12 Apartment Cleaning Tips — and How to Avoid It

12 Apartment Cleaning Tips — and How to Avoid It

Everybody knows how to clean. But as with any task, some know better than others. So even if you’ve kept your house spotless for years, you can learn a few things from pros who do it all day, every day.

Rinse off a chandelier

Cleaning a chandelier the standard way—wiping each part by hand—takes forever. Instead, spread a plastic tarp on the floor and douse the fixture with chandelier cleaner. Spray it on heavy to rinse off the dust. The cleaner that’s left on the chandelier evaporates fast and won’t leave spots. You probably won’t find chandelier cleaner in stores, but it’s available online.

Minimize scum with synthetic soap

“Synthetic” soaps make cleaning your shower or bath easier because they don’t contain the ingredients that create tough soap scum. Any liquid or gel soap is synthetic. Most bar soaps are standard soaps. But a few, including Zest and Ivory, are synthetic.

Use a HEPA vacuum filter

Stop blowing dust all over with an old vacuum. A HEPA vacuum filter captures microscopic airborne particulates. Old-fashioned paper or conventional vacuum bags pick up only about 30 percent of dust and allergens, and blow the rest back into the air.

Blow out the garage

Forget the broom—just open the door and blast out the dust and debris with an electric leaf blower. Works great on porches, too. Be sure to wear a dust mask, plus eye and ear protection.

Coat shower doors to keep them clean

When the beads of water left on your glass shower door dry out, they leave minerals behind that are at best unsightly and at worst can be tough as nails to remove. You can avoid beading water altogether by coating the glass with an auto-glass treatment. Aquapel and Rain-X are two brands that you’ll find at auto parts stores and some discount stores.

Steam-clean a microwave

Just boil water to soften up the baked-on gunk in your microwave. For a fresh scent, add a slice of lemon. Allow the steam to work for 5 to 10 minutes, then wipe everything clean.

Vacuum first, then scrub

Do you ever find yourself chasing strands of wet hair or running into dust balls in the corners with your sponge or cleaning rag? You can eliminate this nuisance by vacuuming the bathroom before you get out your cleaning solutions.

For a really thorough cleaning, start at the top, vacuuming the dust from light fixtures and the top of window casings. Then work your way down. And finally, vacuum the floor methodically so you cover every inch. You don’t want to leave any stray hair or dust bunnies to muck up your cleaning water. A soft-bristle upholstery brush works best for this type of vacuuming.

Get a doormat

Eighty-five percent of the dirt in a home is carried in on shoes! A doormat helps to prevent that. Better yet, nag your family members to take shoes off.

Clean your vacuum filter—or else

Bagless vacuum filters are convenient and efficient. But if you don’t clean them regularly, the strain of pulling air through a dirty filter can burn out the vacuum’s motor. The typical way to clean the filter of a bagless vacuum is to tap it against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But that raises a cloud of dust and doesn’t get the filter completely clean. For faster, neater, more effective filter cleaning, use a shop vacuum. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way. Just remember to be gentle with the shop vacuum’s nozzle. Some filters have a coating that you can scrape off if you press too hard.

Microfiber: better in every way

Microfiber fabrics are made from incredibly tiny strands that reach into crevices and form millions of little pockets that hold dirt particles. The strands also have sharp scouring edges, so microfiber cloths often clean effectively without chemicals or even water (you can use cleaners or water if you choose). When used dry, microfiber cloths generate static electricity, which attracts and holds dust. To clean out all that dirt, just toss microfiber items in the washing machine. Find microfiber dust cloths, mops and other cleaning gear at most discount stores.

Install a detachable toilet seat

Get the hinges on the toilet seat and everything underneath clean by installing a detachable toilet seat. Most are easy to remove by just twisting two hinge caps about a quarter of a turn. Then you have easy access to clean under the hinges. You’ll find detachable seats at home centers.

Use a multipurpose cleaner

Stop using four to six products to clean your bathroom. The pros use one multipurpose cleaner that does it all. Our pros recommend Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces Cleaner with Febreze.

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