29 Ways To Keep Your Space Clean Now That You’re Home All The Time

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Clever, effective ideas to help bust that boredom or satisfy your inner neat-freak.

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1.

Make your bed first thing in the morning so your bedroom instantly looks neat and tidy, no matter how messy the rest of the room happens to be.


Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

I live in a tiny studio, and nothing makes my entire space look more neat and put-together than quickly straightening my sheets out a bit and throwing the quilt over them. It helps me ignore whatever other little mess I have going on elsewhere in the room, and it makes the transition from «sleep time» to «awake time» more defined.

If you want to let any moisture evaporate from your bed for dust mite reasons, leave your bed unmade while you do the first half-hour-ish of your morning routine — eat breakfast, shower, whatever — then come back to make it. (And be sure to change your sheets weekly.)

2.

Microwave a bowl filled with water + lemon for three to five minutes — then leave the door closed for a few minutes so everything can steam — and you’ll be able to wipe off every single dried-on food bit with one swipe of a paper towel.


Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed, Facebook: watch

This also works with water + vinegar, or honestly just plain water. And of course you can wipe off with a sponge, instead. I’ve been doing this for years, and have yet to find a gross microwave where this doesn’t work wonders. Read my full review or watch the Nifty video.

3.

Then start covering everything you microwave with a dishwasher-safe silicone lid to put a stop to any new splatters from here on out.


Food52

I have a similar product to this gorgeous set of five silicone lids — one large and one medium — and use them both multiple times every week. Besides preventing microwave messes, they’re perfect for steaming stuff in the microwave, sealing the top of literally any bowl you want to stash in the fridge, or for setting on top of your dutch oven, whether it’s on the stove top or you’re braising something in the oven. Oh, and they’re totally freezer-safe, too! Get the set of five from Food52 for $40.

4.

Lay down a layer of wax paper or paper bags on the tops of cabinets and furniture — especially in the kitchen — to catch greasy dust, then simply swap it out months later when it gets grimy.

5.

Shine up your cooktop or stove in five minutes: Drizzle on some Dawn and hydrogen peroxide, sprinkle with baking soda, and scrub in circles with a dish brush. This combo in smaller doses would work for spot-cleaning both this and your oven, too!

6.

Then prevent (at least some of) that mess from building up again with the help of a splatter screen. The holes let all the steam out so your dumplings can crisp and your egg can fry, but blocks oil and sauce from popping its way out of the pan and creating a greasy mess all over the stovetop (and elsewhere in the kitchen).


Sur La Table

Just gently set it on top of your pan and let it sit there, only lifting it to stir. A silicone one like this would be easier to clean than the typical mesh ones you see, partly because it’s dishwasher-safe. Get it from Sur La Table for $15 (also available in grey).

7.

Mix cream of tartar and water into a thick paste to clean that sticky dust buildup that nothing else seems to touch.

8.

Eradicate any lingering stains on your wooden cutting boards with a mixture of salt, water, and baking soda.


James Ransom / Food 52

And eliminate any scents with a few spritzes of white vinegar. Learn more from Food52.

9.

Break up hard water deposits and generally freshen up your dishwasher by running an empty load with baking soda and citric acid scattered in the bottom.


Mom4Real

Well, you run it for a few minutes, pause the cycle for a few hours, then let it finish running. Most grocery stores should have citric acid powder! Get the full tutorial from Mom4Real.

10.

Bust through cooked-on grime in your oven by scrubbing with a Magic Eraser — unless your oven’s absolutely covered in gunk, a few minutes and a little bit of elbow grease will go a long way to making it look new again.


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It works on oven glass, too! From here.

An eight-pack of Extra Durable Magic Erasers is $8.89 from Target.

11.

Shine up your refrigerator and any other stainless steel appliances with a coat of Pledge. You may think of it as a furniture polish, but it’s actually a powerhouse multi-surface cleaner!


The DIY Girl

I’ve done this with my stainless for years, and it still works like a charm! Just clean off any big pieces of gunk first, and lay down a towel to catch any that lands on the floor. From The DIY Girl.

If you need to restock, get a can of Pledge from Target for $4.89 (five varieties available).

12.

Dissolve hard water stains on your water faucets by wrapping them up in vinegar-soaked paper towels for an hour — they’ll wipe off in one go.

13.

Wash your sink out like a dish after you’ve finished doing all the other dishes for the day — your hands are already wet and soapy, and this will take just like, one minute longer!


Predragimages / Getty Images

All those microscopic food bits and bacteria you’ve rinsed into your sink while you did your dishes are probably still lingering there, and this will help you rinse a bunch of ’em down the drain. Plus it’ll help keep your sink shinier! You could even consider washing your sink accessories (like suction-cup sponge holders) daily or even just once a week, too.

14.

And whiten a grungy porcelain sink with a paste of baking soda and a little bit of hydrogen peroxide.


lemonslavenderandlaundry.com

Sprinkle in the baking soda first, then dab the hydrogen peroxide on a sponge and scrub away. The baking soda will help bust up stuck grime, while the peroxide will act like a bleach to make the surface extra bright. From Lemons Lavender and Laundry.

15.

Secure microfiber cleaning cloths to tongs with rubber bands so dusting your blinds can be less of a chore — because this gets the top and bottom of each blind at the same time, it’ll take half as long!


One Crazy House

A microfiber cloth works better than, say, an old sock, because it picks up more dust instead of rubbing it around or brushing it off, but in a pinch, socks would work, too. Get the tutorial from One Crazy House; and if you need microfiber cloths, get a pack of 12 from Wayfair for $27.99+ (available in five colors).

16.

Grab another microfiber cloth and once a week (or once a day; you do you!) go around and brush it over all the of the other conspicuously dusty parts of your home. Just remember the rule: always dust top-down!


Wayfair

By top-down, I mean: dust the highest points first — like the top of your door frame — so if any dust does fall, it falls onto your still-dusty plant stand, instead of the plant stand you *just* dusted. Then you can dust the plant stand!

Again, you can get a pack of 12 from Wayfair for $27.99+ (available in five colors).

17.

Stash a pack of cleaning wipes (or a roll of paper towels and your favorite all-purpose cleaner) under your bathroom sink, then swab things down once a day so you never have to deal with a buildup of dust or mildew.


Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

(Note: I realize that cleaning wipes and cleaning supplies in general are often hard to come by right now; if you don’t have any, you could substitute a spray cleaner — like this DIY all-purpose cleaner — and paper towels or reusable cleaning cloths.)

Try to go in order of least-germy to germiest surface. Maybe: counter, faucet, toilet tank, top of toilet lid, toilet handle, sink, toilet seat. They won’t disinfect (which — disinfecting wipes won’t either, unless you consistently wipe down the surface so it stays wet for four minutes or so), but they will eliminate dirt and grime with just a few seconds of work.

18.

Mix up a homemade Daily Shower Cleaner using ingredients you have laying around the house already, then start misting your walls, curtain/door, tub, fixtures, and floor after you turn off the water. You’ll (almost) never need to deep clean your shower ever again.


One Good Thing By Jillee

Of course, this doesn’t clean a dirty shower, it only works to keep a clean shower even cleaner — with no need to wipe or squeegee after you spray. (Just remember to test in an inconspicuous area before using this on stone, marble, or granite.) Get the recipe from One Good Thing By Jillee.

19.

Catch all the hair you and the people you live with shed in the shower using a silicone drain cover, so you can a) skip the chemical de-cloggers and b) stop smearing your hair on the shower wall to prevent it from going down the drain.


OXO

This fits over pretty much any drain, whether it pops up, sinks in, or is flat and flush with the rest of the tub. It’s made of silicone, which means even if it gets a little mildew-y you’ll be able to easily wipe the gross stuff off. The weighted top holds it in place, and your hair stays trapped while the water flows through. Get one from OXO for $8.99.

20.

Soak your clogged and mildew-y shower head in a plastic bag filled with vinegar for a couple of hours, and it should dissolve every bit of the buildup.


Natalie Brown

I’ve tried this, it 100% works. (Unless you have incredibly hard water — then you may need to use something stronger than vinegar, like CLR, $4.99 from Target or $5.87 from Home Depot.) Read my full review of Pinterest Hacks for more.

21.

Stamp some gel into your clean toilet to actually keep it that way for weeks at a time, no scrubbing required.


Scrubbing Bubbles

All you have to do is re-stamp as needed. If you can’t imagine not using your toilet brush, you can use the small remaining bit of gel to scrub down the bowl before applying more. I used this in college and can personally attest it really does work!

Get enough to keep your toilet clean for up to 10 weeks (that’s two and a half months!) from Target for $3.99.

22.

Pass an afternoon scrubbing out your grout with a homemade hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner. And while an old toothbrush or sponge would work just fine, some specialty grout brushes just might help you cut down on your elbow grease.


BuzzFeed Goodful, Oxo

Here’s BuzzFeed Goodful’s super effective DIY Grout Cleaner recipe! (That’s the before-and-after above!!) And get a set of two of the heavy-duty deep cleaning brushes from OXO for $5.99.

23.

Reach for bleach or a bleach pen when faced with surface mold (aka mildew) in your shower — oh, and a good scrub brush.


Courtesy of familyhandyman.com

And wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt to protect yourself. Read more on Family Handyman to find out the best (and safest!) ways to tackle mold all around your house.

And remember, never combine ammonia or any product containing ammonia with bleach — it creates a toxic gas.

Need supplies? Get them from Target: a bleach pen for $2.71 and a handheld scrub brush for $5.99.

24.

Dust your ceiling fans with an old pillowcase to trap the grime, instead of just brushing it back into the air and onto your floor.

25.

Find a dust mop, broom, or lightweight stick vacuum that you won’t mind pulling out of the cleaning closet two or three times a week to a quickly de-grime your floors. Doing it regularly means your space will actually stay clean, especially if you have pets that seem to bring in mess wherever they go.


Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

Even if you just stick to the kitchen and main living area (saving the bedrooms and bathrooms for a deeper clean day), it’ll make a noticeable difference. I own and love this flip mop — I bought it over four years ago, use the mop pads once or twice a month (in my tiny New York apartment), and the two washable pads I have are still in pretty good shape. The blue side picks up some dirt, dust, and LOTS of hair (completely dry), then the white side uses just water to wipe up even more stubborn gunk. Get it from Home Depot for $12.97.

Or, check out a well-reviewed broom for $6.49 or a highly-rated stick vacuum for $84.99, both at Target.

26.

Or to really keep your floors cleaner than you ever thought possible, splurge a little on a robo vac. Idk about you, but there’s no way I’m ever going to vacuum or sweep every day without one of these little buddies doing it for me.


Target

This vac moves between hard floors and low-pile carpets/rugs without a glitch and can pick up all the accumulated dust, dirt, and hair left strewn about your home while you go do literally anything else. Get it from Target for $199.99 (originally $279.99).

27.

Set up a ~crap basket~ system so you can just toss all the headphones, school books, sweatshirts, and other random things your family leaves lying around into their respective bins. They still have to put it all away, and you can enjoy a nice, neat space. (Or just vacuum or dust more easily!)


sewmanyways.blogspot.com

You simply drop abandoned chargers, flip-flops, scarves, books, and other stuff that’s left where it doesn’t belong into that person’s basket for them to put away later. From Sew Many Ways.

28.

Banish embedded pet hair from any upholstered surface — in your car or in your home — by spritzing the the area with water, then scraping it up with a squeegee.


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Then just vacuum up the clumps. From here and here.

If you don’t have a squeegee lying around already (perhaps hoping to be used in your shower), you can get one from Target for $4.49.

29.

Spritz some Windex to clean crayon scribbles off painted walls without scrubbing off paint or leaving residue behind.


whatsupfagans.com

Find out which other techniques work to remove crayons (and which ones don’t!) on What’s up, Fagans?

If your Windex supply’s running low, get a big refill bottle from Target for $5.99 (also available in smaller sizes).

You, as you finish the last few things on your cleaning checklist and realize just how *good* it feels:


20th Century Fox

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Make your life even tidier. Check out the best all-natural cleaning products for your home, the best bathroom cleaning products, organization products perfect for neat freaks, and, of course, our ultimate guide to cleaning every single room in your house.

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