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Cleaning tips to make your house sparkle

Cleaning tips - featured. Bucket with gloves, cloth and cleaning supplies in foreground with the legs of someone mopping in the background

No one wants to have to spend hours cleaning – our advice will help you cut through the grime for quick and easy results

We all need to keep our homes clean, but it’s rare to find someone who wants to spend days cleaning. That’s why we’ve put together some top tips that are both effective and speedy, allowing you to spend more of your valuable time enjoying a spotless home. From vacuuming (try one of our best cordless vacuum recommendations to speed up the job) to getting your shower to shine (give one of the best shower cleaners a go), we’ll cover every room in the house and give you some pointers that will result in a sparkling finish.

Be prepared

Before you even begin, we suggest you get everything you’ll need together in one place – all the creams and cloths, scrubbing brushes and scourers – and then start by decluttering.

“Deep cleaning the entire home can feel daunting, but by tackling one room at a time, it gives everyone space to breathe and means that only one room at a time is in chaos while the cleaning takes place,” explains Miele’s Product Training Manager, Sophie Lane. “Choose which room to start in, then have a good sort out of all the cupboards, shelves and surfaces, as well as clearing space on the floor too. By using storage to have a proper tidy-up, and put all the essentials in the right place, this will instantly reduce that overwhelming feeling and give dust fewer places to hide. Next, give the carpet or hard floor a good vacuum to get rid of dust, dirt and grime and prevent it from recirculating and resettling around the room. Once you’ve finished in one room, it’s time to move on to the next.”

As we mentioned above, it’s important to have all the right tools and products to hand before you start – you don’t want to declutter a room ready for cleaning only to discover that you’ve run out of an essential product. We recommend keeping a stash of microfibre reusable cleaning cloths on standby as these are great for use in multiple rooms and situations, and we’ll cover some of the best cleaning products you might want to use as we address each room.

Here are the areas we’ll cover:

General cleaning tips

1. Start with clean sponges and cloths

Dirty sponges and cloths won’t effectively do anything other than spread more dust and muck around. Before you begin, ensure your tools are spotless by cleaning them in hot soapy water, and leaving them to soak in a disinfectant such as Milton Sterilising Fluid for 15 minutes. Some cloths and sponges can be machine washed, but this will only disinfect them if you’re able to use a hot cycle, so check the care instructions.

2. Start your dusting at the top

Wherever you’re cleaning, always start at the top of a room. As dirt or dust is dislodged, it may fall onto a lower surface, and you’ll simply pick it up as you move downwards. Whereas if you start with the floor and the lower surfaces, you’re more likely to end up needing to go over the same spot twice.

Cleaning tips. Blue duster in the foreground with person using their other hand to move a plant out of the way with the other

3. Vacuum maintenance

Before you start vacuuming, make sure that your vacuum is empty and free of dirt, hair and dust. If your vacuum has lost some of its suction, undo the hose and check for blockages, replace any bags or filters as required, and wash out the container. If the filters are washable, wash these too, and dry everything thoroughly. Carefully cut out any entangled hair from the bristles, but don’t pull it out as this could cause damage.

Our guide to the best way to clean your vacuum cleaner will give you more tips but, if this doesn’t work and your vacuum is still losing suction, you may need to consider investing in one of the best vacuum cleaners.

4. Vacuum correctly

To remove as much dust and dirt from your carpets as possible, start by vacuuming following the pile of the carpet, in one direction. Then, repeat the same area, but vacuum across the pile. This will help you get deeper into the pile and hoover up more. If you’ve got pets, we would recommend choosing one of the best vacuum cleaners for pet hair, as the extra hair can be quite taxing for a normal vacuum.

Sophie Lane also emphasises using the correct tools for the job: “For a really deep clean, it’s important to make use of all the accessories and tools that come with a vacuum cleaner. Most vacuums come with different nozzles and brushes for gentle dusting, cleaning upholstery and getting into awkward nooks and crannies.”

If your carpets need a little more TLC, you might want to use one of the best carpet shampoos to deal with any stubborn marks and stains.

READ NEXT: Best Shark vacuums

5. Get windows sparkling

If there are two of you, team up to clean windows quickly and efficiently – with one person inside and the other outside, it’s easy to tell if either of you missed a spot. Window cleaning is also best done on a slightly cloudy day to see, and therefore prevent, streaks.

You can use one of our choices for the best window cleaners, or you can make your own by filling a spray bottle with a solution of 50% distilled water and 50% white vinegar, and just a drizzle of washing-up liquid. If you seriously want to save time, consider investing in one of the best cordless window vacs to speed up the process.

READ NEXT: Best robot vacuum cleaners

Kitchen cleaning tips

6. Clear out the cupboards

“When it comes to the kitchen, have a clear-out of all the cabinets, cupboards, drawers and shelves,” says Sophie Lane. “Recycle, donate or bin anything that’s broken or not been used for six months and deep clean inside the cabinets, as well as all the worksurfaces, moving small appliances and accessories to one side.

“Get rid of out-of-date food and ingredients – not forgetting that spice rack – and use a vacuum attachment to clear out any crumbs lingering inside food cupboards.”

Cleaning tips. Hand in pink glove wiping an empty cupboard

7. Clean the oven

“A method of cleaning your oven, without reaching for strong, chemical-filled cleaning products, is to put an oven-proof pot filled with water in the oven, before setting to high for 20-30 minutes to loosen the dirt,” explains Heather Nixon, the Sustainability, New Product Development and Regulatory Manager at Bio-D. “Leave to cool before wiping away dirt and grime using a natural multi-use product. Wiping down your oven after each use also helps prevent needing a larger deep clean further down the line.”

Try one of our best oven cleaners to help you keep on top of things, but don’t forget to clean the oven racks as well. “Clean racks by soaking in hot, soapy water and scrub with a non-scratch scourer for stubborn stains,” suggests Sophie Lane.

For a deeper clean, try soaking the racks in hot water with 250g of soda crystals added, or using balled-up kitchen foil to scrub them.

READ NEXT: How to clean your oven

8. Clean the hob

“The best way to clean grates on a gas hob is to remove them and leave them to soak in warm water and washing up liquid,” says Heather Nixon. “Once left to soak, use a soft scourer (a material one, not metal, otherwise it will scratch the metal) to scrub the grates and any grime should come straight off. Washing powder can also do the same job as washing up liquid – simply soak in warm water and washing powder, before scrubbing off grease and grime. Look for products including orange oil, which is an effective natural degreasing agent.”

9. Get your kitchen sink twinkling

A shiny sink always improves the look of a kitchen. “A good way to make a stainless steel sink look like new is to apply a few drops of olive oil to a lint-free cloth to buff the sink until it shines,” explains Heather Nixon. If you have chrome taps, a little whitening toothpaste on a dry cloth will also bring up the shine.

Lastly, use one of our best drain unblockers to remove any clogs and nasty smells.

Cleaning tips. Hands in yellow gloves clean kitchen sink with a sponge

10. Give your fridge and freezer some love

“It’s all very well giving appliances a wipe with a damp cloth on a regular basis, but it’s important to also do regular deep cleans,” says Sophie Lane. “For the fridge and freezer, empty them both out, check ‘best before’ dates and bin anything out of date. Use ice packs or a cool box to store fresh meat and fish while you clean and remove shelves, racks and drawers to wash in warm, soapy water. Use anti-bac spray to wipe away food residue and clean the drain hole at the back of the fridge interior. Wipe excess moisture with a clean cloth, dry and place everything back in, with food that needs eating sooner at the front. Finish by cleaning freezer drawers one at a time in warm soapy water.”

If you want to keep your fridge smelling good without resorting to chemicals, place a bowl of either baking soda or coffee grounds on a shelf and it will absorb the bad smells. And for a thorough clean of the fridge shelves, run them through a dishwasher – the high heat will kill any lurking bacteria.

11. Freshen up your microwave

“In the microwave, wipe away loose residue with a warm, damp cloth and a little washing-up liquid. And to remove burnt-on food residue, heat a cup of water inside the appliance for a couple of minutes and let the steam soften the stains, then wipe clean,” says Sophie Lane. “Adding a cup of water with some lemon juice squeezed in will also help to neutralise any odours.”

12. Wash your dishwasher filter

Dishwashers have a filter to trap the bits of food and grease that wash off your dirty plates, preventing them from clogging or damaging the pump. But if you don’t clear it out regularly, it can make your dishwasher smell. So, make sure you clean it at least every month – or more often, depending on your usage – to keep your dishwasher fragrant.

READ NEXT: Best dishwashers

13. Wipe down surfaces and clean the floor

You should be cleaning and sanitising your kitchen countertops daily to avoid germs from contaminating your meal prep, but you should also wipe down all the other surfaces and cupboard handles with warm water and a microfibre cloth every week. If anything is greasy, you can add a little kitchen cleaner or washing up liquid to break down the grease.

Finally, don’t forget to clean your kitchen floor with one of the best hard floor cleaners, or mop it regularly – at least once per week – with one of our best mop selections.

Bathroom cleaning tips

14. Use trusty white vinegar to remove limescale

Hard water can leave unsightly limescale deposits on chrome shower controls and taps. A simple way to break this down is to fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray it over the affected surfaces, then let it soak for a moment before washing it clean. Depending on how much limescale has built up, you may need to repeat this multiple times but, for real problem areas, soak some kitchen roll in white vinegar and wrap it over the limescale, leaving it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.

15. Squeegee the shower and don’t forget the shower caddy

We recommend using either a squeegee or a daily shower spray on your shower doors after every shower to prevent water marks and limescale buildup. Heather Nixon also reminded us about our shower caddies: “They can fill with soap scum and limescale at lightning speed so, the next time you’re waiting for your conditioner to do its thing, clean them out – just keep a bottle of cleaning spray nearby for ease.”

Any one of our selection of the best shower cleaners will help keep your shower in tip-top condition.

Cleaning tips. Close up of the gloved hands of person cleaning shower with a spray and sponge

16. Clean the entire toilet

If you don’t want to use bleach to clean your toilet, use natural products instead. Simply pour a cup of white vinegar into the toilet followed by two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and the mixture will start to ‘fizz’. Leave this to work for a few minutes and then use one of our best toilet brushes to scrub the bowl, making sure you get right up under the rim before flushing. If this doesn’t give the desired results, you can always try one of our best toilet cleaners. Finally, don’t forget to clean the seat and lid of the toilet – you can get disposable and flushable toilet wipes for extra speed and convenience.

17. Rid grouting of mould

Black mould is stubborn and can build up quickly in your grouting. You can keep on top of it by using a magic eraser to remove it. However, for more stubborn mould, we recommend making a paste of 60g of bicarbonate of soda and 240ml of water. Scrub this paste into the grout and then buff it until the area is mould-free. Alternatively, try one of our best mould removers.

Living room cleaning tips

18. Remove ring marks

“If you’re looking to remove ring marks from coffee tables, I’d recommend acting quickly,” says Heather Nixon. “The darker the stain, the more the liquid has sunk into the table, which of course means it’s harder to remove. To begin, mix lemon juice with equal measures of water. Rub this on the mark, moving in the direction of the grain if your table is made of wood. Add salt or baking soda if needed. Once the stain has been removed, use furniture polish to look like new.

“Certain furniture polish offers resistance against marks and spillages after prolonged use. And if you’re cleaning wooden furniture, look out for furniture polishes that contain linseed oil, which nourishes wood and protects against everyday use.”

Cleaning tips. Woman wiping spilt coffee off coffee table with mug by the spill

19. Remove marks and scuffs

“Stain remover bars are great for removing marks from static furniture – like sticky finger marks on sofas – that can’t easily be moved,” explains Heather Nixon. “Simply wet the bar and rub into the stain, before leaving for three minutes and dabbing with warm water. If you don’t have a stain remover bar, use warm water and washing up liquid to dab at the residue.”

20. Get rid of streaks on your TV screen

Clean your TV screen at least once a week to keep it dust and streak-free. Avoid liquids and instead use a microfibre cloth or a tumble dryer sheet as these are anti-static.

READ NEXT: How to clean a TV screen

Bedroom cleaning tips

21: Wash your linen, but don’t forget your bedding

“Put your linens on a cold wash cycle to save energy,” suggests Heather Nixon. “Remember to change and wash your bedding once a week to keep bacteria at bay.”

While most of us are used to cleaning our linens, we aren’t always as good at remembering that the actual duvets and pillows themselves also need washing. Many duvets and pillows can be machine washed, though you may need to head to the local laundrette if your washing machine’s drum isn’t big enough. It’s also advisable to wash pillows on a delicate cycle, so that they keep their shape, and to hang them up to dry as soon as they come out of the machine.

READ NEXT: How to wash a memory foam pillow

22. Air your mattress

When you change your bedclothes, leave the mattress to air for a while before putting on fresh linens. It’s also a good idea to fold back your duvet or sheets every morning for around 20 minutes to allow the bed to breathe.

If it’s appropriate for your particular mattress, it’s also important to rotate and/or flip it regularly to extend its life.

Cleaning tips. Person vacuums a mattress

23. Vacuum your mattress

“A job that’s often forgotten is to give your bed a deep clean by vacuuming your mattress – you’ll be surprised at the amount of dust, skin particles and lint that come up if you have a vacuum with a see-through container,” says Heather Nixon.

“Get in between the mattress and bedframe, then flip the mattress over to clean both sides,” explains Sophie Lane. “For an extra deep clean, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and leave for a few hours before vacuuming to absorb moisture and eliminate odours.”

READ NEXT: Best mattresses

24. Dust the mirrors

Wipe over and dust mirrors with window cleaner, or a solution of distilled water and white vinegar, with a dry microfibre cloth. Cleaning the mirrors helps to reflect light, immediately making your bedroom look lighter and brighter.

25. Clean surfaces with olive oil to repel dust

You might be surprised to learn that olive oil helps to prevent dust from settling on surfaces. You can make up a homemade spray using:

  • 60ml of warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 drop of dishwashing liquid
  • 2 drops of essential oils (citrus flavours work best)

Mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray onto a microfibre cloth before working your way around your bedroom surfaces, and your bedroom furniture will stay dust-free for longer.

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