The Best Cleaning Hacks (My Mother Taught Me)
With the majority of the world stuck at home and having to constantly clean up after our kids (and partners), I thought I would take the opportunity to share a few of my favourite cleaning hacks.
Growing up my mother was what most would call a fanatic house cleaner. My mother was a stay at home mom, and constantly worked at decorating and keeping our home in tip top shape. She learnt from her mother – who trumped her on the neat freak spectrum- how to fuss and fret over ones home.
I, however, am not on that spectrum, though my partner would argue my pacing, huffing and puffing about the mess we are in would state otherwise. But I rest on my laurels to do the bare minimum to keep my home in a tolerable state. Clean enough that I can focus on my work, decluttered enough that I can stay on top of the mess. I just can’t live in a disheveled home. Call me spoilt by my own mother who cleaned up after us (so frequently that ones drink was liable to disappear in between sips), but clutter and mess can make me feel murdery.
Now that I’m at home with the kids and my fiancee all day – everyday, I am full of frustration with how much I clean and how little any one else does. The pile of everyones’ belongings at the bottom of the stairs, gets stepped over as people march upstairs empty handed, the kids come in from playing in the mud with their boots on. The dog is ignored and pees on the floor. The laundry piles up and who has to do it? Non other than MOM, cook, dog walker, laundress and general cleaner-upper-er.
Okay- rant over – now let’s get to the point.
As I grew up my mother passed on some great cleaning hacks to me, which I have implemented into my cleaning regime. I thought I would share, those thoughts with you now.
So if you are as sick of cleaning as I am: here are a few tips to make it a little less painful.
1. Start high, end low
Cleaning should always be done top to bottom. Yep, this is what my mom taught me. The proper order of cleaning, start high with cob webs, top of door frames and window ledges. Dust all your surfaces before you vacuum the floors. That way, any crumbs or dust that fall to the floor while you’re working will get picked up last.
2. Girl! Clean that grime!
Your counter tops have been wiped down, your sink is clean, but there is still black and brown grime around the faucets. To get rid of those pesky nuisances, use a butter knife or an open pair of scissors with a wet cloth wrapped around the blade to get into the groove and make it squeaky clean. This hack is also a great way to get gross stuff out from around your stove.
3. Easy microwave cleaning
- Clean out your microwave by sticking the wet cloth you are cleaning with in the microwave for 30 seconds. The steam from the cloth will loosen up any of the food splatter stuck to the surfaces, then you can easily wipe it clean. Do your final wipe down with a piece of paper towel or a dry micro fibre cloth for a steak free look.
- A note from my mother Diana: I also add to the damp cloth lemon or lemon grass essential oil or even Tea tree oil which also helps kill the bacteria while you’re heating up the microwave. It freshens everything up beautifully.
4. Stain No More.
I often rent my house on AirBNB, and it just kills me to come home to find a pot stain on the counter. Luckily I learnt this great trick to get rid of pot stains on solid top counters (from a friend who used to work for a counter top company). Spray a spot remover or some CLR on the stain, cover with plastic wrap and leave it over night. Wipe down in the morning and your stain should be gone!
5. The Miracle Of Baking Soda
Get your shower floors sparkling clean by making a paste with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and water. Scrub with bristly cleaning brush, an old tooth brush, or your dish bristle and let sit for 5 minutes, then spray with water and vinegar solution, watch it bubble up and then rinse with warm water.
- Never throw out old tooth brushes, use them for cleaning projects, like window ledges and difficult to clean corners.
6. A Happy Fridge
My mother always told me if you wipe down everything before you put them back in your fridge (especially things like sauce bottles), your fridge will stay cleaner longer, and less of a hassle to stay on top of. Use a warm cloth to wipe off the drips before putting things back in your fridge. An open carton of Baking soda in the fridge sucks up nasty smells too!
7. Sprinkle = Deodorized
Sprinkle baking soda on your carpets or your couch – let it sit for a few minutes and then vacuum it up. It even helps remove oil stains.
8. Water and Vinegar
A 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar makes a great natural all purpose cleaner or window cleaner that won’t leave streaks. So If you happen to run out of cleaning supplies you can use the white vinegar you have in the cupboard.
9. Start With The Bed
If your bed is made, your bedroom looks neat. When you wake up, pull the covers up to your chin, then scissor-kick your way out of bed so it’ll be half made. Finish the job before you walk away.
Use your made bed as a table for folding laundry, putting away clothes or getting things off the floor so you can vacuum.
10. Clean As You Go
Fill 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. Also, wipe up any spills immediately—don’t give sauces, oils or spices a chance to sit around and potentially cause a stain.
11. Get The Kids Involved (Time It)
This was my mothers trick to get us all involved in cleaning when we were kids. She would set the timer after dinner for 5 minutes and everyone would work quickly to clean up the kitchen. Get the kids involved with daily chores by setting a timer for 10 minutes and have every one work as fast as they can – cleaning to beat the clock.
Believe it or not, most chores only take 10 minutes. According to an article I read, If you actually time how long it takes to do some of your chores, they won’t feel as much like a chore.
12. Laundry Basket To The Rescue
Do a 5-minute sweep through each room, taking a laundry basket with you. Place in it anything that doesn’t belong in that room, put away the stuff that does belong there, then take the other items to where they belong.
On top of the laundry basket, I am about to start a new hack in our home. LOST AND FOUND. All the toys and random things I clean up are going in this box, and when my kids ask me where so and so is…. I’ll say look in the lost and found!
Thanks for reading about my favourite cleaning hacks. I hope you found this helpful in a time where we are having to do a lot more tidying and cleaning. Fingers crossed life will go back to normal soon (and the kids will be back in class) but until that time, stay home, stay healthy and stay clean!
Much Love Ya’ll
Check out her amazing website for more DIY hacks and tips here