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A good cleaning hack can make housekeeping a breeze. So, to help lighten your housework load, we scoured our archives and compiled a list of the very best cleaning hacks we could find. From chopstick crevice cleaners to cooking spray tricks and more, the following 33 cleaning hacks are truly the G.O.A.T.
1. Remove makeup stains with shaving cream.
A little shaving cream goes a long way in getting out stubborn makeup stains. Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority says shaving cream dissolves through the oil and helps take a makeup stain right out of any garment when followed by a quick washing machine cycle. Just apply a squirt or two of shaving cream to the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes before carefully blotting up as much as you can with a clean cloth. Rinse the spot with cool water, and then throw it in the washing machine and voilà: Your is stuff makeup-free.
2. Soak shower heads and faucets in a bag of vinegar.
Looking for a hands-free hack for deep-cleaning your shower head and all the faucets around your home? Simply fill up a zippered plastic baggie with diluted white vinegar and twist tie it around your shower head, or bathroom or kitchen faucet, and leave it overnight to naturally break down and remove all the grimy buildup.
3. Keep a Magic Eraser in the shower to clean.
Magic Erasers are a many-splendored thing. Composed of abrasive melamine foam, they can deep clean everything from tile grout to sneakers in seconds. And since they’re activated by water, if you keep one handy in your shower you can use it to quickly clean the tub and shower walls before washing yourself off, just like Apartment Therapy writer Olivia Muenter does.
4. Mark old sponges to avoid cross-contamination.
Kitchen sponges are breeding ground for gross bacteria. If you like to repurpose your worn-out dish sponges to deep clean dirtier areas of your home—like floors or the bathroom—before tossing them out, then we have the hack for you. The next time you decide your kitchen sponge is too dirty to clean dishes or countertops, cut a corner off of it. This way it will forever be “marked” as a utility sponge, and you won’t accidentally use it on something sanitary.
5. Use Command Hooks to keep your trash can liner in place.
For as awesome and affordable as simple plastic trash cans are, it’s hard to keep trash bag liners (and old grocery-turned-trash-bags) from sliding down them. Good news: If you affix a Command Hook upside-down on the two skinnier sides of your trash can—about ¼ or ⅓ of the way down from the top—you can loop the drawstring or handles of the trash bag around it, so your trash bag will stay in place as you fill it up.
6. Clean crevices around fixtures with a chopstick.
If you thought chopsticks were only good for takeout then think again. These handy utensils moonlight as powerful cleaning tools for getting gunk out of the nooks and crannies around your kitchen and bathroom. Just wrap a cloth around a chopstick to deep clean vents, grouts, faucets, and other small fixtures and crevices that can be tricky to reach without the right device.
7. Use baby shampoo to clean makeup from fabric and more.
Just like it gently removes oil and dirt from hair, baby shampoo can get makeup off surfaces, clothing, bedding, towels, cosmetic brushes, and so on. Simply moisten a cloth with water and dab it into a nickel-sized blob of baby shampoo to gently rub out a makeup stain from fabric, or use it like soap to give your makeup brushes a deep and thorough clean under a stream of lukewarm water.
8. Boil and bend an old toothbrush to make a detail cleaning brush.
Your old toothbrush is brimming with cleaning potential, it just takes a little water. Before you throw out a used toothbrush, boil a pot of water and drop it in for about ten minutes. Carefully remove it with pliers or tweezers and then bend one half of the head of the brush backwards to create a corner-shaped cleaning brush that’s perfect for getting into tight corners and small crevices.
Easy Bathroom Hacks For That Perfect Shine
9. Prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging.
Just like it protects your skin from razor cuts, the glycerin in shaving cream can create a protective coating for your bathroom mirror to stop it from steaming up. To prevent your bathroom mirror from fogging up after your next shower, apply a thin layer of shaving cream and then wipe it off. Even better, use it on your shower doors, windshield, or eyeglasses to keep them fog-free, too.
10. Polish chrome and stainless-steel fixtures with shaving cream.
Much like household soaps, shaving cream contains active ingredients like surfactants and emulsifiers that work as gentle cleansing agents. This means you can use it with a clean rag or sponge to polish your water-stained stainless steel and chrome appliances and fixtures—sans any harsh chemicals.
11. Remove build-up from hair tools with a Magic Eraser.
Composed of abrasive melamine foam, Magic Erasers are designed to cut through stubborn gunk in no time. No surprise then that if you blot your curling wands and flatirons with a dampened one, you can quickly clean off sticky residue buildup from styling products. Just remember to wipe your tools down with a wet towel (to clear off any lingering crud) when you’re done.
12. Use aspirin crushed up in water to clean your bathroom in a pinch.
Fresh out of bathroom cleaner? No worries. The salicylic acid in aspirin makes it an effective cleaning agent, so if you run out of cleaner mid-routine, just drop two aspirin tablets in water and use it like you would any other cleaner to remove soap scum around your sink and shower.
13. Remove shower and tub soap scum with cooking spray.
Believe it or not, nonstick cooking spray can make cleaning your bathroom a breeze. Since oil breaks down lime deposits, a quick spritz of cooking spray on your bathtub or shower tile will instantly remove unwanted soap scum buildup. Just remember to rinse your tub clean with hot water after so you don’t slip and fall the next time you take a shower.
14. Shine faucets with cooking spray.
Few things will brighten up your fixtures faster than nonstick cooking spray. Spritz a little bit directly on your kitchen or bathroom faucet (or shower fixtures) to let the oil break down any grime or water stains and then wipe with a clean rag for a shiny finish.
15. Quiet a squeaky door or cabinet.
If you aren’t keeping a can of cooking spray in your bathroom by this point, you’re doing it wrong. In lieu of WD-40, spritz a little nonstick oil directly onto the hinges of a squeaky door or cabinet to keep them lubricated—and quiet.
16. Remove nail polish from carpet (and some fabrics!) with a Magic Eraser.
Let’s face it: Few stains are tougher to remove than a spilled bottle of nail polish. Start by applying rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. But if that doesn’t work, a Magic Eraser might. They are made of extra abrasive melamine foam, so you can moisten one to scrub dried nail polish out of carpet and rugs, and other non-delicate fabrics and textiles.
17. Clean your jewelry with shaving cream.
Guess what? The natural surfactants used in shaving cream make it a very gentle yet effective jewelry cleaner! Do your beloved (but dirty) baubles a solid and rub them around in a dollop of shaving cream for a minute and wipe them clean with fresh rag until they look shiny and new.
18. Clean glass shower doors with cooking spray.
Stuck with a shower door covered in soap scum? Grab the nearest bottle of cooking spray! Even a small spritz of nonstick cooking spray has more than enough oil to tackle the lime deposits on your glass shower door—just remember to rinse it clean with hot water when you’re done so no slick oily residue remains.
19. Keep a soap-dispensing dish brush in the shower to clean on the fly.
If you thought dish brushes were reserved for the kitchen sink then you might want to reconsider. If you keep a soap-dispensing brush handy in your bathroom, then you can use it to give the tile and tub in your shower a quick clean down before your wash off—or while you let your hair conditioner sink in. Look for one with a built-in scraper, like this $6 style at Amazon, so you can clean your grout with less effort.
20. Use the towel you dry off with to dry your bathroom fixtures so they don’t get water spots.
Your bath towels are good for way more than just drying off your hands and body—they can keep your bathroom fixtures shiny and clean, too. Every time you wash your hands or face in the bathroom sink, or take a shower, make a habit of using the towel you dry off with to wipe down your faucets and fixtures immediately afterwards, and you’ll keep water spots at bay—no marathon cleaning session necessary.
21. Squeegee glass shower doors after every shower.
If you don’t already have a squeegee in your shower then now’s the time to smarten up. Designed to quickly remove water and condensation from glass surfaces, spend two minutes after every shower wiping down your tile, tub, and doors with a squeegee—just like you would on the windshields of a car—to ensure you stop soap scum buildup in it tracks (so you won’t have to clean your bathroom nearly as often).
22. Rotate two machine-washable shower curtain liners.
The sad truth about shower curtain liners is that they get grody fast. That’s why you should only buy liners that are made of machine-washable fabrics so you can include them in your regular laundry routine. For added convenience, always keep a spare liner in your linen closet—so you can trade one out while you’re washing the other—for an always-clean shower curtain.
23. Keep a shaker of baking soda in the bathroom to extend time between toilet cleanings.
Searching for a goof-proof way to keep your toilet bowl sparkling between cleanings? Keep a shaker of baking soda handy in your bathroom. Baking soda absorbs odors and is slightly abrasive, so sprinkling it liberally into your toilet bowl before flushing can save you from having to use your toilet brush as frequently.
24. Easily clean grout with a bleach pen.
Bleach pens are surprisingly versatile cleaners. Along with removing stains from your laundry and shoes, you can use a bleach pen to deep clean grout. Just run a pen over the grout lines in your kitchen or bathroom tile and let it set overnight. Then use a sponge or cloth in warm water to wipe it clean and you’ll have bright grout lines for days.
25. Toothpaste can remove makeup from clothing.
Turns out toothpaste can clean more than teeth. Thanks to its mildly abrasive ingredients, toothpaste can remove tough makeup stains from your clothing, too. Simply cover the stain with toothpaste, rub it together and rinse with warm water before you throw the garment in the washer.
26. Keep a jar of rice and essential oils in the bathroom to reduce odors.
Rice has a lot of uses outside the kitchen. Since it’s an all-natural odor absorber, you can mix 10-20 drops of your favorite-smelling essential oils—think rosemary, peppermint, or lavender oil—with 1-2 cups of rice to create a leave-it-anywhere deodorizer. Shake the mixture up inside a mason jar, then cover it in a breathable fabric (secured with a rubber band) to soak up stinky smells in your bathroom, closet, or living room.
27. Put silica gel packets in the medicine cabinet to reduce humidity inside.
Believe it or not, those tiny little packs of silica gel packets that come in a box of new shoes can be pretty purposeful around your home. Designed to absorb moisture and hold water vapor, storing a couple of desiccant packs inside your medicine cabinet will help keep humidity at bay—so your medications stay stable and your razors don’t rust. Just remember to keep them out of reach from children and pets (since they’re a major choking hazard).
28. If you suspect your toilet is leaking, put food coloring in the tank.
Even a tiny leak in your toilet can wind up being an expensive problem. Per Virginia’s Halifax County Service Authority, a silent toilet leak can allow hundreds of gallons of water to be lost every day—which can add hundreds of dollars a year to your water and sewer bills! Luckily, if you add a few drops of food coloring into your toilet tank and let it sit for fifteen minutes, you can see if any colored water has seeped into the bowl and quickly detect a leak.
29. Dampen a used dryer sheet and use it to clean soap scum.
Before you throw out the used dryer sheets in your latest load of laundry, consider using them to clean soap scum off your shower and sink instead. Slightly abrasive and super pleasant-smelling, a moistened used dryer sheet is perfect for loosening and removing lime deposit residue from your bathroom tile, tub, and fixtures.
30. Soak a dryer sheet in nail polish remover to remove tough nail polish stains.
Ask any beauty queen and they’ll tell you the same: Dried glitter nail polish is a b*tch to remove. Fortunately, when soaked in nail polish remover, even a used dryer sheet is abrasive enough to help dislodge stubborn nail polish from your fingers, counters, and carpet without causing any damage—so keep a pile handy in your medicine cabinet.
31. Use hair ties to dry your makeup brushes upside down after cleaning.
Did you know that drying your brushes upside down, instead of laying them flat, will ensure they dry quickly and thoroughly? Good news: You can use elastic hair ties to hang your brushes to air dry—no flipping necessary! Just fashion a washed makeup brush upside down on a towel bar with the help of a hair tie and simply let the water naturally drip off it—and onto a towel on the floor—until it’s dry.
32. Sandwich your toilet brush under the toilet seat to dry before putting it away.
A wet toilet brush packed in its holder is a recipe for bathroom mold and bacteria. Whether you’ve just used it to wipe down your toilet bowl or washed it down with disinfectant in hot water, sticking a wet toilet brush back in the holder is a big no-no. To ensure it gets totally dry after each use, sandwich the wet brush under the toilet seat and let it drip dry into the bowl before you put it away.
33. Dust the toilet before you wet-clean it.
Few housekeeping jobs are less fun than cleaning a toilet, and tackling the dust and grime buildup around the base is arguably the hardest part. Thankfully, Apartment Therapy writer Shifrah Combiths had a stroke of genius about dusting (or vacuuming) your toilet (and the area around the bottom) before wiping it down with cleaner, so you can remove any loose debris prior to scrubbing.