Got half an hour? These cleaning plans will get your home spotless. 

By Natalie Ermann Russell
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Chelsea Cavanaugh

On days when you don't have an entire afternoon to devote to spring cleaning, here are five cleaning routines that can be achieved in under half an hour. Set the timer for 30 minutes, then tackle the kitchen, three bathrooms, or spruce up your deck for the warm weather ahead. By the time the stopwatch goes off, you'll feel so accomplished. 

Kitchen

  1. Degrease the backsplash, cabinet fronts and handles, and anywhere else suffering from greasy buildup with Avon’s Original Skin So Soft Bath Oil. (Paradoxically, oil is one of the best oil removers.) Apply it to a micro-fiber cloth and buff until clean.
  2. Clear off counters. Remove small appliances like toasters, shake out crumbs, and wipe down knobs and handles. If you have granite or marble countertops, try this all-natural cleaner: Combine 3 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, 1 cups water, and 1 teaspoon Castile or dish soap. (Avoid vinegar, which could etch the surface.) Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and wipe with a microfiber cloth to make your countertops sparkle.

Vents

It can actually be faster to wash vent covers than to vacuum them. Remove the covers and scrub them with soap and warm water in a utility sink or a bathtub. Let them dry before putting them back. Got a few more minutes? While the covers are off, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to remove dust bunnies from inside the vent. If you don’t, that dust will continue to be blown out into the room.

Mattresses

Rather than doing one bed at a time, it’s more efficient to clean all your mattresses at once. First, remove the bedding and sprinkle baking soda across the surface of the mattress. It should sit for 15 minutes, which gives you the perfect opportunity to sprinkle the other beds while you wait. After each mattress has been treated, return to the first bedroom and vacuum up the baking soda. Move to each subsequent room and do the same. Now revisit each room (in the same order) to rotate the mattress 180 degrees.

What about flipping the mattress? Many mattresses on the market now are labeled “no flip” or “one-sided” because pillow-top technology has rendered this arduous task obsolete. (To flip or not to flip? Check the label to be sure.)

Bathrooms

In half an hour, you have enough time to deep-clean three bathrooms. Complete each step in each bathroom before moving on to the next step.

  1. Drop three denture tablets into the toilet bowl. Let them sit for about 30 minutes. The nonabrasive chemicals lift away stains and kill bacteria without damaging the porcelain.
  2. While you wait, collect bath mats and fabric shower curtains and pop them into the washing machine.
  3. Dust vents and surfaces. Start at the ceiling and work your way down.
  4. Spray cleaner on all hard surfaces: counter, sink, toilet, shower, bathtub. Letting the cleaner sit while you spray the other bathrooms gives it time to disinfect the surfaces.
  5. Go back to the first bathroom and wipe everything down with a microfiber cloth (toilets can be wiped with paper towels or a cloth that goes straight into the wash). Scrub toilet bowls.
  6. Wash floors. Start at the back of the room and work your way toward the door. Use your favorite spray cleaner and a damp micro-fiber cloth, or opt for a steam cleaner for a chemical-free shine.

Deck

A hose with a spray nozzle attachment will help remove the top layer of debris from patios, decks, and furniture that was left outside over the winter.

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