20 Cleaning Hacks That Will Make Your Home Spotless
You don’t have to be a professional housekeeper to clean like one. With a few clever cleaning hacks up your sleeve, you can tackle your to-do list efficiently and painlessly — even those more intimidating projects you’ve been putting off.
We’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite cleaning hacks to make your house look like it’s just had a professional cleaning.
Start From the Top
Whatever room you’re working on, professional cleaners recommend working from top to bottom, ending with the floor. That’s because dust and dirt from cleaning various surfaces will inevitably travel downward, and you don’t want to have to clean the floor twice.
Start with a wipe-down of ceiling fan blades, ceiling vents or light fixtures, if they need it, then work your way down to lower furniture pieces or countertops. Finish up by cleaning your floors and baseboards.
Recruit Your Laundry Basket to Corral Clutter
It’s not just for schlepping clothes. Your laundry basket can also help you quickly collect and consolidate all of those items that are out of place, from toys and mail to used dishes and shoes.
Take the basket through each room and grab anything that belongs elsewhere, while simultaneously replacing items back where they belong.
Use Olive Oil to Make Your Stainless Steel Surfaces Shine
Fingerprints on stainless steel appliances can make even the cleanest kitchen look messy, but they can be a beast to remove — unless you know this trick.
After wiping the surface as clean as you can, apply a few drops of olive oil (or baby oil in a pinch) to a paper towel and buff it into the surface, going with the grain. Wipe off any excess, and you’ll be rewarded with fingerprint-free appliances that will stay cleaner, longer.
Embrace the Magic Eraser
There’s a reason it’s called magic. We’re not sure what exactly this hard-working little sponge is made of, but it’s an important part of our cleaning arsenal.
Some things the Magic Eraser can clean: Crayon marks and other minor smudges on your walls, coffee rings in your mugs, dried paint, soap scum, oven hoods and doors, and microfiber fabric — just to name a few.
Remove Sticky Substances With Coconut Oil and Baking Soda
Avoid chemical-laden “goo” removers, and use this all-natural recipe to get rid of unsightly stickers. A simple mixture of equal parts coconut oil and baking soda will quickly work away anything sticky in your house.
You may have to let it sit for a few minutes, but if you rinse it with a bit of water and pat dry, it’ll be as good as new.
Use Chalk to Fight Grease Stains
Because chalk is super absorbent, it’s a really effective cleaner. That’s why we recommend keeping a box of plain white chalk in your kitchen or laundry room to apply to stains.
Simply remove any excess oil on clothes with a paper towel, then scrub with chalk and toss into the laundry pile. When you’re ready to wash, hit the spot with a bit of stain remover and wash it in hot water for best results.
Eliminate Foul Odors With Baking Soda
If your house smells a little funky, it may be time to hunt for the source of the stench, with a box of baking soda as your sidekick.
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and furniture, then let stand for a few hours to deodorize. After wiping out your trash can, put a bit of baking soda in the bottom to absorb any garbage odors. And your kid’s super stinky soccer shoes? Do everyone a favor and sprinkle them with baking soda for fresher feet.
Clean Your Pots With Dryer Sheets
Now, there’s a way to reuse discarded dryer sheets.
Save yourself hours of scrubbing by soaking a sheet in water to help easily remove burnt food from pots and pans.
Remove Dust From Exhaust Fans
The fans on your bathroom ceilings may seem to do nothing more than collect dust, and they will even struggle to perform their intended task — ventilating your bathroom — if they’re clogged.
Start by using your vacuum cleaner’s attachment to remove any dust and dirt from the fan’s cover. But don’t stop there. Gently remove the cover from the ceiling, and wash out any remaining grime in the sink using a brush and warm soapy water. Finally, vacuum the interior of the fan before replacing the clean, dry cover.
Clean Your Tub and Toilet Naturally
You can avoid harsh chemical fumes and back-breaking scrubbing with this simple recipe: 1 half-cup baking soda + 1 cup white vinegar.
For the tub, pour the mixture in and then fill about a quarter of the way with hot water, and let sit for five minutes. For the toilet, just pour in and let soak. Then, rinse thoroughly and watch the grime disappear.
Use Rubber Gloves to Remove Pet Hair
They’re not just good for protecting your hands from cleaning supplies. Those rubber gloves are also powerful pet hair removers.
Just don a pair, and rub your hands over any furniture that needs de-fuzzing.
Clean Baseboards With Dryer Sheets
Yet another way to reuse dryer sheets, this clever hack makes it easy to clean your baseboards while helping them stay cleaner longer.
The secret is in the sheets’ anti-static properties, which act as a magnet for dust and pet hair.
Use Your Vacuum Correctly
Think you know how to vacuum? It turns out that many people actually don’t know how to properly accomplish this chore.
For starters, it’s important to take the time to vacuum in both directions in order to get all of the dirt trapped in your carpet’s fibers. Go slow enough to allow the machine to pick up as much dirt as possible, and don’t wait for the bag to fill to empty it — efficiency begins to decrease after the bag is half full.
Make Your Faucets Sparkle With Vinegar
You can remove ugly mineral deposits and water spots on your faucets and fixtures by soaking a cloth with white vinegar and draping it over your fixtures for 15 minutes. The acidic vinegar will break down the deposits, leaving you with a gleaming clean surface.
Use this same trick to clean your shower head by putting the vinegar in a plastic bag and attaching it to the shower to soak overnight.
Soak Up Wine Spills With Salt
One of the worst things you can do to a fresh red wine stain is to start scrubbing.
Instead, blot up any excess wine, sprinkle the fresh stain with salt and step away to let it soak in. You’ll be amazed as the salt absorbs the wine.
Get Rid of That Smell in Your Towels
Baking soda and white vinegar come to the rescue again by helping get rid of the mildew odor in your towels.
Start by putting your towels in the washing machine, and add 1 cup of white vinegar. Wash them in the hottest water setting. Then, add a half cup of baking soda, and wash them in a second cycle on the same setting. When that’s finished, dry the towels completely to ensure the odor is removed.
Give the Garbage Disposal a Citrusy Refresh
Garbage disposals regularly break up lots of food scraps and grease, making them difficult to keep clean.
Enter a fresh lemon or lime. Simply cut the fruit into four pieces, and put them into the disposal one at a time with the water running.
Use Shaving Cream to Eliminate Water Stains
Even if you use one of those handy rubber shower squeegees, water stains in the shower are inevitable.
One easy way to keep them clean, however, is by applying shaving cream to the stains, letting it sit for about 15 minutes and then wiping clean.
Microwave a Damp Sponge
The food splatters that cover your microwave interior can be cleaned using a damp sponge.
Put a clean, damp sponge on the microwave tray, and set the microwave on high for two minutes. The steam will help kill any bacteria. Once finished, use the sponge to wipe down the microwave.
Use Lemon and Baking Soda to Clean Your Entire Kitchen
As you’ve probably noticed, lemon and baking soda make natural cleansers that can help clean just about anything, especially when it comes to your kitchen.
Simply sprinkle baking soda onto a kitchen surface that needs to be cleaned — cutting boards, stovetops, kitchen counters and inside the refrigerator, you get it. Then, cut a lemon in half, and use the cut side to scrub the dirt and odors away.