Hack Your Way Through Household Chores
Struggling to find the motivation to get all your chores done? Well, you might want to sit down for this news: You can get it all done hardly using any energy at all, and without sacrificing any of your home's cleanliness. We've searched high and low for time-tested tricks to help you half your cleaning time.
If you think that removing hard water stains require expensive, chemical-filled cleaners, think again. It requires as little as half a lemon! Just rub a wedge over water-stained chrome fixtures, and the citric acid will cut through rust and stains in no time. While you're at it, head back into the kitchen for another unlikely stain fix: A sheet of wax paper worked over your clean fixtures helps repel water and stains.
Easy Microwave Clean-Up
Skip hours of scrubbing cooked-on food from your microwave walls by nuking a microwave-safe bowl filled with water and lemon slices. When you bring it to a boil, the water and steam loosens gunk and grime, making clean up as simple as wiping down the interior. (Now's a great time to pick up a microwave cover to prevent future messes.)
Related: 20 Clever Household Uses for Lemons
Wash Your Liner
Did you know you could wash your shower liner? Most people don't, but it's a great way to save money and quickly clean an item you would normally have to replace. Simply toss in the wash with a few soiled towels, and add a half-cup of baking soda in with your normal amount of detergent; then, at the rinse cycle, dump in a half-cup of vinegar. Hang to dry.
Shelve the Mess
Tired of scrubbing food residue off your fridge shelves? Try this quick hack and save your future self some time: Line your shelves with plastic wrap. If there's a spill, just peel away the mess!
No-Stress Clothes Press
Ironing can be a real chore, but you don't have to break out the ironing board every time you want a neatly pressed outfit. Instead, take the day's laundry with you when you take a shower, and hang up a few items of clothing on the curtain rod opposite from the shower head. The steam from your soak will eliminate wrinkles—and free up your time!
Related: 9 Smart Hacks for Laundry Day
Save valuable time on laundry day by investing in a hamper with multiple sections. This heavy-duty laundry sorter from Amazon comes complete with four separate sections, each able to hold one load of laundry. Now you can easily sort all your colors into the appropriate piles as soon as you toss them in the hamper!
Double Up on Dishwasher Duty
Ah, the beauty of a machine you can set to clean and forget about. But if you're using your dishwasher solely for cleaning dishes and silverware, you're definitely not getting the most out of your appliance. Your dishwasher can actually sanitize and shine almost anything that won't melt in super high temperatures. So, between loads of cookware, consider throwing in a few old, dirty sneakers in the mix, and watch them magically look brand new again.
Dryer Sheet Dusting
Cleaning those hard-to-reach areas on a regular basis can be a hassle. So when you get around to it, use a dryer sheet to wipe down blinds, fan blades, and any other areas where dust builds up frequently. Not only will the dryer sheets knock the dust off pretty much any surface, but the chemicals will also help repel dust so you can go longer between cleanings.
Wax On, Wax Off
It's a fact of life in many homes: The surfaces not seen every day are the likeliest to accumulate dust, dirt, and grime. The tops of armoires, bookcases, and upper kitchen cabinets are prime examples of out-of-sight areas with a tendency to get pretty filthy. In these spots, lay down some wax paper. Now, instead of cleaning by hand, you can simply remove the wax paper (along with the gunk it's collected) and put down a fresh sheet—no fuss!
Plop Plop, Fizz Fizz
With minimal effort, you can clean your toilet in three minutes, tops. The key is an unlikely (though surprisingly effective) addition to your arsenal of cleaning supplies—Alka-Seltzer (which you can pick up from Target). Drop two tablets into the toilet bowl, then walk away, leaving the acidic effervescence to work its mysterious magic. When you return, it should only take a few swipes with the toilet brush to restore the porcelain to its pristine state. Flush, and you're all done.
Related: 9 Surprising Uses for Alka-Seltzer
Show Off Your Silver
When you've invited over guests and want to use the good silver, keep it simple: Only wipe up the utensils you'll use (not the full set!). Skip a creamy polish and simplify things by using silver wipes (available on Amazon)—they'll remove tarnish almost effortlessly.
Make Messy Dishes Easier
Loathe to wash dishes by hand, but not fortunate enough to have a dishwasher? Fill kitchen sink with hot water and dish soap when you start cooking, then move pots and pans as you empty them from stove to soak during dinner—they'll be much easier to clean afterward. Then, prop a tablet into the kitchen and and bring up Netflix to make your chore pass quickly.
Line the Oven
Crouching over to clean the oven is never a fun task, especially when it requires extra scrubbing to get rid of dried liquids and food bits. While you can’t completely forgo oven cleaning, lining the bottom with oven mats, like these from Amazon, make the job a lot easier. The non-stick, heat-resistant liners will catch any drips or spills, so you no longer have to worry about cleaning off residue from the bottom of the oven. Take them out and wipe them down or toss them in the dishwasher, either way it’s a lot easier than rolling up your sleeves to clean the entire oven.
Related: How To: Clean Any Appliance
Since you’re already in the shower why not do a little cleaning? Keep a sponge filled with soap and squeegee in there, so you can do a quick wipe down. It’ll prevent major soap scum from building up and prolong how often you need to do a deep clean in there.
If last-minute guests leave you short on time to vacuum up after your four-legged friends, try this trick: Slip on a pair of rubber cleaning gloves, wet them lightly, then rub your hands over couches, blankets, or the cat's favorite sunny window seat. The loose fur will come off the upholstery and stick to your gloves!
Clean the Machine
Even though detergent runs through the washing machine on a regular basis, it still needs its own occasional cleaning to prevent odors. Luckily, you don’t have to put much elbow grease into it: Run the empty machine on a hot-water cycle with bleach added to the detergent drawer. When the cycle is finished leave the door open to allow it dry completely. If you’re still smelling something funky, you might have mildew hiding in the machine. While that requires a bit more cleaning, you can learn how to get rid of it here.
Fake It Til You Make It
Take a Walk
Pull on a pair of your fluffiest socks and take a walk around the house—that’s all you need to do for a quick sweep of the floors. The soft material is a magnet for collecting dust, hair, and crumbs. Of course, if you don’t want to turn your favorite socks into a cleaning supply you can purchase a pair of microfiber slippers from Amazon. The mop-bottoms of the silly slippers are detachable, so you can take them off and throw them in the washing machine.
Clear Your Head
To improve the flow of water in your shower, you need to clean the shower head from time to time. Rather than tediously scrubbing it, you can use a vinegar and water mixture to loosen the scum. Fill a plastic bag with equal parts vinegar and water, then secure it over the shower head making sure that the nozzles are completely submerged. Let it sit for at least an hour before carefully removing it and wiping away any remaining grime.
Roll It Away
You can have a clean home without breaking your back.
Want a cleaner, tidier, more organized home? Sign up for the Clean Sweep newsletter to receive weekly tips, tools, and bright ideas that will help you maximize your next cleaning session.