Whether you’re dealing with the latest toddler tantrum, ferrying your kids to various clubs or running the school gauntlet, being a parent and keeping the house tidy can seem impossible.
Especially when children seem to make mess faster than you can clean it!
The good news is there are plenty of ways to speed up household chores. Try the tips below next time you’re in a hurry to clean up – you’ll be surprised at how much time they can save.
1. Get Rid of Hair with a Rubber Glove
Stray pet hairs can make any sofa look old and dirty. Hair can be difficult to remove though – especially if your vacuum cleaner doesn’t come with a turbo tool.
A cheap alternative is to use the static electricity provided by rubber gloves. Simply wear the gloves and run your hand over the sofa. Hair will stick to your hand with very little effort. When your gloves are “full,” submerge them in a bowl of water and the hair will float to the top.
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2. Remove Juice Stains with White Vinegar
Juice is often spilt at lunch time – and it can be surprisingly difficult to remove from clothes.
There’s a trick for getting rid of most juice stains though – and it relies on the amazing properties of white vinegar. Start by rinsing in cold water, then soak in a mixture of ½ teaspoon of laundry detergent, a tablespoon of white vinegar and a liter of water. After soaking for around 15 minutes, run the clothing through the washing machine to get rid of whatever is left.
3. Protect Your Fridge with Plastic Wraps
Fridges can get dirty quickly – especially if your children often spill food or drinks when putting them back (like mine!)
An easy way to cut down on cleaning is to line each shelf with sticky food wraps. Once they get dirty, you can replace them without needing to clean.
4. Lint Rollers are Great for Dusting
Lampshades, windowsills and fireplaces are magnets for dust. Some vacuums come with dusting brushes, but these can be awkward to use if you’re in a rush.
A faster alternative is a lint roller. Run a roller over lampshades or other dusty items to remove dust without needing a vacuum. The sticky surface will also remove lumps of fluff and other debris without damaging delicate items.
On a side note, I always keep a fresh supply of lint rollers around the house. They can be a lifesaver when you realize your work clothes are covered in dog hair or fluff.
5. Clean Finger Marks from Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless steel appliances look great – but fingerprints can be almost impossible to prevent.
A quick way to make stainless steel shine again is to use some rubbing alcohol with a microfiber cloth. Make sure you rub with the grain of the surface and pay extra attention to the handles.
6. Find Earrings or Other Small Objects with a Vacuum and Tights
If you’ve lost an earring, finding it amongst the daily clutter of a family home can be a nightmare. Fortunately, there’s an easier solution than crawling on your hands and knees.
Start by cutting a leg off a pair of old tights, then fix the fabric over the end of your vacuum cleaner’s hose. You can use a hair elastic to secure it.
Switch on the vacuum and direct it under sofas, down crevices and anywhere else your earring may have fallen. Air can pass through the tights, so your vacuum’s suction won’t be affected, but earrings (or other larger items) get caught in the fabric.
7. Freshen Dirty Trainers with Baking Soda
If your kid’s trainers are starting to smell, an easy way to neutralize the odor is with baking soda.
Just sprinkle the baking soda over the shoes, including inside, then leave it to sit for a few hours. The baking soda should absorb the worst odors and is easy to brush off.
8. Save Time by Maintaining Your Vacuum Cleaner
Abraham Lincoln once said, “if I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I would spend six of those hours sharpening my axe.”
A similar ethos can be applied to vacuum cleaners, as a clogged vac will struggle to remove dust, dirt and hair. So, if cleaning your floors seems to be taking longer than usual, some vacuum maintenance could do the trick.
Start by cleaning your vacuum’s filters. When these become clogged, air flow is reduced and the vacuum becomes less effective. If the filter you’re using can be washed in water, make sure it’s completely dry before you use it again. The filters of small vacuums or handheld models (such as those found here) often need to be cleaned more regularly, as they clog faster.
Next, check your vacuum’s beater bar for hair or string. When hair is wound around the bar, it may not spin as quickly. It’s also a good idea to empty your vacuum’s canister each time you use it, as a full dust bin can reduce suction power.
Being a parent and taking care of housework isn’t easy, but it doesn’t need to be stressful either. By adding these cleaning hacks to your arsenal, you’ll be able to keep your house cleaner in less time – even if your children excel at making mess!
Guest post by James Hall – freelance writer and cleaning expert.
Thanks so much, James, for the great tips! If you have any cleaning questions for him, you can share them in the comments.