It may feel great to see your home looking neat and clean, but getting it that way isn't always a particularly enjoyable process. Whether you're spending hours scrubbing your tub or find yourself putting off giving those appliances the deep-cleaning they deserve, investing a significant amount of time ridding your home of messes that are bound to eventually return simply isn't an appealing prospect. However, armed with a little know-how, you can get your home squeaky-clean in less time than you ever imagined possible. To help, we've consulted top cleaning experts who've shared their best tips for cutting your cleaning time in half. And for more great ways to keep your home spotless, check out these 33 Mind-Blowing Old-Fashioned Cleaning Tips That Actually Work.
Clean your blinds with a sock.
Finding that your traditional feather duster isn't removing enough of the dust on your blinds? Break out a sock that's lost its match in the laundry to get the job done instead.
"To clean blinds efficiently, wear an old sock over your hand and use it to wipe down the dust from each blind slat with one sweep motion," suggests Iary Dell'Elce, operations manager at cleaning company TidyChoice. And if you want to make your home safer while you neaten up, check out these 23 Cleaning Tips From the CDC You Need to Follow.
Pick up pet hair with rubber gloves.
Lint rollers have their place, but if you want to remove pet fur that's embedded in your upholstery, there's a better way.
"A quick and easy method to remove hair is by rubbing a rubber glove over the area to create friction," says Dell'Elce. "Hair sticks to the rubber glove and can be removed."
Get lint off surfaces with coffee filters.
If paper towels have left your mirrors, windows, and glass-topped furniture covered in a fine film of lint, a kitchen staple can help pick up what they've left behind.
"Coffee filters and old cotton t-shirts work well to remove remaining lint," says Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly company. Want to keep your home cleaner? Start with these 20 Things in Your Home You Didn't Realize You Should Be Cleaning.
Use rubbing alcohol to remove sticky residue.
If that product claiming to unstick adhesive residue isn't delivering on its promises, try some rubbing alcohol instead.
"A little rubbing alcohol and a bit of elbow grease cuts sticker crud on home windows," explains Roberson. Just give it a scrub and that sticker residue will come right off.
Freshen musty carpets with baking soda.
Having your carpets professionally cleaned can be pricey, but there's an easy solution to keep them looking and smelling great between cleanings.
"Sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet, let it sit for at least an hour, and vacuum it up. Voilà! You have a fresh carpet," says Matt Clayton, founder of Pet Hair Patrol. And if you want to avoid a costly error, check out these 23 Common Cleaning Mistakes That Experts Say Actually Ruin Your Home.
Clean your shower with lime juice.
That tough grime on your shower tiles can be removed easily using a little lime juice.
"It can be used neat or mixed with water, replacing top natural cleaning solutions like white vinegar when removing grime from toilets, showers, tiles, and fixtures," explains bathroom fixture expert Will Tottle, proprietor of Steam Shower Parts.
Use dishwashing liquid to clean glass shower doors.
The liquid rinse aid you use in your dishwasher gets your cups spotless—and it'll do the same for your showers.
"Apply a generous amount to a paper towel. Begin rubbing your glass shower doors with it until all water spots [or] soap scum is removed," says cleaning expert Lisa Van Groningen, founder of Your Mom Village. She recommends using a squeegee to remove any excess product.
Clean a stained tub with a Magic Eraser.
That grimy ring around your tub is no match for a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
"The Magic Eraser will get in the porous surfaces most cleaning towels can't," says Van Groningen, who notes that they work well on shower liners, too.
Get rid of mold with bleach gel.
If your perpetually damp bathroom has developed a bit of a mold problem, don't rush out to buy new cleaning supplies—just use the same gel bleach you use to keep your toilet clean.
"Starting at the top of the shower and grout lines, generously apply the gel and let it drip down," suggests Van Groningen. She says to let the bleach sit for four hours before wiping it away.
Clean your windows when it's shady out.
Finding that your windows are streaky and spotty no matter how often you clean them? Instead of changing up your cleaning products, simply clean your windows when the sun isn't as bright.
"Sun will warm the glass, causing the soap solution to streak," explains Lyle Kvarnlov, product services manager at window company Marvin. Instead, Kvarnlov recommends waiting for shade or darkness to clean your windows and starting on your outer windowpanes before cleaning the inner ones.
And use newspaper to leave them lint-free.
Cleaning your windows with paper towels may leave you with a bigger mess than you bargained for. However, there's a lint-free alternative that you probably have lying around the house.
"Newspaper is a great towel alternative because its dense fiber won't leave behind the tiny strands that towels do," says Kvarnlov.
Sprinkle salt on greasy dishes before washing them.
Instead of keeping those greasy dishes in your sink to soak overnight, add some salt to them before scrubbing them with soap.
"It works well because the salt absorbs the grease and then your washing sponge is not sliding around the dish, spreading around grease," explains cleaning expert Elizabeth Nunes, founder of The Cleaning Mommy.
Dust your fan with a pillowcase.
Instead of using a duster or cloth to clean your ceiling fan, which inevitably leaves the surfaces below it covered in dust and debris, use a pillowcase instead.
"Slip it in between the fan blades and swipe one at a time," suggests Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority. When you're done, "you can then just throw your pillowcase into the washing machine," says Stapf.
Use a knife to clean your air vents.
If you're not cleaning your air vents frequently, dust from inside them is being perpetually recirculated in your home. To make this onerous task a bit easier, use a knife instead of a traditional duster. "Take a small rag and moisten it with some hot water, then wrap the rag around a butter knife to get in between each slat in the vent," recommends Stapf.
Clean your sink with baking soda.
If you want to get your sink spotless, it'll take more than soap.
"Clean out the sink by applying baking soda on a damp cloth, then [wipe] down the sink and counters to help remove any odors or stains," recommends Stapf.
Rinse your plants in the shower.
Plants get dusty like anything else in your house, but their irregular shapes make them especially difficult to clean. Instead of leaving them caked in dust, "just to take the pots to the bathroom and clean them with the shower head," recommends Jane Wilson of Fantastic Cleaners Melbourne.
Remove rust from bathroom fixtures with cola.
Looking for an easy way to get rust off your bathroom fixtures? Look no further than the nearest can of cola.
"When it comes to chrome fixtures, most rust can be removed with light scrubbing from a rag that's been dipped in cola," says Kathy St. Croix, franchise owner and president at Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse.
Use white vinegar to clean your dishwasher.
Sure, your dishwasher gets your dishes clean, but that doesn't mean it's a self-cleaning appliance. If you want to get the inside of your machine spotless, a little vinegar is all it takes.
After removing any visible grime with a soft cloth, "fill a glass or mug with vinegar and place it in the top rack of your empty dishwasher and run the dishwasher through a full cycle," suggests Ron Shimek, president of Mr. Appliance, a Neighborly company.
Or use it to clean your oven.
However, it's not just your dishwasher that vinegar can clean—it's great for removing stuck-on grime from your oven, too. "Just spray the insides with a vinegar-water solution and wipe with a cloth," suggests Wilson.
Deodorize your drain with liquid soap.
If your drain is emitting some less than pleasant odors, getting rid of them doesn't have to mean calling in a professional. To get rid of odors, "carefully pour a few drops of a dishwashing liquid and half a gallon of very hot (but not boiling) water down the drain," suggests Joshua Miller from Rainbow International Restoration.
Once this is done, Miller recommends pouring cold water down the drain to solidify any greasy remnants in your pipes and repeating the process one more time to get it completely clean. And if you want to load up your cleaning arsenal, check out these 20 Genius Products That Make Cleaning So Much Easier.