To pick up pet hair, put on a wet rubber dishwashing glove and wipe your hand over surfaces. The hair will stick right to it.
Let gravity work for you. Dust from top to bottom, and save the vacuuming for last. If you dust at the end of your cleaning routine, dirt particles will linger in the air and eventually land back on your surfaces. To stretch out time between dustings, first wipe surfaces using a damp cloth or a microfiber cloth, then vacuum to help remove any remaining dirt.
To clean ceiling-fan blades without spilling dust onto the floor, slide an old pillowcase over each blade, then grip the case and pull it away, keeping the dirt contained.
Before you wash a wall, consider what it’s covered with. Avoid washing flat emulsion paint, which can be damaged by water (try a dry-cleaning sponge instead). But for gloss paint, mix 20 ounces of water and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Mist the solution on a wall section, wiping drips with a cloth. Let sit for five minutes, then rinse with a sponge dipped in lukewarm water and wrung out well.
Never clean an upholstered piece without first consulting the fabric-care tag (generally found under a seat cushion). It’s fine to use water-based cleaners on furniture with a Code W tag. Code S pieces need to be spot-cleaned with a mild water-free solvent, while Code X upholstery can only be (carefully!) vacuumed.
For a natural window-cleaning solution, mix 2 ounces water and 10 drops lavender or lemongrass oil to wipe off grime. (Bonus: These oils may repel flies.) No oil on hand? Mix together ¼ cup vinegar, 2 cups water, and a squirt of liquid Castile soap in a spray bottle. Lightly mist the windows and wipe with a sheet of newspaper.
To make cleanup faster when you cook, cover countertops with sheets of wax paper, parchment paper, or butcher paper before preparing food. Juices from meats, chicken, and fish never hit the counters, so there’s no need to disinfect. When finished, crumple up the paper and toss.
Place a couple of dryer sheets (even used ones work) in the bottom of the kitchen trash can to absorb spills and mask odors.
A three-minute toilet-cleaning technique: Drop in two Alka-Seltzer tablets, wait a couple minutes as they fizz, swish the inside of bowl with a toilet brush and flush.
Remove soap scum from a fiberglass or glass shower door by rubbing it top to bottom with a scrub brush dipped in white vinegar. Pour lemon oil onto a cloth and wipe the door in circles to erase lime scale, then finish by spraying on glass cleaner and wiping it with a cloth. For a door made of laminated or tempered glass, follow the same technique, but skip the step with vinegar, which can cause damage.