Give Your Microwave a Steam Bath
Splashes and splatters in the microwave can get baked onto the interior surface, making it a time consuming task to clean this household appliance. Make it easier on yourself by boiling a cup of water in the microwave first. That will create a mini steam bath that will soften stuck on food, allowing for faster clean-up
Vacuum Window Treatments
Purge Pet Hair with Rubber Gloves
It takes a long time to vacuum all of those tiny pet hairs off upholstery—and even then, there are always some left behind. Put on a pair of rubber gloves instead, and wipe your hands over the surfaces of your couches and chairs. The fur will ball up, and you can easily pick it up to throw it away.
Related: 3 Fixes for Fur-Covered Furniture
Invest in a Microfiber Mop
Dust the Ceiling Fan with a Pillowcase
Cleaning the blades of a ceiling fan is a yucky job, but it has to be done. Do it fast, and keep the dust and grime controlled by using a pillow case as the cleaning rag and the dust bin at once. Slide the case over each blade in turn. When you pull it back, all the dust and debris will fall into the pillow case, instead of on the floor.
Vacuum Blinds and Pleated Shades
The tedious work of cleaning dusty blinds and pleated shades cuts into time that could be spent on other chores. Instead of cleaning them by hand, save on time by employing the long bristle attachment on your vacuum to suck up dust and dirt quickly.
Put Your Shower Curtain in the Washing Machine
No more scrubbing down a mildewy shower curtain liner with bleach. Save yourself the effort by simply throwing it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Add in a few towels, and it will come out free of soap scum and mold, with almost no effort from you.
Drop Denture Tablets in the Toilet
Clean the Dishwasher with Vinegar
Don't laugh: Even your dishwasher needs a good cleaning periodically. Soap residue, food scraps, and build up can dirty your appliance over time, eventually compromising its efficiency. You can restore its cleaning power by giving it a wash—but you don’t need to make a big deal out of it. Place a dishwasher safe cup of vinegar on the top rack and run it through on the hottest water setting. When you return, your dishwasher will be squeaky clean.
Give Your Oven Racks a Bath
Soaking baking dishes is a great way to remove grease and grime without lifting a finger. The same goes for your oven racks. Give them an overnight soak in the bathtub, after first laying a towel down to protect your enamel from scratches. Lay your oven racks on top, fill the tub with the hottest water you can, and swish in some laundry detergent. Call it a night, and then go to bed. When you wake up, the grease will have dissolved, and all you need to do is rinse and dry.
Bag Your Burners and Grates
Stove burners and grates see a lot of abuse. Cooking spills, grease splatters, and the inevitable dust that collects in corners and crevices make these fixtures hard to clean. Make it easy by popping each grate into a ziplock bag with about 1/2 cup of ammonia. Seal it completely and let it sit overnight. In the morning, your job is done for you.
Hose Your Windows Down
Cleaning the windows doesn't need to involve ladders and miles of paper towels. Outdoor window washers are now available that attach to your hose. These cleaners have a sheeting action that causes water (and grime) to roll right down the glass, letting you skip drying them by hand. For less than $20, you can save a lot of effort.
Run Your Shower Head Through the Dishwasher
Shower heads that have collected a nasty assortment of mineral deposits and mildew should be cleaned, both for freshness and function. If yours is detachable, run it through the dishwasher in the top rack. Same goes for drain plugs that have gotten gunky. Just be sure to remove any hair that might be tangled in them first.
Clean Your Coffee Maker with Vinegar
If you’re a regular coffee drinker, the coffee maker—not just the pot—needs to be cleaned every once in a while. It's easier than it seems. After you’ve made your morning cip, empty the coffee maker, and pour vinegar into the water reservoir. Hit the “brew” button and go about your business. When it’s finished, run fresh water through it before making your next pot of coffee.
Apply Canned Air to Your Keyboard
The computer keyboard might not be the first thing you think to spring clean, but it really does need it—and probably more than once a year. Rather than breaking out a toothbrush to clean between keys, get a can of compressed air, and blow out the dust and dirt. It’ll take about 30 seconds, and you’ll be amazed by how many crumbs fly out.
Related: 15 Ways to Fake a Clean House
Dust with Your Old Socks
As effective as microfiber cloths are for cleaning, they can actually slow down your cleaning routine. Next time, try this trick instead. Put on old sock on one arm and carry your dusting spray in the other. Then give every surface the old one-two! Turn the sock as it gets dirty. You’ll be finished in half the time!
Use a Lint Roller on Your Lampshade
Lampshades are not as easy to clean as we’d like. Dust and lint wants to stick to them despite the best efforts of vacuum attachments and brushing them down with your usual dusting cloth, rather than lifting the dirt, rubs it into the shade. Instead of a regular duster, grab a lint roller to clean your lampshades. It will quickly pick up all sorts of hair and dust that even your vacuum can miss.
Give Your Window Screens a Shower
Winter's stale indoor air can finally be banished simply by opening a window in warm spring weather. But if you don't clean your window screens, that fresh breeze could blow accumulated dust and debris into the house. Remove the screens and stand them in the tub on top of a towel. Wet them down with warm water and then spray them with a degreaser. Then gently scrub away any grime and dirt, and rinse them. Tap them to remove excess water and let them air dry before replacing them.
Polish Your Grout
If you’re pressed for time before company arrives, you can freshen up embarrassing, dirty grout with white shoe polish. It’ll cover any darkness, and keep it looking good for a couple of weeks. Then, when you have time, you can get down and dirty by spraying it with a strong bleach solution or scrubbing it with a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixture.
Let Your Garbage Disposal Clean Itself
Your garbage disposal can get funky after a long winter of washing up home cooked meals. Quickly clean and freshen it by pouring a couple cups of ice into it along with a lemon cut in half. Run it with cold water for about a minute. The ice will sharpen the blades, and the acid in the lemon will cut through grease, while giving it a fresh citrusy smell.
Related: 12 Ways to Clean House with Citrus
Clean Your Carpets with Baking Soda
If your carpets are smelly after a winter cooped up with pets and people, you can freshen them without renting a steam cleaner. Just sprinkle baking soda on them and let it sit for about 15 minutes before vacuuming it up. It will absorb odors as well as any commercial carpet powder.
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.