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.