September 3, 2020
Let’s be honest: Cleaning your home can be a hassle. You’re either in the cleaning mood or you’re not. If you view house cleaning as a form of self-care, it can be relaxing. For the rest of us, it’s all about getting in, getting the job done and getting out as quickly as possible. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still an unfortunate reality, it’s more important than ever to clean and disinfect your house or apartment regularly.
As you’re fulfilling your Centers for Disease Control-recommended cleaning duties, do you find yourself asking, “what is the fastest way to clean a house?” Or more specifically: “How do I clean my house in 5 minutes?” Any way to make spring cleaning (or cleaning any other time) faster and easier is a hack worth considering.
In cleaning-enthusiast circles, there’s a hot debate over whether to move entirely to natural cleaning products. Unfortunately, that question has been complicated by COVID-19. Some EPA-approved chemical cleaners like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner and Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Bowl Cleaner are necessary to meet CDC guidelines for killing SARS-COV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use natural cleaning hacks to help get the house clean enough to relax in. On top of that, there are plenty of ways to reuse items like dryer sheets and old toothbrushes. And you don’t have to be a cleaning expert.
Between healthy cleaning solutions and tips and tricks for getting the less pleasant jobs done quicker, we’ve got some cleaning hacks to brighten your day. It’s not just the clean windows and brighter surfaces sans grime, though that is certainly part of the appeal.
If cleaning hacks are what you seek, then it’s cleaning hacks you shall have. Come right this way…
1. Use lemons to get some dirty work done
When life gives you lemons, some people might say make lemonade. Sure, go ahead. But you can put those lemons to other fine uses, such as cleaning your cutting board. Sprinkle some salt on the area to be cleaned, cut the lemon in half and scrub your cutting board sparkling clean with the flat surface of the lemon half. You may want to use vinyl gloves to avoid getting salt and lemon juice in any nicks or cuts on your hands.
Use the other lemon half to polish a grimy faucet and get rid of soap scum, water spots and hard water stains.
Then chop up what’s left of the lemon into smaller pieces and send them down a garbage disposal to freshen it up. Voila.
2. Remove dust from lampshades with a lint roller
This works best on flat lampshades. Maybe vacuuming doesn’t seem like a lampshade-cleaning tool, but for pleated lampshades, use the vacuum with the brush attachment, making sure the suction is set low enough to keep from getting stuck to the lampshade.
3. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to clean just about anything
Wet the Magic Eraser a bit and clean up a multitude of things, from shower doors and shower heads to stainless steel, countertops and stovetops. It may take a little elbow grease, but you’ll be amazed at what it will clean.
4. Remove hair from carpets or upholstery with a squeegee
Gently scrape it along the carpet or upholstery in short strokes, working all kinds of hair out of the carpet and furniture fabric. This is especially useful for removing pet hair.
5. Use Cola or Drano Max Gel as a stain or oil remover for concrete
Pour a bit of Drano Max Gel or cola on the stains in question and let them sit for five minutes to allow it to work on the stain. Then scrub with a stiff brush and gently rinse the area clean with hot water. If fully rinsing isn’t an option, use wet paper towels to wipe up and dispose of the mess.
6. Use dryer sheets to clean computer screens or remove soap scum from shower doors
It’s pretty simple: Use it like a microfiber cloth to dust or clean your TV and computer screens. It will catch dust and other particles without scratching the screens. Dryer sheets will also help repel dust from gathering as quickly in the first place.
Dryer sheets are great for cleaning baseboards as well, helping to repel dust in the same way.
7. Unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar
8. Best ways to clean up your blinds
A Swiffer or a vacuum set to low suction with a brush attachment will get loose dust and particles from just about any style of blinds. Some materials such as vinyl, faux wood or metal blinds can be cleaned using a cloth and a half-and-half solution of vinegar and warm water. To make an ingenious DIY cleaning tool, wrap the ends of some tongs with your cleaning cloth of choice (microfiber or other soft cloth works well).
Check out this guide to cleaning your particular type of blinds.
9. Dust your ceiling fan blades with an old pillowcase
You can see it caking up on the edges of the fan blades, but you know it’s going to be a disgusting mess with dust falling on everything below. Try using an old pillowcase. Slip it over the fan blade and wipe the dust away as you slide the case off the blade, capturing the dust inside. Go over the blades with a dryer sheet to help repel dust accumulation.
10. Steam clean your microwave
No one wants to do it. And, magically, no one knows how it got so dirty inside. It just…happened. But eventually the time comes and you can’t take it anymore: The inside of the microwave must be cleaned.
Your first move is to put a microwave-safe bowl or Pyrex measuring cup with a half-and-half mixture of distilled white vinegar and water into the microwave. Place a wooden spoon or skewer into the water to prevent superheating the mixture. Microwave for 5 to 10 minutes.
CAREFULLY remove the bowl or cup from the microwave using an oven mitt to avoid burning your hand. The inside of the microwave should show condensation (this loosens the gunk) and be ready to wipe clean with a microfiber cloth and not a lot of scrubbing.
Check here for alternate microwave cleaning tips that use the power of lemon in case you or others in your house are sensitive to the smell of vinegar.
BONUS: Sponge Maintenance 101
Sponges are great. They really are. But they’re also prodigious breeding grounds for some really nasty bacteria. Some sage advice from experts includes:
- Keep your sponges away from raw meat.
- Every few days, run your sponge through the dishwasher with a heated dry cycle or wet the sponge and microwave it for 30 seconds.
- Replace your sponges about every two weeks.
Eventually, the effort to clean old sponges and the risk that something dangerous gets left behind just isn’t worth the cost of replacing them.