10 Cleaning Tips for Your Whole House
Simplify and speed up dusting, vacuuming, stain and scum removal and other house cleaning chores with these 10 whole-house cleaning tips. These housekeeping tips will ensure you always have a cleaner house, too.
Clean the Air While You Clean the House
Get Tough on Glass Stains
If your usual glass cleaner won't remove tough stains, apply a mild abrasive cleaner such as Soft Scrub, Bar Keepers Friend or Bon Ami and scrub with a soft cloth. (Here's a tip for washing windows.) These abrasives usually won't scratch glass, but test a small area first just to make sure. If elbow grease alone won't do the job or if you have large areas to cover, use a drill and a small buffing wheel (find one at home centers).
Clean a Vacuum with a Vacuum
Speed-Clean with a Pressure Washer
Once you get your hands on a pressure washer, you'll find endless uses for it: Blast that dingy coat of dirt off your siding and trim, deep-clean embedded grime from your driveway or patio, wash down a deck or fence. While you're at it, don't forget the car, mower, bikes and patio furniture. You may discover so many jobs for a pressure washer that you want to own one. Electric versions usually cost less, but you may want to spend more for a more powerful gas model. Renting first is a good way to find out how much pressure and which features you really need. You can rent a pressure washer and do a week's worth of cleaning in one day. Before you rent, gather some tarps to protect plants and make sure your garden hose will reach all the areas you plan to clean. Good preparation lets you get more cleaning done during the rental period.
Dissolve Rust with Acid
To remove rust stains from a porcelain sink, tub or toilet, skip the standard cleaners and go for a product that contains acid. Don't use any product that contains bleach—that will just make the stains tougher. Look for ingredients like 'hydrochloric acid,' 'hydrogen chloride,' 'HCL' or 'muriatic acid' on the label. Read the whole label to make sure the product won't harm chrome or other finishes. If you're cleaning a toilet, remove as much water as you can to avoid diluting the cleaner. Scrub gently to avoid splatter that can damage your floor, painted surfaces or your skin. Be sure to flush the toilet a few times or rinse the tub thoroughly when you're done so you don't leave any residue behind.
Beat the Dust out of Cushions
Stop Countertop Stains
Renew Wood with Mineral Spirits
Keep Closets Clear for Easy Cleaning
- Box or bag items on closet shelves. Clear plastic containers are best—they lock fibers in and dust out and let you see what's inside. When you dust, they're easy to pull off the shelves and wipe clean.
- Enclose the clothes you rarely wear. Those coats you wear only in winter shed fibers year-round. Slip garment bags or large garbage bags over them. They help to contain fibers and keep the clothes themselves from becoming coated with dust.
- Keep closet floors clear. If the floor is cluttered, chances are you'll just bypass it while vacuuming. But a wide-open floor adds only a few seconds to the vacuuming chore. And a wire shelf lets you clear all those shoes off the floor without losing storage space.