Sure, you’re a pro at faking a clean house in minutes. But when faced with a major spill or cleaning snafu, we want you armed and ready. That’s why we rounded up the 20 best cleaning hacks that *everyone* should have in their back pocket, from cleaning your tub with a grapefruit to using dryer sheets on streaky shower doors.
1. Remove a scorch mark from your iron with a dash of table salt
There’s nothing worse than trying to get wrinkles out of a blouse, only to accidentally give it a new stain. This hack calls for running the hot iron over salt, which sticks to the buildup and grime. Once the iron is cool, you can wipe the dirt right off.
2. Restore the finish on a scorched pot or pan with an easy vinegar/baking soda combo
Your favorite Le Creuset piece is still rocking the not-so-pretty remains of last week’s dinner. Tackle it by filling the pan with water, adding vinegar and bringing it to a boil. After, add the baking soda, let it do its thing and scour until it looks like new.
3. Clean your cast-iron pan with kosher salt
Your trusty skillet has definitely seen better days. Return it to its former glory by rinsing it in the sink while it’s still hot, sprinkling it with kosher salt and scrubbing your heart out. Then, just rinse off the salt, dry the pan to prevent rust and finish it with a swipe of vegetable oil.
4. Deep-clean the oven with baking soda and water
Believe it or not, it’s totally possible to clean your oven *without* setting off the smoke alarm. There’s no need to use the high-temperature auto clean function when you could just coat the racks and interior with a baking soda paste instead. Let it sit overnight before finishing it off with vinegar and a wipe down.
5. Use coffee grounds to make a stinky fridge smell fresh again
It turns out your favorite beverage has another magic power. Place coffee grounds (new or used) in a bowl on the top shelf of your refrigerator and they’ll soak up all the funky odors. Just replace them every two months.
6. Make natural air freshener with vodka
No, really. Vodka may have an intense smell if you sniff it straight from the bottle, but if you add it to a spray bottle with water in a one-to-three ratio, it can actually provide a clean, neutral scent to your home.
7. Dust lampshades with a lint roller
Have you ever dusted a lampshade to make it clean…only to be totally grossed out by all the dust in the air? A lint roller solves that problem. It also works wonders on pet hair.
8. Make your bed while you’re still in it
It goes without saying, but this hack is our favorite. It’s as simple as stretching your arms across the width of your blanket, parachuting it flat, slipping out from under the covers and smoothing it out.
9. Pick up broken glass with a slice of bread
You and your iced tea were making the trek from the kitchen to the living room just fine…until the glass smashed all over the floor. It turns out that bread will not only soak up the spill, but will also pick up all those teeny-tiny shards of glass that you might not see at first glance.
10. Clean your bathtub with a grapefruit
Who knew this citrus fruit could do more than be gorgeous and delicious? It makes a great tub cleaner when sprinkled liberally with salt. Plus, it smells a heck of a lot better than vinegar, no?
11. Use newspapers to make smudged windows shine
Don’t believe us? The paper and ink act as a gentle abrasive, which—when dipped in DIY cleaner—will help give your windows a streak-free shine. P.S.: Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 quart of water and a squeeze of lemon or liquid soap if you ever run out of Windex.
12. Use a dryer sheet on shower glass streaks
Glass shower doors can be a pain: One day they’re just a little smudged, and the next they’re totally covered in film. Your dryer sheet is the unlikely hero here. Once damp, it can soften soap scum the same way it softens fabric.
13. Use a Post-It to tidy up dirty computer keyboards
OK, this hack takes sticky notes from convenient to plain ingenious. Just run the sticky part between the keys of your keyboard to pick up dust, crumbs and whatever else is hiding between them.
15. Use a blow dryer to get rid of rings on a wooden table
Yup, it can do so much more than hair. To get rid of water stains on a wooden table, turn your dryer on a cool to warm setting and blast the spot from a few inches away until it begins to fade.
16. Give your microwave a glow-up with vinegar
Admit it: Yours has smelled like popcorn for weeks. To neutralize odor or clean a hard-to-reach mess, fill a bowl with white vinegar and place it in the center of the microwave. Close the door and run it for five minutes. Wipe away the grime with a paper towel and…voilà!
17. Use cornstarch to get rid of grease stains
Oil stains on furniture, mattresses and beyond are notoriously hard to treat, but cornstarch is your secret weapon. Mix it with water, apply the paste to the greasy spot and leave it on overnight. In the morning, brace yourself for amazement.
18. Use apple cider vinegar and olive oil on wooden furniture
These pantry staples will buff up your furniture like a charm. A few drops of apple cider vinegar will pull the dirt out of the wood, while olive oil will condition it.
19. Use a pillowcase to dust ceiling fans
Not only is this trick super handy, but it’s essentially mess-free (meaning no clumps of dust will be floating down onto the floor). Just slip a clean pillowcase over each blade and slide it off to pick up dust.
20. Use an old toothbrush to clean just about anything
Like the vent of your hair dryer, your coffee grinder, blinds and baseboards—plus those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies between your faucet and bathroom tiles.
Here are a few additional cleaning hacks we love:
1. Clean your remote with hand sanitizer.
Squeeze a dime-sized drop onto a paper towel and wipe down the entire surface. Get extra squeaky by using a Q-tip between buttons.
2. Prevent goo from getting stuck to your garlic press.
Mist it with cooking spray before using so any residual garlic slides off easily afterwards.
3. Shine your cookware with ketchup.
Squeeze a dollop onto a cloth and rub it onto your pots and pans to remove tarnish.
4. Rinse your blender with soap.
After making a smoothie, fill the dirty blender with water and a pump of dish detergent. Run on high speed then rinse.
5. De-funk your coffee machine.
Fill the machine with equal parts vinegar and water, then run it for a few cycles.
6. Deodorize your garbage disposal with a lemon.
Cut up the rind and place a piece into each slot of an ice cube tray. Toss the frozen cubes into the disposal and grind them with the faucet running.
7. Pick up pet hair with a squeegee.
The rubber blade picks fur up in a flash.
8. Deodorize your carpet with baking soda.
Sprinkle baking soda on your rug or carpet, let it sit for an hour and vacuum away.
9. Clean dust under your furniture with stockings.
Wrap a pair of stockings around the head of a broom and use the handle to reach underneath your couch or cabinet. The static cling from the stockings acts like a magnet for dust.