1. Add a lazy Susan to your fridge
If you’re already taking everything out to give the fridge a good scrub, add a lazy Susan to each shelf before you restock. Being able to spin it to access things in the back will cut down on spills and make your next spring cleaning that much easier.
2. Disinfect your sponge
If you’ve got a big job to do and only one sponge to do it with (the horror!), freshen things up halfway through by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute.
3. Don’t forget to clean the garbage disposal
If you’re lucky enough to have a garbage disposal, don’t neglect it during spring cleaning. Drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt, and a few ice cubes to clear away any unwanted odors or built-up residue.
4. Time Yourself
Not only will you be more likely to stay focused and get your tasks done efficiently with a timer ticking, seeing how long chores actually take makes them more manageable. If you know it only takes ten minutes to scrub the bathroom, maybe you won’t wait till next spring to do it again.
5. Wax your stovetop
After you’ve scrubbed the grime off your stovetop, apply a thin layer of car wax and then buff it off with a clean towel. Not only will this make it look shiny and new, it will make wiping off future spills a breeze.
6. Use a lemon to clean stainless steel faucets
Just cut the lemon in half and start rubbing to remove hard water stains and rust from any stainless steel in the bathroom or kitchen. Plus, this leaves behind a fresh, natural, citrusy scent instead of harsh chemical fumes.
7. Steam clean your microwave
To remove old food stains from the inside of the microwave, steam them before you scrub. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 to 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and zap the mixture for five minutes.
8. Make space for clutter
One way you can ensure that your hard-earned neatness doesn’t disappear is by setting aside space for the inevitable clutter. If you have an entryway closet, mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack to store toys, hats, gloves, and unsorted mail.
9. Wash your windows on a cloudy day
For a quick made-at-home window-washing solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water or add one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid to several gallons of water. But time your cleaning wisely: Sunshine will cause your windows to dry too quickly, leaving streaks.
10. Dust with fabric softener sheets
Dryer sheets are a cheap substitute for more expensive electrostatic cloths, and they work just as well. Lone socks that have lost their mates, when worn as a mitten, also work for dusting tight areas and Venetian blinds. Always remember to work top to bottom when dusting to avoid wasting time going over surfaces twice.
11. Toss expired toiletries
If your medicine cabinet is starting to seem over-cluttered, spring cleaning is the perfect time to re-check the expiration date on all your toiletries and trash anything that’s past its prime. You can check the Internet for specifics, but sunscreen should only stick around for a few years after you purchase it, and mascara should be replaced every couple of months.
12. Use a hair dryer to banish water rings
Someone hasn’t been using a coaster and now your wood coffee table paid the price and has those telltale white water rings. Try erasing them with a hair dryer. Simply blast the offending spot on high heat until it starts to disappear. Once it’s gone, rub a little bit of olive oil on the area to recondition the wood.
13. Use your dishwasher for more than dishes
There are tons of things that you can clean in the dishwasher that don’t have anything to do with place settings. Once every few months, toss some of the following into the dishwasher for a deep clean: contact lens cases, hair brushes, makeup brushes, pet dishes, plastic kids toys, refrigerator shelves, soap dishes, tweezers, various knobs and pulls, and even your showerhead (if it’s removable).
14. Clean your dishwasher
What good is a dirty dishwasher? After you remove any visible grime, place a (dishwasher safe) cup of vinegar on the top shelf and run the hottest cycle your dishwasher has. After that, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom and run it through a short but complete cycle using the hottest water.
15. Clean your showerhead
If your showerhead isn’t detachable and thus can’t be run through the dishwasher, you can clean it by letting it soak in vinegar overnight. First, fill a sandwich baggie with vinegar and then carefully secure the bag over the showerhead so it’s fully submerged—you can use an elastic hair tie or rubber band. Leave the whole thing to soak overnight—just be sure you remember to remove the vinegar bag before you turn on the shower in the morning.
www.mentalfloss.com March 2015