5 Pantry Basics You Can Actually Clean With

We tested the top ways to clean with food, with surprising results. 

By: Liz Gray
Related To:

I'll be the first to admit I don't have a fully-outfitted cleaning arsenal. What I do have, though? A well-stocked pantry. Luckily, a few pantry basics and some elbow grease is all you need to tackle tough stains. Plus, these all-natural cleaners are 100-percent food-safe, because they're, well...food! Take a look at our favorite ideas right here: 

5 Pantry Basics to Clean With 01:21

Learn how to keep your home clean with these five items from your pantry.

Lemon + Salt = Cutting Board Cleaner

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Have an extra lemon half? Clean stubborn stains from a wood or plastic cutting board (or just keep it in tip-top shape) with a quick lemon-salt scrub. Dip the lemon in coarse salt, then scrub, scrub, scrub. The salt acts as an abrasive to scrub off tough residue, while the acidic lemon helps lighten up spots and leaves the board smelling fresh. Let the lemon-salt mixture sit for about 20 minutes, then rinse and finish with mineral oil. 

Walnuts = Wood Scratch Saver

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

This trick is so simple, it almost seems like magic. To fill in scratches and scuffs from pets and wear-and-tear, just rub a walnut on the blemish and watch it disappear! The walnut fills in the crack, while the walnut oil adds a glowing sheen. Brush off the residue with a soft cloth.  

Baking Soda + Oil = DIY Goo Remover 

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Store-bought goo remover features a heavy-duty degreaser, but it's easy to make your own version from all-natural pantry basics. The formula: 2 tablespoons oil + 3 tablespoons baking soda. Rub it on with a soft cloth to vanquish glue spots on jars or candle holders. 

Ketchup = Brass and Silver Polish

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Ketchup as a cleaning supply? It's true! The acid from the tomato and vinegar help it counteract grime on brass, silver or copper. Rub onto metal objects with a soft cloth, let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse and buff for a like-new shine. (Note: Set a timer — leaving on the ketchup too long could damage your metalware.) For small items like silver rings, simply squirt a little ketchup on top, time and rinse. Ta-da! 

Rice + Vinegar = Bottle Cleaner 

Photo by: Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Vases and bottles are notorious for having those maddening spots of residue you just can't get to. The solution: Add some vinegar to your vase or jar, add a tablespoon or two of rice, then shake, shake, shake! The rough ends of rice kernels act as a scrubber, whiile the vinegar removes filmy residue. Good as new! 

Keep Reading

Next Up

5 Tricks to Make Spring Cleaning Fun

Yes, you read that right. We've got tips to get the whole family motivated to join in on the seasonal cleaning spree.

9 Homemade Cleaning Products

Simple ingredients from the pantry can be used to make cleaning products that are kinder to the environment for a fraction of the cost.

Cleaning Up Mold

Cleaning up mold is never a fun project, but it can be a manageable one with these tips for kicking it to the curb for good.

7 Spring-Cleaning Tips

Check out these ways to make the yearly chore less of a chore.

Easy Floor Cleaning Tips

Keep all types of flooring clean and avoid premature wear with these simple tips.

Car-Cleaning Tips

12 ways to give your wheels a fresh start.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts