Published on February 10, 2019

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Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

From the grease on your oven from late-night pizzas to the buildup in your tub from your bath bomb addiction to a year’s worth of dust bunnies under your bed from willful ignorance of their existence, housekeepers have seen it all. And as such, they have some pretty genius tips for dealing with the worst of it—and more importantly, ensuring your home never gets so bad you have to call in a pro.

To tap this expertise, we turned to Reddit. Home of pure, unfiltered (and occasionally unsolicited) advice, there are heaps of tips and tricks from former and current cleaning people and janitors. The 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/vinegar and wipe down some stuff for the other five,” recommends user PwniesThe idea, though hardly revolutionary, is a small change to try that’ll make a huge difference in the way you think about cleaning. When done daily, it seems less daunting.

From homemade remedies that rival Martha Stewart to general best-practice recommendations that will save you lots of time and stress down the road, we learned a lot by perusing various cleaning threads on Reddit. Here are 10 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

On Cleaning the Floors…

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

“If you use those Swiffer sprayer things, they make the refills hard to open so you will have to keep buying more. 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 shower cleaning (I use some kind of bleach) spray 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. Work 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 Cleaning Products…

“Instead of buying cleaner, buy 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 smell 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)