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11 Ways To Grow Up Your Cleaning Habits

You’re officially a grown-up, so why not start cleaning like one? Prepare for everything adult life has in store — start by getting your credit score for free from Discover, even if you’re not a customer. *See credit scorecard info.

1. Let your sheets air out before making your bed in the morning.

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On the one hand, experts say making your bed is correlated with better productivity and a sense of well-being. On the other, a 2006 study suggests that making your bed traps millions of dust mites under the covers, allowing them to poop and multiply in peace. So, what’s a grown-up to do? Try to find some middle ground, of course.

When you get up in the morning, roll your comforter to the bottom of your bed and let your sheets dry while you eat breakfast. After you’ve let things air out for 10 to 30 minutes, go ahead and make your bed. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’ll give you a mood boost and limit your exposure to allergens.

2. And wash your sheets weekly.

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Grossed out by the thought of sharing a bed with dust mites? The best thing you can do to limit your exposure to dust mites and other bed-friendly allergens is to wash your bedding weekly. That's every single week, not when things start to smell funky and look a little off. Once a week, send your sheets, blankets, and pillow cases through the washer and dryer — your body will thank you.

3. Reminder: It's not enough to clean your pillowcases on a regular basis, you also have to clean your pillows.

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When was the last time you washed your pillow? Never, probably. You wouldn't go years without washing a pillowcase, but lots of people do just that with their actual pillows. Be a grown-up and clean your pillows at least twice a year! Unsure if your pillow can go in the washing machine? Try using this helpful guide.

4. Don't neglect your faucets and shower heads!

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Speaking of things you use daily but probably don't clean often enough: faucets and shower heads! You can remove buildup and hard water stains from faucets, sprayers, and showerheads by soaking them in vinegar. Follow this tutorial to learn how.

5. The best defense against bathroom mold is a strong offense.

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Don’t wait until you’re sick of showering with mold and mildew to take action in the bathroom! If you’ve got black spots you need to treat, follow this tutorial on how to use a bleach-soaked cotton coil to clean your tub and then take steps to make sure you’re preventing mildew and mold before it forms. The best way to go on the offense is to run a fan and squeegee shower walls after bathing.

6. Everything you touch needs to be disinfected on a regular basis.

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Think: light switches, door knobs, and sink handles. Fortunately, cleaning and disinfecting these areas is pretty simple. Experts recommend spraying regular household cleaner or rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel (not directly onto the surface) and wiping it down. Or, if you’re in a rush, try using a disinfecting wipe. Either way: make cleaning often-touched surfaces a regular part of your routine.

7. Wash your washing machine!

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It may seem obvious, but when was the last time you washed your washer? Your clothes are only as clean as your machine. Learn how to degunk both front-loading and top-loading washers using just vinegar or bleach here.

8. Face your vents and fans.

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Odds are the vents in your home are overdue for deep clean. If you're ready to go all in, this tutorial will teach you how to disassemble and scrub ceiling vents. If you want to start off by just doing a little dusting, you can do a lighter clean with some canned air.

9. Wash your kitchen sponges and rags — or risk getting sick.

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Kitchen sponges and rags are prime breeding grounds for bacteria. A 2014 study found that 89% of kitchen rags carried coliform bacteria, and 25% tested positive for E. coli. To prevent this bacteria from spreading or causing problems, you should really wash your kitchen towels after every use. The same general rules apply for sponges: You should clean them regularly and replace them often. After two or three uses you need to disinfect a sponge using a dishwasher or microwave.

10. Dissolve sticky kitchen dust with mineral oil.

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If you've got a poorly ventilated kitchen, you're familiar with sticky dust. It's grimy and globs up when you try to wipe it away. The solution? Mineral oil. A little bit on a paper towel goes a long way, learn how here.

11. Save money by becoming your own supplier!

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You don't need a million one-purpose cleaners to keep your home tidy. In fact, you can make plenty of effective treatments using items already in your home, including: glass cleaner, stain remover, dishwashing detergent, and more.

Now that you’re ready to clean like a grown-up, prepare for everything else adult life has in store — start with getting your credit score for free from Discover, even if you’re not a customer. *See credit scorecard info.