Keeping a home neat and clean requires time and effort. The clutter, dust, and dirt that make their way into our homes seem to form a never-ending cycle of cleaning. But, whether you are doing a thorough seasonal cleaning or daily chores, there are plenty of little tips and tricks experts recommend to get the job done right.
If your home could use tidying, you're in the right place. We put together the 50 best cleaning tips to keep your home fresh and tidy.
Meet the Expert
- Roy Marcus is a brand ambassador at Artistic Tile, which specializes in tile design and maintenance.
- Morgan Eberhard is a senior scientist at Proctor & Gamble.
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Before you clean any room or area of your home, remove all of the clutter. Separate the clutter into piles of items that can be recycled or tossed in the trash, items to be donated, and items to be returned to their proper spot. Your room will look tidier immediately and be easier to deep clean.
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Gather Your Cleaning Supplies
Before you start a cleaning session, gather all of the supplies you'll need so you won't have to stop to go look for a product or tool. Use a bucket or caddy to keep everything handy. A cleaning kit should include a great all-purpose cleaner, microfiber towels, glass cleaners, tub/tile cleaners, dish soap, and tools like a vacuum, Swiffer or mop, sponges like the CVS Total Home Non-Scratch Scrubbing Sponges, scrubbing brushes, and more, just to name a few.
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Start with Clean Tools
To get the chores done more effectively, always use clean tools. A dirty mop does not absorb dirt well and leaves residue on the floor. A vacuum that is filled with dust can't clean well. Dusters filled with grit can leave scratches on surfaces. Clean your tools after each use so they are ready to go when you are.
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Start at the Top
When dusting or cleaning just about any vertical surface, start at the top and work your way down. As the soil is removed, any loose particles or drips, if you're using water, can be caught by the next cleaning movement. No need to backtrack and have to reclean a freshly cleaned area.Continue to 5 of 50 below.
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We have all vacuumed quickly to get a room ready for company but to vacuum thoroughly and remove as much dirt and dust as possible, vacuum in one direction following the pile of the carpet and then again across the direction of the pile. You'll be amazed at how much cleaner your carpet looks and smells. And, removing all of the dirt helps the carpet last longer. Additionally, getting a better vacuum with HEPA filtration can help, as it cleans the air as you vacuum and keeps the machine from blasting odors and allergens into the air as you clean.
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Use the Best Cleaner for Stone Surfaces
A popular and effective solution for cleaning glass is vinegar and water. But, when it comes to cleaning stone and granite, you’ll want to avoid using acids, according to Roy Marcus, a brand ambassador at Artistic Tile. He notes that vinegar or other acids can etch natural stone and marble, in particular.
Marcus shared his foolproof recipe for a homemade stone cleaner. Dilute one part dish soap in 10 parts of water. To add a cleaning boost, you can include bleach as well. Clean off stone surfaces using this solution, and be sure to keep the water clean.
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Refresh Your Sofa
The sofa takes lots of action, but can easily be cleaned and refreshed by vacuuming it well. Remove all of the throw pillows and cushions and use your vacuum tools to clean every surface and crevice. The upholstery brush does a great job of loosening dust so it can be suctioned away. If you have a sleeper sofa, don't forget to unfold the mattress and vacuum it on both sides.
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Capture Dust on Window Treatments
Whether you have drapery, wooden blinds, or fabric blinds, they are going to get dusty. Use your vacuum upholstery attachment to easily trap dust. Start at the top of the window and work your way down. Removing loose surface soil will make deeper cleaning easier.Continue to 9 of 50 below.
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Get Rid of Floor Scuffs
When black scuff marks appear on wood floors, grab a tennis ball (a used one is just fine). Use a sharp blade to cut an X in the ball and then slip the ball onto the end of a broom or mop handle. Place the ball over the scuff mark and apply some gentle pressure to buff away the mark.
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Clean Windows Like a Pro
While window cleaning can be a one-person job, it will go more quickly if two people work together. One person can be on the inside and one on the outside so that missed areas can be corrected easily.
Choose a slightly cloudy day or move around the house away from the sun to prevent streaks. Make your own homemade window cleaner by filling a spray bottle with a 50:50 mixture of distilled white vinegar and water. Add a small drizzle of dish detergent to the vinegar and water to make a worthwhile window cleaner. Finally, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to dry the glass.
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Wash Pet Bedding Correctly
Don't forget to keep your pet's bed clean for their health and to reduce odors in your home. Start by vacuuming a pet’s bed before washing it. Use a free/clear, hypoallergenic detergent like all free clear and add an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent has been removed from the fabric.
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Banish Fuzzy Lampshades
If your lampshades look a little fuzzy, give them a quick clean with a sticky lint roller. For pleated shades, use a disposable microstatic duster or a new paintbrush to lift away the dust.Continue to 13 of 50 below.
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Brighten Lightbulbs by Removing Dust
If your lighting looks a bit dim, it could be that your lightbulbs need to be cleaned. Remove dust and grime from cool bulbs with a microfiber cloth.
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Freshen Your Bed Pillows
Almost all pillows can and should be washed regularly to remove dust mites, body oils, and dander. The exception are solid-foam pillows that must be spot-cleaned only because they cannot withstand the agitation action in the washer.
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Keep Your Mattress Clean and Fresh
Use the power of steam to kill dust mites and freshen your mattress. Choose a sunny, breezy day for cleaning so the mattress will be dry by bedtime. If you don't own a steamer, you can also sprinkle the bed with baking soda, leave it for a few hours, then vacuum it away.
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Reduce the Amount of Dust in Your Home
By changing HVAC filters and cleaning the vent covers regularly, you can greatly reduce the amount of dust drifting through your home.Continue to 17 of 50 below.
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Quiet Your Bathroom Fan
If your bathroom fan is too noisy to use, it's time to clean it well. Removing dust from the blades can quiet a fan and provide better ventilation in the bathroom.
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Remove Dust From Ceiling Fans
Use a pillowcase on each blade to trap and remove dust or a disposable duster with an extendable handle to clean ceiling fans and overhead light fixtures.
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Keep Reusable Water Bottles Clean
A recent study has revealed that reusable water bottles hold 40,000x more bacteria than toilet seats. Morgan Eberhard, a senior scientist at P&G, told us that he recommends cleaning your reusable water bottle at least once a day by taking advantage of a dishwasher’s hot water and a powerful detergent like Cascade Platinum Plus.
Make sure to take apart all the water bottle’s parts (caps, bite valves, etc.) and check that it is dishwasher safe. The top rack is always best for smaller parts.
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Add Cleaning to Your Screen Time
We would be lost without our electronic devices, but the screens on your phone, laptop, and computer monitor should be cleaned regularly to improve your screen time. Use the best lint-free tools and never spray any type of liquid directly on the screen.Continue to 21 of 50 below.
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Improve Your Showerhead Flow
All it takes is some distilled white vinegar and some time to return a sputtering showerhead to a steady flow. The same technique can be used for handheld and stationary heads.
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Banish Water Spots on Glass Shower Doors
Sparkling clean shower doors can be yours by drying the doors after every shower and regular cleaning with products you have on hand like distilled white vinegar or lemon juice.
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Use Your Vacuum to Prevent Fires
The venting system of your clothes dryer traps lots of lint. Even if you clean the lint filter screen after every load, there can still be hazardous lint in the vent. Use your vacuum to clean the dryer vent system at least once per year.Continue to 25 of 50 below.
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Get Cleaner Clothes With a Clean Washer
Whether you have a top load or a front-loading washing machine, it should be cleaned regularly to remove dirty residue that clings to the drum and around door gaskets. Your laundry will be cleaner and smell fresher.
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Get Better Tasting Coffee
If you aren't happy with the flavor of your coffee, it could be your coffee pot's fault. Whether you have a single-cup maker, Moka pot, or reliable drip coffee maker, it should be cleaned regularly to remove mineral deposits that aren't tasty in your cup.
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Make a Tasty Cup of Tea
If you're a tea drinker, then you know that the quality of the water is a huge component in a tasty cup of tea. Take the time to clean your electric or stovetop tea kettle regularly.
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Get Rid of Smelly Drains
Even with all of the water running through a sink drain, it can become smelly from trapped gases and residue coating the pipes. Freshen bathroom and kitchen drains often to keep orders away.Continue to 29 of 50 below.
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Wash Your Dishwasher Filter
Hidden inside your dishwasher is a filter that is trapping bits of food and grease and, sometimes, leaves your dishwasher smelling less than fresh. Locate the filter and give it a good cleaning every couple of months for cleaner dishes.
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Run a Dishwasher Cleaning Cycle
Once you have cleaned the dishwasher filter, take the time to run a full dishwasher cleaning cycle. This is one of the easiest cleaning tasks, just add some dishwasher tablets and push a button.
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Clean Surfaces, and Then Disinfect
When you want to disinfect a surface with disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting spray, it is essential to clean the surface first to remove grease and grime. The disinfecting cleaner does not work effectively unless the surface is clean.
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Take Care of a Dirty Shower Curtain
Whether you choose a simple plastic curtain to curtail water or a layered, luxurious look, the shower curtain needs to be cleaned. Most can be washed in warm water on the permanent press cycle. Use a good, heavy-duty detergent like Tide or Persil to remove body soil and soap scum build-up.Continue to 33 of 50 below.
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Lift the Cloud From Drinking Glasses
You only need one product—distilled white vinegar—and a little time to clean cloudy glassware and restore its sparkle.
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Restore Your Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is ideal for conducting heat and turning out some of the best fried chicken around. If your cast iron pieces have rust spots or you're having problems with food sticking to the pan, clean and re-season the cookware for many more years of use.
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Steam the Oven for Easier Cleaning
Steam cleaning an oven is very simple and helps loosen grease and grime so you can wipe it away. Do it frequently because steam cleaning produces the best results if the oven is only slightly dirty.
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Don't Forget to Steam Clean the Microwave
The same steam cleaning technique you use for ovens can be used for cleaning a microwave. Add a few slices of lemon to the water to help remove food odors from the interior of the microwave.Continue to 37 of 50 below.
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Create Homemade Cleaning Products
With some basic ingredients, you can make homemade cleaning products for almost every task. Be sure to use new containers to avoid mishaps from residual products and label every container.
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A Garbage Disposal Deserves More Than Lemon Peels
Tossing a few lemon peels into the garbage disposal does it make smell fresher for a few minutes but it doesn't get all of the components clean. Take the time to clean all areas of the disposal safely for a great-smelling drain.
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Shine Stainless Steel
Stainless steel appliances are durable and attractive until they develop streaks and smudges. Just some dish soap and a microfiber cloth can bring back their shine.
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Enjoy Your Sterling Silver Pieces
Sterling silver has a warm glow and develops a patina that enhances its beauty, especially in carved or ornate pieces. It does, however, tarnish when exposed to salts, acids, and oxygen. Get it out of storage, clean it well, and learn how to keep tarnish under check.Continue to 41 of 50 below.
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Relax on Clean Outdoor Furniture
If your outdoor furniture is looking dull and the fabric cushions are dingy, pick a sunny, breezy day to wipe down the surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner and spray away the grime with a garden hose.
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Get Rid of Rattan Dust
Rattan furniture brings a handcrafted touch to any room but all those nooks and crannies gather lots of dust. Use your vacuum to suction it away and then clean the rattan carefully to prevent breakage.
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Deep Clean Wood Furniture With Tea
After dusting your wood furniture, if it still looks dull under layers of furniture polish or wax, brew a strong tea solution to deep clean the wood. The tannins in the tea will cut through the build-up without damaging the wood.
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Put Your Dishwasher to Work for Cleaning More Than Dishes
A dishwasher can clean much more than dinner dishes. Use it to clean plastic and rubber toys, bathroom accessories, flower vases, pet dishes, and garden tools. You will need something to hold down any little plastic items, which will get tossed around the machine by the water spray. A small mesh laundry bag with large holes in the mesh is perfect to capture the little items. Place one on the top shelf and press the metal tines of the shelf through the bag to hold it in place.Continue to 45 of 50 below.
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Sanitize Your Wooden Cutting Board
Nearly every time you use a wooden cutting board, the knife leaves a tiny cut on the surface that can trap bacteria. Use hydrogen peroxide or distilled white vinegar to sanitize the surface.
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Restore Your Favorite Coffee Cup
We all have a favorite mug or cup for our coffee and using it often can leave it with brown stains inside. The unsightly stains contain oils that make coffee taste bitter. Use the gentle abrasive action of baking soda to remove the stains.
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Protect the Frame of Your Mirror
Avoid damage to the frame of a mirror when cleaning by never spraying the cleaner directly on the mirror. Spray the lint-free microfiber cleaning cloth and you won't end up with paint or gilt missing from the frame.
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Protect the Floor Under an Area Rug
If your area rug is placed on a wooden or laminate floor, always move it to a tarp before steam or wet cleaning. Leaving it on the floor will cause damage and discoloration to the wood.Continue to 49 of 50 below.
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Keep Your Vinyl Records Sounding Great
Vinyl records are having a comeback offering a unique sound. But if you hear lots of clicks, crackling, or hisses, it may mean that the record is dirty and needs cleaning. Cleaning vinyl records is pretty simple if you take your time and use the right supplies and tools.
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Don't Forget the Baseboards
The baseboards around a room take lots of abuse from furniture legs, shoe scuffs, and dust and dirt that settle from above. Use a disposable microfiber duster regularly to remove dust. Find one with an extendable handle so you don't have to bend to work!