Don’t forget the doormat
Doormats are your best friend when it comes to trapping dirt, so make sure you have two—one outside the house and one inside. This tip is especially helpful in the winter when you have salty and snowy boots going in and out of the house. Just be sure to clean the mats regularly as dirty mats contribute to the mess.
Kill two birds with one stone by doing similar cleaning tasks at the same time. “Clean your baseboards when you are vacuuming or washing floors, clean blinds when you are cleaning windows, etc.,” suggests Becky Rapinchuk, owner of CleanMama.net.
Skip the bucket
Sometimes moving around the mop bucket only makes more of a mess thanks to the dirty water splashing around. Leslie Reichert, founder of The Green Cleaning Coach and author of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, has a bucket-less mopping technique that works wonders: a spray bottle filled with diluted cleaning solution and a microfibre mop.
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Stock up on products
No, a bathroom tile cleaner shouldn’t be used to wipe down your mirrors. “The right products that actually clean go a long way to getting the job done more effectively and efficiently for you,” says McGee.
Buy a soap dispenser dish brush
According to Dana White, founder of A Slob Comes Clean, you can use a soap dispenser dish brush in your shower. “Mark it for the bathroom only with a permanent marker, and fill it with your favourite dish soap,” she says. “Hang it in the shower, and you can scrub the shower while you’re in it anyway. Dish soap does a great job cleaning the bathroom!”
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Vacuum the right way
Rapinchuk recommends first vacuuming a room horizontally and then vertically to get all of the trapped dirt. Most cleaning experts agree that vacuuming slowly is also very important to ensure that vacuum picks up all the dirt particles.
Everyone has a different idea of what “clean” actually means. Some think a sparkling floor is clean, while others are happy with just doing a load of laundry. Beth McGee, author of Get Your House Clean Now: The Home Cleaning Method Anyone Can Master, suggests asking yourself questions like how much stuff do I have and what type of home do I have to determine what clean and organized really means to you.
A pillowcase can be a cleaner
Obviously, you don’t want to use the pillowcase you sleep on every night, but using a pillowcase to clean your ceiling fans is a hack that you need to try ASAP. “The pillowcase holds the dust so it doesn’t fall on a table or bed,” says Reichert. “A very clean way to dust a fan.”
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Create a cleaning plan
We all have those random cleaning bursts, but having a plan beforehand will make your cleaning process smoother. “Cleaning is really like a dance. You start high, work down and around, and carefully observe anything that needs attention,” says McGee. “As you move around, wipe light switches, door frames, baseboards, walls, working in a circle around a room and not back and forth from one thing across the room to another. Don’t get distracted, keep a smooth motion around your home.”
Use your dishwasher
Dishwashers are for so much more than just washing dishes. Reichert recommends using yours to dust off knickknacks like mason jars and glass candle globes. Pretty much anything glass or ceramic should be fine going in the dishwasher, but avoid putting meltable plastics in your dishwasher at all costs.
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DIY cleaning solutions
Want to know the secret to streak-free mirrors and windows? Well, it’s an easy at-home solution you can make yourself. According to Rapinchuk, all you need is:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol
- 3 drops peppermint essential oil
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Clean the toilet daily
If you swish your toilet every day with your cleaning brush, you’ll keep it relatively clean without a ton of hard labour. Use the water already in the toilet to swish the entire toilet bowl. Your bathroom probably gets dirtiest the fastest and is the hardest to clean.
Skip the polish
Of course, you need to polish your wooden furniture and hardwood floors every once in a while (once or twice a year, or when they begin to look foggy), but all you really need to keep them shiny is a dry microfibre cloth. “Your furniture will actually get less dusty without using furniture polish,” says Reichert.
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“[Start] with scrubbing areas such as kitchens and baths, then moving on to de-cluttering, dusting, bedding, and finally floors,” McGee advises. “Look at your home carefully to determine what needs most attention to bring it to your idea of clean.”
Maybe you just found out your in-laws are coming over and you need to quickly tidy up the place—knowing how to speed clean will be your saviour. Make sure you hit the places that are most visible first like kitchen countertops and the bathroom. You can skimp on things like the top of the fridge and behind the coffee maker.
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Purchase a paintbrush
Reichert uses a stiff paintbrush around her furniture to pull the dirt out without having to move all the furniture around. “You are brushing it out away from the furniture so the vacuum can suck it up,” she says.
Originally published as 16 Genius Cleaning Hacks You’ll Want to Steal from Professional House Cleaners on ReadersDigest.com.