Welcome to Your No-Sweat Guide to Spring Cleaning, a monthlong series that puts the fun (yep, for real!) back into cleaning. We’re talking spruce-ups that take less than 5 minutes, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that hacks, and hands-off cleaning tasks that basically…do themselves—plus our trustiest tools and helpers. The goal: Clean less, go outside more.
Cleaning can sometimes (most times) feel like a never-ending battle, and no matter how well you scrub during your monthly deep clean, the grime still persists. Particularly with all the time spent at home this year, I’ve found myself resentful of the dust buildup in my bedroom, the sticky cooking residue in the kitchen, and the dishes that just seem to keep multiplying. And unfortunately, I’ve also found that the only way to prevent an out-of-control cleanup is to incorporate some cleaning habits into my everyday routine.
I know, I was in denial about a lot of these things for a long time (and some I’m still not totally habitual about), but the sooner you take a deep breath and accept it, the cleaner your home will be in the long run. Just like checking off a hyper-detailed to-do list helps you feel accomplished, doing certain tasks every day can also help take back (or establish) a sense of control.
Ready to work on incorporating some habits into your daily ritual? Right this way…
1. Doing Dishes? Wash the Sink, Too
This is a piece of advice I picked up from Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space. As part of her video on deep-cleaning the sink, she mentioned that sinks should be wiped down each time you use them, and that once you’re in that habit, you’ll start to notice friends’ sinks and how they’ve let gunk build up. Well, that certainly struck fear into my heart, and was enough for me to never let the sink go unwiped again. You’ll be shocked how much better you feel about the kitchen when the sink is maintained, I promise.
2. Clean Out the Shower Drain Every Time You Shower
The shower drain is a vile place, made even more revolting by hair building up to the point of a clog. If you’ve ever stuck a drain snake down your tub’s innards, you know just how scarring the experience can be. Don’t be like me, hunched over the tub, flinging black, hairy goop around in an effort to mitigate a monster clog—wipe up hair each time you shower. I’ve also found that a very simple drain protector has worked wonders in preventing the hair from slithering down the drain in the first place.
3. Wipe Down Your Cooktop Every Night
I am baffled each time I watch someone do the after-dinner dishes and not wipe down their cooktop. To me, it’s been ingrained as an integral part of a kitchen cleanup (can you guess who tried to skimp on their chores as a child?), and truly, we’re all better for it. Letting food crust up on the burners and stove past the first day is a recipe for not only for a grimy-looking kitchen, but a potential fire hazard.
4. Wipe Down Plant Leaves When You Water Them
So, depending on your plant species and watering schedule, this might not need to be done every day, but I’ve found it’s a great habit to get into. Plants are magnets for stray household dust, and the buildup isn’t great for your plant’s health or your clean aesthetic. A damp cloth does the trick, though, no problem.
5. Oil Your Utensils Each Time You Wash Them
I am, right now, staring at a crock full of dried-up wooden utensils, and therefore am admitting this is a “do as I say” moment. But seriously, your utensils need just as much love as your cutting board or cast iron. Instead of leaving them out on the dish rack to shrivel and crack, take an extra two minutes (seriously, it’s that fast) to give them a nice swipe of mineral oil.
6. Squeegee the Shower Each Time You Bathe
I once stayed in an Airbnb that requested we squeegee the shower each time we used it, and my immediate reaction was “uh, that’s pretty nitpicky.” But when it comes to shower doors and walls, the same water that’s getting you clean is also a breeding ground for mold and nasty bacteria. By removing as much water as possible from the walls of the shower each time you use it, you’re eliminating the ability for the nasty stuff to colonize in the first place, making a serious shower clean much less serious.
7. Spritz Your Bed Every Time You Make It
You already know the benefits of making your bed every day, right? Suffice it to say that getting back into a made bed is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and if you aren’t in the daily bed-making crowd, you should give it a go. Beyond just making the bed, though, I’ve taken to giving my pillows and sheets a spritz with naturally-scented spray each time I make it, and each time I get into bed. Sometimes my clean sheets have been sitting in a drawer for too long before use, and sometimes I forget and let them hit the two-week mark (experts say they should be laundered weekly), but I keep them smelling straight-from-the-laundromat-fresh this way.
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