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Smart Home

15 cleaning and laundry tips that'll make your life easier

Get your house clean with less effort using these simple tips.

Josh Miller/CNET

You probably love a tidy house, but hate the time and effort it takes to get it there. 

Cleaning your home doesn't need to be a tedious, never-ending trial. This year, use these 15 tips to make your house cleaner, with less guesswork and hassle.

A no-scrub answer for your shower curtain

Don't clean your shower curtain by hand. Throw it in your washing machine with enough detergent for a medium load, set the washer to the normal cycle and be sure the water temperature is set to warm. When the washer is done, hang the curtain back up and let it air dry. 

You're washing your bath towels too much

If you're one of those people who think you need to wash your bath towels after every use, you may be cleaning more than you need to. You actually only need to wash a towel after three or four uses, unless there are sick people involved. 

Get your closet sorted

A clean, organized closet will help you get ready faster in the morning, but getting it that way can seem like an insurmountable task. Here are some rules to get it done in just one afternoon.

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Zap the dirtiest place in your home

Your computer's keyboard can have 400 times the amount of bacteria than your toilet seat. Hit it with a blast of compressed air to get rid of dust, food particles and lint, then wipe it down with disinfectant wipes to get it germ-free quickly.

Give your mattress a deep clean without scrubbing

Your mattress could harbor around 10 million dust mites, according to The American Council on Science and Health. That can make your allergies go crazy, so a deep clean is in order. Don't worry, it doesn't require huge amounts of time or money. 

You can get your mattress clean with just your vacuum, baking soda and some water. Give your mattress a good vacuuming, spray it with water, then sprinkle it with baking soda. When the moisture drys, vacuum a second time to remove the baking soda. 

Clean a ceiling fan in 60 seconds

All you need to get a ceiling fan clean in a minute is kitchen tongs, two rags and some rubber bands. Roll each arm of the tongs with a rag and secure them with rubber bands. Clamp a fan blade with the tongs and drag the rags down the blade. The rags will trap the dust on both sides of the blade. No mess.

This tip gets ceiling fans clean in seconds.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Fix yellowed sheets with solar power

No need to scrub discolored sheets. Just hang them outside on a sunny day. The sunlight acts as a natural whitening agent. Learn more about keeping your sheets white and bright here.

Wash your sheets on a schedule

Like your towels, your sheets need to be washed at certain intervals. Once every two weeks is a good rule of thumb, unless you have allergies or night sweats. If you have these problems, wash your sheets at least once a week

Put your fridge on a cleaning schedule, too

Your fridge needs to be wiped down as soon as spills happen, purged of leftovers weekly, deep cleaned once a month and the water filter needs to be changed every six months. Be sure to mark your calendar to remind you of what needs to be done when.

Get your bathroom clean in 10 minutes

Getting your bathroom clean doesn't need to be a big production. With just 10 minutes a day you can make it sparkle. You just need a routine. Here's how to get your bathroom clean in a snap while you get ready in the morning.

Then take 2 seconds to keep your toilet clean

bathroom-tip

A little magic is all you need to keep your toilet clean.

Alina Bradford/CNET

I hate cleaning the toilet and I bet you do, too. Luckily, I've found a way to keep your toilet bowl cleaner, longer. Check this out. All you need is a magic eraser sponge. 

Speed clean your kitchen

Just like your bathroom, with a good routine, you can clean your kitchen super fast. First, you need to gather your cleaning supplies, then you need to clean areas in a certain order to be more efficient. Here's the steps to take.

nix-vacuum-clogs

A simple net bag can save you a lot of vacuuming woes.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Prevent vacuum hose clogs

Every single time my kids vacuumed, they clogged up the hose. If you have this problem, too, there's a solution. All you need to do is secure a mesh vegetable bag over the end of the hose. It will catch items that could potentially clog the vacuum and will let smaller particles pass through.

Flash dry your dishes

There's no need to use the drying cycle on your dishwasher. It just wastes electricity. At the end of the cycle, simply open the door. 

After a wash and rinse, the dishes are so hot they will evaporate the rinse water, releasing the steam through the open door. Your dishes will be dry in just minutes.

Banish pet smells

No matter how much you train your pets, sometimes they have accidents. Pet urine tends to stick around even after a good cleaning, but you can wipe out the stench with a mixture of 16 ounces (about 500 milliliters) warm water and 10 drops of peppermint essential oil or 2 tablespoons of peppermint extract in a spray bottle. Spray the offensive area well to end the eww. 

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