40 handy hints for cleaning every nook and cranny of your house
You’ll have every corner of your house spick-and-span in no time by following these seriously smart house cleaning hacks. You won’t believe what everyday items can do!
Borax, or sodium borate, is a naturally occurring substance and is an ingredient in many household cleaning products. If you have a smelly garbage bin, deodorise it with equal parts borax and water. For our small garbage can, we used 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of borax. Let it soak and then rinse it out. Sprinkle some borax in the bottom once it’s dry, to keep bugs away and to absorb any future odour-causing moisture. Check out this guide to essential non-toxic cleaning products.
Every time you sweep, clumps of dust and hair collect at the ends of the broom’s bristles. To solve this problem, hot glue a wide-tooth comb to the top of a dustpan. Just run the bristles through the comb to remove any excess gunk dangling from the broom. Here are six more must-read spring cleaning articles.
Don’t throw away used dryer sheets. There’s another use for them. Wrap a couple of dryer sheets onto the flat head of a sweeper. The dryer sheets pick up dust and hair just as well as name-brand sweeper refills. Say goodbye to those dust bunnies! Don’t forget to follow the 10 golden rules of cleaning.
Dishwashers are for so much more than just washing dishes. Leslie Reichert, founder of The Green Cleaning Coach and author of The Joy Of Green Cleaning, recommends using yours to dust off knickknacks like mason jars and glass candle globes. Pretty much anything glass or ceramic should be fine going in the dishwasher. Meanwhile, find out how to clean a dishwasher with vinegar.
If you are all about ease and convenience when it comes to washing the dishes, check out this DIY mason jar dish scrubber. It even has a soap-dispensing handle. First, punch a few nail holes in the jar’s lid. Trace the lid onto a sponge and cut it out. Hot glue the sponge to the inner rim of the screw-on part of the lid. Fill the jar with soap, screw on the sponge and you’re set!
If you own a hummingbird feeder or tall flower vase, you know how difficult it is to clean inside them. A toothbrush is perfect for cleaning these hard-to-reach places. So, when your old toothbrush has retired from duty in your mouth, give it a new job!
If streaky mirrors and glass tug on your nerves, we’ll show you how to get streak-free glass with a couple of items already lying around your home. To get started, you’ll need window cleaner and newspaper. Spray window cleaner on your dirty glass and then scrub in a circular motion, using the newspaper. Switch to a vertical, and then a horizontal stroke until all the liquid has dissipated and you’re left with shiny, streak-free windows! Alternatively follow this simple guide to window cleaning.
Soap has a nasty way of forming a hard-to-remove film on the tile in tubs and showers. You won’t get rid of it by rubbing. Instead, wait for the surface to dry, then scrape off the scum with a 10cm plastic putty knife. For grout lines and textured surfaces, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.
To prevent soap scum build-up, stop using real soap and start using a synthetic. Chemically speaking, any soap in a liquid or gel form and some bar soaps are actually synthetic soaps and much less likely to leave a tough film in your sink, shower or tub. Head here for 10 great bathroom spring cleaning secrets.
Everyone knows how annoying it is when you can’t seem to find a dropped pill or the back of an earring. So how do you find these items quickly and easily? Use your vacuum. Here’s the trick; before you turn the vacuum on, cut off the end of a nylon and secure it on the end of your vacuum hose with a rubber band.
The advantages of traditional oven cleaners are power and speed. But for many of us, the disadvantages outweigh the good, specifically, the corrosive chemicals and caustic fumes that this type of oven cleaning can produce.
A simple, more natural way to clean your oven is to place an oven-safe pot or bowl filled with water inside. Set your oven to 230 degrees for 20 to 60 minutes to loosen dirt and grease with the steam. Once your oven is cool, wipe off the condensation and the grease will come with it. If stubborn spots persist, scrub with a paste of baking soda and lemon or vinegar. This steam-cleaning option doesn’t take as long as pyrolytic cleaning and doesn’t produce smoke, either. It’s a win-win! Check out these 11 chemical-free ways to clean your home.
Even if you empty your dryer’s lint trap before each load, chances are there is still lint build-up around the area that could potentially cause a fire. (Here are 20 things that could be a potential fire hazard that you need to know.) So it’s important to deep clean the area once in a while, and this handy hint will get the job done.
Wrap a clean rag around one end of a paint stir stick. Remove the lint trap and clean out the area with the rag-covered stick. To help the lint stick to the rag, dampen it with water first.
Start by threading the machine screw through the brush head so the head of the screw rests in the brush head hole. On the other side of the brush head, slide on the washer and secure it in place with a nut. Make sure to tighten it well with a wrench. However, do not over-tighten, as this may cause the plastic brush head to crack. Next, attach the scrubber head to the drill.
To clean, fill a bowl or bucket with hot water and dish soap (or the cleaning agent of your choice). Dip the power scrubber into the mixture just enough to saturate the bristles and do not submerge the drill! Now simply point and press the drill to start and let the drill brush do the work.
Attach a dry cloth to the Swiffer’s rectangle end and swipe it along the wall to pick up dust, cobwebs and dirt and more. Then press an edge of the rectangle end along window and door trim to pick up dust that tends to collect quickly in those areas.
The extension handle on the Swiffer makes reaching these high surfaces simple and safe – so you don’t have to stand on a step stool or ladder. When you’re done dusting, just toss the disposable cloth in the garbage.
When you need to clean a computer monitor or TV screen, reach into your kitchen cupboard for a coffee filter. Thin, cloth-like paper filters are great at picking up fine dust particles, and one filter goes a long way. You can also use coffee filters for dusting knickknacks and other home accessories, while you’re at it. Add a spritz of cleaning solution and the coffee filter will catch even more dust and disinfect surfaces, too.
If your disposer has developed an odour, it may contain bits of rotted food. Here’s how to clean them out:
With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.
For tiny trinkets and knickknacks with small parts that are difficult to clean with a standard household rag, try this handy hint: Slip on a pair of soft (preferably cotton) gardening gloves. Then use your fingers to clean the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies of your collectibles. To get rid of germs in the process of dusting, spritz the cotton gloves with a small amount of antibacterial cleaning solution.
To get rid of hard-water build-up on a faucet, try this natural solution: Cut a fresh lemon in half. Then press the lemon onto the end of the faucet. Put a small plastic bag around the lemon and secure it around the faucet with a rubber band. Be sure that the rubber band it cinched tightly and that the lemon is around the end of the faucet. Leave the lemon in place for a few hours to allow the citric acid to work its magic.
After you remove the lemon, you may need to use a gentle scrubbing pad to wash off any loosened hard-water build-up. Then wipe the faucet with a damp cloth to remove any leftover lemon juice, and your faucet will be squeaky clean – and you didn’t need to use harsh chemicals! Head here to find 5 more extraordinary uses for lemons.
When I’m working outside and have messy work shoes, I will step into plastic grocery bags and tie the handle loops around my ankles to hold them on. This keeps me from dragging in mud and such when I need to come inside for just a minute or two. It also keeps me out of trouble with my wife! – Lance Wiist
It’s easy to clean baked-on food and spills from your microwave Here’s how: Partially fill a measuring or coffee cup with water and add a slice of lemon. Boil the water for a minute, and then leave the door closed and let the steam loosen the mess. After 10 minutes, open the door and wipe away the grime. Here are some professional solutions to the 10 toughest domestic cleaning problems.
“One of the handy little tools that I use for cleaning is an electric toothbrush. It’s great for removing stains and grime around the house! To clean up residue and splatters in the kitchen, I use just a bit of baking soda under the spinning toothbrush head to quickly clean the metal sink and plastic dish drying rack. I also use the electric toothbrush with baking soda and a tiny bit of water to scrub grout in both the kitchen and bathroom. Of course, I use a different one for my teeth!” – Ellis Biderson
Don’t worry, that permanent marker stain on your new laminate countertop won’t be there forever! Dab some cooking oil onto a paper towel and then lay the paper towel over the stain that refuses to budge. Wait a few minutes while the oil works to dissolve the stubborn stain. Finally, remove the towel and rub away the stain in circular motions (with some force) with another paper towel dipped in oil. When the stain is gone, wipe the area clean with soap and water. Head here to find out how to remove 12 common stains.
If you own stainless steel kitchen appliances, you may want to consider using car wax to clean them rather than a surface cleaner. Simply apply a light coat of car wax to the appliance, allow time to dry and buff clean to resist fingerprints and smudges. No more kiddy fingerprints on the fridge!
Use this handy hint if there’s an unpleasant smell lurking in your couch or upholstered chair: Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odours and break up some light stains in the fabric.
After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda – and the bad smell – with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum. Baking soda’s not the only genius cleaning item. Check out 20 clever uses for ammonia you’ll wish you knew sooner.
No need for a special tool to give your window blinds a deep cleaning, just slip a soft (and clean!) sock onto your hand. Your hand is the perfect tool for wiping over, through and under the blinds to get every nook and cranny that collects dust.
Spray a bit of all-purpose cleaner onto the sock for added disinfecting oomph.
“When my bathroom sink gets clogged, I don’t reach for chemicals. Instead, I use a long zip tie. I cut several notches on the zip-ties end. It’ll hook the hair clog, allowing you to pull it out. Problem solved. The size of the eye of the zip tie prevented me from inadvertently pushing the tie past the stopper.” – Rick Holmen
Fabric lampshades are magnets for dust and pet hair. You can’t just throw them in the washing machine, so what do you do? I’ve found that a lint roller works really well. Be careful though, as lampshades are fragile and can even become brittle. A torn lampshade is worse than a dirty one. Meanwhile, head here to find out how to clean flyscreens with a lint roller.
Toilet brushes are relegated to a filthy task, and the thought of what’s leftover on that brush left me a little queasy. So I put a splash of Pine-Sol in the bottom of the brush container. Not only does this help to deodorise my bathroom, but it also disinfects the toilet brush.
Sometimes you need a little bit of creativity to deep clean hard-to-reach areas. If you have a plastic squeeze top bottle, try fitting the tip onto your vacuum nozzle. If it fits, great, if not, there’s always tape. You’ll have a powerful machine to get rid of dirt and dust in even the tiniest of spaces, like a keyboard, headphone port or for detailing your car.
Scratched eyeglasses are a real nuisance and make it hard to see. If your glasses DON’T have antiglare or scratch coating on them, here’s how to get minor scratches out. Put a drop of Brasso on a 100 percent cotton cloth, the softer the better. Apply the product to the lenses, let it dry completely, and then polish out the scratches.
Have your walls been redecorated with some original crayon masterpieces? Don’t lose your cool. Just grab a rag, dip it in some baking soda and lightly scrub the marks. They will come off with a minimal amount of effort and give your young Picasso a fresh, new canvas.
The space between your fridge and the floor is a magnet for pet hair, dust, food crumbs and other small trinkets. And if gone too long without cleaning, it can attract ants and other pests. To make this cleaning task less difficult, use a hair trap cleaner (also called a drain cleaning zip tool), which sells at home improvement stores for under $5. This hair trap won’t leave scratches on the floor and can reach further than a vacuum cleaner attachment.
“I use my computer a lot in my workshop. Once, the magnetic charging port collected a bunch of metal filings. I tried blowing them out with compressed air, but that didn’t work, as the filings were small and the magnet wouldn’t let go of them. What finally did the trick was sticking a bit of poster putty in the port. The putty doesn’t clog the port and successfully removes anything that might interfere with the connection.” – Travis Larson
“I used to think dropping a loaded paintbrush on the carpet meant replacing the carpet until a former foreman told me this little tip. Pour some denatured alcohol (methylated spirits) onto a rag and scrub away the paint. Use a rag that is as close in colour to the carpet, as the alcohol can transfer some of the rag’s colour to the carpet.” – Tom Gerdowsky
Dirt and oils from your fingertips can build up on a computer keyboard. But did you know that you can remove marks from a keyboard using a simple eraser? A standard pink eraser such as the one shown in the photo works perfectly, you just need to use a bit of elbow grease. Use a corner of the eraser to press down onto each key and rub away the marks. Follow this advice on how to clean a computer in under five minutes.
To prevent rust and extend the life of a cast iron frying pan, it’s best not to use soap to clean it. Instead, use about a tablespoon of coarse salt to scrub the pan after a meal.
The salt breaks up bits of stuck food and residue on the frying pan. Then you can toss the dirty salt in the trash, rinse the pan with hot water and dry it with a clean towel. To further protect a cast iron frying pan, rub a few drops of vegetable oil over the entire cooking surface.
When you need to round up water on your garage or basement floor, assemble this simple squeegee. Slip a piece of foam pipe insulation over the tines of an ordinary garden rake to push the water to a drain or out the door. You can also try these super helpful ideas for pipe insulation, too!
Wonder how to get rid of annoying flies around your home? Wash a plastic beverage bottle and cut off the top. Stick the cut-off top upside down in the bottle’s bottom. Mark a line slightly below the bottle’s spout. This will serve as a “fill to” line. Fill with apple chunks, the riper the better, and 2 cups of white vinegar to deter bees from the trap. Place the cut-off top upside down in the bottle. Flies can easily get into the wide opening, but it’s difficult for them to get back out.
All you need is an old toothbrush and a little toothpaste to get your old sneakers looking like new! Non-gel white toothpaste works great for cleaning white-soled sneakers (coloured toothpaste may stain rather than clean sneakers). Apply toothpaste to an old toothbrush and then work the paste into the dirty spots. Leave the toothpaste on the shoes for about ten minutes, and then wipe it off with a damp towel. Repeat the process if necessary.
Sign up here to get Handyman’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!
Source: The Family Handyman