Everyone hates getting bogged down with life’s little details. And guess what? You don’t have to! In our new weekly series, “Home Hacks: Real Estate Made Easy,” we’ll show you a slew of genius shortcuts that can save time and money, and streamline whatever task you need to tackle.
With spring cleaning upon us, we kick off the series with housecleaning hacks for people who hate cleaning their house. Let’s face it, this is everyone.
1. Use old socks to clean blinds
Blinds often have multiple sides and shapes, so they can sometimes be a hassle to clean.
“But with this simple hack, they don’t have to be,” says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer of Maryland’s the Cleaning Authority.
Simply use a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to dampen an old sock, and then swipe the damp sock over each section of the blinds. Embedded dust and dirt will come right off!
2. Dust electronics with coffee filters
“Coffee filters are perfect for cleaning dust from TV screens, computer monitors, and any other screens around the home, without leaving behind any fibers like towels do,” says Stapf.
You can also clean windows without leaving streaks—just clean them with a coffee filter instead of paper towels, says Larry Patterson, franchisee of the Glass Doctor in Dallas.
3. Clean your ceiling fan with a pillowcase
Instead of using a rag to clean your ceiling fan, which usually results in dust falling onto your furniture and floors, use an old pillowcase.
“Slip the fan blades inside the pillowcase, and then wipe each blade one at a time,” says Stapf. Then just throw the dirty pillowcase into the washing machine.
Here’s more on how to clean a ceiling fan.
4. Use dryer sheets to clean everything
Apparently dryer sheets have many uses beyond the laundry room. Run a dryer sheet along your baseboards to remove dirt and repel dust. Clean lampshades with dryer sheets as they pull away dust and prevent static cling, which equals less dust in the future. And add a dryer sheet to the bottom of your trash can to absorb odors and leaks.
“Dryer sheets, either used or unused, are also the easiest way to break down soap scum,” says Kathy St.Croix, president of Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Greater Syracuse, NY. Simply scrub fixtures with a sheet, and see results immediately.
5. Steam clean your microwave
Everyone hates cleaning the microwave. Instead of scrubbing it down, try putting a bowl with lemon juice and water in the appliance. Microwave on high power for three minutes, and allow it to sit for five more minutes.
“The steam will loosen any food remnants and banish odors, too,” says Stapf. A couple of easy wipes inside and you’ll have a clean microwave with a lemony scent.
6. Grab pet hair with rubber gloves
When your standard vacuum can’t suck up all of your pet’s hair, rubber gloves will get the job done.
“Just slide them on and rub down any areas that need extra cleaning,” says Stapf.
When rubbed against fabric, the glove generates static electricity, which causes pet hair and lint to stick to it. Rinse the gloves under running water when you’re done, and the hair will come off.
7. Clean with vinegar (and save big)
Distilled white vinegar is one of the most popular, eco-friendly, and versatile cleaning staples around due to its acidity. Plus, it’s cheap so you will save tons of money on cleaning supplies, says Abe Navas, the general manager of Emily’s Maids, a housecleaning service in Dallas.
And according to Stapf, you can use it in the following ways:
- Shower: Wipe your shower doors with vinegar to prevent soap scum and buildup.
- Kitchen and bathroom drains: To help keep drains clog-free, pour a cup of distilled white vinegar down every two weeks. Allow it to sit for a half-hour, and then run cold water to flush it out.
- Tile surfaces: Mix a half-cup of distilled white vinegar and a half-gallon of warm water. Use it to clean all tile surfaces.
Check out these 28 uses for white vinegar around the house.
8. Polish bathroom fixtures with baby oil
Do you have dull bathtub, shower, and sink fixtures? No problem.
“Get a paper towel and some baby oil,” says Gary Downing, a green cleaning expert and owner of New York’s Happy Cleaning. “Put a dab of the liquid on the towel, then wipe it on the faucet. You’ll see it shine!”
9. Let your dishwasher do double duty
“If you only use your dishwasher to clean dishes, you aren’t using it to its full potential,” says Stapf.
Take a look at this list of things you can safely wash in the dishwasher, and put it to work:
- Rubber flip-flops and baseball caps
- Makeup brushes
- Nonelectrical plastic and rubber kids’ toys
- Hairbrushes and combs
- Plastic and metal garden tools
- Refrigerator shelves
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