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14 housecleaning tips the pros want you to know

Want to clean like a pro? Maybe you can toss your mop!
by Karen B. Gibbs / / Source: TODAY
Woman cleaning stove.
There's nothing like a professional clean. But these tips could help!Shutterstock

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Women spend an average of 52 minutes a day doing housework, according to a 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics study.

If we’re going to use nearly an hour a day to clean, shouldn't we do it correctly? Read on as some top cleaning professionals let TODAY Home in on the trade secrets they use themselves.

1. Toss the mop

Mopping seems like a great tactic, but it actually spreads dirt around and doesn’t remove it all. Debra Johnson, a Merry Maids cleaning expert, recommends using a steamer to clean the floor instead.

“The temperature sanitizes the floor better than traditional mopping and there’s no residue from cleaning products," she said.

Light 'N' Easy steam mop, $115, Amazon

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY. All prices are subject to change and items could sell out based on the merchant’s inventory.

Another mop-free option is a spray-and-vac machine that removes more soil than mopping and works on carpets as well as hard surfaces.

Rug Doctor flexclean machine, $250, Amazon

2. Clean the toilet while you sleep

Pour a cup of white vinegar into the bowl. (It’s perfect for cleaning hard water deposits, said Johnson.) Then, drop a few denture tablets in. Allow it to sit overnight and wipe clean in the morning.

Polident overnight whitening antibacterial denture cleanser, $4, Amazon

3. Scrub this neglected place

Take time to clean one of the most overlooked spaces in the entire home: the area behind the toilet. Merry Maids professionals pick up dust and dirt using the small attachment of a vacuum (a dry cloth works, too), then scrub the area clean with a microfiber cloth and a multipurpose cleaning solution.

4. Use an oven liner

Johnson said she cuts oven-cleaning time in half by using a disposable oven liner to catch spill overs.

How to clean the oven

Apr.05.201600:56

Twisted chef large non-stick over liners, $14, Amazon

5. Clean oven racks overnight

Place them in a large plastic garbage bag then spray the racks generously with oven cleaner or degreaser. Close the bags and loosely tie the ends. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse racks with warm, soapy water and wipe dry. To remove stubborn spots, Johnson said she uses a wet pumice stone.

Easy-Off professional fume free max oven cleaner, $6, Amazon

6. Dust your bulbs

Organizing expert Donna Smallin Kuper recommends wiping light bulbs regularly because clean bulbs emit 20 percent more light than dirty ones. Allow the bulb to cool, then wipe it with a dampened microfiber cloth.

7. Attack allergens

Spores and other allergens rest on places other than your carpet and floors, according to Jotham Hatch, a cleaning expert with Chem Dry. Make sure to dust forgotten areas like blinds and ceiling fans on a regular basis.

Senhai microfiber blind duster, $8, Amazon

8. Upgrade your vac

Use a vacuum cleaner that has a three-stage HEPA filter, said Hatch. Unlike traditional vacs, which expel dust and allergens back into the room as your clean, vacs with this filter trap 99.7 percent of small particles. (And, yes, the price reflects a professional-grade vacuum.)

Miele new dynamic U1 cat and dog upright vacuum, $600, Amazon

9. Vacuum more than the floor

You spend most of your relaxation time on couches and other comfy chairs, so don't forget to clean them. Vacuum upholstered furniture every other week and have it professionally cleaned once a year, advised Hatch.

10. Add sparkle to your stainless

To clean streaks on stainless steel appliances, Johnson sprays them with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth. This mixture also works for streaky cutlery. Just pour into a large bowl and soak for 10 minutes.

VibraWipe microfiber cleaning cloths, $18, Amazon

11. Scrub your screens

Dirty window screens make for dirty windows, especially when it rains. Window Genie communications manager, Erin McDermott, recommends cleaning screens with a brush whenever you wash windows.

OXO Good Grips all purpose scrub brush, $6, Amazon

12. Prevent “screen burn”

If not cleaned regularly, dirty aluminum screens can actually cause “screen burn” where they etch a screen pattern into a window.

Dan Diggs, owner of Window Genie in Bethesda, Maryland, said homeowners can try to remove screen burn using a razor blade (carefully!) or an industrial diamond polish, like Diamond Magic, and a lot of elbow grease. However, it may be better to hire a pro to tackle this type of job.

13. Dust the lampshades

Lampshades are dust magnets. Kuper suggested cleaning fabric lampshades with a lint roller and cleaning pleated shades using a clean paintbrush.

Scotch-Brite lint roller combo, $10, Amazon

14. Pay attention to the details

“Small touches make a big difference when added together,” said Eloi Charles, director of housekeeping at The Liberty Hotel in Boston. To make your house look as if it’s been professionally cleaned, pay attention to these frequently avoided tasks:

  • Cleaning the baseboards
  • Thoroughly cleaning the bathroom mirror. It's not just the middle, clean the edges and corners, too.
  • Tidying up under the bed
  • Wipe down the air vents

That impossible clean just became attainable!

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