Everyone wants a clean home, but not everyone has multiple days in the week dedicated to keeping it tidy. That's why we at The Spruce love an effective cleaning hack to make housework easier.
There's nothing wrong with seeking a cleaning shortcut. If cleaning isn't your favorite task, we talked to cleaning pros and asked for their hacks. Use these genius tricks to make cleaning easier and more productive each week.
01 of 12
Clean Your Washer for Cleaner Laundry
Are your towels still smelling foul after washing? Stinky towels are actually trying to tell you something, according to Mary Gagliardi from Clorox. Even when “clean," a smelly towel usually means it’s time to run a washer cleanout cycle with bleach.
"This is an effective and economical way to get rid of soil build-ups inside the washer where odor-causing bacteria can thrive," Gagliardi explains.
First, make sure the clothes washer is empty, then select the heavy-duty cycle and an extra rinse, fill the bleach dispenser, and run the cycle. Doing this once a month is a great hack for keeping odor-causing bacteria out of your washer and off your laundry.
02 of 12
Clean While You Shower
Always keep a full dish wand in your shower full of cleaner—you never know when there may be an opportune time to give your shower a refresh.
"Next time you’re doing a deep hair condition or spending a lot of time in the shower, use the time to give the shower a quick scrub," cleaning expert Katie Berry of Housewife HowTos recommends.
03 of 12
Use a Lint Roller to Capture Broken Glass
A lint roller designated for pet hair removal has a stronger adhesive and will do the best job at picking up the glass. Peel away the glass-filled sheet and dispose of it properly.
04 of 12
Skip the Rinse
You may have heard this one before, but though it feels counterintuitive, skip the pre-rinse and simply scrape your dishes to remove any excess food before loading them into the dishwasher.
Make sure each dish has a clear path to the water source, says Morgan Eberhard, a senior scientist for P&G’s North America Home Care division which includes Cascade. And don't shy away from running small loads–it's actually more efficient than hand washing.
"Follow the 8 dish rule: if you have more than 8 dishes to clean, it’s more water-efficient to run your dishwasher than hand wash." Eberhard shares.
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05 of 12
Banish Pet Hair From Upholstery
A pair of rubber gloves might just be the solution to pet hair. "Slide your hand into a rubber glove and run it over sofa cushions to remove pet hair," Berry shares. "You can even keep a pair tucked under the cushion for quick touchups"
06 of 12
Use the Dryer to Remove Dust
Your clothes dryer makes quick work of removing dust and pet dander from most types of pillows (never solid foam). Toss feather and polyester fiberfill in the dryer (don't overload) to remove odors, dust, and dust mites. Use the air-only, no-heat cycle for about 10 minutes. Toss in some wool dryer balls to help fluff the filling.
07 of 12
Give Products Time to Work When Removing Soap Scum
Take full advantage of a cleaning product's ingredients by giving them time to work. Gagliardi explains that when soap scum build-up is heavy, it's best to let a cleaner sit for a few minutes to tackle the grime.
Start at the top of the shower doors and spray your favorite bathroom cleaner. Continue spraying as you work your way down, then wait a few minutes. Go over the area with a scrubber sponge before rinsing it with water.
08 of 12
Use Your Dishwasher for 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.Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12
Dust With Your Feet
You may have spotted floor-dusting slippers on sites like Amazon, and Berry shares that these are actually a personal favorite product of hers.
"If you have hard floors, those floor-dusting slippers are worth every penny," she says. "Wear them around the house then toss them in the wash. It’s amazing how much dust and pet hair they pick up."
10 of 12
Keep a Checklist
Create a weekly, monthly, and yearly list of chores to help you remember what needs to be accomplished. Schedule chimney cleaning during the spring and garden equipment maintenance in the fall when professionals will welcome the off-season work.
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Use a Timer
"Use a timer—it is astounding how much you can accomplish in five minutes when you’re trying to beat a timer," Berry says. "Set it, clean as much as you can, and stop."
Try setting a timer to clean 5 minutes before and after work, after dinner, and before bed. And if you do this daily, you may avoid having to dedicate an entire day to cleaning come end of week.
12 of 12
Keep Grout Looking Clean With a Toothbrush
There is one key tool to keeping grout from looking dingy: a small, stiff brush, like a toothbrush or specialty grout brush. Roy Marcus, brand ambassador at Artistic Tile, offers this hack for keeping grout looking its best.
"You’ll want a small brush narrow enough to concentrate on the narrow grout joints between tiles," he says. "This is an instance in which acquiring a specialty grout cleaning brush is a wise investment."
If you have the luxury of natural stone tile, stay away from any acidic cleaner such as vinegar, as the acid can easily etch stone, especially calcium-based stones such as marble and limestone. Instead, chlorine bleach is safe around tile and is an efficient biocide and disinfectant.