Owning or renting your own place is wonderful, until it comes time to clean. There’s no easy way around it! Unless you have the spare money to spend on a cleaning service every week (and let’s face it, you probably don’t), you need to put in the work to make your home clean. I want to help you keep up the good work by giving you some of the best cleaning tips for the house.
These tips come from people around the world who have found easier or more efficient ways to clean. I want to give you tips about every room, and help you out with your whole home. So, without further ado… Let the tips begin!
Table of Contents
- #1: Dust with a microfiber cloth
- #2: Change your mop water often to avoid streaks
- #3: Start from the top and work down
- #4: Spend 5 – 15 minutes a day tidying up
- #5: Clean your cleaning equipment regularly
- #6: Keep cleaning supplies in easy to reach places
- #7: Mop backwards towards the doorway
- #8: Carry a trash bag around with you
- #9: Keep your cleaning supplies in a caddy
- #10: Clean walls left to right, one at a time
- #11: Start the laundry first
- Living Room
- Best Cleaning Supplies and Equipment for the Home
- Home Maintenance Equipment
- How to Keep Your House Clean All the Time
- Green Cleaning Solutions
#1: Dust with a microfiber cloth
Traditional feather dusters may be easy to use, but they just move the dust from one place to another. Microfiber cloth rags pick up the dust and help you get rid of it for good instead of just putting it on the floor or elsewhere in the room. You can also use a gripping duster like a Swiffer.
#2: Change your mop water often to avoid streaks
We all hate streaks on our freshly mopped floors! Avoid that awful look by changing your mop water frequently while you’re mopping. Dilute a small amount of liquid cleaner into a large amount of water, then change that water mixture out as soon as it starts to look dirty. This helps to minimize or avoid streaks.
#3: Start from the top and work down
Whatever room you’re in, starting cleaning it from the top and work your way down to the floors. This way you’ll be able to vacuum, sweep, or mop up whatever you knocked on the floor while dusting or cleaning cabinets. If you vacuum first, you will just knock dirt on the floor again when you’re dusting and cleaning the upper parts of the room.
#4: Spend 5 – 15 minutes a day tidying up
You don’t have to fully clean your house every time. Instead of letting yourself get overwhelmed by a messy home, spend a few quick minutes each day or every other day tidying up. Don’t worry about vacuuming or dusting at this time, just pick up clutter, throw away junk, and straighten up the main living spaces.
#5: Clean your cleaning equipment regularly
If you use dirty equipment to clean your house, you’ll spend a lot more time doing a less efficient job. Dirty mops and vacuums will pick up less dirt and will sometimes spread the mess around instead of cleaning it up. This also applies to rags, toilet brushes, squeegees, scrubbing sponges, brooms, etc.!
#6: Keep cleaning supplies in easy to reach places
If you have to dig your supplies out of the closet or go searching the house for them, you’ll likely be less motivated to clean. Keep them in a convenient location that you can access easily. If you have young children around, make sure the place they’re stored is restricted to adults only.
#7: Mop backwards towards the doorway
Instead of walking forward with your mop and stepping on your freshly mopped floor, start in the far corner of the room and work backwards to the doorway. Map it out so that you won’t have to walk over any area you’ve already mopped. Always make the doorway into another your (or outside) your ending point for each room.
#8: Carry a trash bag around with you
When you’re tidying up the house before vacuuming or dusting, it’s a good idea to carry around a trash bag with you. You can empty small trash cans around the house and also throw away any junk that’s cluttered up around the house. This is the best method to make sure you actually chuck the junk you don’t need!
#9: Keep your cleaning supplies in a caddy
Remember how your supplies need to be located somewhere convenient? Well, they should also ideally be placed in a small caddy so you can carry them around the house while you’re cleaning. It’s going to make cleaning so much easier for you, and you can even have your supplies separated for different floors of the house.
#10: Clean walls left to right, one at a time
You don’t necessarily have to go left to right, but the point here is to come up with a system and follow it. If you just randomly clean the walls you might clean some parts more than once or miss a few places entirely. Working with a set system and going one wall at a time makes it easier to be efficient and effective.
#11: Start the laundry first
Laundry takes time, but if you start a load before you get to your other housework it may be done by the time you are. This helps you get more done at once, and gives you the motivation to finish off your laundry, since you’re already on the move cleaning and organizing.
#12: Start with an empty dishwasher and sink
You can’t really expect to get any cleaning done in the kitchen without the sink being empty. It’s unrealistic! So, remove any dirty dishes from the sink, unload the (hopefully) clean dishwasher, and then start your work in the kitchen. Do the dishes first, with your freed-up sink and dishwasher, then work on the countertops.
#13: Keep a small vacuum for cleaning sudden messes
A good cordless stick vacuum should be a staple item for any family kitchen! These things are priceless for cleaning up small messes made between whole-house cleaning. They will help your kitchen stay clean without you having to break out your full vacuum. A stick vacuum is just about the best vacuum for hardwood floors, anyway.
#14: Pan scrapers can be used on the floors and countertops as well as the dishes
Don’t limit yourself to just a few cleaning supplies; get creative! Your plastic pan scraper is the perfect tool for kitchen spills that have dried onto the floor and countertops. If you have flat, electric stove burners, you can also use your scraper on these when they’re cooled down. Get the toughest dried spills wet before trying to scrape them up.
#15: Wash the kitchen, not just the dishes
We like to think of our nightly duty as “doing the dishes”. But, I propose you change that from dish duty to kitchen cleaning. It’s not enough to clean the dishes off the counter, you also need to wipe down the counters and sweep the mess from the floors. This is the only way to truly keep your kitchen clean throughout the week.
#16: Upgrade your trash and recycling
If you find yourself putting recycles or trash in a small bag nearby the main canister, because of overflow, you need to bite the bullet and upgrade to a larger canister. Not being able to fit stuff in your trash can or recycles is not a good thing, and it makes your kitchen get very cluttered and dirty more quickly.
#17: Beat cushions and pillows with a tennis racket
Vacuuming cushions on your couch and chairs will help to get rid of most of the dust from the upper layers of the fabric, but it won’t get rid of all the dust. About once a month you should take the cushions outside and beat on them. Tennis rackets are a great tool for beating dust out, because they’re lightweight and have a large, clear surface area.
#18: Clean wooden furniture with mineral spirits
You may not know much about mineral spirits, because they’re not used in much around the house. But, they make excellent wood cleaners that don’t ruin the finish on the furniture. Get a clean rag damp with mineral spirits and wipe down the wooden furniture until you don’t pick up any more grime when you wipe again.
#19: Always vacuum last
I covered this above briefly, but it’s important to save vacuuming your living room for last. You’re likely to unearth a lot of dirt, crumbs, and other debris when you’re cleaning the couch, shelves, and tables. Save yourself from vacuuming twice by just waiting to vacuum after you’ve cleaned and dusted everything else.
#20: Declutter daily
Vacuuming and dusting aren’t needed every day in most homes, but clutter builds up very quickly. Take a few minutes to fold up blankets back onto the couch, clean off and arrange the coffee table, put away DVDs and other media, and pick up stuff from the floor. This should only take a few minutes daily, and it will make the space feel better instantly.
#21: Rotate sofa cushions
When you take your cushions off to vacuum underneath them or beat the dust out, rotate them to help even out the wear and tear. Not all cushions can be rotated, because of the design, so this tip doesn’t apply to every sofa or living room chair.
#22: Collect items that belong elsewhere in a basket
If your living room is a collecting point for items from around the house, take a basket into the room with you. Place everything that doesn’t belong in the living room into the basket, and put all of the items back where they go at once after you’re done cleaning up.
#23: Lint roll the couches for instant pet hair clean-up
When guests are coming with little notice, or if you simply want to sit on the couch without getting covered in fur, roll the cushions with a lint roller. This is a good trick to make it look like the living room is cleaner than it really is. Since the couches are the main thing people will touch, they won’t be as bothered by dirt on the floors or around the tables.
#24: Remove everything from the bathroom floor, shower, or tub before starting
It’s much easier to clean the bathroom if you can do it all at once instead of having to work a little bit at a time. If possible, remove everything that’s just sitting around the bathroom and clean it all in one fell swoop. This will be a lot faster and a better use of your time.
#25: Wipe the mirror with newspapers
Spray a little glass cleaner on the mirror and wipe it with newspapers instead of a cloth. Cloths can sometimes lead to more uneven cleaning and streaks, whereas newspapers are great for absorbing the cleaner and leaving less of a mess behind them as you wipe.
#26: Use acidic cleaners to remove rust stains
Rust stains in the tub and toilet can age any bathroom and make it look dirty, even when it’s clean. To get rid of them, don’t try a bleach cleaner or normal bathroom cleaner. Instead, look for an acid-based cleaner. Check for these ingredients: Hydrochloric acid, HCL, hydrogen chloride, and muriatic acid. Let it sit on the rust spots before scrubbing them off.
#27: Squeegee the hard surfaces (and the shower curtain!)
If you leave the water to dry on its own, you’ll be opening up your bathroom to streaks and smudges from uneven drying. Also, you might spend a long time scrubbing individual tiles and section of the tub. Try a squeegee to solve both of these problems at once. Then, you can use a sponge to clean the tighter spaces that the squeegee can’t reach.
#28: Let the tile cleaner sit for a few minutes
You’re not doing yourself any favors by pouring on tile cleaner and then trying to lean up immediately. It might seem fast and efficient, but you’re not giving the cleaner time to attach onto dirt particles. Let it sit for at LEAST 5 minutes before you wipe it all off.
#29: Keep a small trashcan for papers and clutter items
Junk from your pockets usually ends up somewhere around the room, where it collects until you eventually clean it up. Try keeping a small trash can in the rooms for all these pocket junk items instead. That way you will have them all thrown out in the same place, and won’t have to find them around the room while you’re cleaning.
#30: Open up the windows to air out the room
While you’re cleaning, especially dusting or changing the bed, open up the windows if it’s safe and possible. This will bring in some fresh out, draw the dust out, and help to make the room feel fresher and cleaner once you’re done in there.
#31: Vacuum strategically
You don’t need to vacuum every nook and cranny of the room each time you clean, but you should vacuum high traffic areas of eh bedroom frequently. This helps the room stay cleaner, because the dirt won’t spread out as much, and it won’t be ground into the floor as you walk around.
#32: Sprinkle the mattresses with baking soda
Cleaning a mattress is tough work, but a simple trick removes odor and cleans it quickly. Sprinkle plain baking soda over the mattress and leave it for at least 1 hour. When the odors have been absorbed, vacuum up the baking soda. Do this to each side of the mattress.
#33: Have a home for all your clothes
It’s hard to remember to return your clothes to the closet or dresser every time, but it’s even worse if you have to stuff clothes to make them fit. There should be adequate space for all of your clothing, or you should consider throwing out or donating some of it. When all your clothes can fit somewhere without stuffing, you’ll be more likely to put them away properly when you do clean.
#34: Squeegees can help with dusty stairs
It sounds crazy, but a squeegee actually works well to remove dust from your hard floor stairs. They grip the dust easily and can get stuff out of corners a lot better than most brooms. You don’t need to wet the stairs to use it, just use it dry and see how it works.
#35: Use a handheld vacuum
It’s really hard to carry a vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs to clean. Instead, use a handheld mini vacuum to get the job done all at once. These are ridiculously lightweight and make the stairs into a simple, 5-minute job instead of the worst part of the house to vacuum!
#36: Sweep carpeted stairs
Although it sounds silly, sweeping the carpets on the stairs before vacuuming can actually make the job easier. Your vacuum may have trouble getting all the dirt from deep in the carpet, but a broom aggravates the dirt and brings it to the top of the carpeting. Then, your vacuum will easily pick it up from there.
Every time you step on a dirty stair, you are grinding dirt further into the carpet. So, if you work from the top down while vacuuming the stairs, you might actually make the job harder for yourself. This is the only part of the house that it can make more sense to work from the bottom up, and only with carpeting, not hard materials.
#38: Wipe the banisters with a damp cloth
Banisters are neglected more often than not when we’re cleaning. They need some love too, and all you really have to do is wipe them down with a damp rag to get them looking good again. This is a simple step that just takes a few minutes, and it doesn’t need to be done all the time.
#39: Clean concrete with chlorinated lime solutions
Unfinished basements notoriously have a bad smell to them. You can get rid of some of this by cleaning the floors with a chlorinated lime solution instead of a liquid solution. Most of the smell comes from excess moisture, so a powered solution might do the trick better. Apply it, leave it for a few hours, then sweep or vacuum it up.
#40: Dehumidify all the time
Moisture is a huge issue in basements, so do what you can to remove the moisture by dehumidifying. Get a dehumidifier that’s the right size for your basement, and leave it running all or most of the time. This is the best way to help keep moisture from causing too many problems.
#41: Use nylon brushes instead of metal
Concrete floors can easily catch small pieces of metal from any metal scrubbing instruments, and then they will rust and cause more of a mess. Instead of using metal scrubbing brushes on the concrete, choose nylon or another synthetic material that won’t get stuck in the concrete.
#42: Increase airflow while you’re cleaning
It might not be possible to open a window, but turning on a fan can be helpful to keep the air moving while you’re cleaning. This is going to help get rid of the stale feel that can come to the air in your basement, and will also add some fresh air to counter the odor of the basement.
Items that sit on the shelves in closets will produce and collect dust. It’s best if you can put everything in your closets into closed containers, such as large clear boxes with lids, or clear bags. Clear is best so you can figure out what’s in which box without digging through them.
#43: Keep closet floors clean
A clean closet floor makes it easier to vacuum and get rid of dust more often. If you normally store things like shoes on the floor of the closet, try putting them up on a wire rack instead. This way you can still reach underneath them to clean, but you won’t lose that valuable storage space.
#44: Cover rarely used clothes
Clothes that are just hanging in a closet will slowly shed fibers, and will collect a huge amount of dust. If you aren’t using certain pairs of clothing very often, such as fancy wear or winter coats, put them into a garment bag or cover them with a trash bag while they’re hanging. Doing so prevents dust build-up and helps reduce fiber shedding.
#45: Try the ribbon method for your hung clothes
Another clever way to help clean out unneeded items from your closet is to tie a ribbon on the far side of your hanging rod. As you wear clothes, replace them onto the opposite side of the ribbon. After a month or two, you should have all the clothes you normally wear on one side of the ribbon, and the items you don’t wear on the other side.
#46: Don’t neglect pictures and baseboards
It’s easy to just run a vacuum through the hallway, but you’ll miss most of the dust and dirt if you do. What you really need to do is tackle the pictures on the wall and the top of the baseboards. This is where most of the dust and dirt is going to settle in hallways, besides the floor.
#48: Avoid grinding in the dirt
Hallways are very high traffic areas in a home. It’s recommended to clean them more often than other rooms of the house, simply to keep from grinding dirt into the floor. The more you let dirt settle in, the harder it will be to remove later on. Vacuum, sweep, or mop hallways at least every other day to keep them easy to clean.
#49: Work on one wall at a time
When you’re cleaning a hallway, it’s a good idea to go down one side completely before starting the other side. This helps you keep track of what you’ve done or not done, and gives you more of a pattern to follow to make sure everything is fully cleaned.
#50: Clean the hallways last
Cleaning the house involves moving in and out of rooms to get it clean all over. You will be using the hallway to enter and exit every room, so naturally you should save it for last, rather than walking all over the clean hallways and making it dirty again while you’re still cleaning.
#51: Use a doormat for storing shoes
It’s said that more than 80% of the dirt and dust on the floors gets into the house through people wearing shoes inside. So, you can help prevent it by keeping a doormat in the entryway and asking people to remove their shoes when they come inside.
#52: Wipe down your front door
It may not seem like something you need to do often, but your front do is a collection point for dirt that comes in. It needs to be cleaned often to keep it well maintained and looking good. You can simply wipe it down with a damp rag, and use glass cleaner for any glass areas on the door.
#53: Set up “landing zones” and “launch pads”
For a clutter-free entryway, set up specific areas for your family members and yourself to dump things they’re carrying as they come in (“landing zones”). Near those, set up places to store the things they need to leave the house with (“launching pads”). This combination helps to keep things orderly and relieves the clutter.
Best Cleaning Supplies and Equipment for the Home
Now that you’ve gotten some GREAT tips on how to get your house cleaned more easily, you’ll need to know what to use for the best results. Many people think they need a million different types of cleaning solutions and tools, but there are only a few items you’ll actually need, and some are dependent on what your house is like.
A must-have for anyone with windows, glass appliances, mirrors, framed pictures, and other glass surfaces in their home! Glass cleaner provides streak-free shine to glass surfaces.
Tile & grout cleaner
This is the best type of solution for bathtub and shower tiles, as well as floor tiles in the kitchen and bathroom. No dirty grout or grubby tiles allowed.
A multi-purpose cleaning solution helps you clean most messes around the house in almost every room. You don’t need a variety of solutions, just get a high quality multi-purpose solution.
This is only a must-have if your home has a lot of wooden furniture, or wood floors. There’s not a lot of other reasons to own mineral spirits for home cleaning.
Most people like to keep this in their kitchens anyway. If you don’t already, then you should buy it now. It’s a fantastic stain and odor remover for almost any surface.
Carpet stain remover
Those with carpets or rugs, especially in lighter color shades, should get a useful stain remover. Any spills can turn into nasty stains if not treated soon enough.
For parents, this is a huge necessity. Any hard to remove stains on the walls will come off easily with a Mr. Clean magic eraser.
You can’t use a multi-purpose cleaner on the dishes, since some chemicals might not be safe. Use a soft dish soap for this instead, as well as for cleaning the kitchen counters and appliances.
Vacuum + Accessories
Upright and canister vacuums are best for carpeted homes. Stick and handheld vacuums are awesome for hardwood or other hard floors. Handhelds are fantastic for the stairs, carpeted or not.
Broom + dustpan OR vacuum broom
A traditional broom and dust pan work just fine, but for a high-tech, low maintenance option you can also get a vacuum broom.
String mops, sponge mops, or Swiffer-style padded mops are all effective for getting the hard surfaces in your home to shine like new.
Microfiber cloth rags
Microfiber is fantastic for dusting, but it’s also a great material to clean a lot of other home surfaces, so you should keep a handful of these rags around the home.
Kitchens and bathrooms both need sponges that can get down to the nitty-gritty. Keep them separate, of course, but you can buy a bulk pack and split the sponges between the rooms.
Useful for cleaning the bathroom, windows, and the stairs (see tip #34), squeegees make a great addition to your supply closet.
Keep this one in its own holder nearby the toilet, and only use it for cleaning the inside of the toilet. This will save you a few sponges and keep you from the gross job of cleaning the toilet bowl with a sponge.
Homeowners with pets need lint rollers around to remove fur from clothes and furniture whenever necessary. If you don’t have pets, this may not be a must-have for you.
You’ll be dealing with some chemicals that might not be safe for contact with your skin. A pair of rubber gloves is a good safety measure to protect your hands.
Optional: Swiffer-style duster
Instead of a microfiber cloth for dusting, some homeowners prefer a Swiffer-style duster that will collect and trap the dust as you go. It has a longer reach, which can sometimes be useful.
Optional: Caddy for holding supplies
It’s really convenient to keep all your cleaning supplies in a little holder that you can carry around with you as you’re cleaning. A small plastic caddy does the job well.
Home Maintenance Equipment
For areas with excess moisture, dehumidifiers make a big difference in the fight against mold, mildew, and bugs. They are perfect for basements.
On the opposite side, a humidifier is great for seasons when the air is dry, because it improves the overall air quality in the house by adding enough moisture for your good health.
The air in your home may not be as clean as you think. If you have any breathing problems, this is an absolute must-have. Even if you don’t, air purifiers can help make the air more pleasant and cleaner.
How to Keep Your House Clean All the Time
It’s hard work keeping your home clean all the time. Because I know from personal experience how difficult this is, I want to share some great tips we can all learn from. Here are a few ideas of habits you can form that will help you keep your place cleaner. Even adopting just a few of these will make it a lot easier for you to keep up and not feel overwhelmed by the mess:
Tidy up a little bit each day
By tidy up I simply mean picking things up. Store an empty basket in an easy-to-reach place and use it to hold items that are out of place. Pick them all up, then put them away in one go. This takes only a few minutes, and saves you a lot of time down the road.
Clean as you go
While you’re cooking, there is inevitably going to be some downtime. Use this to wash the dishes you used, and to clean up any messes. If you can clean most of the dishes you sued to cook with while you’re actually cooking, you’ll have little to no mess to deal with after dinner.
Always put things away when you’re done with them
Teach your children to adhere to this habit, and do it yourself. When you take something out of its place to use it, put it away once you are done. It’s a simple habit, but an easy one to break.
Have a home for everything, or throw it out
If you want to make it easier for you to clean up your house, you need to make sure you have a place for everything you own. It can be as simple as a little space on a shelf, as long as it has a designated “home” in your home. If you can’t find a space to keep something, you might just consider throwing it out, because that means there are things which are more important that require the limited space.
Make your bed as you get up
A great morning habit to help you wake up more quickly in the morning is to make your bed as you’re getting up. It will get you more alert by signaling your brain that you’re not going to get back into bed. Also, it will help you keep your sheets cleaner and your room tidier.
Place hooks in strategic places to hang things up
Most people are more likely to hang something up than they are to put it into a cabinet or a shelf. Because of this, you can probably help yourself out by putting up some hangers in strategic places like the bathroom, near your bed (for a robe or for non-dirty clothes that you’ve worn), by the entryway, etc.
Keep cleaning wipes in your bathroom cabinets
A cluttered bathroom countertop is going to make it difficult to get ready in the mornings. Store a container of cleaning wipes in the bathroom so you can put your morning items away at night and do a quick wipe of the countertops.
Unload the dishwasher in the mornings
When you’ve turned the coffee pot on and put your toast into the toaster, open up the dishwasher and unload it quickly. This will get you ready for the dishes of the day, including your breakfast dishes, and will save you from piling a huge tower of dirty dishes onto the counters.
Have paper towels handy in the kitchen for spills
Spills happen all the time in the kitchen. Rather than letting them sit and get harder or create stains, wipe them up with a paper towel as soon as possible.
Tidy up the end tables and coffee table during commercial breaks
When you’re finally relaxing at the end of the day, you’ll probably run into a few commercial breaks while you’re watching your favorite show on TV. During those short moments, wipe off the end tables and coffee table in the living room. This is a very simple habit that keeps your living room in much better shape!
Take the trash and recycling out as you leave in the morning (when necessary)
You may not have to do this every day, unless you have a larger family, but it’s a great idea to put up the trash bag and the recycling and take it outside as you head out the door. You’ll be using your forward momentum to do twice the work with half the effort, so it’s a win-win for you completely.
Green Cleaning Solutions
Would you like to reduce the amount of chemicals used in your home or office for cleaning? The old approach to cleaning with more natural products is making a comeback. Not just for the sake of health, but the the environment too.
Non-toxic Cleaning Products
These items can be used in place of less environmentally friendly cleaning products containing harsh chemicals.
- Lemons can be used to make air fresheners. Add equal amounts of lemon juice and water to a spray bottle to make a chemical-free, green air freshener. The same combination also makes a great all-purpose cleaner for kitchens and bathrooms.
- White vinegar can be used to remove soap scum on shower doors or curtains. Spray a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water onto soap scum; let it sit, then wipe or rinse off.
- Baking soda can be used to remove stains on porcelain sinks, toilets and plastics. Apply a layer of baking soda and use a damp sponge to clean.
- Eucalyptus oil and water makes an environmentally friendly disinfectant. Mix 1.6 oz. of the oil into a liter of water. Put in a spray bottle and shake well before using.
More information on earth-friendly, natural, non-toxic cleaners and disinfectants:
Cleaning your house doesn’t have to be as hard as we often make it. Using the right strategies and tips, you can make house cleaning easier and more efficient every time. With a little practice and a few small habit changes, you can keep your house looking great and make each cleaning session quicker and easier. Follow my 53 best cleaning tips for the house and see how your life changes, fast!
Tidy up a little bit each day