42 home cleaning hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner

|
42 home cleaning hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner
Image Credit: Dreamstime
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

I love to clean — I don’t what it is, but I just love it — and anyone who knows my mother wouldn’t be surprised to hear that.

So I have a lot of experience, from scrubbing the floors with a toothbrush to vacuuming and dusting (pretty much everything in my home).

Whether you constantly clean your house or only really tidy things up before guests arrive, knowing a few quick and easy tricks can make the process a whole lot easier!

So to help save you some time and frustration, along with a lot of wasted money on cleaning products, here’s a list of some cheap and easy hacks that will transform your cleaning routine!

7 cleaning tricks for your bathroom

35 more cleaning hacks that will transform your routine

1. Dryer sheets

Even after they’ve been used, dryer sheets can work magic around your house!

Here are some great uses:

  • Buff water spots from mirrors, bathroom/kitchen fixtures and shower doors
  • Remove the ring inside the toilet
  • Wipe baseboards clean

See more ways to re-use dryer sheets around your house.

2. Tackle a stinky garbage disposal with lemon

Add a fresh scent to the kitchen by cutting up a lemon and running a couple of small slices through the garbage disposal. (This is also a great trick to use just before guests arrive!)

3. Clean the blender

Fill the blender with warm water and a drop of dish soap. Turn it on and let it go for a for a few seconds. Then rinse it out with warm water and you’re all set!

4. Clean your sponge

Sponges can pick up a lot of bacteria, especially if they’re left in the sink. So you want to make sure you clean it frequently.

It’s so easy: just pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to remove any bacteria! Just wait a minute or two before pulling out since it’ll still be hot.

You can also put your sponge in the dishwasher to get it nice and clean again.

5. Get tile floors looking like new again

Once you’ve vacuumed up the floor, all you need is a bucket of water, some light detergent and a rag. Then start scrubbing! Make sure to frequently clean the rag and water to make sure you aren’t just pushing more dirt around on the floor.

If you really want to get the tough spots out, try using a toothbrush! Seriously, it will change your life.

Watch more: Cheap & easy way to unclog a drain

6. Baseboards

If it’s been a while, use a broom or dry rag to sweep off the dust, and then vacuum the area. Use a wet cloth or sock to remove any remaining dust or dirt.

To clean the baseboards, all you need is a sponge (or soft toothbrush) and a bucket of water with a small amount of dish detergent. Once you’ve done the washing part, then use a damp rag to remove any leftover soap residue.

7. Air vents

If you haven’t checked in a while, your air vents are probably pretty dirty and dusty. Not only does that send dust into the room, but it also blocks the air from getting out.

Easy fix: first try to remove dust with a soft vacuum brush tool. If that doesn’t get the job done, then soak a rag with any cleaning agent you have and wrap it around a butter knife to clean the air vents!

8. Use vinegar to get rid of hard water spots

Vinegar can do wonders for your faucets with hard water spots. Check out this video to see how it works!

9. Cleaning the blinds

These are also probably pretty dirty if you haven’t cleaned them in a while, so here’s an easy solution. Combine equal parts water and vinegar in a bowl and get a sock to put over your hand. Dip the sock in the solution and then run it over each slat of the blinds to remove any dirt or dust!

10. Baking soda for brighter, cleaner laundry

Just pour a cup of baking soda in with the wash and your clothes will come out even brighter and cleaner!

11. Use salt to remove fabric stains

12. Easy way to clean stainless steel appliances

‘Stain’less steel appliances seem to be stained with fingerprints constantly. But to give them a good, clean shine, all you need is a microfiber cloth (or just a soft cloth) and some rubbing alcohol! If you really want to get your stainless steel super clean — maybe once a month — you can use a few drops of olive oil! Check out this video to see how it works.

13. Easily clean shower scum

Cleaning the bathroom is not how most people want to spend their day, but it has to be done! The good news is there’s an easy way to remove soap scum and grime that’s building up inside the shower.

Fill a dish wand with half vinegar and half dish soap — then get to scrubbing! You can also use an old sponge or toothbrush and just dip into a cup of the same solution.

9 home cleaning hacks that make life so much easier
(Credit: YouTube/HouseholdHacker)

14. Clean your couch with baking soda

13 home cleaning hacks you'll wish you knew sooner

Baking soda can help remove any lingering smells and also break up any stains on the fabric. First brush off the surface of the couch, then sprinkle baking soda on the area you want to clean. Just let it sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum it up using the brush attachment.

15. Safely clean your computer

There are certain chemicals you should never use on or anywhere near your computer, including:

  • Acetone
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Toluene
  • Ethyl acid
  • Ammonia
  • Methyl chloride

As a general rule of thumb when cleaning your computer, avoid using paper products, don’t use harsh chemicals and never spray product directly on the screen.

Here’s a safe and easy way to clean your computer:

  • To clean your keyboard, pour some white vinegar on a microfiber cloth and scrub the keyboard thoroughly. 
  • Use a cotton swab soaked in vinegar to clean areas that need more attention.
  • To clean your screen, take a microfiber cloth and wipe gently in a circular motion.
  • Apply a mixture of light water and vinegar if necessary. 

16. Clean cloudy glasses with vinegar

Just use a paper towel and a small amount of vinegar to get your classes nice and clean again!

17. Remove grease stains

To clean grease stains from carpet or other surface, just mix four parts rubbing alcohol with one part salt, and then rub the mixture into the stain. Let the surface dry and vacuum up any remaining salt if necessary.

18. Clean up dust, dirt and crumbs using tape and/or a lint roller

Use a strong adhesive tape or a lint roller to pick up dust, dirt and crumbs pretty much anywhere around the house — lamp shades, drawers, fabrics — anything!

19. Use toothpaste to clean sneakers

All you need is an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to get your sneakers looking like new again! I do this with my converse to keep the white parts bright and shiny!

20. Remove kitchen/bathroom cabinet gunk

Mix a solution of vegetable oil and baking soda, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub all that gunky stuff out of the corners of cabinet surfaces!

21. Clean a burnt pan with vinegar, water & baking soda

15 home cleaning hacks that will make your life so much easier

Fill the pan with water and then add a cup of white vinegar. Bring it to a boil, take it off the stove and then add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Let it sit for a few seconds so it can cool and then wipe the mixture out of the pan!

22. Pick up small pieces of glass

Don’t try to use your hands to pick up tiny shards of glass — bad idea. Just grab a piece of bread and press it down over the area — it should pick up those little pieces you don’t want stuck in your fingers or the bottom of your feet!

23. Clean up spilled glitter

If you like to keep things tidy, glitter is probably your worst nightmare. The good news is that there is actually a solution to your problem!

If you have glitter around, you probably have Play-Doh. Just use a ball of Play-Doh to pick up all those little glitter pieces! (If you don’t have Play-Doh, just use something sticky like tape!)

24. Get your rings shining again

First of all, don’t use household cleaners that may contain harsh chemicals! The easiest, and safest, way to clean an engagement ring or other type of ring with precious metals is to use warm water, a small amount of dishwashing soap and a soft toothbrush.

Mix the solution of water and soap and let the ring soak for about 10 to 20 minutes. Then use a soft toothbrush to clean off any excess dirt, makeup or anything else still lingering.

25. Remove common household stains

Most of these will work on furniture and carpet, too!

  • Juice: Blot with solution of 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid (like Ivory) in 1 cup warm water. Red-dye remover works on red fruit punch.
  • Gum: Dab with extra-strength Bengay, heat with hair dryer, scrape with press-to-seal bag. Blot with detergent solution and rinse.
  • Gravy: Pretreat with a paste of Fels-Naptha soap, then wash. Repeat if necessary. Don’t put item in the dryer until the stain is gone.
  • Mustard: Apply repeated applications of detergent solution to remove solids. When stain is reduced, rinse and dry in bright sunlight.
  • Lipstick: Blot with acetone-based nail-polish remover, followed by the detergent solution, and rinse.
  • Wine: Blot with water. If stain remains, try detergent solution. 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is effective on red wine.

26. Unclog a drain

Forget buying those expensive cleaning products! All you need is vinegar, baking soda and boiling water to unclog a drain! Watch the video below to see how it works.

27. Freshen up smelly sneakers

We’ve already told you why it’s probably not a good idea to wear shoes in the house, but even when dirty sneakers are sitting by the door, you can smell them from across the room!

Just sprinkle some baking soda in the shoes to keep them smelling fresh, and then when you’re ready to wear them again, just tap it out outside.

28. Clean the bottom of dirty cleats and sneakers with a toothbrush

Mud, dirty and everything else that cleats and sneakers pick up can stick on there for a while! An easy way to clean them is to just run hot water on the bottom of the shoes and use a toothbrush to scrub off any remaining mud or dirt that won’t wash off with water.

29. Easy way to clean the microwave

Microwaves can get pretty messy, but there’s an easy way to make it shine again.

Put equal amounts of water and vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl (along with a small wooden object, like a toothpick, to prevent boiling or other dangers). Then set it on high for 5 to 10 minutes. Wait a couple minutes to let it cool, then when you open it up, all you have to do is wipe down the inside of the microwave with a sponge or paper towel. Voila! Clean microwave without the hassle of expensive (and often non-effective) cleaners.

You can also add lemon to the mixture for a fresh, clean scent!

30. How to clean your dishwasher

If your dishwasher isn’t clean, it can’t do its job of cleaning your dishes. Keeping the appliance in tip-top shape will also make it last longer!

Luckily, there’s an easy way to get rid of all that nasty built up food debris, grease and soap scum.

So gather some white vinegar, baking soda and a dishwasher-safe container — and follow these three steps to make your dishwasher sparkle again! 

31. Stove knobs, grates and drip pans

Throw them in the dishwasher! They’ll come out looking like brand new!

See 19 things you didn’t know you could wash in the dishwasher

32. How to clean a cast iron skillet (and make it last longer!)

33. Use Magic Erasers on pretty much anything

I’m not exaggerating when I say that when all else fails, I turn to Magic Erasers to clean pretty much any and everything in my house, including:

  • Converse shoes (white tip & sides)
  • Faucets
  • Shower curtain liners
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Bathtubs
  • Toothbrush holders

They really are magical — and the best part is, you can get the brand name Mr. Clean sponges at the dollar stores, as well as the off brand cheaper versions that most often work just as well!

34. Quick way to clean air conditioner vent covers

When we had my family over one time, someone actually noticed how dusty the air conditioner vent cover was (which didn’t upset me, because I would have to) — but what did upset me was the fact that it was so dusty!

If there’s one thing that all clean freaks can agree on, it’s probably the never-ending nightmare known as dust — why does it never end?!

Well, ever wonder what all those vacuum attachments are for? I honestly can’t answer that, but I’ve done a lot of experimenting, and I do know that using the brush attachment works great for cleaning the A.C. vent cover in your home!

Important tip: This is a quick solution. When it comes to thorough air duct cleaning, here’s what you need to know!

35. Speed up the clothes-drying process

In a hurry and put your clothes in the dryer a little late? Just throw a dry towel in there and it’ll help soak up some of the excess moisture! And if you’re worried about towel fuzz, just turn your clothing inside out while it dries.

Advertisement
Alex Thomas Sadler About the author:
Alex Thomas Sadler is the Managing Editor of Clark.com and Clark Howard Digital Products. Alex is also the host of Common Cents, a new Clark.com series that makes money simple, so you can better understand and take control of your own financial life. Alex graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor's degrees in ...Read more
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments