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WASHINGTON — Let's be honest: cleaning is no fun, especially if it's your own home. And paying hard-earned money for a professional to clean your home for you is not always the most financially-savvy option either.
Luckily, we here at Wealth of Geeks have assembled some of the best cleaning tips, practices, and hacks that professionals don't want you to know — because we're all about saving time and money when it comes to keeping your home clean.
Here are 20 of the most common household cleaning chores and the hacks that will make everything a breeze to clean:
It's inevitable: over time, your drain will start to develop a foul odor over time — especially if you frequently use a garbage disposal. Fortunately, there's an easy fix. To counteract the smell and get it smelling clean again, simply pour some baking soda down the drain, followed by some generous squeezes of lemon. Let it soak for half an hour. Then follow everything up with a rinse of hot water and a toothbrush scrub.
Stained shower heads
One of our favorite cleaning hacks is this particularly ingenious tip. If your shower head has seen better days (watermarks, semi-clogged holes), just tie a vinegar-filled plastic bag around it, let everything soak for an hour, and your showerhead will operate and look brand new!
Cleaning stubborn water stains around faucets and other bathroom fixtures can seem like a tedious task better served by hiring a professional — but that's just not the case. We recommend cutting a lemon in half and giving all the surfaces a healthy once-over. Then follow it up with a generous rub of wax paper to see instant results!
Grimy shower walls
Here's a pro-tip: a dish wand (and vinegar!) is your best friend when it comes to keeping your home clean. To clean shower walls, add an equal part of vinegar to the dish soap that you already use in the wand. After that, just apply a little elbow grease and you'll be staring at clean shower walls in no time.
Baseboards are one of the easiest parts of the home to overlook when proactively cleaning. A few weeks of neglect and you're looking at a buildup of dust that requires precious time and energy to properly clean. That's why we recommend weekly wipes of your baseboards with dryer sheets — this quick process will eliminate dust buildup and you'll be using a product you already have in your home to do it. You can even recycle ones you've already used in the dryer.
Speaking of parts of the home that are overlooked — blinds can get catastrophically dirty over time. Not only do they look unpleasant but they also can collect bacteria. We recommend soaking in a water/vinegar solution to truly take a hands-on approach to this cleaning. Come to think of it, this sounds like a great little chore for your sock puppet-loving little one!
This particular hack may seem especially ridiculous, but trust us, it works! Use newspaper to shine your windows and mirrors and ensure that they are left looking clean and streak-free.
If your lampshades seem to be doing a better job at attracting dust than anything else, there's a solution: a lint roller is the perfect tool to ensure that dust stays off the tops of lampshades throughout your home.
In addition to being one of the most welcoming parts of your home, your doormat is often overlooked as one of the dirtiest! One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to give your doormat the same attention that you would give dirty dishes in your kitchen. Not only does it get used countless times each day, it's also a catch-all for all types of dirt, grime and bacteria that get brought into the home.
Do you hate deep-cleaning your toilets? Of course you do. That's why a quick (10 seconds!) whirl with the toilet scrubber each day is one of the best tips we can give. Just a few moments each day will save you the unenviable task of endlessly scrubbing a dirty toilet due to neglect. Your knees will thank you, believe us.
If your home features vinyl flooring, you'll inevitably be faced with the discovery of fresh scuff marks from the heels of your shoes on the floor. Unless you institute a strict "no shoes on in the house" policy for your friends and family. You may think that scuffs are something that only a professional can buff out. That's not true! A new tennis ball can make vinyl scuff marks disappear with just a few seconds of rubbing. Now how's that for a hack?
Pet hair-covered furniture
It's well-known that pet hair lives in two places: directly on your furry friend and directly on all of your furniture. Luckily, pet hair doesn't have to live on your furniture permanently, since you are now knowledgeable of this wonderful cleaning hack: wrap a clean paint roller with a layer of backward-facing duct tape, and start rolling the hair right off! Think of it as an industrial-strength, pet-friendly lint roller.
Dusty monitors and screens
Have you noticed your screens have developed a thin layer of dust over time? A little wipe with a coffee filter goes a long way.
You may have heard of this cleaning hack before, but it's only because it's one of the best. If the inside of your microwave is covered with dried sauce, and food particles, and is visibly dirty, there's an easy way to clean it. Simply fill a coffee cup with boiling water along with a slice of lemon, and let it sit in the microwave for 10 minutes. The food debris will loosen up and then it'll be just a few wipes away from being clean again.
Vacuum the right way
Here's a secret: you're probably vacuuming your carpets incorrectly — or at least halfway incorrectly. One of our best tips is to vacuum not only vertically — but horizontally as well! Dust and debris get trapped in carpets and rugs at all kinds of angles that one run-through with the vacuum may not do the trick. This is why after your first pass, we recommend going through everything again — this time vacuuming perpendicularly.
Utilize your dishwasher
Your dishwasher can be used to clean more than just dishes! Many household items made from dishwasher-safe materials like ceramic and glass can be washed through the dishwasher. Just remember to keep meltable plastics out, and try to avoid combining your dirty household items with a load of dirty dishes.
Grimy stove top
When your stovetop needs a good deep clean, simply pour baking soda over its surface and sprinkle some water over everything — this will activate the cleaning power of the baking soda. Let everything sit for about an hour and then wipe clean. Yes, it's that easy!
Dusty ceiling fans
Cleaning ceiling fans usually comes at a cost — an unwelcome shower of dust falling down onto you and the floor. But it doesn't have to be that way. Just use a pillowcase. Cover each individual ceiling fan blade completely with the pillowcase. Then slowly wipe and remove the pillowcase. This ensures that all dust is captured inside the pillowcase and not all over… well, everything!
Dirty stainless steel
If your appliances have seen better days, olive oil can help immensely. You'll be shocked how effective a little bit of olive oil and a clean rag can do to make stainless steel surfaces shine — from your toaster to your refrigerator and everything in between.
Skip the paper towels
Speaking of rags, we've saved one of our favorite cleaning hacks for last. If you're doing any kind of cleaning in your home, use rags instead of paper towels. Rags can get cleaned and reused, after all. There's a reason why professional cleaners don't use paper towels — it saves money.