Get Off the Internet! 10 Things You Can Clean in the Next 15 Minutes

published Sep 18, 2016
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(Image credit: Sergey Mironov)

Are you still online? You’ve been here for hours! Those listicles can be addicting, but you’ve got to come up for air sometime. Stretch your body a bit. Get something accomplished. Hey! How about doing a little cleaning? You can get some serious sprucing-up done in just 15 minutes. Then you can watch YouTube videos with abandon. Promise.

Erase the Evidence

When people come to your home, do they know you have pets? It’s likely not because of the wagging or purring. It’s because there’s animal hair everywhere. You can make a real dent in the problem in just 15 minutes.

Clear away pet hair from upholstered furniture by wearing rubber gloves. Put on a clean pair and brush the fabric. You’ll collect wads of hair! If the material is water-safe, dampen the gloves to make the task even easier. When you’re done, you’ll still have time to run the vacuum and spray a little Febreeze to get that dog-breath smell out of their favorite bed.

Take On the Tub

Maybe you’re afraid of your bathtub because the soap scum has really built up. You can clean your tub in 15 minutes—and a full third of that time is spent doing nothing at all! (You’re allowed to check out Facebook while you wait, but set a timer so you don’t get sucked in.)

Spray the tub with a bathroom cleanser, and let it sit for five minutes. Crud starts breaking down almost immediately. When you attack the porcelain with a scrubber, you’ll be surprised at how much easier the job is. See? Patience really is a virtue!

Clear Up Your Chrome

You know how your bathroom and kitchen fixtures get dull with water spots? No? Go check. We’ll wait.

Make taps and faucets sparkle in both rooms with a little elbow grease and toothpaste. Yes, you read that correctly. Dab toothpaste on the fixtures. Rub them with a clean, soft cloth and watch the shine appear. Might as well brush your teeth while you’re at it — you’ll have time! Just make sure you don’t get any spit on the freshly cleaned faucet.

Bonus tip? Squeeze a little of that lemon in your glass of water before you send it down the drain for a drink as refreshing as the quick clean.

Tidy Up Top

Grubby overhead fans blow dust into the room, which isn’t great for air quality. Though you should take out the blades and wash them annually, you can clear away a lot of buildup in 15 minutes.

Use a long-handled duster to clean ceiling fans. If your bathroom fan is covered, wipe down the vent to remove as much dust as possible.

Forgotten Fingerprints

Even if you keep up with dusting, vacuuming and wiping, you might overlook areas that collect smudges and fingerprints. Where should you check? Pretty much everything you touch!

Wipe appliance knobs, doorframes, doorknobs, drawer pulls and light switches with a soft, slightly damp cloth to remove fingerprints. Don’t forget the remote control for your TV!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Clean the Cleaner

Automatic dishwashers remove a lot of grime, but not all of it goes down the drain. To get your dishes really clean, the appliance has to be clean, too.

Wipe down the inside and edges of your dishwasher’s door. Pull out the rack to see if any random bits of food or labeling are just sitting on the bottom.

While you’re at it, clean the whole dishwasher! This actually takes longer than 15 minutes, but your part is less than a minute.

When the machine is empty, fill a small bowl with vinegar and set it on the bottom rack. Run the appliance through a full cycle. While the machine is self-cleaning, you’re free to go back to the keyboard.

Deodorize the Disposal

When’s the last time you cleaned your garbage disposal? That long, huh? You’re way overdue, but don’t worry. It won’t take long. Let Netflix be your incentive.

Cut a lemon in half and drop both sections down the disposal. Turn on the water, then flip on the disposal switch. Run the water long enough to rinse out every bit of lemon. It’ll take a lot of gunk along with it.

(Image credit: Erika Tracy)

Bathe the Board

You clean your cutting board after each use, right? Right? Once a week, take a few minutes to make sure the surface is really, really clean. Because food poisoning, and all that.

Sprinkle the board with coarse salt. Slice a lemon in two, and use the cut half to rub the salt over the board. Rinse well.

Rinse the Refrigerator

Refrigerators get dirty fast! It’s a combination of lots of food and many hands. The inside takes a while to clean properly, but the outside needs attention, too. Dust, fingerprints, food particles and … ugh … what is that?

Mix a little dishwashing liquid with water and wipe down the exterior of the fridge. Tops, sides and door. If the appliance is stainless steel, use a cleaner designed for that purpose. When you have more time, tackle the inside before it begins to look like a science experiment.

Fridge Frenzy

Another refrigerator job that improves efficiency: Clean the condenser coils in the back. Do this at least every six months. (If you have pets that shed, make it three months. Fish owners are lucky that way.)

Be sure to unplug the fridge before you start! Pull the unit away from the wall so you can reach the coils. Clear away dust and debris with your vacuum’s crevice attachment. A long-handled brush works, too. Just don’t forget to plug it back in when you’re done.

Congratulations! If you’ve tackled at least one of these jobs, you can return to your computer feeling virtuous—and finish your lazy day of browsing guilt-free.