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15 Brilliant Hacks for a Cleaner Home in 2018 By Caitlin Castelaz

Keep Silver Gleaming

Once a coveted luxury, real silver has fallen out of fashion. Part of its diminished popularity is no doubt due to its expense, but the fact that silver requires polishing to remove tarnish probably also factors into this loss of luster. If you love the look of silver, but your busy lifestyle doesn't afford time for extra cleaning duties, toss a silica gel packet (the kind found in boxes of new shoes, handbags, and vitamin bottles) into your silver drawer. The silica draws in moisture, and the resulting drier atmosphere slows the tarnishing process.

 

 

Clean the Dishwasher

It may seem strange, but your dishwasher needs a good cleaning every once in a while. Despite all the water and soap that churn through the machine as it washes dishes and flatware, the working parts in your dishwasher don't manage to get clean. That's where a packet of Kool-Aid comes in handy (yes, really). Empty a packet of lemonade-flavored Kool-Aid into the dish detergent compartment, then run the dishwasher and let the drink crystals polish the inside of your appliance.

 

 

Mix Up Dish Soap

The awkward corners and crevices in a blender make it difficult (and a little dangerous) to wash by hand. Instead of struggling to slip a sponge under and around the blender blades, try this: Fill the blender one-third full with hot water, and add a few drops of dish soap. Turn on the blender and let it run for a while. The soapy water whirling around the blender will dislodge food particles that you could never have reached by hand.

Mix Up Dish Soap

The awkward corners and crevices in a blender make it difficult (and a little dangerous) to wash by hand. Instead of struggling to slip a sponge under and around the blender blades, try this: Fill the blender one-third full with hot water, and add a few drops of dish soap. Turn on the blender and let it run for a while. The soapy water whirling around the blender will dislodge food particles that you could never have reached by hand.

 

 

Sweet Idea

If you've ever detailed your own car, you know that cup holders are some of the dirtiest parts of the interior. The area attracts dust, spills, and other messes, and its awkward shape and size make it tough to clean. Keep the cup holders tidier and speed up your regular car cleanup by dropping cupcake liners into the bottom of each cup holder. Opt for silicone models, available online or in home centers, to catch drips and debris, then pop them in the dishwasher whenever they get grimy. 

 

 

Pour a Little Wine on It

It may be true that you can't fight fire with fire, but you can certainly fight wine stains with more wine. If you're serving red wine at a party, always keep a bottle of white wine on hand—even if you don't intend to serve it. The reason, of course, is that if a guest spills red wine on your white carpet or upholstery, you can lift the fresh spill by pouring white wine on the affected area to dilute the red. Pour, blot with a towel, then rinse clean with water. Voilà!

 

 

Season Sneakers

There are plenty of products on the market that promise to freshen smelly sneakers, but why waste your money when you've already got a perfectly good cleaner hiding in your pantry: Salt.

 

 

Wipe Up Pet Hair

Even vacuum cleaners can't always budge stubborn pet hair that clings to rug and carpet fibers. Next time you're cleaning the floors, here's a tip: Take a squeegee (the kind used for washing windows) and scrape it across the carpet. You will be surprised at how much hair it will pull out of the carpeting. 

 

 

Splash Away Stains

It will be much easier to give the bathroom a thorough cleaning if you take a minute to rinse the tub after every bath and shower. By washing suds down the drain, you'll prevent soap from drying and hardening into soap scum, which can be a pain to scrub away later.

 

 

Trap Dust

Be honest: How often do you climb a step stool to reach and dust the tops of the armoire, china cabinet, and bookshelf? Not only is it a pain (and a little dangerous) to haul out the ladder every week to dust the highest heights in your home, but it's completely unnecessary. You can eliminate dust and allergens without the work if you slip sheets of wax paper on the tops of cabinets and other tall furniture. The dust will cling to the waxed surface, which will make it easy to just reach up there every so often to remove the wax paper and replace it with a fresh sheet.