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20 Easy Home Cleaning Hacks That Will Save You Money

20 Easy Home Cleaning Hacks That Will Save You Money

1. Cleaning Carpet Stains

Combine 2 parts water with 1 part white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the stain, cover the area with a damp rag, use the steam setting and iron over the damp rag.

carpet
    Source: Flickr, Dong Jun (CC)

    2. Tile Grout Cleaner

    Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner With Bleach, a scrub brush and minimal manual labor for pristine grout. Via DIYCozyHome

    grout
      Credit: Flickr, Kurt Nordstrom (CC)

      3. Ceiling Fan Duster

      Place an old pillow case on the fan blade and wipe. The dust stays trapped in the pillow case which can then be shaken outside and thrown in the laundry. Via Diply

      ceiling-fan
        Credit: Flickr, Kevin Galens (CC)

        4. Removing Marker & Ink Marks From Wood

        Just take some plain white toothpaste, put it on a rag and scrub the marks away.

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        ink-wood
          Credit: Flickr, Kin Dombrowski (CC)

          5. Save Worn Leather Furniture

          Leather furniture can look like new after a good buff with shoe polish. To clean other upholstery, check out these tips.

          couch
            Credit: Flickr, Sebastiaan ter Burg (CC)

            6. Clean Dish Sponge & Microwave In One

            Placing your damp sponge in the microwave for two minutes on high will kill any bacteria living on it.  Plus, the steam will loosen the grime in your microwave making it much easier to clean.

            microwave
              Credit: Flickr, Daniel Lobo (CC)

              7. The Three Minute Fridge Clean

              To get your filthy old fridge spic and span in under five minutes go here.

              fridge
                Credit: Flickr, Michelle Tribe (CC)

                8. Salt Scrub Cleanser

                You can clean all sorts of things with a coarse salt scrub, including your cast iron skillet, coffee pots, glass bottles and more. Via DIYready

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                salt
                  Credit: Flickr, MDV (CC)

                  9. Hydrogen Peroxide

                  Hydrogen peroxide is the cheapest cleaner out there and can be used on almost everything. It’s a disinfectant, a mold killer and stain remover. Keep some in a spray bottle as your multi-purpose cleaner.

                  peroxide
                    Credit: Flickr, Trenten Kelley (CC)

                    10. Vinegar & Baking Soda

                    Like hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar and baking soda are multi-purpose cleaners. They can be combined to gently scrub tubs and sinks and are excellent stain removers. A mix of vinegar and water in the microwave for 10 minutes will steam up and soften everything in there so it can later be wiped clean with a wet sponge and mildly abrasive baking soda. White vinegar also cuts through soap scum.

                    sink
                      Credit: Flickr, Regan76 (CC)

                      11. De-greasing With Ammonia

                      Greasy or caked on stove burners can be cleaned without any scrubbing by simply sealing them overnight in a bag with 1/4 cup ammonia. The fumes do the work so you don’t need to soak anything. Just be sure not to mix it with bleach, and thoroughly wipe down the burners before putting them back on the stove.

                      stove
                        Credit, Flickr, Allen (CC)

                        12. Citrus For Sinks

                        You can clean your sink with fresh lemons. You can also disinfect and remove smells from your garbage disposal by running it with any variation of citrus fruit inside (lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit).

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                        citrus
                          Credit: Flickr, Liz West (CC)

                          13. Washing Machine Drain Pump

                          Keep your machine running like new by cleaning your drain pump following with these simple instructions.

                          washing-machine
                            Credit: Flickr, Apionid (CC)

                            14. Mildew Stains

                            Mildew stains can be cleaned over night by simply placing a bleach-soaked cotton ball or rag over them.

                            bleach
                              Credit: Flickr, Fredsharples (CC)

                              15. Cleaning Switch Plates

                              Rather than spraying solutions on switch plates and risking electrical issues, wipe them down with a wet rag with some dishwashing liquid on it. The dish soap will clean the oil residue left by dirty fingers. This technique can be used on any surface that is frequently touched by hands.

                              switchplate
                                Credit: Flickr, Mike (CC)

                                16. Clean Windows

                                Use a mix of white vinegar and hot water instead of expensive commercial window cleaners. Don’t wash your windows in direct sunlight as this causes streaks by drying too fast.

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                                windows
                                  Credit: Flickr, Kdingo (CC)

                                  17. Clean Blinds

                                  A little dish soap and hot water will clean your blinds very nicely.

                                  blinds
                                    Credit: Flickr, Anders Adermark (CC)

                                    18. Remove Musty Closet Smells

                                    Use lidded plastic containers like deli bowls. Cut slits or punch a few holes in the lid and fill the container with white vinegar. Place the bowl inside the closet and leave overnight.

                                    closet
                                      Credit: Flickr, Lara604 (CC)

                                      19. Scrub Your Bathtub

                                      Mix a paste of one cup baking soda, one teaspoon of liquid soap (like dish soap), a few drops of an anti-bacterial essential oil like rosemary, eucalyptus or tea tree and just enough water to make the paste.

                                      bathtub
                                        Credit: Flickr, Psyduck (CC)

                                        20. Packing Tape & Lint Rollers

                                        Use packing tape or a lint roller to pick up crumbs, dust, and remove animal hair off of surfaces quickly and easily.

                                        lint-roller
                                          Credit: Flickr, Laurie Chipps (CC)

                                          Featured photo credit: July 30-10 Cleaning / Judith Doyle via flic.kr

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                                          Chris Barry

                                          freelance writer

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                                          Last Updated on October 5, 2020

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

                                          Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

                                          I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

                                          This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

                                          What Is Intermittent Fasting?

                                          As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

                                          While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

                                          The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

                                          Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

                                          Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

                                          The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

                                          It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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                                          My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

                                          You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

                                          Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

                                          1. Drink Plenty of Water

                                          Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

                                          2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

                                          The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

                                          3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

                                          One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

                                          4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

                                          The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

                                          To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

                                          5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

                                          While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

                                          Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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                                          You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

                                          How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

                                          Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

                                          This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

                                          Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

                                          Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

                                          The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

                                          Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

                                          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

                                          One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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                                          This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

                                          Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

                                          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

                                          Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

                                          Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

                                          How Much Weight Will I Lose?

                                          The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

                                          While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

                                          Can I Work out While Fasting?

                                          Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

                                          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

                                          Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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                                          Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

                                          First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

                                          Is Fasting Safe?

                                          As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

                                          I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

                                          Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

                                          As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

                                          I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

                                          For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

                                          Conclusion

                                          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

                                          If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

                                          More About Intermittent Fasting

                                          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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