Pairing these cleaning chores will save you time and energy. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated: June 18, 2019
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When you're devising a time-saving cleaning routine, the best method is to choose one that fits your schedule and your cleaning personality. No matter if you're a cleaning procrastinator who puts off every chore until the weekend rolls around, or if you like to check off small to-dos whenever you have five minutes to spare, there are some cleaning tasks you should always find time to tackle together. Some of these cleaning duos will save you from having to re-do your work later—like dusting before you vacuum so you can avoid brushing dust onto your freshly-washed floor. Others will simply make your home more pleasant—such as cleaning out the fridge right before you take out the trash, so you can avoid a smelly kitchen garbage. No matter how or when you clean your home, always tackle the cleaning tasks below in pairs to save your time and energy. 

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Dust Before You Vacuum 

At Real Simple, we often recommend cleaning from top to bottom. That means starting by dusting the top surfaces around your home—the ceiling fan, the top of your kitchen cabinets—before wiping down lower surfaces, and finally cleaning the floor. This technique saves you from having to go back and re-do your work. If you forget and sweep your kitchen floor before wiping down the counters, you could wind up with freshly minted dust and crumbs on your once-clean floor. To actually remove the dust and dirt from your home, rather than simply relocating it, save the sweeping and vacuuming for last. 

RELATED: 13 Places You're Forgetting to Dust in Your Home—But Need to ASAP

Clean Out the Fridge Before You Take Out the Trash 

Before you empty the kitchen trash can, take a quick peek inside your fridge and scan for moldy fruit or past-its-prime leftovers. Toss all of the expired food directly into the trash (or compost) can, then empty the bin right away. This way, you and your family can avoid having to smell expired food in the kitchen trash can.

Bonus: if you start to always pair these two cleaning tasks together, you'll end up cleaning out your fridge more often, so you can avoid those really gross messes, like finding liquified produce on a fridge shelf. 

Clean Your Mattress While You Wash Your Bed Sheets

When's the last time you gave your mattress a deep clean? If you can't recall, consider this: give your mattress a quick clean every other time you change your bed sheets. While the sheets are in the washing machine, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress surface and let it sit. After you transfer the sheets to the dryer, vacuum up the baking soda using an upholstery nozzle if you have one. By the time your sheets are ready to go back on your bed, your mattress will be refreshed and deodorized. 

Clean Your Toothbrush Holder & Soap Dish When You Wash the Dishes 

To make the next dishwasher cycle work a little harder, get familiar with this list of things you probably didn't know you can clean in your dishwasher. The next time you go to wash your dishes, add your metal or ceramic toothbrush holder and soap dish to the top rack. Studies show that the toothbrush holder is actually one of the germiest things in the bathroom, so let your dishwashing routine serve as a reminder to disinfect it. If you have room in the machine to wash even more, consider removing the knobs on your oven and adding them to the top rack.

Wash Your Shower Curtain Liner When You Clean Your Spare Towels and Rags

The next time you go to wash those spare towels you keep on hand for unexpected spills and those rags you keep around for the dirtiest messes, toss your shower curtain liner into the washing machine, too. The towels will actually help scrub the shower curtain clean as they spin around the machine. Use regular detergent and some powdered oxygen bleach, following these instructions. Avoid overloading the machine, and only do this with your old towels (not the dish cloths you use to dry your dishes). Your shower curtain liner will come out mold- and mildew-free, while your towels and rags will be ready to tackle future messes. 

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