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Spring clean with these surprising foods! How ketchup, limes and more can help you tidy up

by Meena Hart Duerson / / Source: TODAY

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'Tis the season for spring cleaning! And if you're like us, you've got a few items around the house that could use a little spiffing up.

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But before you get out the cleaning products, you might want to check your fridge — these foods can actually help you clean up in ways you might never have imagined. So skip the chemicals and use these common grocery items to clean up and keep your house all natural!

Banana PeelHarvey Tsoi / Getty Images/stock

Bananas

Use to: Shine leather shoes

Out of shoe polish? Try a banana peel! That's right, you heard us — a banana peel. Ok, we know, it sounds crazy. When we saw this video making the rounds, we didn't believe it either. Who would put a dirty banana peel on their nice shoes? But, it works! Turns out banana peels share a key ingredient of shoe polish (potassium) and they work wonders on dusty or scuffed leather. Just peel a ripe banana, wipe the inside of the soft peel on your shoe, then buff with a cloth. And, ta-da! Shiny like new.

Child Squeezing Ketchup on French FriesGetty Images/stock

Ketchup

Use to: Polish brass or copper

It’s not just great on burgers and fries — you can actually use ketchup to clean all the dull brass and copper around your house. Just squirt a little red sauce on the things that need a shine (pots and pans, knobs and handles, and even jewelry) and then wipe off with a soft cloth or scrub with a sponge or toothbrush. While this trick will often work immediately, you can also soak really dulled items for 20-30 minutes, and add some table salt into the mix if the ketchup alone isn't doing the truck. Then wipe away and watch your metals shine!

Coconut oilShutterstock

Coconut oil

Use to: Polish furniture

Coconut oil is magical in a lot of ways — we counted 50 of them here — but in addition to being a proven boost to your beauty routine and your cooking, it can also double as an all-natural furniture polish. Just rub a glob of it onto wooden furniture or cabinets in need of some love, and watch as it restores luster to the wood. Plus, it smells great! No furniture polish fumes here.

LimeGetty Images/stock

Limes

Use to: Send ants marching

Springtime can often mean ants time, as critters start to wander indoors with the changing seasons. If you don't want to spray bug killer all over, try this great natural remedy: a little lime juice. Ants don’t like citrus, so use lime juice to make a barrier that they won’t cross in your home. Squeeze the juice of limes into a spray bottle and spritz around your windows and doors as a natural ant repellent. You can go a few steps further and actually make an all-natural ant "pesticide" with some of these DIY recipes.

MayonnaiseShutterstock

Mayonnaise

Use to: Safely remove stickers

If you’ve ever dealt with trying to get stickers off of places they shouldn’t be — like walls, mirrors and even your car bumper — this is a surprising trick that works to get rid of that sticky residue. Just use mayonnaise! Put it on the area where the sticker has left behind its adhesive and let it sit for a little while to break down the adhesive. Then rub off with a cloth or remove with a scraper. (Just be careful not to use it on a fabric surface where it could leave a stain.)

ApplesShutterstock

Apples

Use to: Ripen fruit faster

If you've got a rock-hard avocado or a few overly green bananas, speed up the ripening process by throwing them in a paper bag with a few ripe apples. Ripe apples give off a gas called ethylene, which actually ripens other fruits around them. This tip comes just in time for you to make guacamole for Cinco de Mayo!

Tea

Use to: Ease the pain of dirty dishes

This one’s a great hack for making the chore of washing dirty dishes go a lot faster. Before you start to wash, fill your dirty pots and pans with hot water and drop in a few tea bags! The tannic acid in the tea helps to break down the grease, so you can spend less time scrubbing.

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