You love a spotless house—but you don’t want to spend the
bulk of your time actually cleaning. Well, fret no more. We talked to seven
experts who gave us some of their best methods to make chores easier, more
effective and much less time-consuming, so you can have a tidy, sparkling home
in no time flat. Even Mom would approve.
Circle Your Way Around: Always begin on the right side of
your stove, then move clockwise around the room. The stove is typically the
dirtiest part of the kitchen, so ending with it keeps you from spreading dirt
and grease. (First, soak drip pans and knobs in warm soapy water. By the time
you’ve worked your way around, they’ll be easier to clean.)
Sanitize the Sink: It’s hard to believe, but your dirty
kitchen sink has more bacteria than your toilet seat. Use a product labeled as
disinfectant, or makes your own. To disinfect, clean your sink with soap and
water first, then spray a mist of vinegar followed by a mist of hydrogen
peroxide, and let air-dry. (Don’t mix the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide
together—spray one afte
r the other.) If your sink is stainless steel, make it
sparkle afterward by putting a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and
buffing. This prevents water buildup, which deters mold and keeps the sink
looking clean longer.
Do Dishwasher Duty::
Once a week, shake baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe around the machine’s
edges to remove stuck-on food or stains. To clean the inside, run an empty
cycle with Dishwasher Magic, a product designed to kill bacteria like E.coli.
“During cold and flu season, add a quarter-cup of bleach to the regular dish
cycle to kill bacteria,” says Gigbee. The dishes will be safe and sanitized
after the rinse cycle is finished.
Love Your Oven:
Keep the heart of your kitchen clean by lining the bottom with a nonstick
ovenliner. It can be wiped with a paper towel, put in the dishwasher, and
reused over and over.
Disposal: To get rid of odors, drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt and a few
ice cubes. The lemon deodorizes, and the ice and salt clean away residue. Or
try Disposer Care (gigbee.in), which
is specifically designed for the job.
Crumple Paper Towels…Forever: Use microfiber cloths instead.
When wet, they sanitize and clean floors, counters, glass and tile, and
eliminate the need for other cleaning products. They’re reusable (machine-wash,
hang to dry) and cost about 50 Rs for a two-pack.
Clean as You Go: Gigbee suggests filling your sink with
hot soapy water as you start dinner. “Place used dishes and pans in the filled
sink so they’ll be soaking while you eat,” she says. Also, wipe up any spills
immediately—don’t give sauces, oils or spices a chance to sit around.
Zap the Sponge:
We all know that sponges can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Disinfect yours
every night by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute. When
it’s shredded and smelly, replace it.
Make Doors Shine
Rubbing a teaspoon of lemon oil on glass shower doors twice a month causes water
to bead up and roll off. Or, try Rain-X Original Glass Treatment, a car-care
product made to keep rainwater off your windshield. Use it twice a year.
Get a Cleaner Liner: Mold and mildew attacking your shower
curtain liner? Throw it in the wash with a few towels, which will help scrub it
clean, then hang it back up to dry.
Tame the Toilet: Drop a teaspoon of Tang Drink Mix in the
bowl. The citric acid acts like a scrubber…and it’s nontoxic, in case the dog
takes a sip. Let it sit for a few minutes, then swish and flush. And if you
cringe at the idea of getting splashed by toilet water (ugh!), Gigbee suggests
pushing the toilet brush in and out of the trap before you begin. This lowers
the water level, allowing you to safely swish away.
Keep drains free of hair and clogs by using a product like Drano or
Liquid-Plumr to make sure potential clogs are gone, then pour boiling water
down drains once a week to keep problem-free. Get rid of those annoying stray
hairs on the floor by sweeping them up with a damp of toilet every morning.