The Trick to Cleaning Faster

Spend less time cleaning with these speedy tips from home cleaning expert Donna Smallin Kuper.

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Pro Cleaning Secrets

These pros know cleaning. It's their business to take a home from dingy to dazzling as quickly and easily as possible. Check out these tips, direct from the cleaning experts, and you'll feel confident bringing their job home with you.

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Clean With What You Already Have

Get your house in tip-top shape with tools you wouldn't think to use for cleaning. And another perk? You probably already have these secret cleaners in your home.

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Habits to Stop Now

It is possible to clean incorrectly. Here are some common cleaning habits you'd be better off breaking.

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Make the stainless steel appliances in your kitchen sparkle with these tips for cleaning and eliminating smudges and fingerprints.

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Popular in Housekeeping

Welcome Spring: Cleaning, Organization and Seasonal Tips

Get the most out of your spring cleaning session with this step-by-step guide for repairs, decluttering, and around-the-house spruce-ups.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Welcome Spring!

      Ready to tackle your spring projects? Our handy guide breaks them down: Spring Cleaning & To-Dos (once-a-year tasks perfectly suited for spring), Exterior To-Dos (fix-ups and repairs for the outside of your home), and Room-by-Room Tasks (decluttering and cleaning tips for specific rooms).

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Wash Windows

      Be sure to pick a cloudy day to wash windows. "If it's too sunny, the cleaning solution will dry too fast and you'll have streaks," says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing, 2005). For a window-washing solution, Smallin combines 1/2 cup of sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Sliding Door Tracks

      Sliding glass door tracks probably aren't the first spots you'd think to clean, but you'll appreciate having done it before the outdoor entertaining season gets into full swing. Smallin suggests scrubbing the tracks with an old, dry toothbrush to loosen debris, then using your vacuum hose to remove it. Finish with a wet sponge.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Overlooked Surfaces

      You may overlook these surfaces on a daily basis, but once a year, give your baseboards, door frames, and walls a good scrub-down. Wash them with a sponge and a squirt of dishwashing liquid mixed in a bucket of warm water.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Deep-Clean Carpets

      To maintain a new carpet's warranty, you may need to have it cleaned professionally every 12-18 months, Smallin says. Otherwise, you can do it yourself by renting a deep cleaner or buying a professional-style model designed for home use.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Clean Under Furniture & Appliances

      Grab a partner and move your sofa and chairs, roll up area rugs, then vacuum the floors. Move your kitchen appliances away from the wall as much as you can. "In some cases you can pull them out enough that a vacuum hose will reach," Smallin says.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Freshen Furniture

      Restore smooth leather with an upholstery cleaner and conditioner. Use a suede brush to perk up nubuck leather. For wood furniture, use Smallin's recipe to make your own all-natural cleaner and polish: Mix 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar or lemon juice in a plastic spray bottle; shake well and spray onto a microfiber cloth.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Refresh Window Treatments

      Curtains and draperies aren't typically dirty enough to launder. Instead, go over them thoroughly with the upholstery attachment on your vacuum. "To remove dust from sheer curtains, put them in the dryer on low with a fabric-softener sheet," Smallin says.

    • Spring Cleaning & To-Dos

      Dust Light Fixtures

      Use a microfiber or lint-free cloth to dust fixtures and bulbs you can reach. For ceiling fans, skip the ladder and use an extendable duster. To clean grimy bulbs, lightly dampen your cloth with vinegar. Caution: Be sure bulbs are cool to the touch and your hands are dry.

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      Next Slideshow 13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      It's simple: The faster you clean, the sooner you're done. The following tips are guaranteed to satisfy your need for cleaning speed.
      Begin Slideshow »

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