Published on January 18, 2020

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Photography by Ryan Liebe

From the grease in your oven (thanks, late-night pizzas) to the bath bomb buildup in your tub to the year’s worth of dust bunnies under your bed, housekeepers have seen it all. And that’s why they have some pretty genius tips for dealing with the worst of it—and more important—ensuring your home never gets so bad you actually have to call in a pro. 

To tap into their expertise, we turned to Reddit, home of pure, unfiltered (and occasionally unsolicited) advice. There, we found heaps of tips and tricks from former and current cleaning people and janitors. Their number-one hack? Clean as you go.

“Clean a little often. Spend 10 minutes a day doing it. Pick some stuff up for five minutes [and] get a rag with water and vinegar and wipe down some stuff for the other five,” recommends user Pwnies. The idea, though hardly revolutionary, is a small change to try that will make a huge difference in the way you think about cleaning. When done daily, it seems less daunting. 

Between homemade remedies and general best-practice recommendations that will save you time and stress down the road, we learned a lot by following various cleaning threads. Here are 13 takeaways, just in time for spring cleaning.

On Cleaning the Kitchen

“Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water and lemon juice. Run your microwave on high for five to 10 minutes. Let the bowl cool a bit and remove it. The steam should loosen any caked-on grit. Grab a sponge/cloth and wipe clean.” —user UrbanGimli

“A glass scraper is enormously helpful for scraping funk off of cooktops, dishes, and glass shower doors.” —user Woogly Oogly

“Use tea tree oil on anything you want to shine: kitchen sink, taps, appliances. It’s amazing and smells lovely.” —user little-bird89

On Cleaning the Floors…

“If you’ve got funky smells in fabric or carpet, I recommend spraying whatever it is with isopropyl alcohol diluted in water.” —user Woogly Oogly

“If you use those Swiffer sprayer things, they make the refills hard to open. Boil some water and hold the bottle cap-down in the boiling water for a minute: It’ll soften the little plastic thing that makes the top refuse to unscrew, and you’ll be able to open and close it like any other bottle. Snip off the plastic blockers inside with nail clippers.” —user Eurie

On Cleaning the Bathroom

“Squeegee your shower stall, and you’ll be able to put in 90 percent less effort when it needs to be cleaned.” —user Woogly Oogly

“Keep cleaning spray (I use some kind of bleach) in the shower. At the end of every shower, spray the walls and curtain (if you have one). This will prevent mold and prolong the life of your shower curtain.” —user UrbanGimli

On How to Clean

“The company I used to work for taught us a whole system of how to clean a house. Go from left to right and top to bottom. This system really works in more complicated rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, because it ensures you don’t miss a surface.” —anonymous user

“Use rags instead of paper towels, because they do a way better job and will save you a ton of money.” —user Woogly Oogly

“Always do your vacuuming last. As you clean each room, you’ll probably be knocking dust and particles and whatnot onto the floor, so once the room has been dusted and surfaces have been wiped down, you can finish off with a good vacuum.” —anonymous user

On Choosing the Right Products

“Blue Dawn dish soap is magical. I live and die by the stuff. I was cleaning a white couch that had set-in hot sauce stains on it—a little warm water, dish soap, some dabbing (not wiping), and it came almost completely out in two to three minutes.” —user MissyTurtle

“Instead of buying cleaner, get a spray bottle, some vinegar, and some Fabuloso. Make a mix that’s mostly water, some vinegar, and just enough Fabuloso to cut the vinegar scent and make it smell good.” —user Eurie

“Pretty much all your cleaning needs can be met with bleach, vinegar, ammonia, isopropyl, baking soda, and a wood cleaner. It goes without saying, but you should not mix those.” —user Woogly Oogly

See more cleaning hacks:
5 Genius Ways to Fight Microwave and Kitchen Grease, According to Reddit
Laundry Experts Do These 4 Things Before Tossing Their Clothes in the Wash
This Japanese Cleaning Tool Is Genius (and Costs Less Than $7)

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