For many of us, summer means vacations, beaches and frozen treats. But the warm weather often has one annoying side effect: lots and lots of bugs. And this bother becomes even worse when creepy-crawlies infiltrate our homes. So, if you have ants, roaches or fleas in your abode this summer and beyond, try these surprising DIY hacks to get rid of them.
20. Dishwash away your fleas
Unfortunately, you can’t just turn on the dishwasher and rid your home of insects. However, you can use your go-to dish soap to tackle a household flea infestation. And so after a patch test ensures that they’re not sensitive to the formula, your dog or cat can be scrubbed down with an all-natural detergent to get rid of any hidden pests.
You can also find a small bowl or plate and put a candle or other light source at its center. Then pour detergent- or dishwashing liquid-laden water around the light. Fleas can’t help but travel towards this set-up, although ultimately they’ll get trapped in the bubbly water you’ve poured. And you should repeat this process for a week to ensure that every single flea is gone from your home.
19. Mix a sugary ant snack – with a secret ingredient
It’s no secret that ants love sweet things – as anyone who has ever had a picnic ruined by the insects will tell you. But you can use this fact to your advantage in order to remove ants from your home. All you need to do to do is mix three parts powdered sugar with one part borax and place it wherever you’ve seen the critters.
The ants won’t die in your home after eating the borax-laden snack, either. Instead, they carry their sugary bounty back to the nest – and there they may kill off the entire colony. You can also try using a touch of honey on a dish as another sweet ant trap. Although the insects may climb into the nectar, they won’t be able to get themselves unstuck.
18. Line the space with Osage oranges to repel roaches
In most parts of the country, the Osage orange – sometimes called a hedge apple – ripens in September and hits the ground in October. And when that happens, people race to gather them. This is neither for the orange’s flavor nor aesthetics, though, as the strange-looking fruit has a bumpy, sticky exterior and a distinctive scent that’s somewhere between a citrus plant and a cedar tree.
Instead, folks have filled their living spaces with Osage oranges for decades because the citrusy fruit is hated by cockroaches. A New York Times writer who tried the all-natural repellent placed the hedge apples in all the places where roaches could enter or hide in her apartment. After that, the journalist said, she didn’t see any more of the pests – and lots of other homeowners have had the same success.
17. Pour salt over carpets to dry out fleas
As fleas are so small, it’s often easier to spot the dirt that they leave behind. And if you come across pepper-like flakes in your pet’s hair, on their beds or in your carpets, then these tiny parasites are likely in residence. Fortunately, though, a sprinkle of one pantry staple can deal with them effectively.
Pouring salt over fleas will dehydrate and kill them without the need for chemicals, according to the website Remedy Daily. So, to rid your carpet of these insects, just cover it with a generous layer of sodium chloride. Then leave the surface for as long as you can; a couple of days will work best. And after that, simply vacuum the salt up and enjoy a flea-free carpet once more.
16. Spray scents that roaches don’t like
It turns out that roaches have some strong preferences as to what your space should smell like. Who knew an unwanted house guest could be so picky? In any case, it’s good to know this, as you can then create a spray with a scent that the insects seem to hate.
Supposedly, roaches avoid areas with an aroma of mint leaf, cucumber, lemon, bay leaves or cedar. The strongly scented mouthwash Listerine reportedly repels the insects, too. And if you want to do double duty, clean your floors with ammonia. Not only will they be sparkling, but you’ll also turn off any lingering roaches, as they apparently detest ammonia’s smell.
15. Dust on some diatomaceous earth
You may not have heard of diatomaceous earth until now, but you should file it away in your pest-fighting memory bank. This all-natural, silica-based powder has a consistency similar to talc, and you can use it to get rid of fleas, roaches and other pests. Essentially, diatomaceous earth dehydrates the creatures and dries them up as they traipse through it.
For fleas, it’s recommended that you pour diatomaceous earth onto carpets, furniture, bedding and any other material upon which they’re likely to land. Then let the powder sit for a few hours before vacuuming up the dehydrated pests. When it comes to roaches, meanwhile, all you need to do is dust a very thin layer of diatomaceous earth onto baseboards or into any other cracks where the insects may crawl.
14. Build an ant-fighting mint perimeter around your home
Ants hate the smell of mint, so capitalize on this knowledge and build an all-natural perimeter of protection. Simply plant mint or spearmint around your house – particularly around the entryways from which the insects seem to be appearing.
Mint can help indoors, too, although you’ll want to pick the plant up in its essential oil form. Pour some peppermint oil onto a cotton ball or pad and then wipe the areas through which the ants seem to walk. You can also leave a few peppermint-soaked cotton balls where the ants tend to convene to really turn them off from returning.
13. Build a DIY roach trap
Roaches are always on the hunt for water; that’s why they often come into your house in the first place. If you want to get rid of the pests, then, simply create a trap that’ll capture them as they seek out a drink. And to begin with, you just need to fill up a jar or soda bottle with water.
Plain water will do the trick, although coffee grounds can also work. Then set the filled bottle or jar down in an area where you’ve previously seen roaches. And while the insects will subsequently climb into the contraption to quench their thirst, they won’t be able to get out.
12. Fight ants with vinegar
You may already be aware of the power of white vinegar as a go-to cleaning material. And there’s yet another reason why you should keep a stash of the stuff in your cupboard: simply put, it’s a great ant repellent. To get rid of the insects, though, you need to combine the vinegar with an equal amount of water.
Then, after you’ve put the mix into a bottle, simply spray any ants you see parading into your home. On top of that, you can spritz the trails where they have walked and the cracks through which the ants entered to deter them from coming back.
11. Use suds for your roach problem
You may already know that an intense house-cleaning session can help put your roach problem to bed. Once you’ve scoured your place from top to bottom, though, you can rely on one of your go-to cleaning supplies to stave off any stragglers who dare to show up after that.
Mix dish soap and water in a spray bottle to create a sudsy solution, then squirt it directly onto the roaches you see to quickly end the insects’ lives. It works by creating thin shells around the pests’ exoskeletons – suffocating them without having to resort to using any poisons, chemicals or toxins.
10. Boil water to steam away ants
Sometimes, just tracking down and fighting back against the ants in your home isn’t enough. Instead, you have to find their source. And chances are that a walk around the perimeter of your abode will lead you to at least one anthill from which the insects have emerged. Pinpoint these locations, then go back inside and boil some water.
Then, once the water’s hot, bring it back outside and start pouring it down into the anthills you see. In one move, you’ll wipe out a huge number of the ants that have been pestering you. That said, their colonies tend to be massive, meaning you may not get all of them at once. And you certainly won’t diffuse the threat by treating just one of the anthills you see – so the more you fill with hot water, the better.
9. Rely on boric acid to eradicate roaches
Boric acid is incredibly poisonous to roaches, and this is great news if you’re trying to get rid of pests this summer and beyond. The only problem is that the insects recognize the smell of the substance, so they will avoid eating the acid if you lay it down on its own.
Ultimately, then, the website Pest Control Hacks suggests blending up a naturally deadly combination of 50 grams of boric acid with one egg yolk. You should then roll the mixture into half-an-inch-wide balls and place these in roach-infested areas after they have dried out. And the bugs will love to nosh on the egg part of the snack – unaware that the balls hide a poisonous ingredient within them.
8. Rosemary leaves don’t agree with fleas
We most commonly associate fleas with our pets, but it’d be wrong to assume that they’re only a problem for our four-legged family members. After all, if the insects stick around on a cat or dog’s fur for too long, they’ll move into your yard or home. So, treat your pet’s coat to get rid of fleas as soon as you notice them.
Healthline recommends adding two cups of rosemary leaves to hot water and then leaving the combination to cool. The resulting mixture can be used as a pet rinse, soak or spray, as fleas apparently hate rosemary. Rosemary oil spray – as well as cinnamon or peppermint – may also be able to get rid of the critters. Just do some patch tests before you douse your dog or living room in these substances, as some people and pets can be very allergic to essential oils.
7. Use chalk to redirect ants
Chalk contains calcium carbonate – an ingredient that seems to repel ants. And while no one knows why the insects don’t like this compound, it’s nevertheless handy to remember if your home is under siege. To ward off ants, then, grab a stick of chalk and draw lines to mark out the areas where you don’t want them to enter.
These lines will then stop ants from crossing the chalk to get into your house. You can also spray powdered chalk to cover more ground. Just make sure that the marks are still there after rainfall or heavy winds – otherwise you’ll have to redraw. Even so, that’s a small price to pay for an ant-free household.
6. Push roaches away with catnip
Catnip’s a great way to earn your feline’s favor and attention. Interestingly, though, the all-natural treat has the opposite effect on roaches. According to CBS News, scientists discovered this while trying to find proactive solutions to pest control – rather than leaving people to rely on reactive methods only.
What the researchers apparently discovered was that roaches were less likely to sneak into an apartment where there was catnip. Even if you don’t have any pets, then, you can place the plant around your abode in places where roaches may enter or hide. Bustle also recommends pouring catnip into breathable bags to keep things clean and tidy.
5. Protect your houseplants from ants with citrus rinds
We all have that one friend or family member who takes their indoor houseplant collection very seriously. If you’re the one with the green thumb, though, take note: your precious flora may be contributing to your ant problem. Be sure to inspect your houseplants, then, to see if you can find any of the colonizing insects.
If you do spot an ant or two, then there may be a nest hiding underneath the soil. But rather than dousing your plant with chemicals or – worse yet – throwing it away, call upon an all-natural solution. Healthline recommends surrounding your pots with citrus rinds, as apparently their pungent smell will disincentivize ants from nesting in your prized greenery.
4. Spread cedar chips to scatter fleas
Fleas don’t like strong smells – including, it’s said, the scent of cedar. And so whether you have a flea infestation in your home or yard, there’s yet another simple solution to banishing the critters once and for all: cedar chips. Try sprinkling pieces of the wood over an affected carpet or piece of furniture, or do the same outside.
Pet owners should also pay attention to where their furry friends like to relax outdoors. After that, pour a layer of chips under those bushes, flower beds or anywhere else a cat or dog tends to sit or sniff. And while WebMD notes that this method hasn’t been completely proven, it may be worth a try if all other options have failed.
3. Spice things up against ants with cayenne pepper
If you’ve ever had an ant infestation, you’ll know how the critters can ravage a pantry. But it turns out that there’s one ingredient ants will avoid like the plague: cayenne pepper. In fact, they despise the spicy stuff – making it a valuable tool in your pest-fighting arsenal.
You can use cayenne or even black pepper in two ant-fighting ways, according to Western Exterminator of Las Vegas Pest Control Services. Firstly, sprinkle it around any anthills you spot on your property. You can also do the same at the edge of your home so the insects won’t want to come in anymore. Then, pour some pepper into a spray bottle with water for a spot treatment when you see ants. And while the spicy solution won’t kill the creatures, it’ll deter them from coming back.
2. Encase ants in cornstarch
Healthline claims that ants can be stopped in their tracks with the help of cornstarch. So, if you notice a large line of the insects marching into your home, reach for the cooking staple and pour it liberally over the top of the entire crew. After that, head off to find the secret second ingredient: water.
You see, together water and cornstarch take on a paste-like substance that’ll encase all of the ants. And while this solution is a bit messy, it nevertheless works. You can also pour cornstarch over the ants and just vacuum them up to save time scrubbing. If you try this second option, though, make sure that you dispose of the vacuum bag straight away.
1. Plug ants’ entryways with petroleum jelly
Unfortunately, ants are small enough to sneak into your house through practically the slimmest of cracks. But following their trail means that you can easily find the insects’ entryway and put an end to their break-ins with a tub of Vaseline. Simply plug the holes with the sticky substance to stop the ant parade.
Petroleum jelly will work for about a year, at which point you’ll have to reapply to keep the ants out. Duct tape can also be pretty effective when you don’t have Vaseline on hand. And for a more permanent solution, you can seal cracks that the insects use to enter with silicone caulk.
Even if you’re lucky enough not to have creepy invaders in your home, however, you’ll still want to keep your abode clean. And if you’re struggling for time – or just motivation – these 40 handy hacks should help get your place sparkling in a jiffy.
Let’s face it: getting our homes shipshape can be a real drain. And to make things even more complicated, it seems that new products hit the shelves each week – all promising to make light work of our cleaning woes. But creating a gleaming living environment doesn’t have to be rocket science, as these awesome cleaning hacks prove. So, read on to find out how you can get rid of that soap scum in your shower in just seconds.
40. An easy way to refresh your mattress
While you probably wash your bedding on a regular basis, do you ever stop to consider the cleanliness of your mattress? Well, you probably should, as it can become laden with dead skin cells and dust mites – just as gross as it sounds. Luckily, though, a mattress is easily refreshed. Simply scatter vinegar and baking soda over the item and then leave the concoction to sit for a few hours before vacuuming it away.
39. An inexpensive DIY drain cleaner
If your smelly drains are in need of an instant boost, then this DIY cleaner is for you. All you need is to combine half a cup of baking soda with the same amount of vinegar, pour the mixture down the plughole and then leave for an hour. Follow this up with a rinse of boiling water. And as you’ll probably have both vinegar and baking soda in your cupboard anyway, the solution is super-cheap to make – meaning you could ultimately save a fortune on shop-bought products.
38. Give your garbage disposal a lemon-fresh boost
When pieces of rotting food get stuck to the blades of your waste disposal, there’ll probably be an unpleasant aroma in the air. Luckily, though, it’s easy to deodorize these contraptions – and in an eco-friendly way, too. Next time your garbage disposal starts to stink, cut a lemon into thin slices and throw them into the masher to leave it smelling fresh once more.
37. Dust electronics with coffee filters
Coffee filters aren’t just handy for making your daily mugs of joe. They’re also great at collecting dust particles, making them perfect for cleaning. The filters work particularly well on electronic items around the home, as they’re gentle. And unlike regular cloths, no fibers will stick to the screen, either.
36. Clean the blender in a whizz
With its many ridges and super-sharp blade, a blender can be a – sometimes literal – pain to clean by hand. Getting one into the dishwasher can be a real trial, too. But, thankfully, there’s a quick and easy way to make a blender look as good as new. Simply fill it with warm, soapy water and then let it whizz for a couple of seconds.
35. Buff stainless steel with olive oil
Olive oil isn’t just great for meals but for cleaning. Yes, you read that right, and in particular the ingredient works brilliantly on stainless steel pots and stoves. Apply the oil using a soft cloth and buff the affected item in a circular motion to remove dirt and grime.
34. Tackle greasy oven doors with a dishwasher tablet
The cooked-on grease that coats the back of our oven doors can prove stubborn to shift. Luckily, dishwasher tablets can make light work of this often-daunting chore. Just swab the glass using a damp cloth before buffing the surface with a wet tablet. The filth should then lift off with minimal effort, leaving you with a lovely clean door.
33. Freshen your toilet with fabric conditioner
Keep your bathroom smelling fragrant for longer with this handy hack. Throw a cup of fabric conditioner into your toilet cistern, as this will both give your W.C. an instant lift and freshen the bowl each and every time you flush. It’s literally the gift that keeps on giving – until refill time comes around, anyway.
32. Use lemon oil to combat sticky stuff
Sticky labels and the residue they leave behind can often be difficult to shift. But that’s where lemon oil comes in handy, as it makes light work of breaking down tacky substances. Just soak labels with a few drops of the stuff and watch in amazement as they peel off with barely any effort. And, of course, the oil smells good, too.
31. Lift carpet stains with vodka
Vodka – and basically any other kind of clear alcohol – can be used to effectively treat carpet stains. To start with, blot the offending mark to remove as much of it as possible. After that, spray vodka onto the affected area before pressing it again – firstly with a dry cloth, then a clean wet one. And if the stain remains, go through the whole process again until it’s completely gone.
30. Spot clean with baby wipes
You may not have thought about incorporating baby wipes into your clean-up regime, but perhaps that should change. After all, as they’re not too moist and only contain mild chemicals, they’re great at spot-cleaning fabrics. A word of warning, though: don’t employ cleaning wipes, as any bleach in these may damage your furniture or clothes.
29. Use your odd socks
Next time an odd sock pops up among your laundry, keep it to one side for cleaning your blinds. That’s right: while finding something nimble enough to fit between each individual slat can be a pain, a dampened sock can do the job nicely. Simply put the footwear over your hand and grip each panel between your fingers to dust off both sides of a strip in one swipe.
28. Degrease the stove with lemon oil
Lemon oil works amazingly as a natural degreaser and is even powerful enough to combat the stubborn grime that sometimes builds up on our ovens and stove tops. Add a few drops into a cup each of vinegar and water, spray the combination onto the area you want to tackle and then wipe to reveal a sparkling clean surface.
27. Try some homemade window cleaner
Instead of relying on expensive shop-bought solutions to help keep your windows clean, try making this DIY version. All you need is a squeeze of dish soap, a dash of white vinegar and some hot water. Then, once you’ve given this concoction a good mix, use it to buff the glass surfaces around your home and get them glistening.
26. Easily erase crayon marks
Lots of kids adore scribbling away, but don’t despair if your offspring have decided to use your perfect walls as a makeshift art gallery. Just take a dishwasher tablet and break it down in some warm water. After that, use a clean – preferably light-hued – cloth to rub the solution on the wall until the crayon disappears completely.
25. Chalk fingerprints off
White chalk works amazingly well for removing greasy fingerprints from walls. All you need to do is daub the chalk on the dirty areas and leave it to work for a few minutes. Then remove with a damp rag, and the marks should have completely disappeared. If you don’t have chalk to hand, baby powder or cornstarch work almost as well.
24. Dry your toilet brush
Toilet brushes can be pretty gross – especially when they drip water into their holders. To prevent this from happening, however, leave the brush pointing inward between the bowl and seat of your toilet after it’s been used. That way, it can air dry fully before it’s returned to its usual spot.
23. Dust ceiling fans with a pillowcase
Cleaning ceiling fan blades is often a pretty arduous chore. Not only can they be hard to reach, but once you wipe the dust off it’s likely to fall over you and the rest of the room. Prevent this unwelcome shower, though, by using a pillowcase. Simply put each blade inside the case and then rub them so that the dirt stays inside the fabric.
22. Make cleaning toys child’s play
Considering that they spend half their time on the floor and the other half in our children’s sticky paws, toys can be a bacteria breeding ground. Thankfully, though, there’s an easy way to sanitize a whole bunch in one go: just stick them in your dishwasher! Make sure you don’t put anything made from flimsier plastic through the wash, though, or you may end up with a bunch of melted gunk that will frighten the kids.
21. Remove pet fur with this hair-raising trick
Any animal owner will know that embedded pet hair can become an absolute nightmare to remove. But before you splash out on a fancy vacuum, try using a moist rubber glove to de-fuzz your furniture. The wet glove acts like a magnet, easily collecting fur with a quick rub.
20. Modify your vacuum with zero cash or effort
If you’ve ever wished that your budget vacuum had a few more attachments to really get rid of the dirt in those corners, listen up. Just fix a toilet paper tube to the end of the nozzle. The thin cardboard should then bend into all manner of shapes, making it perfect for any nook or cranny.
19. Zap damp sponges in the microwave to kill bacteria
There isn’t much point in cleaning if you’re using a bacteria-laden sponge to do so. Luckily, though, there’s a super-quick way to sanitize these vital kitchen implements. All you need to do is to heat a sponge up in a microwave for half a minute. This process should kill off any nasty bugs on the item, making it fit for purpose once more.
18. Freshen up your couch with baking soda
It’s almost impossible to keep a couch as good as new – particularly if you or your loved ones are prone to spillages. But there’s no need to worry. Brush your couch clean before applying a touch of baking soda to the seat cushions to tackle pesky stains and remove odors. Then let the substance settle for 20 minutes or so, and finally vacuum the powder up.
17. Use your loaf when it comes to breakages
Sadly in life, accidents do happen. If you break a glass at home, however, don’t be tempted to pick up the smallest shards of glass with your hands. Instead, keep your fingers safe by using a piece of bread. Simply dab the food item around the smash zone to collect any hard-to-see fragments.
16. Sanitize your cutting board in seconds
When it comes to meal prep, having a clean cutting board can make all the difference. So, keep yours sparkling with just two easily obtainable ingredients. Sprinkle coarse salt across your chopping board and then scrub with the inside of a lemon to remove stains and smells.
15. Polish up your sofa
If your leather couch has fallen victim to wear and tear, use shoe polish to give it a new lease of life. Pick a similar shade to your seat to easily cover up scratches and leave the item looking almost store-fresh. However, you should ensure that you remove all traces of polish before you finally get comfy again.
14. Save time with a ball of slime
We all know how disgusting our computer keyboards can become. And, alarmingly, your humble laptop is often many thousands of times more filthy than your toilet seat. So, to remove unwanted crumbs and the like, whip up some slime. Mix one cup of warm water with one quarter-cup of Borax before adding 5 ounces of glue. Then use the resulting gloop to spruce up your keyboard.
13. Achieve streak-free windows using newspaper
It may seem counterintuitive to rub dirty, ink-stained newspaper over freshly cleaned windows, but rest assured: this trick is actually effective. After polishing the glass, scrunch up a piece of newspaper and wipe it all around to achieve amazingly streak-free windows.
12. Eliminate scuff marks with cooking oil
While wooden furniture may be prone to scratches, you don’t have to live with them forever. To take your tabletops back to their former glory, add three parts vegetable or olive oil to one part white vinegar. Then simply rub on the affected area – and voila! The scuff marks should be completely gone.
11. Dust with dryer sheets
Give your dryer sheets a new lease of life by using them for something other than laundry. Yes, these nifty products can be used around the house in a number of ways. And they make particularly effective dusters, as not only do they attract particles like a magnet, but they’re also anti-static – so, hopefully keeping your surfaces cleaner for longer.
10. Get clean shower heads in the bag
Unfortunately, calcium deposits on our household appliances are often just a fact of life. And one of the hardest places to remove such bothersome build-ups is from the shower head. Rather than trying to scrub each tiny nozzle clean, though, you only need to attach a bag full of white vinegar to the head and let it work its magic as you sleep. Then, the following day, you’ll be left with a dazzling new sprayer.
9. Wipe away sneaker stains with ease
Anyone who’s ever purchased a pair of white sneakers will know how hard it is to keep them pristine. But while scrapes and stains are practically unavoidable, there’s a failsafe way to take your footwear back to box-fresh splendor. Simply use nail polish remover and a cotton ball to wipe off marks with ease.
8. Clean three blinds with one brush stroke
Dusting blinds can be time-consuming. But did you know that there’s a way to speed up the process with hardly any effort? Instead of using a typical dusting cloth, wipe down the slats using a regular decorator’s paintbrush. This way, you can clean large areas of your blinds in just one easy swipe.
7. Become a thrifty Swiffer
Constantly buying refills for your Swiffer can become expensive – and that’s not even to mention the product’s impact on the environment. Thank goodness, then, that someone has devised an ingenious solution that is kind to both the pocket and the planet. Instead of your usual refills, use a chenille sock to cover your Swiffer. Then, when your cleaning is complete, throw the sock in the washing machine to use again.
6. Use flour to clean up sloppy messes
When dealing with a liquid spillage, you’ve probably cursed at yourself for spreading the mess further. Next time you have to tackle an errant stain, though, cover it with flour, as the powder soaks up extra moisture – making the muck that’s left behind much easier to gather.
5. Give rusty cutlery a new lease of life with just water and lemon
If rust has gotten the better of your cutlery, don’t reach for the trash can just yet. Instead, fill a large glass with identical quantities of lemon juice and warm water before placing your knives and forks inside. Then leave the implements for ten minutes before buffing them up to reveal shining metal.
4. Make cleaning your exhaust fan a breeze
Exhaust fans collect an awful lot of dust over the years. And not only is this build-up unsightly, but it can also become dangerous – even putting you at risk of a house fire. So, keep your fans clean and safe by spraying them with compressed air from a can.
3. Help crumbs meet a sticky end
Anyone with small children – or just a sloppy adult eater – in their household will know that crumbs can be annoying. There’s an easy trick to cleaning them up, though, no matter how messy things have become. Simply dab sticky tape on the affected areas to remove all traces. That way, no one will have to know about the sneaky cookie you enjoyed earlier.
2. Use shaving cream to clear the fog
For those of us who like to brush our teeth or apply make-up in the bathroom after a shower, the wait for the mirror fog to clear can feel like an eternity. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Coating your mirror with a thin layer of shaving cream before buffing it off with newspaper will neatly prevent the glass from steaming up.
1. Make your shower screen sparkle with a dishwasher tablet
If you’re only using dishwasher tablets for your crockery, you’re seriously missing out. One of the most effective ways to utilize them is in the bathroom – particularly when cleaning your shower screen. Just dip a tab in warm water, scrub it along the affected areas and then wash these surfaces with warm water to remove all traces of soap marks.