30 house cleaning tips, tricks and hacks from the pros.


By Nicki Escuerdo

Faster, cleaner, tidier, quicker. If only we could get our houses cleaner in less time. 

To help you clean your house more efficiently, we’ve rounded up the best cleaning tips from the ones who know: cleaning professionals. After all, they’re the ones who have plenty of experience organizing and cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room and dining room areas. 

Here are some of their top cleaning hacks (plus a few of my own) you can use. From the best cleaning supplies to ways to speed up your house cleaning routine, these tips will make cleaning a lot easier.

1. Make a cleaning checklist.

“Making a checklist is a very helpful tool,” says Nick Earwood of TopNotch Window Cleaning. “It allows you to stay consistent with the task at hand. Consistency is very important because when you’re consistent, your daily tasks become easier to accomplish.”

You can make your own checklist, or use this room-by-room house cleaning checklist we created.

2. Make your bed as soon as you wake up.

Beth Blacker, founder of It’s Just Stuff! home organizing and move management business, says this basic tip can make a big impact on both the state of your home and the state of your mind. “I cannot stress this enough,” Blacker says. “There is so much scientific evidence proving how important this simple task is for starting off your day.”

Blacker suggests watching a speech US Navy Admiral William McRaven made about this fact. By accomplishing this one little task at the beginning of your day, you can put your mind in a productive state for the remainder of it. 

What else can you accomplish from there? At the very least, you’ll have a tidy bed, which is at least one win for the day.

3. Declutter first to speed up the cleaning process.

“Declutter all of the unnecessary things that are in the house,” Earwood says. “Remember, don’t bite off more than you can chew, but allow yourself a clean working environment. It starts with the foundation. The No. 1 step is to declutter the things that don’t need to be there.”

If you declutter first, cleaning your home will go by much faster. "If you find house cleaning really tedious, you may have too much stuff," says Jessalyn Jones, founder of Doable Simplicity. "Try to get things off the floors and counters, especially. Get rid of anything you don't use regularly, and you will find your house a lot easier to clean. I've cleaned houses for more than 14 years, and I can always clean clutter-free houses much faster."

Depending on how much junk and unused items you have to get rid of, decluttering can be time- and labor-intensive. Luckily, you may be able to find decluttering services near you. These professionals can help you haul away clutter from your home. After the junk is gone, you may want to hire a professional home organizer who can get your home in order by recommending a better storage and organizational system.

4. Sort through your mail as soon as you bring it in.

“And toss the junk mail immediately,” Blacker says. “If you’re still opting to get bills in the mail rather than electronically, open them right away, throw out the envelopes and put them where you’re most apt to pay them on time.”

“There are lots of different ways to track when bills are due, but I strongly advise setting up auto-pay for as many as possible, so you don’t even have to think about them,” Blacker continues. “If you don’t like the idea of auto-pay, at the very least, set reminders on your calendar for the due dates.”

5. Toss and organize as you’re cooking.

I love to cook, but I also hate disorganization. That's why I recommend, whenever you’re cooking, take stock of what’s in your refrigerator, pantry, spice rack and wherever else you keep food. Toss items that are expired. 

Move ingredients that have a shorter shelf life forward. Plan your meals around soon-to-expire ingredients, so you maximize your purchases, minimize waste and clear more room in your food storage areas.

As you remove items from your fridge or pantry, wipe down the surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner. Don’t forget what’s in the freezer, too.

6. Clean for 10 minutes a day.

“If you don’t have time to clean your entire home all at once, break up the tasks so you’re only spending about 10 minutes a day on cleaning,” Blacker says. “For example, clean the bathroom counter and toilet on Sunday, the tub/shower doors and floors on Monday, vacuum on Tuesday, etc.”

“This is how I maintain my home, and it works for me, since I really don’t want to be cleaning on a day off,” Blacker continues. “I live in Colorado, and I would much rather spend a beautiful day on a hiking trail than inside for hours.”

Related: 30+ tips, tricks and hacks to clean your house fast.

7. Reduce the use of chemicals in your home.

If you're concerned about the use of chemical-packed cleaning products in your home, there are lots of eco-friendly options available. Kamila Flieger, the founder of Green Snooze, has some recommendations. 

"When it comes to keeping our homes clean, one of the most important things is to use non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible," says Flieger. "While many people rely on harsh chemical cleaners to get their surfaces gleaming, these products are typically laden with toxic compounds that can be absorbed into our bodies through direct contact or inhalation.”

Research eco-friendly cleaners that you can buy online or at a nearby retailer. You may want to consider using a plant-based dish soap or a hypoallergenic laundry detergent, for example. If you hire a house cleaner, you can also ask if they have eco-friendly supplies they can use when cleaning your home.

8. Stock up on white vinegar.

“White vinegar and hot water mixed together is the best natural cleaner for floors, counters, bathrooms, etc.,” according to Alexus Fourneau and Brenda Tennent of Peak Cleaning Service, LLC. “This works best especially for homes where someone is sensitive to cleaning products that contain perfumes of strong chemicals.” 

You can mix equal parts together in a spray bottle and get to work.

9. Use white vinegar to tackle hard water buildup.

Speaking of white vinegar, Fourneau and Tennent also say, “White vinegar also helps with removing buildup from hard water. We commonly see this on ‘cloudy’ glasses and dishware.” You can soak items like stemware in white vinegar for 5 minutes, then rinse it by hand and dry it with a microfiber cloth to get it clean.

“Does your shower head have low water pressure?” Fourneau and Tennent ask. “A common reason is a buildup of hard water minerals. Similarly, you can unclog the shower head by soaking it with white vinegar and water.”

10. Make your own cleaner.

"Chemicals do not clean houses," Jones says. "Don't spend tons of money on cleaning supplies that claim to do the work for you. I've been cleaning for 14 years with just a multi-surface solution of dish soap, water and hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar for mirrors and shiny surfaces." 

Here are some ingredients you can use to create DIY home cleaning solutions:

  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils
  • Liquid or dish soap
  • Lemons
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Salt
  • Warm water 
  • White vinegar

However, be sure to always read your owner’s manual for flooring, counters, tile, appliances and other surfaces before you start cleaning them. Some materials (like hardwood, grout and natural stone) should not be cleaned with harsh, acidic or abrasive cleaners.

11. Say goodbye to soap scum.

Wondering how to easily get rid of soap scum in your bathroom? "To clean nasty soap scum off a shower or tub, sprinkle Bar Keepers Friend, Comet or baking powder over it," Jones says. "Get it just a little wet without washing it away, and scrub it off with a sponge. You can also use dish soap."

12. Use citrus to make your sink smell great.

Did you accidentally throw something odor-filled like garlic down the sink? I learned this tip the hard way.

No worries. Throw some fresh lemon or lime slices into your garbage disposal. Run the disposal under running water to get your sink smelling fresher.

13. Don't forget the drains.

This tip comes from Jake Romano, general manager at John the Plumber Orleans. Romano says everyone forgets about their drains, but there's an easy monthly maintenance trick to keep expensive plumbers away.

"Once a month, clean your kitchen sink drain with baking soda and vinegar," Romano says. To do so, pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain. Then, pour half a cup of white vinegar down the drain.” 

"Let it sit for half an hour," Romano says. "Heat up some water with the kettle. Not boiling, but hot. Dump it down the drain, followed by hot water from the tap.”

"This will help prevent too much gunk from building up in the drains, which will help in preventing expensive professional drain cleaning bills," Romano adds.

Related: 25 things in your home you (probably) forgot to clean.

14. Eliminate mold and mildew.

If you do see mold or bacterial buildup somewhere in your home, dip an old toothbrush into white vinegar or bleach. Then, scrub away the moldy or mildew spots. Rinse off where you cleaned with warm soapy water afterward.

However, if you have a larger mold problem, contact nearby remediation services to inspect and clean up the mold.

15. Use dishwashing soap on white laundry.

“Adding a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid to your laundry load of whites can make whites brighter,” Fourneau and Tennent say. “It actually works better than most stain removers for stubborn stains.”

16. Do your laundry twice a week to prevent it from piling up.

Speaking of laundry, cut down the number (and size) of your laundry piles. “Depending on how many people are in your household, laundry should be done at least twice a week,” Blacker says. “There’s no reason to let it pile up, especially when most washing machine models have so many different energy- and water-saving options these days.”

“I freely admit that I dread putting laundry away,” Blacker continues, “but if I break it up into much smaller chunks throughout the week, it’s not nearly as overwhelming. If you have time to watch an hour of TV, then you have time to throw a load in the machine. I usually have a few hours of work I need to do from home several nights a week, so there’s no excuse why I can’t accomplish this task routinely.”

17. Always use dryer balls.

A dryer ball is a little sphere made of materials like rubber, plastic or tightly compressed wool. They can help your drying cycle go much more efficiently.

“Dryer balls can reduce your laundry drying time by 25% by preventing your laundry from clumping up together while spinning,” Fourneau and Tennent say.

18. Prevent dust by vacuuming regularly.

If you only vacuum your floors when there’s visible dirt, you could be setting yourself up to deal with tons of dust bunnies later on. “Regular vacuuming in your home can dramatically lessen the amount of dust throughout the home,” Fourneau and Tennent say. If you have pets or kids who more frequently bring pet hair and dust inside, aim to vacuum at least a couple of times a week to keep dust at bay.

19. Ditch cordless vacuums.

When it comes to cleaning efficiency, you're only as good as your tools. "Don't buy cordless vacuums,” says Jones. “They almost always run out of battery before you can vacuum the whole house, and their batteries tend to deteriorate fast.” 

"Instead, buy a similar lightweight upright vacuum with a really long chord," Jones adds. "I really like the Shark Rocket series."

Related: 8 mistakes you’re making while cleaning your home.

20. Snuff out bed bugs with a vacuum.

We probably spend the most time in our houses on our mattresses. They can build up dust mites, dirt, body fluids, dead skin and a whole host of other gross debris. If your furry friends sleep on your mattress with you, they can also bring in dirt and dog hair.

Rick Conti, a New York City-certified bed bug and pest inspector, co-owns Doctor Sniffs, a pest inspection and bed bug detection company. "If you're looking for a unique cleaning tip to prevent a bed bug issue, look no further than your vacuum cleaner," says Conti. "Just as vacuuming regularly is important for keeping your floors clean, vacuuming your bed once a month can help to prevent a bed bug infestation. 

"Be sure to vacuum the entire bed frame, mattress and headboard, getting into all the cracks and crevices," Contin adds. "This simple step can go a long way toward preventing a bed bug problem before it gets out of hand. It will also help you to inspect your bed and see if you notice anything suspicious."

21. Sweep your baseboards once a week.

“To avoid dust buildup on your baseboards, run a broom against the baseboards once a week,” Blacker says. “It’s super easy to do, and by preventing buildup, you save time down the road by not having to fully wash your baseboards.”

22. Use a mop to clean your baseboards and walls.

Katie Barton, a cleaning and organizing specialist and founder of Cabin Lane, shares, "If you skip cleaning your baseboard because it hurts your back, you can use a mop to avoid bending over. Simply attach a microfiber cloth to your mop's head with rubber bands. Then, lightly spray your baseboards with a multipurpose cleaner and run the mop over them to remove dirt.”

You can also use a similar method to wash your interior walls. "One of the most overlooked cleaning tasks is cleaning the walls," says Michelle Hansen, cleaning and organizing expert and owner of Practical Perfection. "This needs to be done regularly, especially if you have kids. “

"This is often an area of the home that gets dirty but goes unnoticed by homeowners," Hansen continues. "The thought of wiping the walls with a rag by hand is overwhelming, so I love to clean my walls with a mop. Simply get the mop head damp with a little bit of cleaner, and wipe the walls from top to bottom. This makes this task significantly easier to manage."

23. Try this mop hack to clean tight spaces.

The spaces behind your big appliances can get dirty, but there's an easy way to fix that. Stefan Bucur, a professional with more than six years of experience in cleaning and organizing and founder of Rhythm of the Home, shares a tip. 

"Use a thin, double-faced push mop connected to a thin pole to clean between tight areas," says Bucur. "You can use it to deep clean the thin surfaces between the oven, dishwasher and the countertops.” 

"Spray your favorite cleaning solution on the mop, and afterward stick it in those tight spaces," he continues. "You'll see how much dust, hair, oil and grease you will be removing — without having to move any appliances."

24. Save money on mop heads.

Speaking of mops, has the need to buy mop replacements discouraged you from getting the job done? Sara San Angelo, aka The Cleaning Lady, is a professional house cleaner with more than 20 years of cleaning experience. She shares a tip for how to save, while still getting an effective clean. 

"Everyone is trying to save money, especially on cleaning supplies and tools," says San Angelo. "One great tip is to use old washcloths on the heads of Swiffer mops instead of their disposable clothes. Washcloths fit on the head of the Swiffer perfectly, and you can wash and reuse them many times."

25. Wear a mask to protect your face from dust.

You’re probably tired of wearing masks, but they come in handy when you’re cleaning your home — especially when dusting high areas. "When dusting the ceiling fans, I've found that wearing a mask really helps me avoid all the nasty dust that falls down around your face,” says Jones. “Once you dust the fans well, just keep up with them by using the extended handle duster every single week. It will never get bad again."

26. Don’t skip window cleaning.

“Let’s dive into making your windows look new again,” says Earwood of TopNotch Window Cleaning. “This is a cleaning routine that often gets missed. All you need is a squeegee with a scrubber and Dawn soap. This is the best trick to have your windows looking top-notch.”

Related: How to clean your windows in 6 easy steps.

27. Let the air in to prevent mildew.

This tip comes from one of the most well-known cleaning celebrities, Martha Stewart. To prevent mildew in places like a bathroom or basement, she recommends improving air circulation by installing open shelving and using a dehumidifier and fan. You can “store items in airtight plastic containers with desiccants, such as silica gel.”

28. Always do the dishes before you go to sleep.

Like making your bed as soon as you wake up, Blacker says doing the dishes before bed can put you in a positive frame of mind before you attempt to go to sleep.

“The dishes won’t go away on their own, no matter how much you choose to ignore them,” Blacker says. “It will just feel better knowing you won’t wake up the next day and still have to face that task.”

29. Put your clothes steamer to work around the house.

Did you know the steamer you use to get wrinkles out of your clothes could also help you clean?

Lauren Graham, steam cleaning expert and creator of Steamer Advice, says, "Use your clothing steamer to kill germs around your home without the need for chemicals. A clothing steamer heats up just as hot as your average steam cleaner.” 

"It's great for touch points like door handles, countertops, taps, even your toilet seat," Graham says. "The key is to aim the steam as close as possible to the surface you want to disinfect. If you hold your steamer 6-8 inches away from the surface, the ambient air temperature will cool it down, and it won't be effective.

30. Turn to professional house cleaning services when needed.

Sometimes, cleaning your home from top to bottom isn’t feasible. You’re busy, you don’t have the energy, and there are some things that are just too difficult to clean. When that happens, consider hiring professional help. Depending on your budget and house cleaning needs, you may decide to hire a cleaning service to come in a few times a year, once a month or once a week.

When you want to leave it to the pros, no problem — Thumbtack has you covered. Whether you’re in need of spring cleaning or you have an important hosting event coming up, a professional deep clean can get your house gleaming. Book a house cleaning service today.

Related: How to hire a housekeeper, house cleaning or maid service.

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