40 Clever Spring Cleaning Tips You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Dreading your home's annual deep-clean? These spring cleaning tips will make this year's routine a total breeze.

HH Car Wax Stainless steal appliances apply
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40 Smart Spring Cleaning Tips

Make your appliances smudge-free

If you own stainless steel kitchen appliances, you may want to consider using car wax to clean them rather than a surface cleaner. Simply apply a light coat of car wax to the appliance, allow time to dry and buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges. No more kiddy fingerprints on the fridge!

HH disinfect legos in dishwasher
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Run building bricks through the dishwasher

Children’s toys are a breeding ground for germs. A dishwasher makes quick work of disinfecting toys that are washable, like hard plastic building bricks. To quickly clean the bricks:

  • Drop the bricks in a laundry bag to keep them contained on the top rack of the dishwasher
  • Run your dishwasher as usual
  • Remove the the bricks before the drying cycle, letting them air dry completely on a towel

This method also works well for other treasures like seashells, dish brushes, rags and sponges.

Find out more genius dishwasher hacks that’ll make your life so much easier.

HH keep an extra bag in the trashcan
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Keep extra bags in your garbage can

“Taking the garbage out is my least favourite chore because there are so many garbage cans around the house. To make the job a bit easier, I store a roll of garbage bags in each trash can under the bag in use. This way I can quickly a set up another bag the next time I take the garbage out, and there’s no need to make another lap around the house placing bags in each can.” —Chuck Holzer

HH Handy Hint Vacuum cleaner nylons find lost items
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Use a vacuum to find your lost items

Everyone knows how annoying it is when you can’t seem to find a dropped pill or the back of an earring. So how do you find these items quickly and easily? Use your vacuum. Here’s the trick: before you turn the vacuum on, cut off the end of a nylon and secure it on the end of your vacuum hose with a rubber band.

HH Handy Hint broom wide tooth comb dust bunny dustpan hack
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Make a DIY dust bunny broom cleaner

Every time you sweep, clumps of dust and hair collect at the ends of the broom’s bristles. To solve this problem, hot glue a wide-tooth comb to the top of a dustpan. Just run the bristles through the comb to remove any excess gunk dangling from the broom.

Check out our handy spring cleaning checklist to make sure you’ve got every spot covered.

HH Steam clean oven wipe
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A greener oven cleaner

The advantages of traditional oven cleaners are power and speed. But for many of us, the disadvantages outweigh the good, specifically, the corrosive chemicals and caustic fumes that this type of oven cleaning can produce. Well, how do you clean an oven then?

A simple, more natural way for cleaning your oven is to place an oven-safe pot or bowl filled with water inside. Set your oven to 450ºF for 20 to 60 minutes to loosen dirt and grease with the steam. Once your oven is cool, wipe off the condensation and the grease will come with it. If stubborn spots persist, scrub with a paste of baking soda and lemon or vinegar.

This steam-cleaning option doesn’t take as long as pyrolytic cleaning and doesn’t produce smoke, either. It’s a win-win!

Find out the genius trick to clean the glass inside your oven door.

HH zip-tie sink clog
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Got a clogged sink drain? There’s hack for that!

When my bathroom sink gets clogged, I don’t reach for chemicals as a bathroom sink cleaner. Instead, I use a long zip tie. I cut several notches on the zip-tie’s end. It’ll hook the hair clog, allowing you to pull it out. Problem solved. The size of the eye of the zip tie prevented me from inadvertently pushing the tie past the stopper. —Rick Holmen

Here are more brilliant bathroom cleaning tricks that are sure to come in handy.

cleaning blinds with kitchen tongs
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Make your own mini-blind cleaning tongs

Dusting mini-blinds is a pain. It’s difficult to thoroughly wipe both sides of the slats without bending them in the process. A pair of kitchen tongs makes it a lot easier. First, cut a rag into two small pieces. Then use twist ties or rubber bands to secure the rags around the tongs. You can close the tongs around each slat and wipe away the dust. —E. Regaldo

toilet paper roll small cord storage
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Organize small cords with toilet paper rolls

In today’s high-tech homes, keeping track of small cords can be challenging. Rather than tossing them in various drawers throughout your house, where they can get tangled or forgotten, try this simple and inexpensive solution:

  • Find a small box (a shoe box works perfectly)
  • Fill it with as many empty toilet paper rolls that will fit vertically
  • Place a single cord in each toilet paper roll

Next time you need one of your small cords, you’ll know where to find it, and it’ll be free of tangles!

Here are more home organization hacks worth trying.

HH Hair Zip Clean Under Fridge
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Deep clean those hard-to-reach gaps

The space between your fridge and the floor is a magnet for pet hair, dust, food crumbs and other small bits of gunk. And if gone too long without cleaning, it can attract ants and other pests. (Find out the 10 most disgusting house bugs—and how to get rid of them.)

To make this spring cleaning tip less difficult, use a hair trap cleaner (also called a drain cleaning zip tool—a store-bought version of our DIY drain-cleaner above), which sells at home improvement centres for around $5. This hair trap won’t leave scratches on the floor and can reach further than a vacuum cleaner attachment. 

HH Handy hint swiffer floor sweeper dryer sheets
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Use dryer sheets to clean your floors

Don’t throw away used dryer sheets—there’s another use for them. Wrap a couple of dryer sheets onto the flat head of a sweeper. The dryer sheets pick up dust and hair just as well as name-brand sweeper refills. Say goodbye to those dust bunnies!

HH Cleaning with drill brush
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The drill brush

To make this drill brush you’ll need a drill, a washer, a bolt, a long machine screw and a brush head replacement.

  • Start by threading the machine screw through the brush head so the head of the screw rests in the brush head hole
  • On the other side of the brush head, slide on the washer and secure it in place with a nut
  • Make sure to tighten it well with a wrench. Do not over-tighten, as this may cause the plastic brush head to crack
  • Next, attach the scrubber head to the drill

To clean, fill a bowl or bucket with hot water and dish soap (or the cleaning agent of your choice). Dip the power scrubber into the mixture just enough to saturate the bristles and do not submerge the drill! Now simply point and press the drill to start and let the drill brush do the work.

Find out how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

HH Handy Hint toothbrush clean narrow necked containers humming bird feeder
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Clean hard-to-reach spots on oddly shaped containers

If you own a hummingbird feeder or a tall flower vase, you know how difficult it is to clean inside them. A toothbrush is perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach places. So, when your old toothbrush has retired from duty in your mouth, give it a new job!

Here’s how often you should be replacing your toothbrush.

HH message board picture frame
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Assigning chores to others

I’m all for dry-erase message boards for assigning chores to my kids, but they’re usually pretty unattractive. So I make message boards using nice picture frames. To make these message boards, grab a picture frame and some paper. Cut the paper to fit the frame and set it in behind the glass. The glass makes an excellent dry erase surface! —Jessie Dawson

You’ll wish you knew these home improvement hacks sooner.

vacuum tight spots HH
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Vacuum cleaner spout hack

Sometimes you need a little bit of creativity to deep clean hard-to-reach areas. If you have a plastic squeeze top bottle, try fitting the tip onto your vacuum nozzle. If it fits, great, if not, there’s always tape. You’ll have a powerful machine to get rid of dirt and dust in even the tiniest of spaces, like a keyboard, headphone port or for detailing your car.

Find out 13 things should never vacuum.

HH blue painters tape dustpan broken glass
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Sweep up glass safely and efficiently

Anyone who has ever swept the floor with a standard broom and dustpan knows about that annoying line of dust. It’s the line that just won’t disappear no matter how many times you try and sweep it up. To get rid of this stubborn mess, simply tape the front of the dustpan to the floor with blue painters tape, so no residue will be left on the floor. It will seal and cover the gap between the floor and your pan.

This handy hint also works great for sweeping up dangerous items like glass. The dustpan and tape combo will ensure that all of those little glass shards will be in the pan and not on the floor.

Pressed for time? You’ll love these quick spring cleaning tasks you can tackle in 60 seconds or less.

permanent marker HH vegetable oil remover
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Remove permanent marker

Don’t worry—that permanent marker stain on your laminate countertop need not be permanent! Dab some cooking oil onto a paper towel and then lay the paper towel over the stain that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn stain. Finally, remove the towel and rub away the stain in circular motions (with some force) with another paper towel dipped in oil. When the stain is gone, wipe the area clean with soap and water.

These clever household uses for cooking spray can save you time, money and effort.

HH denture cleaning tablets clean coffee thermos
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Clean your coffee mugs once and for all

Got stubborn coffee stains on a pot, vacuum flask or mug? Denture cleaner is the best solution we’ve ever found for these tough stains.

How to remove coffee stains from a mug or thermos:

  • Dissolve one denture cleaning tablet per two cups (500 mL) of hot water
  • Pour it in the stained vessel and let it sit for several hours
  • Use a scrub brush to clean off the stains and all the loosened bits
  • Pour the solution out and rinse thoroughly

Discover the best ways to prevent coffee-stained teeth.

HH Secure Your kitchen towels
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No-slip kitchen towels

Hanging a dish towel from an oven or dishwasher door makes sense. The towel is in a convenient location, and the oven’s warmth quickly gets rid of dampness. However, the one drawback with hanging your towels here is that they are constantly slipping off!

Here’s a way to stop those towels falling to the floor:

  • Fold your towel into its desired form and attach hook-and-loop fastener strips in two spots, one on the front and one on the back
  • Stitch in place, or use fabric iron-on hook-and-loop fastener strips and follow the directions on the packaging
  • Hang your towel from the oven or dishwasher door and match hook-and-loop fastener ends together

Don’t miss these nearly-forgotten cleaning tips from the past.

HH soak burnt pan with dryer sheets
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How to clean a burnt pan

Have you ever cooked something and totally scorched the pan? The burnt remnants seem impossible to clean. Dryer sheets and dish soap to the rescue!

To make it easier to wipe away the burnt-on grime, follow these simple steps:

  • Fill the pan with hot water
  • Add a little dish soap and a couple of dryer sheets
  • Let it sit for an hour and wipe clean with a scrubbing pad

Note: Once you’re done cleaning with the dryer sheet, use soap and water to wash the pan as usual.

Find out how to clean a cast iron pan if you want it to last forever.

HH handy hint soda bottle fly trap apple chunks
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Brilliant DIY indoor fly trap

Wondering how to get rid of annoying flies around your home?

  • Wash a plastic beverage bottle and cut off the top
  • Stick the cut-off top upside-down in the bottle’s bottom
  • Mark a line slightly below the bottle’s spout. This will serve as a “fill to” line
  • Fill with apple chunks (the riper the better) and 2 cups (500 mL) of white vinegar to deter honeybees from the trap
  • Place the cut-off top upside-down in the bottle. Flies can easily get into the wide opening, but it’s difficult for them to get back out

Note: The better the bait, the more effective these fly traps will be. Any type of decomposing fruit or vegetable will work, too. Try different ingredients to see what’s most effective in your house. Because you are using rotting food to attract and trap the flies, make sure to place the homemade fly trap in a place where the smell won’t bother you or the neighbours.

Here’s how to get rid of fungus gnats in your houseplants.

sock to clean window blinds HH
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Use soft socks to clean blinds

No need for a special tool to give your window blinds a deep cleaning, just slip a soft (and clean!) sock onto your hand. Your hand is the perfect tool for wiping over, through and under the blinds to get every nook and cranny that collects dust. Spray a bit of all-purpose cleaner onto the sock for added disinfecting umph.

Find out which surfaces you should never clean with vinegar.

HH Handy hint garbage can deodorizer borax
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Garbage can deodorizer

Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring substance and is an ingredient in many household cleaning products. If you have a smelly garbage can, deodorize it with equal parts borax and water. For our small garbage can, we used ½ cup (125mL) of water and ½ cup (125mL) of borax. Let it soak and then rinse it out. Sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it’s dry, to keep bugs away and to absorb any future odour-causing moisture.

Discover more clever tricks to get rid of household odours.

HH clean sneakers with a toothbrush and toothpaste white
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Your shoes will look brand new

All you need is an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to get your old sneakers looking like new! Non-gel white toothpaste works great for cleaning white-soled sneakers (coloured toothpaste may stain rather than clean sneakers). Apply toothpaste to an old toothbrush and then work the paste into the dirty spots. Leave the toothpaste on the shoes for about ten minutes, and then wipe it off with a damp towel. Repeat the process if necessary.

Important: The ingredients in toothpaste may vary from brand to brand, so make sure to try this method on a small unnoticeable spot on your sneakers before applying it to the rest of the shoe.

HH ice remove gum stuck in carpet
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How to remove gum from carpet

When gum freezes, it gets brittle and easily breaks apart. So, if you have gum stuck in your carpet, freeze it to remove it quickly and neatly:

  • Place a sandwich bag filled with ice cubes on top of the gum and wait about a half hour
  • When the gum is frozen, break it apart and pull it out of the carpet. No trace left behind

Here are more cool uses for ice cubes all around the house.

HH Handy Hint DIY dish scrubber mason jar
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DIY Mason jar dish scrubber

If you’re all about ease and convenience when it comes to washing the dishes, check out this DIY Mason jar dish scrubber. It even has a soap-dispensing handle. First, punch a few nail holes in the jar’s lid. Trace the lid onto a sponge and cut it out. Hot glue the sponge to the inner rim of the screw-on part of the lid. Fill the jar with soap, screw on the sponge and you’re set!

Find out how dishwasher tablets can help you clean your oven.

HH Handy Hint fog free mirror car wax
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Fog-free mirrors 

Prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up after a hot shower with car wax. Apply a small amount of car wax to the mirror, let it dry, then buff with a soft, dry cloth.

HH Tension rod organize under sink
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Organize cleaning supplies

It can be difficult to keep spray bottles and other cleaning supplies from falling over and making a mess under your kitchen sink. To keep your cleaning supplies upright, hang them from a short tension rod inside your cabinet. Another clever idea is to slide a paper towel roll through the tension rod for easy access and is also a great place to hang dish-drying towels and rubber cleaning gloves.

These awesome organizing shows on Netflix will inspire you to declutter now!

HH Walnut fixes scratched wood
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Heal wood furniture naturally

Wood furniture gets beat up over time, but you don’t have to live with the unsightly scratches. In fact, you can remove years of damage with a simple snack food: walnuts.

Simply rub a walnut over a scratch in wood several times. Then, with your fingers rub the scratched area. This will help the wood absorb the oil from the nut. Lastly, use a soft cloth to buff the area. Now the scratch is sealed and gone! This handy hint works on light scratches and not deep gouges in wood.

Don’t miss this expert advice on how to repair scratched car paint.

HH vacuuming up baking soda from upholstery
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Clean upholstery with baking soda

Use this handy hint if there’s a funky smell lurking in your couch or upholstered chair: Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odours and break up some light stains in the fabric.

After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda—and the funky smell—with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum.

Check out 20 more brilliant baking soda uses beyond the fridge.

Painted Carpet
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Spilled paint on your carpet? Don’t panic!

I used to think dropping a loaded paintbrush on the carpet meant replacing the carpet until a former foreman told me this little spring cleaning tip. Pour some denatured alcohol onto a rag and scrub away the paint. Use a rag that is as close in colour to the carpet, as the alcohol can transfer some of the rag’s colour to the carpet. –Tom Gerdowsky

Find out the best homemade carpet cleaners for every kind of stain.

Remove Crayon Marks From Wall HH
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Remove crayon marks from walls

Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They will come off with a minimal amount of effort, giving your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas.

Discover 25 more cleaning hacks for hard-to-remove stuff.

Lampshade Lint Roller HH
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Lampshade lint roller

Fabric lampshades are magnets for dust and pet hair. You can’t just throw them in the washing machine, so what do you do? We’ve found that a lint roller works really well. Be careful though, as lampshades are fragile and can even become brittle. A torn lampshade is worse than a dirty one.

Here’s expert advice on how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.

HH painters tape furnace filter pull tab
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Furnace filter grip

“Furnace filters are often hard to get hold of. Before installing them, I make a ‘grip tab’ on the corner to make them easy to pull out and replace.” —Bill Williams

Don’t miss these handy aluminum foil hacks.

HH Handy Hint reuse vacuum cleaner bag stapler
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An emergency vacuum bag

“In a pinch, a vacuum cleaner bag is actually reusable. The bottom end of the bag is usually folded over a few times and glued shut. To reuse a bag, unroll its end, being careful not to tear it, and then empty the contents into the trash. Refold the end and staple it back together. This hint definitely deserves a cheapskate award, but it works when you need it to.” —Travis Larson

Here are 50 more money-saving ways to repurpose common household items.

Easy Drawer Organizer HH
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Easy DIY drawer organizer

My kitchen drawers used to be an absolute wreck; pans and dishes crammed in however they’d fit. And nearly every time I needed something, it was always at the bottom of the drawer. My solution was to cut a piece of 1/8-inch pegboard to the size of the drawer bottom and attach dowels using screws from underneath. Now my pans are organized and easy to access. The 10 minutes it took to build was easily made up for with how much frustration it has saved me. — David Taylor

Find out the kitchen organizing mistakes everyone makes.

FH19MAY_594_08_044-1200 remove grease HH
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One wash cycle away from a new shirt

Being a self-confessed klutz, I’ve needed to learn how to treat clothing stains. For a grease stain, I turn to white chalk. Just rub the chalk on the stain and the chalk powder absorbs and lifts out the grease, so it’ll come out in the wash. –Jean Reeves

These brilliant laundry hacks make garment care a total breeze.

HH Handy hint ice cubes wrinkle remover dryer
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Get wrinkles out of your laundry with zero effort

Ditch the time-consuming iron or handheld steamer to get wrinkles out of a shirt or slacks. Throw a few ice cubes or a wet washcloth in the dryer with your wrinkled clothes. As the ice melts and the water turns to steam, it will remove the wrinkles. This trick isn’t as effective with heavier clothing but is a miracle for lighter fabrics. The best part is that you don’t have to set the dryer for longer than 10 minutes for it to work.

Here’s why you need to clean your washing machine filter (and where to find it).

dry erase board permanent marker handy hint HH
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Erase permanent marker on a dry erase board

Who hasn’t accidentally written on a white board with a permanent marker? Luckily, it’s easier to remove than you think. Simply draw over your permanent marker artwork with a dry erase marker, and then wipe the marks away with an eraser or dry cloth. Your dry erase board will be good as new!

Got a chalk marker handy? Try this clever hack and you’ll never miss another oil change.

vacuum cleaner gift wrap tube extension handy hints HH
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Simple DIY vacuum extension

To make it easier to clean hard-to-reach spots, use a leftover wrapping paper tube as a vacuum cleaner extension.

All you have to do is attach the detail accessory that comes with a vacuum cleaner to the end of the hose extension. Next, fasten the wrapping paper tube over this attachment. And for more suction, you can tape it to the end to the hose. You can also fold the other end of the tube for an “edge” like a hose.

Discover more dollar store solutions for life’s little dilemmas.

HH carpet padding to make plush rug
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Add an underpad

Want to make any rug feel extra plush and luxurious? Add a layer of carpet padding underneath your rug—it’s thicker and cheaper than a typical rug pad. The next time you’re standing at the sink facing a tower of dishes that need washing, your feet will thank you.

Next, check out 13 cleaning hacks that take the hassle out of housekeeping.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

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