Hate cleaning? These are the time-saving tricks I find most effective.
1. Get Your Mattress Drunk
We spend 1/3 of our lives laying on a mattress that can’t be washed. Or can it? Pour vodka into a spray bottle, spritz lightly across your mattress and leave it to air-dry. The alcohol kills odor-causing bacteria while it disinfects the mattress.
2. 5-Minute Microwave Cleaner
Halve a couple lemons and put in a glass dish with water. Zap until the water starts to boil. Let it sit and steam for a minute before opening. The gunk can now be wiped away with little effort. You might want to share this one with that co-worker who’s always exploding spaghetti in the break room.
3. Fool-Proof Ceiling Fan Cleaner
Hook an old pillowcase over one fan blade at a time and slowly wipe it backward. The blade will be clean and the dust will be trapped inside (instead of in your hair).
4. Grease Stain Fixer
Got greasy fingerprints on the walls? Cover the stains with white chalk, wait a few minutes and then wipe the chalk away with a damp cloth. Works on clothes too!
5. Quick-Dry Wet Shoes and Gloves
Shoes and gloves soaked through from rain or snow? Shove some crumpled newspaper inside to soak it all up. A sachet of plain uncooked rice works too.
6. Pet Hair Squeegee
Do you live with a four-legged friend who loves to shed? Sweep your carpet with a rubber squeegee (or run your hand over it while wearing a rubber dish washing glove) and prepare to be horrified by what comes up.
7. Speed Up Drying Time
Pressed for time? Throw one clean dry towel in with wet clothes before starting the dryer. 15 minutes later, take it out. The dry towel will actually absorb some of the excess moisture floating around and speed up drying time.
8. No-Fuss Blender Cleaner
Love smoothies but hate cleaning the blender? Just fill it with warm water and a drop of dish soap, then turn it on and blend for a few seconds. Dump, rinse with clean water, and dry.
9. Butter Knife in the Air Vent
Cruddy air vent or A/C intake? Moisten a clean towel with your favorite cleaner and wrap around a butter knife. Now you’ve got the perfect tool to clean the narrow grate.
10. Revitalize Leather Furniture
Buff worn leather furniture with shoe polish. Scrapes and scuffs will disappear.
11. Onion Grill Cleaner
Halve a white onion and use a fork to rub it back and forth over the grates of a hot grill. The onion will clean the grates and add a little extra flavor.
12. Easy Lipstick Remover
Spray the spot with hairspray, let it set for 10 minutes, dab with a damp washcloth, and wash as normal.
13. Pot and Pan De-Scorcher
Fill the bottom of the pan with water and add a cup of white vinegar. Simmer. Take the pan off the stove and add 2 tablespoons baking soda. Empty the pan and scrub lightly to remove burn marks.
14. Clean a Coffee or Spice Grinder
You can’t put this appliance in the dishwasher and cleaning by hand will likely result in a cut-up hand. Instead pulverize bread or uncooked white rice to remove old odors. Then grind 1 tablespoon baking soda to clean, and wipe thoroughly.
15. Lampshade Duster
16. Overnight Oven Cleaner
Put a bowl filled with 1/2 cup of ammonia into a completely cold oven. Leave overnight and wipe clean the next day. Easy peasy.
17. Shower Head Saver
Shower head covered with nasty hard water deposits? Pour distilled white vinegar in a plastic bag and fit it over the shower head with a rubber band. Let it soak for an hour (or overnight) then remove the bag and wipe scum away with a cloth.
18. Glass Sparkler
Tired of spotty, cloudy glasses? Just spray with some white vinegar and wipe with a paper towel.
19. Glass Dish Revitalizer
Nastiness baked onto your favorite glass dishes? Scrub them with a ball of aluminum foil and a little dish soap.
20. Dryer Sheet Redux
After they’ve freshened your laundry, use dryer sheets to clean anything–baseboards, your television or laptop screen, bookshelves–and the anti-static chemicals will actually repel dust in the future.
21. Splattered Stove Shortcut
Remember this kids: oil attracts oil. Next time your bacon breakfast makes a mess of the stove, add a few drops of vegetable oil to paper towel, then wipe the greasy surface and watch the oil disappear!
22. Microfiber Couch Miracle
There’s nothing grosser than a couch that looks like you pulled it out of the alley. Use a spray bottle to cover your couch with rubbing alcohol, then use a clean white sponge to rub the couch. Fluff the fibers with a hard bristle brush when done, and it’ll look good as new.
23. Dishwasher Deep Cleaner
Even though it cleans other things, occasionally your dishwasher needs to be cleaned as well. Run it on its hottest cycle with nothing but a container filled with white vinegar in the top rack. Then, sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom, and run it again on a short-hot cycle. Be prepared to shield your eyes from the sparkle.
24. Soap Scum Annihilator
Instead of scrubbing, spray cooking spray on your glass shower door and/or walls. Give it about 5 minutes and wash it off with soapy water and dry it. The oil in cooking spray will dissolve the soap buildup and lime deposits.
25. Quick Fix for Slow Drains
Bathroom sink draining slow? Drop 4 Alka-Seltzer tablets down the drain, followed by 1 cup distilled vinegar. After 10 minutes, rinse with boiling water.
26. Easy Bathtub Ring Remover
Ring around the tub? Cut the grapefruit in half and sprinkle the pink fruit with salt. Wet your tub and sprinkle additional salt on the bottom. Use the fruit as a scrubber, being sure to get the juice on every surface. Rinse clean and enjoy the fresh scent!
27. Sock Puppet Blind Cleaner
Put your hand in an old (clean) sock. Dip the sock in a bowl of equal parts water and white vinegar, then use it to wipe in between window blinds.
28. Water Ring Reverser
Water rings on wood furniture? Soak up excess moisture with a towel, then blast it with a hair dryer while still damp, and they should disappear.
29. Amazing Carpet Stain Lifter
Carpet stain driving you crazy? Spray stain with a mixture of 2 parts water with 1 part vinegar. Lay a damp rag over the spot, then press a hot iron–set on the steam setting–on the rag for about 30 seconds. Repeat for really stubborn stains. It’s like a mini Stanley Steamer!
30. No-Scrub Coffee Pot Cleaner
If you’re addicted to caffeine, your coffee pot probably shows it. Fill the reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water. Run the brew cycle halfway through, then turn off and let it sit. After an hour, turn it on and let the cycle repeat. When it’s done, run two cycles with fresh water only.
31. Never Polish the Silver Again
If you have actual silver cutlery or dishes, you know polishing it can be a pain. Line a large dish with aluminum foil, add a 1/2 cup of table salt and a 1/2 cup of baking soda. Fill the foil-lined sink with hot water, and then dump in all your silver. After a 30 minutes soak, the tarnish will be gone. Just rinse and wipe dry.
32. Vacuum Up Vomit
If your kid (or roommate) hurls on your sofa, don’t panic. Make a paste of baking soda and water, and take a spatula or spoon, generously spreading it onto the affected area (be sure to hold your breath or you might vomit too). Let it dry overnight, and you’ll be able to easily vacuum the whole thing up. Also works for urine and carpets (hooray).
33. Two-Step Foreman Grill Cleaner
If you don’t clean it right away, you’ll never get all the gunk out of the tiny ridges of your Foreman grill. Try this instead: When you’re done cooking, unplug it, and press a couple of damp paper towels between the lid and the surface. The leftover heat will steam clean the grill. Wipe it dry with another paper towel and you’re done.
34. Zero-Effort Toilet Cleaner
Scrubbing the toilet sucks, especially if more than one person has been using it. Instead of scrubbing, “fill a mason jar with vinegar. Punch a couple of small holes in the metal lid with a nail. Drop that jar into your toilet’s water tank upside down. With each flush, a little vinegar will seep out of the jar and keep your toilets clean and yucky growth-free!,” explains Organic Authority.
No mason jar handy? Snip off a section of one of those Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponges and drop it right in the bowl before you go to sleep. In the morning, the ring will be gone! Just be sure to get it out before you flush.
35. Simple Sponge Sanitzer
You can also run it through your dishwasher’s sanitize cycle.
36. Broken Glass Magnet
There’s nothing worse than stepping on a tiny remnant of that glass you broke last week. Carefully press a piece of white bread all over the area to pick up even the tiniest shards.