Keeping your home or residence clean and spotless is a task that never truly ends. As such, having a few tips and tricks in your back pocket to help you, especially when you're running low on time or energy, is essential. In this guide, we'll teach you 77 useful tricks for keeping things nice and tidy.
We've split the following tips into sections that have to do with each area of the house to make things easier for you.
The kitchen is one of the most time-intensive areas of the house to clean, between dishes, disinfecting, and keeping things like ovens and refrigerators clean. As such, having a few time and effort-saving tips in your kitchen-cleaning arsenal is essential.
1: Freshen Your Garbage Disposal With Lemons
After a while, every garbage disposal can develop unpleasant odours, especially if you aren't careful to wash away the old food when you're done. If you need a clean-smelling garbage disposal in a jiffy, try putting a few lemon slices (or even rinds, if you just made some lemonade) through the garbage disposal. It'll clean the blades while also making your kitchen smell lemony-fresh.
2: Clean Your Sponge
Sponges, if left to sit while wet, can be one of the stinkiest things in your entire kitchen. Next time you're considering squeezing a few extra days of cleaning out of your sponge, try microwaving it for about thirty seconds. While this won't necessarily make it smell better if you've let it sit for too long, it will kill any bacteria, making it safe to use for longer. However, never try this with a dry sponge, as it can be a fire hazard - wet sponges only!
3: Clean Pans With Dryer Sheets
There are so many uses for used dryer sheets! Instead of throwing them away, consider keeping a few used dryer sheets in your kitchen. Simply fill a grimy pan with water, add a few drops of dish soap, add a dryer sheet, and leave everything to sit overnight. When you're ready to wash the dishes again, any baked-on food and grime will rinse away quickly.
4: Clean Cloudy China With Vinegar
Vinegar is an excellent all-around house cleaner, especially when it comes to cleaning dishes. If you have some cloudy, old glassware and china that could use some sanitization, try soaking it in white vinegar for five minutes (feel free to dilute the vinegar if you're concerned for the finish on your china). This will remove cloudiness, water spots, and other old stains, leaving them looking new.
5: Clean Extra-Stubborn Stains With Baking Soda
Baking soda is just as much of a heavyweight in the kitchen as vinegar, and we don't just mean for cooking either. Baking soda is excellent for tackling old, baked-on stains, and it's a gentle stain remover, too. Best of all, you can use baking soda together with vinegar (or other compounds like dish soap and lemon juice) if you need that extra cleaning punch.
6: Re-Season Cast-Iron Pans
While seasoning your cast-iron pans might not seem like a cleaning task, it's a great way to lighten your load later on. Cast iron pans need to be "seasoned" every so often to keep clean - this means they should be coated in vegetable oil and heated in the oven for at least an hour (after being thoroughly cleaned, of course). After this, your cast iron pans should be thoroughly non-stick once again, making them much easier to clean.
7: Descale Your Coffee Maker
Coffee makers can fall prone to particularly nasty stains and build-up, primarily if you use hard water in it. Cleaning it is easier than you think, though - just turn to our old friend vinegar! Fill the reservoir with a mixture of half-vinegar, half-water, then let the machine run through its usual cycle. Let the coffee sit for at least half an hour to clean the carafe, too. When you're done, run a cycle of clean water through the machine before making your next pot of coffee.
8: Refresh Your Cutting Boards
Cutting boards, over time, can collect stains and odours like nobody's business. Fortunately, it's easy to refresh them with a lemon and some baking soda. Just sprinkle the cutting board with baking soda (or even salt, if that's all you have on hand), then rub half a lemon over it.
9: Freshen Kitchen Cabinets
Over time, kitchen cabinets can become the victims of smoke, grime, and grease just from being a part of your kitchen. To freshen them up, add some dish soap to a spray bottle full of warm water, then liberally spray your cabinets. Wipe any grease and soap away with a damp cloth to finish.
10: Freshen Your Microwave
Microwaves need cleaning from time to time too, and a great way to make this easier is with lemon juice. Just cut a lemon into wedges or halves, then put them in a bowl with a cup of water and a dash of vinegar. Microwave the bowl until the viewing window is steamy, then let everything sit (unpowered) for five minutes. When everything's cool, it should all come off quickly with a damp cloth.
11: Clean Pet Hair With Rubber Gloves
If you're the type who likes to use rubber gloves when you do the dishes, don't take them off right away when you finish! Damp rubber gloves are excellent for collecting errant hairs, especially pet hair. After your dishes are done, take a quick walk through the house and pick up any furballs with ease.
12: Clean Objects With Your Dishwasher
The dishwasher is an incredibly flexible machine. It's not just great for dishes - consider using it to clean things like kids' toys, dog toys and bowls, and anything else that can safely run through the machine. Make sure to choose items that can tolerate high temperatures, and that won't make their way into any troublesome crevices or pipes.
13: Renew Wooden Countertops
Like with cutting boards, lemons paired with salt can renew and refurbish butcher block countertops. Just sprinkle a bit of table salt on the countertop, then scrub it gently with a halved lemon. The salt will disguise any scratches and nicks, while the lemon will refresh the finish and make your kitchen smell beautiful. Let everything sit overnight, then rinse any surfaces with water in the morning.
14: Remove Coffee Stains From Mugs
Coffee stains can be the most disheartening things to see on your favourite mugs. Fortunately, you can usually remove them with some baking soda and a little dish soap. Alternatively, if that doesn't work, a Magic Eraser can sometimes give you the extra power you need, too.
15: Remove Fingerprints From Stainless Steel
Stainless steel appliances may look lovely, but they collect fingerprints like nobody's business. The best way to clean them is with a soft microfiber cloth (or just a soft cloth) and some rubbing alcohol. Finish things off with a tiny drop of olive oil on your cloth if you want them to really shine.
16: Clean Your Stove
Almost fifty per cent of house fires start in the kitchen, so you should never slack on cleaning up your stove (and any heated or flammable surface). In particular, your oven is prone to build-ups of grease and grime. Make sure to clean grates, burners, and even knobs when you can. If soap isn't enough, try leaving them to soak in a plastic bag with a quarter cup of ammonia overnight.
17: Self-Clean Your Blender
Blenders aren't the most manageable appliances to clean - especially the blades! Fortunately, as long as it's not too dirty, you can make your blender clean itself. Just add a bit of dish soap, a bit of baking soda, and some warm water to your blender, let it pulse for a bit, then rinse it thoroughly.
While every bathroom smells gross from time to time, getting a leg up on your bathroom cleaning chores can make your restroom more pleasant for you and your guests.
18: Use a Scrubbing Toilet Cleaner
When you're ready to clean your toilet, bathtub, or sink, resist the urge to reach for an all-purpose cleaner. It's worth it to spend a bit extra on a scrubbing cleaner or clinging gel. You can apply the cleaner, then walk away to tidy up other things while it does its work, improving your efficiency and making your job easier.
19: Restore Your Water Pressure
Restoring your water pressure doesn't have to mean expensive pipework. If you're looking to restore a bit of the water pressure to your shower, all you need to do is grab some more vinegar! Mix half white vinegar and half water in a plastic bag, then secure the bag over your shower with a twist tie or some tape. Leave the whole thing to soak for up to an hour.
20: Unclog Slow Drains
If your drain isn't working as quickly as it used to, consider turning to vinegar and baking soda to take care of it instead of running out for drain cleaner. First, pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain (or as much as you can get), then follow it up with half a cup of vinegar. Make sure to use a towel to cover up the foaming action! After about five minutes have passed, wash everything down the drain, and repeat as needed.
21: Make White Surfaces Sparkle
Everyone knows that bleach is the best way to make white surfaces sparkle. Instead of using straight bleach, though, try mixing ¾ cup of bleach with one gallon of water, then using it to clean all of the bleach-safe surfaces in your bathroom (and kitchen, too). Make sure to always use skin and eye protection with bleach.
22: Shine Mirrors With Coffee Filters
Coffee filters are an excellent, lint-free way to tidy up any reflective surface. While this is great for mirrors, they also work for glass tabletops, windows, and any other hard surface that shows lint easily.
23: Prevent Water Stains With Wax Paper
After you've removed any water stains, try wiping wax paper over your faucets or handles. The wax paper will help the faucets shed water in the future, and it'll help prevent water stains, too.
24: Use Synthetic Soaps
Consider using synthetic soaps in the bathroom and shower. Synthetic soaps are much less likely to leave behind ugly soap scum on your tubs and sinks. Any soap in liquid or gel form, as well as some bar soaps, are synthetic.
25: Clean Grout With a Bleach Pen
If you have white grout between your tiles, try cleaning it with a bleach pen. This makes it look beautiful and white, and the nozzle end of the bleach pen is shaped perfectly for crevices, too!
While the laundry room isn't that big, washers and dryers do require a bit of care to keep running correctly. Not only that, but unwashed clothes piling up to be washed, folded, or put away can be quite the eyesore.
26: Reuse Your Dryer Sheets
Even dryer sheets can find purpose after they've been through your tumble dryer a time or two. If you've got an eye for thriftiness, consider saving a few of these used sheets for other purposes around the house, such as:
- Cleaning water spots from reflective surfaces
- Cleaning baseboards and moulding
- Cleaning toilet rings
Not only will reusing your dryer sheet save you some money, but all the areas you clean with them will smell fresh and clean, too!
27: Clean Water-Based Machines
Any machine that regularly cycles water can harbour bacteria, mould, and mildew if left to sit while wet for too long. More often than not, it's impossible to get deep inside these machines to get at the source, so it's much better to practice prevention instead.
A great way to keep your water-cycling machines, such as your humidifier, washing machine, dishwasher, or air conditioner clean and fresh, is to cycle it through with a cleaning solution that's safe for the device. You can buy pre-made cleaners for dishwashers and washing machines, of course, but natural cleaners like vinegar can do just as well.
Just be careful to let your machine rinse itself thoroughly when you finish, or you might end up with vinegar-scented clothes!
28: Get a Laundry-Friendly Mop
If you've never had a mop head that can go in the washing machine, then you're missing out! If you don't mop very much, this might not be necessary for you, but if you have tile or linoleum floors that you wash regularly, a wash-proof mop can change your life. Instead of wringing all the dirt out and cleaning the mop head by hand, all you need to do is detach it and put it through the washing machine once - then you're done!
29: Fluff Your Pillows
Fluffing up your flat pillows and making them feel (and look) brand-new again is as simple as throwing them into the dryer! If you're not looking to clean them first, they can go right into the tumble dryer with a few tennis balls (the tennis balls will bounce around and "fluff" the pillows for you). If you're looking to get them clean first, run them through the delicate cycle on your washing machine, then put them through an extra rinse cycle after.
30: Soften Rough Towels
Rough towels are the bane of any person just stepping out of a hot, relaxing shower or bath. Fortunately, it's easy to soften them again with a bit of ammonia. Just wash them in scalding water mixed with one cup of ammonia. Make sure to use eye and skin protection when working with ammonia, though.
31: Freshen Your Linen Closet
Like your fridge, your linen closet can be a bed of musty odours if you aren't careful. Unsurprisingly, an open box of baking soda can be just as beneficial for the linen closet as it can be for a refrigerator!
32: Make a Priority Laundry Bin
Sometimes, a big pile of laundry can be too intimidating to tackle when you're not feeling that great. Instead, keep a small basket of "priority" laundry in your laundry room. This way, you won't ever be short on uniforms, underwear, or other essential items!
33: Clean Rugs Regularly
While your rug might not look dirty all the time, rugs and carpets collect dirt much faster than similar hard surfaces. It's always a good idea to vacuum them regularly and take them outside to shake or beat them a few times per year.
34: Wash Sheets Regularly
It's easy to underestimate how important washing your linens is - after all, what harm could one more week without washing do? While they might not look or feel dirty, your sheets are full of allergens and dust and should get washed at least every other week or so.
35: Rotate Your Bedding
A great way to avoid a sheets-free bed is to rotate through several sets. Having a spare set or two ready makes it easier and more convenient to have clean, fresh sheets ready to go when you need them.
Not only floors but also walls, countertops, couches, and other surfaces all need cleaning from time to time. You'll find the best tips for cleaning and sanitizing all the surfaces in your home in this section.
36: Clean Upholstery with Shaving Cream
Don't bother going to the store for a stain-removing pen or steam cleaner when you have a stain that can't go through the washer. Shaving cream is an excellent home remedy for getting the job done, and the chances are that you already have some in your bathroom. Just rub it onto any stains (after testing an inconspicuous area first, of course), do other things for at least half an hour, then blow dry it clean.
37: Keep Microfiber Cloths Handy
Microfiber cloths are an essential tool for cleaning the house - one that professional cleaners always have in their arsenal. Not only are microfiber cleaning cloths ideal for picking up small specks of dust and dirt, but they also make a great washcloth in a pinch.
Microfiber cloths are superior to sponges and washcloths for most forms of cleaning. This is because they dry out more quickly than sponges and can go into the washer like rags. Of course, if you choose to use them dry, they're a great way to polish shiny surfaces like glass.
38: Scrub Tile Floors
Unfortunately, while those bright white tile floors are beautiful, they require a bit more upkeep than other flooring options. To get them clean, you usually have to get down on your hands and knees with a rag or toothbrush. However, this all depends on the type of tiles you have, too; some tiles might hide dirt more easily, so they can get by with a thorough mopping instead of hands-and-knees scrubbing.
39: Get a Disposable Mop
If you have all-wood floors that don't do well with wet mopping, consider getting a mop with disposable mop pads, such as a Swiffer. These mops are great with floors that are more sensitive to heavy cleaners and soaking with water, such as stone and wood floors. However, keep in mind that while these disposable mops are convenient, they tend to be more expensive.
40: Clean Your Keyboards
Everything from remotes to computers come with keyboards, and not all of them are easy to clean. While you should really disassemble your keyboard and clean it from the inside out every so often, you can also take to it with a toothbrush and some diluted vinegar to get at any superficial gunk.
41: Sanitize Your Phone
Your phone touches a lot of surfaces and a lot of hands, and predictably, it can carry many germs! Sanitizing your phone whenever you get the chance is a great idea. The best way to do this is to wipe it down carefully with a germ-killing wipe, but if your phone is waterproof, you can spray it with germ-killing spray.
42: Sanitize Your Wallet
Like your phone, your wallet touches a lot of surfaces and a lot of hands - as do your credit cards! While you can't spray cash with disinfectant spray, consider wiping down your credit cards, purse, and wallet from time to time to keep germs to a minimum.
43: Shine Old Silver
If you have old silver jewellery or utensils sitting around in your house, why not shine them and use them to beautify your home instead of stashing them away in a drawer? All you need to do is dampen the silver, scrub some toothpaste on it, rinse it, and dry it with a clean cloth.
44: Clean Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor furniture, like plastic patio chairs and metal tables, are notorious for quickly building up dirt and mildew. To get them fresh and new again, add a bit of dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water, then scrub down the furniture with a rag or sponge. Afterward, rinse everything with a hose or pressure washer.
45: Clean Your Sneakers
Who doesn't love a bright white pair of sneakers? If your tennis shoes have lost their shine, try going over any scuffs with a Mr Clean Magic Eraser. True to its name, it will "erase" most scuffs and marks.
46: Deodorize Your Sneakers
Once the outsides of your sneakers are clean, try sprinkling some baking soda inside of them to deodorize them a bit. It's great to get in the habit of doing this when you come home from exercising since your shoes might be a bit smelly and sweaty. The baking soda will both help absorb the moisture and remove any lingering odours.
47: Clean Wall Stains
If you can't get those stains off your walls with dryer sheets, vinegar, or baking soda solutions, try using a bit of toothpaste instead. Toothpaste, like baking soda, is mildly abrasive, so it's excellent for removing wall stains (like marker and crayon from adventurous kids) that other solutions might not be able to lift away. Just make sure not to use gel toothpaste for this, as it doesn't have the same abrasion properties.
48: Freshen Plushies and Pillows
If you don't have the time or energy to throw your stuffed animals or pillows into the wash (or if the item is too delicate for it), consider hitting it with a lint roller instead. Lint rollers aren't the most efficient way to clean things, but they're a great way to spruce up the appearance of fabric surfaces when you're on a time crunch.
49: Deodorize With Baking Soda
Baking soda isn't just great for sneakers and cleaning solutions. Baking soda works as a natural deodorizer, and you don't even have to get it wet for it to work correctly. Simply sprinkle it onto any stinky areas of your home, such as dog beds, rugs, and even into your dryer or washing machine, then vacuum it up in fifteen minutes to half an hour.
50: Remove Wood Scuffs
Believe it or not, you most likely already have the cure for wood scuffs hiding in your pantry. Hulled walnuts, because they're so rich in oils, are excellent for revitalizing wood and masking scuffs. Just rub them along any scratches or scuffs. It won't eradicate them, but it's an easy, low-cost way to camouflage them until you can get them repaired.
51: Shine Potted Plants
Because they live in, well, dirt, sometimes potted plants can get a bit dusty and messy. You can use warm water with a drop or two of mild soap to clean dirty plants, then rub a dab of mayonnaise into any prominent leaves to make them extra shiny!
52: Clean Blinds With Socks
If you don't have a dust-catching duster handy, a great way to clean off your blinds is with a sock! Just pull and old sock over your hand, then run it over the slats in your blinds to dust them off. This works even better if you dampen the sock with equal parts of water and vinegar.
53: Remove Grease Stains With Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is also an incredibly versatile cleaner, and it works well to get grease stains out of stubborn fabrics. Mix four parts rubbing alcohol with one part salt, then rub thoroughly into the stain. Let it dry, then vacuum up any remaining residue, and the stain should come out too!
54: Remove Floor Scuffs With a Tennis Ball
One of the easiest ways to get heel scuffs off of your clean floors is with a clean, dry tennis ball. Just rub the fuzzy part of the ball along the scuff mark to remove it quickly. Just be cautious about using dirty or wet tennis balls, as this can add more stains to your floor instead!
Home Maintenance Tips
Keeping your house looking spic and span isn't just about sweeping up dust. Sometimes it involves tinkering with some of the working parts of your home, too. In this section, you'll find the best cleaning tips and tricks to keep things like your plumbing, central air, and electricity running smoothly.
55: Clean Grates and Fans With Compressed Air
Have you ever take the time to clean duct grates and fans with a towel or rag? This approach doesn't reach all of the dust. If you want to have any hope of reaching everything, you would need to remove the grates and wash them by hand, which is a massive time-waster.
Instead, consider using a can of compressed air. These cans are often found in the electronics sections at hardware stores, as they're used to clean computer fans and components, too. Just be prepared for the dust to fly everywhere - you'll probably want a mask for this!
56: Invest in an Air Cleaner
Investing in a small-scale air purifier is a great way to reduce your other cleaning work around the house. While you'll still need to replace the filters in your air conditioner and furnace in addition to the smaller air purifier, you might need to replace them less often. Additionally, an air purifier might make it so you have to dust the surfaces in your home less regularly, too.
57: Pick Up Glass With Bread
Everyone knows that picking up glass with your bare hands is a terrible idea. Of course, sweeping up the glass works for the big pieces, but it's not always sufficient for small shards of glass. Instead, press a piece of bread down over any dangerous areas, and the food will pick up and hold onto any tiny shards.
58: Pick Up Glitter With Play-Doh
If you have enough glitter in your house to make a mess, you probably have some play-doh around, too. Fortunately, all you need to do to pick up this spilt glitter is press a blob of play-doh over top of it. The dough will stick to the glitter and clean it up handily.
59: Ditch Your Carpeting
Carpet is one of the most prominent dust collectors in your entire home. Instead of fighting with it, consider tearing it up and replacing it with tile, wood, or linoleum flooring instead.
60: Invest in Machine-Washable Textiles
The best way to make cleaning the fabrics in your home easier is to buy some that are machine washable in the first place. If you can afford it, consider replacing things like couch pillows, cushion covers, drapes, and more with machine-washable alternatives.
61: Turn the Fans On
Whenever you're dusting in your home, consider turning any central air fans to "on" before you begin. This way, any dust you agitate will be picked up by your home's air filters instead of settling back onto furniture. You can do this with smaller air purifiers, too.
62: Buff Away Heavy Grime
If you've neglected the scum on your shower doors for too long, you may not be able to remove it easily with cleaners. Instead, consider using a buffing machine to polish the scum away.
63: Fill Gaps
Gaps and cracks can be some of the worst dirt and grime collectors in your home. Fill in gaps between counters, cracks between concrete slabs, and grout in between tiles to prevent grime build-up in the future.
64: Keep Shoes Outside
A great way to keep from tracking dirt and grime inside in the first place is to keep shoes outside. Offering inside-only socks or slippers to guests is a great idea, but make sure any outdoor shoes stay in a closet, mudroom, or outside the door.
Tricks to Make Cleaning Fun
Making cleaning fun is the next best way to make it feel like less of a chore. If you're a professional, it's already likely that you enjoy cleaning in some respect, but there's no harm in making things even more enjoyable!
65: Decorate a Cleaning Caddy
A cleaning caddy is a useful tool for any aspiring cleaner, whether at-home or professional. Not only are they convenient for keeping all of your necessary cleaning supplies handy, but you can use them to express yourself, too! Consider decorating your caddy with stickers, markers, paint, or glitter to make it yours. You can even have kids make their own cleaning caddies this way if they want to help!
66: Turn on Some Tunes
Listening to music is one of the best ways to make a long cleaning session more enjoyable! If you have a Bluetooth speaker or a good sound system in your home, you can always put some music on in the background, but if you don't, consider investing in some headphones and a music streaming service. A music streaming service is a great way to listen to music anywhere, so this is great if you're a cleaning professional or tidying up at a friend's house.
67: Invest in Kneepads
Anyone serious about cleaning should have a good pair of knee pads handy. Knee pads make it easy to kneel on the floor to reach difficult places, and they're great for when you have to get down on hands and knees to scrub away at grime. Cleaning is a lot more enjoyable when you're not in pain!
68: Clean as You Go
While it might not precisely be "fun" to clean as you go, it's a lot easier and more efficient to do so. If you clean up every dish after you use it, for example, not only will they be easier to get clean, but it'll mean you won't have a pile of dishes to tackle at the end of the week (and no dried-on food to scrub off, either).
69: Break It Up
If it feels like you have all too much to do and not enough time to do it in, consider breaking things up into smaller tasks. For example, if your whole house needs a once-over clean, try addressing one room each day until the job is all done. Alternatively, if you're on a bit of a time crunch, setting aside just a few minutes to an hour each day to devote to cleaning is a great way to chip away at a big task.
70: Use an Organizer
Organizers, whether for your basement, closet, or silverware drawer, are great solutions for making better use of space, and they can be fun, too! You can't deny that looking at a clean, organized closet is much more satisfying than digging through linens and towels to find what you're looking for.
One of the great things about organizers (as well as other storage solutions like shelves) is that they come in all shapes and sizes, and they're very easy to DIY.
71: Make a DIY Cleaner
Making a do-it-yourself cleaner is a great way to feel better about your home, the environment, and the money you're spending. Not only are DIY cleaners greener, but they're incredibly easy to make, too!
They come in all types, but some of the easiest to make are vinegar-and-water solutions and baking-soda-and-water solutions. Try combining four tablespoons of baking soda with one quart of warm water for a gentle all-around cleaning solution.
72: Organize Loose Items
Loose items are the bane of any tidy house. For free items like hair ties, cotton balls, makeup brushes, pens and pencils, and anything similar, invest in eye-catching, attractive bowls or containers. Not only will these look nice, but they'll keep your loose items out of the way and organized.
73: Don't Forget the Nooks and Crannies
No matter where in your house you're cleaning, don't forget to clean in the smaller cracks and crevices. If you leave grime to build up in these places, not only will they become unsightly, but you'll have an even bigger mess to clean later. By tackling them whenever you clean, they'll be much easier to maintain.
74: Use the Right Tools
The right tools are crucial for a good job. Not only will they make it so the job is done better, but they'll often make the job go faster, too.
If you have other family members, friends, or children who can clean, delegating tasks to them will help things get done several times faster. If not, and you don't have time to clean everything yourself, consider hiring a house cleaner to do part or all of the work.
76: Plan It Out
When all else fails, make a list or plan of when you'll do specific tasks. This way, you can build the rest of your day around the tasks you plan to do, and you can pick up any supplies you need ahead of time, too.
77: Use Your Vacuum
People often forget all of the useful attachments they have for their vacuum cleaners! Vacuums come with all sorts of cleaning heads, such as lint cleaners, blinds-cleaning heads, nozzles for corners, and more. Don't lose or forget about these useful attachments - they can even be fun!