You looked for hundreds of cleaning how-tos over the past year; we answer your most-asked queries in 2021.
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With many of us spending more time at home, and a pandemic causing homeowners to rethink cleaning routines, searches for housekeeping tips and tricks continued to grow in 2021. However, certain cleaning questions were asked more than others, including "how to clean your oven," "how to clean silver," and "how to clean a grill." Pulled from Google Trends, these are the top 10 "how to clean" questions you asked Google over the past year. This quick and easy guide will give you simple tutorials on how to clean home appliances, accessories, and more, all in one place. Don't fret because all your most pondered cleaning questions are answered right here. 

shelf of cleaning supplies
Credit: Steven McDonald

1. How to Clean Your Oven

Cleaning an oven can seem daunting at first. It's one of those household items you forget about cleaning or purposely forget to clean. But cleaning an oven doesn't have to be difficult. Instead of using your oven's self-cleaning function, try setting the temperature to 225°F with a pan of water in your oven for at least 15 minutes. Once cooled down, add dishwashing soap to the pan and scrub your oven using a sponge to get any stuck bits. The best way to keep your oven clean is to prevent messes before they happen. When cooking food that will drip, try placing a baking sheet underneath to catch any spills rather than it falling to the bottom of your oven. 

cleaning products white shoes
Credit: Jacob Fox

2. How to Clean Your Shoes

Shoes, especially white ones, get dirty quickly. The necessary tools for cleaning shoes will depend on whether you are working with canvas, leather, or mesh shoes. For all materials, you will need a toothbrush, a soft cloth or paper towel, a melamine sponge, and if working with white shoes, a bleach pen. With all shoe materials, start by using the toothbrush to brush away all dirt and debris and a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to scrub rubber soles to return them to their original state. Rinse the shoes with water and let air dry completely. 

3. How to Clean a Cast-Iron Skillet

A cast-iron skillet is a kitchen essential but it's trickier to properly clean than your average pan. This is because of its seasoned coating, which is made when oil is baked into the pan's finish at a high temperature. There are only three steps to take when cleaning a cast-iron skillet. First, while the pan is still warm from cooking, place it in the sink and rinse with hot water. Wipe the surface with a non-abrasive sponge and rinse again, then dry. Next, apply a thin layer of oil on the interior with a paper towel. Lastly, if there are food bits that won't come off or rust, use kosher salt and a wet sponge and gently buff. Remember to store your cast iron skillet in a dry place.

Someone cleaning light carpet with a cloth and spray bottle
Credit: TanyaRozhnovskaya/Getty Images

4. How to Clean Carpet

Just vacuuming your carpet isn't enough when it comes to actually cleaning it. While vacuuming helps remove dirt and debris from the carpet fibers, deep-cleaning every 12-18 months is necessary for keeping your carpet looking new. Remember to refer to your carpet manufacturer guide before attempting to use a carpet-cleaning machine. First, vacuum the carpet thoroughly while taking your time and overlapping the strokes. Second, apply a carpet stain removal cleaner to any set-in stains and blot with a clean cloth. Lastly, use a carpet-cleaning machine by either renting or hiring a professional service. 

5. How to Clean Leather

Leather furniture has many benefits. It's long-lasting, easy to care for, and extremely durable. Our number one tip before cleaning leather is to test in a hidden area first to see how it affects the material. For small spills, clean the area immediately with a clean cloth or sponge, and use lukewarm water if needed, then let air dry. For grease stains, wipe off any excess and let dry; the leather should absorb the material. If needed, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch on the area and let dry overnight, then vacuum in the morning. If the stain just will not go away, consult with a professional leather specialist to prevent further damage. 

man cleaning dishwasher filter
Credit: Alexander Borisenko/Adobe Stock

6. How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Maintaining your dishwasher is essential for keeping dishes clean. Routinely cleaning this appliance is important and should be done more often than you think. The first step is to clean the exterior to wash away fingerprints and other smudges. For the inside of the door, use a toothbrush and hot, soapy water and scrub in all the nooks and crannies. Next, remove any debris in the basin of the dishwasher with paper towels, then run the dishwasher while empty. After that, remove all accessories in the dishwasher and thoroughly clean. The final step is to clean your dishwasher filter typically located in the back of the appliance. Rinse using hot water and scrub away any debris that might be there. Once clean, place back into the dishwasher. 

7. How to Clean a Couch

Furniture experiences a lot of wear and tear. From kids to pets to accidental spills, keeping your couch clean can be quite a task. The number one tip to keeping your furniture clean is to vacuum it often. Using an upholstery brush or bristle attachment works wonders at keeping your couch clean. Baby wipes are a quick fix for all kinds of fabrics that need immediate cleaning. Another way to clean your couch is to prevent stains before they happen. Try using a fabric protector to repel stains. Be gentle when cleaning and use water sparingly. 

8. How to Clean Your Washing Machine

To keep your clothing and other linens smelling fresh, you'll need to occasionally clean your washing machine. If your washing machine has a self-cleaning function, refer to your manufacturer's guide on the best way to run that cycle. If not, follow this easy three-step process. First, run your washing machine on hot while empty with two cups of white vinegar added to the detergent dispenser. Next, scrub the inside and outside of the washing machine with 1/4 cup vinegar mixed with a quart of water. Clean the machine with a toothbrush and sponge. The final step is to run your washing machine on hot again without vinegar or detergent. 

using bristle brush to clean grill

9. How to Clean a Grill

There are different techniques for cleaning various grill types, including charcoal, gas, smokers, and flat tops. Some items you should have on hand when cleaning any type of grill are a grill brush, degreaser, hand vacuum, and stainless-steel polish. Make sure when cleaning your grill you also remember to clean your grill accessories as well. 

10. How to Clean Silver

To keep your silver pieces looking elegant and spotless, routine cleaning is recommended. You probably have all the ingredients you need already in your kitchen cabinets. To clean silver naturally, you'll need aluminum foil, a pot or pan, boiling water, baking soda, kosher salt, and a soft cloth. Line your pot with aluminum foil, then add water and bring to a boil. Add 1/4 cup baking soda and two tsp. kosher salt to the boiling water. Watch as bubbles begin to form. Stir the solution, then add your silverware into the pot for 5 minutes. Remove silverware and once cool, dry with a soft cloth. 

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