19 Ways To Defeat Hard-To-Clean Things Around Your House

Cleaning can be a chore, even just the regular day-to-day sweeping and dusting. Then you get into places that can be hard to clean and well . . . they might get put off for a little longer than you intended. Now that the weather is nice, it is time to tackle those tough tasks. 

Now, we know things have to get cleaned, but we are also all about efficiency. A wise person once said “work smarter, not harder.” Here are 19 tips to finally get to the things you haven’t cleaned lately and more importantly, how to make it easier. 

1. Detail Your Own Car

Sure you can take it to a shop, but it will set you back about $200. Or you could do it yourself with a mixture of club soda, dish soap and vinegar. Scrub the solution with a firm brush and steam clean to remove residue. For full instructions go here.

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2. De-Gunk Window Screens 

A lot of dirt can build up between your screen and glass window pane. Sprinkle some baking soda onto the dirt and pour on just enough vinegar to let it bubble up. Use an old toothbrush or cotton swap to scrub away stuck on gunk and rinse out wish warm water.

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3. Clean Your Ice Maker

If you have a refrigerator with an ice maker, when is the last time that you cleaned it? Probably never right? A dirty ice maker can make ice that tastes or smells funny and can harbor bacteria. There are a few ways to clean it, but this one just uses steam. Don’t use a harsh cleaner that could damage the ice maker – check the manual if you’re unsure. If you threw it away, you can find most manuals online at the company’s website.

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4. Get Rid Of Laundry Odors 

If you have a high efficiency front load washing machine, you know that they can get really smelly. Simply running the machine on a hot cycle with bleach every couple weeks can keep it from getting dirty in the first place. If you’ve really let it go, find the directions for a vinegar/ baking soda remedy here.

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5. Clean Your Grout 

Nothing makings a clean house look filthier than stained, nasty grout. Using just Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner With Bleach and a scrub brush this tile went from gross to great in just 10 minutes. If you have darker grout, test a spot below an appliance or out of sight before you do the whole floor – it does have bleach so it could do some damage.

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6. Clean Microfiber Couches 

Microfiber couches are supposed to hold up to dirt, but if yours looks more like the right side of this one than the left side, even after scrubbing with rubbing alcohol try using distilled water. Hard water can cause dark edges circles to appear, so soaking the top layer and rubbing with a cloth can help lift out those hard water stains. Once it dries, gently brush with a hard bristled brush and it should look almost new again.

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7. Rid Stains From Laminate Counters

Laminate is a great option for a counter top, but a lingering spill can still stain it. If regular soapy water doesn’t lift it, spread some baking soda and scrub with a gentle cloth to pull up the mark. Natural stones like marble can absorb a stain too, but you need to create a poultice specific to the spill and stone type to get rid of it.

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8. Clean Hair Brushes 

Anyone who has used a hair brush knows that they can get really gross. If yours is really nasty, make cuts every couple rows to loosen up hair. To remove product residue soak the brush in a solution of hot water and baking soda.

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9. Dust Air Vents 

Use an old paint brush or makeup brush to dust out your car’s air vents that your vacuum can’t get to.

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10. Dust Your Ceiling Fan Faster

Instead of trying to avoid dust in the face and all over the bed or floor below, wipe down a ceiling fan using a pillow case. Wrap it around each blade and pull off the dirt. Give it a quick wipe down with a cloth to get any stuck on bits.

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11. Remove Rust From Knives

If your favorite knife has started to look a little worse for wear, and you’ve tried every DIY option with no results you don’t have to buy a new one. Just grab a bottle of Bar Keeper’s Friend and scrub away – the rust will start to vanish in minutes.

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12. Wash Fido’s Toys

Dog toys can get really, really gross. Drool, dirt, dust and whatever else is all over these things. For the health of your dog – and you if you pick them up too – give them a wash. You can find simple instructions to clean soft toys, squeaky toys and plastic toys here.

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13. Awkward Glass Bottles 

Sometimes those pretty decorative bottles develop a dirty residue inside and a bottle brush just can’t reach. Pour coarse salt, dish soap and a tiny bit of warm water into the bottle and shake -hard then rinse. The solution should be gritty enough to scrub but liquid enough to move around. Depending how dirty they are you might have to repeat this process a few times to get rid of all the marks.

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14. Hard Water Stains In Your Faucet

These open-style facets look so pretty – until they get grimy. Create a paste with coarse salt and cleaning vinegar (it is slightly more acidic than regular vinegar and can really power through stains.) Rub it onto the stains and let it sit for 15. Give it a quick scrub before rinsing and the deposits will be gone.

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15. Get Rid Of Driveway Stains 

Stains in a driveway look terrible, but they’re so hard to clean. To pull out an old, embedded stain this product called Pour-N-Restore is your best bet. It is a poultice and draws out the dried in oil stains. The product pours on as a liquid that you spread over the stain. As it dries it becomes a powder that holds onto the oily stain so you can sweep it away instead of rinsing it into your lawn.

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16. Bring Back Old Cookie Sheets

Your pans are clean but they look…. burnt. Create a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and spread it all over the pan. Let it sit for a couple of hours and with minimal effort you’ll be able to scrub off all the stains.

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17. Clean The Air Conditioner

You might never think to clean the AC unit, but when it gets built up with dirt, it has to work harder to keep you cool. Give your energy bill a break and clean out the debris. It is a bit of a process, but it can make a big difference in your budget so it is worth it. Find out how to do it here.

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18. Erase Permanent Marker From Wood

If your kids got a hand of a marker they shouldn’t have and got it on your floor (or your coffee table) there is a simple fix – toothpaste! Just rub some plain white toothpaste on the stain and scrub with a washcloth or microfiber cloth. It might take a bit of effort but the stain should lift out.

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19. Non-Stick Grill 

This is more of a “prevent future cleaning” tip than a “post-mess” one. When the barbecue grill is hot, rub it down with the cut side of an onion. Your meat and veggies won’t stick and you won’t be stuck scouring away a mess later.

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