6 Old-School Cleaning Tips That Work Better Than Anything

Your mother was right.
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Newfangled cleaning tricks tend to make this whole housekeeping thing WAY more difficult than it needs to be. Because as it turns out, your mother had it right: Simpler is better, at least most of the time.

Harken back to an easier, cleaner era with these old-school cleaning tricks, tried and found true by the successful homemakers of yore. They come to us from expert Carolyn Forté, a director at The Good Housekeeping Institute. She knows what she's talking about: The Good Housekeeping brand has been around for 130 years, long before we ever thought about cleaning the grout behind our fridge. Take a page from their book, and...

1. Wash your laundry with Tide.

"Tide laundry detergent first launched in the 1940s as an alternative to laundry soap," Forté says. "Though the formulas have changed and improved, it’s still the top detergent in all our Good Housekeeping tests."

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2. Make your own glass cleaner with ammonia and water.

Combine 2 tablespoons ammonia with 2 quarts warm water to get greasy fingerprints off of windows and mirrors. White vinegar and water does the same for water spots.

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3. Scrub bathroom tiles, stove burners and floor scuffs with Bon Ami Cleanser.

This powder "has been around since the late 1800s and is still an effective non-abrasive scouring cleanser," Forté says. Use it all over your house as an alternative to harsher solutions, which can damage household surfaces.

4. Clean with a cloth diaper.

Yep, like the kind they used to use on babies (and still do!). "Cloth diapers make great cleaning cloths," Forté says. "They are absorbent and easy to launder."

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5. Got odor? Get baking soda.

Not only does it deodorize your fridge, but a sprinkle of baking soda (or a few) will freshen laundry, upholstery, carpeting and "even your dog," according to Forté.

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6. Banish laundry stains with good ol' bar soap.

"It may not be the most convenient or neatest to use," Forté says, "but bar soaps like Fels Naptha or Ivory do a great job removing laundry stains." Simply rub it over the stains, then wash as usual.

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Cleaning in the modern world can really mess us up. Beware, a few other mistakes you may be making:

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