Purely practical ways to clean and organize around the house.
Remember to share your favourite tips!
Don’t cry over spilled wax. Get candle wax drippings out of your carpet by putting a paper towel over the wax, then gently running a hot iron over it. The heat melts the wax and immediately gets absorbed by the paper towel.
Get rid of that gunky mess in the microwave. Heat a clean, wet cloth in the microwave for 2 minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes to cool off and let the steam do its trick, then squeeze excess water out of the cloth and wipe microwave clean. The steam makes it easy to wipe away the food guck without any elbow grease or chemicals.
Get your dishwasher cleaning more than dishes. Dishwashers make it easy to clean and disinfect can openers, scissors, plastic hair brushes and combs, your dish scrubber, soap dishes, toothbrush holders and more. Just don’t put wood, copper, crystal, cast iron, hand-painted ceramics and antiques or other delicate items that common-sense dictates should be hand-washed.
Clean your can opener. Can openers are often neglected, accumulating gross bacteria gunk under the blades. Ewww. Rinse after each use, or if it needs a deep clean, put in the dishwasher. If there’s rust, soak rusty parts overnight in a small bowl of white or apple cider vinegar. Brush residue with an old toothbrush, then rinse well. Dry by shaking water out and/or drying with a cloth or paper towel, and leave in open position so any remaining moisture can air dry.
Re-use paper towels. When I’ve used paper towels and they’re not too soiled, I dampen them and wipe the grimiest parts of my floors and window tracks before tossing them in the green waste bin. Think of those gross places under your fridge and stove, or the dirty tracks of sliding doors or windows. Or if you’ve cleaned your mirrors in the bathroom, dampen the barely soiled paper towels and give your floor a quick wipe, especially corners and edges where the hair and dust bunnies tend to accumulate. Then voila! The bulk of the disgusting-ness is gone.
Clean residual wax out candle holders by popping them in the freezer for a few hours. Then, it can pop out (sometimes with a little help from a dull knife). Any stubborn residue can be rinsed with steaming hot water and wiped off with a paper towel—and you know how to re-use that paper towel! 🙂
Make your own glass cleaner. A simple solution of dish soap, a splash of vinegar and warm water will get your windows absolutely streak free. Put in a dollar-store spray bottle and wipe clean with a good microfibre cloth, newspaper or coffee filter.
Get rid of moldy spots on your shower curtain. Just throw that plastic or vinyl curtain in the washing machine! Add a couple of towels for extra cleaning agitation, then hang it back up to dry or put in the dryer on low heat. To keep it clean longer, stretch the curtain out after each shower to help moisture evaporate.
Get rid of stink! Baking soda is the BEST at eliminating odours. Sprinkle in stinky shoes, let it sit for a day, and tap it out well before wearing again. Also works great in stinky garbage bins, garbage disposals, or anywhere you want to get rid of stink.
Clean roasting pans by soaking them with a bit of dish soap, hot water and a generous sprinkle of baking soda. The burnt-on food will slip off easily an hour later (let soak overnight if really bad).
Freshen any fabric that can’t be put in the laundry. Generously sprinkle with baking soda, rub it in, let sit for a half hour, then vacuum up the residue. Think stinky pet beds, or after you’ve cleaned the cat pee out of the carpet or kid’s puke off the couch, etc.
Swap household chores with your spouse. Dad gets more one-on-one time with the kids while mom does jobs unrelated to childcare. I sincerely welcome the change of mowing the lawn after dinner while Derek washes dishes and gets the kids ready for bed.
Negotiate a rate with your babysitter/local teen to do simple household chores when the kids are asleep. For a totally worthwhile extra fee, our babysitter would empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, fold laundry, dust, wipe baseboards, etc. Alternatively, hire and train a local teen to do these housekeeping chores at a fraction of the cost of professional cleaners.