5 Expert-Approved Cleaning Hacks That Are Completely Counterintuitive

Cleaning your home can feel like a never-ending chore. No matter how much you scrub, dust, and tidy, it seems like messes reappear almost as quickly as you can clean them up. Who has time for constant cleaning?

Fortunately, there are some unconventional cleaning hacks that make the process faster, easier, and more effective. We consulted with professional housekeepers and organizational experts to bring you five completely counterintuitive tips that will help you get your home sparkling clean in less time. With these expert-approved tricks, you can cut your cleaning time in half while also doing a better job.

Use Mayonnaise to Remove Water Marks from Wood

Water rings and marks on wooden furniture and surfaces are unsightly and difficult to remove. The usual response is to aggressively scrub the blemishes, but this can damage the wood. Surprisingly, the solution is to gently rub mayonnaise on the spots.

The oils in mayonnaise penetrate into the wood while the egg whites lift the discoloration. Let the mayo sit for 5-10 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth. The marks should disappear right before your eyes! It seems odd, but mayonnaise is mild enough not to harm the wood while being just the right consistency to draw out the water stains.

Clean Windows and Mirrors with Coffee Filters

Coffee filters are great for getting a streak-free shine on windows and mirrors. Simply dampen a few filters with water or cleaning solution and wipe down the glass.

The ultra-fine fibers in a coffee filter trap dirt and grime that paper towels often push around. At the same time, they don’t leave behind lint the way microfiber cloths can. Coffee filters are also inexpensive, so you can crumple up and toss each one after use. Sparkling clean windows have never been easier!

Use Petroleum Jelly to Remove Crayon Marks and Scuffs from Walls

Crayons and scuff marks on painted walls can make a room look dingy. Short of repainting, these stains seem impossible to remove fully. However, petroleum jelly is an unexpected solution that lifts color right off in just a few minutes.

Simply rub a generous amount of petroleum jelly onto the spot and let it soak in for 2-3 minutes. Then wipe away the excess with a dry microfiber cloth or paper towel. The petroleum jelly bonds with the oils in the crayon or scuff and pulls the pigment away from the paint. Your walls will look bright and clean again with hardly any effort.

Clean Burnt Pans with Coca-Cola

Burnt, crusty pans are a chore to scrub clean. But you can save your elbow grease by letting Coca-Cola do the work for you. Just fill the pan with enough coke to cover the burnt bits and bring to a boil on the stove. Turn off the heat and let the pan soak overnight.

The acids in Coke break down the carbonized food so the burnt deposits wipe away easily the next day. Phosphoric acid gives Coke its tangy flavor, but it also helps dissolve food residues. With this sweet trick, even the most stubborn burnt pans will be ready for their next use.

Use Salt to Absorb Spilled Wine

No host wants guests to see a wine spill on their carpet. To prevent a stain from setting before you have time to clean, immediately cover the spill with a mound of salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes to absorb as much liquid as possible before vacuuming up.

The salt draws out and contains the wine, giving you vital time to deal with the mess thoroughly. Left untreated, wine can leave permanent discoloration on fabric and carpets. But the absorbent salt extracts the pigment so it comes up without a trace. No one has to know about your party foul!

Frequently Asked Questions About Counterintuitive Cleaning Hacks

Cleaning efficiently is part art and part science. These unconventional tips may seem odd, but they are proven to get great results. Here are answers to some common questions about hacking your cleaning routine:

Why do these unexpected tricks work so well?

The counterintuitive ingredients all have chemical properties that break down and interact with common cleaning challenges. For example, mayonnaise and petroleum jelly contain oils and fats that can dissolve water stains and pigments. Coca-Cola has acids that break down food residues. And salt is highly absorbent, so it draws out liquid spills before they can stain.

Where can I buy the ingredients needed for these cleaning hacks?

The good news is that all of these items can be purchased affordably at any supermarket. Mayonnaise, Coke, salt, coffee filters, and petroleum jelly are kitchen and pantry staples that most people already have on hand. There’s no need to track down specialized cleaning products.

How do I know if a hack is safe for the surfaces in my home?

It’s always wise to spot test any new cleaning method in an inconspicuous area first. Make sure it does not damage or discolor the finish. However, the ingredients mentioned here are generally mild enough for most household surfaces. As always, don’t let salt or liquids sit too long, and immediately wipe up any excess.

Can these cleaning hacks be used outdoors as well?

Absolutely! Hacks like coke for burnt pans, petroleum jelly for walls, and salt for wine can work well on outdoor furniture, grills, siding, and patio surfaces. Just spot test first and don’t apply them on extremely hot surfaces or leave sitting in direct sunlight. You may need to reapply the method more than once on tougher outdoor grime.

Do I need any special tools or equipment to use these cleaning hacks?

Nope! Aside from typical cleaning supplies like microfiber cloths, paper towels, a vacuum and stiff scrub brush, these tricks utilize common household items. No need to buy special applicators or cleaning machines. Just grab ingredients from your pantry or bathroom cabinets and get to work.


With these clever cleaning hacks, it’s possible to banish dirt and stains in very little time and with minimal effort. Who knew that pantry staples could clean so well? Items like mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, Coca-Cola and coffee filters are wallet-friendly and effective at cleaning all sorts of surfaces.

Next time you’re faced with messy windows, walls, carpets, pans or wooden furniture, skip the back-breaking scrubbing. Reach for an unlikely kitchen ingredient and let it do the tough work instead. You’ll be rewarded with a spotless home while also saving energy, money and time.

Try out these completely counterintuitive tips, and you’ll be amazed at how they transform cleaning from a dreaded chore into an almost effortless task. The results speak for themselves, so incorporate a few unconventional methods into your cleaning repertoire. In no time, you’ll have a sparkling home without spending all your spare time bent over a bucket and sponge. Get ready for cleaning hacks to make maintaining your home easier than ever!