If you’re like most people, you probably don’t leap from bed and launch into housecleaning mode. That’s why we reached out to the professionals for some pointers on making a dirty job a little easier.
Read on for 17 housecleaning tips from those who do it for a living.
1. Use an exfoliating pumice stone—the kind you use on your feet—to remove stains from inside toilet bowls, said Deanna Hanson, co-owner of The Maids of Kansas City.
2. Hanson’s housecleaners wear nitrile gloves, which look like medical gloves but are made of synthetic rubber. The gloves slide on easily and stand up to harsh chemicals and friction. “We wear them all day because they don’t tear,” Hanson said. You can buy nitrile gloves at most hardware stores or get eight pair for $1 at The Dollar Tree.
3. Use microfiber cloths to clean, and get the larger ones so they can be folded over and used longer. If you like organization, separate them by color, such as a red cloth for dusting, blue for glass and yellow for kitchen appliances. When finished, toss the cloths into the washing machine on the hot cycle.
4. Between regular dustings, run a dryer sheet along baseboards and window blinds to repel dust, said Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid. Use a microfiber cloth to remove dust on furniture and resist the urge to use dust spray, which can actually attract dust.
5. To clean your bathroom in 15 minutes for unexpected guests, drop a couple of denture-cleaning tablets in the toilet to fizz for 10 minutes while you put away clutter, Roberts said. Use a handheld vacuum to pick up dust, hair and debris from the floor and baseboards, and wipe the counter and sink fixtures with a damp microfiber cloth. Then use a toilet brush to swipe below the toilet rim and flush.
6. To get your faucets to shine, use a drop of baby oil on a microfiber cloth for chrome or stainless steel, Hanson said.
7. Place a shallow bowl of baking soda behind the toilet to absorb bathroom odors, cleaning blog Cleanrz.com recommends.
8. In the kitchen, Cleanrz.com suggests setting a bowl of white vinegar on the counter for a few hours to rid the room of odors from fish or spoiled food. “The odor will disappear for good,” the blog says.
9. To vacuum like a pro, move along the wall and then angle back and forth diagonally across the room in a straight line. “You’re getting every piece of carpet,” Hanson said.
10. Clean every room top to bottom, left to right, in sections. Hanson recommends working in sections across the room. Stand and extend your arms to determine the size of each section. “That way, you’ll get the cobwebs, the vents, all of that,” she said.
11. Hanson likes to use denture toothbrushes, which typically have bristles on both sides of the head, for scrubbing around grout in the tub or handles on the sink.
12. To keep your dishwasher mold-free and smelling fresh, Roberts suggests placing a coffee cup filled with white distilled vinegar on the top rack and then running a normal cycle without other dishes.
13. Remove oil spots on upholstered furniture or carpet by placing a brown paper lunch bag on the spot and running a warm iron over the paper to lift the residue, Roberts said.
14. To keep your garbage disposal odor-free, grind up lemon and orange peels to clean it. Once a week, sprinkle baking soda inside and leave for 15 minutes before rinsing.
15. Create your own degreaser by adding 20 drops of orange essential oil to 1½ cups of warm water mixed with half a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, Hanson said.
16. When cleaning windows and mirrors, spray glass cleaner on a microfiber cloth rather than directly on the glass first to remove germs, Hanson said. Then spray directly on the glass and use a squeegee to remove liquid. “We do believe in squeegees,” she said.
17. For inside windowsills, remove debris with a paint brush, which will pull dust inside the bristles. Use a toothbrush to navigate small cracks.