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15 Simple Cleaning Hacks Everyone Should Master

The average American household spends $42 per month on household cleaning supplies. And that doesn’t include white aprons for the upstairs maid! Germs lurk everywhere inside your home, whether brought in by your pet, your own feet, or just born on the breeze that wafts through the halls of your domicile. So, do a little bit of cleaning each day to keep the miniature flora and fauna at bay.

There’s no need to spend that much money, or that much time, on keeping your home or apartment sparkly clean – so clean, in fact, that your own mother will be bowled over the next time she comes to visit, if you’ll just follow these simple, inexpensive and effective cleaning hacks:

1. Lemonize your microwave

When it comes to cleaning, deodorizing and sanitizing your microwave, lemon juice is your friend. Just mix water and lemon juice in a microwavable bowl, set the timer for 5 minutes, and let the citrus steam do the work. Afterward, just wipe down the inside.

2. There’s more to grilled onions than meets the eye

Keep your grill spic and span by rubbing half of a white onion across it when it’s heated up. It not only removes the disgusting carbon buildup, but also seasons the grill for you.

3. Show the shower head who’s boss

The Vinegar Institute (yes, it’s real; not a joke from Prairie Home Companion) suggests filling a baggy with white vinegar, then putting it around your shower head and tying it off tight – leave it overnight to banish soap scum and lime crust.

4. The pet hair scare

Don’t worry. Just put on a rubber glove, dip it in water and rub it over upholstery to pick up dog and cat hair. Even when you can’t see it, you know it’s there.

5. And the carpet

Use a window squeegee to collect pet hair in just minutes. Why spend hours vacuuming? Your pet allergy symptoms will dwindle significantly when you keep your carpet hairless.

6. Banish clutter!

A cluttered room is hard to clean and is a dust magnet. Plus, all sorts of bugs and spiders love to hide in the dark nooks and crannies that clutter creates. Take advantage of spring cleaning time and box up your non-essentials and take them to a commercial self-storage unit. They’re inexpensive, accessible, and safe. If you leave stuff with your parents, they’ll eventually throw it out, and if you try to fob it off on a friend to keep in their garage, it’ll somehow mysteriously get water damaged or mice infested.

7. Don’t bother with the blender

Letting it soak in the sink will eventually rust the blade. Fill it with hot water and a few drops of dish detergent, and then run it for a full minute on a high speed. Empty and rinse, then go see what’s on Netflix.

8. Kitty litter to the rescue!

Does your concrete garage floor look rather leprous lately? Clean up oil and other vehicle fluid leak stains with kitty litter. And then dump the used litter down any mole holes or other critter holes in your lawn to discourage the varmints from turning your yard into a miniature golf course.

9. Catch up with your cleaning with ketchup

Embarrassed to get the silverware out for company? Clean it with ketchup. You can get a bottle of generic ketchup for about a dollar. It’ll last you several cleanings, although you might get a hankering for french fries.

10. White bread

Don’t let a broken bottle spread tiny shards in ever widening circles; use a piece of white bread. Just press it down on the glass shards, shake into the trash, and repeat. It’ll even pick up those microscopic needles that so love to jab the soles of your bare feet just when you think you’ve got them all cleaned up.

11. Avoid trashcan tragedies

Trash cans are chock full of disease-causing germs. To help minimize the spread of them, put some balled up newspaper in the bottom of your trash bag to soak up noxious liquids so they don’t seep out. You can also drill some holes in the bottom of your trash can to prevent suction from ripping the bag open when you pull it out. Spritz the inside and outside of your trash can with vinegar at least once a week to keep the germs and odors under control. (Thank you once again, Vinegar Institute!)

12. Vomit cleaner

Baking soda is vinegar and lemon’s natural cleaning cousin. Last night’s party got a little too wild? Little Stevie brought the stomach flu home from preschool? Vomit happens, and not always in the toilet. Clean up messes from carpet by first removing as much of the solid parts as possible. You can then make a paste by mixing baking soda with water and spreading it on the stain. Let it sit overnight and then you can vacuum up the entire mess in the morning.

13. Cupboard De-gunker

Make a paste of 1 part vegetable oil and 2 parts baking soda, and using a toothbrush, scrub all of the greasy, grimey build-up from your kitchen or bathroom cupboards. Wipe clean with a damp cloth, and voila, you have grime-free cabinets.

14. Dryer Sheets

Did you know that dryer sheets can do much more than eliminate static cling from your clothes? This amazing little sheet can do everything from clean your greasy cook top, to removing soap scum rings from your bathtub. The fibers in the dryer sheet will grab almost anything, and the chemicals used to soften your clothes will also soften dirt, making it easier to clean. Wet a used dryer sheet and run it across dirty blinds, or use new dryer sheets to dust furniture – like magic, you’ll see future dust repelled.

15. Keeping the fridge clean

Everybody hates cleaning the fridge, especially when meat juice leaks all over one of the shelves. A simple way to clean up these messes quickly is to use Glad Press n’ Seal to line your fridge’s shelves. When a mess happens, just peel off the wrap and throw it away.

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