30+ Shortcuts & Strategies to Get Your Home Cleaner Faster

published Jun 19, 2017
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Raise your hand if you wish you could clean your home faster, but you just don’t know how to make it work. (I’m raising my hand along with you, if you couldn’t tell). The good news: Housecleaning pros, former messy people and the like all weighed in on Reddit with their best speedy—but effective—cleaning tips. Below are some of the best methods and tricks from the thread that might help you reduce your cleaning time and clean more effectively.

These tips are super helpful, but one truth remains the same: the best way to make cleaning go by faster is by keeping up with regular maintenance—you might clean a little every day, but if you don’t let it become a giant mess, you’ll spend less time cleaning up all at once.

Daily spray maintenance = less major cleaning later.

“Keep shower cleansing (I use some kind of bleach stuff) spray in the shower. At the end of every shower spray the walls and curtain (if you have one). This will prevent mold (and prolong the life of your shower curtain). Use the same spray bottle to spray the cleanser into the toilet bowl. Let it sit while you shave/brush your teeth. Before you leave, flush the toilet. It should be clean. Every once in a while you are going to need to use a toilet brush to clean under the lip where calcium deposits collect.” — UrbanGimli

Loosen microwave gunk before you scrub.

“Microwave look like hell? Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water and lemon juice. Run on high for 5-10 minutes. Let bowl cool a bit, remove bowl. The steam should loosen any caked on grit. Grab sponge/cloth and wipe clean.” — UrbanGimli

Clean your shower…while you shower.

“Keep a scouring sponge and a brush in the shower. Know how the shower gets really comfortable and you never want to leave, or you stand around thinking too much? Use those moments to clean. Stand on the sponge and move it around to clean the bottom of the tub while you shower. You’ll have to kneel to get the sides of the tub though. Next day, pick a wall and scrub with the brush while you shower. Keep the five day rotation going.” — TBatWork

Clean a little every day, then deeper once a week.

“The best tip to make clean up quick is to clean often. If you always make a point to straighten up at the end of every day, your place will hopefully never become a disaster. Also pick one day of the week that you’ll spend more than a few minutes cleaning up the bathroom/kitchen and it should never get too overwhelming.” — spiffywang

Don’t let random papers accumulate.

“Try to throw away a few things every day. Focus on paper. Given a chance, paper will take over your damn life.” — deleted user

Quickly tackle ceiling fan dust with a pillowcase.

“One more: If you hate doing ceiling fans and therefore never clean them, wet down a pillowcase, wring it out, slip it over the blade, clamp down with your hands and pull it towards you. Repeat for each blade. Clean ceiling fan and it literally takes under a minute.” — deleted user

Do your cleaning during the commercials.

“I fully believe in cleaning between commercials. Vacuuming sections of the carpet, taking a few dishes to the kitchen, emptying part of the dishwasher, gathering a load for laundry, etc. If I have a long programming block on TV, I will dump my clean laundry on the living room floor and sort and fold while watching a show. Then I just wait for a commercial to put stuff away.” — ukimport

Adapt to No Zero Days.

“I do something I call No Zero Days. That means I don’t go a single day where I get nothing done. This applies to more than just cleaning. As if you get something important done every day, you’ll see less and less needs to get done in general.” — IntentionalMisnomer

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Keep a squeegee on hand in the shower.

“I haven’t seen this posted yet, so: Leave a little squeegee in the shower and give the glass a once over every time you’re in there. I hate cleaning glass, and find this way I only have to focus on the grout and floor when I do the bathroom.” — helaas-pindakaas

Be strategic with your cleaning tools.

“You can use one rag to clean (in this order) the mirror, the sink, the bathtub, then the toilet from top down then inside the bowl with the brush. As long as you fold it in fours and keep switching the clean side.” — wolvesinthegarden

Adopt this handy acronym.

“OHIO—only handle it once. There’s no reason something simple (like mail or your backpack) should make two or three separate stops in your house before it gets to where it’s actually supposed to go. If you pick it up, fully execute whatever needs to be done with it. This is more to handle clutter, as opposed to mess.” — catiebug

Pile the mess on a spot you know you have to clean.

“The quickest way I’ve ever cleaned my room was taking everything out of place or on the floor and putting it all on my bed and then organizing them into piles based on where they needed to be: pile of dirty clothes for the laundry room, cups and bowls for the kitchen, clothes to hang up in my closet, etc. Then you only make one trip to bring each pile to their designated place and it saves you lots of time! If you’re cleaning your living room or wherever else I’d suggest the couch or dining table or whatever. Pile everything on a place that you HAVE to clean up.” — jackthezoo

Make your bed and use it as a work surface.

“If it’s a bedroom; start with and make the bed including clean sheets. This is not so the bed is made. It’s no longer a bed. It is now a large flat work surface. You can put stuff onto the bed temporarily for things that are going right back where they came from like your alarm clock or lamp. If placing something on the bed would make your bed dirty then clean it first and then put it on the bed, or put it in it’s proper place or throw it away. Cleaning your sheets first keeps you honest about what’s clean and what’s dirty.” — Noneerror

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Separate into boxes as you go, room by room.

“Remember that Star Trek episode when a few of them get trapped on the ship during a nutrino sweep and have to run to stay in front of the laser? Thats how I clean. I get a trashcan, a laundry basket, and a random junk basket. I always start at the door or entryway. Everything in my path gets labeled trash, stuff, or laundry. I leave everything clean behind me. Then afterwards, I take the stuff basket and sort it by room and walk everything back home. Keeps you from zigzagging all over the place putting things away one by one.” — Bacon_Queen

Set a timer and do as much as you can.

“This! I used to fight with my son every Saturday morning which was my cleaning time. He would get overwhelmed until finally I told him I was setting the timer for 15 minutes, and we were both going to clean until it went off, but we were going to do it every day. For one, it opened my eyes to just how much I could get done in 15 minutes. It was WAY more than I thought! The house stays much cleaner now!” — rickyrhea

Clean while you’re cooking and before you eat.

“The best way to clean up a mess is to not make a mess in the first place. When I cook meals, I am always doing something. If I have to wait another 5 minutes for the pasta to cook, I am cleaning and putting away everything else. Also, as soon as you move the food from the frying pan or pot to your plate, instantly clean said pan or pot, it only takes a second and plus your food can cool down preventing burning your tongue.” — moleman127

Keep an ongoing donation box.

“I keep a donation box going at ALL times, and when it’s full, off to Goodwill it goes. If I try on a shirt and decide I don’t like it anymore? It goes straight to the donation box.” — rickyrhea

Time your least favorite tasks to be more mindful.

“If there are certain things that you often put off doing because they take too long, time how long they actually take. It’s much easier to do a task when you know it only takes five minutes out of your day.” — deleted user

Clean all spills immediately.

“Clean as you go. If you spill something while you are cooking, clean it up immediately. Don’t let it sit there and think ‘I’ll get it later,’ because there’s a chance that you won’t. Don’t let dishes pile up in the sink, do them as you use them.” — gonekuckoo

Soak and organize dishes first.

“When washing a lot of dishes: 1) Pre-soak dried-in stuff. 2) Beforehand, organize by item type. I find I get faster washing several of the same item in series when I don’t have to context switch.” — BatheWithMyToaster

Keep products where you’ll see—and use—them.

“Put cleaning products in every room that needs to be cleaned. I have a little basket with a small bottle of Bleach, Pine Sol, and Windex along with rags and sponges. If I see it, I’ll use it instead of being too lazy to get them from under the sink.” — MedicGirl

…The same goes for laundry hampers.

“I have a laundry hamper in almost every room. I’m notorious for shedding socks and sweatshirts in my living room and never getting them to my bedroom, but they made great upholstery and carpet. Having the hamper forces me to put the clothes away and take them to be washed.” — MedicGirl

…And trash cans, too.

“Lots of trash cans. I have one under my desk, one on the other side of my room and one in the bathroom. Definitely has helped lower the messiness.” — mrb614

Don’t put off tiny tasks—they add up.

“I read about the “two minute rule” on here a while ago, motivated me a bit to keep things cleaner. It’s simple, if you see a household chore that takes less than two minutes to complete, do it now rather than always putting it off. You’d be surprised how much actually gets done!” — sebdd

Keep your trash bags in the most convenient place.

“Keep a roll of trash bags at the bottom of every trash can, under the bag currently in use. So you can quickly remove a full bag and replace with a new bag without having to go back to the kitchen or another room to get fresh bags. Just carry the full bag out with you to the bin as you leave for work/school.” — deleted user

Stick to cleaning in one direction.

“To clean thoroughly, choose a start point, clean top to bottom, all the way around the room, floors last. Continue to next room.” — exGFproblems

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Use your idle time wisely.

“I sweep the floor or wipe the counters when I’m on the phone. I watch very little TV, but when I do, I fold laundry. In general, use otherwise idle time to accomplish a task.” — Freducated

(Image credit: Mackenzie Schieck)

Give yourself a few minutes each morning.

“Every morning I make sure I have at least five minutes of free time. I use that time to unload the dishwasher, load any new dirty dishes, and most importantly, wipe down the counters and the stovetop.” — AlwaysDisposable

Start laundry while you soak your dishes.

“Sort your washing up before you do it. Do cups and plates first, then cutlery, plastics then pans. Fill the sink with hot water, put your cutlery in the bowl, then plates on top. Leave them to soak for five minutes before you wash. While you wait, throw a laundry on.” — deleted user

Try the popcorn rule.

“After that I like to operate under the “popcorn” rule. Like popcorn used to take 3 minutes to cook when I had a microwave. What are you going to do in that time? I bet you could wipe down the counter or a couple cabinets. Maybe throw out a couple to go boxes from the fridge. Put some dishes away.” — deleted user

And follow this order for a fast-but-thorough clean.

“Former housekeeper here. Pro Tip 1: Start with the laundry, including all towels and sheets. This will give you an idea of pacing. Try to get one major thing done per load, (i.e. dishes, dusting, vacuuming). Always work top to bottom. DO NOT TAKE THE TRASH OUT UNTIL EVERYTHING IS DONE. If it cannot be cleaned with vinegar, blue Dawn soap (mix blue Dawn with the vinegar for extra super amazing cleaner on the cheap) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or bleach, it cannot be cleaned. Ideally, you will have everything clean at round about the same time, with a big pile of warm laundry to sit down and fold. The warm laundry will help the fatigue in your hands from scrubbing. Then, pick up all your spent dryer sheets, take the trash out, and voila. Clean.” — Lumi61210