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6 Common Food Items That Moonlight as Cleaning Products

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Did you know that ketchup is effective at polishing your copperware? Or that club soda is a simple home remedy for red wine on your carpet? While you might have a whole supply of cleaning products at your disposal, many of the things in your pantry have dual purposes that make them useful in a pinch.

The next time you run out of your favorite polish, turn to your kitchen for a quick and inexpensive solution for tarnish and other cleaning woes.

1. Banana peels can polish silver.
Use the inside of the peel to buff the tarnish out of your silver, whether it's your favorite jewelry or your grandmother's serving spoon. The acids in the fruit will restore the glow.

2. Walnuts can remove scratches on wood.
Break a whole walnut or pecan in half and rub the "meat" (the actual flesh of the nut) over the scratch several times. Then, rub the oil into the wood with your finger until you feel the area warm up. The oil will color over light scratches.

3. Rice can clean your coffee grinder.
Grind a handful of uncooked rice in your coffee grinder; the fine particles will absorb stale odors and clean any residual grounds and oils off the burrs. Keep running more rice through the grinder until it comes out clean. This method works for your spice grinder as well.

4. Club soda can clean up wine spills.
If you've spilled red wine onto the carpet, quickly blot (but don't rub) the affected area with a towel. Pour club soda over the stain and continue to blot, using the clean parts of the towel, until all of the wine is absorbed and the stain is removed. If you can't get to the stain right away, pour a mound of table salt over the area to keep the stain from setting. Just don't forget to treat it!

5. Lemons can clean your cutting boards.
Two common household items (lemon and salt) are particularly effective for cleaning the grime off your wooden cutting boards. The citric acid in lemons and other citrus similarly do double duty in your home; here are three ways to clean your kitchen and bathroom naturally, plus a simple citrus-based recipe for making your windows shine.

6. Ketchup can brighten copper pots and pans.
If the metal on your copperware has lost its luster, a dab of ketchup can bring back its beauty. Simply squeeze a small amount of ketchup on your oxidized copper and let it sit for a few minutes. Using a non-abrasive pad, rub the copper vigorously until you see it shine. Rinse with water and dry thoroughly with a cloth.

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