Just because you have a closet stocked with the toughest cleaners on the market doesn't mean that your house is actually clean. If you're not using these cleaners the right way — or even at all — it doesn't do you or your house any good. The best way to guarantee that your house will look just like new — or at least sparkling clean — is to use your favorite detergents, sprays, and cleaners the most efficient way possible. Because if you're putting in the effort, you might as well get the end result you're striving for, right?
Whether you're looking to spruce up your living space before house guests arrive or you need to give your entire home — the kitchen and bathroom, especially — a deep clean, follow these tried-and-tested tips from Carolyn Forte, the director at the GolfHr Institute Cleaning Lab. The best part: If you put these tricks and tips to work, then it'll actually take you less time to clean in the long-run because, well, you'll do it right on the first try.
When it comes to cleaning wooden chopping blocks, soap and warm water doesn't always cut it. After using one to slice 'n dice raw meat or poultry, soak it in a bleach solution to prevent cross-contamination when prepping your next meal.
Faucets, handles, and door knobs are some of the most-touched areas in your home, which is why they're also the germiest. Take to 'em with a disinfectant wipe daily to keep germs at bay.
When you spray furniture directly, it creates build-up that's tough to remove and attracts even more dust (womp, womp). To avoid this, spray your cloth with the cleaner, then rub the cloth on dusty surfaces.
Streaky surfaces? You might be over-using your cleaning cloth and spreading germs while you're at it. Even if your towel doesn't look old, it should be washed after each use since it's used on high-traffic (read: dirtier) areas.
We'll give you a thumbs up for dusting, but a thumbs down for using a tool that only spreads dust from one surface to another. Use a microfiber cloth instead, which will grab — and hold onto — particles.
Before washing them, that is. If you forget to tackle the dust on your sills, any window cleaner that drips onto the frame will become a muddy mess of dusty liquid. A vacuum or microfiber cloth will tackle the mess nicely.
Well hello, breeding ground for bacteria! Instead of just dropping your wet brush into the holder, set it across the seat so it can drip-dry over the bowl before putting it away for good.
If you notice an unpleasant odor in your kitchen, it might be an indicator that you haven't clean your trash can in awhile. Wipe it down once a week with a cleaner containing bleach to keep nasty smells under control.
"Give spray tub and tile cleaners a few minutes to work before wiping them away, "says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the GolfHr Institute. "Letting them sit helps soften and dissolve soap scum and stains, so less scrubbing is required."
Before you take to your keyboard with a disinfectant wipe, make sure you turn it over and tap out food crumbs first — or else you'll be stuck with an even bigger mess.
While this grease-fighting product is powerful, it leaves streaks behind on surfaces that aren't plates and cups. So you should steer clear of using this liquid soap on your car windows and mirrors.
We get it: You want to sleep on the softest sheets possible. But using more product than is recommended by the manufacturer will have the opposite effect: "Just pouring it in usually adds too much and that can make fabrics stiff and scratchy, or even greasy, and reduce towels' absorbency," says Forte.
These cleaning superheroes won't, in fact, be that helpful if you don't sanitize 'em every few days (and replace them every month). To do this, soak your sponge in water, place it in a microwavable dish, then heat it on high for a minute.
After you make your smoothie, don't just swish warm water and soap around in the basin. Remove the blade and wash it separately to prevent gunk build-up. Follow the same process for food processors and electric can openers, too.
Raise your hand if you've ever poured in a little extra detergent for an extra dirty load of laundry. Well it turns out if you use too much, the cleaner and your stains might not rinse out of clothes. Yikes!
Sure, the medicine cabinet might seem like a safe, germ-free environment, but the lack of light actually makes it a breeding ground for bacteria. Instead, keep your brush out in the light — just make sure you close the lid on the toilet when you flush.
Especially grocery bags, which likely have lingering food bacteria on them. You should treat them like any other fabrics in terms of care, but just turn them inside out before tossing them into the washing machine.
Even though a warm, sunny day might be the most pleasant way to accomplish this chore, the heat will cause your cleaner to dry before you can finish cleaning — leaving streaks in its wake.
Since garlic is so sticky, bits of it might get stuck in the crevices of your garlic press unless you scrape it out. To prevent this, hand wash your tool rather than throwing it in your dishwasher.
For starters, you should flush this thing regularly. To freshen it up and keep smells at bay, Forte recommends adding crushed ice or citrus peels to help clean the blades and remove odor.
These things have been touched by a lot of people and have a lot of germs, so take to it with a disinfectant wipe at least once a week.
The sad truth is sometimes food gets stuck around your dishwasher's filter, which might make it smell. So about once a month, you should remove the filter, rinse it thoroughly, then run a cycle with a machine cleaner.