Nov 23, 2023
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This one's for the lazy neat freaks.
I lived in a tiny studio for about four or five years, and nothing made my entire space look more neat and put together than quickly straightening my sheets out a bit and throwing the quilt over them. It's the first thing I noticed when I got home in the evenings, and helped me ignore whatever other little mess I had going on elsewhere in the room.
I still endorse making the bed today, as long as you minimize the number of pillows so it doesn't like, become a chore (we have three decorative ones). These days my partner does it most of the time because he likes it done even more, but it still has the same calming, put-together effect on our room despite my corner pile of Space Bags left over from moving.
Try to go in order of least-germy to germiest surface. Maybe: counter, faucet, toilet tank, top of toilet lid, toilet handle, sink, toilet seat. They won't disinfect (which — disinfecting wipes won't either, unless you consistently wipe down the surface so it stays wet for four minutes or so), but they will eliminate dirt and grime with just a few seconds of work.
Get a pack of three containers of plant-based, compostable cleaning wipes on Amazon for $20.97. Or if you want to go the waste-free route, mix up your own all-purpose cleaner in a 24 oz spray bottle you already have using Blueland's All-Purpose Cleaner, $12.50 for five refills on Amazon, and cut up a T-shirt you haven't worn in years into a few washable cleaning rags!
This daily shower cleaner uses nontoxic ingredients to lift soap scum and other oils off your shower walls, so they actually get rinsed down the drain, instead of drying where they landed. It's sustainably produced in the USA in carbon-neutral, water-neutral and zero-waste facilities, and is EPA Safer Choice certified. Reviewers say that it's a solid replacement for the hard-to-find (and often marked up or only available in bulk) Method Daily Shower cleaner, and that it really does keep their shower clean with regular use.
Get two bottles from Amazon for $10.10.
This fits over pretty much any drain, whether it pops up, sinks in, or is flat and flush with the rest of the tub. It's made of silicone, which means even if it gets a little mildewy you'll be able to easily wipe the gross stuff off. The weighted top holds it in place, and your hair stays trapped while the water flows through. Get one on Amazon for $11.99.
All you have to do is restamp as needed (about every 12 days or so, depending on how often the toilet's flushed). If you can't imagine not using your toilet brush, you can use the small remaining bit of gel to scrub down the bowl before applying more. I used these all the time in college because my roommates and I couldn't be bothered to scrub, and they do actually work! You just press it beneath the rim (after a regular toilet cleaning, of course!) and let it get to work. Oh, and make sure to stamp it somewhere it won't become a, well, "target" and get sprayed off before its time.
Get enough to keep your toilet clean for up to four months on Amazon for $9.84.
It really is like magic: It can also remove rust stains from color-safe fabrics, among many other surfaces. Get a bottle on Amazon for $6.47.
(Have rust stains in your laundry or toilet, too? Try the same brand's all-purpose powder iron stain remover for $16.10 (that'll get you over four pounds of the stuff) and their automatic toilet tank tablets for $8.85 for two. Although one reviewer for the toilet tabs notes that you may not see real results until your second tablet, because it takes a little time for the first tablet to eat through all the stains in the tank.)
I've tried this, it 100% works: Those are literally my before and after pics above! (The exception? If you have incredibly hard water — then you may need to use something stronger than vinegar, like CLR, $17.92 for two bottles on Amazon.) Simply guide the bag over the showerhead, bunch it on the pipe at the back fo the head, and loop a rubber band around that bunched spot a few times until it seems like it'll hold. Read my full review of Pinterest Hacks for more.
You do have to let it sit for four to five hours (or even overnight), but the results, as proven by the review photos like the one here, are worth it. The gel formula lets it stick and stay exactly where you put it down, which is why it works better than just spraying with regular bleach: The bleach stays right on the mold stain until it's gone, without drying up or running off. My best friend bought some of this from one of my posts and said it worked exactly the way I said it did — and when I saw her shower, all the grout and caulking were perfectly white!
Get one bottle from Amazon for $14.99 or three bottles for $36.99 ($12.33/bottle).
Happy Earth Boutique is a New Jersey–based small business that carries cleaning products and bath products that just smell really darn good.
Promising review: "Absolutely the best stuff. Love the eucalyptus scent. These clean the bowl and leave a subtle scent. I’m ordering the replacement batch." —Margo
Get a "refill" pack of 15 fizzies from Happy Earth Boutique on Etsy for $12.99 (also available in lemon or lemongrass).
No, they're definitely not even close to as effective as a broom or even a focused dust mopping would be, but their microfiber bottoms will still pick up *some* dust and grime. When I wore them for a week, I ended up using my feet as little brooms, sweeping everything into one pile that was easier to pick up. So my floors were actually a little cleaner! The ones I tried are out of stock, but you can get the similar teddy bear pair (pictured above) on Amazon for $13.59+ (available in three colors and four sizes).
This vac moves between hard floors and low-pile carpets/rugs without a glitch and can pick up all the accumulated dust, dirt, and hair left strewn about your home while you go do literally anything else. Get it on Amazon for $199.99 (available in two colors).
And if you're in the market for a good vacuum of any kind — full-size, stick vacs, robo vacs, and more — check out 15 Of The Best Vacuums That You Can Get On Amazon.
Marisa Designs Co. is a Brunswick, Ohio-based small business that makes all kinds of cute and custom doormats like this one!
Promising review: "Great quality! Just what I wanted. Now my doorbell cam catches some great moves!" —Tracy King
Get it from Marisa Designs Co. on Etsy for $40+ (available in two sizes).
Keeping your floors clean without having to actually clean them constantly starts with eliminating sources of dirt! Set it up wherever you enter and exit your home the most.
There are lots of options out there: Large cabinets that'll look like any other piece of furniture ($174.99 on Amazon), big cubbie benches that could be the start to a DIY mudroom ($146.80+ on Amazon), smaller shoe ottomans for tiny apartments ($82+ on Amazon), basic racks that could sit just inside the back door ($24.86 on Amazon), or even over-the-door cubbies you could stash inside your coat closet ($37.09 on Amazon).
Enlisting an old beach towel really can work wonders to keep your floors cleaner, especially if you're consistent about giving them a quick wipe-down.
But if you deal with lots of mud or sand that gets embedded between their toes, a paw washer could help. Its silicone bristles are super gentle so many dogs don't mind them, and they help rinse off most dirt and mud with just a quick dip or two (for particularly muddy days, you may have to change the water once or twice, but that will still be easier than pulling out the hose). Just imagine how much cleaner your floors would stay if your dogs stopped bringing dirt inside with them, period!
Get one on Amazon for $16.99+ (available in three sizes and six colors).
All you have to do is spritz it on the stain (fresh or old), gently massage it into the carpet, wait a couple of minutes, then blot it up. The stain pictured above is liquid lipstick (an oil-based stain), but the product also removes food, coffee, ink, wine, ketchup, and pet/child stains. Get a 32-ounce bottle on Amazon for $6.65.
You can put kids toys, hair brushes, and dish sponges in the top rack, with glass light covers, some tools, air vent covers, range hood filters, and more in the bottom. One wash later, everything will look sparkling clean, and all you did was load up the dishwasher. From One Crazy House.
There are a couple of dishwasher cleaners out there, but they all work similarly. They're made to be used once a month to ~maintain~ things, but TBH you can just use one as often as you need.
Get a 3-pack of the one used in the photos above from Amazon for $13.32.
I mean, you're still washing dishes and there's no real shortcut for that, but seeing what it did in the above during and after, I don't think that you'll find much that anything requires too much scrubbing when you soak it in this for a second.
In fact, Elizabeth Lilly, an editor here at BuzzFeed, swears by this stuff! She says: "I live without a dishwasher, and I honestly use that as an excuse to order takeout. But, as soon as I got my hands on a bottle of this stuff (regular Dawn is my go-to dish soap, BTW), I put it to use on both a saucepan I used to make homemade enchilada sauce *and* the casserole dish I baked those enchiladas, which had a ton of caked-on food. It really does work like I say it does! Like, scary well."
Get four bottles from Amazon for $16.88.
You shouldn't put foil on the bottom of your oven (that surface gets incredibly hot, and it could very well melt the foil) or, according to GE, even line your bottom rack with foil (it would disrupt airflow and heat, because the heat reflects off of it). But a shallow pan or cookie sheet (or heat-safe liner you can cut to size!) would be OK if it sits on your lowest rack and doesn't touch the back or either edge.
Get a pack of three of this oven liner on Amazon for $11.99.
This also works with water + vinegar, or honestly just plain water. And of course you can wipe off with a sponge instead. I've been doing this for years, and have yet to find a gross microwave where this doesn't work wonders. Read my full review or watch the Nifty video.
Because this product also includes a polish, besides cleaning off the current fingerprints and smudges, it also helps protect the surface of your stainless from future messiness. The 16-oz bottle comes with a large microfiber cleaning cloth — the key is to spritz the cleaner on the cloth, so you don't end up with too much product on your appliance (which can cause fingerprints) *or* a slippery residue on your floor. One reviewer does note that it did need to be left to dry for a bit after buffing before it was actually fingerprint resistant.
Get a bottle and the included cloth on Amazon for $19.95.
From This Old House and Simplify 101.
Instead, you just toss the dirty liner in with that week's towels. You could also totally cut cheap placemats to fit! These just might make it a little easier: They come in a convenient 12"x24" size, so they'll probably fit on your main shelves, and all you have to customize = the liners for the door shelves. Oh, and they're machine washable! Get a set of six on Amazon for $11.55+ (available in 25 colors and designs).
You can use it up to once a week or so; basically it cleans all the built-up coffee residue and oils from the brew chamber and the pour spout, which will keep your coffee tasting more like it's supposed to (especially if you switch between different coffees on a regular basis). It's also good to use right before a tea or hot chocolate K-Cup so you don't have any coffee flavor contaminating it. Note that you'll still have to occasionally do the vinegar descaling process — these don't touch the water chamber or the other inner parts that get the mineral buildup from water — but you can use this along with that for for a truly deep clean.
Get a pack of five from Amazon for $11.99.
Then wipe clean, and enjoy your sparkling stove! From My Thirty Spot. Get a dish brush on Amazon for $6.79.
I do this, and, y'all, it is soooo satisfying. From Creekline House.
Get a pack of five lint rollers on Amazon for $19.99 ($5.37 each).
Actually getting rid of the dust is THE key to a home that needs less dusting. This one from Oxo is very thin so it can squeeze into tight crevices. To clean it you just run the cover through a gentle cycle in the washer and air-dry.
Get it from Amazon for $11.99. (If you have lots of high, hard-to-reach spaces in your home, they also make an expanding duster for $17.99.)
They're made with 100% soy wax and an odor neutralizer and will stop your house from smelling like wet dog or cat litter, no cleaning required. Phew! I and a couple of my other colleagues here at BuzzFeed Shopping have used them so we know they really do work!
Get one on Amazon for $22.49+ (available in 20 scents).
Just spritz once or twice, squeegee, and watch it clump up. Then use your hands or a vacuum to suck up the clumps.
From CareaBearaSara. A similar squeegee is $10.99 on Amazon.
My in-laws and sister both have dogs who shed everywhere all the time, so I have extensive experience using both of these products at their homes. Here's a bit about each to help you decide which one might be right for you!
The roller is super quick, cheaper, and more compact than the vacuum (so, good if you have a small space), and easily picks up mountains of hair from couches, chairs, and other upholstered furniture! It does require a little bit of elbow grease in the form of semi-rigorous rolling up and down, as the gif above shows. You open up the back to empty the hair out when you're done, and it's ready to reuse, and literally lasts for years, even with daily use. I'd say it takes about four minutes total to pick up all the hair from a regular size couch.
Get it for $24.95 on Amazon (clip the coupon at checkout to get that price).
The handheld vacuum is like a turbo-charged upgrade to the roller: all you do is pick it up, turn it on, and run it over the piles of hair to make every last bit vanish! Since it's a vacuum, it's bigger and heavier than the roller, but I'm a five-foot-three thirty-something and have no issues using it with just one hand. You'll probably want a convenient but hidden spot to store it on its charger, which keeps it ready to suck up pet hair at any moment. It has three specialized attachments but the motorized brush head is the key for most upholstery! And like most handheld vacuums, no bags are required; you simply press a button to open the dust compartment and empty it. I can vacuum my in-laws large sectional with this in about two minutes!
Get it for $79.39 on Amazon.
TBH, there's not a bad choice here. Either way you go, you'll have SO much less pet hair in your life!
Reviews may have been edited for length and clarity.