10 Quick and Easy Hacks to Make Your Home Feel Cleaner

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Maybe company's coming over, and you only have 10 minutes to clean up a messy living room, or maybe you dislike cleaning so much that you're only willing to do it for 10 minutes at a time. In any case, you don't need to spend hours following a 100-point cleaning checklist and scrubbing corners with a toothbrush to make your space feel, look and smell cleaner. Focus your efforts on cleaning hacks that target the most noticeable areas of your home and save deep cleaning for another day.

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1. Declutter Central Areas

Clearing out clutter can transform the way a messy room looks in a short amount of time. Make a pass through the area with a garbage bag to collect anything that can be thrown away. Then, make another pass with a laundry basket or sturdy bin and collect anything that's in a place where it doesn't belong. (If you're tidying a messy bedroom, sort clean clothes and dirty clothes into separate laundry baskets so they don't get mixed up.)

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Stash the basket in a closet to be dealt with later. When you have time, dump everything you gathered onto a table and sort items into groups based on where they need to go.

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2. Remove Marks and Scuffs From Walls

Your walls take a lot of abuse over the years, especially if you have rambunctious kids or clumsy pets. Greasy fingerprints, spilled drinks and streaks of mysterious origin tend to build up quickly on the bottom two-thirds of your walls. Those marks become really noticeable when the sunlight hits just right.

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Start with just a damp sponge to clean walls. If spots remain, dish soap or a paste of baking soda and water can also be used to remove marks from painted walls. You may try dish soap or an all-purpose cleaner on stained wallpaper but always test it in an inconspicuous spot first to make sure the paper isn't damaged.

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3. Wipe and Disinfect Light Switches

Light switches and light switch plate covers are constantly being touched by dirty fingers. If you look closely, you'll probably notice your light switches are looking a little grimy, and it doesn't bear thinking about what kinds of germs might be on them. Wipe light switches and plates with a clean microfiber cloth and then wipe them again with a microfiber cloth that's lightly dampened with a disinfecting cleaning spray. Because liquid and electricity shouldn't mix, never spray a light switch with cleaner or use a wet cloth to wipe this area.

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4. Dust Lamp Shades and Light Fixtures

The eye is naturally drawn to lamps and other light sources, so dusty lamp shades and light fixtures are hard to ignore. Plus, cleaning dirty lamp shades or fixtures might actually bring a little more light into the room. Wipe down lamp shades with a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust and follow with a slightly damp cloth if the shade still looks dirty. Use a long-handled duster to clean ceiling light fixtures or ceiling fans.

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5. Clean Windows, Mirrors and Picture Frames

Like cleaning lamps and light fixtures, cleaning windows and mirrors can immediately make your home feel brighter and better maintained. For a quick way to clean mirrors and windows without streaks, spritz them from a spray bottle containing equal parts vinegar and water and then wipe them down with a microfiber cloth. Dirty picture frames are also noticeable because they catch sunlight. Give them a quick wipe with a damp cloth to remove dust and smudges.

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6. Scrub Dirty Baseboards

Dirty floors make an entire room feel unclean. Dirt and dust tend to accumulate around the baseboards, especially with hardwood floors, so focusing on this area is a quick way to make a big difference in a messy room. Wipe them down with a damp washcloth, dryer sheet or dry microfiber cloth to pull up dust and pet hair. Scrub dirty baseboards with a cloth dipped in a cleaning solution of warm water and dish soap followed by a clean damp sponge. To clean baseboards without bending over or getting down on your knees, use a new toilet wand to scrub them.

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7. Whiten Grout With a Magic Eraser

There are a lot of DIY ways to effectively clean grungy grout in tile floors and backsplashes. Really neglected grout can be deep cleaned with oxygen bleach or a paste made of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. However, this method is time-consuming because you have to apply the solution, let it sit for at least 10 minutes, scrub it into the grout and then rinse. Using a damp Magic Eraser (or generic melamine foam sponge) is a much quicker way to whiten and brighten dingy grout.

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8. Wipe Down Appliances

Like light switches, the handles of your appliances are high-touch areas in your home. That means they're prone to both visible smudges and invisible bacteria. It only takes a few minutes to give all your appliances a quick cleaning. Use stainless steel cleaner wipes or a paste of baking soda and water to clean stainless steel appliances. Clean white or black appliances by spraying them with a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water followed by a sponge dipped in warm, soapy water and finally a clean, damp sponge.

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9. Squeegee Pet Hair From Furniture and Carpets

Owners of furry, shedding pets know that it's a constant struggle to get their hair off upholstered surfaces and carpets. It doesn't matter how cute your pets are; you don't want their shed fur to be the first thing a visitor notices upon walking into your home. Your vacuum cleaner alone might not be enough to pull it all up once that fur gets pressed into your carpet and upholstered furniture. Try using a squeegee to scrape stubborn pet hair from these areas.

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10. Disguise Messes, Odors and Stains

Rome wasn't built in a day, and you can't do a full spring cleaning routine or even deep clean a single room in just 10 minutes, but 10 minutes is plenty of time to do a little camouflaging of any problem areas. Arrange a throw blanket or toss pillows over stained or faded upholstered fabric. Move large, leafy potted plants around to cover a dirty carpet or block a cluttered corner. Cover odors by mixing distilled water with a few drops of essential oils in a spray bottle to make a quick DIY room spray.

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