Let’s get real for a second – cleaning really isn’t that fun. You know what makes cleaning even less fun? The fact that cleaning supplies cost a fortune – a real arm and a leg, I’m telling you.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, though, and over the years I’ve gotten pretty creative with what I’ve been able to repurpose around the house to use as a cleaning supply or organizational tool.
Here are some things that I re-purpose for cleaning around the home…
An old toothbrush is perfect for cleaning in bathroom and kitchen crevices and around faucets. It also helps get in deep in those grimy crevices in your door tracks.\Socks With Holes
If your family is anything like mine, you probably have a ton of Swiss Cheese-looking socks lying around the house. Don’t toss them – save them! Then, you can use them as dusting and multi-purpose cleaning rags.
Socks Without Holes
Maybe the socks you have lying around aren’t riddled with holes – but they’re lacking companions or are otherwise homeless. If that’s the case, here’s a quick solution – use them to clean your blinds!
Simply don a sock on one hand and run your hand over the blinds. You’ll be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of the blinds to remove the dust.
There are a ton of ways you can use unwanted newspaper in the home and garden.
I personally like using newspaper as sheet mulch in the garden, but you can also use it for cleaning glass and mirrors; just add a little glass cleaner, or a (50/50) white vinegar and water mix.
Another use for newspaper? It is remarkably good at absorbing odors – all you need to do is stuff it into a diaper bag, your shoes, or even the refrigerator to soak up the stink.
Plastic Mesh Bag
You can use a plastic mesh bag (like from a bag of potatoes or onions) to clean many areas of your home. In fact, it’s great for scrubbing pots and pans, and stuck on food. Just cut strips off as needed.
Used Dryer Sheet
A user dryer sheet works great for dusting t.v. screens and computer monitors. Its anti-static properties help repel dust from accumulating so quickly as well.
Toilet Paper Tube Organization
Don’t toss your toilet paper tubes when you are done with them. Instead, save them, and stick them inside a cardboard box or a drawer. Position them upright and you can use them to store tiny items and knickknacks, like thumb tacks or earrings. You can even use toilet paper tubes to store your extension cords!
Kleenex Box Bag Dispensers
If you have old Kleenex boxes laying around (or even old coffee cans!) you can use them as plastic bag dispensers.
This is perfect for the person who always has a TON of plastic bags from the grocery store lying around to be used as trash can liners…but never has anything to do with all that clutter! This upcycle kills two birds with one stone.
Use a Shower Curtain as a Dropcloth
Is it time to repaint the living room? Don’t get paint all over the floor- instead, save that nasty shower curtain that has seen better days and save it to be used as a dropcloth.
Hanging Shoe Rack for Pantry Organization
Hanging shoe racks are awesome for helping you keep tabs on what shoes you have in your closet.
However, they can also be used to organize your pantry, which will make it MUCH easier to clean. I like to store small items, like packs of cookies or seasoning mixes, in the slots in a shoe rack here.
Use a Six Pack Container As a Cleaning Caddy
Save your cardboard six pack container when you’re done with the beer – you can use it to stash all kinds of cleaning supplies, like spray bottles and cleaning brushes.
Stash Extra Glass and Plastic Containers for Quick DIY Organization
I’m always finding little odds and ends all over the house, from hair ties (guilty) to extra screws (that’s my husband’s fault).
Save the glass and plastic containers you have left over (cottage cheese containers or clear mayonnaise jars, for example, work well) and you’ll have a place to stash the odds and ends. Just make sure you label everything clearly so you don’t create more of a mess.
Paint Stick for Lint
Lint builds up quickly in the dryer. While most people are pretty diligent about cleaning out the lint trap, there are areas around the lint trap that tend to harbor debris, too. Simply toss a clean rag around the end of a paint stick and you’ll be able to get inside those nooks and crannies for quick cleaning.
Old Pillowcases to Clean Ceiling Fan Blades
Ceiling fan blades get grimy every now and again, so it’s important to clean them on a regular basis so you aren’t exposing yourself to allergy-inducing dust mites every time you turn on the fan for a cooling breeze.
Simply take an old pillowcase and wrap it around the blade (just like you would if you were putting it on a pillow). Use it to scrape the dust off the blade – everything will be contained inside the pillowcase!
Recycle an Old Shop Vac
Shop vacs are generally used for cleaning, but once your vacuum is no longer working, you might think that its use as a cleaning implement has expired. That’s not the case! You have another option. Simply take out the lid and motor, and then use the canister as a rolling trash can. Easy as that!
Make a Drying Rack for Laundry
Use an old ladder to make a drying rack for your laundry. All you need to do is suspend a ladder from the ceiling and you’ll be able to dry all of your clothes in one place! No more wet laundry scattered all around the house.
Store Cleaning Supplies on a Tension Rod
You wouldn’t normally think of installing a tension rod under the kitchen or bathroom sink, but it’s actually a great way to stash your cleaning supplies. Make (organized) use of every last inch of space by hanging your cleaning bottles from a tension rod.
Save and Reuse Old Spray Bottles
Don’t buy new bottles of cleaning solution each time you need to clean the house! Instead, save old spray bottles and refill them with natural cleaning ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or bleach. You’ll save a ton of money, and by not putting those plastic containers back into the landfill, you’ll help the planet, too.
Pumice Stones for Tough Mineral Deposits
You may be able to score a pumice stone from your nail salon if you get regular pedicures. If you have a pumice stone lying around the house, use it to help scrub away stubborn stains in the bathroom.
Use White Rice on Coffee Pots
If your coffeemaker tends to get a bit grimy, you may have noticed that it’s incredibly hard to clean up all that built-up residue. Simply mix a few spoonfuls of white rice with warm water in your carafe. You can add a half a cup of vinegar, too, for an extra boost of cleaning.
Make a Soap Dispenser Out of Any Glass Bottle
Have some old glass bottles lying around? Stick a pump into the top and you’ll have a stylish, reusable soap dispenser to be used n your kitchen or bathroom.
Use Old Shirts as Cleaning Rags
Don’t get rid of those old duds! Instead, save them. No matter how holey they might be, they’ll make great reusable cleaning rags (bonus points if you’re using them to clean the windows). If you’re handy with a sewing machine, you may even be able to turn them into napkins.
Use Disposable Razors to Get Rid of Pilling
I hate how my old sweaters get pilled, making me not even want to wear them. Fortunately, you can use your disposable razors to pull the pills away without damaging your delicate fabrics.
I’m sure there are other creative ideas out there to make your own cleaning gear, but these are some of the best I’ve found to date! How have you been able to cut down on the waste around your home – and get it clean at the same time?
updated 05/19/2020 by Rebekah Pierce
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.
6 thoughts on “22 Items I Repurposed for Cleaning”
Hi! New to your site and love it. Dryer sheets – I’ve been cutting dryer sheets in half for years. I now only purchase dryer sheets when their on sale and I have a coupon. Otherwise, I make my own with a recipe I found online using inexpensive hair conditioner. Works great!
Old dryer sheets seem very versatile! I recently bought a new vacuum cleaner-one of those “bagless” ones with the removable plastic canister. We have a dog that sheds….ALOT….and I noticed how static seemed to build up in the plastic canister. I had commented to someone about this, and she said she puts a used dryer sheet in the canister and that takes care of the static.
Dryer sheets are very useful, you can put a couple in a bucket of hot water to remove wallpaper too 🙂 (thats how we removed ours… dryer sheet water and a scraper and it came off in good chunks, you just have to be generous in wetting sometimes)
-You can also add a sheet to the bottom of a burnt pot with a little water and let soak, grime comes off very easy after soaking.
-You can place a musty book in a plastic bag with a dryer sheet for week and it will be fresh smelling when removed (got that off tv)
-I don’t smoke but I hear cleaning your ashtray with a dryer sheet removes the odours…
We used to use the newspaper trick when I worked at a camp. You can actually just get your hands wet and fling the water sprinkles on the mirror–no need to use any cleaner. Newspaper and water always got things much cleaner than paper towels and cleaner. Plus it’s cheaper (as long as you have access to a paper). 🙂
Old t-shirts, underwear, and cloth diapers (not the newer kind–just prefolds) make excellent dusting rags.
Old razor blades are great for scraping paint and dried mud off glass or porcelain, or even for cleaning greasy glass dishes (just be careful!)
Old socks are also great for cleaning potatoes and over vegetables. Just put the sock on your hand inside out and use it like a mitt for cleaning.
Also the old dryer sheet is great for cleaning the shower doors, it takes the soap scum off and add a waxy layer to prevent the build up.
Never would’ve thought to use mesh bags for cleaning my pots & pans. Great tip about the dryer sheets, as well. Thank you!!