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25 Hack & Cleaning Tips Around your home...

Dinge, grunge, dirt, muck, slime, sludge, and scum—they all rear their ugly heads as a result of the basic use of a living space, and they all have the effect of making an apartment less pleasant to spend time in. So why is it that so many of us are content to allow our homes to become live-in compost heaps? We’ll tell you why:

Cleaning is hard.

Hey, we’re not proud of it, but the fact is that generally the only thing that prevents us from cleaning out that one scary refrigerator drawer is that it would take time, and it would take effort, and we’d just rather not.

Well, take hope, because we’ve compiled a list of 25 apartment cleaning hacks and house cleaning hacks that will help you keep your home immaculate, without forcing you to waste any elbow grease. Just make sure that you check with your property manager, as some apartment complexes require that all home maintenance projects get written approval beforehand.

1. Clean tubs with salt and grapefruits

Cleaning bathroom fixtures can be really time-consuming, but we know a trick to help you get your bathtub looking spotless in minutes. If your bathtub ring is getting you down, forget about the soft-scrub bleach. Just cut a grapefruit in half, sprinkle both halves with salt, sprinkle salt on the surface of the tub, and scrub away with the open halves of the grapefruit! This will help keep potentially harmful chemicals out of your tub, while also leaving the porcelain sparkling like new!

2. Scrub burns out of pans with baking soda

Older pots and pans have a tendency to pick up shoddy-looking burn marks. Clean the burns from the inside of your pots and pans by filling them with a mixture of vinegar and water, and allowing them to come to a boil. Remove the pot or pan from the heat, and then add some baking soda. Allow it all to cool, and then drain and wipe the burns away. Clean the scorched bottoms of your pots and pans by making a paste from baking soda and a few small drops of water. Apply the paste to the burned area, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then scrub it all off.

3. Clean carpet stains with vinegar, a damp cloth, and a hot iron

When it comes to cleaning, carpets are some of the most annoying surfaces to have to deal with. But carpet stains don’t have to get you down. In a spray bottle, combine 2 parts water with 1 part vinegar. Spray the mixture over the stained area, and then cover it with a damp cloth. Using a hot iron on ‘steam’ setting, and then iron the area for approximately half a minute. The stain should steam out completely.

4. Get rid of really bad spills with a baking soda paste

There are some spells that need to be cleaned away as quickly as possible. For example, if you are unlucky enough to have to clean vomit or urine out of a carpet or off of a soda (pet, child, or any other type), you can take some of the difficulty out of the clean-up by making a baking soda paste and spreading it across the area. Let it dry overnight, and then vacuum up the dried remains the next day. Use the previous carpet-steaming hack to clean away any residual stains.

Buff away hard water spots with a dry sheet on fixtures

5. Buff away water spots with used dryer sheets

There’s something about the texture of a used dryer sheet that makes it perfect for buffing away water spots and-and rings. Keep your used bounce dryer sheets handy, and use them whenever you want to give your smooth surfaces a nice shine.

6. Clean microwaves by microwaving soapy water

Microwaves have a tendency to accrue nasty, greasy build-up all along their interiors. As such, it’s nice to know some microwave cleaning hacks. Tackling that mess with a wet sponge won’t do the trick, and cleaning microwaves with vinegar yields average results at best. Instead, fill a microwave-safe bowl with soapy water, and microwave on high for one minute. The resultant steam will seep into the food residue, making a quick wipe down much more effective for cleaning the microwave.

7. Clean dishes more easily with a spray bottle

Unless you’ve got the best dish washing machine on the planet, you probably find yourself having to rinse your dishes in your sink before your load them into the washer. Save water and soap by filling a spray bottle with 1 part dish soap to 3 parts water, and then shake it all up. Now you can spray the perfect mixture of soap and water directly where you need it.

8. Unclog a sink with a soda bottle

There are a number of methods for cleaning sink drains, and almost all of them are absolutely disgusting. This one, on the other hand, is simple and mess-free. If your kitchen sink is clogged, you can blast the clog free by creating a makeshift plunger from a plastic, 2-liter soda bottle. Just cut off the top ? of the bottle, place the open end around the drain opening, and give it a few abrupt squeezes. If you’ve created a good seal around the opening, the pressure should loosen your clog in no time. This works best for unclogging kitchen sinks, but may also help you when it comes to cleaning bathroom sink drains and other apartment drains.

9. Clean ceiling fans with an old pillowcase

The dust has a way of settling in places that are practically uncleanable. However, the blade of your ceiling fan doesn’t have to be one of those places. Get an old pillowcase, and (with the fan turned off), place the pillowcase over each individual blade, so that the blade fits into the case’s opening. Once the blade is completely covered, firmly close the case’s opening with your hands, and slide the pillowcase off of the fan blade. This will pull away all of the dust, without releasing it into the air (or dropping it on your head).

10. Clean hair off of the carpet with a squeegee

Whether it’s pet hair or human hair, stray follicles have a way of harming vacuum cleaners when they get sucked up in large amounts. Extend the life of your vacuum by using a simple squeegee to remove excess hair from carpeted areas. You’ll be surprised at how well it works!

11. Use a bleach pen to remove toilet mildew

When talking about bathroom cleaning hacks, the toilet is probably the first thing to come to most people’s minds—specifically, the mildew ring that appears in toilet bowls that don’t get used on a regular basis. If your toilet has a mildew ring marking the average water level, just drop a simple bleach pen into the bowl and let it soak there overnight. Remove the pen the next day, and your mildew ring should be gone (do this several nights in a row for persistent rings).

12. Use oil to clean oil

If you ever use your stove top, then chances are that your cooking surface has been splattered with grease and another food residue. Of course, the problem with trying to clean up grease with many conventional cleaning products is that many cleaners are actually water-based, and you know what they say about oil and water—they just don’t mix. Oil and oil, on the other hand, mix just fine. Add a couple of drops of vegetable oil to a paper towel, and use it to wipe away grease and food residue from stovetops and countertops. The oil on the paper towel will help break apart the stubborn oil stains and will leave your surfaces shining brilliantly. This hack is not recommended for gas stove tops (as the oil could potentially catch fire in the presence of an open flame).

13. Get out grease stains with a piece of chalk

There are few things more futile than trying to wash old grease stains out of fabric. However, if you act quickly, you can actually use plain white chalk to remove grease stains before they have a chance to set in. Just get some wax-free chalk, and rub it all over the stained area as soon as the accident occurs. Allow the chalk to set for a few minutes, and then wipe away any excess chalk. Rub the stained area with a dab of laundry detergent, and then wash the affected item in hot water. If the stain persists, wash it a second time.

14. Use a tennis balls to help dry down comforters

You're big, snuggly down comforter doesn’t have to be ‘dry-clean only.’ Place it in the washing machine on delicate setting with a small amount of mild detergent. Then transfer it to the dryer, and throw a tennis ball or two in with the comforter. Dry it on low. The tennis balls will keep the down from clumping together and will help ensure a dry and even distribution of fluff.

Cleaning your mattress with rubbing alcohol clear

15. Clean your mattress with rubbing alcohol

The average person spends about a third of their time sleeping and uses the same mattress for approximately 10 years at a time. But how often does that mattress get washed? Bedding such as sheets and comforters tend to get cleaned regularly, but for many people, the mattress itself may go through the entire decade long cycle without ever getting washed or disinfected. You can easily clean your mattress by filling a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, and then adding a drop or two scented oil (make sure it’s a scent that you like because you’re going to be sleeping on it). Lightly mist the entire uncovered mattress, and then allow it to dry. This will disinfect the mattress and help kill bacteria that causes bad odors.

16. Clean stove burners with ammonia and a garbage bag

Greasy, burnt-on food residue is some of the most difficult stuff to remove from a cooking surface, and that goes double for stove burners. But, by removing the burners, taking them outside, placing them in a high-quality garbage bag (make sure there are no holes in it), and adding approximately 1 cup of ammonia, and then firmly closing the bag, you can remove all of that difficult-to-remove residue easily. Leave the burners soaking in the bag for about 24 hours, and then carefully open the bag (you might want to wear Google and a surgical face mask when doing so because those fumes can get pretty intense). Rinse the burners with a stream of water, and the burnt-on residue should come right off.

17. Use spare jar lids to keep jars from leaking onto refrigerator shelves Dirty refrigerators have a way of lessening the appeal of any food contained therein. So, when jars start to leak their contents onto refrigerator shelves (or even in cupboards or cabinets), use clean spare lids from previously discarded jars, and place the leaking jars on top of the bottom-side-up lids. This will give the jars a nice, contained area in which to leak, thus saving your surfaces from unnecessary gunk.

18. Cover television screens and computer monitors with plastic food wrap TV screens and computer monitors have the double problem of attracting all sorts of lint and dust, while also being too expensive for owners to want to risk wiping them down with glass cleaner and paper towels. Take a cue from mobile device owners, and protect your TV and computer screens with a DIY screen protector. Just get some clear plastic food wrap, and wrap your television screen or computer monitor. Once the food wrap becomes dirty, dusty, or worn, simply replace it.

19. Use effervescent antacid tablets and vinegar to unclog bathroom drains

Bathroom drains, be they in sinks, showers, or baths, are some of the most likely drains in the home to develop clogs. But rather than call a plumber or snake out the offending hairballs yourself, you can dissolve clogs and get to work cleaning sinks with vinegar and effervescent antacid tablets (such as Alka-Seltzer). Just drop four tablets down the drain, followed by approximately 1 cup of distilled vinegar. Wait for about 10–15 minutes, and then pour some boiling water down the drain. The chemical reaction followed by the rush of hot water should help loosen the clog.

20. Clean your oven with vinegar and baking soda

If the ‘self-clean’ setting on your oven isn’t getting the job done (or if you don’t like the idea of burning out your oven’s fuse), you can clean your oven effectively just by mixing up a paste of white vinegar and baking soda (use about ½ cup baking soda mixed with about two or three tablespoons vinegar). Remove the oven racks, and spread the paste over the interior of the oven, being careful not to get any paste on the heating elements. Don’t neglect the windows, because cleaning oven door glass with baking soda paste is one of the best ways to do it. Let the coating of paste sit for about 12 hours, and then wipe or scrape the dried paste away. This will take with it most or all of the food residues. Finally, put some vinegar into a spray bottle, and spritz the interior of the oven. Wipe it out one last time. You can clean oven racks using the same paste, just make sure that you’re cleaning them outside or in a disposal-fitted kitchen sink; don’t ever attempt cleaning oven racks in the bathtub, because there’s nothing worse for your bathtub drain than greasy, chunky, food residue.

21. Clean air vents and covers with a rag, a knife, and some cleaning spray

Those thin slots in air vents pick up a lot of grime. Clean them out by spraying cleaning spray over the surface of the vent, and then wrapping a dull kitchen knife in a clean rag. Use the knife to push the rag through the individual slots, collecting all of the dust and dirt as it goes.

Cleaning bathroom fan vent with pressure air can.

22. Alternately you can also use pressurized canned air to do the trick as well Use bleach and cotton balls to clean between bathroom tiles Mildew and mold hate bleach, which makes it the perfect substance for cleaning bathroom tile. So, get some cotton balls, soak them in bleach, and place them liberally on difficult-to-clean bathroom areas (such as between tiles and on grout). Let them sit for about 24 hours, and then remove the cotton balls, and wash the area with soapy water. Make sure to wear gloves when handling bleach, and don’t let it come into contact with your skin or clothes; after all, cleaning bathroom grout isn’t worth risking your health.

23. Clean shower heads with vinegar and a plastic bag

Cleaning shower heads not only makes your bathroom look nicer but may also help unclog the shower head of mineral deposits, thus allowing the water to flow more smoothly. To get your shower heads looking like new, just pour distilled white vinegar into a plastic bag, and then fit the bag around your shower head. Secure it with a rubber band, so that the shower head is submerged in the vinegar. Leave the showerhead to soak for an hour, and then remove the bag. Wipe the shower head with a damp cloth.

24. Clean out ceiling vents with pressurized canned air

Canned air sounds like the world’s greatest scam, but it actually sees wide use in removing debris from keyboards and other hard to clean places. Well, there are few places as difficult to clean as ceiling vents, especially when those air vents can’t be easily removed. Just blast some canned air in between the vent slots, and then wipe the vent surface with a damp rag (you might want to wear a surgical mask and eye protection while you do so, as dislodged dust will likely be raining down while you work).

25. Remove soap buildup from shower doors with cooking spray

No list of shower cleaning hacks would be complete without a simple way to remove soap scum buildup from shower doors. Scrubbing it away takes way too much effort and yields poor results, but by spraying the entire door with a misting of cooking spray, and then allowing it to sit for five minutes, you can loosen the soap buildup, thus allowing you to wipe it away without any hassle. Cleaning shower doors have never been easier.

What did we miss? Share your favorite home cleaning hacks in our comments section!

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