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11 Hacks for Cleaning Tricky Spots in Your Home

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Sweeping, mopping, vacuuming—for the most part, cleaning is pretty intuitive. But what about those hard-to-reach places you forget about all year? Save time (and money) with these modern-day hacks that speed up spring cleaning, thanks to household items you already own.

1. LINT ROLL YOUR LAMPSHADES.

If you can’t toss a lampshade in the washer and a duster doesn’t do the trick, how are you supposed to deal with it? Don’t give in and buy a new shade—just use a lint roller. Unlike dusting with a cloth or duster, a lint roller will quickly pick up dirt and grime and can more easily roll along unusually shaped lampshades for a speedy cleaning job.

2. USE WAX PAPER FOR EASY CABINET CLEANUP.

The tops of kitchen cabinets attract dust and cooking grease, making for a sticky (and disgusting) seasonal clean-up. To help keep them out of sight and out of mind, line cabinet tops with sheets of wax paper that will collect the dust for you. Cleanup becomes as simple as tossing the used wax paper in the trash and cutting new sheets every few months. This trick can also be used on bookcases and other tall furniture that’s difficult to dust.

3. WASH AWAY KEYBOARD GRIME IN THE DISHWASHER.

Keyboards are one of the most germ-ridden items in your home or office, and they’re also a pain to clean. If you’re daring enough—and still use an older USB keyboard—swap the tedious scrubbing with cotton swabs for a light dishwasher cycle, avoiding the heat-dry setting and opting to air dry instead. But before you pop your keyboard in the top rack, check your manufacturer specs—some keyboards can handle water submersion, while others should just be dusted or wiped with a damp cloth (or, you can spring for a Silly Putty-like goo that grabs all the grime between the keys). 

4. GIVE BLINDS NEW LIFE WITH OLD SOCKS.

Blinds can be a spring cleaner’s worst enemy. They collect dust and flop around, making them difficult to wipe down. Instead of buying a commercial blind cleaning tool, round up old socks and slip them on like gloves to easily clean between the blinds. This hack gives you two cleaning wins: fresh blinds and a purpose for those unmatched socks.

5. SCRUB RIDGES AND VENTS WITH MANICURE TOOLS.

Microwave and stove vents accumulate grime but are difficult to clean because of their tiny size. Instead of ignoring them, dislodge gunk along ridges and vents with a nail brush. Or for a deeper scrub in areas you can reach with your fingertips, use exfoliating gloves as scrubbers.

6. SWEEP AWAY TOASTER CRUMBS WITH A PASTRY BRUSH.

If there is one place that crumbs collect in, it’s the abyss known as the bottom of your toaster. Clean out this tiny crumb chasm by using a pastry brush to loosen and wipe away bread debris stuck within the slots. Then pop open the bottom of the toaster to brush everything away.

7. DUST FAN BLADES WITH PILLOWCASES.

Fan blades accumulate heavy dust that isn’t easy to wipe away while on a ladder or step stool. Make the job easier by repurposing a pillowcase as a catch-all duster. Simply slide the pillowcase over the fan blade and pull down any dust that’s collected inside the bag for a sneeze-free cleaning.

8. SOAK OVEN RACKS IN THE BATHTUB.

Oven racks withstand splatters, boil overs, and broiling abuse all throughout casserole season. Give your oven racks a facelift by soaking them overnight in a bathtub with dish soap and dryer sheets. Baked-on gunk will wipe away easily, leaving like-new racks. Just remember to thoroughly scrub the bathtub afterward to prevent staining.

9. IMPROVE YOUR DISHWASHER SPRAYER WITH WIRE.

If your dishes have been through several wash cycles but still aren’t getting clean, consider giving the dishwasher sprayer arm some attention. Over time, sprayer arms can fill with hard water deposits (not to mention gross food particles), making them less efficient. Use picture hanging wire or a wire hanger to dislodge grime particles from sprayer arm holes. Then, give your entire dishwasher a deep clean with vinegar. After all, keeping this machine going may be your best bet for time-saving cleaning year-round.

10. DEEP CLEAN VENTS WITH A BUTTER KNIFE.

Cleaning registers and vents along floors, baseboards, and ceilings is often a job for vacuums. But for a deeper clean, head to your flatware drawer for a butter knife. Quickly clean registers by wrapping a butter knife in a thin towel, then inserting along the grooves to snag embedded debris. There’s no need for a specialty tool and this hack will keep you from having to remove the register altogether.

11. DEEP CLEAN WINDOW AND DOOR TRACKS WITH TOILET PAPER TUBES.

The inside grooves of window frames and sliding doors are notorious for attracting dirt, bugs, and cobwebs. But the tiny, rubber ridges can be difficult to brush or rinse out. For a cleaner view, attach toilet paper tubes to your vacuum’s hose, then fold or bend as necessary for a custom, disposable track cleaner.

All images via iStock.

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Hate Waiting at Baggage Claim? Here's How to Make Sure Your Suitcase Arrives First
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Air travel involves plenty of waiting, from standing in long security lines to preparing for takeoff. And even after you land, your trip is stalled until you locate your luggage on the carousel. Luckily for impatient fliers, there are several ways to game the system and ensure a speedy suitcase delivery once you step off the plane, according to Travel + Leisure.

To score true VIP luggage treatment, ask the representative behind the check-in counter if they can attach a “fragile” sticker to your bag. Suitcases with these kinds of labels are often loaded last and unloaded first. (Plus, they receive the type of kid-glove treatment that ultimately helps them last longer.)

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need a new tag each time you fly. If it looks old, or was issued by a different airline, the crew might not pay attention to it, according to Condé Nast Traveler. Also, consider upping your suitcase game, as quality, hard-shell bags look like they contain delicate or important items. Their appearance—along with the fragile sticker—will inspire baggage handlers to give them special treatment.

Another trick that can shave a few minutes off your wait time is making sure you're the last person to check in, instead of rushing to be first. If you can't resist getting to the airport early, try asking if you can check it at the gate. This could make your bag one of the last on the plane, and thus one of the first taken out. This method isn't surefire, however, as loading and unloading systems vary among flights.

And if all else fails, Thrillist advises that you try upgrading your flight. Some airlines give priority to bags that belong to elite travelers and business class, meaning they’ll be stored separately from other luggage and come out first. Good luck! No matter what happens, at least you can't have it worse than the lady who had to wait 20 years for her bag to show up.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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How to Stop Instagram Photos From Automatically Posting to Facebook
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If you have Instagram photos you don’t mind sharing with your aunts, exes, and former high school classmates, Facebook is the perfect place to post them. But some pictures are better suited to more intimate audiences: For those scenarios, you’ll want to unlink your Facebook from your Instagram account. The Daily Dot put together a simple how-to guide.

To keep your Instagram photos from automatically showing up on your Facebook profile, head to the Instagram app. Go to your profile, tap the gear icon next to Edit Profile, and then scroll down to the Linked Accounts option under Settings. If every photo you share through Instagram is published on Facebook, you should see Facebook highlighted in blue with a checkmark next to it under Linked Accounts. After tapping this, hit the Unlink Facebook button and Unlink a second time when the app asks you to confirm your decision.

Once that’s taken care of, any new posts you share through Instagram will only be seen by your Instagram followers (unless your account is linked to Twitter or some other social media site, in which case you can follow the same steps above). To undo this action, just return to Linked Accounts and tap Facebook to join the two accounts again.

This is a smart way to limit your social media presence or curb potential damage if hackers ever access your Instagram. But if you’re looking to distance yourself from Facebook because of issues you have with the site itself, simply unlinking it from Instagram won’t cut it. Facebook owns Instagram, so any information you post to either profile goes to the same place. There are better ways to control how Facebook handles your personal data. Read this to learn more about the social media giant’s ad targeting practices and what you can do about them.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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