9 Smart Cleaning Tips We Wish We Knew Sooner

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Squeaky is all about the borderline genius hacks and ideas that keep literally every inch of your space pristine.

Some people love to clean. Some loathe it. Many are somewhere in between. And we get it. While cleaning might not be how you want to spend extra time on a Saturday, isn't there something so satisfying about a sparkling home?


And so, here are some smart, simple, helpful cleaning tips we feel the need to share. Because you deserve to shine.

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1. Vinegar will literally clean your entire home.

a small spray bottle full of water and rubbing alcohol

With a 1:1 ratio of water to white vinegar, you can clean just about everything in your living space. Really. According to cleaning expert Stephanie Gerber, vinegar's "low PH and natural acidity makes it tough on bacteria and viruses lurking on surfaces in the home." Plus, it cuts right through grease. Don't love the smell of vinegar? You can soften it by infusing essential oils and citrus peels. While we could go on and on, why not click here to check out 19 ways you can clean your home, one room at a time.


2. Essential oils not only smell good, some will fight bacteria, too.

adding essential oil to a cleaning solution made of water and vinegar

Yes, essential oils have amazing scents — but did you know that some also have antimicrobial properties and can fight various viruses and bacteria on surfaces? These germ-fighting oils include lavender, thyme, peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and tea tree. One tip to try from the American College of Healthcare Sciences: to clean surfaces, add three drops of lavender oil, two drops of bergamot oil, and two cups of white vinegar to a spray bottle. Shake well and use with a soft wipe for cleaning.


3. You can clean oven racks in your tub or shower.


Take out the hassle of cleaning dirty oven racks by using your tub or shower. All you need to do is liberally spray the racks with vinegar (yes, vinegar strikes again), sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over them, and let sit for 10 minutes. Cover with hot water and let sit for another 10 minutes, and then simply use a scrub pad to easily remove grime. Everything should come right off!


4. Washing soda strips your clean laundry of dirt you didn't even know was there.

Hand holding bowl with white powder over white washing machine

Washing soda is the secret ingredient you never knew you needed. But you do. It's more alkaline than baking soda, and helps to lift stains and brighten your laundry. It'll literally help to "strip" your laundry of dirt that you thought you had already cleaned from your clothes and linens. This video is proof of its power! (And it's a little bit gross, but so satisfying.)


5. Clear dishwashing liquid will remove stains from carpet.

using a sponge and a solution of dish soap and water to clean carpet stain

So, it turns out that dishwashing liquid is also like vinegar in that it can clean many things throughout your home, not just your dishes. From kitchen cabinets to even removing dust from the leaves of your fiddle-leaf fig tree. We love using it as a way to spot clean our carpet when we have a stain: just 1/8 teaspoon of clear dish soap to 2 cups of water. So easy! Be sure to check out this article for more carpet cleaning tips since there are some stains (such as oil-based) that need an alternative type of treatment.



6. There's ONE thing you should always do before you vacuum.

using a hand-held vacuum cleaner to get pet fur off a couch

In a nutshell: clean everything above your floor first because things collect so much dust. We're talking lighting fixtures, pictures frames and televisions, mantels and bookshelves, sofas and chairs, and don't forget to address your window blinds and curtains. Once all of the dust has literally settled, then it's time to vacuum. When our cleaning expert told us this tip, we were like, "Of course." But we were also like, "Why didn't we think of this before?"


7. Lemons clean your garbage disposal.

Hand holding lemon-filled garbage pod over garbage disposal with bowl filled with garbage pods in a white sink with black backsplash

When paired with baking soda or ice, lemons are the MVP when it comes to cleaning and deodorizing a garbage disposal. Fresh lemons and lemon essential oils help to degrease the blades and walls, while leaving behind a wonderful citrus scent.


We have two recipes to try today for a better smelling kitchen sink. (Plus, check out other ways you can clean your home with lemons.)

8. Ketchup brings luster back to brass.


Image Credit: Trisha Sprouse for Hunker

Not sure who first decided to try this trick, but if you have brass items (like drawer pulls or cabinet knobs), you can help them shine using ketchup. Cleaning expert Jessica Kielman says to put the items "in a saucepan and cover with ketchup or hot sauce. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat until the brass shines like new. Rinse with warm water and dry with a soft cloth." Genius.


9. Finally, where you store your cleaning supplies actually matters.

Hand holding plastic bag with cleaning containers

There are some specific ways you can store your cleaning supplies for safety and longer shelf life. For instance, start hanging your brooms upside down to prevent the bristles from bending and breaking. And avoid keeping all of your cleaners (especially harsh chemicals such as bleach or flammable products) under a kitchen or bathroom sink since those areas are prone to wetness. For more tips, click here.



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