7 Cleaning Secrets My Mom Passed Down to Me
Robot vacuums, self-cleaning litter boxes, automatic window cleaners — there's no shortage of gadgets that practically clean your house for you. But sometimes, these techy tools just can't stack up against classic household cleaning hacks. Passed down through generations and perfected after years of trial and error, my mom discovered effective ways to tackle everyday chores. Ahead, find her tried-and-true cleaning secrets, almost as valuable as our family heirlooms.
Upcycle Old Clothing
Using up an entire roll of paper towels to clean isn't easy on your wallet . . . or the environment. My mother's hack? Repurposing old clothing and towels as rags. When my dad's white undershirts started to pill, and the seams of our bath towels unraveled, she cut them into squares, using the different fabrics for specific tasks: towels for mopping floors, cotton tees for wiping down mirrors. And unlike paper towels, the rags don't leave those stubborn specks of fibers behind. I store my basket with rags under the kitchen sink and quickly tackle any messes made after cooking. When I'm done, I simply toss them in the washing machine with any dirty laundry.
Disinfect the Trash Can
It sounds counterintuitive, but your trash bin needs to be disinfected. Every few weeks, after emptying the trash, I bring the bin outside and spray the inside with Clorox® Clean-Up® Cleaner + Bleach, then let it sit in the sun. The sunlight combined with the cleaning solution will completely disinfect any bacteria and eliminate strong odors. After five minutes, I rinse, wipe, and let dry.
Vacuum Rugs Diagonally
Thanks to my heritage, there's no shortage of Persian rugs in my household. On the downside, they require a lot of maintenance to endure the constant foot traffic and to keep their beautiful designs bright. When cleaning, my mother taught me to move the vacuum in the direction of the rug's fibers, never against, and always avoid the fringes, as they can get stuck. Properly caring for Persian rugs ensures that they will last for lifetimes.
Never Skip the Baseboards
Although it's one of the easier tasks, cleaning the baseboards is often forgotten. Quickly wipe down window sills and baseboards with a soft cloth to prevent any buildup of dirt and dust. Every two weeks, I pull out my cloths and get to work — it only takes a few minutes, minimal tools, and instantly refreshes my space.
A Little Bleach Goes a Long Way
Whether it's stained white clothes, moldy grout, or even prepping to paint the house, a splash of bleach is my mom's cure-all. I follow her advice when tackling stains left behind from chopping herbs and disinfecting bacteria from cutting raw meat and poultry. I dilute a few drops of Clorox® Disinfecting Bleach with CLOROMAX® in a bowl filled with hot water, scrub out any surface stains, rinse, and let them dry. Within a few hours, my cutting boards look as good as new.
Let Dishes Soak
This may seem like an obvious one, but soaking dishes makes for easier cleanup! Cooking sauces, eggs, and cheese creates hard-to-clean food residue. Instead of scrubbing away my sanity, I run hot water over the dishes and step aside for a few minutes, then quickly rinse to remove any leftover grime. Pro tip: add a bit of baking soda before soaking to clean those extra-stubborn bits of food.
Clean as You Go
If there's one lesson my mom took away from her stint as a chef, it's the clean-as-you-go policy. While I'm cooking, I make sure to wash any dishes lying around while my food sautés, or wipe down the counters as my banana bread bakes. I've taken this lesson outside of the kitchen and applied it to my morning routine, tidying up my beauty products as I put on my makeup, or putting away clothes as I pick out my outfit for the day.