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Eco Gardening Using Ordinary Household Items

Updated on June 1, 2016

Gardening Tips and Tricks

There is nothing quite as enjoyable as watching gardens come to life. Whether it is a garden full of houseplants, herbs, vegetables, or perennials, it takes a lot of hard work and maintenance to keep it looking beautiful. The last thing you want to do is go out a buy expensive chemicals to help maintain the beauty.

Here a few tips and tricks using ordinary household items that are not only inexpensive, but eco-friendly as well. Learn how you can use simple everyday items, such as, socks, mayonnaise, and coffee grounds, to make the job a little easier and allow you more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.


  • Socks: Use socks to clean the dust off of houseplants. Put one sock on each hand and place them on the top and bottom of the leaf - run them up/down the leaf and you get both sides clean at once.

  • Mayonnaise: Use mayonnaise to shine houseplant leaves. The oils in the mayonnaise work wonders. Take a small amount and rub on the leaves then wipe clean with a soft cloth. Do not use this method on any plant that has fuzzy leaves, such as Stachys byzantine (Lamb’s ear) or Saintpaulia (African violets)

  • Ice Cubes: Do your houseplants leak water after watering? If so, try to water with ice cubes. If one falls on the ground, don’t put it in the sink – place it in a houseplant. Ice Cubes are a good alternative to watering houseplants that tend to absorb the water too quickly, because it allows for the plant to get small amounts as the ice cube melts.

  • Shower: Showers are great for your houseplants. Place them in the shower, turn on the water (soft spray) at a tepid temperature and allow them to soak up the goodness. They will be so happy because of the moisture and the soaking. It’s just like placing them outside on a rainy day!


  • Toothbrush: If you have dirt stains on to your hands and grime under your fingernails after gardening, try using an old toothbrush to scrub away the mess. It is perfect for getting under fingernails and cleaning cuticles.

  • Lava Soap: This is my Grandmothers secret to cleaning just about everything. Lava soap deep cleans and gets rid of the stains. My two cents: Use lotion afterward.

  • Sugar Scrub: Sugar scrub is perfect for cleaning the stains off of your hands and feet. The granules are rough enough to eliminate the stains while the oils soften the skin. To discover how to make sugar scrub visit Beauty Tips and Secrets Using Ordinary Household Items


  • Coffee Grounds: If stray cats use your garden as a litter box try this concoction: mix together used coffee grounds and orange peels. I use an empty coffee container and keep it under the sink to collect the coffee grounds and when I have orange peels, I mix them together and place in the garden. Suggestion: Don’t keep the mixture of orange peel and coffee grounds under the sink for too long – it begins to stink like a compost pile eventually!

  • Salt: Slug problem? Sprinkle some salt on them; however if you are a conservationist, be warned that slugs die when they come in contact with salt.

  • Eggshells: Instead of throwing away your eggshells, crush them and put them at the base of tomato plants to keep away cutworms.

  • Epsom Salt: 1) Water your Lantana camara (Lantana), Gaillardia pulchella (Blanket Flower) or Trachelospermum jasminoides (Confederate Jasmine), just to name a few, with a mixture of 1 part Epsom salt to 2 parts water. They will thank you and flourish. 2) Keep raccoons and other pesky animals out of your garden by sprinkling some Epsom salt around the plant. The plant will thank you and the rodents will find another garden to feast in.

  • Egg Cartons: Empty egg cartons are perfect to start seedling indoors or out. Use seeds from a packet or those you have saved from a plant. Either way, the egg carton sections are the perfect size and can be filled with dirt or water to get those seedlings started.

© 2012 bellartdesigns


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    • profile image

      karen 5 years ago

      Hi all.great tips! I need to know if anyone can help,evergreen shrubs that are fast growing,they need to grow at least 5,6 foot or more. Thank you.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      dementedmom – Good luck on the move and when you start your new garden, make sure to use the eggshell tip for the tomato plants. I use it and it really does work.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      mary615 - I am glad you like the tips. Happy Gardening.

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      ThelmaC and Kris - The ice cube trick is a favorite in our house. Instead of doing an every two week watering (which always seems to overflow on the wood floors), I have my children dumping the ice cubes, which invariably fall on the floor when they are getting ice, into the plants. Also, they dump their left over water from their cups or water bottles in there as well. I have them trained well! :)

    • bellartdesigns profile image

      bellartdesigns 6 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Eliza57 thanks for comment. Some of the tips are great because they don't involve using harsh chemicals. I have more that I will be sharing soon.

    • Eliza57 profile image

      Eliza57 6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these very useful tips. A few I have used before. Enjoy reading your Hubs.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 6 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Great hub. Love the ice cube tip!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 6 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for all these useful tips. I spend a lot of time in my garden, and these tips will come in handy. Voted this UP, etc.

    • dementedmom profile image

      dementedmom 6 years ago from R.O.I.

      thanks for the tips! they will come in handy for me. i am moving to a new house soon and i intend to grow my own vegs.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 6 years ago from Indiana

      Very useful tips - I like these! I need to use the ice cube trick with a few of my plants as I always seem to end up with water spilling over!