Over the years I think I have tried every cleaning method, and this led to the discovery of tried-and-true solutions to some of the most challenging cleaning tasks. Here are my top cleaning tips to make your life easier.
I gathered my best tips and am sharing them from my blog, One Good Thing.
1. Clean Your Ceiling Fan Despite my rationalizations, ceiling fans get dirty and eventually need to be cleaned. Here is the most painless way to tackle a dusty ceiling fan:
You will need:
Directions: Spray the inside of your pillowcase with dusting spray (this will help clean the blades AND help repel more dust from accumulating), climb ladder, and cover fan blade with pillowcase. Then, gather the top of the case together and slide it off of the blade, taking all the dirt and grime with you. Repeat on all fan blades. This chore used to take lots of time, effort, and paper towels. Not anymore. Have pillowcase, will clean!
2. Clean and Freshen Your Mattress While it's impossible to wash your mattress, this cleaning trick will have it smelling and feeling fresh in no time!
You will need:
Directions: Strip the mattress of all bedding. Put a cup of baking soda into a container with a tight-fitting lid, add 4-5 drops of your favorite essential oil (I love lavender!), replace the lid, and shake!
Now sprinkle the mattress liberally with the baking soda mixture. Allow the baking soda to sit on the bed for an hour or two. This allows the baking soda time to soak up any body oils. Then, use the vacuum's furniture cleaning attachment to vacuum up the baking soda. Go over it several times, in different directions, to ensure optimal results.
Your mattress is refreshed, and the lingering smell of the lavender essential oil will ensure a good night's sleep!
3. Tub & Shower Cleaner How many hours have you spent scrubbing the soap scum on your tub or shower without success? I began to accept that soap scum was just something I had to live with until I tried this: I call it my Tub & Shower Soap Scum Buster.
You will need:
Measure out the vinegar. For a 24 ounce bottle, use 16 ounces vinegar and 8 ounces Dawn. Heat the vinegar in the microwave until it is hot, then pour into the spray bottle. Add the Dawn and gently shake to mix.
Next, spray your shower down and walk way. The longer it sits, the less actual scrubbing you need to do. I usually let it sit for an hour or two and then go back with a scrub brush and lightly scrub the scum away!
Note: A little goes a long way! The first time I used this, I used too much and spent a lot of time and water rinsing the suds away. Make sure the area is well-ventilated, or if it's a small bathroom without a window, turn on the fan.
4. How to Clean Your Dishwasher First, pull the bottom rack out and examine the drain area; make sure there are no hard chunks that can plug the drain, cause damage to the pump, or scratch dishes. You'd be surprised at what dishwasher repair people find….bones, crab shells, chips of glass, even pieces of gravel!
Second, place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Using the hottest water possible, run the dishwasher through an entire cycle. Except for the cup of vinegar, the dishwasher needs to be completely empty. The vinegar will help wash away the loose, greasy grime, sanitize, and remove odors.
Finally, after using the vinegar to sanitize the inside of your dishwasher, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom of the tub and run it through a short but complete cycle, once again using the hottest water. The baking soda will remove any odors, and remove any stains.
Optional: If you have problems with mold and mildew, add 1/2 to 1 cup bleach in the bottom of the dishwasher and run another full cycle. (DO NOT use bleach if you have a stainless steel interior.)
Follow these three easy steps and your dishwasher will be squeaky clean!
5. Kitchen Cabinet Gunk Remover My kitchen cabinets often accumulate a considerable layer of grime on them, especially near the handles. It may seem contradictory, but sometimes the best way to fight oil build-up is with more oil.
To combat this pesky layer of gunk, you need:
Mix the ingredients together in a small container with a spoon. Then, using your fingers (my method), or a cloth or sponge, work the fine grains of the baking soda into the surface. Use a toothbrush in the nooks and crannies around the hardware. Wipe clean with a damp cloth.
6. Steam Clean Your Microwave
For years my method for cleaning the microwave was to heat up water and vinegar in the microwave for several minutes until it got nice and steamy, and then wipe it out.
However, when I shared this idea on my blog, some of my readers were concerned about the superheated liquid, while others simply didn't like the smell of vinegar. Soon after, a friend shared this tip, and it's been my preferred method ever since!
This is all you need:
Place a wet sponge in the microwave. Then, fill a spray bottle with a couple ounces of water and 3-5 drops of lemon essential oil. Use more or less depending on how strong a lemon scent you prefer. Next, spray the inside of your microwave with the lemon water. Make sure you spray it on every surface: top, bottom, and sides.
Then, set the timer on the microwave for approximately two minutes and turn it on. After the microwave turns off, leave the sponge inside with the door closed until its cool enough to handle and then use it to wipe out the inside. You have just "steam cleaned" and freshened your microwave at the same time!
7. My Kitchen "Miracle Cleaner" I use the cleaning power of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide combined on almost everything in my kitchen (and some things in my bathroom, too). It's perfect for things I couldn't get clean with traditional cleaners, such as cookie sheets, the stove top, the countertop mixer, the toaster, and serving utensils.
Here's how: Add 1/4 cup of baking soda to a small bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Then, rub the paste on anything you want to clean!
If the stains are particularly stubborn (like cookie sheets), spread the mixture evenly across the stain and let it sit for several hours; then wipe away.
"Miracle cleaner" + Time = Results!
I hope these cleaning tips and tricks will translate into less time spent cleaning and more time spent doing the things you love with the people you love!