Cleaning Hacks for the Woman With Zero Extra Time

Apr 17, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images/Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that there's just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Work, kids, partners, pets, laundry, dinner — the list grows exponentially. Like gremlins. And one of the biggest time-suckers of all turns out to be cleaning, a task that can eat up hours upon hours each week. In the immortal words of Kimberly "Sweet Brown" Wilkins, "Ain't nobody got time for that."

Seriously, though, there has to be a better way, right? While cleaning is a necessary evil, we've got places to be and people to see — we need sprucing up to be as expedited as possible. Happily, there are hacks for busy women like you and me who have zero extra seconds in the day to devote to tedious cleaning.

So, if your motto is "Work smarter, not harder," bookmark this page. As a busy mom of two, I have learned some pretty great hacks that will save you a whole lot of time. Here are some of my favorites.

More: A Spring Cleaning Checklist for Every Room in Your Home

1. Use a pillowcase to clean ceiling fans

The blades of your ceiling fan draw dust in like a moth to the flame. We're all friends here, so there's no shame in admitting you usually don't get to this hard-to-reach area until you've got dust so thick it looks like fuzzy black caterpillars. When you go to clean it, the dust then inevitably falls all over the floor, meaning you now have to tack on time to vacuum or mop too. Make your life easier by stealing this trick from Homemaker Chic: Use a pillowcase to dust your ceiling fan blades so all the dust is contained.

2. Dust with a lint roller

While we're on the subject of dusting, do you ever wonder where the dust goes with traditional dusters? Like, aren't you basically just pushing the dust around from one place to another? Therein lies the genius of using a lint roller as a duster — the sticky stuff grabs dust so it doesn't simply resettle when you aren't looking. This hack works especially well on cloth lampshades.

3. Get rid of dog hair with a rubber glove

We all love our pups, but constantly trying to keep their shedding at bay is the bane of any dog owner's existence (unless you have one of those bizarre but adorable hairless dogs). Brooms prove to be of little use in this battle because the hair just gets blown somewhere else in the process. If you're tired of cleaning the same upholstered areas over and over to get rid of your dog's hair, do this instead — use a rubber glove with a textured palm surface, like heavy-duty dishwashing gloves, to scrape the hair off of your couch or carpet. You can also use a glass squeegee if you happen to have one lying around.

4. Pour Pine-Sol in your toilet brush holder

The ol' toilet brush — ick. It needs to stay on standby in the bathroom, but it can get so gross. But instead of tossing yours out every other day, pour Pine-Sol down into the toilet brush holder. Not only will it clean and sanitize your brush, but it will also make your bathroom smell fresh.

5. Power(tool) clean your tub & shower

You'll never meet a person who enjoys cleaning the soap scum and mildew that naturally accumulates in the bathroom. Well, unless that person utilizes this hack. Basically, it entails modifying a scrub brush to fit onto a power-drill head. Then you can basically just buff grime right out of your bathroom with minimal effort. You can learn how to do it here.

6. Blow bathroom exhaust fans with canned air

File this under super-simple yet incredibly clever ideas you can't believe you never thought of. If you go into your bathroom and look up, chances are you're going to be staring straight into a bathroom exhaust fan that is so dirty, you almost can't see the vents. But it's in such an awkward spot... how do you clean it? Try grabbing canned air and blowing all the crud out. Then just use a broom to sweep up what came out and voilà! Clean bathroom vent.

7. Wipe down baseboards with dryer sheets

It doesn't matter how clean the rest of your house is, dirty baseboards make it look a little grimy. However, they're hard to clean. Who wants to spend half a Saturday on their hands and knees scrubbing this wood trim? Here's a two-prong trick that could save you some serious time (and also your sanity): Wipe down baseboards with dryer sheets. This keeps dust from re-accumulating so you don't have to worry about it as much. And if you're really next-level lazy like me, you can even stick the dryer sheets to the pad of your Swiffer and go to town.

8. Blast your blender with soap & hot water

Blenders are notoriously difficult to get clean because they have so many little nooks and crevices. There's nothing worse than thinking you got the job done only to have a bit of mildew pop up when you're trying to make your favorite breakfast smoothie. Don't worry. Just pour some hot water in the blender along with liquid soap. Press start, and the blender will churn up suds to clean all the places your hand couldn't reach.

More: The Decluttering Hacks Clean Freaks Actually Use

9. Pour wine on wine spills

Yes, you read that right. And, yes, I realize how counterintuitive it sounds. However, for reasons unbeknownst to us, white wine acts as a great stain remover for red wine. Weird, right? But if you spill a glass of red wine at your next party, crack open a white and pour it out on the spot too. Then use a paper towel to blot, blot, blot the red wine stain away. Bonus? You get to open a new bottle of wine.

10. Line your slow cookers

Ah, you've made a delicious one-pot meal and everything is great until you're finished eating and it's time to clean off the baked-on food at the bottom. The solution? Use a slow cooker liner that you can simply toss out after your meal. These are my favorite liners.

11. Line your fridge shelves with press-&-seal wrap

My least favorite thing to clean? The refrigerator. It takes a day and a half to clean the whole thing, and it's a huge headache. But if you line each shelf in your fridge with press-and-seal wrap, all you have to do is pull it off and toss it in the trash when it's dirty and put on a new one.

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