back to top

37 Cleaning Basics You Should Probably Know By Now

::bookmarks immediately::

Posted on

1. To start, clean every area from top to bottom so you don't have to re-clean what you've already done.

For example, dust trimming, light fixtures, and furniture before vacuuming or sweeping to cut down on work.

This extendable (over 5 feet!) duster will get the job done in no time flat. It can rotate and bend at multiple angles, and it even has a microfiber head you can toss in the wash and reuse. Get it from Amazon for $17.99.


2. Learn exactly what products and potions remove the worst stains, so when your happy hour turns sad (i.e., when you spill red wine all over your favorite blouse), you know exactly what to do.

4. Wipe away food and grease that's stuck on your microwave with ease — just heat up 1/2 cup of water and some lemon juice for three minutes.

Jenny Chang, Natalie Brown, Nifty / BuzzFeed

It'll come right off! No elbow grease required. Check out the video here.

Or just use a steamy little lady to power off stuck-on food to wipe off with ease. Get it from Amazon for $8.

5. Get the weird gunk out of window and shower tracks (or any weird little crannies) with a handy little brush with a twisty handle to really get into hard-to-reach areas.

Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

Promising review: "Love how this works on shower door tracks. It's flexible enough and the bristles long enough to get into the corners to remove soap buildup or mold." —Eloise

6. Remove every single pet hair from your couch, carpet, and more by running this squeegee (promisingly called the "Pet Hair Magnet") over everything you own.

Get it from Amazon or Doctors Foster and Smith for $7.59.

Promising review: "I am normally the worst kind of buyer. I always buy stuff but I never leave a review; this time I had to. Long story short, I bought a work car from an auction and apparently the people who owned the car let their pet live in it. There was so much hair in the car I thought the carpet was black and white. I tried every trick I could find and countless hours trying to get it out. I got this product 30 minutes ago and I can honestly say about 75% of the hair is gone. The only reason I stopped is because it's getting dark and I could no longer see what I was doing. Buy this thing!" —Jeffery Singleton


7. Don't ~just~ wash your pillowcases, but also regularly wash your pillows themselves (at least 2x a year!).

If they've turned yellow from SwEaT (it happens to all of us, guys), just use a magical combo of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and bleach or bleach alternative.

Get the full instructions here.

8. Keep your pillows, duvet, towels, and clothes fluffy by popping a prickly lil' cactus in the dryer with them.

He'll poke and prod them into incredible softness. Plus you'll save lots of money by skipping the dryer sheets!

Get a set of two from Amazon for $8.

Promising review: "I was amazed how well these little guys worked in the dryer. I live in an apartment and am forced to use pay-per-use laundry, the dryer in the building always seemed to now fully dry the clothes. After a little research I ordered these two and all of my clothes come out warm, dry, and no damp spots, with or without dryer sheets...never any static cling either! These are a must-have." —Adrian Russo

10. Hang brooms and mops on a wall organizer instead of leaning them on the floor to keep broom bristles intact and dust-free, and mops mildew-free.

Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

Promising review: "This thing is a small miracle. We purchased this when we moved in to our first home as we wanted to keep all the mops and brooms stored in one space without just throwing them in a corner. The installation process was easy. This may seem like one of those 'silly' products that you don't really need, when in fact it is great for keeping an area organized and for keeping those cleaning supplies up off the floor." —Sam Sachs

11. Touch up messes or everyday dust with a super-lightweight vacuum that converts to a hand vac!

Get it from Amazon for $18.99. Available in three colors.

Promising review: "I don't move anywhere without this vacuum. I've used it for three-plus years and can definitely say it works as well or better than bigger, more powerful household vacuums — as long as you regularly empty the dirt cup and give the filter inside a good rinsing. I lived in with two massive Siberian huskies who were blowing their coats, meaning piles, and piles, and piles of fur littered EVERYWHERE. This allowed me to clean up their daily shedding in a pinch, and even vacuum it from the dogs directly. The narrow attachment is great for cleaning up dirt and dust along the baseboards of a room, on windowsills, and corners." —Jane Z


13. Remove every single crumb lodged in your keyboard by blasting it with canned air designed for electronics.

::eats a full sandwich leaning over laptop playing Netflix:: "Why are there so many dang crumbs in there?"

Get a two-pack from Amazon for $13.35.

Promising review: "Consistently the lowest price on Amazon, and I've never gotten a dud can, unlike some other brands. Comes with the little straw for precision. Check out all the bulk options!" —Miles Feral

15. While you're at it, clean your phone. You can make your own disinfecting spray with water and 70% isopropyl alcohol.

Get a six-pack of screen-cleaning cloths from Amazon for $5.99 and the isopropyl alcohol from Amazon for $6.90.

Get all the deets here.

For the lazy, try a phone sanitizer from Amazon for $35.99.

16. Freshen up and sharpen your garbage disposal by tossing in homemade frozen tablets made with vinegar and sliced lemons and limes.

Just make sure to freeze for at least a full 24 hours so the vinegar freezes completely.

Learn more here.


17. Get pollen, cobwebs, and other detritus off your window screens by passing a lint roller over it quickly.

Lint rollers are really just magical neatening tools in general — try them on your lampshades too!

Take a peek at all the details here.

Get a five-pack of top-rated lint rollers from Amazon for $13.63.

18. Remove the product buildup from your curling iron and other hair tools with a combo of baking soda, rubbing alcohol, an old toothbrush, and some sudsy water.

Your flat iron and hair dryer won't smell like burning hair when you heat them up anymore!

Check out the video here.

19. Drop a toilet disk into the bowl to clean without scrubbing — but if it's already too late, use a special pumice stick that removes stains without damaging the porcelain.

Get an 18-count package of disks from Amazon for $20.82 and get the pumice stick from Amazon for $9.28.

Promising review: "I did not wake up this morning thinking I was going to write a review on toilet bowl cleaner. But the Pumie is JUST THAT AWESOME! The area I live in has super-hard water. I have spent weeks and used probably $50 worth of various cleaners in an attempt to remove my toilet bowl ring with pretty much no results. Less than 10 minutes with the Pumie and my toilet looks as sparkling clean as the day I installed it! I have uploaded pictures which speak for themselves. Don't hesitate, just buy yourself a Pumie! You won't be disappointed!" —Suzy

20. Dust your blinds, air-conditioner vent, and more hard-to-reach areas with a three-part microfiber wand that gets 'er done quickly.

Get it from Amazon for $8.99.

Promising review: "I noticed my venetian blinds were a bit dusty, but we have them all over our house so I was not looking forward to cleaning them one by one. I found this item on amazon and figured I would give it a shot. SO EASY to use and was able to get the majority of my blinds cleaned in under 30 minutes. I would highly recommend this product!" —Crimson and Blue

You can also DIY your own with a set of tongs and a microfiber cloth (as pictured on the right) — check out the tutorial here.

21. But actually, microfiber cloths are your best friends when it comes to streak-free cleaning — use them on your car, stainless steel, countertops, and wayyy more.

Get a pack of 24 towels from Amazon for $14.79.

Promising review: "We just bought a new solid wood kitchen table and I read that you shouldn't use paper towel on it, so I bought these. It is my first time using microfiber cleaning cloths, and I love them! They are a good size and very soft. I use one for about two days and then throw it down to be washed and pull out another one. Although I bought it for the kitchen table, I will be using these cloths to clean the rest of the house, too. I would definitely recommend these." —Amanda


22. Refresh your mattress with a combo of baking soda and essential lavender oil; just sprinkle, sit, and then vacuum it up.

The vacuum will suck out dirt, too — plus the lavender will help drift right off to sleep.

Learn more here.

23. Shine up your stainless steel with a can of Pledge.

Stainless steel cleaners can be expensive — try this instead!

Get a three-pack from Amazon for $18.27.

Promising review: "I love this variety of Pledge for cleaning and polishing my stainless steel kitchen appliances. It does a great job. No streaks and fingerprint resistant. Removes baked-on food if left to stand a bit. (Do not spray near burners of course.) If you are using another product, give this Pledge a try!" —An Educated Consumer

27. Harness your laziness and descale your showerhead while you watch Netflix. Just fill a baggie with vinegar and lemon essential oil and let it sit!

28. Keep your shower clean and mildew-free between deep cleanings by spraying a 🙌 no-scrub, no-rinse 🙌 cleaner on after every shower.

Best invention ever? Possibly.

Get it from Amazon for $4.55.

Promising review: Just spray and leave. My husband and I mist the shower after every use, even on the glass shower doors. No more scrubbing. This product helps keep the hard water stains, bacteria, and mold away naturally. I love it!" —Amazon Customer

29. Or keep a dish brush filled with a vinegar–and–dish soap solution in the shower with you for a no-brainer cleaning while the conditioner sits in your hair.

30. Scrub the foundation, powder, and oil off your makeup brushes for once.

It'll make your makeup application so much easier!

Get the set of two scrubbing mats from Amazon for $8.99. Available in six colors.

Promising review: "This product has suction cups along the bottom of it — this is very helpful when it comes to cleaning brushes. Prior to the purchase of these mats, I very rarely cleaned my brushes because when I tried just using a paper towel it didn't seem to have much benefit but this mat provides labeled areas for different types of brushes (e.g., face, eye, etc.). The product feels very high quality and folds up nicely for storage." —Maddi Majeski

Plus, get a brush cleanser from Amazon for $7.89 and a drying rack for your brushes from Amazon for $10.59.

31. Get your water bottle crazy clean with these little scrubbing beans — just toss one in and shake it up!

They fit through narrow mouth openings, so even the hardest-to-clean containers will become easy.

Get a set of two for $9.95.

Promising review: "No more buying expensive plastic water bottles! I put a tablespoon or so of vinegar with maybe a quarter cup water into the empty bottle, secure the lid, shake vigorously, and voilà — clean bottles ready for refill from my water distiller. I like my funny little green pea pods so much that I have given some to others." —N. Blyseth

33. For extra scrubbing power, try a toothbrush-like brush with an ergonomic grip and stiff bristles that do the heavy lifting for you.

Get a set of two from Amazon for $5.99.

Promising review: "These brushes are still in amazing shape considering how often I use them for cleaning grout lines, around the toilet bowls, along the edges of my tile floors, in the crevices of my sink strainer, and faucet filter. When I use them for really nasty jobs I just pop them in the dishwasher afterwards, but they really are still in amazing condition. If they weren't still in such great shape I'd buy another set — but I don't need to!" —Jasmine

35. Multitask with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser — it'll do everything from getting pen marks off walls to even degreasing your oven glass!

Get a four-pack of Magic Erasers from Amazon for $3.47.

Promising review: "These things are amazing. They remove smudges from walls and grease from oven doors and everything else. They make it so easy to keep after the dirt." —Sheryl J.