cleaning hacks

The truth is we judge people by how clean they are — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, is it? What kind of person wants to live in a sticky, dusty home, anyway? How healthy is it to live in a dirty house?

We all love to breathe in fresh scents after it’s all said and done, and there’s something so satisfying in seeing all our appliances shine, but how many of us look forward to cleaning our homes?

Let’s face it: Cleaning the house is not on most people’s list of favorite things to do, even though there’s nothing better than waking up in an immaculately clean bed and home or cooking in a kitchen that sparkles.

Thoroughly scrubbing a house from top to bottom may even be more dreadful than doing laundry, but it’s something you have to do unless you like the company of cockroaches.

The truth is that a truly clean home needs detailing, much like a car. Each day, our pets shed, crumbs get lodged in crevices that are impossible to reach, dust settles and filters gather filth.

For some people, it’s just easier to give up and live in a superficially clean home (ewww!). Others dish out $100 a month or more having a professional do the dreaded task.

If you’re like us and find it hard to pay someone else to do something you can do yourself, you’re going to want to check out our top 20 cleaning hacks, which may surprise you. Not only will these tricks turn your home into a sparkling sanctuary but you’ll feel clever performing these easy but unusual tasks.

These hacks are time savers too: You’ll find you’re cutting down on how much time you spend cleaning.

The best part of it all is that you don’t even have to spend much money — if at all — to do a meticulous job. You probably already have most of what you’ll need to do as thorough a job as a professional maid if not better.

All you need is to carve out the time, roll up your sleeves and get to it already.

Don’t mope around hating life because it’s that time again. Have a glass of wine while you vacuum. Dance to your favorite songs as you scrub those stains out. Do whatever it is you have to do, but get that house cleaner than clean!

Happy scrubbing!

14. Microwave Your Sponges

buzzfeed.com1

buzzfeed.com

Sponges get nasty after a few weeks, but if they still have life in them, you can use them for a long time. All you need to do is wash them first, wring them out and then sanitize. What better way to sanitize than zapping it in the microwave for a minute? Be careful when taking it out though: Your sponge will be hot, hot, hot — and germ-free. You can also do the same with dish towels, though we recommend regular washings as well.

13. Clean Vacuum Filters

agirlandherneedle.blogspot.com vaccum filter

agirlandherneedle.blogspot.com

You’d be surprised by how many things you can clean in the dishwasher that have nothing to do with cutlery or plates. Take your dirty vacuum cleaner filters for one example. Don’t think you can keep vacuuming the carpet with that vacuum cleaner without changing the filters. You can extend the life of your filters however by simply placing them in the dishwasher. Easy? Yep. And you don’t even have to get your hands dirty. Relief!

12. Use a Toothbrush

brightside.me

brightside.me

Your old toothbrush can clean the hardest to reach places — even the crevices of a toaster. You’re going to want to unplug your toaster first, especially if the toothbrush is wet, but scrub away and it’ll soon look new! Use that toothbrush to clean other areas, like the kitchen cabinets, where dirt and grime get into the texture of the wood. You can even use one to get rid of especially hard to clean rings in the toilet bowl.

11. Salt Will Do It

dianesfoodblog.com

dianesfoodblog.com

Is your skillet completely grimy but you don’t want to scratch it or get rid of its protective coating? Just scrub with salt (preferably sea salt, which is grainier) instead of cleaning powders. You certainly don’t want to use steel wool on a cast-iron skillet. You can get pretty rough with the salt without ruining the cast iron, so don’t be afraid. Put some muscle in it!

10. Iron Out Stains

homemakerchic.com vinegar & water on stain

homemakerchic.com

Is that stain on your carpet or shirt just not coming out with bleach? Tough stains, especially ones that are oily, need a little more than bleach sometimes. Pour some white vinegar on the stain, warm up your iron and iron a clean white cotton cloth over it. Keep ironing until dry. You’ll be amazed at how much this trick lifts off stains. You can also use this ironing trick to get melted wax or crayon marks out of fabric. No, you don’t have to let the kiddy’s Crayolas bring you down. Get your car close to an outlet and do the same by ironing the upholstery where the kids tend to have accidents.

9. Use a Knife

homesweethomebodies.net

homesweethomebodies.net

You’re not done until you clean the dust that settles in the air vents all over the house. A feather brush won’t do the job. But a regular dinner knife will! Just use it to easy the cloth into the crevices. When you see the soot the cloth picks up, you’ll be so glad you didn’t breathe in all that gunk!

8. Old Newspapers

lesson.website

lesson.website

What’s rough enough to really clean but not too rough to scratch glass? Newspaper. What’s the only thing that prevents streaking? Yes, crumpled up newspaper with a little squirt of glass cleaner will do a job like nothing else. Nothing else works as well yesterday’s news, really. It works so well that birds will hate you.

7. Baking Soda

apcarpetcleaners.com

Freaking out because there was a spill on the carpet? Don’t freak out — not unless there’s no baking soda in the house. Once you find this handy ingredient, get your paper towels out. First, blot out the stain (without rubbing). Then, sprinkle baking soda all over the stain and let it absorb. Next, vacuum it off and hopefully, the stain is gone. If the stain is still there, try blotting with club soda. Always use clean fabric and do not rub.

6. Wax Paper for Faucets

nbcnews.com

Are you totally jealous when you visit someone’s house and all their silverware and faucets shine like they were just polished? Do you wash and wash and it still looks dull? Well, you can achieve that shiny spotlessness using plain old wax paper. Just run it along your faucets and doorknobs or any other appliances that take fingerprints easily. You’ll be amazed at how long it resists spots.

5. Heavenly Scents

lifehacker.com

lifehacker.com

Stop spending money on air fresheners that only make your home smell good for about two minutes. If you want to really be embraced by heavenly scents, buy some vanilla extract, pour a few drops in a coffee mug. Heat up the mug in the oven (or toaster oven) and your home will smell amazing. Try this trick with any of favorite essential oils, too.

4. Clean with Baking Soda

shareably.net

shareably.net

Is your mattress covered in stains from old spills and pet accidents that went through the sheets? First, you want to take a sponge and begin cleaning the stains with detergent. After you’re finished, don’t wipe dry. Sprinkle baking soda all over the stains instead. Leave the mattress alone for 24 hours (forget sleeping on it) and then vacuum off all the baking soda. You’ll be happy at how much cleaner your mattress is now.

3. Keep it Clean

Twitter (at)clorox

Twitter @clorox

It’s really gross to leave the sponge in the sink, especially if there are still dishes in there. You want to keep this little cleaning tool as clean as possible by keeping it as dry as possible after you wring it out. This simple DIY clip is the best way to keep it upright and away from moisture.

2. Pillow Talk

www.decoist.com detergent & bleach

www.decoist.com

Listen, if you haven’t been washing your pillows every once in a while, chances are your pillows are totally gross and yellow. Or maybe you buy new ones every so often. Well, if you just wash them with detergent and a little bleach, you can keep your pillows for a nice long while — all without the oils and sweat that seep through fabric. Throw in a tennis ball to prevent it from getting all lumpy.

1. Clean with Tartar Sauce

lifehacker

lifehacker.com

Yes, good old fish sauce is the cheapest and most effective way to polish stainless steel. You are not alone if you either bought new appliances or moved into a place with stainless steel only to find it all turning yellow over time. Nope — regular detergents only make it streak in a really ugly way and doesn’t get rid of the discoloration. Cleansers specially made for stainless steel are ridiculously expensive so just slap a little tartar sauce on it. Rub away and soon you’ll see your own face in your fridge or toaster.