The Goods

Tried and tested: Household cleaning DIYs that actually work

Who knew ketchup, cornstarch and egg yolks could be so powerful?

Who knew ketchup, cornstarch and egg yolks could be so powerful?

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

We love a good cleaning hack, whether it's an all-natural clean, some genius tips, or even some insight on how to clean a tricky fabric. And although all-natural cleaners are a simple and safe way to get your household looking its very best, there are just so many out there. That's why we combed through dozens of the popular ones, to choose five super effective cleaning recipes that emerged as the favourites – and none of them use harsh chemicals. You can whip up these cleaners with items you already have on hand, and they're so simple you're going to want to try them right away.

Window cleaner

This concoction cleans windows and leaves a streak free shine with only a few common household items.

What you'll need:

  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 spray bottle
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1. Add all ingredients into a spray bottle.

2. Shake it before use. Spray liberally on glass and wipe for a streak-free shine.

Copper polish

Add a little ketchup to copper and the vinegar in the ketchup combines with the copper oxide to form a chemical called copper acetate. Rinse it in water, and the copper acetate dissolves, leaving you with the shiny copper you're after. Who knew ketchup was delicious and a powerful cleaner?

What you'll need:

  • Ketchup
  • 1 cloth to wipe up ketchup


1. Spread the ketchup on the pot in a thick layer.

2. Let it sit for 30 minutes.

3. Wipe away the ketchup with a cloth to reveal the gorgeous shine.

Silver polish

For an easy silver polish, try this recipe. The ingredients combine to activate the baking soda  and banish the tarnish. But be careful: it's best to use this only on pieces without raised designs. The polish can end up removing the patina and depth of the design (desirable tarnish) which could result in pitting. But if you think your silverware or silver piece is up for it, here's how.

What you'll need:

  • 1  aluminum baking dish
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • Rag for polishing
  • Rubber gloves

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1. Add the baking soda and salt into the aluminum baking dish. Slowly pour in the vinegar.

2. Add the boiling water from the kettle.  

3. Place each piece inside the dish, making sure each piece is touching the foil.

4. Let it soak for 30 minutes and wipe clean with a cloth.

Coffee stain remover

While this hack feels like you're only making a bigger stain, enzymes in the egg yolk actually break down the stubborn coffee stain, removing it even from white cotton. 

What you'll need:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp warm water
  • A cloth
  • Toothbrush
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1. Blot the stained area with a clean cloth.

2. Add an egg yolk to two teaspoons of water in a bowl (must be warm, not boiling).

3. Mix well with a spoon.

4. Dab the mixture onto your coffee stain with a cloth.

5. Use a toothbrush in a circular motion to help lift the stain.

6. Wipe away the egg yolk with cloth.

7. Throw it in the wash to rinse out any residual egg yolk, and your garment should look as good as new.

Coffee mug stain remover

Coffee and tea stains can be really tough to get out of a favourite mug or teapot, especially if they've built up over time. But this stain remover gets the job done in a flash without any harsh chemicals.

What you'll need:

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water
  • Paper towel
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1. Slightly wet your paper towel and apply a generous dusting of baking soda on top.

2. Scrub the paper towel inside the mug or wherever the stain appears.

3. Repeat as needed until the stain is completely wiped away.

4. Rinse clean with warm water.