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20 Cleaning Hacks That Are So Easy And Effective, You'll Actually Want To Try Them (Even If You're Really, Really Lazy)

Wish I'd known about some of these sooner, TBH.

Raise your hand if you freaking hate cleaning. Yeah, we can probably all agree on that. But tidying up your home doesn't have to be such a drag, thanks to these practical and seriously smart cleaning hacks. Best of all, most of these tricks rely on DIY remedies and common household items you probably already have.

1. Microwave a bowl of water and fresh lemon juice to quickly clean and deodorize your microwave — no chemicals required.

A bowl of water with a lemon half going into the microwave
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Fill a measuring cup or microwave-safe bowl with water, slice a lemon in half, and squeeze the lemon juice into the water. Microwave the bowl for about three minutes, and then wipe everything down. Beyond the chemical-free clean, the steam combined with the lemon juice will also leave your microwave smelling fresh and delicious. We've tested this hack many times — and can confirm it definitely works.

2. Buff up scratched tableware with cream of tartar.

Cleaning a white dish with cream of tartar
One Good Thing By Jillee / Via onegoodthingbyjillee.com

If you've ever bought cream of tartar — that white powder you probably got for a baking project way back — and you're wondering when the heck you'll ever use it, give this a try. Grab your scratched-up dishes, sprinkle the surface with a good amount of cream of tartar, and add water to make it into a paste. Rub it all in with a dishcloth, and then wash the residue off with soap and water. According to One Good Thing By Jillee, your scuffed plates will look as good as new!

3. Use a disposable razor to de-pill your sweaters.

Using a razor to de-pill clothing
BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Lay your sweater flat on a surface (like a counter or ironing board) and pull it so it's tight. Then, using short strokes, use a disposable razor to shave away the pills. Always remember to test a small area of your sweater first to make sure this trick doesn't ruin the fabric.

Read exactly how to do it, and check out other popular Pinterest fashion hacks we've tried.

4. Or fight stains with blackboard chalk.

A T-shirt with stains
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You might want to keep some chalk stashed away in your kitchen drawer. If you've ever watched gymnastics, you'll know that gymnasts cover their hands in chalk before using the bars. That's because it is super absorbent and keeps their hands dry. Turns out, that same property helps fight stains. So the next time you get a stubborn stain on your clothing or on a table cloth (think: bacon grease, pasta sauce, etc.), do your best to wipe off the excess gunk and cover the whole dirty spot with white chalk. Let the chalk sit and work its magic, and then toss the dirty item into the laundry. 

5. And use milk to wash away red wine carpet stains.

Red wine spilt on a white carpet
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Before your panic over a red wine stain on your carpet, look to your refrigerator. First, dab up as much of the wine as you can, then pour the milk directly over the stain, and let it sit for about an hour, absorbing the wine. Finally, pat the area with some water. The milk basically tricks the wine into absorbing into *it* instead of the carpet.

6. Use dishwasher detergent pods to clean anything from a dirty oven to a toilet bowl.

Using a dishwasher tablet to clean toilet bowl
The Kitchn / Via thekitchn.com

Chances are you have dishwasher detergent pods sitting in your kitchen, but did you know they do far more than just clean dirty dishes? The grease-fighting properties of dishwasher pods make them the perfect weapon against a dirty oven. According to this tip from Taste of Home, dunk a dishwasher tablet in a bowl of warm water and hold it just long enough so that the pod absorbs some of the water. Then take the pod in your hand and scrub it all over your oven door and metal interior (depending on how dirty it is, you might end up needing a few pods). And the fun doesn't stop there. I read this post on The Kitchn, which explains how you can use one of these handy pods to clean the inside of your toilet bowl. Grab a pair of gloves, get the tablet wet, and use it to scrub out those nasty rings. 

7. Clean your cast-iron skillet with a halved potato.

A before and after photo of a cast iron skillet
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Cleaning a cast iron skillet can be a real drag, but luckily there's a simple trick, which calls for a potato, coarse salt, and oil. First, sprinkle salt onto the skillet and scrub it using a halved potato. Then, to season it, pour a bit of cooking oil into the skillet and spread it along the surface. Place the oiled skillet into a preheated oven for an hour, and voilà: crystal clean.

8. Pick up shards of glass with a slice of bread.

Picking up broken glass with bread
The Kitchn / Via thekitchn.com

Next time to break a piece of glass, reach for the bread drawer. According to The Kitchn, it turns out miracle bread is, in fact, a miracle. One slice picks of those hard-to-get glass shards better than a broom. Make sure to wear gloves as a precaution. Then, holding the bread in your hand, gently pat it over the area containing the broken glass. The bread will act like a sponge for the glass particles.

9. Apply toothpaste to clean dirty white sneakers.

Cleaning white sneakers with a toothbrush
Family Handyman / Via familyhandyman.com

There are few things as sad as the first time you smudge a pair of spankin' white sneakers. Next time you experience this disappointment, try this trick from Family Handyman: Grab a wet toothbrush and some non-gel white toothpaste and start scrubbing. After a few minutes of scrubbing, those smudges should start to disappear.

10. And use black tea to clean glass surfaces like windows and mirrors.

A tea bag in a mug
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For a DIY and natural alternative to Windex, you can clean glass surfaces like windows and mirrors using homemade black tea. Steep a few bags of black tea in a mug of boiling water, and allow the water to cool. Then, transfer it to a spray bottle. Thanks to black tea's acidic content and high tannins, it helps fights grime, dirt, and smudges.

11. For squeaky clean glass windows, reach for the morning newspaper.

Cleaning a glass window with a ball of newspaper
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It might seem totally bizarre, but newspaper is one of the best ways to clean glass windows. Start by spraying the glass with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water, and then use the morning paper to wipe it down until it's crystal clear and sparkling. Using newspaper won't leave those pesky little streaks, and it won't shed, leaving stray fibers. Newspaper is absorbent, so it retains the ink that's printed on it, which also makes it effective in soaking up the cleaning solution without moving it around. Plus, newspaper is eco-friendly and recyclable, making it a great alternative to paper towel. 

12. Freshen up your garbage disposal with DIY lemon and vinegar cubes.

Lemon ice cubes going into the garbage disposal
One Good Thing By Jillee / Via onegoodthingbyjillee.com

If you use your garbage disposal often, you'll know it can get pretty stinky. Luckily, there's an easy way to freshen things up, and you probably already have everything you need to make it. One Good Thing by Jillee says to grab an ice cube tray, vinegar, and lemons. Cut the lemons into chunks, place the lemon pieces in the ice tray, and cover with vinegar. Freeze them and keep them on hand for whenever your disposal starts to smell. Toss a cube or two into the disposal and run it. It will immediately smell fresh and clean. 

13. Clean denim by putting it in the freezer.

Jeans in the freezer
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Have you ever washed a new pair of jeans only to find they've drastically shrunk or bled in the laundry? Next time, try storing demin in your freezer to clean it. Fold jeans and place them in a bag (canvas is best because it allows the denim to breathe). Leave them in the freezer overnight or for up to a week. When you remove them, they'll smell fresh and look crisp and clean.

Read what happened in real life when we tried this hack, along with other popular laundry hacks here.

14. Remove water rings on wooden surfaces with mayonnaise.

A before-and-after shot of water rings on wood
How About Orange / Via howaboutorange.blogspot.com

Have you ever wondered how to remove those stubborn water rings from wooden surfaces? Try the mayonnaise in your fridge, according to How About Orange. Just cover the water stain with a generous dollop of mayo and let it sit. Once you wipe up the mayo after about 15 minutes, that stain should disappear.

15. Or remove those stubborn water rings with a hairdryer.

Water stains on wood
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I can personally confirm that this genius cleaning hack works like magic. I was staying at a friend's house when someone left a water glass overnight on a very expensive and coveted wooden dining room table. My friend started to panic at the sight of the water stain in the shape of a ring, but I remembered reading rumors of this hair dryer hack.

Just grab a hair dryer and blast it right over the water rings. Hold the dryer very close to the table's surface and be patient. It can take 10 or 15 minutes of drying until the rings finally come out. But boy, was this trick a lifesaver!

16. Use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to make a dirty baking sheet look brand new.

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Baking sheets are notoriously one of the most difficult kitchen objects to clean, but not with this handy trick. Sprinkle your sheet pan with baking soda, and then coat it with hydrogen peroxide and a second layer of baking soda. Let it sit for an hour or so before rubbing off the cleaning mixture. Most of the gunk on your baking sheet will come right off with it.

Watch a step-by-step tutorial here.

17. You can also use hydrogen peroxide to blot out ink stains.

A before and after shot of a white T-shirt
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Ah, the dreaded ink stain. Next time you find this unwanted intruder on your clothing, grab some dish soap and hydrogen peroxide. Dab both onto the stain and let them sit for 20 minutes. Then throw your clothing in the washing machine, and the ink should totally disappear.

Read more here14 Stain Removal Hacks We Know Actually Work Because We Tried Them.

18. Use baby powder to fight tough grease stains.

Cleaning a stain with baby powder
Happy Mom Blog / Via happymomblog.com

So, you got a dreaded grease stain on your blouse. Before you rush to the dry cleaner, try this DIY remedy first, says Happy Mom Blog. Pour some baby powder directly over the grease stain and pat dry any excess. Then, use a toothbrush to massage dish soap and water into the stain until it foams. Toss the dirty blouse into the laundry machine, and when the cycle is done, the stain should be gone.

19. Deodorize your smelly refrigerator with used coffee grounds.

Ground coffee in a filter
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It's only natural that every once in a while your refrigerator starts to smell, but there's an easy solution to keeping your fridge smelling fresh if you don't have a box of baking soda on hand. Look no further than coffee grounds. (Sure, you could use fresh coffee grounds, but why waste those precious beans?) 

The next time you make a cup of Joe, save those wet coffee grounds and spread them on a baking sheet so they dry. Once dry, you've got a natural deodorizer. Put the grounds in an open container (like an uncovered Tupperware or small bowl), and place them in the fridge. The coffee will absorb any unpleasant scents and keep your fridge smelling nice.

20. Get dust off your ceiling fan using an old pillow case.

Cleaning a ceiling fan with a pillow case
Homemaker Chic / Via homemakerchic.com

Rather than throw out your old pillow cases, keep them in your storage closet and put them to use during your spring cleaning routine. Homemaker Chic explains how it's done: Use a stepladder so you can reach your fan, and envelop each blade in the pillow case one by one, dragging to catch the dust. When you're done, the pillow case will contain all the dust, and you can dump it right into the trash.

Do you have an awesome cleaning hack the rest of the world should know about? Tell us in the comments below!