12 Cleaning Tips From Our Parents

There are so many items in our families that get handed down from generation to generation, family heirlooms if you will; photos, quilts, china, and so much more. But some things are handed down in families that aren’t tangible, like recipes and cleaning tips. 

In fact, I wrote an article last year on 7 Cleaning Habits I learned from My Mom. This article (and YouTube video) had so many great comments that I decided to share 12 cleaning tips that my YouTube followers shared with me that were passed down from their family members!

Cleaning Tips From Your Parents

1. ThatBadBunny has an excellent tip for getting blood stains off clothes. So this is for all the moms and dads out there who are dealing with scraped knees and elbows on a regular basis. 

For fresh blood (insert vampire joke here), rinse immediately with cold water and put the piece of clothing directly into the washing machine. If the blood is already dry, treat the stain with hydrogen peroxide. Leave for a few minutes and then wash in the washing machine. 

2. Andrea Smith has a great tip from her mom about shopping for clothes. Before you try a garment on, check the label for the washing instructions!

This is such fantastic advice, and I am going to use this forever! Washing is key, and if you don’t want to spend a lot of time handwashing or going to the dry cleaners, you might not want to purchase that fancy blouse. 

3. Christina Powers has a dishwashing tip from her mom and dad. Christina’s parents taught their children to hand-wash dishes in a specific order: silverware, glasses, plates, then pots and pans. 

Why this formula? Washing dishes from cleanest to dirtiest is a great way to save water if you’re filling up a soapy sink! I love this tip because it’s a cleaning tip and because it’s environmentally friendly!

4. Why 18 gives us a cleaning tip from her mom, who used to say (in French): si vous ne rangez pas, ne derangez pas. What does this mean? If you don’t tidy up, do not untidy!

I love this tip, and it’s a great saying to teach your children. Everyone in the family should be responsible for their mess if they are old enough. That being said, I asked my cat to clean her litter box, but she completely ignored me. 

Melissa Maker surrounded by a mess of toys in the living room

5. Jennifer Queen came at us with a dusting tip from her mom. Jeniffer said every time she dusts, she hears her mom’s voice say, pick up the lamp, don’t just dust around it. 

This tip is actually precisely how I train my staff at the Clean My Space housecleaning service. Cleaning isn’t just about what we can see. A thorough cleaning involves picking that lamp up, cleaning underneath it, cleaning the lamp itself, and then putting it back nicely and neatly. 

6. Diane O shares a cleaning quirk from her mom: hairs stuck to bars of soap. Yuck, yuck, YUCK! Finding hair in a bathroom or kitchen or honestly anywhere that isn’t attached to a head is pretty gross. 

After you use a bar of soap, clean it off! Other people in your family are going to use that next. And even if you live alone, it just looks nicer. So pay attention to that soap after you’re done using it. 

7. Write It Down says their household is and always has been a shoes-off household! Mine is, too, because after all the hard work we put into vacuuming and mopping, I don’t want to see it ruined in a split second by muddy shoes. 

Of course, I don’t always expect guests to go by this rule. But many take their shoes off as soon as they see a tray of shoes by the door. There are cases to be made for wearing shoes indoors, especially if you have hard floor surfaces. So let me know in the comments if your household is shoes-on or shoes-off. 

8. Viola Ilia says, “don’t put it down; put it away.” This is such a great tip. It’s so easy for a room to get cluttered. For example, you finish your coffee cup and put it down on the coffee table, you take your socks off while lying on the couch and leave them there, and your three-year-old plays with their toys in the middle of the room, and then it’s time for dinner. 

If we took an extra 10 seconds to put that coffee cup in the sink or, dare I say it, the dishwasher—gasp—, throw those socks in the laundry basket and put the toys in their designated spot, our living room would be spick and span again in no time.

9. Ashley Cosgrove says her grandfather was a US marine, and he has two words for us: elbow grease. Ashley’s grandfather taught her fastidious cleaning habits, including elbow grease, to get at those hard-to-clean places. 

Ashley now teaches her kids this lesson, especially if she’s dealing with a persistent stain or sticky spot. This is an excellent reminder that putting in a full effort during cleaning will have significantly better results than a quick, lazy clean. 

10. Roopali Kalra commented one of those simple but often forgotten cleaning etiquette tips from her parents. Always hold silverware from the handle when handing it to someone. And never hold a glass of water or drink from the top, where someone will put their mouth. 

And, of course, always, always, always wash your hands before eating or drinking and when entering a home. These tips are especially pertinent now in our COVID world, and I think they are a great reminder for kids and adults. 

11. Jackie Clingman says when they were a kid, their mother always “put the kitchen to bed.” I’ve never heard this saying before, but I think it’s adorable!

Before Jackie’s family went to bed, any dishes, cups, stray cutlery, or anything else went into the dishwasher. Then the dishwasher is turned on, the kitchen sink is clean, and the trash is taken out last. Goodnight, kitchen!

Melissa Maker cleaning kitchen counters

12. Viki was brought up in the 1950s, riding a city bus to town every Saturday. Of course, as kids, they had to make multiple bathroom stops along the way. Viki’s mom always lined all four sides of the toilet seat with two to three layers of toilet paper. And she gave strict orders not to touch anything. 

Viki’s mom taught her so many things, like turning the lights off when she left a room, keeping clothes off the floor, and keeping surfaces clean. My mom was a total toilet paper on the seat kind of mom, too, and now I’m passing this on to my daughter Riley. 

Cleaning Habits From Our Parents

Well, that’s my favorite 12 comments from the Clean My Space Community on cleaning tips they learned from their parents. There are so many other great habits I wasn’t able to share here, so if you have a cleaning habit you learned from your parents, please leave a comment and tell us about it!

I love hearing from the Clean My Space community and learning everyone’s old and new cleaning habits. And the bad habits are funny too! My secret: I leave my clothes on the floor at the end of the day. But that’s another article. Happy cleaning!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. I can so relate to “put your kitchen to bed” – reading this warmed my heart as it is what my Gran would always say! It is such a good feeling to wake up to a nice fresh kitchen, I feel like it sets you up with a clean slate for the new day. Totally worth the bit of extra effort the night before.

    Thank you for all the great tips!


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