Having been in the cleaning business for more than a decade now I’ve come across a number of shortcuts and cleaning hacks that really do help save us time. You guys know I’m not into doing a lot of work if there’s a faster but still effective method I can apply to the task at hand. So, I wanted to share some of my favorite cleaning and decluttering hacks—quick shortcuts that will still get you great results, and make your house look great, but you won’t have to spend tons of time doing it.
DIY Magic Eraser
First up, I’ve got a DIY magic eraser for you. Put a little bit of baking soda in one hand, take a damp sponge in the other, and just dab the corner of the sponge in the baking soda, then gently scrub the scuff mark (note that you should be using the soft side of the sponge to do this). Once that’s done you can wipe the spot with a clean microfiber cloth removing any baking soda residue. Remember, always test things like this on a hidden area first to make sure it doesn’t damage your surface.
On the subject of scuffs, another thing you can try is an actual eraser—like a rubber pencil eraser. This is great for getting rid of scuff marks on wood floors. Simply take the eraser and… erase the scuff! It’s very simple and works pretty well on a number of types of scuffs.
DIY High Dusting Tool
When we think about cleaning, we often think about what’s in our line of sight, so typically, we don’t look down too often, and we don’t look up too often. We’re going to focus on the up. During spring cleaning, high dusting is something that we should be doing, but we often overlook it because it generally means stepladders and lots of work. Stop the presses! I actually have an easy hack for you. Take a mop pole (you can generally screw the mop head off of any mop) and grab yourself a general purpose microfiber cloth. Put the cloth over the top of the mop pole and secure it halfway down the cloth with an elastic band. This is kind of like a cleaning magic wand. You can use it to just walk around your house, dipping into any corners or any molding—any areas on top of a door frame, or artwork, etc. You can use your high dusting magic wand to clean any and all of those areas and if you notice that your microfiber cloth is getting really cruddy, just flip it inside out or move it to another section, reaffix it, and keep going.
The Hanger Trick
One of the more popular topics I hear from the CMS community is how difficult it is to declutter a closet. I get it. It’s emotional, it’s time-consuming, and you don’t want to get rid of stuff because you think you might need it at some point, and you spent money on it! What I like to do is hang all my hangers facing backward so all of my garments are starting at, let’s call it, ground zero. When I wear a garment I then re-hang it facing the opposite direction. That way, I know that I’ve worn that garment. At the end of the season, it’s very clear to me what I should be donating, and what I actually wear.
If you’re in your kitchen and you come across an unused lemon, and 5 minutes of your time, I’ve got a 2-for-1 cleaning hack for you! Take the lemon, cut it in half. Take the first half of the lemon and squeeze it into a bowl. Then, fill it halfway with water and put in your microwave for 3 minutes. While that’s cooking away, grab some coarse salt and sprinkle it onto your cutting board. Take the other half of that lemon, and with the fleshy side down, scrub your cutting board using a circular motion. Rinse and dry the cutting board then return to your microwave. Take out the bowl and wipe down the inside of the microwave. This is a great way to clean and deodorize your cutting board and clean and deodorize your microwave at the same time.
Use Professional Tools
One of the most high-impact things you can do around the house is clean your windows, but that’s a big ask if you think about the traditional way of cleaning windows ie. spray and wipe. Even if you’re using the S pattern and a really good microfiber cloth, it’s going to take some time, especially on those outside windows or sliding doors. Instead, I follow what professional window cleaners do—they use a double-sided squeegee and a simple cleaning solution in a large bucket. I know this isn’t a “hack”, but it is something that will save you a ton of time. So, get yourself a rectangular bucket and fill it with hot water. Next, add a cup of white vinegar and a teaspoon of dish soap. Mix this up and dip that squeegee in there, fuzzy side first, and apply the solution to the window using the S pattern. Then, flip it around and use the actual rubber squeegee—you’ll zip your way from top to bottom in mere seconds and be left with a crystal clear window!
Give Your Home The Hotel Treatment
What you’ll notice at some of the world’s finest hotels is that there are people who are constantly polishing, painting and retouching things. Because hotels are so frequently visited, and all that luggage is rolling around, scuffs and scratches are inevitable. If left untreated the hotel can start to look aged and a little dingy. So, the better hotels stay on top of taking care of these “small things” on a regular basis. Now, if you think about this in the context of your own home, throughout the year we get fingerprints on the wall, we get scuff marks where we might kick off our shoes, or an object might scrape something along the wall. Over time these small things build up and compound, giving your house that aforementioned dingy look. So, if you can just go around and deal with some of those scuffs, slap a little paint on those scratches, and deal with those baseboards, these little details will make your home look so much fresher and cleaner with (relatively) minimal effort.