Photo courtesy of alancleaver_2000 on Flickr.

Don’t get us wrong – vinegar and lemon juice are amazing, safe household cleaners, but we at The Maids even tire of talking about them once in awhile. We do, however, always like sharing new ways to use household items not often associated with cleaning that help make a home sparkle.

Some of our ideas:

Paintbrush: Use a paintbrush to brush between the pleats of lampshades. Similarly, brush the tops of wood molding along your floors and carpets – both are notorious spots for dust to settle.

Toothbrush or grout brush: This all-purpose cleaning gadget is tough to beat. A small brush gets the toughest grime out of the tightest corners, including vents. Let the bristles do most of the work for you.

Pumice stone: A pumice stone is great for conditioning your feet because it is a universal scouring tool. One also will remove hard water stains from the toilet bowl, though we recommend using a separate pumice stone for that task and wearing rubber gloves. Be sure to moisten the stone first (a dry stone can scratch), and rub the stain gently.

Hair pick: Are your fringed rugs having a bad hair day? Use a hair pick to quickly straighten the decorative trim.

Toilet paper: Aside from the obvious use, a square or two of toilet paper will pick up hair that accumulates around the toilet.

Damp cloth or sponge: Use either for quick and easy pet hair removal on sofas, cushions and chairs. Damp, not wet. Rubber gloves remove pet hair, too.

Baby oil: Use a drop on stainless steel to make your fixtures shine.

Yardstick: Yardsticks make handy dusting tools with minor modification. Fit a sock onto the end of the yardstick and secure it with a rubber band. Now you can reach behind headboards and under furniture.

When cleaning, save time by carting products and tools with you in a handy bucket. We’ve shared a few of our tools of the trade – what are some of your favorites?

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