Interior Cleaning

9 Things You’re Cleaning Way Too Often

Your goal: To keep a clean house. But it may surprise you to discover that there are certain items and spaces in your home that actually don’t require as much washing and scrubbing as you may think. Of course, there’s no such thing as a house that’s too clean, but your time is precious. That’s why we've rounded up 9 things that don’t need to be cleaned as often as you probably clean them. Take some time now to learn where you can cut back, and maybe you'll be able to kick back a little more tomorrow.

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Your Pillows

Sure, your pillowcases need to be washed once every other week. You just strip them and toss them in the wash with the rest of your laundry. But the pillows themselves can go three to six months without being cleaned. When you’re ready to wash them, throw them in the washing machine and tumble dry on low heat. Two to four times a year should do the trick.

Related: How To: Clean Pillows

Your Comforter

You can wash your comforter on same schedule as your pillows. In fact, assuming you don’t have loads and loads of rotating houseguests, it’s fine to wash it just a few times a year. (We’re not talking about your duvet cover, but the actual thick and fluffy blanket that sits within in. You should toss your duvet cover in the wash once or twice a month.)

Related: 13 Lazy Cleaning Tricks for a Spotless Home

Your Smartphone

As tempting as it is to clean your iPhone every day, it’s fairly unnecessary, even with frequent use. Instead, make it a point to wash your hands before tapping away on your touch screen, then clean the phone once a week with an antibacterial wipe. 

Related: No Gimmicks: 6 New Home Technologies That Really Matter

The Oven

Auto-cleaning your oven takes it out of commission for a number of hours. Still, you probably do it about once a month. In fact, your oven really needs a deep clean, whether it’s a full self-cleaning cycle or a manual going-over with oven cleaner, only once every three to four months. Even so, if any food—say, melted cheese or a rogue French fry—drips or drops, wait for the oven to cool and fish it out immediately to avoid that smoky smell and burned-on spills and splatters. 

Related: Clean Faster with 8 Secrets from the Pros

The Pantry

As tempting as it is to reorganize the shelves every time you grocery shop, you need to purge this area of stored food only once every season. Dry and canned goods last a lot longer than you think. Instead, concentrate your cleaning efforts on the refrigerator, where food tends to spoil…and fast.

Related: 14 Instant Fixes for a Total Pantry Makeover

Bath Toys

You don’t want mildew to build up inside your 2-year-old’s favorite squeaky water toy, but that doesn’t mean you have to rinse it out after every bath. Instead, squeeze out any liquid after a toy has been used, then once a month soak the toys in a bucket filled with a gallon of water and a half cup of vinegar. That should do the trick.

Related: 14 Home Essentials You Never Need to Buy Again

Your Books

Every time you dust your living room shelves—maybe every other week—you probably run a paper towel over the spines of your books. Take the pressure off yourself and resolve to give them a good wipe down once every season instead. This will help protect the condition of your library while possibly gaining you a little more time to read!

Related: 9 Things You’re Doing to Make Your Home Dustier

Furniture Slipcovers

How many times have you walked past that slipcover on your living room chair and decided to throw it in the wash with the rest of your load? Well, stop it! Twice a year should be enough, whether the cover is machine washable or dry clean only.

Related: 8 “Zero Dollar” Laundry Room Hacks

Your Towels

Instead of washing them after every use, stretch the lifespan of your towels by using the same one for a week. As long as you hang your towels up so they can properly air-dry without getting mildewed, you shouldn’t have any problems—and in one fell swoop, you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend doing laundry.

Related: 21 Money-Saving Tricks That Every Homeowner Needs to Know