• Sophie - Dustpan & Brush

5 Cleaning Tips & Hacks: Making it Easier!

Sometimes it's tough keeping on top of the house cleaning tasks, and when life piles up around you, having a couple of time saving cleaning tips and tricks in your basket can be an absolute life saver!

I’ll be honest here, sometimes I’m a sucker for punishment and will make the simplest things much harder than they need to be. With domestic cleaning however, it should come as no surprise that I’ve got the tips, tricks and cleaning hacks that will actually help! While these tips save time and effort, they don’t come at the expense of quality or motivation - I mean is a hack really worth doing if it saves you that time and effort but leaves a result of looking/feeling half done?

Cleaning is still cleaning and as much as I’d love to say these tips magically turn hours of work into minutes, they won’t, but it’s all about making things as easy as possible, wherever possible. Call me nuts (saying ‘passionate’ would soften the blow) but I always get a little kick of achievement and satisfaction after finishing little house tasks. Yes, I congratulate myself for adulting and if you aren't doing the same, let me outline below why you should too!

Similar to that endorphin hit from exercise, having a clean space and reducing mess/clutter will give you a sense of breath and calm borne of a very similar serotonin release . Mood, mental health, stress and anxiety alleviation are all positively affected by being in a clean space.

So, let's use this to our benefit with some handy tips and celebrate the little adult achievements - they’re more valuable and significant than you may have assumed!

Tip #1 - Microwave Cleaning Hack:

We all know what a gunky microwave looks like. The baked-on remnants become a special type of cement that is borderline impossible to get off. It may even be something you really begrudge doing. Whichever way you feel about it, this cleaning hack will make things WAY easier (this one completely changes the game, and of course it’s eco-friendly, surely that’s a given!)

1- Grab a microwave safe mug;

Any glass, ceramic or reusable plastic cup you’d normally use in there will do.

2- Fill 1/3 of the cup with water, squeeze in half a lemon, and then pop that half piece of lemon you just squeezed in the mug as well.

3- Place it in the microwave for three and a half minutes on high, then leave the whole thing sitting for another minute or so without opening the door. The heat and steam from the water and natural acids from the lemon will do its magical thing.

4- All you’ll need to do now is gently wipe. Yep. No hacking away, no scourer, no hard work or utensils. Whatever was in there becomes entirely loose with the circulating condensation, so that gentle wipe will take care of it completely. No elbow grease needed.

Five minutes in total, four of which are spent standing around enjoying the fresh scent of yummy lemon citrus. Environmentally friendly, easy, done. Note:

- If you have no lemons on hand but happen to have any kitchen vinegar (white or apple cider) then a capful will do just as well in replacement of the half lemon and juice. Vinegar is very readily biodegradable so you’re good to go.

- Be careful taking the mug out as it will still be quite hot, and there may be some spill over onto the glass plate.


Tip #2 - Quick Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaning Tips:

Most of your cleaning items and products tend to be in one place, but if everything is in that dark corner of the laundry that only gets ventured into when people are coming over, then it makes sense that you’re less likely to reach for them.

The most effective advice I can give to address this is: Keep some cloths/microfibres in the kitchen and bathroom, with an all-purpose surface spray beside them.

If the basics are easily accessible, then you’ll be more inclined to do a quick once over rather than go hunt for them. If there's no room in your cupboards, leaving them on the bench is an easy solution. A lot of you might not be doing this simply because you might think it messes with the visual feng shui – but these days there are some absolutely stunning cloths and cleaning products out there. Not only can you arrange them ever so quaintly, but it can seriously add visual value to your space!

As a bathroom cleaning hack, by giving the sink and bench a little wipe every few days you’ll be minimising the build-up; so when you do get around to conducting a more thorough clean it will be hardly any extra effort. You can use your shower towel that's about to go in the wash if you so desire. The same goes for the bath or shower surfaces. The same applies as a kitchen cleaning hack on your sinks and benches with the nearest tea towel.

The hardest part, genuinely, is getting into the routine of restocking your freshly washed and dried cloths in these places, once it's looking fresh though, I guarantee the motivation will maintain itself.


Tip #3 - Effective Dusting:

Dust can feel near impossible to keep on top of, especially if you have a lot of glass and/or dark furniture and finishes. Screens and computer monitors can also become eyesore hotspots. I’ve had a lot of clients ask how I manage to bring it up and not have it settle straight back down on the same or nearby surface.

The basic principle I work by with how to keep dust away is simple:

1- Always work from the top down. 2- DRY wipe with one cloth first, then WET wipe with a slightly damp cloth after.

All dust and dirt falls - gravity’s pretty rude that way. Start from the top and work your way down, otherwise you’ll be going over the same things again and again. Remember, we want to reduce dust and make this an easier clean, not a harder one.

In the first wipe down: the dry cloth will pick up most of the dust, in the second wipe down with the damp cloth: all the little bits that have either been left behind or kicked up from the initial wipe will be taken care of. The damp cloth also freshens and for some surfaces, removes the static that can occur when dry wiping, so you’ll stop the dust zapping straight back there!

If you’re just wanting to stick to the basics, that’s all you need to know! Otherwise, here you can read more comprehensive detail on the best way to keep dust away, how to dust specific rooms, furniture & décor.


Tip #4 - Streakless, spotless bench tops and glass:

Seeing streaks or smudges on a surface you just cleaned can elicit a strange level of frustration, maybe even a little resentment starts bubbling up for your black glass or dark marble counter-top. It’s okay, I understand. When you’ve gone to the effort of cleaning, and you know that it’s clean, why do those smudges and streaks stick around to ruin it all!? This is a really simple fix for those who love a pristine surface.

Firstly, if you want thorough detail on how to clean glass and surfaces without streaking, read more here.

Otherwise here are two quick options:

1- Surface clean: Lightly damp wipe, then dry buff. Simple

2- Deep clean: Wet scrub, squeegee, dry buff.

Both these methods will work every time, but the deep clean style squeegee method really pulls both the grease AND cleaning product completely off the surface. The second method is going to really get that shine if you're wondering how to clean glass shower screens, glass oven door, cooktops or how to clean glass hard water stains too.

I will also add- don’t use your used dish cloth to wipe down benches! You really want a streakless clean, but a dish cloth will only reintroduce sink bacteria, other nasties (in the current state of things that is not a risk worth taking!) and along with them, the oil smears from washing your dishes. Of course, this is only going to transfer onto the bench you’re trying to clean, we’ve definitely had to teach our household humans about this in the past. Secondly, tea towels are great for a lot, but the material is not right if you’re after a truly shiny surface.

Have a designated surface cloth. Have a clean rag/microfibre for the dry buff and say goodbye to smears and streaks.


Tip #5 - 10 minute stints:

We all know the lines ‘tidy home, tidy mind’ etc, they exist for very good reason, but when life gets busy or your mind is otherwise preoccupied, those little mantras almost seem like taunting barbs of failure.

No matter the size of your space, the thought of cleaning the whole home in one go is at the best of times an overwhelming one for most. I get it. That’s also before we take into account anything else about your lifestyle too - family, share house, work, pets, whatever your life may be, when it comes to cleaning ‘I don’t think I can deal with this’ can be a pretty justified thought. Cleaning can give you an amazing feeling of gratification, and that sense of reward and achievement has certainly helped me when adulting feels just a little too tough to manage. With that, I’d like to share this little slice of sanity: Don’t worry about the whole house in one go okay?

Give yourself 15 or 20 minutes a day (even a little less than that is fine if that’s too much to squeeze in!), and just focus on one room a day.

If you want to know more about my basic tips of how to tackle each room, with speed and resulting sanity, read more here.

It doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul of a clean -just a simple wipe over and tidy of that one room is perfect! It’s also important to find the happy and calm in that room. Don’t get ahead of yourself thinking about all the other rooms that need attention. By adopting this routine and tweaking it to suit you, you’ll find that the overall space is infinitely more manageable and the grime you once spent hours trying to remove doesn’t even get a chance to build up. Tidy up what I call the ‘visual noise’, and even if it lasts all of 5 minutes, it is amazing what making the bed and arranging the couch pillows can do for a room. While you might think it’s silly to congratulate yourself for making your bed, you’re adulting and we know now more than ever that it’s not always that easy. On those days where it's particularly tough, give us a shout, we'll come help 🥰