Sure, you may think you know how to get rid of dust or clean your microwave, but have you ever wondered if there's an easier way to knock out cleaning tasks? We're always looking for good ideas in the cleaning department, so we scoured the internet (hat-tip to these Reddit and Lifehack posts) and talked to Nicola Davies, owner of Tranquil Home, an eco-friendly cleaning agency in San Diego, to pull together this treasure trove of cleaning hacks that will take your house cleaning to the next level.
1. To clean greasy stove tops, appliances and counters, make a paste using cream of tartar and a little bit of water. Scrub with a damp sponge and then wipe away.
2. Spot clean upholstery with baby wipes (not the housecleaning wipes, as these might damage fabrics). While you're at it, freshen stinky furniture with a sprinkle of baking soda before you vacuum.
3. Faucets covered in soap scum? Rub them with a cut lemon and wipe clean with a cloth.
4. For another option to tackle that soap scum, try rubbing faucets with a dryer sheet (used or unused).
5. Speaking of dryer sheets, you can also use used or unused sheets to wipe down baseboards and shelves. They're anti-static, so they repel dust!
6. Use your hair dryer to remove water rings from wooden surfaces. Once warm, wipe with olive oil for a clean, stain-free surface.
7. Can't get stuck-on food off that pan? Soak it in warm water and — you guessed it — a dryer sheet. (Who knew those things could be so handy?)
8. Remove bathtub rings by gently rubbing with a cut grapefruit that has been sprinkled with salt.
9. Scour cast-iron pans with a paste made from sea salt and water.
10. Use a squeegee or a rubber glove to remove hair from furniture and carpets.
11. Pick up spilled glitter (or sequins or beads) with play dough.
12. Get rid of oil stains on your sidewalk, driveway or garage floor by scrubbing with cola.
13. Dirty blender? Avoid scrubbing near the blades by filling it half way with water and a drop of dish soap. Give it a spin and then rinse the gunk away.
14. Use WD-40 to get your stainless steel appliances clean and out-of-this world shiny.
15. Know that little mesh part on the end of your faucet? It's called an aerator and you need to clean it to avoid bacteria, mold and hard water deposit buildup. Take it off, soak it in vinegar and give it a quick scrub.
16. To clean ceiling fans, put a pillow case over the blade, and then slide it off. The dust will collect in the case instead of raining down on the room. Do each blade one at a time. Shake the pillow case outside and than launder as normal.
17. Don't just put something down; put it away. (An obvious, but solid cleaning tip for reducing clutter.)
18. Prevent water spots by rubbing faucets with wax paper and polishing with a clean, dry cloth.
19. Clean by color. For example — clean or put away every green item in your room, then pick a new color. (This is a great way to get the kids involved, too!)
20. Guests on their way? Clear clutter quickly by putting all of it in a spare laundry basket or bin to be organized later, then tuck it out of sight in a closet.
21. Clean your blinds or shutters quickly by placing an old sock over your hand so you can wipe both sides at once.
22. Clean window screens by rolling them with a lint roller.
23. Tackle rust spots in the bathroom or kitchen by rubbing with a thick paste made from equal parts salt and lemon juice.
24. You also can use that salt-and-lemon-juice combo to clean and disinfect wooden cutting boards.
25. Dirty microwave? Clean hardened-on food by microwaving a small bowl of water for 30 to 60 seconds. Food and gunk will wipe off in a jiffy.