13 Housecleaning Hacks That Save You Time and Money

Cleaning is a necessary evil. We have tricks that can save you cash and get you through those chores more quickly.

Use stale bread or rice to clean your coffee grinder

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Coffee smells fabulous in the morning, but when you shift gears and decide to grind spices or nuts, you don’t want them to remind you of your morning cup of joe.

For a blade grinder, use some stale bread or dry, uncooked rice to absorb the coffee smell and clean out your grinder. If you have a burr grinder (also called a burr mill), bread won’t work but dried rice might. A note of caution: Uncooked rice can be harder than coffee beans and may tax your grinder’s motor. Some companies say using rice as a cleaner will void the warranty.

Furniture polish will make stainless steel appliances shine

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Let furniture polish do double duty on your stainless steel appliances. Clean off any grime first, and then spray on the polish and wipe dry.

And speaking of appliances, if you’re faced with replacing one of these costly items, check out: “7 Ways to Save Big on Household Appliances.”

Make grease stains disappear with rubbing alcohol

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To get a grease stain out of carpets or other surfaces, mix four parts rubbing alcohol with one part salt. Rub into the stain to lift the grease. Then let the surface dry and wipe up or vacuum up any leftover salt.

Bleach your cutting boards

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If only you could see the bacteria making itself at home on your supposedly clean cutting board.

Luckily, cutting boards are easily sanitized by soaking them in a bleach solution. Use 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water for plastic boards and 2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon for wooden boards. You don’t need to soak them long — just a couple of minutes will do — and then rinse.

Try lemons and salt for a more natural clean

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Of course, not everyone loves the idea of using bleach. For a more natural way to disinfect your cutting board, liberally sprinkle kosher salt on the board. Then, cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon (cut side down) on the board. The lemon juice should kill the bacteria, while the salt should scrub away any small particles of food that may be present.

Then, you can use the other half of the lemon to scrub your faucets to make them shiny and clean as well.

Roll a lint brush over lamp shades

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Lamp shades come in all sorts of shapes and materials, which can make it difficult to figure out how best to clean them. A lint roller can be used on almost any shade to pick up dust and light dirt.

Blow canned air into exhaust fans

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The exhaust fan in your bathroom could probably use a little TLC, but how on earth do you clean that?

Easy. Use some canned air — like the kind you would buy to clean a computer keyboard — and blow it into the fan to dislodge lint. Place a towel on the floor to collect the dust bunnies as they fall.

Even if you can’t see the dust in your fan, it’s a good idea to clean it on a regular basis. If too much lint builds up, your fan could burst into flames.

Remove dust from vents with a knife and rag

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Another way to remove dust from vents such as those on window air conditioning units is to cover a butter knife with a rag and run it along the inside of each vent. Despite what the commercials tell you, no special sham or wonder cleaning cloth is required.

Pull out dryer sheets to clean baseboards

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Finally, give your dryer sheets another purpose in life by whipping them out when it’s time to clean your baseboards. Running a sheet along the baseboards will remove dirt and help repel dust. What’s more, they might just make the room smell temporarily fresher too.

What cleaning hacks can you add? Share your tricks in comments below or on our .

Maryalene LaPonsie
Maryalene LaPonsie
After 13 years as a staffer for a Michigan legislator, I decided it was time to quit the commute and work from home instead. For the past three years, I’ve been penning ... More

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