14 Offbeat Green Cleaning & Personal Care Recipes

If putting laxatives on your face and vodka in your laundry sounds like something you’d only do when you’ve had a few too many alcoholic beverages, you’re not alone – yet these bizarre tips might actually serve a purpose. For all the goofy, oddball cleaning and personal care recipes passed around the internet, there are a few that actually work – like polishing silver with aluminum foil, shining shoes with banana peels and even putting cheese whiz on fabric stains.

Vodka Laundry Freshener

(images via: john steven fernandez, mysza831)

If you somehow find yourself with a surplus of vodka that you don’t want to drink, put it in a spray bottle and spritz it onto your clothes to freshen them up between washes. It will kill the bacteria that cause odor, but the scent evaporates so you don’t walk around smelling like a liquor cabinet.

Beer Hair Rinse

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A friend left some beer that you don’t particularly care for in your fridge again. What to do with it? Perhaps you’d like to pour it over your head. No, really. Beer actually gives hair a glossy sheen if you work it through after shampooing and then rinse it out. Some people even use it as a styling tonic.

Polish Silver with Aluminum Foil

(images via: basykes, muffet)

According to Good Housekeeping, this method doesn’t work as well as regular old silver polish, but it seems sort of amazing that it even works in the first place. Tarnish on silver has some sort of reaction with aluminum foil, causing it to “jump” to the foil. You simply line a plastic bin with foil, place your silver inside, sprinkle in ¼ cup of washing soda and pour in a gallon of boiling water. Let it soak for 15 minutes, then remove the silver, rinse, and buff with a clean, soft cloth.

Shine Copper with Ketchup

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Some people put ketchup on just about everything, from eggs to macaroni and cheese. But ketchup is more than just America’s favorite condiment. Thanks to the acid it contains, smearing ketchup onto copper will actually dissolve stains.

Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Conditioner

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Vinegar seems like one of the last things you’d want to put in your hair, but it actually makes a great conditioner. After shampooing, rinse with a solution of 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in a pint of water and you’ll find that your hair is super-soft without the weight that conventional conditioners often leave behind. Bonus: it fights dandruff.

White Bread Wallpaper Shine


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When little Timmy smears his Wonder Bread sandwich across Grandma’s dining room wall, it’s not so cute. But that same bread can actually be used to clean dust and grime off wallpaper. This trick, used at least since the 1800’s, reputedly removes marks without damaging the surface – just remember to cut off the crust first.

Cornstarch Deodorant

(images via: argostarch, little house in the suburbs)

For those seeking to get away from parabens, aluminum or other potentially harmful ingredients in conventional deodorant, a homemade recipe may be the way to go. But would you ever have thought of cramming some cornstarch into an old deodorant container? A tutorial by Little House in the Suburbs details a recipe that combines the moisture-absorbing properties of cornstarch with antibacterial essential oils and coconut oil as a binder.

Black Tea Furniture Polish

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There are all sorts of homemade cleaners and polishes that can bring wood floors and furniture back into their prime, and one common folk remedy often repeated on the internet is simply black tea. The claim is that tannins in the tea make the floors shiny, while the pigment enhances the wood grain. Wood floor pros warn that while this method may well work, it could also void your warranty if your floors are new.

Fade Scars with Potatoes

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Does applying raw potato to the skin really help fade scars from acne and burns? If people who have tried this treatment have noticed tighter skin and more even pigmentation, it may be due to the astringent and cell-healing properties of this vitamin and antioxidant-packed vegetable. The National Potato Board (no surprise there) recommends applying a mask of grated raw potato or even washing your face with potato juice.

Remove Water Stains with Mayonnaise

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If you’ve got some unsightly water stains on a wood surface, just cover it in mayo and let it sit overnight – by morning, the stains will be significantly reduced. This method supposedly works because the greasy oil-and-egg concoction pulls moisture out of the wood.

Treat Oily Skin with Milk of Magnesia

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Smearing laxative on your face seems like a positively crazy thing to do, but Milk of Magnesia can actually help control oil. Many people use it as a face mask or even apply it as a primer before applying makeup to keep breakout-causing sebum in check.

Banana Peel Shoe Shine

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The next time you eat a banana, don’t toss that peel – the sticky inside part can be used to buff your shoes to a shine worthy of the military. It’s pretty self-explanatory: just rub it on your shoe in a circular motion and then do the same with a soft cloth.

Peanut Butter Face Mask

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Peanut butter isn’t just for toast. Some people advise massaging it into dry spots or using it as a face mask to combat dryness. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, then wipe it off and rinse with water.

Cheez Whiz Stain Remover

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This tip isn’t exactly green, but perhaps a warning to watch what you eat: it’s a far better idea to smear that goopy, food-like substance known as Cheez Whiz on your laundry than to put it in your mouth. Cheez Whiz contains trisodium phosphate, an industrial-strength cleaner sometimes added to processed foods, hence its reputation for getting out tough fabric stains.

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