Be warned: this post is not for the faint of heart. If you’re the type of person who can live with a few dust bunnies here and there, or a stray crumb or two in the dishwasher, you can probably move on with your day. You’re one of the lucky ones.
But if you’re like so many of us compulsive house cleaners are — the type who can’t allow a smudge on a refrigerator door handle — then keep reading. This article is for you. These tips are designed to make it easier and faster for you to move on to…well, to the next cleaning project on your list.
15. Clean your blinds
It’s easy to neglect your blinds until they’re absolutely grimy. They don’t always see daily use, and it’s easy to miss the dirt and dust collected in their crevices. However, it’s important to clean them. They can harbor allergens or other irritants that will wreak havoc on your allergies or asthma. Health experts recommend dusting your blinds at least once a week, and deep cleaning them twice a year.
To deep clean in less than a minute, simply fill a bucket with white vinegar and water. And if you really want to get them clean and fresh-smelling, you could also add lemon juice or dish detergent. Then grab an old rag or sock — it’s recommended because it allows you more precise movement among the slats. Move the rag along the blinds until they’re sparkling clean. Also remember to dip your cleaning rag in the vinegar solution from time to time so you’re not just pushing dirt across the blinds.
14. Use a hairdryer
Very few households don’t own a hair dryer. This cheap appliance offers a variety of cleaning hacks to speed up your to-do list. You can remove stickers from furniture or glass by blowing hot air on them for several minutes, then gently scrape them off. The same goes for old contact paper, crayons, or spilled wax. The dryer’s heat works to loosen the adhesive.
Water rings on your favorite coffee table? Use your blowdryer to first apply a stream of cool air, then change it to hot. This will help remove the stain while protecting the finish on your furniture. If you have a hard time reaching dirt stuck in a nook or cranny, use the blowdryer as a compressed air system to force the gunk out of hiding.
13. Clean and season a cast iron pan
Who doesn’t love cooking with a cast iron pan? They add a special flavor to any dish, and the iron leached from the pan when cooking provides a much-needed mineral boost to your diet. However, they can be tricky to clean, as most pans can’t be cleaned in the traditional manner. In addition, most pans don’t hold up well against abrasive scraping tools, which can strip the pan’s seasoning.
To effectively clean a cast iron pan without sacrificing the longevity and integrity of the dish, use a sponge or stiff-bristled brush to remove any caked-on goop. It’s best to clean these pans when they’re still hot, and before any debris has been allowed to settle on their surfaces. If there is stuck-on food, scrub the pan with a paste made of coarse kosher salt and hot water. This mixture is abrasive enough to remove the gunk, but you won’t lose the pan’s seasoning.
12. Repurpose new or used dryer sheets
Dryer sheets are awesome. For less than pennies apiece, they make your laundry smell amazing, prevent clings, and soften fabrics. They can also be used — either after they’ve been through the dryer or before — for a variety of cleaning hacks. To remove spots or streaks from soap scum in your shower or tub, wipe a dryer sheet over the affected surface. The sheet’s mild abrasive properties should remove the spots easy.
You can also do double-duty by recycling your used dryer sheets after they’ve been through the drying cycle. After folding your laundry, use the dryer sheets that you would normally toss in the trash to clean your baseboards. Not only will the sheets cling to any dust particles, but your furniture will smell fresh. In fact, some experts recommend leaving sheets around your house or in dresser drawers to keep clothes smelling like they’re just come out of the dryer. They also to repel insects and mice. Win!
11.Deep clean your bathroom with common household supplies
You might have heard your grandmother touting the magical powers of baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. There’s a reason why these items were popular long before chemical cleaners came on the scene. Combining the acidity of vinegar and lemon juice with the abrasive, dissolving qualities of baking soda makes a powerful cleaner that will bust through the toughest stains.
To unclog a drain, pour equal parts of vinegar and baking soda down the hole. It should clear up quickly. You can also remove hard water stains from stainless steel by making a paste out of baking soda and vinegar — add lemon for a fresher smell. After mixing the ingredients, apply the paste and let it sit for at least fifteen minutes. Once it’s settled, you can scrub away the mess. You can also tie a plastic bag filled with the mixture around your faucets. If you have any hard water residue, calcium build up, or lime scale, it will be gone within half an hour.
10. Kill bugs with the magical mix
As you’ve probably guessed, the vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice formula can be used for just about anything. As an added bonus, these household ingredients aren’t toxic to pets or children. This mix can also work well to kill, repel, and prevent any insurgence of insects.
Combine equal parts of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice with warm water and dish detergent, preferably within a large bottle with an attached spray nozzle — such as an old Windex container. Spray the mixture wherever you find bugs around your house — especially around door and window frames, trash cans, and sinks. Leave it there for as long as you’d like — it doesn’t leave a stain but can leave a shiny residue — and watch as pests head for the hills.
9. Deep clean your blender
If you enjoy a daily smoothie or milkshake, you’ll notice that despite your best efforts to clean, it will end up looking scummy over time. If you have hard water, this can contribute to additional gunk build-up. The problem is amplified by the fact that blenders, with their sharp blades and moving parts, are difficult to clean. To prevent painful cuts or damage to the appliance, simply fill the container with hot water and a few teaspoons of dish detergent. You can use the natural magic mix of baking soda and lemon juice but avoid vinegar, which can leave behind an odd taste. Turn the blender on “mix” mode for thirty seconds, and let the water work wonders at cleaning the blades and parts. No scrubbing required!
8. Microwave your sponge
This tip kills multiple birds with one stone—or should we say multiple germs with one zap? If your sponge has become a bit grimy over time, first of all, let’s say it never hurts to simply throw it out. However, if you don’t have time to run to the store or simply want to extend its life, pop it in the microwave. But first, pour a mixture of lemon juice and water into a mug — about half full — and insert the sponge inside.
Then, microwave on high for about 30 seconds, long enough to make the water steam. Upon opening the door, you’ll find that all of the gunk inside your microwave has loosened up. Use the sponge to wipe your microwave surfaces clean—no scrubbing required. As an added bonus, your microwave will smell great for the next few days.
7. Sanitize your washing machine
You wouldn’t think that a machine whose primary job is to clean would need cleaning, too, would you? Over time, a washing machine takes quite a beating. A dirty washing machine will start to release some pretty foul-smelling odors, and will fail to clean your clothes as well as it used to. Front-loading machines are particularly infamous for this. Because they have rubber gaskets that prevent water from leaking out, bits of dirt and mildew can become trapped in that space.
To clean, simply pour two cups of — you guessed it — white vinegar into the machine and let it run. The acidity of the vinegar should remove any lingering odors or mildew. If any stains or hard water buildup remains after running the cycle, you can scrub it out using a good old fashioned sponge or squeegee.
6. Power through crusty dish stains
Got a little distracted while cooking your famous alfredo sauce last night? Never fear. It’s easy to get rid of burned or built-up gunk in a pan.
First, let the pan soak in hot water and soap overnight. This will help to remove the majority of build-up without a lot of effort. If that doesn’t work, or if the residue is more of a scorched, blackened nature, add water to the pan and let it boil uncovered for five minutes or so on the stove. The steam can help loosen the grime on the inside of the pan.
If that still doesn’t work, try soaking a mixture of baking soda and vinegar in the pan overnight. It should loosen up any remaining residue, and while you wait you can clean your dishwasher!
5. Achieve maximum dishwasher efficiency
As with a washing machine, it seems counterintuitive to clean a machine that is supposed to do all the cleaning. However, as hardworking as dishwashers might be — especially if you use high-efficiency detergent, as recommended — every now and then they need a little TLC to keep up the good work.
To clean a dishwasher, run a hot cycle with one cup of vinegar and one cup of baking soda on the top rack. This will help circulate a powerful cleaning solution throughout the entire machine and eliminate any nasty odors or stains. Make sure you clean your filter regularly by removing it, soaking it in vinegar and baking soda, and scrubbing away any remaining gunk with an old toothbrush or scrubbing pad.
4. …and then reload that thing to your heart’s content!
But here’s the caveat: be smart about it. A dishwasher only works as well as you are able to load it. Make sure you rinse dishes thoroughly before placing them in the dishwasher. You don’t need to scrub them or pretreat — unless there’s some truly scary-looking buildup — but you do need to make sure you at least wipe some of the food particles off.
Otherwise, you’ll find that you need to clean your filter much more often, and it could also cause mechanical problems. Wash your dishwasher at least once a month, and be sure to clean the filter even more often. The more you perform this quick and easy maintenance, the better your dishwasher will be at cleaning up your worst messes.
3. Use your cleaned dishwasher to wash unusual items
Did you know that the dishwasher can wash a myriad of items besides just dishes? When loading your dishwasher, there are a few basic rules to follow to ensure maximum productivity. It will make cleaning easier on the dishwasher, and unloading easier on you!
Place like items together, including silverware in the basket. If you have items that tend to move around a lot while being washed — such as Tupperware lids or measuring cups — you can group them together in a small mesh bag.
Did you know you can also wash household items in the dishwasher? Refresh a sweaty baseball cap by tossing it in on a cold cycle — and don’t heat dry. You can wash children’s toys, makeup brushes, and cleaning tools in the machine as well!
2. Grab a lint roller for your finishing touches
You already know that lint rollers are great for removing pet hair and fuzz balls from your clothes. But did you know that they can also be used to tidy up around the house?
Drag a lint roller across couches, tables, lamp shades, and other furniture to pick up stray crumbs and dust. If you happen to drop a piece of glass on the floor, a lint roller also does an excellent job of picking up stray shards — just make sure you change out the glass-covered tape afterwards.
Lint rollers can also clean up pine needles, down feathers, grass, glitter, confetti and other small debris on hard-to-clean areas like rugs and finely-woven carpets.
1. And finally, clean your screen!
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re doing so on your smartphone. When was the last time you cleaned it? Smartphones can harbor nasty germs from every germ-collecting spot imaginable — from the bathroom to the kitchen counter to that sticky bar you went to Saturday night. Plus, you poke at your touchscreen all the time.
It’s important to keep your phone sparkling. Germs that build up on the screen and case can cause all sort of health problems, including colds, the flu, and acne. To clean, first make sure that you turn off the device. You don’t have to remove the battery, but it doesn’t hurt. Wipe the screen with a clean microfiber cloth dampened with cleaning solution or a water and vinegar mixture. Wait until the phone is dry before turning it back on. You’ll be back to sharing these awesome cleaning tips with all of your friends in no time!