50 Must Know Cleaning Hacks To Save Time, Effort, And Money
Because time is money and money … is money.
Real talk. Chores never leave us alone, do they? Even if you’re lucky enough to have some professional help, the cleaning never ends. It's always waiting to be done, staring us in the face when we’re sitting on the couch when we’re juuuust starting to relax.
Clean Up After the Kids and Pets
- Play dough picks up glitter. Have you been glitter bombed? Did your preschooler come home with a craft only to shake it around and unleash glitter on your floor? Fear not. If you have play dough handy, grab it and leverage it to pick up all the shiny bits of colored aluminium and plastic.
- Get non-washable crayons off the walls with a blow dryer. Instead of spending hours scrubbing off what took your toddler 2 minutes, fight back in only 2 minutes with a hair dryer. It will heat the wax of the crayons right up. Just have a towel or paper towel handy to wipe your walls clean.
- Remove carpet stains with clear, unflavored vodka. After you blot the stain (if it’s still wet), pour your vodka onto a white cloth, and dab it on the stain. Leave the cloth on top of the stain for a few minutes (this will loosen up the stain). Let the area air dry, and come back to see how much has been lifted! This also works well with mattresses.
- Use rubber gloves to pick up pet hair on fabric. When your vacuum isn’t doing the job right, just throw rubber gloves on, and rub areas full of pet hair. When the rubber pushes against the fabric, the static created by the glove will pick up the pet hair that is left. Once you’re done, rinse the gloves to make them look normal again.
- Pick up small pieces of broken glass with bread. Broken glass is a common kitchen hazard, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying (or dangerous!). After sweeping up the big pieces, grab the small pieces of glass by using ... bread.
- Don’t have your duster handy? In a pinch, clean up dust and crumbs with a lint roller.
- Remove gluey remnants with vodka and water. Glue (and sticker) residue is a magnet for dirt. Using a solution of 2 parts water and 1 part (clear, unflavored) vodka in a spray bottle, spray the problem spot to get rid of it. Dab with a clean, wet rag, and let air dry.
- Use your dishwasher to sterilize more than dishes. When was the last time you cleaned your baby’s bath toys? Most can go right into the dishwasher for a fast and complete clean. (Note: Don’t clean them with your dirty dishes! You don’t want to get food on them).
- You can use Dawn to remove grease from more than just dishes. Did you splatter oil on your favorite new shirt while making fried chicken for dinner? You can treat stains on cotton/poly cotton fabric with a small squirt of Dawn (about the size of a button). Use your fingers to rub it over the entire stained area, and allow a few minutes to let the soap set, then throw in with your laundry and wash as normal.
Make Appliances Clean Themselves
- Make your microwave clean itself. No, really. Grab a microwave safe bowl, fill it halfway up with water and throw in a slice of lemon (or a cup of vinegar). Microwave on high for three full minutes, until it’s basically boiling. The microwave should be covered with steam, breaking up the crud! Use oven mitts to remove the bowl (be safe!), and then use a sponge to remove the remaining yuckiness.
- Clean your dishwasher using … your dishwasher. Simply swap out your regular dishwasher detergent with Cascade Platinum ActionPacs + Dishwasher Cleaner Action—it even works in the dishwasher's quick wash cycle. Ta-da, now your dishwasher will stay efficient without any extra effort!
Use Everyday Items to Clean
- Use vinegar to remove rust from your cement. Did your contractor's truck rust out on your driveway? Unfortunately, power washing will not solve your issue—but something even simpler will: vinegar. Pour it on the stain, and wait 10–20 minutes. Now scrub the rust stain with a hard bristle brush, and rinse it clean.
- Use your dryer sheets to repel dust. Baseboards, window sills, fans, TVs, laptop screens—or anything with an electrical charge attract dust like whoa. The good news is that dryer sheets reduce static cling and prevent dust from clinging.
- Neutralize your smelly shoes with baking soda. We all have a pair of gross shoes. Before you put a lot of elbow grease into making them clean, simply sprinkle them with baking soda between wears. Eventually, the smell will completely dissipate.
- Use a lint roller for your screened door, too. The maintenance of screened doors is habitually overlooked—they often collecting dust, pet hair, dirt and even old leaves. Trying to clean them with a cloth can be a time-consuming task, but using a lint roller will make it a quick job.
- Use coffee filters for a streak-free window clean. Coffee filters are incredible for leaving surfaces streak free. Next time you clean your windows or computer screen, use a coffee filter to get them extra shiny!
- Clean cloudy drinking vessels with vinegar. Sometimes your dishwasher or detergent isn’t able to get the cloudy stain off of your drinking glasses. Before you give them up or away, do this: Make a large bowl of 1:1 vinegar and water, and let them soak for 30 minutes. Rinse one glass, and see if it did the job. If it did, proceed to rinse off the glasses. If it didn’t, leave it in the solution for another 30 minutes.
- Use vinegar and baking soda to clean toilets. Remember your elementary school science projects, combining acids and bases? Well, you can relive your childhood experiments in your dirty toilet. Drop 1 cup of baking soda in the toilet and another cup of vinegar to follow. Close the lid, and let it soak for 30 minutes. Flush the toilet—and repeat weekly for the most low-maintenance toilet ever.
- Dust your ceiling fan with a Swiffer Duster Heavy Duty Super Extender to contain the dust. If your ceiling fan is extra dusty and you don’t want a windfall of dust flying in your face (or on all your things, making yet another mess), dust the blades with this handy tool, which has thousands of fluffy, specially-coated fibers and a 360°design to grab onto dust in every direction.
- Dust your knickknacks with gardening gloves. Some crevices are just too small for dusters. Using clean cotton gardening gloves, hold the small object that needs dusting, and use your fingers to get between the cracks.
- Clean your showerhead with vinegar and baking soda. Like the trick above, you can clean hard water buildup using a similar technique on your shower. Fill a full plastic sandwich bag with 2 parts vinegar and 1 part baking soda, secure it to the showerhead with a rubber band, and leave it on for at least 2 hours (longer works, too) to remove the buildup.
Remove Those “Permanent” Stains
- Clean that pesky, burnt, black bottom inside of a steel pot or pan fast. Fill the pot or pan with about an inch of water (to the first knuckle of your pointer finger), and add a few drops of dish soap, like Dawn. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 2–3 minutes. Let the water cool down, then scrub the bottom of the pan.
- Clean grout with a bleach pen. Your go-to cleaning pen does more than clean shirts. Find yours, and use it to clean the grout in your shower that won’t come clean with scrubbing.
- Scrub your cast iron with a potato. We’re not kidding. Cast iron pans can be tricky to clean. Cut a potato in half, and throw on some coarse salt, scrubbing the pan clean using your potato. The grime will quickly break up and rinse away.
- Use a hair dryer for water rings. Did your water glass sweat too much on your favorite wooden coffee table? If so, use your hair dryer over the area (on heat), and you should see those pesky rings disappear before your eyes. Afterward, use a teensy bit of olive oil to recondition the wood.
- Remove hard water buildup on your kitchen faucet. Cut a lemon, stick it onto the end of the facet and wrap a small plastic bag around it, securing it with a rubber band. Give it a few hours, remove the lemon and wipe the faucet clean (then throw your lemon into the garbage disposal to freshen it up!)
- Get wine stains off walls with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Extra Durable. This one small, affordable item is worth the investment. But it can do more than that: it can shine your extra white sneakers (those sides, man!), clean shower curtain liners and toothbrush holders—anything that has a pesky stain. (This hack might count for 50 more hacks, TBH).
- Clean your wedding rings with dish soap and warm water. Instead of investing in some fancy jewelry cleaner, mix a little bit of dish soap, such as Dawn, with warm water, and let your rings soak for 10–15 minutes. Take them out, and scrub them with an old toothbrush.
- Clean weird-shaped vessels with rice. Yes, you read that right. If you have a strangely shaped glass or pottery container , fill it with uncooked rice, water and dishwashing soap. Make a makeshift lid (perhaps using the top of a pan?), and shake to get those nooks and crannies clean. Or, try Dawn Platinum Powerwash Dish Spray, which was designed to help you tackle those hard-to-reach places.
Make Daily Cleaning Easy
- Clean the bathroom sink daily. The bathroom sink is actually the grossest part of your house. So keep a cleaning spray right next to yours! Wipe it down with water every day, and routinely spray with an antibacterial spray, like Microban 24.
- Scrub your toilet daily. While daily cleanings needn’t be deep, try and scrub your main toilet clean using the brush at least once a day. Once it’s a habit, we promise you this will make your life easier.
- Don’t be afraid to use your Swiffer on your walls. They’re fantastic for getting dust off of hard-to-reach spaces, like walls.
Save Time Cleaning
- Use Dawn Platinum Powerwash Dish Spray to save time scrubbing dishes. Dishes can be cleaned by just spraying, wiping, and rinsing with Dawn Powerwash. Most of the time, you won’t even need to think about scrubbing.
- Throw a dry towel in your dryer. To speed up drying (which can take FORever), try our hack and throw a thick (already dry) bath towel in the dryer with all your wet clothes. Just watch it cut your drying time.
- Invest in a Swiffer Sweeper. If you want to save time, this might be the quickest (and easiest) way to pick up all the gross things on your floor, including hair and grime.
- Collect missing items with your Swiffer. Sweep the Swiffer underneath your couch, your table, in those weird nooks and crannies. You might just pick up that sock you’ve been missing (in addition to getting the dust and dirt down there).
- Finesse the art of loading your dishwasher. Okay, so this might be terribly annoying at first, but once you catch on, not only will it save you time, but it will make your dishes way cleaner.
- If you’re looking to save time, color block your wardrobe. Ever have an outfit in mind, but you can’t find your shirt? Color blocking your wardrobe will save you time and energy in the morning. Plus it will make your closet look like a rainbow.
- Vacuum once one way, then again the other way. One thing that can really save time is learning how to vacuum efficiently. Go once across your carpet vertically, then again horizontally to grab all the dirt. And do this slowly. We promise it will make cleaning better and faster.
Prevent Stains and Dirt
- Rub wax paper on your chrome faucets. To prevent water stains, take a bit of wax paper, and rub. It will also take their shine to the next level.
- Rub your wax paper on your metal shower rod, too. After you wax your chrome faucets, wax your shower rod. It will make the shower curtain move more smoothly.
- Line the top of your fridge with newspaper. For most of us, the top of our fridge is exposed to the open air, just chilling and collecting dust. To make your life easier, next time you dust up there, put a sheet of old newspaper on top, and let that collect the grime and dust. Swap it out every so often, and you’ve just saved yourself 5 minutes.
- Try swapping your soap to avoid scum. Some soaps are less likely to leave soap scum on your tub or sink area—making cleaning much, much easier.
Cleaning Headphones and Computers
- De-gunk (and disinfect) your earbuds with some rubbing alcohol and your old toothbrush. Keep your earbuds sanitary by dabbing a tiny bit rubbing alcohol onto them with a cloth—careful not to get them too wet—and then scrubbing them with your old toothbrush. Your ears will thank you.
- Clean your computer with that handy Swiffer Duster. There’s no need to invest in a fancy computer cleaning solution. For dusty monitors, all it takes is the gentle sweeping motion of a Swiffer Duster to return your screen to normal. The flexible microfibers flex to the surface, meaning you can even clean the ridges around the frame, the monitor stand and the hinge connecting your laptop monitor to the base. Basically, it’s a magic wand.
Go Green While You Clean
- Empty coffee grounds into your garden or compost. If you’re like most of the world, you're throwing your coffee grounds down your disposal. Well, stop. That can seriously mess up your sink over time. Instead, drop them into your garden or houseplant. The plants seriously might love it more than you.
- Clean your bath with grapefruit. Cut a grapefruit in half, and sprinkle coarse salt on top of it—and then just get to scrubbing your tub. This DIY hack will make cleaning smell much, much better too!
- Use lemon juice and sunshine to freshen up white shirts. White shirts have the unfortunate tendency to get yellow. To keep them white, dab some lemon juice on them on a sunny day, and lay them out to dry in the sun.
- Make your own DIY window cleaner for a fraction of the price. Why spend money on window cleaners when you can make something just as effective at home? Look at our recipe here.
And The Most Important Cleaning Tip…
- Finally (and most importantly) make cleaning fun and entertaining! Sometimes the hardest part about cleaning is just getting started. So make it interesting. Dedicate a certain podcast you love to the chore to get positive reinforcement. Or dedicate a certain upbeat genre of music you only listen to when you clean (a favorite of ours is bossa nova).