We tried these five cleaning hacks to see if they're all they're cracked up to be. Turns out, we found some pretty awesome tricks that'll make your life so much easier.

My husband and I are full-time college students and both have part-time jobs. So basically, we don't have a ton of time to clean, and we're always looking for ways to save a little extra cash.

These cleaning hacks promise to simplify and shorten cleaning time, plus they use cheaper things like vinegar and baking soda instead of the more expensive cleaners you buy at the store. Obviously, my husband and I were in ... but would they work? Using a few ingredients from our baking cupboard instead of brand-name cleaning products sounded too good to be true.

After giving all five hacks a go, here's what we found:

1. Dryer sheet hack

You need:

  • Warm water

  • Dish soap

  • A dryer sheet

  • A sponge

The instructions for this hack were easy: Take a dirty pan or cookie sheet and fill it with warm water, dish soap and a dryer sheet. Let soak for one hour, then scrub. After the scrub, your pan was supposed to be silver and shiny, and completely free of grime.

From you picture, you can tell this hack did a bit ... but not a lot. There's a little more shine, but not much a difference. I'd give this one a 2/10 - I'm pretty sure you could save your dryer sheets and just soak the pan with water and soap and get the same results.

2. Baking soda + vinegar paste

You need:

  • Baking soda

  • White vinegar

  • A wash cloth

We made a paste out of baking soda and vinegar to clean our kitchen sink - the hack's instruction suggest using this paste to clean tubs, showers and tile floors.

Our sink wasn't terribly dirty to begin with, but there was a bit of residue buildup around the bottom and edges. By rubbing the paste on the sink with a dishcloth (and letting the paste sit for a minute), the sink was very shiny after a quick rinse off.

This cheap paste completely got rid of any residue and left our sink shinier than we'd ever seen it! We give this hack a 9/10 - definitely try it out.

3. 2-ingredient stainless steel/glass spray

You need:

  • A spray bottle

  • Warm water

  • Vinegar

  • Lemon juice

We combined equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle, and added lemon juice to combat the vinegar smell. The hack instructions told us the simple mixture could clean kitchen appliances (from ovens to stainless steel) and be used as a mirror cleaner.

First up: our dirty toaster. Spraying the mixture and quickly wiping it down with a paper towel got rid of a good amount of the spotting, but not all of it. For this appliance, we rate it 6/10 - it worked, but could have been better.

Next, our bedroom mirror. This time, the spray worked a lot better - I liked it better than commercial cleaners. Again, we just sprayed some on the mirror's surface and wiped it clean with a paper towel. No streaks! As mirror cleaner, this hack gets a 9/10.

4. Microwave cleaner

You need:

  • A glass bowl

  • ½ cup warm water

  • ½ lemon

Try not to be judgmental about the state of our microwave - it was the perfect test subject.

This hack saved us so much time. Instead of scrubbing away at the tough, cooked splatters, we just stuck a bowl with water and half a lemon in the microwave (squeeze out the juice and throw the rind in), cooked for three minutes, and just wiped away the spills. It was so easy - I think this is my favorite hack we tried.

Plus, now our microwave smells clean and lemony fresh. We gave this one a 10/10.

(Note - there are some permanent burn stains from the previous residents that cannot be cleaned).

5. Walnuts for wood scratches

What you need:

  • A walnut or two

I was most excited to give this hack a try - just rubbing a little walnut over a scratched wood floor or table seemed too good to be true. This so-called miracle hack didn't have stellar results.

After rubbing a walnut on the scratches on a wooden chair, the marks dimmed a bit but definitely did not go away. Maybe others would have better success with different types of wood, but we gave our attempt a 4/10.

Though not everything worked, I think we found some pretty great cleaning tricks - hopefully you find them useful, too! Let us know what cleaning hacks you use at home!

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