On average, Americans spend nearly 40 minutes a day cleaning their homes. And, with the exception of those who truly find dusting their baseboards and scrubbing their ovens akin to bliss, most people are likely eager to use that time for more enjoyable activities.
In fact, researchers at Berlin’s Institute for Medical Psychology have even found a link between housework, stress, and poorer physical functioning for women recovering from surgery, making a clear case for keeping that time scrubbing and scouring to a minimum. Luckily, there’s hope: these genius house cleaning tricks will make your home twice as clean in half the time. And when you want to know how the pros make your home shine top to bottom, check out the 20 Secrets Your Housekeeper Won’t Tell You!
Clean Your Blender With Soap
Cleaning a blender is a perilous activity, at best. You’re essentially sticking your hand into a bowl full of knives and hoping for the best every time you try to remove the remnants of that kale smoothie from your blades.
The good news? It’s easy to remove that stuck-on gunk by pouring some warm water, a little baking soda, and a little dish soap in your blender and pulsing it for a few seconds. Afterward, give it a good rinse or pop it in the dishwasher to get it looking like brand new once again. And when you want to make your home spotless from the ground up, This Is the Safest Way to Clean Your Floors!
Make Your Sink Fixtures Gleam With Wax Paper
Sinks are among the dirtiest places in the home, with a recent study published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology revealing that many sinks, even those in hospitals, are crawling with drug resistant bacteria. And the constant wear and tear we put on our sinks often means they look less-than-clean, even after they’ve been disinfected.
The solution? After sanitizing with an antibacterial cleanser, polish those faucets and tap handles with some wax paper. Not only will this help remove water spots, the wax will help prevent future stains, as well. And when you want to enjoy those cleaning marathons a whole lot more, start with the 20 Genius Ways to Make Chores More Fun!
Clean Out Your Coffee Maker With Some Vinegar
Even those of us who use our coffee makers on a daily basis probably aren’t cleaning them as much as we should be. Unfortunately, research published in Scientific Reports suggests that our coffee makers are a veritable hotbed of bacterial activity, and we might just be ingesting some of that icky stuff along with our dark roast.
So, how should you combat all that bacteria? A monthly vinegar rinse should do it. Simply fill your coffee maker’s reservoir with a few tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with water, run it, and run it once more with only water to ditch any lingering vinegar smell. Of course, your appliances surfaces aren’t the only ones in need of some serious scrubbing: This Is Why You Need to Change Your Pillow Immediately!
Keep Your Washer Smelling Fresh With Bleach
While many of us think of our washing machines as self-cleaning, that’s far from the case. In fact, one study suggests that 60 percent of all washing machines tested contained harmful bacteria, including E.coli. Fortunately, you can easily ditch the bacteria in your washer by running it with a combination of hot water and a quart of bleach and opting for the sanitize setting. So long, funky-smelling clothes! And for more helpful tips, here are the 30 Genius Tricks to Make Your Life Easier.
Skip the Traditional Mop
Ditch your traditional mop in favor of a microfiber duster and you’ll make your home cleaner and less contaminated in no time. Research suggests that wet mops tend to harbor so much bacteria that they can’t be readily cleaned with chemicals alone, but microfiber mops with single-use pads are the ideal tools for keeping your home cleaner.
So, after you’re done vacuuming, use a bit of cleaner on a microfiber pad to clean your floors, surfaces, and even your electronics with ease—and without getting your hands dirty. And for more ways to keep your home looking great, avoid the 30 Home Decorations No One Over 30 Should Own.
Sweep Your Baseboards With a Dryer Sheet
Getting on your hands and knees to clean your baseboards is anything but enjoyable. The good news? You can keep them clean and keep your house smelling fresh with one clever trick: attach a dryer sheet to your Swiffer in place of a microfiber cloth and pick up all that unwanted dust while lending a sweet scent to your home. And for more advice on perfecting your abode, be sure to ditch the 30 Most Useless Home Appliances Ever Created.
Clean Your Shower Head With Some Vinegar
That spotty shower head in your bathroom is just as gross as it looks. In fact, one study reveals that one-fifth of shower heads tested were contaminated with Mycobacterium avium, which can cause serious respiratory health issues.
The good news? Keeping the outside of your shower head clean isn’t difficult. Simply fill a sandwich bag with white vinegar and affix it to your shower head with rubber bands, leaving it to soak overnight. And while many may doubt how effective anything short of bleach can be at killing bacteria, research from the American Society for Microbiology suggests that the acetic acid in vinegar significantly diminishes bacterial counts, even for hard-to-beat germs like tuberculosis. And when you want to make your home healthy, clean, and safe, clear out the 50 Deadliest Items in Your Home!
Freshen Up Your Mattress With Baking Soda
With any luck, by the time you reach adulthood, you’re washing your pillows and pillowcases on a regular basis. However, most of us don’t do much in the way of cleaning our mattresses, save for occasionally laundering our sheets.
The good news? You can still limit the bacterial contamination and allergy-provoking dust on your bed in no time. At least once a month, vacuum your mattress and apply an ample sprinkling of baking soda to it. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours to absorb any odors, vacuum again, and voila! A cleaner, less gross place to sleep. And when you’re serious about getting your home into mint condition, start with the 20 Home Maintenance Tips Everyone Should Know!
Disinfect Your Sponges in the Microwave
You use your kitchen sponge to clean utensils, dishes, even countertops. Unfortunately, by doing so, you might be spreading millions of bacteria throughout your home. The solution? Zap that sponge in the microwave.
Slightly dampen your sponge, pop it in the microwave for 90 seconds on full power, and you’ll reduce the amount of bacterial contamination on that sucker by up to 99 percent, according to research published in the Journal of Environmental Health. Just make sure your sponge doesn’t have any metal scrubbers or you’ll be adding “buy a new microwave” to your list of chores. And for more about your microwave, read here for the answer to the timeless question: Will Nuking Food Destroy Its Helpful Nutrients?
Un-scratch Your Plates With Baking Soda
A slip of the knife here, an overzealous fork there, and suddenly, you’ve got a stack of unsightly scratched plates in your kitchen. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your plates look brand new again with some baking soda. Simply make a paste of baking soda and water, rub it into the scratches, and in no time, your dishes will look as good as new.
Freshen Your Garbage Disposal With Some Lemons
With all the junk we throw into our garbage disposals, it’s no wonder they’re a veritable petri dish, and bear all the nasty odors that prove it. Making them a whole lot less gross is easy: simply squeeze some lemons into your drain, and let your disposal gobble up the rinds.
Clean Blinds With Your Vacuum
Cleaning blinds is often a thankless task, and one that always takes more time than we’re expecting. To make it easier and quicker, use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum instead, and that dust will be done for in seconds. Alternately, you can also wipe them off and give your home a clean scent by putting a dryer sheet in a pair of tongs and giving them a swipe.
Steam Clean Your Microwave
That stuck-on mess from the time you tried to heat up your leftover spaghetti is going to take a lot of elbow grease to remove. Luckily, a little steam can make the job a whole lot easier. Simply fill a microwave-safe bowl with a few tablespoons of white vinegar and a cup of water, and nuke on high for a few minutes. Your microwave will quickly steam up, making those caked on messes a breeze to clean off afterwards.
Dust Your Surfaces With a Sticky Lint Roller
Dusting is an imperfect art. However, when you need to pick up that handful of craft glitter your kids spilled, get pet hair off a lampshade, or just grab some dust, a sticky lint roller does the trick with ease.
Soak Your Stove Burners in Ammonia For Easy Cleaning
Research suggests that a shocking 41 percent of all home fires start in the kitchen, often as a result of errors on the stove. Fortunately, eliminating some of the grease and grime on your burners can help you stay safer in the long run. Pop off those burner parts, put them in a large sandwich bag with a quarter-cup of ammonia—they shouldn’t be swimming in the stuff—and simply close up the bags. Leave them to soak overnight, and by morning, you can simply wipe off that gunk with ease.
Protect Your Pillows
The bad news: your pillows are teeming with everything from bacteria to dead skin to dust mites. The good news: keeping them clean isn’t that hard. In addition to washing your pillow cases once a week and washing the pillows themselves on a monthly basis, buying antimicrobial zippered pillow protectors can help keep your bed free of any unwanted microscopic guests.
Clean Those Cutting Boards With Lemon
While most plastic cutting boards can be popped into your dishwasher to get clean, wooden cutting boards are a different animal entirely. Luckily, you can get out those difficult stains in your cutting boards by rubbing them with some lemon and salt. Sprinkle some kosher salt on your cutting board, using half a lemon to rub it in. Let the mixture sit on your boards for a few minutes, then give it a rinse with clean water. And yes, worrywarts, you can keep using those wooden boards without incident. In addition to the antimicrobial properties of lemon, research actually suggests that wood cutting boards may not harbor as much bacteria below their surface as you might imagine.
Use Dryer Sheets to Clean Your Pans
That stuck-on grime in your pan is no match for your dryer sheets. Simply put the pan in your sink with a little dish soap, warm water, and a dryer sheet, let the combo sit for an hour or two, and when you’re ready to pour out the water, the mess will easily wipe away.
Get a Streak-Free Shine With Newspaper
If you’re using paper towels to get your mirrors and windows streak-free, you’re doing yourself a disservice. The easier (and cheaper) way to clean your glass surfaces is by using soy ink newspaper, which won’t streak or leave your surfaces covered with lint. For your best bet, try out this DIY dusting spray along with them.
Scrub a Cast Iron Skillet With a Potato
Cast iron pans can be a pain to clean, thanks to their specifically-seasoned coating, which can flake off or rust if cleaned improperly. Luckily, all you need is a little salt and a potato to get off those messes safely. Simply pour some coarse salt into the pan and use half a potato to rub it in until that mess has broken up and can be rinsed away. And when you want to make your home safer from the outside in, start with the 15 Best Ways to Protect Your Home!
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