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Author Susan Bowden on June 16, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Actually, any cooking oil will shine stainless steel - it doesn't have to be olive oil. Also, baby oil will do it. You only need a small amount. I have a stainless steel splash back and have done this for years.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 21, 2017 at 9:18 am

      Hi Susan. Sounds like you know all about shining stainless steel. Thanks for sharing your tips! :)

  3. Author Lilach Loughead on June 16, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Just wondering about the banana skin is it the inside or the outside of the skin you need to use?

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 21, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Hi Lilach. It's the inside - I hope this helps :)

  4. Author Lesley on January 22, 2018 at 9:18 am

    I keep used tea bags to absorb fat and oil rather than putting it down the sink which blocks drains, makes it less messy to dispose of. Also if you've got a badly limescaled tap spout tape half a lemon to it overnight (can be one you've squeezed) and by the next day you'll be able to chip the timescale off ????

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Hi Lesley. The lemon for limescale is one of our favourite tips. However, we've never considered using tea bags to soak up grease and oil which, as you've stated, is extremely bad for drains. Thanks so much for suggesting this - what a great hack! :)

  5. Author Margaret Hart on January 22, 2018 at 10:01 am

    You can clean your silver jewellery with toothpaste - works wonders

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Hi Margaret. Thanks for sharing a new tip with us, we always like learning something new! :)

  6. Author May on January 22, 2018 at 11:37 am

    I'd like to find out how to clean Induction hobs. Mine always have a marking on the outer ring! :/

  7. Author Edith Hall on January 22, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Peel a lemon and put the peel into a glass vase with some hot water (not to hot) let it stand for a couple of hours then rinse under hot tap and the vase comes up like new. Also good on old glass bowls.

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 23, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hi Edith. Our office vase is looking a bit grimy so we'll definitely be trying this one. We love quick and easy tips - thanks for sharing! :)

  8. Author Annette on March 15, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Chop up a lemon to descale your kettle. Small amount of water, bring to the boil, let stand overnight. Boil kettle again in the morning and scale will be gone. Give a good rinse with cold water then it’s ready for use.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 25, 2021 at 11:25 am

      Great idea!

  9. Author HelenDG40 on August 10, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    Wow the amount of times I had cucumber in fridge when looking to clean crayon off my walls and would never have thought in getting it out,know for future.defo have to save these. Thanx

    1. Author Joanne A on August 30, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      You're very welcome!


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