How To Get Your Grandchildren To Help With Spring Cleaning With Common Household Foods and Fruits Doing the Work

uses-for-vinegarThis Grandma is always viewing television segments on the Today Show with an eye on how to use what they teach with grandchildren.  You could never imagine that spring cleaning would be something that could be used to get grandchildren interested, but April 18, 2017, the Today show segment was all about using foods and things around the house for cleaning.  I loved it and knew that grandchildren would too.  To watch with or without grandchildren go to  “Spring clean with these surprising foods! How ketchup, limes and more can help you tidy up,” by Meena Hart Duerson.

What the segment emphasized was using what we already have in the house to do the work for us.  What is great is that we are avoiding harsh chemicals and we surely do not want our grandchildren using those for us.  We already know that vinegar can be used to clean, but our grandchildren would turn their nose up at the smell.  There is an interesting internet article about 45 uses for vinegar at This is for adults, not children.

We might get the same response with lemons, although some grandchildren actually like to suck on lemons.  If you have one of those, remind them that they can use it on their hands to clean them and we can use lemons or lemon juice to eliminate the smell of onions or garlic.

We already know that baking soda is a deodorizer.  We all have it in our refrigerator and freezer.  However, baking soda sprinkled on carpets before vacuuming deodorizes them.  Just hand the grandchild a box of baking soda to sprinkle over the carpet and then see if you can get them to vacuum it up.  I do better getting them to use the dust buster.  Our grandchildren think it is a toy.

Now to the Today Show segment.  I know my grandchildren’s favorite product they used would be the ketchup, as I know my grandchildren love ketchup, and the messier the better.  This was messy, but we know the trick to cover counters and floors with old towels first.  We may not, however, have too much brass or copper to polish.  If we do, here is what I found on


“Just squirt a little red sauce on the things that need a shine (pots and pans, knobs and handles, and even jewelry) and then wipe off with a soft cloth or scrub with a sponge or toothbrush. While this trick will often work immediately, you can also soak really dulled items for 20-30 minutes, and add some table salt into the mix if the ketchup alone isn’t doing the truck. Then wipe away and watch your metals shine!”

Actually, as a grandma who buys the grandchildren lots of stickers, my favorite is the easy way to remove them from everything.  I think this trick use of mayo will be a favorite of the parents of the grandchildren too to safely remove stickers.  On the video, they showed taking stickers off the lap top computer cover.  I can relate.


“If you’ve ever dealt with trying to get stickers off of places they shouldn’t be — like walls, mirrors and even your car bumper — this is a surprising trick that works to get rid of that sticky residue. Just use mayonnaise! Put it on the area where the sticker has left behind its adhesive and let it sit for a little while to break down the adhesive. Then rub off with a cloth or remove with a scraper. (Just be careful not to use it on a fabric surface where it could leave a stain.)”

As long as we are going with adult favorites, I love the lime idea to rid our house of ants and bugs.  I just need an empty spray bottle!


“If you don’t want to spray bug killer all over, try this great natural remedy: a little lime juice. Ants don’t like citrus, so use lime juice to make a barrier that they won’t cross in your home. Squeeze the juice of limes into a spray bottle and spritz around your windows and doors as a natural ant repellent.”

Not in the segment, but on the website was using dryer sheets to keep bugs away from us, and for other uses for dryer sheets.


Mosquitos and  gnats are repelled by dryer sheets, so put one in a pocket of your pants or shorts and avoid bites. To clean baking pans, put a dryer sheet in the pan, add water and leave for an hour.  Sponge off dirt.  To clean a shower, dampen a dryer sheet and scrub.  I cannot wait to grab a dampened dryer sheet and hand it to a grandchild to clean the tub after they bathe!

Now to fruits.  I loved that you could ripen avocados or green bananas using


“If you’ve got a rock-hard avocado or a few overly green bananas, speed up the ripening process by throwing them in a paper bag with a few ripe apples. Ripe apples give off a gas called ethylene, which actually ripens other fruits around them.”

If you want to have fun with bananas after the grandchild has eaten the inside, use the peel to shine leather shoes.  I was surprised to see on the segment how well this actually works.


“Turns out banana peels share a key ingredient of shoe polish (potassium) and they work wonders on dusty or scuffed leather. Just peel a ripe banana, wipe the inside of the soft peel on your shoe, then buff with a cloth.”

Now to polishing furniture.  Let your grandchildren smell.  This is one smell they might really like and we can hand them coconut oil and a cloth and let them go to work.  The website has a link for 50 ways to use coconut oil.


“Just rub a glob of it onto wooden furniture or cabinets in need of some love, and watch as it restores luster to the wood.”

The last idea is one for us adults.  Using tea on baked on dishes, pots and pans to not have to work hard is something we grandmas will love.  I cannot believe I did not know this.


“Before you start to wash, fill your dirty pots and pans with hot water and drop in a few tea bags! The tannic acid in the tea helps to break down the grease, so you can spend less time scrubbing.”

Now, we can help each other.  Share this with the parents of the grandchildren, and highlight the mayo for stickers.  They will love you for that tip.  There must be hundreds of household tips we can share with each other.  Please share on our Facebook page.








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