Almost all of us are spending a lot of time at home and it’s spring, which may mean spring cleaning, tidying up and wiping stuff down like we’ve never done before. To set ourselves up for success, we sorted through pages of tips and tricks from professional house cleaners like Merry Maids, the Cleaning Authority and more so we could all clean our homes just like them. Ready, set … clean.
No matter what room in your house you’re cleaning, leave the floor for last. As you clean, dust will fall and gather on the floor, so starting with the floor will only double the amount of work you have to do since you’ll have to broom, vacuum or mop all over again.
The bathroom is a highly trafficked space and the proper way to clean it is working from top to bottom. Cleaning experts suggest starting with the ceiling fan or vents, then moving on to the wall tile, shower doors, mirror and vanity. You should clean the toilet, tub and the floor last.
You might clean the toilet bowl every week and scrub your bathtub often. But what about the toothbrush holder or the soap dispenser? According to Merry Maids, when you forget about small details, your bathroom can still look grimy even if you just finished cleaning.
Anything in the bathroom that is exposed to moisture can be a breeding ground for bacteria. The Cleaning Authority has a three-step approach to clean a showerhead. First, remove the showerhead and clean between the holes using an old toothbrush, then soak it in a tub of white vinegar for a few hours, which will make it easier to scrub the debris. Last, clean the filter per the showerhead manual — doing so can improve the flow of water dramatically.
andriano_cz/iStock / Getty Images Plus
Your cleaning tools (especially the ones you use in the bathroom) do all the dirty work and need to be cleaned regularly, too. Every few weeks, you should pour a few drops of an all-purpose cleaner in the bottom of the toilet brush holder and leave the brush to sit.
When working from home, a clean workspace makes all the difference. For the most efficient way to tidy it up, you should start by taking everything off your desk before evaluating and determining which items you want to put back.
You should definitely keep microfiber cloths around as they are both environmentally friendly and effective when it comes to cleaning the surfaces of electronics and cellphones. If you use or reuse microfiber cloths, experts recommend washing them in hot water and drying them on the hottest setting after each use.
For stubborn grime or grease that gets burnt on the bottom of your pots and pans, trying to just wash it off is a waste of water. Don’t do it. You’ll need to use an abrasive sponge made of plastic, or one that has a higher level of toughness to scrub it all off.
Pet dander can cause allergies and put a damper on the air quality of your home. A neat trick to get rid of pet hair that settles on furniture is to use a dry sponge to collect it. You can also use dry sponges to clean fabric curtains or carpet.
It’s quite common to forget some places when cleaning your way through the house, and it’s usually the most obvious places that are the dirtiest in your home. According to the Cleaning Authority, germ hotspots that should be disinfected regularly include doorknobs, light switches, phones, stair railings, thermostats, computer keyboards, TV remotes and garage door openers.
Things like cell phones, which are now in the hands of almost every child and teen, can harbor far more germs than people think. A 2017 study published in the journal Germs found a host of viruses and bacteria on teenagers’ cell phones. To clean your phone according to the pros, first wipe the phone with a microfiber cloth and then gently with a disinfectant wipe.
Mariakray/iStock / Getty Images Plus
If the laundry room is on your list of spring cleaning, you should start by getting a hamper. It might seem obvious, but it’s an overlooked item in the cleaning process. The Cleaning Authority suggests placing a sorting hamper for whites, darks and delicates in every person’s room. Doing so will save time and space by having the items already sorted.
If you have a front-load washer, you may have experienced a stinky, sour smell after prolonged use. According to experts, that unpleasant smell is an indication that your washer has bacteria and mold present. To fix this, mix a fourth cup baking soda and a fourth cup water and pour into the detergent filler. And then pour 2 cups of vinegar into the drum and run a normal wash cycle on the highest heat setting.
According to experts at Stanley Steamer, to clean a fabric couch, start by very gently brushing off dust and dander, which will also help loosen up any hair or debris. Then use the vacuum attachment to suck up all the excess off the upholstery. Stanley Steamer warns that baking soda can discolor the fabric, so be extra cautious when following such tips from DIY bloggers. Cleaning the couch is just one step in the deep-cleaning process.
For leather couches, the folks at Stanley Steamer suggest vacuuming debris off first and then wiping it down with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. You can pour the mix into a clear spray bottle and spritz it all over before wiping down with a white microfiber cloth. With a white cloth, you won’t risk colors transferring over to the couch. Your couch actually might be one of the ways you are cleaning your house wrong.
A healthy bedroom is just as important as the rest of the house, especially when considering some of the 500 million cells we shed daily, along with sweat, pollen, pet dander, fungi and mold, are probably going to bed with us every night. You should be keeping up with the laundry and washing your sheets at least once every two weeks, or even more frequently if you suffer from allergies.
It’s important to know how to clean your dishwasher properly. It does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to dish cleaning, but it also needs to be cleaned every now and then. The easiest way to give your dishwasher a wash is to add a strong cleaning agent like baking soda and run a cycle with hot water.
It’s very likely you’re whipping up lattes and macchiatos and other coffee drinks on a daily basis. And if you have a drip coffee maker and aren’t cleaning it regularly, you might want to check for mold and mildew. To wash the gunk out, you can run a half-brew cycle with water and vinegar.
Cutting boards are yet another hotbed for bacteria, especially if you cook with meat often. And unlike plastic cutting boards, wooden ones should never be placed in the dishwasher as they can split apart. But to clean a wooden or bamboo board, you need only a lemon, sea salt, a microfiber cloth and a plastic spatula to scrape the residue off.
First things first, after you accidentally burn your pot, run cold water onto it to stop the heat from scorching the pot further. Afterward, soak it in water and a couple tablespoons of salt for at least an hour, then use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the residue. Although your mom could have told you that, too.
Most vacuums get the job done, but they might also be releasing dust back into the air, which means dust mites will likely settle elsewhere. But the experts have a solution: a vacuum with a HEPA rated filter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” A vacuum rated at this level has the ability to catch particles as small as .3 microns with an efficiency of 99.97%. Checking all the filters in your home should be on your home maintenance checklist.
Grout can put a real damper on an otherwise clean space. To clean grout, make a paste with a half cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and use an old toothbrush to scrub.
Jamesmcq24/E+ via Getty Images
Not cleaning your shower curtains is a common home mistake that could be making you sick. If your plastic shower curtain collects mildew every now and then, you’ll need a handy hack to get rid of it. Merry Maids experts suggest soaking the curtain in a filled tub with warm water and a splash of bleach. After soaking it, run it through the washing machine on the rinse cycle. And make sure to thoroughly rinse the bleach out from your tub with warm water.
Cleaning professionals strongly advise against the use of acidic cleaners on marble countertops. The acid in things like vinegar, lemon juice and citrus-based cleaners can ruin marble and stone countertops.
Though you can find special marble cleaners online and in stores, marble doesn’t need much to get squeaky clean. According to experts, warm water and a microfiber washcloth will take care of everyday wiping and cleaning. And if you find sticky gunk on the counters, just wrap your cloth around a plastic spatula and gently scrape it off.
To maintain the health and happiness of your dog, you’ll need to clean its bed regularly — and you only need a vacuum cleaner and a lint roller to do so. But first, you should shake out the bed outside to get rid of any loose fur and dander. After the bed airs out, use the vacuum attachment (or a handheld one) to remove hair and then go over it with a lint roller to grab the more stubborn bits of fur.
If something spoiled in the fridge and you didn’t catch it soon enough, it may have stunk everything up. But the USDA has a quick cleaning solution to solve this dilemma. After you dispose of whatever went bad, remove everything from the fridge including the shelves. Wash them thoroughly with hot water and dish detergent and then rinse them off with a mixture of unscented liquid chlorine bleach and water. After you wipe down the interior of the fridge, leave the door open for 15 minutes. Make sure to thoroughly wash your hands after tackling this mess.
Oxford/iStock / Getty Images Plus
A stinky garbage disposal can quickly spread throughout the whole kitchen, so you want to clean it thoroughly at least once a month. And the experts say you don’t even need fancy cleaners — just an all-natural cleaning solution made from lemons, rock salt and ice. First, fill the drain with 2 cups of ice, pour a cup of rock salt down the drain and then run the cold water and turn the disposal on until all the ice is rinsed away. With the disposal still running, carefully throw in lemon quarters and turn the disposal off after the lemon is all gone.
fotostorm/E+ via Getty Images
A mistake a lot of people make when cleaning their house is not finishing one task before jumping to another. A fantastic home organizing hack is to strategize by rooms. For example, start and finish the bathroom before moving to the kitchen. You’ll know exactly what has been cleaned and what is next instead of tackling it all in one go.
The pros at Merry Maids suggest an all-natural ingredient to scrub hard water stains right off. Instead of a harsh bathroom or all-purpose cleaner, rub half a lemon on your metal faucets to break down the water stains. Not only will it give your bathroom a fresh, citrus aroma, but using all-natural cleaning products is also one of the 35 ways to create a healthier home.
More from The Active Times: