37 Cleaning Basics You Should Probably Know By Now
::bookmarks immediately:: The products in this post were updated in April 2018.
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 $18.99.
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.
3. ~Keep~ your baseboards dust-free by rubbing a dryer sheet along them.
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.
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 $5.98.
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.
7. Don't ~just~ wash your pillowcases, but also regularly wash your pillows themselves (at least 2x a year!).
8. Keep your pillows, duvet, towels, and clothes fluffy by popping a prickly lil' cactus in the dryer with them.
9. Clean your ~cleaning machines~, too! Just run your washing machine on a hot setting with 1 or 2 cups of vinegar and wipe it out.
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.
11. Touch up messes or everyday dust with a super-lightweight vacuum that converts to a hand vac!
Get it from Amazon for $19.85. 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
12. Keep your vacuum efficient as heck by cleaning the bristles with a seam ripper.
13. Remove every single crumb lodged in your keyboard by blasting it with canned air designed for electronics.
14. De-gunk and disinfect your earbuds with a toothbrush and some rubbing alcohol.
15. While you're at it, clean your phone. You can make your own disinfecting spray with water and 70% isopropyl alcohol.
16. Freshen up and sharpen your garbage disposal by tossing in homemade frozen tablets made with vinegar and sliced lemons and limes.
17. Get pollen, cobwebs, and other detritus off your window screens by passing a lint roller over it quickly.
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.
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.
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 a pack of two from Amazon for $7.99.
Promising review: "I love my wooden blinds but HATE cleaning them. We spent a ton on custom ones so it's a necessity. Tried the internet hack of putting paper towel on kitchen tongs which seems like a good idea - no dice. Decided to try a real microfiber cleaner after that little experiment. This thing works like a dream - no cleaning agents needed, even! And it comes with a set of replacement heads for when you burn out the initial set eventually. Well worth the low price and will save you loads of time and aggravation. Get them now!" —Gabriel Baron
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.
22. Refresh your mattress with a combo of baking soda and essential lavender oil; just sprinkle, sit, and then vacuum it up.
23. Shine up your stainless steel with a can of Pledge.
25. Let your dish sponges drain in a basket that attaches right to your sink, keeping them cleaner and bacteria-free for longer.
26. And then when they get funky, just pop your sponge in the microwave for two minutes to disinfect.
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.
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 $10. 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
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 $7.94.
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
34. Whip up a gentle and non-acidic spray for your granite using just dish soap, water, and alcohol.
You can also add some essential oils to make it smell amazing, too!
Get the recipe here.