10 Genius Cleaning Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

Top pros confess their dirty little dust- and grime-busting secrets.

cleaning hacks
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Cleaning your house can be a hassle, but it's less so if you're smart about it. Certain strategies (like using a daily shower spray) can lengthen the time between cleanings. Using the right cleaning tools can eliminate the need for extra scrubbing or dusting. And testing out some unusual cleaning hacks from the experts can even make cleaning—dare we say it—a little bit more fun.

We asked cleaning industry pros to share their secret cleaning tricks, from dusting and scouring to wiping down the upholstery and more. They came through with some truly unique tips that we can honestly say we'd never in a million years think up ourselves. Why not give some of them a whirl? Go ahead, enlist the sun to help you clean! (Seriously, it's tip #6.)

01 of 10

Clean the Rug With a Shower Squeegee

For a novel way to get fur and hair out of the carpet, we enlisted the help of Melissa Maker, founder of the Clean My Space Cleaning Company. She reminded us that there's more than one way to clean a carpet. Sometimes she passes up the vacuum and reaches for her shower squeegee instead.

The Motive

Vacuuming is a perfectly acceptable way to clean a rug. But it's not the only way. And sometimes stubborn fur can weave its way into the rug fibers, while hair can get tangled in the vacuum's brush roll. Is there another option?

The Method

Maker's suggestion: Run a dry squeegee across the rug in overlapping rows. Edged with rubber, a squeegee glides along a rug smoothly, creating static electricity that draws hair and fur from the carpet. Collect clumps as they form and discard.

02 of 10

Dust With Packing Tape

We contacted Maeve Richmond, founder of the organizational company Maeve’s Method, about the task of dusting. We know that in terms of regular dusting, microfiber cloths pick up more dust than paper towels do. But Richmond weighed in on what to do in hard-to-reach areas.

The Motive

It’s easy to ignore lampshades, speakers, and the insides of drawers because it's tough to get them clean with regular dusting. With its strong adhesive, packing tape is the answer—it grabs dirt from fabric and crevices.

The Method

Press a foot-long stretch of tape onto the surface, then pull it back to pick up the grime. To get crumbs out of drawers, ball up the tape, leaving much of the sticky side facing out. Tap the ball onto the debris, applying extra pressure to catch stubborn pieces.

03 of 10

Mop With Your Feet

Pam Young, the founder of cluborganized.com, has definitely perfected the art of making mopping fun—and easy. Her tip below is for anyone tired of getting on all fours to clean the floor.

The Motive

Cleaning floors and baseboards with a rag and the standard hands-and-knees method takes mettle. Legs are typically stronger than arms; the added force speeds the process.

The Method

Using a formula of equal parts water and white vinegar, spritz the bottoms of a pair of thick, absorbent socks, then put them on. Glide one foot across the baseboards. Spritz again, then skate around the floor to pick up dust, starting with the farthest corner and working toward the entryway.

When you’re finished, toss the socks in the washing machine. Need to save your socks for the gym? Try Evri-holder Slipper Genie cleaning slippers ($16, amazon.com).

04 of 10

Prevent Toilet Stains With Car Wax

It's hardly a surprise that someone who named her company Mary Moppins found a way to cut down on constant toilet bowl scouring. Cleaning expert Mary Finley doesn't suggest a spoonful of sugar, but her solution is just as odd: She uses car wax.

The Motive

You can scrub and scour the toilet bowl weekly, but those unsightly stains return again and again. Traditional toilet coating formulas work for a bit, but Finley's method coats the surface for six months, keeping it slick so nothing sticks.

The Method

  • Clean the toilet to remove existing stains, then back the water out. This is easy: Shut off the water valve by turning it all the way to the right; flush the toilet, holding down the handle until most of the water flows from the tank; and pour a bucket of water into the bowl.
  • Dry the interior with a cotton cloth, and use a separate cloth to apply the protectant. (Try 3M Performance Finish Synthetic Wax; $20, amazon.com.)
  • Make sure to open a window for ventilation. Let sit for 10 minutes, then replenish the water by turning the valve left to open.
  • For upkeep, every three months pour ½ cup of distilled white vinegar into the bowl to prevent water rings from forming.
05 of 10

Tackle Marks on Upholstery With Shaving Cream

Cheryl Sousan, founder of the lifestyle blog tidymom.net, cleans her upholstery with an unconventional but highly effective method: shaving cream.

The Motive

Sometimes you don’t have the right stain solution on hand. Shaving cream, which is essentially a whipped soap, is an ideal substitute. Its lather can penetrate nearly any stain and lift it to the surface. (Test first in an inconspicuous place.)

The Method

Apply a small dollop to a damp cloth. Use a standard white shaving cream, like Barbasol Original ($7, amazon.com) rather than a gel version. Dab this onto the spot and let sit for 30 minutes, then blot with a clean, damp cloth. If any stain remains, reapply and let sit overnight.

06 of 10

Let the Sun Eliminate Stains on Food Storage Containers

Who says there's no such thing as a free cleaning product? Certainly not Donna Smallin Kuper, certified housecleaning technician and author of Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness ($11, amazon.com). She uses the sun to bleach her food containers.

The Motive

Even if you put plastic food containers in the dishwasher, you can never get them fully good-as-new clean. The sun’s rays are akin to natural bleach, eliminating most stains.

The Method

After washing the containers in the sink with dish soap and warm water, place them on a clean tea towel in the sun. Let sit for eight hours. Rinse and let dry.

07 of 10

Use Newspaper to Soak Up Garbage Spills

No one wants to clean up garbage spills, especially when you have to reach down into the bottom of the pail to reach them. Tara Aronson, lifestyle expert and author of Simplify Your Household ($1.50, amazon.com) has a simple yet genius hack to eliminate this task completely.

The Motive

How can you save yourself time and effort when your trash bag inevitably leaks? Line the bin with something to catch and absorb the mess as it happens.

The Method

Place yesterday’s news at the bottom of your trash bin with a plastic bag underneath to keep the paper from sticking to the can. A sheet of soft cardboard (such as the insert from your last Amazon package) can also absorb trash-bag leaks, so you don't have to wash out the bin later. Discard it all when you toss the trash.

08 of 10

Let the Blender Wash Itself

Kabashima from Maeve’s Method says the best way to clean a blender is by simply pressing a button. We couldn't agree more.

The Motive

Some blenders are dishwasher-safe; others aren't. And hand washing a blender can be a real pain. In fact, its sharp blades and ridged interior can be tricky—and dangerous—to clean.

The Method

Fill the blender halfway with water, add a few drops of dish soap, and blend on low for 10 seconds. Wipe down the upper area with soapy water and a sponge, then rinse.

09 of 10

Clean Your Mattress With a Spritz of Vodka

Club Organized's Young has a trick for cleaning your mattress. First step? Head to your liquor cabinet.

The Motive

Mattress upkeep is often overlooked, even though pros suggest quarterly cleanings. Vodka can do more than spike your drinks; it can also deodorize your mattress.

The Method

Break out a bottle of vodka, which is an odorless disinfectant that evaporates fast. Using a vodka-filled spray bottle, spritz the mattress and pillows when changing the sheets. Get into this habit, and you’ll never have to do a deep cleaning.

10 of 10

Erase Crayon Marks on Walls With Toothpaste

Sousan from Tidy Mom has good news: You already have a crayon mark remover on hand, and it's sitting in your medicine cabinet.

The Motive

Your child scribbled on the wall, and you're hesitant to use a cleaning spray, which can cause discoloring. You need a mild abrasive that can handle wax—but gently.

The Method

A white, non-gel toothpaste that contains baking soda acts as a fine abrasive to rub away wax without leaving a tint. Apply with a clean toothbrush, scrub gently, then wipe clean with a damp cloth.

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