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The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Your Entire Home

::bookmarks immediately::

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Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

1. Zap your damp or wet sponge in the microwave for one minute to kill 99.9% of the bacteria lurking on it.

Both the USDA and Good Housekeeping found this actually works; try to do it at least once a week, if not every three days or so. And if you heard that microwaving doesn't help, well — all those news reports were inaccurate.(It's also essentially equally effective to run your sponge through the dishwasher, on the top rack, with the heat-dry setting, if you prefer to do that instead.)
BuzzFeed

Both the USDA and Good Housekeeping found this actually works; try to do it at least once a week, if not every three days or so. And if you heard that microwaving doesn't help, well — all those news reports were inaccurate.

(It's also essentially equally effective to run your sponge through the dishwasher, on the top rack, with the heat-dry setting, if you prefer to do that instead.)

2. And let your sponge dry out every single night, whether your use a simple binder clip or a stainless sponge holder.

@clorox / Twitter: @clorox, amazon.com

That'll help prolong its life between cleanings! Get the sponge holder on Amazon for $9.99.

3. Wipe up the sticky, dusty buildup that gathers on your range hood and other appliances using a little bit of mineral oil.

Just put a little bit oil on a paper towel, and wipe; it'll come off like a charm! If you don't like the oily residue, just use water and dish soap to clean that right up. (You can also use olive oil for this, but if you do, definitely wash it off; otherwise it might go rancid and smell bad.) From One Good Thing By Jillee.
onegoodthingbyjillee.com

Just put a little bit oil on a paper towel, and wipe; it'll come off like a charm! If you don't like the oily residue, just use water and dish soap to clean that right up. (You can also use olive oil for this, but if you do, definitely wash it off; otherwise it might go rancid and smell bad.) From One Good Thing By Jillee.

4. Make a paste with water and a polish cleanser to easily scrub off cooked-on gunk from your stainless or enameled gas stove.

logicandlaughter.com

Logic and Laughter added a few drops of water to make a paste, then scrubbed it onto each dirty burner, let it sit for a few minutes, and wiped it up.

Get a 21-oz can of Barkeeper's Friend from Target for $1.99 or Walmart for $1.98, or a 12-oz can from Amazon for $7.17.

5. Then shine up your greasy stove grates by letting them sit overnight with just a little bit of ammonia.

You simply seal them up in a plastic bag and let it do its work — just don't mix ammonia with any other cleaner, and do read the tutorial on The V Spot before you try this at home.
thevspotblog.com

You simply seal them up in a plastic bag and let it do its work — just don't mix ammonia with any other cleaner, and do read the tutorial on The V Spot before you try this at home.

6. A homemade paste of dish soap, baking soda, and water is probably all you need to spot-clean baked-on stains inside of your oven.

You'll still have to use a *little* bit of elbow grease, but really the dish soap's gonna do most of the work for you. From Ask Anna Moseley.
askannamoseley.com

You'll still have to use a *little* bit of elbow grease, but really the dish soap's gonna do most of the work for you. From Ask Anna Moseley.

7. But if you haven't kept up with regular spot or self-cleaning, a spray-on 40-minute spray-on cleaner may be just what your oven needs.

amazon.com

Don't worry, it's fume-free. Some reviewers mention that they got better results by leaving it in their (open) oven overnight, or by doing multiple coats. Get it on Amazon for $5.97.

8. Wrap your hard-water-stained faucets in vinegar-soaked paper towels to dissolve the minerals so they wipe off in one go.

From Lemons, Lavender, and Laundry.

9. And banish hard water from your faucets by attaching a plastic bag filled with vinegar, using a rubber band — or if they're heavily stained, substitute the vinegar for a more intense mineral cleaner.

From Two Twenty One, who uses CLR (aka Calcium, Lime, Rust). Get a one-gallon bottle of CLR from Amazon for $22.88.
twotwentyone.net

From Two Twenty One, who uses CLR (aka Calcium, Lime, Rust). Get a one-gallon bottle of CLR from Amazon for $22.88.

10. After you're done washing dishes, regularly wash out your sink like you would a dish: using hot water, dish soap, and your sponge.

And rinse it out with hot water when you're done.
Percds / Getty Images

And rinse it out with hot water when you're done.

11. Then shine up your stainless steel sink with a quick dusting of flour and a microfiber cloth — it'll clean out the tiny bits of grime that regular washing doesn't.

On The Kitchn, they do this about once a month. Get a set of 24 microfiber cloths on Amazon for $11.99.
Sarah Rae Smith / thekitchn.com

On The Kitchn, they do this about once a month. Get a set of 24 microfiber cloths on Amazon for $11.99.

12. A soft cleanser's the quickest way to polish up a scratched porcelain sink so it looks brand new.

This is Barkeeper's Friend too, but already in a paste form (versus the powder form you can make into a paste yourself). Get two 13-oz bottles on Amazon for $8.20, or one 26-oz bottle from Target for $2.49 or Walmart for $2.47.(You can also try baking soda + hydrogen peroxide, but that might take a little more elbow grease.)
amazon.com

This is Barkeeper's Friend too, but already in a paste form (versus the powder form you can make into a paste yourself). Get two 13-oz bottles on Amazon for $8.20, or one 26-oz bottle from Target for $2.49 or Walmart for $2.47.

(You can also try baking soda + hydrogen peroxide, but that might take a little more elbow grease.)

13. Freshen up your wooden cutting boards by scrubbing them down with salt and half a lemon — then season them with a douse of food-grade mineral oil.

James Ransom / Food52, amazon.com

From Food52.

Get a bottle of cutting board oil on Amazon for $6.37.

14. Go through your fridge, freezer, pantry, and any other spots you store food and toss anything that's expired, that you know you won't eat, or that's, y'know, gross and moldy.

Read more about the differences between use-by, best-buy, and sell-by dates on Women's Health.
womenshealthmag.com

Read more about the differences between use-by, best-buy, and sell-by dates on Women's Health.

15. Then wash the shelves, drawers, and other removable parts of your fridge like dishes: in hot, soapy water.

You can also use soapy water to wipe out the inside, doors, and seals on your refrigerator and freezer; just make sure to rinse well. The full tutorial's on Martha Stewart.
Photo by Jason Schmidt. Courtesy of Martha Stewart Living. Copyright © 1998.

You can also use soapy water to wipe out the inside, doors, and seals on your refrigerator and freezer; just make sure to rinse well. The full tutorial's on Martha Stewart.

16. Stop any lingering refrigerator odors in their tracks using a fabric deodorizer filled with activated charcoal.

You can hang it on a hook or just set it on your shelf. Get it from Amazon for $8.49.
amazon.com

You can hang it on a hook or just set it on your shelf. Get it from Amazon for $8.49.

17. Steam-clean your microwave: heat a bowl full of water for five minutes, let it sit without opening the door for another five minutes, and any stuck-on grime will easily wipe off with a paper towel.

Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

No elbow grease required. You can also add lemons for a ~fresh scent~, but they're totally optional.

18. Shine up your refrigerator and any other stainless steel appliances with a coat of Pledge.

This is what I do for my stainless, and it works like a charm; just clean off any big pieces of gunk, first. From The DIY Girl. Get a can of Pledge on Amazon for $4.23, Target for $4.19, or Walmart for $4.23.
thediygirl.com

This is what I do for my stainless, and it works like a charm; just clean off any big pieces of gunk, first. From The DIY Girl.

Get a can of Pledge on Amazon for $4.23, Target for $4.19, or Walmart for $4.23.

19. Rubber-band a plastic bag filled with vinegar around your shower head to de-scale and deep-clean it with basically zero effort.

Leave it anywhere from a couple hours to overnight, then remove and voila! To get the bubbles, add in a dash of baking soda. I've had it work well both with the combo and with just plain vinegar, some people swear the bubbling reaction loosens the particles more quickly. Others note that, once the reaction's over and the bubbles stop, the vinegar just be water with a bit of salt; but you do you.
Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

Leave it anywhere from a couple hours to overnight, then remove and voila!

To get the bubbles, add in a dash of baking soda. I've had it work well both with the combo and with just plain vinegar, some people swear the bubbling reaction loosens the particles more quickly. Others note that, once the reaction's over and the bubbles stop, the vinegar just be water with a bit of salt; but you do you.

20. Transform your grimy bathtub into something that's actually spa-worthy with a classic soft cleanser.

From They Are Crafty, who used (can you guess?) Barkeeper's Friend, aka BKF. Get two 13-oz bottles on Amazon for $8.20, or one 26-oz bottle from Target for $2.49 or Walmart for $2.47.
theyarecrafty.blogspot.com

From They Are Crafty, who used (can you guess?) Barkeeper's Friend, aka BKF. Get two 13-oz bottles on Amazon for $8.20, or one 26-oz bottle from Target for $2.49 or Walmart for $2.47.

21. It'll also erase any trace of mineral and soap scum buildup from your glass shower doors, so they sparkle like they've never seen even a single speck of water.

askannamoseley.com, amazon.com

From Ask Anna Moseley (who pairs the cleanser with special scouring pads, like these, $8.65 on Amazon).

Any version of BKF should work just fine, but some people swear the glass cooktop version does it better; you can get two bottles of it on Amazon for $10.85.

22. Wash your grimy plastic shower curtain liner with a couple of towels to get rid of any mildew or other buildup.

And wash your shower curtain itself, separately and according to the directions on the tag. While you're at it, throw in your bath mats, and change out your towels. Freshen everything! Bitz 'n' Giggles has the step-by-step for washing a shower curtain liner.
bitzngiggles.com

And wash your shower curtain itself, separately and according to the directions on the tag. While you're at it, throw in your bath mats, and change out your towels. Freshen everything! Bitz 'n' Giggles has the step-by-step for washing a shower curtain liner.

23. Tackle even the worst, most egregious rust stains with a spray-on cleaning gel that'll dissolve it right before your eyes.

amazon.com

It'll also remove any rust stains from color-safe fabrics, among many other surfaces. (Some reviewers use it with a Magic Eraser, for extra oomph). Get a 24-ounce bottle on Amazon for $4.97.

24. And make short work of stubborn hard water toilet stains by gently scrubbing them off with a pumice stone.

amazon.com

Whether it's calcium, lime, rust, or some impossible combination, the pumice stone can take care of it. Get a pack of two on Amazon for $6.24.

25. As you scrub your toilet, make sure to get the water jets under the rim, too — and if you have hard water, consider soaking them with vinegar overnight to dissolve any buildup.

lilluna.com

If your regular toilet brush doesn't get up under there, use a dish brush just for that purpose. Soaking your jets in vinegar involves draining your tank and sealing them with duct tape; get the tutorial on Lil Luna.

26. And don't forget to give the outside a good wipe-down with an all-purpose cleaner or a cleaning wipe — every once in a while, even removing the toilet seat to get every last nook and cranny.

From Ask Anna Moseley.

27. Vacuum the dust from the outside of your exhaust fan with a dusting brush attachment, then pull the cover off to wash it well in soap and water.

practicallyfunctional.com

Practically Functional also vacuums the fan itself before replacing the cover.

28. Wrap your faucet and sink in vinegar-soaked paper towels so stubborn hard water buildup literally just wipes away.

Yep, it works in the bathroom, too. From Cute As A Fox.
cuteasafox.com

Yep, it works in the bathroom, too. From Cute As A Fox.

29. Unclog your slow-draining tub or sink using a simple drain millipede.

amazon.com

You just insert it down your drain and let the grabby micro-hooks (similar to Velcro) do their work on the stuck, clogging hair and debris. Then pull it up, and your sink will drain like it's new! Get one (it's reusable IF you feel like cleaning it off with an old toothbrush) on Amazon for $4.72.

30. Skip the heavy-duty elbow grease but still make your grout look brand new: let an automatic scrubbing brush do all the work for you.

Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

I use and LOVE this brush, and it's absolutely the easiest and fastest way to clean grout (maybe besides bleach, which I don't like to use). You literally see the dirt come up and the grout lighten with just 30 seconds of use. They make a specialty grout head you can buy for it, but TBH the default brush works just as well, unless you have incredibly narrow grout lines. You can read our full review of it, and get it on Amazon for $13.54.

31. Sort through all of your cabinets and shower, and toss every single thing that's past its expiration date, because yes, even bath and beauty products expire.

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

32. Then simply spray down your mirror, sink, and everything else with your favorite spray cleaner, and give it a good wipe-down.

You can make your own spray cleaner by mixing one part dish soap with one part warm vinegar (full directions from Goodful); or mix an all-purpose cleaner from a concentrate like Simple Green ($38.26 for two gallons) or Mrs. Meyers ($13.99 for 64 oz), both on Amazon. Been sick recently? Try a disinfectant spray like Purell ($12.99 for two bottles on Amazon).And yes, you can substitute a glass cleaner for your mirror, if you prefer!
Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed / Getty / Amazon

You can make your own spray cleaner by mixing one part dish soap with one part warm vinegar (full directions from Goodful); or mix an all-purpose cleaner from a concentrate like Simple Green ($38.26 for two gallons) or Mrs. Meyers ($13.99 for 64 oz), both on Amazon. Been sick recently? Try a disinfectant spray like Purell ($12.99 for two bottles on Amazon).

And yes, you can substitute a glass cleaner for your mirror, if you prefer!

33. Capture all the dust lingering on your ceiling fan by wiping the blades down with an old pillowcase.

You'll capture all the dust inside the case, so you can go dump it outside or in the trash. And then wash the case, of course. From Homemaker Chic.
homemakerchic.com

You'll capture all the dust inside the case, so you can go dump it outside or in the trash. And then wash the case, of course. From Homemaker Chic.

34. Tie microfiber cleaning cloths to your kitchen tongs to pick up literally all the dust from your blinds.

From One Crazy House. Get a pack of 24 microfiber cleaning cloths on Amazon for $11.99.
onecrazyhouse.com

From One Crazy House. Get a pack of 24 microfiber cleaning cloths on Amazon for $11.99.

35. Or just get an extendable microfiber duster set that makes it easy to follow the cardinal rule of cleaning — start at the top, and work your way down to the bottom, so you don't vacuum first then end up with dust on the floor from your fan.

amazon.com

It comes with two duster options that you can either use with a handle or the extending pole (which starts at 29 inches and telescopes up to 49 inches). Get it on Amazon for $19.99.

36. Launder your pillows in hot water to wash out all the sweat, skin cells, drool, and other gross things lurking where you rest your head every night.

You only need to do it every few months, but it makes a difference! Get the how-to from The Happier Homemaker.
thehappierhomemaker.com

You only need to do it every few months, but it makes a difference! Get the how-to from The Happier Homemaker.

37. Strip your bed and wash all your bedding, then freshen your mattress with a quick sprinkle of baking soda and a good vacuuming.

onegoodthingbyjillee.com

This won't remove any stains, but it will help absorb any lingering odors. Get the how-to from One Good Thing By Jillee.

38. Set-in mattress stains are no joke, but you can make 'em look better by using a carpet stain remover and a carpet washer.

Get a jug of the stain remover for $19.97 and a carpet washer with more than seven thousand five-star reviews for $105, both on Amazon. And because you're wondering: it's a coffee stain. You can also try to bleach them out using hydrogen peroxide; that may not remove more than the surface stains, though. Get a how-to here.
amazon.com

Get a jug of the stain remover for $19.97 and a carpet washer with more than seven thousand five-star reviews for $105, both on Amazon. And because you're wondering: it's a coffee stain.

You can also try to bleach them out using hydrogen peroxide; that may not remove more than the surface stains, though. Get a how-to here.

39. Clean all sorts of plastic, glass, and metal from around the house in the dishwasher: from light fixture shades to vent hood filters to AC vent covers.

From One Crazy House. You could even clean all of your vent covers at once.
onecrazyhouse.com

From One Crazy House. You could even clean all of your vent covers at once.

40. If you have a cotton mop, use the ~slop mop~ method to give your tile or linoleum floors a truly deep wash.

creeklinehouse.com

Basically, you use a saturated mop to get your floors wet, then squeeze out your mop, use it to soak up the dirty water (in no more than three swoops at a time), and squeeze that dirty water back into your bucket. Creekline House has the full how-to. Get a cotton easy-wring mop on Amazon for $29.99.

41. Use any old squeegee and some water in a spray bottle to easily clean pet hair off your sofa, furniture, and basically anything that's upholstered with fabric.

Just spritz once or twice, squeegee, and watch it clump up. From CareaBearaSara. Get a highly-rated squeegee on Amazon for $6.99.
careabearasara.tumblr.com

Just spritz once or twice, squeegee, and watch it clump up. From CareaBearaSara.

Get a highly-rated squeegee on Amazon for $6.99.

42. And get a big squeegee broom to sweep up the hair embedded in your carpet and scattered over your hardwood or tile floor.

amazon.com, amazon.com

You could use your hand-held squeegee for this too, if you wanted — or you could make it easier on your back, and try this telescoping broom. It's also handy for cleaning big windows and pushing snow off of cars in one swoop.

Get it from The Container Store for $12.99 or on Amazon for $12.99.

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