10 Quick Tips To A Clean House

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Whether you're having guests over tomorrow or just want the house to seem less dirty, cleaning can really hang over your head. It takes time and hard work, two things that are tough to sacrifice on a day off. So, if you'd like a quick way to fix up your home, then start here. We've got 10 quick and clever ways to make your home seem fresh out of the maid's service. Get cracking!

  1. Brighten the bathroom. Every guest uses this room at least once, and its cleanliness will not go unnoticed. So, clean it up! First, flush the toilet. Pour a cup of bleach into the bowl, brush around the sides and under the rim, and let it sit. Spray a microfiber cloth with a 50-50 water-white vinegar solution, and scrub away obvious drips and stains from your sinks, mirrors and countertops, including toothpaste spatter and water stains. Take your bathroom rug outside, shake it out and fluff it up. Finally, flush the bleach down the toilet.
  2. Put the living room in order. It's what everyone sees when they walk in, so do a quick once-over. Run a microfiber cloth over the coffee table, TV and mantle. Pile any books or magazines into neat piles, and put all remotes neatly in one spot. Plump any throw pillows or cushions, and use a cloth to pick up any obvious clumps of pet hair or dust. Drape throw blankets over any dingy or less desirable parts of your furniture.
  3. Speed-clean the mudroom. Don't bother cleaning your mudroom or entryway until the mud on the ground is completely dry. Once crusty, the dirt can be easily swept out the back door. Then wipe the floor down with a Swiffer WetJet or the like. To get rid of any scuff marks, apply baking soda with a damp sponge to the area, let it sit and wipe it off.
  4. Run the dishwasher. OK, so you're trying to conserve energy. But for a quick fix, just toss those dirty dishes into the dishwasher. You don't even have to run it if you don't plan on feeding anyone. Run water over detergent or soap bottles that have drip marks, and then stick them, pot scrubbers and any rubber gloves under the sink.
  5. Easy on the oven. No one will be sticking their noses in here, so if you haven't run the self-cleaning cycle and can't commit to spending hours on the job, then don't fret. Spot-clean any obvious greasy stovetop spills with a sponge and a bit of baking soda. Let it sit for a minute. Then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or paper towel.
  6. De-hair the chairs. Nobody likes a pile of pet hair. Don't bother with a lint roller, because it takes forever and is ineffective. Instead, don rubber gloves and run your hands over the arms, seats and backs of all furniture. Toss it in the trash as you go. For water-safe furniture, wet the gloves for even better pickup.
  7. Organize the front hall. We know how hallways can get a little... cluttered. Grab a laundry basket or storage bin to serve as your "junk" receptacle. Load it with any shoes, gloves, hats, etc. in the hall. Then put any table clutter, such as keys or mail, into a plastic grocery bag, and put that bag into the receptacle, too. Store the bin in a laundry room or closet.
  8. Deodorize the kitchen. As we've said before, white vinegar is a godsend. To combat pesky cooking fumes in your kitchen, mix 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 1 cup water in a saucepan and boil for several minutes. The acidic vinegar will battle the basic odors in the air, neutralizing both.
  9. De-clutter your desktop. It's all about presentation. Clear the table. For washable surfaces, sponge with an all-purpose cleaner and rinse. For sealed wooden surfaces, use a vinegar-water mix. For sticky stains, let either cleaning solution sit for a few seconds, and then scrape the stain away with a credit card. Wipe it down and rinse. To remove ink stains, use a rubbing alcohol-dipped cotton ball. Rinse it down with a sponge afterward.
  10. Fix up the fireplace. Let any ash in your fireplace cool completely. Then sprinkle it with damp tea leaves or coffee grounds; this will cover the stale smell and keep dust down. Scoop as much of the pile up with a fireplace shovel as you can and dump it into a metal bucket or bin. Throw the mess outside.

As you go along, you'll realize that half of cleanliness is illusion. Like they say: out of sight, out of mind. As long as you keep things mostly tidy, you'll feel right at home in your new, (semi)clean household. Sit back, relax and enjoy the simplicity.

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
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About Emelie Battaglia Emelie Battagila is a contributing writer for Idealhomegarden.com

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