So if you’re going to put in the time and effort, you might as well do a good job and get everything sparkling and germ-free.
Professional cleaners have some great tricks up their sleeves for getting things fresh and clean – and often they involve household items rather than pricey sprays and tools.
Check out these 40 hacks that come straight from the pros – they’ll probably remind you about some areas you’ve been neglecting.
1. Sterilize your sponges
And while sponges can get grimy pretty quickly, it’s not exactly sustainable to keep replacing them – so sanitize them instead!
Be sure to make sure your sponge is wet before putting it in the microwave and keep an eye on it.
2 minutes should do the trick to kill most germs.
2. Wash your washing machine
When things smell funky, simply run your washing machine on hot (without clothes inside!), adding a cup of white vinegar to the detergent compartment.
3. De-grime your grout
But if you’re suddenly in the mood to do some cleaning and don’t have any on hand, you can make your own.
Simply mix together 1/2 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp dish soap. Apply the mixture to the grout, wait 5-10 minutes, scrub, and rinse. (Sorry, you do still have to scrub!)
You can also use 3/4 baking soda and 1/4 bleach, but be sure to ventilate and wear a mask and gloves when using bleach!
4. Keep your screens clean
For a quick and easy way to remove things like cobwebs, grab your lint roller instead.
(This is a great tool for dusting lampshades as well!)
5. Sanitize your toilet brush
But that’s not so sanitary and can lead to unwanted odors.
Next time you’re cleaning the toilet, add a capful or two of bleach to a toilet bowl of clean water and let the brush soak for about an hour before putting it away.
6. Clean your cookie sheets
First, grab some baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Sprinkle your baking soda all over the surface of the pan, then spray a generous amount of hydrogen peroxide over it until all the powder is wet.
Let the whole coated sheet sit overnight.
The following day, use a plastic scraper to scrape off the baking soda and reveal your good-as-new cookie sheet.
7. Iron out carpet stains
Spray the stain, place the towel over it, and apply the iron – the heat should help lift the stain into the towel and away from your rug.
8. See inside your oven again after some scrubbing
But if you mix half a cup of baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste, you can get it nice and clean.
Just smear the mixture on your oven door and scrub it with a wool pad until it’s nice and shiny (elbow grease is necessary too).
9. Detangle your vacuum cleaner
But there’s an easy fix.
Just grab a seam ripper and cut those fibers right off. You’ll be rolling your way to a cleaner carpet in no time.
10. Brush the back of the toilet bowl
The area behind the seat and under the tank collects all kinds of grime that wipes and scrubbers just can’t reach.
So next time you clean, reach for the flathead screwdriver. Cover it with a disinfectant cloth and get in those nooks and crannies.
Remove the toilet seat first if you’re feeling really ambitious.
11. Get up high with a DIY gadget
If you feel less-than-steady on a ladder, you can always reach those places from the safety of the ground by creating your own extended duster.
Simply grab your broom, cover it with a microfiber cloth, and wipe away!
12. Use wax paper to shine your faucet
Rubbing the chrome with it should give it a streak-free shine!
13. Dust your blinds with an old sock
Just grab an old tube sock, pull it on, and wipe away that dust.
You can even turn it inside out as you take it off to keep things tidy.
14. Make your stainless steel sink sparkle
If you want to polish your sink, simply sprinkle baking soda onto it and pour warm water in to form a paste. Then grab a sponge (and a toothbrush if you have nooks and crannies near the drain that need shining) and start scrubbing away to a streak-free shine.
(Of course, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser works wonders too if you’re up for a trip to the store!)
15. Use vinegar to make your showerhead sparkle
After 10-15 minutes (or longer for more desperate situations) you should be able to remove that debris easily.
16. Buff your windows with newspaper
If you don’t have a streak-free solution like microfiber to work with, a newspaper is a great substitute – far better than a paper towel that leaves behind all sorts of fuzzy bits.
17. Buff out the glass stains on your wood
If the damage is severe, your table may have to be refinished. But give a few things a try first.
If the stain is fresh, try blowing it with a hairdryer to dry it out. And if that doesn’t work, see if buffing it with some toothpaste does the trick.
Finally, mayonnaise or petroleum jelly might get rid of it as well!
Just don’t start spreading mayo on your fine antiques – consult a pro for those.
18. Deodorize your garbage disposal with a twist of lemon
To clean it out, run warm water and drop in a lemon or orange peel. Then run the disposal for 5 seconds.
The citric acid can soften anything hardened and attack bacteria lurking inside.
If you feel like it still needs a sandblast, drop in a few ice cubes to finish the job, then run the warm water again.
19. Whiten your plastic cutting boards
But if you want yours looking spic and span, squeeze the juice from half a lemon onto your cutting board and rub the inside around the stains to scrub it.
Lemon juice contains psoralen, which can increase an object’s sensitivity to light.
Wait for a sunny day to do this and let your cutting board sit in direct sunlight until the stains are gone.
20. Un-scuff your floor with a tennis ball
You’ll need some elbow grease as well, but it should only take a minute of rubbing.
21. Dust your baseboards with a dryer sheet
To avoid having to deep clean every few months, keep them dust-free by rubbing a dryer sheet over them to trap dust easily before you sweep your floors.
22. Shine your glass stovetop
Glass-top stoves are pretty, but quick to show any smears.
To prevent scratches, don’t scrub too hard.
You can use a mixture of dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide by lightly rubbing them on the stove in that order with a brush, waiting a few minutes, and then shining it with your hands so you don’t scrub too deep.
Afterward, rinse and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
23. Use a pillowcase to dust your ceiling fans
Clean it off every few weeks in the off-season by putting each blade in a pillowcase and then wiping it off on the inside.
It’s a great way to keep the dust contained and ensures that you don’t have to vacuum the whole house when you turn it on in warm weather.
24. Wash your dishwasher
Even though there’s always hot water and soap in there, dishwashers can suffer from stains and odors.
To keep things clean, run the dishwasher empty except for a cup of white vinegar placed on the top rack every few months.
If the bottom is still dirty, run it again with some baking soda on the bottom.
25. Get your range hood gleaming
Your range is a big culprit in producing indoor air pollution since it catches all kinds of grime and gives off fumes when it heats up.
But you can keep things clean by using a water-based degreaser to clean it every few months.
Just fill your sink with the degreaser and water according to instructions and leave it to soak until it starts to shine.
26. Brush up your window tracks
The tracks of your windows and sliding doors get all sorts of junk in them, from dead bugs to dust. And if you’ve ever tried to get them clean you know how hard it is to get all the way into those tiny corners, even with a vacuum attachment.
But with the use of some vinegar and baking soda, you can loosen the grime to make it easier to wipe away.
Just sprinkle the baking soda on the dirt and then pour a little vinegar over it. It will bubble, but that’s what loosens the grime.
Just leave it for 10 minutes and then use a toothbrush to scrub it clean, then a paper towel to mop up the detritus.
27. Open up your air vents
Reduce the particles in your air by cleaning off those vents thoroughly.
A sponge or washcloth isn’t going to get all the way in by itself.
While it’s time-consuming, using a butter knife and a thin rag to get in the nooks and crannies will ensure you get all the gunk out.
28. Soak your air vents
Unscrew your vent covers and soak them in hot water and dish detergent instead of trying to pry out the dirt and dust.
29. Don’t neglect your germ hotspots
That’s because we often forget to put the finishing touches on the things we touch the most.
Take an antibacterial wipe or spray to doorknobs, light switches, phones, stair railings, thermostats, computer keyboards, TV remotes, and garage door openers as often as you remember!
30. Clean your shower curtain
Even if you clean often, if you don’t wash your shower curtains, you’re not in the clear.
Soak your curtain in a filled tub with warm water and a splash of bleach. Then, run it through the washing machine on the rinse cycle to prevent anything from growing on it.
31. De-funk your fridge
Once or twice a year, you really should get in there and do a deep clean.
The best way to go about it is to remove everything from the fridge, including the shelves. Soak the shelves in hot water and dish detergent while you wipe out the interior of the fridge.
If you really want to go gun-ho, wash them with hot water and dish detergent, and then rinse them off with a mixture of unscented liquid chlorine bleach and water.
After you wipe down the interior of the fridge, leave the door open for 15 minutes.
And be sure to wash your hands when you’re done!
32. Banish hard water stains
Instead, consider using a natural cure by rubbing half a lemon on your metal faucets to break down those stains.
33. Clean your light bulbs with a soft cloth and rubbing alcohol
Just be sure the light has been off for a while before you unscrew the bulb!
34. Use Pour-N-Restore to remove tough stains from hard-to-clean surfaces
If you have unsightly oil stains on your deck, patio, or driveway, you may be wondering just how long it will take them to go away.
But you can take matters into your own hands by investing in a bottle of Pour-N-Restore which will lift the stains out with no scrubbing.
Once you apply it in its liquid form, it will dry into a powder that you can simply sweep up and throw away along with whatever grime was once plaguing your concrete surfaces.
35. Steam clean your microwave
Nuke the mixture for 5-10 minutes so the steam has time to condense on the inside, making any gunk easy to wipe out.
36. Dust your electronics with a coffee filter
Use them to dust your television, computer monitor, phone, and any other screen that gets smeared when you try to use a towel on it.
— Real Simple (@RealSimple) February 17, 2015
37. The Magic Eraser really is magic
They’re made of melamine foam which, while soft, has a microstructure as hard as glass and gives it a superfine shining and buffing ability.
Never use them on your car or non-stick pots and pans (or anything else with a coating you don’t want to be rubbed off). But it’s amazing what they can do to remove stubborn stains and smears on most surfaces!
38. De-grime your iron
If you break out your iron to find any spots or stains on it, be sure to clean it first.
Our old friends baking soda and vinegar can get the job done here – and you can use a toothbrush to do the scrubbing.
39. Deep clean hardwood floors
Mix the following together in a plastic spray bottle: 1/2 cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of castile soap, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, 2 cups of warm water, (and add an essential oil drop if you want it scented).
This chemical-free solution will help get rid of both scratches and dirt on your hardwood floor.
40. Blast away bathroom rust
It turns out that WD-40 is the magic potion for this problem because it helps break down the bonds between metal and rust.
Using a brush, gently scrub with the solution until rust disappears.