40 Home Cleaning Hacks Guaranteed to Save You Time and Money

From baking soda to toothpaste, you have lots of great cleaning tools to use.
Michael Michael (179)
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Let's face it. No one has the time they need right now to devote to a thorough cleaning of their house. Just cleaning the bathroom can take up half the day! Let alone cleaning the living room, kitchen, windows, floors.... Just listing them all is making us tired!

That's why we made this list of 40 of the best DIY house-cleaning hacks we could find. You'll find that these home cleaning hacks will save you loads of time and show you new ways to clean the parts of your house that are hardest to clean. (We're looking at you blinds!)

If you find that cleaning the house takes you way too much time, then you'll appreciate many of the household cleaning tips and tricks you'll find below.

White VinegarWhite Vinegar ×1

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aluminum foil scrubber
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If you have some seriously stuck-on mess on a glass baking dish, then you know that you have a problem. No matter how long you soak it, it's going to be difficult to remove that stuff. No need to go out and spend money on expensive steel wool scrubbers when you have a roll of aluminum foil handy!

How to make a DIY aluminum foil scrubber

  • Pull a sheet of aluminum foil from the roll.
  • Crinkle the foil sheet up into a ball.
  • Add a little bit of soap to it.
  • And use it to clean your glass baking dish.
air vents white
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Changing your air filters regularly is a must to ensure that you're breathing the cleanest air possible in your house and to prevent fires from backed-up air vents. And while you are at it, why not get rid of all that dust that's collected between the air vents? It's just going to restrict your home's airflow.

To clean air vents

  • Soak a rag in some warm water.
  • Wrap the rag around a butter knife.
  • Push the knife through each vent, back and forth, until clean.
freshen garbage disposal with lemons

If your garbage disposal is beginning to smell, there's a simple way to clean it up! Just run a few wedges of lemons or limes through the garbage disposal to both detoxify it and freshen its smell.

Soap scum on shower door
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One of the most frustrating things to clean when cleaning your bathroom is that impossible-to-remove soap scum on the glass door of the shower.

DIY glass shower door cleaner

diy glass shower door cleaner

Combine in a spray bottle:

  • 1/2 bottle of dishwashing soap
  • 1/2 bottle of white vinegar

Spray the mixture onto the glass shower door and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then simply scrub off the soap scum with a cleaning brush.

DIY daily shower cleaner

daily shower cleaner

If you're the kind of person who prefers to prevent the soap scum from even building up, then a daily shower cleaner can do just that! Cutting back on the soap and adding some essential oil will make a great daily shower cleaner.

Combine in a spray bottle:

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons of dish soap
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • A few drops of peroxide and isopropyl alcohol (optional)
  • 20-25 drops of essential oil (try lemon)
microwave dirty sponge
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Sponge's do just what their name implies: they soak up everything! That includes bacteria. And while making sure to wring out your sponge of water each time you're done with it is great, a sponge still will be the most bacteria-ridden thing in your entire house.

To clean the sponge and disinfect it, microwave it for 30 seconds on high. Is that it? Yup!

ceiling fans paint roller
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Don't keep standing on that rickety old chair to dust the top of your ceiling fans, which—trust us—definitely could use a good dusting.

Instead, grab that paint roller that's been sitting in your garage or closet, and just roll it back and forth across the top of the ceiling fan's blades.

Magic Eraser Cleaning hack

I can't tell you how many times someone has told me something amazing about the Magic Eraser. "It actually removed those crayon stains right off of the wall!" or "It single-handedly renovated my bathroom!" We get it. It's amazing.

Magic Eraser before and after
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Things you didn't know a Magic Eraser could remove

  • coffee stains
  • scuff marks
  • soap scum
  • mold
  • dry erase boards
  • hair coloring
  • windshield bugs
  • even permanent marker
magic eraser on kitchen stove

And because the magic eraser costs less than a dollar per sponge, it's a really great cleaning tool to have handy for just about...well...everything!

Steam clean microwave
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If it's been a while since you've last cleaned your microwave, you might find that some of that stuck-on food is hard to remove. To loosen the good and grime:

  • Place a bowl of water in the microwave.
  • Run the microwave on high for about 3 minutes.

The steam will loosen up the debris inside, making it much easier to clean. All you'll need to do is wipe it down with a paper towel.

olive oil buff wood
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Everyone is using olive oil nowadays because of its healthy fat properties in terms of food. But did you know that olive oil makes a great buffing oil for just about every surface in your home? Not only does it give it a nice shine, but it also protects it from certain kinds of damage.

Put some olive oil onto a paper towel and rub it on the surface you want to buff.

You can also use coconut oil and other oils.

DIY Wood Surface Polisher

diy wooden furniture polish

For wood surfaces, add 1-part lemon juice to 2-parts olive oil for a great wooden furniture polish!

baking soda and vinegar for cleaning

There are lots of reasons to want a DIY non-toxic all-purpose cleaner to have handy. Maybe you don't want the chemicals from commercial cleaners? Or maybe you have a newborn in the house and need something safe with which to clean your surfaces. Either way, we'll show you how to make a great all-purpose cleaner with only baking soda and white vinegar.

How to make your own DIY all-purpose cleaner

In a spray bottle, add:

  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda

Shake it to mix it. And enjoy your non-toxic cleaner!

Uses for baking soda and vinegar cleaner

  • unclogs drains
  • removes soap scum from shower/tub
  • disinfects surfaces in kitchen and bathroom
  • cleans glass
  • cleans the oven (cuts grease)

Avoid using any kind of vinegar on wood surfaces, which can corrode them.

alcohol on carpet stains
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Who would have thought that old bottle of vodka sitting in your cupboard would have a secondary life?! Alcohol is a great disinfectant, but did you know it's also great at getting stains out of fabrics and carpets?

Vodka carpet cleaner

  • If you're using vodka on the carpet, put some in a spray bottle and spray it onto the area of the carpet that's stained. Be generous with how much you spray.
  • Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until the stain starts to clear.
  • Blot off the excess vodka from the carpet. Don't rub!

Using vodka on clothing or fabric stains

  • Drench the end of a cloth or rag in the vodka.
  • Apply a generous amount to the stain.
  • Let it soak for a few minutes.
  • Carefully blot off the stain. Do not rub!
dryer sheets

To add a refreshing smell to the rooms in your house, place a dryer sheet or two in the air vent, right on top of the filter. You can also tape a dryer sheet to just about any air conditioning or heating vent in the house. Just make sure to choose a dryer sheet with a scent that you really love. It creates a very nice, mild aroma that lasts about 1 month.

grated potatoes
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If you have some stuck-on stuff and/or stains on your grater, just grate a raw potato to remove them. It works great.

And when you've thrown away the initial potato used to remove the gunk, why not continue grating some potatoes to make some hash browns?!

Rust stains on clothes

Salt is a natural osmotic—meaning that it draws water toward it to the surface. So when you put salt on a stain in a piece of fabric or clothing, it draws whatever's causing the stain towards the surface, so it can be wiped away clean. This even works on tough stains like rust stains.

How to remove a stain with salt

  • Pour some salt on top of the stain.
  • Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Wash the fabric with soap and water.
  • Repeat if necessary.

Don't rub the salt into the fabric, or you might tear it.

compressed air cleaner
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Compressed air (or Air-in-a-can) is typically marketed to be used on electronics, as it safely removes dust from the inside of a keyboard or computer. And it works for great those purposes!

But did you know you could use it to clean those narrow crevices in your car? How about cleaning out the container for your vacuum? There are many narrow crevices in your home that could benefit from an air-clean!

water stains cleaned
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You're not going to believe this one, but it works like a charm! If you have some foamy shaving cream in the house, you have an excellent water stain removal system! If not, consider buying a cheap tube of shaving cream the next time you're at the store, as it's definitely cheaper than a commercial cleaner for water stains caused by hard water.

How to remove water stains caused by hard water with shaving cream

shaving cream Pinterest

To remove hard water stains from surfaces like glass shower doors or faucets:

  • Apply foam-based shaving cream to the surface.
  • Let is sit for about 15 minutes.
  • Wipe away.
vinegar bags on shower head
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After a time, your metal shower head will definitely stain, no matter how clean you try to keep it. And, if you have hard water, then the staining will be even worse. But we have a great trick you can do now and then to remove those stains.

  • Fill a medium-sized plastic bag with vinegar.
  • Tie it around your shower head.
  • Let it sit for 15-30 minutes.
  • Remove the bag.
  • Wipe away any remaining stain.
squeegee for clean windows
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The best way to achieve a streak-free shine on your windows is with a good old-fashioned squeegee! And if you get a long-handled squeegee, then you can more easily reach the higher windows in your home and wash the windows from the outside of your house too. It's seriously a must-have for those who appreciate looking out a window.

How to wash windows with a squeegee

  • Pour a little window cleaner in a small bucket of warm water and mix.
  • Dip the sponge-end into the soapy water.
  • Scrub the window.
  • Scrape the window with the rubber squeegee to remove the soapy water completely.
Rubber glove pet hair
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Sometimes when cleaning a dog or cat's hair, you simply can't get all of it with a vacuum. Or you're about to go out and notice that your t-shirt is covered in your dog's fur. This can be really frustrating (particularly if you have a dog that sheds like crazy)!

Grab a rubber glove, like the kind you'd use for washing dishes, and wipe the area with the glove. It grabs the pet hair really well!

sliced sponge on window tracks
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The dirt that builds up in between the tracks for your window (if you have that kind of window) is pretty incredible. And cleaning between the tracks can be frustrating and nearly impossible. Here's a hack that uses a basic kitchen sponge to easily clean the window tracks.

How to clean between window tracks

  • Grab a kitchen sponge.
  • Push the kitchen sponge down onto the window tracks.
  • When you lift the sponge, mark the spots where the tracks met the sponge.
  • Slice along those lines.
  • Put the sponge in some soapy water.
  • Glide along the window tracks with the slices around the tracks.
Cast iron pan
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There are entire blogs dedicated to the benefits of using cast-iron in your cooking routine. But what turns many people off of cast-iron is that you can't clean it the traditional ways. That's true. You should never use soap on cast iron.

But you can totally use some sea salt. Just pour some into the pan with a little water and scrub away any mess. Then make sure to rinse and dry completely to avoid any rust.

soft paint brush
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If you have a soft paintbrush laying around, you have the perfect tool to get in-between surfaces like blinds (especially wood blinds) and piano keys. Just make sure the brush is soft enough so that it doesn't scratch the surfaces you're trying to dust.

carefully placed runners in house
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If you have kids, you know how important it is to stop spreading dirt and dust to every corner of your house. A well-placed rug can remove the dirt and catch the dust to stop it from going all over the house.

Good places to place rugs and runners

  • Entryways and exits
  • Hallways
  • Bedrooms near the bed
  • Bathrooms
toothpaste clean sneakers
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If toothpaste works great on your pearly whites, why not on your white sneakers!? It turns out that toothpaste does a great job refreshing those sneakers. If you use a toothbrush, the bristles can actually unclog the dirt from the tiny crevices as well.

cleaning a ceiling fan
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If you're doing a big house cleaning...you know the kind I'm talking about...the kind of cleaning you do a few times per year where everything gets cleaned—be sure to start your cleaning from the top of the rooms to the bottom of the room. (Hence the phrase: clean from the top down.)

If you clean from the top down, all of that dust and dirt that you wipe off of your ceiling fans or shelves will find their way on the floor. Then when you do the floors, you'll sweet that all up. If you don't, you'll just be adding dust to the floors you just cleaned.

baking soda on couch
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Baking soda is a natural odor neutralizer. It works to soak up odors and neutralize them naturally. Many companies add some artificial scents to baking soda and brand them as carpet and fabric odor neutralizers. You can make one for yourself for a fraction of the cost!

How to clean your couch with baking soda

  • First, sprinkle baking soda on your couch, lightly over the entire thing.
  • Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Vacuum all of the baking soda off the couch.

Bonus: DIY fabric deodorizer

dried flowers deodorizer

Why not sprinkle some dried lavender, dried roses, or other dried flower into the baking soda to give your couch a heavenly aroma?!

burnt pan cleaned with vinegar
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It happens to every home chef once and a while. You left the pan on too high of heat or got caught up watching X-Files in another room. (Don't judge me.) The burnt oil and other stuff in the pan can be almost impossible to remove with soap alone. Trust me.

How to clean a burnt or scorched pan

  • Pour enough white vinegar into the pan to completely cover the burnt stuff.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Boil for about 30 seconds.
  • Remove from the stove.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda.
  • Let it cool.
  • Scrub off the burnt stuff!
Play-doh on spilt glitter
Pinterest

Good luck trying to get up all of that spilled glitter! It gets in everything, and even with a wet paper towel, you'll have a hard time getting it all. The glint off of the glitter will drive you nuts for years.

If you have a kid (and if you're using glitter, we assume you might), then you likely have some Play-Doh handy. Just take some Play-Doh out and roll it around over the glitter to pick it all up.

cleaning jewelry in dish soap
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No need to buy some expensive jewelry cleaner to clean your wedding rings or precious jewelry. But you also shouldn't use any harsh chemicals to clean them.

How to clean jewelry with dish soap

  • Make sure any drains are closed to prevent the jewelry from falling in and getting lost.
  • Fill a bowl with some warm water and a bit of mild dish soap.
  • Use a toothbrush to scrub the jewelry in the bowl to clean it.
baking soda in stinky shoes
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It happens—particularly with those old sneakers or slippers that you can't bring yourself to get rid of. They get stinky after a while. And throwing them in the washing machine too many times takes its toll on them.

How to freshen stinky shoes

Method 1 - Baking Soda
  • Add baking soda to the inside of the shoes and leave in for a few hours.
  • Vacuum out the baking soda.
Method 2 - Dryer Sheets
  • Lay a dryer sheet in each shoe.
  • Let sit overnight.

Combine both methods for maximum deodorizing effect!

dishwasher
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You can totally clean certain stovetop parts like the knobs, grates, and drip pans (if you're cooking with gas). The dishwasher actually does a really great job of getting some of the stuck-on gunk off the stove parts. And it's a lot easier to clean. That's why you got a dishwasher, right?!

dryer next to clothes
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So you wanted to wear that new shirt, but you forgot to throw it in the washer! Even if you dry the piece of clothing by itself, it will likely take 10-15 minutes.

Instead, throw a dry towel in with the clothes when you dry them. The dry towel will soak up the wetness, and the clothes will dry more quickly.

descale coffee maker
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You know that gunk that's been building up at the bottom of your coffee carafe and in your coffee maker? You've been drinking that! Pretty gross, right?

Well, it's easy to descale your coffee maker by just running some vinegar through like you would a normal coffee cycle.

How to clean your coffee maker with vinegar

  • Mix half-water and half-vinegar in your carafe.
  • Add it to the coffee maker.
  • Run a brew cycle.
  • Repeat two more times.
  • Run a couple of cycles with just water to get the vinegar out.

We have a guide on cleaning your coffee maker to learn a more comprehensive way to do this.

clean kitchen cabinets with a vacuum
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Good luck trying to reach those top shelves! You'll find yourself balancing dangerously on top of your kitchen counter as you stick a wet rag into the back of the top shelves—no need to risk all that.

Grab a vacuum and use the attachments to clean out the top-most shelves in your kitchen cabinets. The vacuum will grab dust and any particles that may have collected there. Do this regularly, so the dust doesn't get sticky (particularly above the stove).

old socks to clean blinds
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No one likes to clean vinyl blinds, as It can really test your patience to clean both sides of each panel. But what if we told you that we could cut the amount of time you spend cleaning the blinds in half. With what? An old sock!

Grab an old sock and place it over your hand. Wet the end of the sock and pinch each blind panel as you run your hand across it, cleaning both sides of the blind's panels.

baby wipes
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If you have a baby, then you'll have lots of baby wipes around—and the messes that leave spots on your clothes and fabrics. Well...the good news is that baby wipes have very gentle soaps that work great for spot-cleaning fabrics without damaging them.

Just dab the baby wipe onto the spot on the fabric until it's wet. Then, you should be able to dab again with a paper towel to remove the stain.

tennis balls in dryer
Pinterest

Most comforters can (and should) be washed occasionally in a machine washer. The issue is (particularly for down comforters) is that the fluff can bunch up on one side of the comforter and not properly dry. It will also leave you with a lumpy mess of comforter after.

To prevent this, place a couple of tennis balls in the dryer when you dry the comforter. The tennis balls will beat the comforter as it dries, spreading around the fluff inside the comforter to ensure that it dries evenly and stays neat.

vacuum drapes and curtains
Pinterest

There's no need to wash your drapes and curtains in the washing machine to clean them every time.

All you need to do is use your fabric attachment with your vacuum to remove the dust and debris that has collected on your curtains and/or drapes. If you have a wet/dry vac, then you could even go a step further and clean them with that.

kids jumping on a mattress
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As with anything, be careful when doing this.

Do you kids like jumping on the bed? What kid doesn't! The next time you're looking to freshen up your mattress a bit, you have the perfect excuse to surprise your kids with an invitation to jump to their heart's content!

To freshen a mattress

  • Have your kids jump up and down on the mattress (carefully).
  • Use a vacuum when they're done to remove the dust that's been fluffed-out.
Baking soda in dishwasher to clean
Pinterest

If your dishwasher is a cleaning tool, do you still have to clean it too? Of course! Just like you have to make sure your sponges are disinfected regularly.

How to clean a dishwasher

In an empty dishwasher:

  • Spread about 1 cup of baking soda throughout the bottom of the dishwasher.
  • Let it sit overnight.
  • Run white vinegar through the dishwasher on the hottest setting, placing it where you normally put the soap.
  • Make sure you clean out the filter too.
Michael's profile pictureMichael
Joined in 2020 179 guides
A maker at heart, Michael loves all things DIY. Michael is an award-winning poet, writer, and editor. He has published two books of poetry and has writing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, and many others. He has taught writing at colleges across the country, and managed many leading literary magazines to national prominence. Now, he's excited to devote his energies full time to Howchoo. He currently resides in the Tampa-area with his wife and puppy.
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