Tell me your cleaning tips & appear on The Art of Doing Stuff.

My sister in the pink tool belt is the type who loves to clean. So is fish pedicure sister actually. And my niece. My mother and I? We prefer to make the mess.

I like the end result of cleaning. The sparkle, the glow, the bugs turning around and marching out the back door.

To be perfectly honest it isn’t the cleaning I dislike. It’s the putting away. Laundry? Not a big deal. Putting it all away. Barf. Doing dishes? Don’t mind it. Putting them away? Hate it.

The more organized my house becomes the easier the “putting away” thing is getting. I have spots for places and try very hard to remember where they are. Books in the bookcases, extra dishes have been banished to the basement so I’m not wandering around the kitchen for half an hour deciding where I can possible fit the oversized bowl … and I cleaned out my closet and drawers so I don’t have to throw my clothes in the laundry hamper when they’re perfectly clean because they won’t fit anywhere else.

Come with me (in an imaginary way) for a moment as I scan my yet to be completed kitchen. On the island there are no less than 3 sets of Hex keys, a flashlight, a screwdriver, a pair of scissors, car keys and some black Isotoner gloves. And maybe Dexter. If I looked a little harder I would probably find Dexter.

That island was empty just moments ago. I actually woke up 2 hours early today so I could put things away before I started working but it’s all back. All of it. It’s like living with a teenager only I’m the teenager and yelling at me doesn’t work either. I’m going to have to take my iPad away from me.

However, like I said, even though I still leave things out, things are much easier to put away now that my house is more organized than it’s ever been. Which leaves me more time to clean.

I’m not going to tell you what I clean or how I clean it because that’s not what this post is about. Although this is one of my tips …


This post is about how YOU clean.

I’m looking for any of your tips, tricks or cleaning recipes.

I’m going to test the 3 that I think are the most interesting or useful and will then feature them in a full post on The Art of Doing Stuff along with a picture of you! Don’t worry. If you’re picked and you don’t want me to include a picture I’ll put up a picture of Dr. Phil or his wife and say it’s you. If you’re a man you get the Dr. Phil picture, if you’ve had so much botox your eyebrows live on the North Pole, you’ll get the wife picture.

Dusting, cleaning solutions, routines … any cleaning tip is accepted. It can be something you do because your mother did it, or a recipe you found on the Internet that works great, or just something you discovered on your own. Extra points for either exceptional results, or exceptionally fast results.

Start commenting about cleaning!

Have a great weekend.





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  1. Gwen H. says:

    My cleaning tip: Organize all of your cleaning supplies in a bucket. Take it to the particular room. Set the timer and clean until the timer rings.

    • Janet says:

      This is a great tip! I think it will help me stay focused on the task at hand if I know I am on a time limit.

    • Mary says:

      I agree that this is a great tip. Karen should pick you. 🙂

    • Ceecee says:

      I do that thing with the timer, too. I don’t mind cleaning, I just don’t realize it needs to be done until the doorbell rings.

      One tip, for single people, pack away all of the dishes you don’t use. That way, there’s never more than a one sinkfull of dirty dishes. Plus, you gain a boatload of spare storage in the kitchen cabinets.

      Also, TubTrugs (or some similar flexible bucket type thing). TubTrugs are awesome! I’ve even filled one with dirty dishes and stuck it in the pantry, during a doorbell ringing incident! They are SO handy. You can clear an EXTREMELY messy room in about 5 minutes. That’s “clear”, not “clean”. You still have to redistribute the items into their rightful places.

      Also, the dishcloths with the mesh on one side. Couldn’t live without those after using them for a month.

      Good microfiber cloths – I can do all of my windows, inside and out, in less than an hour. No cleaner, just dip in water, wring it out really well, and clean. Rinse it in the same water, wring it out again, and keep going. It traps dirt inside of it, so it will continue to clean, even when it’s dirty, if you rinse the loose stuff out and wring it out well.

  2. theresa says:

    I vacuum the bathroom before I clean it…I use to get really frustrated with all the hair. Husband, two cats, two cardigan corgis and me shedding all the time meant that no matter how I tried to collect the hair I seemed to always be re-depositing it as I got on with the scrubbing and polishing and wiping. So after we remolded the condo and I got a Dyson animal to suck up the cat litter (their toilet was next to ours) I just kept going and FINALLY got rid of the hair. I wait until everything is dry and hit the outside of the toilet and the tub rim and every blessed corner and crevice. And then I just keep going around the house to the kitchen–honestly my dust bunnies could audition for Cadbury’s!!

    • Debbie says:

      I looooooove my Dyson Animal. When we were in the process of moving, we saw a home that had a narrow spiral staircase as the only staircase to the upstairs and wondered aloud how (at my increasing) age, I would get a vacuum up and down the steps (central vac was in the home we were leaving and not an option to install in our new home). My wonderful real estate agent had a simply wonderful solution – he said to buy two vacuums. Thanks to Costco coupons, I saved a bundle and in our new home (not the spiral staircase house), I have an upstairs and a downstairs vacuum. I clean much more often since I don’t have to lug anything.

      Sheepishly she says – I also have a Dyson stick vac and pretend I am the lithe, pretty woman in the commercial when I lift it overhead. It is awesome and the charger hangs on a wall in a closet. I am a happy, happy person.

  3. SK Farm Girl says:

    Here is the best cleaning tip EVER! Well, I can’t take full credit for this tip as it was my ex-mother-in-law who gave me this tip. It’s fast. It’s effective. And it costs nothing. In the (nearly) famous words of my ex-mother-in-law, “The best way to dust is to not dust. However, don’t ever move the doilies or the junk on the table or the dust imprint will show. And ONLY have company over in the evening and make sure half the light bulbs are burnt out! (That way the lighting is poor and the dust doesn’t show!)” She and I didn’t always see-eye-to-eye, but I sure saw the value in some of her advise – LOL!

    • Pam'a says:

      An extra frill to add to that inspired idea came from one of my favorite Heloise columns ever: “If I haven’t had time to clean up and friends pop over, I have a stash of Get Well cards I put out.”

      I imagine they’re extra-beautiful with dim lighting. 😉

  4. Laura says:

    hopefully that link works =) My fave recipe is for laundry sauce (soap) Saves a ton of money, and I really like how easy it is to make.

  5. Jen says:

    Hmmm… I am looking forward to seeing these posts. I need all the help I can get.

    Between starting both the husband and I starting new jobs, my attending grad school, and other stuff…. well I think war zones might look better than here.

    If I have one tip, it’s to just stay on top of two things: Dishes and Laundry. By that I mean once they are clean, they go where they are suppose to. (Or near it, in case of my husband.)

    I don’t know why, but if they back up the rest of the house goes to heck in a hurry.

    • Hope says:

      SO agree! Many mom’s wait till their kids / partner are able to unload the dishwasher because it is a simple job ….DON”T !!! Time it!!!! it’s a 3 minute job when done by a “professional” and everything is returned to the exact spot where it is needed whenever anyone cooks. THEN…. let anyone old enough to deal with the stove cook and expect them to clean up after themselves, or put their dishes in the dishwasher when they reluctantly and after many years of nagging bring the dishes to the kitchen from under their stack of gaming devices or under their beds. Having an empty dishwasher is the key to a tidy kitchen at our house. (Only eating in the kitchen is a rule I would have loved to enforced but dad thought any food just tasted better when eaten by the flickering light of the TV)

      • Mary says:

        great tip! Maybe, I shouldn’t have been so quick out of the gate by commenting that Karen should pick comment no. 1. 🙂

  6. carma says:

    i have the most brilliant and genius way of cleaning………….this thing that i have. and every time i clean it i think…my god this is brilliant, my god i’m a genius, why doesn’t everyone clean their thing this way, how come nobody knows about this amazing way to clean this thing, really i should not be so selfish, i should share my brilliance with the world and let others know they no longer have to suffer while cleaning their thing the way everyone always has,if you clean it like this you only have to clean it once or twice a year at most, maybe a quick wipe now and again in between. yes i really must start a blog and share my brilliance with the world.

    i kid you not, i think this *every* single time i clean that thing of mine.

    and do you think i can remember what the hell it is now? i swear to you i am not making this all up, no really!

    i’m brilliant i tell ya. truly i’m a genius. not that it does me a damn bit of good. i can promise you that being a genius is not all it’s cracked up to be….not when you don’t have a working or workable memory.

    the next time i clean that thing of mine, i’ll share my brilliance with you. by then your contest will be over. and by then i’ll probably forget that i promised to tell you what it is.

    sigh. such is the bane of my existence as a perpetually unrecognized genius.

  7. Amber says:

    I hate cleaning the shower. Specifically, rinsing the wall tiles after I have scrubbed it (with a foam/Oxo dish brush with cleaner inside). Our tile shower does not have great pressure, and the showerhead does not move much. A trip to Target towards the end of last summer led to an epiphany. In the clearance section was a foam shark super soaker. Pull the tail back to fill with water and then push the tail to fire away. It makes getting everything off the shower tiles amazingly easy.

    The only downside – other than having to explain to visitors why we (30-something lawyers with no children)have a foam shark super-squirter in our bathroom – is that I have careful not to spray the water out with too much force. Sometimes I get overzealous and end up with super splash-back. That said, when it happens, so long as I don’t get soap in my eyes, it is still fun.

    • Karen says:

      O.K. I don’t even have wall tiles in the bathroom and I’m thinking of trying this. ~ karen

      • Jody says:

        I know the point of this is to provide our cleaning tips. I’ve got nothing special. I use an old sock of my sons over my hand sprayed with cleanser to wipe the wooden blinds. However if we can vote on the best comment I would say Amber, the Shark Lady wins, hands down!

      • Linda S. in NE says:

        Okey, Dokey…Contest is probably over…Amber (the shark lady) wins. Karen, maybe you could start a new contest. The idea could be to guess what carma’s “thing” is…and then we win that “thing”, if we want it!!

    • Mary says:

      I bought hand held shower heads for our tile bathrooms, then you have a sprayer for when you clean.

    • Mary Werner says:

      OK I’m getting one of these – even when I don’t have the energy for this “fun” my grandkids will! WOW you are a genious!!

  8. victoria says:

    I like to put on my favorite upbeat music really loud and then I just kind of dance my way around the house picking up and putting away whatever’s in my path. There is no designated area, which makes it less boring. I might pick up a used band aid on the hallway floor and on my way to the trash I find a sock that needs to be put in the laundry or something else so I carry stuff with me and go with the flow! And dance while doin’ it! Works even better if I’m on a coffee high!

  9. Ella says:

    I sweep things under the rug. 🙂 Srsly.

  10. Mael says:

    I invested in 2 roombas to deal with pet hair. They’ve made the single greatest difference in how clean my house looks and feels. I buy the cheapest vodka I can find in bulk, and use it to clean surfaces, even windows. It works as well as white vinegar, it disinfects, and doesn’t have the vinegar smell. Bonus, after serving guests two cocktails made with the good stuff, they won’t be able to tell if you switch to your counter cleaner. 🙂

    • Marsha Jean says:

      Does that work with gin and tequila too???

    • Arianne says:

      Ack I totally agree! We have three cats and a Labrador and I swear we could make a 5th pet EVERY SINGLE DAY by the amount of pet hair those four shed! We bought a Roomba Pet Series and it changed our lives! I love that little gizmo!

  11. Michele says:

    Hi Karen, I’m a total freak when it comes to cleaning. I love to clean. My husband just rolls his eyes. My favorite trick? I use a sticky lint roller to remove the dust off if my lamp shades.

  12. Nora W. says:

    Thanks for your blog every day, Karen. It helps me start each day with a laugh or two. Can hardly wait to see your new kitchen!

    I LOVE household tips. I always think I will find the magic tip that will make housekeeping go away. Still searching for it! Here is my tip for the day. I buy extra loaves of bread when it’s on sale, and freeze half-loaves in recycled bread bags so they don’t get mouldy. (WAIT … that’s not the tip! Just keep on
    reading.) I use empty Kleenex boxes in my kitchen drawer for storing these recycled plastic bread bags (as well as extra plastic bags from the grocery store produce section) to keep them separate and tidy, and to prevent them from multiplying as they tend to do when I am not watching. And then they are ready to pop up, one at a time, when I need them. I think I learned about this on the internet.

  13. Stephanie says:

    I’m so (deliberately) bad at cleaning my husband does it.

  14. Teresa J says:

    I read this advice in a magazine somewhere …… Always leave the vacuum cleaner out and if you have visitors over and the floor is a mess, then you were just going to vacuum and if the floor is clean, then you just finished and did not have time to put the vacuum away.!! Hey, whatever works!!!

  15. Glenda says:

    I listen to music too, Victoria! It really makes cleaning less sigh inducing.

    My helpful hint is that my cleaning music is limited to a 45 minute playlist. I rush around cleaning to some of my favourite upbeat songs and when the music stops, I stop. I find that 45 minutes is short enough that I will actually press play and pick up a feather duster, and long enough that there is a significant improvement in cleanliness.

  16. Carolyn says:

    My favorite tip for cleaning–hire it done!

  17. Lisa says:

    My fav tip is to wax the shower…I’ve been doing it for yrs yes a looong time. I used to use the wax that u had to wax on wax off ….but now they have that new fangeled stuff u just spray. Sure makes that easier. Ya just have to make sure it is clean to start off and when u notice soap scum or whatever not sliding off re do it. ! or 2 times a yr. Just rinse when u r done and everything just comes right off. U can also use it on ur bathroom sinks even the stove top. Now if u r a fanatic I heard u can even do ur light bulbs to keep dust off and keep them nice n bright, but I don’t go that far. So nice when everything comes right off with out scrubbing. Oh and I love my roomba for the cat hair.

    • JB says:

      What kind of wax is this? Do you have a brand name? Is it in a spray can? Is it, like, floor wax or something? Dying to know!

    • JB says:

      I have no tips. But I will say that I thought I was the only one who HATES putting things away (laundry, dishes, files, anything)! I’ll clean (when I have to), but I hate putting things away. I never mind not having a dishwasher (I’m a renter, and you never know if you’ll get one in a new apartment. I don’t have one now.), because it does the work I don’t hate TOO much, but it creates even more need for putting away. Yuck.

  18. Ramona says:

    Ok, I’m going to go and get all practical… It’s not exceptionally fast, but it does give exceptional results. I HATE the smell towels take on after months or years of use. (Yes, of course with normal washing.). They tend to have a musty-ish smell? I read this tip online, and I will use it forever! Wash towels the way you normally would. Next, run through a short wash (warm) cycle with one cup of vinegar (I pour the vinegar into the bleach cup). Then, sprinkle one cup of baking soda over the towels and run another short wash (warm). This takes that smell away, and as an added bonus, it reduces the fabric softener build up and the towels are more absorbent again. I do this about once every six months. I wish I could give credit where credit is due! Ah well, just have to ‘pay it forward’…

    • Lynne says:

      Baking soda in the wash and a vinegar rinse works wonders for getting rid of the yellowish buildup on white bed linens – for those of us who have oily skin.

    • Pati Gulat says:

      I use vinegar as a fabric softener and neither my towels nor my front loader get that musty smell…EVER. And you never smell the vinegar.

    • Rebecca says:

      This is a great tip! Thank you for paying it forward.

    • AngieC says:

      Brilliant! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve been having a problem with musty towels and have tried everything to get rid of the smell but nothing has worked. I’m going to try this tip this weekend.

    • Ramona says:

      This works well with any kind of stinky laundry. I use it for my baby’s cloth diapers, and sometimes my husbands work clothes need a good hit of vinegar & baking soda. I am going to see how well it works on white linens to brighten them, as well as trust the vinegar next time around as a fabric softener. I won’t use a softener sheet… Thanks ladies, for the input!

    • Ceecee says:

      You know what that smell is? It’s old gunk stuck to old detergent. Detergent sucks. Yes, dirt sticks to detergent, but detergent sticks to EVERYTHING! Just wash, once a month, in Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds or soap nuts or something natural (not borax – borax bad). That will remove the old detergent AND the crop of gunk it’s growing in it, which is what real soap does and detergent really sucks at. I keep Bronner’s Peppermint in a foamer at the kitchen sink. If I have to use regular dishsoap on something, I use the Bronner’s to get the dishsoap off it. LOL. It takes about a million gallons of water to rinse detergent sort of good but Bronner’s will rinse completely, in a heartbeat. I also use Kirk’s castille soap in the shower, for both body and shampoo. It also rinses in a jiffy, leaves no residue and won’t dry out your skin or hair, after an adjustment period. You can use Bronner’s bar soap, but it’s a lot more expensive than Kirk’s. Plus, you can get Kirk’s just about anywhere.

  19. silvie says:

    Pick up around the living room, kitchen, dining room – wherever, during tv commercials instead of being a total couch potato at night. It’s mindless work, so a good fit. It gives you 3-6 minutes of activity and sometimes you’ll get caught up in something way more productive. Also, after cleaning a toilet, set the brush down btwn the toilet rim and the seat to let it drain while you clean the rest of the bathroom. This eliminates the little puddle of skanky water in the toilet brush holder.

  20. Karen says:

    Used dryer sheets make the best polishing cloths for chrome and mirrors. After they’ve been through the dryer. Just rub them on dry and they remove water spots and sparkle up everything.

  21. Ember says:

    We learned from a good friend who was a retired vetinarian that a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and a spoonful of liquid dish detergent will make a paste that will remove
    skunk spray from your dog that was stupid enough to chase a skunk and get sprayed TWICE, dead-on in the chest. Just rub the paste in and rinse. Add enough peroxide to spray the mix thru a spray bottle and it will remove the skunk stench from your couch where said dog ran to hide after said spraying. Just explain to the security at the store that you are not buying supplies to make a bomb. Just let them smell your hand where you dragged dog off couch…after they revive from fainting…they should believe you. Baking soda added to your wash also helps remove cat urine smell from the towel left on the floor.

    • Sally A says:

      That’s hilarious! And a great tip! I love dogs, but they can be very dumb. My dog got stung by a wasp once, and instead of avoiding them, he would chase them. Dumb.

  22. Liesl Joubert says:

    Create a landing strip just inside your front door. I saw it at:

    You literally leave your cares at the door and keep your home organised at the same time.
    It can take any form you like, but at minimum you need a surface, a couple of coat/key hooks and an electrical outlet. Then you ACCESSORIZE! This I believe is the key.

    Mine is a narrow (1 ft x 3 ft) table with some baskets underneath:
    Come in, switch pretty lamp on, hang keys, drop bag & shopping on table, hang coat, kick off shoes (into shoe basket), kick on slippers (from shoe basket), sort mail, immediately recycle stupid marketing pamphlets (into recycling basket), empty pockets, discard any mess (into waste basket), put phone on charge.

    Its wonderful when you don’t have the above clutter all over your kitchen/dining/lounge room. You don’t track dirt and mess in, so your house is cleaner, or needs cleaning less often.
    Bonus: your landing strip works just as well for take-off too. Add a jar of sweets/mints. Add a perfume bottle, so you smell amazing EVERY time you go out. Hang your shopping bags on a coat hook. Hang a small blackboard for chalking reminders to yourself. Use one of your baskets as an outbox, for borrowed books/items that must be returned to their owners, for things you want to give away or donate.

  23. Tris says:

    I live in an apartment building and people throw away t shirts and towels in the laundry room all of the time. I yank ’em out of the trash can, run them through a hot wash/dry cycle and cut them up for cleaning rags. After one use, I can throw them away. There is always a stack of rags for us to use for big spills, cleaning anything nasty, etc. and the family is trained to use them instead of paper towels. As long as we live here, there will always be a stash and I don’t have to buy paper towels every time we go grocery shopping. P.S. vinegar and water to clean almost EVERYTHING except the micro suede…that gets a few hits of rubbing alcohol and a swab with one of the lighter colored rags.

  24. Sally A says:

    I use the used dryer sheet for chrome too. Works great! Baking soda for my porcelain? kitchen sink. I knowl, pretty boring. I know that vinegar is good for cleaning, but I can’t stand the smell. I run it through my coffee maker every once in a while and that is super stinky. Am I using to strong a mixture? Also, am I the only one who can’t tell what Karen is holding in the picture? I give up.

  25. Get a puppy. Whatever you forget to put away will be eaten. You will declutter very quickly and dust just doesn’t have time to settle.
    I said I was too old for a puppy and I was right.

  26. Carolyn says:

    The best advice a friend gave me for washing dishes, pots, pans and anything in between that got dirty/greasy from cooking (carving board, cabinets, wall, stove top, floor tiles…) is to mix in baking soda with some dish soap.
    I keep baking soda next to the sink in a recycled cheese shaker jar and just sprinkle it on pans after I’m done cooking and let it sit while I eat. soak in hot water with baking soda and dish soap and your Dutch oven comes out clean with no scraping needed! Just be sure to rinse well.

    It works great for cutting through kitchen grime of all kinds. Plus it is not very expensive and doesn’t scratch fragile items.

  27. Darlene says:

    mine says it all in a plaque:

    You can touch the dust just don’t write in it!

    • Diane says:

      I remember seeing similar, but it was more along the lines of write or draw anything you want in the dust, as long as you don’t write the DATE! 😀

  28. Beth says:

    I have a cleaning calendar, where each task is on there a few times a month, and each item should only take 15 minutes of the day. At least I only give it 15 minutes of my time after spending a full day at work, knowing that it’ll come up again in a week or so if I really only half-ass it. I really hate cleaning, so knowing that I can rock out 15 minutes worth while my husband makes dinner is good. I also like that we keep the calendar in a picture frame so when I’m done the task for April 4th, I can cross it off with a white erase marker and feel the gratification of it being visibly done (even if it didn’t make a huge difference on the house itself).

    My only problem is I’m not overly motivated, and horrible at sticking to something…. so each month, I get to about the 8th or 9th before I give up and stop doing it. BUT, I know that the 1st of next month will come up eventually so I pat myself on the back for giving it a good try and spend the next 2-3 weeks psyching myself up to start again.

  29. Tigersmom says:

    “and try very hard to remember where they are” I feel your pain on this one. I am forever walking around looking for something and saying to myself, “I know I put it away…..where away?”

    My cleaning tip is baby wipes. I never stopped buying them after my son was potty trained, I just started buying them less often. I like Huggies. They hold up well and I doubt if the cheap ones would. I use them for so many things. I clean my microfiber fiber couch with them. It works like a charm. I have also used them to get spots off furniture in other fabrics with great success. They hold together in situations where a paper towel would just shred and give you something else to clean up.

    I use them to clean my dogs muddy feet and occasionally her behind when it needs it. (this is when disposable is a true ass-et, pun intended). I also keep a travel pack in the car for those times when a napkin won’t get all the sugar from a donut off my fingers (what? I like sweet sticky bread!). I have used them for getting spills out of clothing and ink off of all kinds of things. I don’t think I will ever stop buying them. I have two or three of the plastic dispensers around the house and just buy the big refill bag whenever I need to, which is surprisingly not that often.

  30. Tigersmom says:

    Oh, and I think that is a sock that you used to clean something that I think I should probably be afraid of with in the picture.

  31. Anne Jones says:

    I hate using chemicals to clean so most of the time I use a variety of combinations of vinegar, baking soda and Dawn (with tweeks of lemon or hydrogen peroxide) and a steam mop. My favorite tip is to use vinegar instead of fabric softener (no, your clothes will not smell pickle-ly)… plus I add some to the wash itself. Vinegar actually boosts your detergent, keeps lint and pet hair from clinging (and as a vet assistant my scrubs can be a ball of fur), makes clothes soft and removes any moldy smell if you happen to accidentally leave clothes in the washer overnight. It’s nothing short of wonderful!

  32. Kathy smith says:

    Okay after 38 years I have perfected the way to clean that makes it sooooo easy. You will never have a day (or 2) where you spend the entire day.
    1. Get your mind set: do a little each day and pick up after yourself so that you won’t spend a lot of time putting away.
    2. Keep cleaning solutions handy so that you are not backtracking: keep paper towels or cleaning cloths with spray under your bathroom sink and kitchen sink.
    3. Promise yourself that by completing a task you will be able to move on to the next: my closet used to be the worst! Now I put clothes either in the laundry basket( they must be dirty) or hang them up .
    When the basket is full I do a load and along with my laundry are hangers to put all my clothes on after they are washed dried hung up and put away.
    I want to give you an example of my day
    1. Wake up put on walking clothes that I laid out the night before and push button on coffee pot (that I prepared the night before) let dog out ,get paper make bed. Make breakfast eat breakfast (read paper while eating) clean up dishes wash dry put away and clean out coffee pot. Walk dog. Take shower,clean shower with product and wipe down of course I’m in my robe lol. Get ready. Hair makeup then clean mirror ( if needed)
    Get dressed and hang towels. Go to my home office and work on computer (clean out junk emails) same thing with work ( do the things you least like to do first then you can enjoy the rest.) I used to hate to return phone calls but have learned that mornings are so much more productive once they are done. In a nutshell, make your life a little easier by doing a little but every day! When you cook clean up after yourself. Of course you still need to clean toilets floors , windows and dust but imagine your life less overwhelmed. And that my interesting friend is what makes life sweeter!

  33. Linda J Howes says:

    Is it weird that I make soap but hate to clean. I am terrible at it, in fact, when I was young and had to start doing housework for allowance I bargained with my parents to let me do the outdoor stuff usually relegated for boys, hedge clipping, lawn cutting, snow shovelling, and my sisters could do the indoor stuff, dusting, vacuuming, etc. To this day they have nice clean homes and I live in creative chaos. However, all that being said, I did try for a while and it really helped but then I moved.

  34. Chrissuperfrickentine says:

    The most exciting thing about my comments is my name 🙁 I have more of the same boring run-of-the-mill info…baking soda, lemon, vinegar, dragged cat, dog licks, spray bottle, lavender, tea tree oil, dryer sheets…wait I don’t that, um, ya-resolve spray, spray-in-wash, diluted fabric softener, etc. I coudn’t spend the time reading all the feedback because I’m at work and shouldn’t be doing this even like right now but I do like to keep, smell and wipe things with Lysol Wipes. They are handy! Later Girls!

  35. Danni says:

    I can’t believe no one has said microfiber cloths! Those changed my life! Spray water, wipe clean, just about everything!! Windows, counters, floors, bathrooms… saw a demonstration at a home show, never realized!! If you use them RIGHT then they are amazing!!

    • CJ says:

      Absolutely, microfiber cloths are the way to go. I have one hanging in the shower, under the bathroom sink, several in the kitchen and laundry. I like to use one wet and one dry when I’m cleaning whole rooms. No chemicals needed and you can throw them in the washing machine and reuse.

      Anytime you use a cleaning surfactant to lift the dirt from a surface you need to clean that away as well as the dirt. Microfibre cloths eliminate that.

  36. Rose says:

    I use a swiffer mop with a microfibre cloth dampened with just water on all my wood,laminate,and vinyl floors. I’m always amazed at how quickly the dust bunnies build up. Also, in my front entrance “landing strip”, I’ve got a tall round shoe rack that swivels and holds and displays about 50 pairs of shoes – awesome.

  37. Heather says:

    Cleaning the kitchen floor – only done when you can really see how dirty it really is! My secret – flooring that disguises the dirt. I have sheet linoleum that a dog can barf on, spill coffee and or anythign else for that matter. Thats my secret – decorate to hide dirt.

  38. Angela says:

    The one time I had someone clean my house, she used oven cleaner on the glass shower doors. Spray it on, leave it a while and sponge it off. Sounds crazy but works like a charm! I also use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean my hardwood floors.

  39. Alison says:

    I keep extra trash bags in the bottom of all the trash cans in the house. It makes it easy to empty all the trash cans in one fell swoop and pull the new bags up at the same time. I hung a broom and dust pan on the back of each bathroom door for sweeping up hair and cat litter. That way I don’t have to hunt down my kitchen broom all the time. I cut up any t-shirts that are too stained to donate and use those for rags. I keep a spray bottle in the shower with a bit of bleach added to keep the male occupants athlete’s foot germs away. Crumpled up newspaper makes for good window-washing material. And like others, dim lighting helps make the dust go away and a pan with orange peel, cinnamon, or other spices simmering on the stove makes it smell delicious inside the house and fools others into thinking that dinner or dessert is on the way!

  40. Sheri says:

    My one tip is on cleaning the oven. Our oven has a self cleaning mode, but you have to take out the racks. A quick online search I discovered you can use dryer sheets, they “soften” the guck. technical term. Sounds good to me, so into the bath tub with old towels at the bottom, about 5 dryer sheets, 1/2 cup of Mrs. Meyers detergent, leave them over night, the next morning I used the dryer sheets to wipe off the guck. There were some trouble spots, but nothing a good scrub brush couldn’t handle. I was amazed. I can’t take credit for this one, those internet peoples are smart cookies.

    • Mary Werner says:

      Dryer sheets contain poison!!!!!! Be careful. Probably never a good idea to smell the fumes coming out of your dryer, either.

      • Sheri says:

        I only use Second Generation dryer sheets, all natural. I don’t buy the commercial dryer sheets, I hear ya on the chemicals.

    • Debbie says:

      I keep the racks in the oven. It discolors them a bit, but that’s okay. It beats cleaning them by hand. I’ve done this with four ovens (moved a bunch of times).

  41. Tara says:

    I can’t -not- respond to this request for tips as I create a wonderful product that helps reduce the amount of time you dry your clothes in the dryer: Wool Dryer Balls!

    Not only do they reduce the amount of time it takes to dry your clothes by bouncing around – they soften your clothes, reduce static and are toxin free!

    No need for fabric softener or dryer sheets, combined with homemade laundry soap – they will have all the toxins out of your laundry routine!

    For all the details of their benefits and to answer a plethora of questions you can find more information here:

    I’ve been enjoying seeing everyone else’s tips – this is awesome!!

  42. Samantha says:

    I use a mix of olive oil and vinegar as a home made wood conditioner. Mix 1:1. It should be sprayed on a microfiber cloth and used as a rub. After dry dusting of course or you just end up making mud. Depending on how dusty the thing is your dusting. Ya. So then after applying it, take a fresh microfiber cloth and buff. Without the buff, this will make streaks and who wants to see streaks. Unless they’re running down your street but that’s a whole different cleaning issue. I also add a few drops of an essential oil that I like. I choose peppermint in the winter and orange in the spring. That’s just because its what I like. It does nothing to boost cleaning power. This doesn’t work well on laminates. Best for actual wood, really nice on antiques, but test a spot first. I don’t want to be in trouble if you ruin grandmas curio or something.

  43. Laura Bee says:

    Earth Wind & Fire.

    That’s about it. I suck at housework. But when I do it, music helps.

  44. Regena Fickes says:

    When I get around to deep cleaning my fridge, I use white toothpaste and an old toothbrush to clean the rubber seal around the door. It gets really nasty and this cleans it and makes it smell nice as well. Love all the comments.

  45. Mary says:

    My best tip (although I don’t always follow it) is to put everything away at the end of each day. That way, when you go to clean, you just dust, wipe, etc. if you think about it, half of the cleaning time involves putting everything away and clearing surfaces, then you go back and clean the surfaces. If the clutter is picked up, it makes it so easy and quick to just pick up a rag and wipe it off.
    I also save all those socks with no mates that show up in the laundry. With 5 people in the house, we have lots, so if there is a spill, a pet mess or dusting needed, I can use them and toss them with no thought and don’t need to wash them.

  46. Annie says:

    I do a “pocket of pretty” – working full time and having a 10 month old baby means the house is in a constant state of disaster! I learned from an 80+ year old neighbor about a pocket of pretty. She had the most beautiful garden – always had. One day I saw her weeding a little patch and complemented her. She lamented that in her old age she could not keep it up as much as she had when she was younger. A couple of years ago she got so frustrated and almost quit gardening as she could not keep up with it all! She realized that was silly – she enjoyed it so much. So, she decided to ONLY focus on a pocket of pretty. The rest of the garden might be weed infested, but for that day she was only going to focus on this one little spot and make it a pocket of pretty. That is how I treat my house:) It make look like a hot mess but I promise somewhere in it you will always find a pocket of pretty.

  47. Kim Jordan says:

    My husband and I have owned/operated a Merry Maids franchise for over 20 years. In those years, I have trained countless people to clean homes thoroughly and efficiently. Of course, cleaning some one else’s home is different from cleaning your own home, but the basics are the same. Clean one room at a time, start at the top (ceiling fans/light fixtures, high dusting for cob-webs) and work your way down. Wearing an apron with big pockets to hold cleaning cloths will save steps as you start at the doorway and work your way around the room, cleaning/dusting everything as you come to it. Microfiber cloths are your best friend when used correctly. Finally, vacuum the floor, starting at the back of the room and vacuum yourself out the room. Vacuuming the bathroom floor first is the only exception to starting at the top and working your way down rule.

  48. Dianne says:

    I buy the cheapest battery operated toothbrush with changeable heads, soft, medium and stiff. It use it to clean in those hard-to-get spots – around taps, shower corners and grout – everywhere. I also use the ultra soft brush dry on furniture to get at those dust corners that are there and stick there tongues at you cause you can’t reach them even with a vacuum brush. Works like a charm and fits perfectly in my cleaning caddy.

  49. gabrielle says:

    if this is some kinda ruse to get me off the internet and into my spring cleaning, it’s not really working.

    Hard-water mineral deposits? Stainless steel smudges? Rust stains? Gucky film on used-daily lunch container? Anything else that persists, like junk inside antique canning jars?

    Bartender’s Friend. Home Hardware. $3.00 per can.

  50. Tanya H. says:

    Someone has already mentioned the magic combo of Dawn dish soap, baking soda, and peroxide to address skunk issues…I haven’t tried that, but I have three sons who manage to make yellow sweat stains in the armpits/collar of every white shirt they own, and the paste gets rid of it.

  51. Robin says:

    I have two super fluffy long-haired Siberian Forest Cats which makes for many a dust bunny and way too much hair on our carpeted stairs. My best tip for cleaning the stairs: use a “Zoom Groom”
    (a hair removal brush for pets…Get that “Zoom Groom” company, I am promoting your product here, so a new one would be nice!) first to remove most of the hair clumps. This makes for a way easier vacuum job. We get a giant ball of hair off 14 steps and a landing and your vacuum time is cut down by way more than half the time normally spent trying to wrestle with the hair clumps!

    One more handy tip…I use the back side of the Zoom Groom so I don’t wear the points down, ‘cuz the points work better on the animal, not the carpeted steps!

    • Ceecee says:

      Oooh! Had to look up a photo of a Siberian Forest Cat, pretty!

      I use a rubber broom for dog hair in the carpet. Works great. Way better than a squeegee. I use another, with one of the handle sections removed, to clean snow off the car. Just the right length and fits perfect across the floor in the back seat. I use a mud mat/car mat under the head of the broom so the carpet doesn’t get wet.

  52. Erika says:

    Right now, I’m in the midst of Spring cleaning. Here are a few of my tips that I haven’t read on here yet:

    1) The cat scratched some of our furniture and put some pulls in the fabric (thankfully, her claws aren’t crazy enough to cut through the fabric completely!). I trimmed some of the strings with scissors, but I wasn’t able to get close enough to cut all the little nubs. I found and old sweater pill shaver and used it to trim the strings down to the furniture and get all the little nubs off. Looks like new now!

    2) Treat yourself to some new cleaning products, like some nice-smelling glass or wood cleaner (bonus points if it comes in a pretty bottle). For some reason using some new stuff just makes the process less dull.

    3) Clean from the inside out. Meaning, if you aren’t in the mood to do the monotonous kitchen cleaning (wiping counters, washing dishes), clean out the refrigerator or a cabinet. Usually, once you tackle a larger yet less boring everyday cleaning task, you’ll be hesitant to leave the rest of the room a mess. Same goes for the bathroom (ie: clean out the linen closet or medicine cabinet before you wipe the sink/tub/toilet). The trick is to tell yourself before hand that if you don’t feel like cleaning anything else after you do the big task, you totally don’t have to and you can’t beat yourself up over it! Anything past the big task is just a bonus. However, 9 times out of 10 I keep going.

  53. Mary Werner says:

    1. I tie a yard of really fuzzy cloth around my small dog, Trixie, and then sit in my easy chair reading Karen’s blog while throwing treats around the room as Trixie runs to get them – I aim under chairs, beds, cabinets. She also picks up any food bits of food for me. No carpet for me!

    2. I quit using the grocery store mentality of storage and now put things where they are used – binoculars on ledge of window, cat food in cute container next to back door. Everything close to point of usage.

    3. I start sink full of hot soapy water when I begin cooking. Washing stuff as I go is the easiest way to do dishes.

    4. Huggies stay in my car to clean up coffee stains like a charm!

    5. I pretend the dust on my dried flower arrangements is frost. No watering, no cleaning.

    6. Dump my clean laundry on my bed which forces me to put it away before getting in. (Most times.)

    7. Let my grandkids keep their “stuff” out so that when people do come in, I can say, boy those grandkids! It is harder to see all my clutter when their stuff is all out.

    8. Made sure my dog had hair not fur – no shedding. (Trixie is Yorkie/Poodle)

  54. Rose says:

    I like to use a couple of Polodent tablets to clean my toilets. No chemicals so when my granddaughter wants to help me I don’t worry when she swabs them out. Works slick!

  55. Brenda says:

    Having two labradors, multiple cats AND wool rugs ….I tried the fantastic Reena Nerbas’ solution for even old wine, pet vomit [you get the picture].
    Mix together 1/2 cup (125 ml) hydrogen peroxide and 2 tbsp (30 ml) ammonia. Wet white paper towel in the mixture, blot then lay towels on stain..cover over with plastic wrap then weight down with heavy books. Leave 12 hours.
    Honestly it works….

    • Ceecee says:

      I use peroxide in a bowl with a few drops of liquid soap. Just dip a brush and scrub, let dry and vacuum. Make sure to use soap, rather than detergent as dirt will stick to the detergent, eventually making a bigger spot than you started with.

  56. Alice Hinther says:

    I LOVE your blog! It always makes me laugh. I can completely relate to everything you said in this post. I don’t mind cleaning – it’s the figuring out where everything goes, or making room for it that drives me crazy. Before starting to clean, I walk around the house with a big Rubbermaid container and throw any stray junk into it. I put the bin out of the way to deal with later and then clean the house. The last thing I do it go through the bin and decide what is worth keeping, or putting away. The rest I either throw out, donate to charity or mosaic on to our cottage outhouse wall. Seriously. I started a project a couple of years where I just stick any errant small toy, piece of lego, broken dish, magnet – all that stuff that usually ends up in the kitchen junk drawer and mosaic it on to the outhouse. It saves throwing it into the landfill and the result is an “art piece”. Hahah. I’d attach a pic, but can’t figure out how!

  57. Cred says:

    My favourite routine is washing bed sheets every Monday- I have a crazy love of crisp, fresh made beds. And in fair weather I will hang my duvet outside while I wash sheets. My bed smells like fresh air and I feel like Martha Stewart and sleep like a baby even if I still have dishes to clean in the sink. Also, it may seems obvious to others (not me, I come from along line of bad housekeepers), but fresh hand towels. So I’d have new, matching and complementary colours to replace my worn out mismatched ones, I bought enough hand towels to put out a fresh one every morning (I do enough laundry that 5 towels is enough). I wasn’t taught these kinda things, so I feel pretty civilized having fresh, clean hand towels and bed sheets- and I figured it out all by myself.
    I hate cleaning for the same reasons Karen stated- I hate putting things away. My old house was small and it was hard finding space for everything; our new house has space but I’m still figuring out where the best home for stuff is.
    One helpful tip (for families) that helps me, I keep three laundry baskets along the counter in the laundry room’ one for each kid and the 3rd for my husband and I. My kids are big enough to fold their own, so I pull clothes from the dryer and sort into each as I go. Stuff that can wrinkle gets draped across the top of the basket. Rather than cart a basket to each room after each load, I can wash multiple loads but only take away a basket once it’s full. Plus, the kids can come and take their own basket.
    I also use a dish scrub brush (with handle) to clean my tub to make it easier to reach across (I make a soft scrub using baking soda and dishsoap). Sounds weird but I got a second dish brush to do the toilet- it has a odd bowl configuration and the toilet brush was too big to fit in the hole- the smaller dish brush also has a better angle to get under the rim. Just do use it to clean dishes after- hahaha!

  58. Jenny says:

    Ha, recently my top cleaning tip has been to give my husband some alcohol, namely wine. Last week we had a few glasses of wine and he scrubbed all the dingy grout in the kitchen with Resolve spray-on carpet cleaner (spray on, let sit for 30 min, then scrub with a toothbrush. Later we mopped the floor with our Swiffer wet jet to get up any residue) while I watched tv. This week while drinking some wine he washed all our window screens in the bathtub in preparation for putting them back up. While I, uh, watched tv. In my defense, I did all the dishes.
    We were thinking about trying the tip where you put a bowl of ammonia in your oven and let sit overnight–the fumes are supposed to loosen all the gunk so you can scrub it out easier.

    • Jenny says:

      Oh, and that internet trick of rubberbanding a baggie of white vinegar on a shower head overnight to remove hard water buildup? Works like a charm. This is also something my husband did recently while tipsy-cleaning. ^_^

    • meg says:

      LOL – I second this.

      I also painted several rooms in my house while drinking. SO MUCH BETTER. TRUE STORY. I learned this by watching my dad paint as a profession. He’s an alcoholic, I’m only an alcoholic during home renovation projects.

    • Chand;er Yarrum says:

      Just be sure you don’t use the ammonia on a self cleaning oven!!! I read that will “kill” your oven. They didn’t get into it but they did say they needed to buy a new oven!

    • Ceecee says:

      I hadn’t thought of using the ammonia in the oven. I know you can put your stove top grates in a baggie with a little ammonia and they will just wipe clean.

  59. Tammi D says:

    I’m not much of a cleaner, either. However, I do have a couple of tips. First, buy your cleaning supplies at the Dollar Tree or equivalent store where most everything is $1! Save money! Also, toilet bowl cleaner works great on the tile in the shower, get the thicker kind, that coats. Spray, let sit, and rinse (unless you have a lot of scum build up, then some gentle scrubbing might be necessary.)

  60. Cred says:

    Crap, damn typo- of course that should say DON’T use it for dishes after….

  61. Janet says:

    I agree with those who have mentioned using vinegar, baking soda, oil, etc., to make homemade cleaners. One thing that has helped our family to keep the overall level of cleanliness higher is to have company every Friday. That motivates us to keep the house tidy!

    Also, we have a cleaning schedule:
    Monday: Bedrooms/Halls
    Tuesday: Living Room/Library
    Wednesday: Great Room
    Thursday: Bathrooms
    Friday: Entry/Porch
    Saturday: Kitchen/Laundry

    We regularly pick up stuff and keep things tidy, and we do the dishes after every meal, because as someone else says, if the dishes aren’t done and put away, the rest of the house seems to deteriorate quickly. The schedule is for deeper cleaning, and it ensures that everything is deep cleaned at least once a week.

    I also wash out the fridge BEFORE grocery shopping. It’s nice to come home with groceries and have a clean fridge.

  62. Leisa says:

    I have a 4′ section of cupboards that don’t go all the way to the ceiling and to keep from having to scrub away the greasy kitchen dust, I tear off sheets of wax paper to lay on the top. Then each Spring (or every five years or so…) I trash it and reline the top.

  63. Jebberjay says:

    For the icky grimy gritty cleaning, like messy ovens, grimy faucets, grimy stove tops, dried up dog vomit, I take out my steamer and play. With a pull on the trigger the ickieat dirt surrenders. It melts into an easily wiped up non-toxic puddle. If you keep your eyes on the Canadian Tire flyer, you’ll find a 60% off steamer sale within 2 months, guaranteed. My other tip is to hire a cleaner. Seriously, it is the house version of CTL-ALT-DEL.

    • Jake says:

      I ditto jebberjay, hire Molly Maids. House messy and scuzzy, leave, return 1 hour later, house smells nice and is clean. Worth every penny.

  64. I tend to clean and put away when I misplace something. But because I’m a senior citizen that leads to some major work about twice a week. I have a a lot of neat little tricks, but recalling them is in line with remembering where I put the gate keys. They have been missing for two months. Aside from Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (duh)—canned air. I have a beautiful artificial floral arrangement. (No, really, I swear it’s gorgeous.) About once a month I blow it with canned air. Front door wreaths? Canned air. Sugar-crystal covered fruit in crystal bowl? Canned air.

    This coming week I will be using beads of canned spray foam around the back of the sheet rock in the garage that is under renovation. I want a very clean surface before spraying it on. Canned air. I’ve removed the awful caulk around the front door and replaced the molding—canned air, then spray foam. Drill a hole in brick mortar and need it clean before putting construction adhesive in it? Canned air. So my tip is to put canned air in your pink tool belt.

  65. Ms Ellen says:

    on the lid of the washing machine we have a dry erase board. On it we mark anything in the laundry load that shouldn’t go in the dryer. This has saved many items in a short time .

    • pam'a says:

      I’m not that sophisticated, but I keep a little ceramic piggy bank on top of my dryer for spare change (score!). When I wash something that needs special attention (i.e., something to air dry, or I change the washer to some bizarre setting), the pig goes on the lid of the washer to remind me.

    • Kathy says:

      I keep a dry erase marker by my laundry also but I just write on the door of the dryer so I see it before I throw something delicate in. Works great!

  66. Edith says:

    If you have a gas cooktop then you know how hard it is to clean those enamel grates that sit on top of the burners. For years I would try to remove burnt on splatters with a knife or SOS pad but nothing really worked. Then I tried a method I read about somewhere (can’t remember where) and lo and behold it really worked! Here is what you need: Plastic zip lock bags and straight ammonia. You put each grate into a ziplock bag and add a few tablespoons of ammonia. No need to cover the grate with the liquid. Zip it up and let it sit overnight. The ammonia fumes will loosen the baked on spots so that it’s much easier to remove any spots the next day with a bit of scrubbing.

  67. Loni says:

    I subscribe to the 10 minutes a day cleaning. Each member of my family has to clean/pck-up for 10 minutes a day. There are only 3 of us and one is 5 years old… But even with the two adults, that is 140 minutes in 7 days, but I don’t have to spend that 140 minutes on a Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon all at once!

  68. Thera says:

    With five children and numerous pets, I have learned a few things, some have already been mentioned, have a cleaning schedule, use homemade cleaners, have a landing strip etc.
    Here are my two favourites:
    Colour coding! Everyone in the family has a colour (and one colour for guests), for their towels, face cloths, sheets, lunch bags etc. That way I know who left their towel on the bathroom floor or lunch bag in the hall closet and can make them clean it up and there is no fighting as to who’s is who’s.
    My other tip is for the gunky nuked on stuff in the microwave. Fill a coffee cup with water and nuke for 1 or 2 minutes, the steam loosens everything and it all just wipes off.

    • meg says:

      I second this, too! sometimes I just pour water in the rotating tray – microwave and it’s already just soaking in boiling water. perfect!

  69. leslie says:

    White vinegar!! I mix it with 2/3 water to clean the calcium out of my electric tea kettle, I run it through my coffee maker, my espresso machine, I spray it on my glasses and dishes when they’re loaded in the dishwasher and I use it in the little door of the dishwasher which is dedicated to that more expensive, much less versatile, not very effective solution that’s supposed to keep your dishes from getting spotty. I also love run-on sentences.

  70. Luanne says:

    I have two:

    To remove tea-stains on the inside of cups, put a half tsp of dishwasher detergent and fill with water – let soak. No need to scrub, just wipe clean. (This works with a lot of scum-y residues.)

    To always have a sparkly toilet, spray it with cleaner before your morning shower, and scrub it after your shower. Whether it obviously requires a cleaning or not. And once it becomes a habit, it will more often not obviously require a cleaning.

  71. I put newspaper on top of cabinets in the kitchen. When I clean them, I just take the newspaper off and replace with new. Keeps the grease from building up top of the cupboards. Another thing I do is wash my floor with a capful of Oxy-clean and about a TBSP of fragrance or essential oil in my mop-bucket. When company comes, the kitchen smells amazing and I can pick the scent for the season! It lingers all day. Cheers!

  72. Julie says:

    Just to “clean as you go”…i’m trying hard to do that…especially with the dishes. instead of leaving the knife to wait for the kids’ lunch dishes to wait for the other knife to wait for the cutting board…to wait for insanity to set in…do a quick wash with everything you use immediately when you’re done.

    Also, (maybe i learned it here?) FLAT SURFACES ARE NOT STORAGE! it’s good advice…maybe i’ll follow it someday…. le sigh….

  73. Bols says:

    I love your idea of the shark squirter.

    And any time when somebody asks you what it’s for, just blush deeply and say it’s for a special kind of foreplay.

  74. Lesley Williamson says:

    What is this “cleaning” you speak of?

  75. Rebecca says:

    This might have become my favorite post and it really shows how amazing your readers are! I love it. So I don’t really have any tips but like others have already said, the dishes absolutely must be washed and at least drying (I don’t have a dishwasher) before I can attempt any other kind of cleaning.

    I heard an interview last night about cleaning tips. She said denture tablets can remove the stains in tupperware like from tomato sauce.

  76. Alaina P says:

    Clean the shower while you’re in the shower. I have one of those kitchen scrubbers (the kind that you can fill the handle up with soap) filled with half dish soap and half vinegar and it’s kept in the shower. When I notice the tub/walls (all plastic) looking a little grody, I can just scrub it all away while I’m in there. It also works great for shining your faucets/metal parts of the tub.

  77. Bri says:

    A few of my favorite tips:
    Vacuum the dog- Seriously, find a dog that likes it. Mine follows me around the house while I’m cleaning until I vacuum him. With a dog that sheds as much as mine (double coated chow mix) it’s a must.

    Throughout the week, any time you get up and leave a room, pick something up to take it with you. Pop cans, dishes, laundry etc. Makes it much easier to do a major clean when you don’t have to go pick up everything before you can get to the surfaces!

    Use a damp paper towel and some of the fine fireplace ash (not the big chunky stuff) to clean your really gunky chrome. Toasters, waffle irons etc do really well with this technique! Just wet the paper towel, dip in a little bit of the ash, and gently rub in circles over the chrome. Don’t rub crazy hard or you’ll scratch it, but this makes a world of difference in no time. Then I just use a damp towel to remove any excess ash and dry.

    Put a measuring cup of water in the microwave and nuke it for a couple minutes. The steam will loosen any dirt and make it easy to wipe out with a damp cloth. Just be careful with the boiling water (and pour it down the drain in your sink to help keep it clear!)

    I love my steamer for cleaning windows. The squeegee attachment makes short work of sliding glass doors and dissolves dog nose prints and slobber like magic. Just wipe down the edges with a microfiber cloth and you’re done.

  78. julie says:

    Here’s my tip…each morning before I leave the master bath, I grab one of the used facecloths and give the sinks and counter a quick wipe…it’s mostly water spots anyway…then toss the cloth in the laundry…sink and counter always look spotless!

  79. Jenn says:

    Flylady taught me to tidy up and clean in a reasonable manner. I used to do the big purge of putting everything where it belongs, then the 4 hour cleaning marathon. Then be so put off by it you don’t repeat it until you have visitors or you can’t live in your own mess anymore. But Flylady teaches you to start small and guilt free. 15 minute timer, tackle hot spots, put things in easy places to use. For example I have a small bottle of windex in the bathroom and a half roll of paper towels. Once a day or every other day I quickly do the mirror, or counter, or toilet but not all of them at once. Short fast maintenance and you never have a full 4 hour cleaning marathon again.

  80. Susie Heller says:

    I get overwhelmed with the mess. An organized friend, I hate her sometimes because of it, told me to start on one side of the room and work my way around the room. Sounds easy? Never would have thought of it. I just stand in the middle of the room allowing the mess to swirl around me like a vortex. Said Vortex sends me running to the potato chip bin and a good book. However, she is right, as always. When I start in one place and work around I am not cleaning a room….I am cleaning a small space. When that space is done, I move to the next space. A hundred spaces later, I am done and very pleased. You eat an elephant one bite at a time….although that sounds nasty to me….but I am an artist and Princess who should not have to clean because of my great talent and blue blood. However, the space by space helps and I need all the help I can get. A maid would also be nice.

  81. Barb says:

    This may have been mentioned already but used dryer sheets are great at cleaning the shower glass. After a shower just wipe down the glass and rub over areas that are more stubborn, then squeegy dry. I also use them if I have tough, stuck on food in pans or casseroles. Put hot, soapy water in the pan plus 1 or 2 used dryer sheets and they help soften the hard food.

  82. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..My best cleaning tip I can share with you is..convince someone else to do it..”Oh..I have this nasty little chest pain (clutching chest) today and I must clean the oven and fridge..could you hand me my nitro pills please (with scared look in eyes)..How will I ever get things done??”..Yep

  83. Leslie says:

    I think the best tip I ever absorbed was to find ways of doing things that work for me … doing things “My Way” instead of being compulsive about doing everything “The Right Way” means I’m more likely to do things at all.

    After that, I was able to absorb the notion that taking care of things can be a lot of fun and also be extremely rewarding. I think we’ve developed a bad attitude about chores by making them punishments instead of privileges. Look at any 2 year old who wants to help and see how much fun they can have, and pride they can take, in working.

  84. Jill Migliarese says:

    My Cleaning tip: Call my housekeeper 🙂 It makes cleaning much more enjoyable.

  85. Susan says:

    I find it’s best to say: “It’s easier to make excuses than to clean my house” when company comes over.

  86. Dianne says:

    Ok, it’s too hard to choose, but probably the one that has saved me the most work is one I got from a professional window washer. Dishwashing liquid (like Dawn) is designed to remove grease, dirt and muck from glassware and leave it shiny and streak free. So, hot water, dish detergent and those squeegees that have one scrubby foam side and one rubber wiper side. Apply water with detergent in it with the scrubby side then wipe off with the rubber side – glorious shiny windows in a flash. Also lemon oil mixed into a paste with cigarette ash will remove heat or water marks from wood (ash is a fine abrasive, oil prevents the finish from being damaged). If guests are on their way with little notice, clean the corner that you see first when you enter the room and the baseboards. They will be deluded into thinking the whole room is clean. Psychology is so weird, isn’t it?
    Never, never forget that 20% of the effort yields 80% of the result.

  87. Baby wipes. They work great for impromptu cleaning of baseboard trim, wiping down vanities, dusting and more. =)

  88. jeannie B says:

    Making sure that your furnace filter is changed every couple of months, unscented baby wipes in every room to clean grandkids sticky hands and faces and bare feet in the summer, taking off shoes at the door, damp microbfibre cloths for wiping the dust off upholstered furniture, lint brushes for taking fine, cat belly fur off dark carpets ( the roombas and upright vacs don’t get it all. Swiffer dusters are great for furniture and hardwood floors. Old spray bottles filled with mixtures of vinegar, dish detergent and water, lavender pine sol for the bathroom, and keeping clutter at bay. And recycling, i put it out a window into the appropriate containers without having to go outside. There’s no end to cleaning. Sparkle up the bathroom everyday and make sure the kitchen is spotless before going to bed. And a bouquet of fresh spring flowers will add a beautiful fragrance to the house. Actually, skip the cleaning, buy the flowers and curl up with a good book.

  89. Jebberjay says:

    I have a second submission, more on mindset that cleaning techniques.

    – Less is more. Less stuff in general is easier to keep organized. It also takes up less of my brain. Less less less.

    – “Don’t put it down, put it away”. My lazy self loves just dumping stuff down (ie clothes, bags, etc). But in reality, it only takes a few seconds to out things away.

    – time it. My lazy self says “I can’t possible unload the dishwasher, I’m far too exhausted!” The I timed myself and it took 1 minute and 36 seconds. It’s the same thing with dishes by the tv or clothes on the floor. Not that big a deal (until you don’t do it for awhile them it’s a big deal)

    Have a good weekend.

  90. Debbie says:

    Yikes, I need a day to read all of the great responses.

    The best tip I have was thought of by my then fifteen year old genius, I mean son. It was taking forever to separate laundry by temperature (and I am an over-organizer, so I also separate by color and weight, and clothes last a long time in our house). He suggested using different color permanent markers on the collar or waistband label (or on the clothing itself) to indicate the wash temperature. I took me a while to accept that he was smarter than I, but I swallowed and got a green permanent marker for cold and a purple one for warm. I was going to get one for hot and then realized I almost never use hot on clothing.

    The system works like a charm and saves loads of time, though it takes time in the beginning to get everything marked. Be sure to let the marker dry thoroughly prior to washing garments. Now the kids, well, the only one left at home at least, can’t complain about separating laundry. Come to think of it, neither can I!

  91. Patti says:

    I listen to podcasts as I clean. This American Life, Smart People Podcast, Sex Nerd Sandra…anything you’re into, there’s a podcast. Makes cleaning a little less painful.

  92. Jennifer says:

    Lots of good ideas here! I’m a proactive kind of person. My biggest tip is to get a HEPA filtered air cleaner. It eliminates so much dust! You should see how dirty the filters can get! Of course that means less dusting. A LOT Less dusting! I have three floofy dogs so there’s a lot of dander.
    I also clean my bathroom everyday…except the shower. I clean the mirror with a dry old t shirt. No windex or anything. Works better and no streaks. I wipe the floor with damp paper towels and the counters and toilet with wipes. I hate pubes. I’m pubaphobic. I love seventh generation disinfecting wipes. We use a compost toilet. No scrubbing a gross toilet anymore! I clean my toilet but it’s totally different than a flusher.

    • CJ says:

      We have an excellent air filter too, there is a lot less dusting and no longer do I need to clean the film that used to build up on vases or glassware that are out on shelves.

  93. Marcia Palm says:

    I learned my best cleaning tip a few years ago from my daughters’ Mother in law. She has had a Sargent Steamer for about 20 years. We were cleaning my daughters home after they purchased it. My Mom and I drove to Salt Lake City to help (and possible party a bit). We brought our normal array of cleaning potions, souring powder,cleaning wipes,sprays and more sprays, and then a few more spray cleaners……chemical city!!!! I was knocked on my butt when Mary plugged in her steamer and went to work….no chemicals, no sprays, no vinegar, no nothing!!!!! The steam on the Sargent comes out at 298 degrees F. She did use a bar of soap on a few really really disgustingly greasy parts like the oven. We were fighting over who could use it!!! We cleaned window tracks, walls, windows, cabinets….every surface in the entire house with just STEAM!!! Even the toilet, showers, tile grout….I was amazed and I spent time planning the theft of it….They are very spendy…..I saved for 3 years and finally had the 1994.00 US for the whole shebang, steamer, cart, tons of cloth, soap, and 3 organic cleaners for heavy duty like grills…(havent tackled our grill yet due to Montana weather…..I realize it is out of reach for most people and we are retired and on a fixed budget but once I used this steamer, I was hooked……I hated cleaning, but its actually a little fun with this steamer…..I have owned a cheaper steamer and it wasnt even close to the power of this….My windows sparkle, and its just steam and wiped with a microfiber cloth…..Love your Blog!!!!!

  94. Vanessa says:

    When I bought my house my parents gave me their old microfiber recliner. It had a nasty grease stain from years of my dad’s bald head resting on it while he napped after work. I had no idea how to clean it without causing the dreaded water spots that happen on microfiber. Pinterest to the rescue. Spray 90% (or higher) isopropyl alcohol on the grease and gently scrub it with a dish brush, then wipe up the muck with a lint free cloth. Repeat as necessary. The alcohol evaporates fast, so no water spots are left behind. Make sure you use 90% isopropyl alcohol, the 70% has too much water diluting it so water spots become a possibility. This method also worked really well on the upholstery in my old car. I know it’s not all that exciting, but my husband is the cleaner in the house, so this is the only tip I have.

  95. Shana says:

    #1:I had a plumber tell me, to keep your kitchen sink drains clear, put a cup of rock salt & boiling water down the sink once a month.
    #2: Use Rain-X paste to revitalize white boards. (Wipe it on, buff it off)
    Use Rain-X spray to wash your outside windows & your bathroom mirrors. It repels water (from rain & your sprinkler) and is anti-fog in the bathroom.

    • Grammy says:

      When we had a new shower built years ago, the contractor told me to get RainX from the auto supply store to treat the glass shower walls and door before ever using the shower. I did. With that, and my rule to take a hand towel and wipe the glass walls and door down after each shower (it’s not a big chore — only takes a couple of seconds) the glass has remained spot-free and crystal clear.

      • Debbie says:

        Grammy – I’ve been having that problem with the glass shower door since we moved into this house. Do you think it would work on a not-so-new shower door? I can get the spots off with a magic eraser, but they come back..

        • Grammy says:

          I guess it’s worth a try. If you can get all the spots off so that the glass is super-clean, then apply the RainX, it might work. It’s been a long time, so I don’t remember exactly, but I think we had to wait 24 hours or something before we used the shower.

          The RainX is made for car windshields to keep water spots off of those. According to the directions, you’re supposed to re-apply it once a year or every two years or something like that, but that’s for cars. Because that shower is in our art studio and is not used regularly it’s been more than ten years with no re-application and it’s still doing fine.

          We do swipe a towel over the surface of the glass each time the shower is used, so the droplets aren’t just sitting there — not a big thing, just a quick once-over before you step out of the shower.

          Maybe Karen wants to make this one of her “experiments” — getting the water spots off an older piece of glass and then seeing if RainX will protect it from reappearance of ugly water spots.

    • Chandler Yarrum says:

      Thank you! On an earlier comment a lady said she waxes the shower and another asked what was used – I have seen the tip before and this is the kind of wax recommended!!! They also said they use it on the stove to make clean up easy!

      Umm checking – yeah I spelled my name right.

  96. dana gault says:

    Karen! Love the cleanings tips but I wanna know–WHAT THE F#+K IS THAT FUR BAG YOU ARE THREATENING US WITH?!! I tink I need it. Cheers.

  97. Aidan says:

    I second the wool balls idea! I bought a set of these and they are amazing! They cut my drying time down and I don’t have to worry about dryer sheets or chemicals.
    I also picked up one of the stain sticks they carry and it works on all sorts of stains and has this sorta pleasant sweet smell.

    I guess my hint is to use good products.

  98. Anne Edwards says:

    My best cleaning tip? Only have people over after sundown. Dim the lights. Light the candles.

  99. Cathy says:

    Best stress reliever for household cleaning – I hired a housecleaner. Of course you have to tidy up the night before her arrival, but the benefits are entirely worth it.

  100. nancy says:

    I’m a nurse and I wear running shoes and good wool socks every day. (I’m telling you, go ahead and spend the money on good socks.) I safety pin my socks together. The pin is stored at the top of one of my socks when I wear them. People laugh when they see it, so I have the added benefit of entertaining others. And I never have lost socks. And, every now and then, someone really really needs a safety pin. Guess what…

  101. Grammy says:

    I third the dryer balls suggestion. I got mine from
    and they are great. My only tip is to just leave them in the dryer, instead of taking them out with each load of laundry and then having to find a place to store them in between loads. According to the Mountain Meadow folks, they last until you lose them.

  102. Carla says:

    I have a great tip for the dreaded putting things back away chore. It works especially well if you are unmotivated. I call it the “five things rule”. All you HAVE to do is put five things away. Then you decide if you have enough energy to put another five things away. If not, no guilt, but often I will put lots of sets of five things away before I know it…

  103. Leslie says:

    put all cleaning supplies in a cleaning caddy and name the cleaning caddy “Steve’s Cleaning Caddy” and hope the Mister gets the message!

  104. Kathy says:

    I have 3 dogs and 1 cat so keeping the walls clean is one of my biggest challenges. The best way I have found to clean my walls and baseboards is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Mop. I only this mop on the walls and baseboards. It gets all the nasty stuff off and the pressure is even distributed so that I don’t take off the paint.

  105. Jennifer says:

    My best tip is actually from my dad–he’s a stickler for a clean bathroom–it’s a bit more prevention than cleaning though. The tip is that before you wash your face, throw your hand towel over the faucet and taps so you don’t splash water all over them and end up with water spots. He says that sparkling taps & faucet make the rest of the bathroom look cleaner, and I think he’s right.

  106. Kristi S. says:

    I use hydrogen peroxide soaked tissues on the pink mold and black mold that end up growing on the caulking and grout in my shower. Just saturate the tissue, smoosh it into the mold, let it sit five minutes, and then wipe and remove it. If some remains, just try it again. I like this method because I don’t have to breathe in bleach fumes or other harsh cleaners. Also, I read somewhere that bleach and vinegar slowly break down the caulking. I’m not sure if it’s true, but it seems a pretty good reason to avoid those.

    I also use Mr. Clean Magic Erasers to remove soap scum from the tub. It takes a little elbow grease, but again, I don’t have to breathe in fumes. I also count it as an arm workout.

  107. celeste says:

    My hint is to buy a high quality squeegee. I use one in the shower after each use to wipe down all the walls to cut down on scum build-up and mildew. I also use it to wash all the windows in the house twice a year. I use 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 vinegar, 1/4 cup ammonia and a gallon of water. Use an old washcloth and use this solution to wash the window, then squeegee all the water off. Swipe once across the top and then vertically down the width of the window. Follow with a horizontal swipe at the bottom and wipe the squeegee with a towel. Forget newspaper…this works infinitely better.
    Another suggestion is to have a box always handy for Goodwill. I try to make least one trip there every other week. The only thing I never put in is old underwear. Those we save for vacations; each day you just throw that day’s pair away and you don’t have to pack it up to go home!

    • Peg McC says:

      O. M. G. That underwear idea has me sitting here with my mouth agape. I am a Tip Addict ( I read Heloise when I was a weanling, I think), but that is sheer brilliance. Perfect for when I’m on the road with the dogs in my VW van.

      Brilliant, I say.

    • Patti says:

      There’s your winner right there. Genius!

  108. Agnes says:

    I like to use vinegar when I clean. It’s cheap and I prefer the smell to most “chemical products”.
    I’ll mix it 1:1 with water in a spray bottle and spray down the kitchen counters. I also like to use vinegar to descale the electric kettle- we have the hardest water in Waterloo so I’m having to clean it pretty regularly to avoid chunks of calcium in my tea.

    I also still swear by the vinegar solution for fighting off bacteria….I used it in my classroom everyday at a summer camp I taught at, and was one of a few staff members who did not succumb to the terrible flu that went around that summer. Vinegar FTW!

    • Grammy says:

      Agree! I keep spray bottles of 50/50 vinegar and water in the bathrooms and kitchen. It cleans pretty much everything. My house doesn’t smell like vinegar, except when the Mr. uses it to decalcify the coffee maker.

  109. Jackie H says:

    You can clean potpourri or artificial flowers by shaking it in a plastic bag with a few teaspoons of salt. After shaking the potpourri dump in a sive and shake off any extra salt. Any accumulated dust will have been cleaned off by the salt and in the bottom of the bag.

  110. Christine says:

    My mom has a sign that reads ‘housework done properly can kill you’ I repeat these words whenever I begin to obsess on cleaning house.

  111. pam'a says:

    This is a little hint about cleaning glass things– vases, tall bottles, or anything with too narrow a neck to fit a brush into:

    Grab a small handful of rice, popcorn, or, if you can fit them in, ice cubes with some salt. Shake and swirl it around like mad. A little vinegar might help if there’s buildup. Dump and rinse, then roll up a paper towel on the diagonal, stick it down till it touches the bottom, and it’ll wick the water out faster.

  112. Jane says:

    There are a lot of great tips here but the best in my opinion are from Janet, Loni and Thera. The easiest way to keep a clean house is to have a system. Regularly put things in their place & then clean certain areas 15-20 minutes on specific days of the week. This way you are never overwhelmed & the house is always clean. I believe if the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher & the floors are clean, 1/2 the battle is won & you never feel bad if guests stop by unexpectedly.

  113. Jane says:

    When my kids were young, I assigned a part of the house to a day of the week.
    Sunday – wash sheets and towels. Kids made their own beds
    Monday – adult laundry and clean bathroom
    Tuesday- vacuum and dusting upstairs
    Wednesday – nothing scheduled but was for catch up if I knew the assignment for another day wasn’t going to happen
    Thursday – kids laundry and vacuum and dusting downstairs
    Friday – clean the kitchen

    I also like to use Oxiclean for cleaning carpets with a steam carpet cleaner. Save lots of money instead of buying commercial cleaners and works great

    Last tip…. When dishcloth or sponges get a little smelly wet them thoroughly and microwave for 2 or three minutes. Be careful they will be very hot when done. I use tongs to take them out and the rinse with cold water. Great time to wipe out microwave . The steam loosens everything. If the dishcloth or sponge is still smelly, boil them in pot for 5 to 10 minutes.

  114. Kelli says:

    I got nothin. I hate to clean with the passion of 1,000 burning suns. And maybe even a scoshe more than that. However I was thrilled to discover that one of those Mr. Clean magic erasers works WONDERS on cleaning refrigerator doors and grungy toasters. Until then I’d used everything under the kitchen sink–and maybe even a scoshe more than that–to no avail.

  115. Kelli says:

    Wait. One more. Fill a large mason jar half way with white vinegar. Any time you eat a citrus fruit, put the peels in the jar with the vinegar (peels only, remove the membranes and any leftover fruit flesh). Keep doing this, shaking the jar now and then. After a couple weeks when the vinegar has become a nice “mellow yellow,” filter out the fruit, pour the vinegar into a spray bottle and use that as your standard household cleaner (you can cut it with water as well). Works great–just as well, if not better than the store bought stuff–and no chemicals.

    OK, NOW I’m done. 🙂

  116. Mickie says:

    My only amazing tip is this: With 4 people in the house and 1 tiny bathroom the tub gets scuzzier than any tub has a right to. I sprinkle the thing with baking soda, then douse it with vinegar like a priest but before I rinse it, I use a magic eraser to make the vinegar/Baking soda into a paste and scrub the life out of the tub. It is an amazing transformation.

  117. Kathy says:

    There have already been so many great tips already but I don’t think this one has been mentioned yet. Many years ago I used to work at a bathroom store that sold towels, curtains etc. and one great tip I learned was about cleaning vinyl shower curtains and liners. You can machine wash them with two towels (helps keep the curtain from getting wrinkled) and add 1/2 cup baking soda along with your detergent to the wash cycle and 1/2 cup vinegar to the rinse cycle. You can wash on the gentle cycle or use the regular cycle and warm water but just remove it before the spin cycle. Then hang it to dry. This gets all the gross gunk off and keeps your curtain looking like new for years!

  118. Anna says:


    I put an old pillowcase over each fan blade and wipe it down, containing the dust inside the pillowcase. Then simply take the pillowcase outside, turn it inside out and shake out the dirt & dust before washing.

    Also, never wear your glasses while cleaning! 😉

  119. Amanda says:

    I take an old beach towel, soak it, wring it out, then wrap it around a broom or dry mop (the push variety works best). Then just damp mop the floors. Throw the towel in the laundry when you’re done.

    My other tip is to hire a 15-year-old honor student who lives down the street and train her ala Downton’s Mrs. Hughes. She charges minimum wage and is thrilled to work as much as you want. I didn’t vacuum for years. Then she had the gall to leave for college! It help to live somewhere jobs are really hard for teenagers to find.

  120. Natalie A. says:

    As a result of my son’s bad allergies, we put air purifiers in all the bedrooms. As long as I keep the filters cleaned (I vacuum the carbon filters every other month & replace them every 6 months or so & replace the HEPA annually), there is NO DUST AT ALL in the bedrooms. 🙂 Repeat, I never have to dust the bedrooms ever.

    The air purifiers we have are simple, inexpensive Kenmore units from Sears. Though I don’t think they make these units anymore, I know you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on one. The 3 units have been going strong for 7+ years.

  121. Wendy says:

    Okay Ms. Karen. I have two tips:

    1) Hire a cleaning lady. Don’t bug her, don’t ask for too much, and let her just do her job. Whatever you do, don’t complain about anything. That’s how you keep a cleaning lady, and even if it’s not perfect, it’s better than nothing.
    2) Light candles when you’re having people over after dimming all the lights. Dimmer switchers hide all sorts of sins and make everything look moody and beautiful, even if it’s a bit dusty.
    3) Oops, there’s a third thing . . . Open a bottle of wine. When people are mellow under the glow of candle light, they’re too busy to notice that you’re too busy to clean.


  122. From a long line of anal overachieving cleaning fanatics, the best cleaning is always done on your hands and knees with a 10% bleach or ammonia solution. Then set the table on the floor or the toilet lid because then, and only then, will it be clean enough to eat off.
    Suzanne@Le Farm

  123. Karen P says:

    My best cleaning tip is to stay single, don’t have any kids, and refrain from owning pets. 😉 I’m pretty sure if I didn’t have an adult male, a teenage male, and 2 male dogs living with me that I could actually keep the house clean 24/7. I may not be a neat freak, but if it were just me it would be easy to tidy most of the house every day. The bathroom wouldn’t always be spotless (definitely isn’t now) but it would get cleaned often enough. The only room in the house that will always be a mess, and will always be my fault, is my craft room. That said, I’m just thankful I have a room where I don’t have to straighten up at the end of the day only to haul it all out the next time I work on a project. Crafty mess is really more like colorful decorations, no? It isn’t dirty, its just covered in glitter 🙂

  124. Nancy R. says:

    My best cleaning tip? I use baking soda and vinegar to clean everything in my house (except any rugs of course because they would smell bad and have white powder all over them!). Baking soda and vinegar are always on hand and if I run out of soda, I just grab the one inside my fridge. See? I clean all the bathrooms with the baking soda and all my floors with vinegar and water. They are cheap, easy to use and environmentally friendly. I even clean the white parts of my children’s shoes with the baking soda – what a satisfying job – the shoes look brand new when they’re done. Honestly, I think you should pick me. Please pick me. I really want my picture on your blog. Then I could pretend I’m famous or something. I’m Nancy R. (not to be confused with other Nancys who reply because you need to pick me – did I already mention that?)

  125. Marilyn says:

    Every single day, clean for 30 minutes – whatever needs it worse – then, go have some fun. Really, that’s all it takes….unless you have a 6,000 sq. ft. house…then, you can probably afford to hire a housekeeper. Love your blog.

  126. Janelle says:

    My tip is more about purging than cleaning (though if you have less junk, cleaning is easier and so is finding room to put stuff away). It is this: every time the Canadian Diabetes Foundation phones me and asks if I have items to donate (they will pick them up at the end of the driveway) I say ‘yes’ even if I don’t have anything set aside to donate. They give me the date on which they will make a pick-up so I have usually two or three weeks to round stuff up. I keep an orange garbage bag in each (major) room and as I go through life, I chuck stuff into the bags. When I’m tidying the kids rooms or putting away their laundry, I will throw any unused toys or outgrown clothing into the bag (obviously if you’ve got small kids don’t leave a big plastic bag where they can reach it). When I am choosing what to wear, if I find myself constantly passing over an item I will chuck it into the bag because it’s clearly not being worn. If I am in the kitchen rummaging in a drawer and come across a gadget that I never use, in it goes. If pick-up day is approaching and I don’t feel like the bags are full enough, I will actually hunt for stuff to fill them with, which often means I trick myself into organizing junk drawers, linen closets, shoe stashes, etc. ..and it all happens so gradually that it isn’t too onerous. Then when the magical day comes I put the bags/boxes out and they come and pick it up and without fully realizing it, I’ve organized the kids’ toys and clothes; cleared out my closet, pared down the linen closet and de-junked a few drawers. Boom.

  127. Linda says:

    I know this sounds a bit over the top but an electric toothbrush is my very favorite cleaning tool. It gets around all the faucets perfectly, around the sink drain, all the tight little places one cleans. I would not be without it!

  128. Kellee says:

    I’m generally not a commenter but thought “why not?” today. I recently have been thinking about making my house cleaning routine easier and paring down the products I use. I stumbled upon a recipe for dusting that I love. Yes, I love it. I like a little shine on my wood furniture and this stuff produces that shine – and cleans it too. It’s made with mineral oil – which, by the way cleans other stuff too – like ears and intestines – kind of weird and a little gross – but, then again, this comment is about cleaning stuff…
    Dusting recipe: 1 cup mineral oil; 1/4 cup white vinegar; 10 drops of essential oil if desired; mix together in a spray bottle; spray on cotton cloth (old t-shirt or sock) until damp (not saturated); dance around and dust. Oh – and it’s also healthy for humans, pets, and the planet.
    Ear clean/lubrication recipe: a few drops of straight mineral oil in each ear for a few days; remove the orangey wax buildup carefully with a Qtip. Again, kind of weird and gross – but effective.
    Intestinal clean out: I don’t have any personal experience with this one – sorry…

  129. janpartist says:

    I once bought a house from a man who lived there with his 3 sons. They like never cleaned the shower-ever, It was bad. So I discovered that liquid toilet bowl cleaner removes layers and layers of soap scum off porcelain tiles-just be careful not to get it on the metal surfaces. I have moved a lot. There have been other instances where I have had to use oven cleaner to clean things but it’s pretty nasty stuff and you should try a dab of it first and see if it is going to damage anything. Both of these ideas can easily damage things and should only be used in extreme cases. But they work!

  130. Sarah says:

    Use old, burned-out jar candles to dispose of bacon grease (or other greases for the matter). Instead of smelling like old grease when you open the jar to add a new batch, it smells like the candle. Not that we light up the wick after adding bacon grease, but I’ll admit I’ve been tempted.

  131. Margaret says:

    My cleaning tip really excites me. It started one day when I realized I could not tolerate the harsh chemicals in most cleaning products. So I took a box of Oxy laundry powder and put it in my bathroom with a roll of paper towel and a box of j-cloths. That and a toilet brush is all I need to clean the entire bathroom. Oxy works on everything, is non-toxic and not expensive. Plus it really work on brightening laundry and whitening whites. A miracle.** Today, I came across an empty windex bottle and decided to fill it up with hot water and a scoop of Oxy. OMG. Mind blown. It works even better. Try it. I would still recommend using the Oxy in its powder form for a very dirty tub or toilet. Just wet the j-cloth, dip it in Oxy and use it to scrub the tub. For the toilet, sprinkle the oxy in the toilet and use the brush to scrub it. Also, make sure the water is hot when you put it in the windex bottle. So it dissolves.
    It works on mirrors and glass, but if you’re picky, windex or vinegar would probably be better.
    **I don’t work for Oxy. I’m just a big fan.

  132. JBess says:

    I have these white, cotton curtains all over my house (frankly I’d like to replace them!) But until I can, I’m stuck washing them, rather a lot! They get dingy quickly- and one of my cats is a “problem cat” who stains them- so rarely does a month go by that I don’t have to wash at least a few of them. It used to be a huge ordeal, because on top of washing them, I’d have to iron them! These are just white, cotton curtains from Target- and the fabric is so cheap and lousy they look terrible if I don’t iron them. I tried hanging them wet and letting them dry thinking they would straighten- no luck. One day I got it into my head to fill a spray bottle with warm water, add some tea tree oil (maybe 3-4 capfuls? A dribble. A dose.) (It’s the same solution they clean the yoga mats with at my studio- which btw ALSO works great and I do it at home as well) and spray the curtains after hanging them. It really seems like the tea tree oil relaxes the fibers in a way plain water just won’t. I found even when it’s at room temp and not warm water, the solution still works! I spray, tug the bottoms a bit- they smooth out. So I’m finally free from ironing all these curtains! I imagine it would work great on bedskirts and the like too 🙂

  133. Margaret says:

    P.s. I just looked at the box and noticed it’s Oxi not Oxy. Oops.
    Also, just finished reading all 185 of them and these are some great tips!! I might even try the vinegar in the washing machine and test it to see if it’s as good as Oxi.
    One more thing, which is best practice but I didn’t know until I had my front loader for a long time, you should leave the door open when you’re not using it, so it doesn’t get musty. Also, wipe the rubber ring on the door opening after every load. It gets really nasty if you don’t. Thanks for all the awesome tips.

  134. Margaret says:

    P.p.s. If you’re in Australia, the Oxi equivalent would be Napi San.

  135. Shauna says:

    Tip 1: Keep a pretty basket with a top in the bathroom filled with bathroom cleaning products. When someone unexpectedly drops by, excuse yourself to use the bathroom and do a quick clean of the toilet, sink, mirrors.

    Tip 2: After cleaning your shower doors, wipe them down with lemon oil. When you shower next time, the water will bead up to reduce water spots and be easier to clean. Also, keep a squeegee in the shower, at the end of your shower, use it to wipe off the water so you reduce the water spots.

    Tip 3: Do like they do in office buildings and keep extra trash bags under the bag that you’re using so it’s easy and right there when it’s time to empty. Also, put a dryer sheet in the bottom to help it stay smelling fresh.

    Tip 4: Always wash your clothes in cold water and only separate into light colors and dark colors. Of course, dry clean and hand wash are separate, but all others go into only two categories. All towels and linens get hot washed – buy all the same color so they can be done in one cycle as well.

    Tip 5: (this is more of an organizing/money saving tip than a cleaning tip) buy a whole chicken (or 2 depending on the size of your family) and roast it on Sunday night (best recipe: rub chicken with paprika mix, olive oil, sea salt, stuff with thyme & marjoram. Roast in 500 degree oven for approx. 45 min. flip over, roast for additional 15 min.). Use the meat for your protein for the remaining meals for the week. For ex., Sun. night: roast chicken w/…; Mon.: Chicken enchiladas; Tues. Chicken Tikka Masala; Wed.: chicken tortilla soup; Thur.: chicken salad w/baked potatoes; Fri.: Chicken tacos.

    I’m sure I have more, but I have a migraine today and the excedrin is making me loopy.

    • Karen says:

      That’s a big chicken, lol! I made a roasted chicken just before my oven went a.w.o.l and I kept thinking, I should do this way more often. You’re right’ll create many dinners for two. Also I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said I was going to do the garbage bag trick and for some reason just keep forgetting to do it! ~ karen

  136. meg says:

    LOL some of these are great. I personally would rather clean a thousand toilets than put away clean dishes from the dishwasher. There may be something wrong with me.

    first, I keep cleaning tools/supplies near where they’re used. When they’re handy, you’ll use them more. A small dustpan & brush next to the cat box for litter that gets kicked out. Scotch brand upholstery pet hair remover next to the couch, and lint rollers all over the house. A toilet scrubber for each bathroom – who wants to tote cleaning supplies around?! I also clean things all the time that tend to get gunky after a while, so that I never have to clean them too hard, i.e. door handles and lightswitches. And I wrap up smelly trash immediately. I don’t ever just chuck smelly things into a bin- especially an enclosed one in a cabinet or something. No one wants to smell that when they take the lid off the trash to simply throw something away. Onions, fish skin and cat poop? Wrap it up in a small scrap bag. My house has never, and I hope will never, smell like garbage.

    And the last, but not least, a bottle of ammonia is my go-to cleaner. It’s not really going to harm anyone, and it dries crisp and clear without a terrible smell. It’s cheap and cuts through grease fast, and will chew up even old floor polish in a stronger concentration. I use this even for cleaning (sorry this is graphic) wet cat puke out of rugs. My old cat had hyperthyroidism and ate wet food. A combination that should’ve ruined all our wall-to-wall carpets in short order. But put on your gloves, get some ammonia and water and paper towels – no problem. You do it right and it never smells later.

  137. Maria says:

    As you walk around picking up, try to always have something in your hands to be put away? Taking laundry down to be washed? Return to the kitchen with something that needs to be done there. Taking out the trash? Stop by and do a chore while you are in that area. Try to plan in advance and cut your work your time and your steps in half

  138. I think the best advice I can offer for keeping a clean house is “only touch something once.” So, don’t bring the mail in and set it on the table. Sort it immediately and recycle, file, etc. Put stuff away immediately. I think our houses get messy because we move thing from one place to another multiple times. Loved the suggestions here:)

  139. Laurinda says:

    Because it’s so easy to mistake this cleaning liquid with that one, I put the spray bottle tops directly on the peroxide bottle (non chlorine bleach) & on a medium size bottle of vinegar. Then it’s just the lemon vinegar bottle, which is a yellowy liquid, to mark.
    Also, you can buy a big chicken, & make this DELICIOUS recipe, even without a stove

  140. Mel says:

    Yes Meg! I call Baco Noir my painting juice.
    I do a ton of the tips already and I’ve learned a bunch more to try. Thanks!
    My tip is to put a small basket at the top and bottom of the stairs. When you are downstairs and come across a sweater, book, mail to be filed in the office, anything that is to go upstairs, put it in the basket. When you are upstairs, do the same with the downstairs stuff that ventured too far from home. Then just bring the basket with you when you are going downstairs and put the stuff away. It saves so much time you would have spent traipsing up and down the stairs, and things in a basket just looks tidy.

  141. Tracie says:

    I start my dishwasher and clean my counters before I go to bed at night. Then in the morning, I empty the dishwasher and make the bed before I go to work. It’s amazing how these two things make such a difference, plus inspires to do more. And even if that’s all you do, it seems to be the most noticeable…..And I like doing laundry, but what’s with the putting away of it?? Hate it! I also put it on my bed to fold, that way I am more likely to put it away so my guy doesn’t knock it all to the floor. Again.

  142. Paula says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned this tip yet and I’m surprised. I find micro-fiber cleaning cloths to be amazing!!! You get them wet with WATER, ring out until they are just damp and you can wipe down everything. I use it on leather, glass, wood, metal, any hard surface. Just wipe with a dry towel after. No chemicals just WATER. It is amazing how much dirt you see when you rinse the cloth. I don’t like to clean but love it when things are clean and this is so EASY and CHEAP. I also use Dawn, baking soda & peroxide to clean yellow armpit stains fro my sons white t-shirts. Works great. I got that one from Pinterest.

  143. Paula says:

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned this tip yet and I’m surprised. I find micro-fiber cleaning cloths to be amazing!!! You get them wet with WATER, ring out until they are just damp and you can wipe down everything. I use it on leather, glass, wood, metal, any hard surface. Just wipe with a dry towel after. No chemicals just WATER. It is amazing how much dirt you see when you rinse the cloth. I don’t like to clean but love it when things are clean and this is so EASY and CHEAP. I also use Dawn, baking soda & peroxide to clean yellow armpit stains fro my sons white t-shirts. Works great. I got that one from Pinterest. I use the round brush attachment on the vacuum to get all the dust from flat surfaces. I like for it to go away and dusting feels like I’m just moving it around. Love your blog Karen.

  144. ally says:

    For water stains on wooden furniture, smear good old-fashioned toothpaste (not gel) on the stain and let rest. Wash off after a couple of hours. If not completely gone, re-apply, wait and wash off. Don’t know why, but the toothpaste pulls the water out and the stain goes bye-bye! 🙂

  145. Amy says:

    Our most effective cleaning strategy is to invite people over. It causes a flurry of cleaning that extends all the way to the kids rooms and our typically chaotic house gets spruced up. There is a time constraint so there is less procrastinating!

  146. Shauna says:

    I just remembered another one…to get out ‘wring around the collar’ use Pert Shampoo before you throw the shirt in the wash. Put some Pert on the collar, scrub with a toothbrush, roll it up and throw it in the wash. Pert strips oil from hair and thus will strip the oil from the dirty collar.

  147. Jenny says:

    My tip is not to clean like me. It’s impossible for me to just clean one room and move on to the next. I’ll start in one room, see something that needs to go in another room, take it to where it lives and inevitably there is something in that room that needs cleaning, sorting, etc. That of course leads to finding something that doesn’t live in the room I’ve migrated to and I have to immediately take it to where it does belong. And of course the room I just left is not finished either. So all of the rooms are in a state of progress (disaster?) during the whole process. People have paid me to clean their houses and I do theirs the same way. Believe it or not, I actually do get asked back. In writing this I’ve realized that for whatever reason, the “return it to where it lives NOW instinct” only happens in cleaning mode. If it happened on the daily, I guess I could’ve started this with, my tip is to clean like me.

  148. Anne says:

    My best tip for cleaning – MOVE!!

  149. Debbie says:

    Okay, now that I’ve read all 100 posts, my best tip is that I copied and pasted the posts that spoke to me into a Word document and now I have a great list for reference. Karen, thanks for this post!

  150. Grammy says:

    Denture cleaner. I don’t wear dentures, but I always keep a box of this stuff around for cleaning up yard-sale finds.

    Vases especially get that yucky white crust inside. With opaque vases it doesn’t matter so much, but clear glass ones are worthless if you can’t get that calcification off. Simply fill the object with warm water and drop in a denture cleaning tablet. It will eventually start to fizz. Just leave it there overnight, and rinse out the next day. If that didn’t cure it, repeat. Sometimes a bottle brush at the final rinsing is needed. Old and cheap glass vases will look sparkling.

    I’ve also used it to get red wine stains from a wineglass. Perfect! And I figure if it’s safe to put your teeth in your mouth after sitting in that stuff, it’s safe to use in glass you’re going to drink from.

  151. Stephanie P says:

    I created a cleaning schedule with weekly, bi-weekly, monthly and seasonal tasks to complete. Sounds overwhelming, but it really does make cleaning so much easier and stress-free…and the more you do it, the less you do! 😀

    I wrote all about it here…

  152. Barbie says:

    A long time ago my friend and I used to pick a day and clean both our houses in about an hour each. We had caddies (with all our cleaning supplies) and apron that she had made for both of us (kinda like tool belts with slots for things like sponges, scrapers, toothbrush, razor blade and little loops to hold a spray bottle on each side) and each our own vacuum cleaner… and we would buzz through one house then the other…we got so fast that we could really do each in about 1 hour or so. Then we’d spend the rest of the day having fun like garage sale-ing or junk shopping. We had both read a book on how to speed clean and it was FABULOUS! My house was never so clean and so consistently! I wish we could still do that now! I miss it! It made cleaning day a fun day.

  153. The earlier you clean it, the easier and effective it will be. . .
    Never just snooze your cleaning

  154. Gina says:

    A friend who cleaned houses for a living taught me this one: dampen any old terrycloth washcloth and use it along the baseboards where you have carpet drag it along and (especially if you have a pet), you will see the magic happen. Damp terrycloth takes pet hair off of everything. In fact, your damp hand will do the same, but your hands will be rough!

  155. Tegan says:

    Every week I clean the toilet and sink, and then feel gross, so I go to take a bath. I leave a sponge (one of those ones with a scrubby side and a spongy side) on the edge of the tub. At the beginning of the bath I fill it less than 1/4 full, and use that water and the scrubby brush to clean the shower walls and the bottom and sides of the tub, and squeeze water in the corners to get rid of the dust that somehow is magically formed from tile and shampoo bottles every week, and wipe down my shampoo bottles. Then I rinse down the whole thing, fill it back up, and get to take a bath in a perfectly clean tub, with perfectly clean bottles, and come out of a perfectly clean bathroom perfectly clean myself.

  156. charlotte tataryn says:

    Hi Karen, reading old things about cleaning, I thought would mention this to you. Glass top stoves are awesome for those who are counter space challenged but keeping them clean is an equal challenge. However, recently I heard a mix of Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda left to sit on stains I previously scraped off with a razor blade works. I tried this on boiled over pasta mess and it worked like a charm. Had I known this when I first bought the stove, it would still be pristine instead of appearing as if it’s used as our cutting board.
    Anyway, just thought it might be helpful info so someone regardless of when the original convo took place, pre and post contest.
    Have a great week-end all.
    PS: Vinegar cleans anything and I’ve been using as a final rinse on my hair(here, just Apple Cider vinegar) to get out all the binders left behind by shampoo and conditioners. Reg V and BS fizz up to clean stains out of everything and works in the toilet too. BS and V once a week cleans out sink traps and toilets without chemical use.
    I have a container of vinegar in a dollar store spritz bottle by the sink in kitchen and both bathrooms. Instant glass, tile, chrome, etc., cleaner and because it’s right there, it’s NOT a chore. It’s eliminating one.

  157. Yasoram says:

    Upholstery absorbs lots of dust?and then sends it airborne every time you sit down. Routine vacuuming reduces the problem, but can’t suck out the deep-down dust. So take cushions outside a couple times each year, preferably on a windy day, and spank the dust out of them. An old tennis racket makes a great upholstery beater (and improves your swing)

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