The ‘But I Don’t Have Time!’ Guide to a Tidy Home
Use humidity, a car product, and more wow ideas to save cleaning time.
Image: Hex/Stocksy United
When cleaning your home, why not do it in such a way that’ll keep your home cleaner with less effort?
Here are 7 ways to keep your spring-clean fresh all year long:
#1 Use Humidity to Defy Dust
Low humidity levels cause static electricity. Not only does static attract dust, it makes it stick, so it’s difficult to remove. High humidity causes problems, too — it’s an ideal environment for dust mites. These microscopic critters are a double threat: They’re a common allergen, and they contribute to dust production. There are as many as 19,000 dust mites in half a teaspoon of house dust, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Yuck!
What to do: Keep your home’s humidity level between 40% and 50%. That’ll eliminate static while decreasing dust mite growth.
Tip: About 80% of dirt in homes walks in from the outside. Stop dirt with a bristly doormat before it’s tracked inside.
#2 Apply a Car Product to Keep Shower Doors Scum-Free
You can eliminate soap scum build-up by coating your glass shower doors with a rain-repellent product made for car windshields. When applied to glass, products like these create an invisible barrier that causes water, oils, and debris (like soap suds) to bead and roll off.
What to do: Find this product anywhere that sells basic auto supplies. You’ll know it’s time to reapply when water stops beading on shower doors. Keep in mind, windshield rain repellants were made to treat glass, not plastic, so only use on glass door.
Another option: Automatic shower cleaners claim to let you clean your shower and tub less frequently — like every 30 days. After you finish bathing, the gadget will douse your shower and tub with a cleanser that prevents soap scum build-up while combating mold and mildew. You can buy automatic shower cleaners at most big-brand retailers, like Target and Walmart.
#3 Seal Your Stone Countertops
Natural stone countertops, including granite and marble, are porous, so if they’re not sealed, liquids like red wine, juice, or soy sauce can stain them. A countertop sealer repels stains by causing spills to bead instead of getting absorbed. Most countertops are sealed when installed, but the sealant does wear down.
What to do: To keep your countertops in tip-top shape, re-apply sealer twice a year. To see if you need a fresh coat, pour a tiny bit of water on your natural stone countertop. If the water doesn’t bead or doesn’t stay beaded for two to three minutes, it’s time to reseal.
Shopping for stone countertops? Slabs with lots of swirls or veins tend to be more porous, and, therefore harder to keep clean.
#4 Use Protectants on Furniture and Carpets
Protective furniture sprays and carpet sealants, like Scotchgard and Ultra-Guard, guard against inevitable spills by causing liquids to bead on the surface instead of being absorbed.
Some of these products also protect fabrics from fading and resist mold, mildew, and bacteria.
What to do: Apply the appropriate sealer once a year after a deep upholstery and carpet cleaning.
#5 Clean Your Oven the Old-Fashioned Way
Forget oven cleaners that promise an easy job. Most cleaners give off noxious fumes and make a horrible mess. The basic ingredient in many oven cleaners is lye, which can burn your eyes and your skin; it’s usually fatal if swallowed.
What to do: Use a wet pumice stone to scrape off dirt and grease. It’s faster than oven cleaner and toxin-free.
Tip: Need to wipe your range or anything else down? You can bust filth faster by heating up a clean, damp sponge or cloth in a microwave for 30 seconds before wiping with or without a cleaning product. Put on rubber gloves before you pick up that hot sponge.
#6 Do Quick Touch-Ups
Small cleaning projects prevent filth from building up. When you spot clean daily, you can prevent smudges from staining, banish dust bunnies, and even combat allergens.
What to do: Create a spot-cleaning kit so you can address small, dirty situations in minutes.
- Cleaning pads are great for eradicating dirty fingerprints on walls and light switches.
- Damp micro-cloths can reduce airborne dander when used daily to wipe down pets.
- Dry sweeper cloths can quickly pick up dust and dry dirt off floors, shelves, and electronics.
Tip: Keep stored items cleaner longer by shutting closets, cabinets, and drawers, so circulating dust and dirt can’t get in.
#7 Update Your Light Bulbs
Okay, It’s not really cleaning. But good lighting can make you and your home look and feel great — and help you spot that spill before it gets funky.
A room lit with low-wattage incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescents can look dark and dingy. “Daylight” bulbs brighten things up. These full-spectrum light bulbs mimic natural light, so they give better visual accuracy. Bonus: Like sunlight, these bulbs can boost your mood.
What to do: When shopping for bulbs, look for those marked “daylight” that have a range between 5,000 to 6,500 kelvins.