By Rosie Hatch and Nikhita Mahtani

Published on April 29, 2018

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Photography by PHUONG NGUYEN

The changing of seasons is a good excuse to deep clean your home, but let’s be real: Spring is not the only time we have to clean. If we only toiled away once a year, our homes would be a complete disaster. The reality is that we are cleaning all the time, whether we’re dedicating a Friday night to organizing the kitchen or simply taking 20 minutes to spruce up the bedroom.

No matter what we’re doing, we’re always looking for the most efficient, fastest way to make it happen—and turns out, the best spring cleaning hacks can be used all year long. From making your own cleaning supplies to unconventional ways to eliminate odors, these tips and tricks will save you time and energy, and give you a bright, sparkling home. (Not sure where to start? Let your horoscope guide you.)

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Photography by NATALIE ENG

Make your own cleaning products

Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef and Head of Recipe Development at foodkit delivery service HelloFresh, believes that the easiest way to make cleaning a part of your life is to use products you already have in your kitchen. Here are her top natural cleaning supplies:

  • Cream of tartar can act as a natural bleaching agent for white kitchen sinks or tile.
  • Vinegar and baking soda can wipe away grease and dirt from your microwave. 
  • Baking soda with a splash of club soda is great for stain removal, especially if your tablecloth or apron gets dirty.
  • Get rid of soap scum and rust from your shower by rubbing affected surfaces with the cut surface of a halved lemon. Allow the juice to work its magic for about a minute, and then use a rough pad to get any remaining junk.
  • Add one cup of undiluted lemon juice to your laundry to act as a natural bleach to clothing.
  • Forget to use a coaster? Remove water rings using a pinch of salt and coconut oil. Let it sit one hour before buffing away with a cloth.
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Photography by SARAH VONH

Toss, reuse, recycle

Old makeup, broken kitchen utensils, and expired coupons are all taking up valuable space in your home. Get rid of the clutter so you can organize what remains and give your space a deeper clean. We’ve all heard the tried and true rule: If you haven’t used it in a year, it’s time to get rid of it. But there’s another motto that might be helpful: If you were currently shopping and came across the item in question, would you buy it again? Now, you have your answer.

Gather items as you go in four bags: toss, recycle, donate, and sell. You can find plenty of organizations near you that would love your donated items, so you can feel good about letting them go. On the other hand, your prior impulse buys make great items to resell. Explore the many resources that target your local area via Facebook groups, apps, or websites like Craigslist. Or send clothing off to ThredUp or TheRealReal, and put the cash towards something you really want.

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Photography by APARTMENT THERAPY

Get crafty

Nobody loves cleaning for a long period of time, so find ways to cut corners. Instead of washing a bunch of non-dishes by hand, put your dishwasher to work. This appliance is great for washing toothbrush holders, toys, and flower vases. Just make sure you use gentle cycle and avoid the heated dryer.

Some other cool tips:

  • For grimy cast iron skillets, use a cut potato, vegetable oil, and salt to make them look like new again.
  • For dusty ceiling fans, slide old pillowcases onto the blades and pull toward you. That way, dust and dirt will stay inside the case and not blow into the air.
  • Lint rollers are great for removing dust from lamp shades, sofas, and even your walls.
  • Use old socks sprayed with water on your hands to clean blinds and window shades. 
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Photography by HAY

It shouldn’t just look good, but smell good, too

While your home might be clean, there are still a few lingering odors that might remain (or maybe you just want to avoid that cleaning product smell). Sidoti says, “A fun way to eliminate house odors is to put cinnamon sticks and apple pie spice on a sheet pan, and place in an oven. The aroma smells like you have an apple pie baking.”

For trickier, out-of-sight spots Sidot has a few tricks as well: “Eliminate odors in garbage disposals by freezing white vinegar in an ice cube tray. Then, run the cubes through the garbage disposal to deodorize and clean drains. Save lemon or lime rinds—if you run them through the garbage disposal, the citrus helps to deodorize, too.”

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Photography by KATE OSBORNE

Clean your cleaning devices

Your cleaning objects can get dirty just like the rest of your home can, so make sure to always clean them, too. “Before you break out the sponges and gloves, boil them in water for a few minutes and dry completely,” says Sidoti. “Don’t put them in the dishwasher to disinfect, as it may spread the bacteria.”

The same goes for mops, brooms, and your vacuum: You don’t want to spread dirt around your floor, so take a moment to clean these tools, as well. Your vacuum filter in particular should be changed or cleaned regularly as dust quickly builds up. 

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Photography by LOVELY INDEED

Don’t forget your flowers

Vases can be hard to clean, and this can ruin how long your flowers last. So, Sidoti has a little tip for those hard-to-clean areas: “Before sprucing up your home with some freshly bloomed flowers, grab some uncooked grains, mix them with warm water, and swish around inside a vase to scrub hard to reach spots.”

This story was originally published March 26, 2017. It has been updated with new information.

See more cleaning tips:

The Bathroom Necessity You’re Neglecting But Shouldn’t Be
How to Care for Your Vintage Rugs

The Home Essentials You Should Be Replacing in the New Year

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