15 Brilliant Spring Cleaning Hacks

iStock.com/CasarsaGuru
iStock.com/CasarsaGuru

Spring cleaning feels great ... once it’s finished. But getting there isn’t always so fun. To help you get to the enjoyable side of spring cleaning, we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to streamline the process and leave you with more time to enjoy your fresh and tidy home.

1. Add a Lazy Susan to Your Fridge

If you’re already taking everything out to give the fridge a good scrub, add a lazy Susan to each shelf before you restock. Being able to spin it to access things in the back will cut down on spills and make your next spring cleaning that much easier.

2. Disinfect Your Sponge

If you’ve got a big job to do and only one sponge to do it with (the horror!), freshen things up halfway through by squeezing it out and microwaving it on high for a minute.

3. Don’t Forget to Clean the Garbage Disposal

If you’re lucky enough to have a garbage disposal, don’t neglect it during spring cleaning. Drop in a cut-up lemon, some salt, and a few ice cubes to clear away any unwanted odors or built-up residue.

4. Time Yourself

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Not only will you be more likely to stay focused and get your tasks done efficiently with a timer ticking, seeing how long chores actually take makes them more manageable. If you know it only takes 10 minutes to scrub the bathroom, maybe you won’t wait till next spring to do it again.

5. Wax Your Stovetop

After you’ve scrubbed the grime off your stovetop, apply a thin layer of car wax and then buff it off with a clean towel. Not only will this make it look shiny and new, it will make wiping off future spills a breeze.

6. Use a Lemon to Clean Stainless Steel Faucets

Just cut the lemon in half and start rubbing to remove hard water stains and rust from any stainless steel in the bathroom or kitchen. Plus, this leaves behind a fresh, natural, citrusy scent instead of harsh chemical fumes.

7. Steam-Clean Your Microwave

To remove old food stains from the inside of the microwave, steam them before you scrub. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with 1 to 2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil and zap the mixture for five minutes.

8. Wash Your Windows on a Cloudy Day

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For a quick made-at-home window-washing solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and warm water or add one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid to several gallons of water. But time your cleaning wisely: Sunshine will cause your windows to dry too quickly, leaving streaks.

9. Make Space for Clutter

One way you can ensure that your hard-earned neatness doesn’t disappear is by setting aside space for the inevitable clutter. If you have an entryway closet, mount a plastic or cloth shoe rack to store toys, hats, gloves, and unsorted mail.

10. Dust With Fabric Softener Sheets

Dryer sheets are a cheap substitute for more expensive electrostatic cloths, and they work just as well. Lone socks that have lost their mates, when worn as a mitten, also work for dusting tight areas and Venetian blinds. Always remember to work top to bottom when dusting to avoid wasting time going over surfaces twice.

11. Use a Hair Dryer to Banish Water Rings

Someone hasn’t been using a coaster and now your wood coffee table paid the price and has those telltale white water rings. Try erasing them with a hair dryer. Simply blast the offending spot on high heat until it starts to disappear. Once it’s gone, rub a little bit of olive oil on the area to recondition the wood.

12. Toss Expired Toiletries and makeup

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If your medicine cabinet is starting to seem over-cluttered, spring cleaning is the perfect time to re-check the expiration date on all your toiletries and trash anything that’s past its prime. You can check the internet for specifics, but sunscreen should only stick around for a few years after you purchase it, and mascara should be replaced every couple of months.

13. Use Your Dishwasher for More Than Dishes

There are tons of things that you can clean in the dishwasher that don’t have anything to do with place settings. Once every few months, toss some of the following into the dishwasher for a deep clean: contact lens cases, hair brushes, makeup brushes, pet dishes, plastic kids toys, refrigerator shelves, soap dishes, tweezers, various knobs and pulls, and even your showerhead (if it’s removable).

14. Clean Your Dishwasher

What good is a dirty dishwasher? After you remove any visible grime, place a (dishwasher safe) cup of vinegar on the top shelf and run the hottest cycle your dishwasher has. After that, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom and run it through a short but complete cycle using the hottest water.

15. Clean Your Showerhead

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If your shower head isn’t detachable and thus can’t be run through the dishwasher, you can clean it by letting it soak in vinegar overnight. First, fill a sandwich baggie with vinegar and then carefully secure the bag over the shower head so it’s fully submerged—you can use an elastic hair tie or rubber band. Leave the whole thing to soak overnight—just be sure you remember to remove the vinegar bag before you turn on the shower in the morning!

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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More Than 38,000 Pounds of Ground Beef Has Been Recalled

Beef-ware.
Beef-ware.
Angele J, Pexels

Your lettuce-based summer salads are safe for the moment, but there are other products you should be careful about using these days: Certain brands of hand sanitizer, for example, have been recalled for containing methanol. And as Real Simple reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently recalled 38,406 pounds of ground beef.

When JBS Food Canada ULC shipped the beef over the border from its plant in Alberta, Canada, it somehow skirted the import reinspection process, so FSIS never verified that it met U.S. food safety standards. In other words, we don’t know if there’s anything wrong with it—and no reports of illness have been tied to it so far—but eating unapproved beef is simply not worth the risk.

The beef entered the country on July 13 as raw, frozen, boneless head meat products, and Balter Meat Company processed it into 80-pound boxes of ground beef. It was sent to holding locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina before heading to retailers that may not be specific to those four states. According to a press release, FSIS will post the list of retailers on its website after it confirms them.

In the meantime, it’s up to consumers to toss any ground beef with labels that match those here [PDF]. Keep an eye out for lot codes 2020A and 2030A, establishment number 11126, and use-or-freeze-by dates August 9 and August 10.

[h/t Real Simple]