The Quick Report

Pros Say You’re Cleaning These Things the Wrong Way

People who have to clean every day for a living have learned and developed some “tricks of the trade.” Keep reading to learn their hard-earned secrets to discover 20 things you’re probably cleaning the wrong way.

20. Removing Hard Water Stains


Are you using gallons of cleanser, soft scrub, or Lime-A-Way and still can’t remove those hard water stains? The solution pros use is relatively simple and inexpensive. They use a pumice stone such as a Pumie scouring stick, around $3.48 at Lowe’s. If you don’t want to hold onto the stick, one with a handle is $8.99 at ACE.

19. Getting a Shower Head to Sparkle

black shower head on white ceramic wall tiles
Photo by Zac Gudakov

Like sinks and toilets, mineral deposits can build up on shower heads, not only taking away their shine but reducing water flow. Pros have a few tricks for doing this. The least expensive solution is to remove the showerhead and soak it in vinegar. After a few hours, wipe away the loosened deposits.

18. Loosening Grime in a Microwave

white and black gas range oven
Photo by Jonathan Cooper

There’s an easier way than trying to scrub awkward and hard-to-access surfaces in a microwave that has caked-on splatters and spills. A trick pros use is to place a bowl of water containing a few lemon slices in the microwave. Then set it to run for 2-3 minutes. The steam helps loosen stuck-on grime, which will wipe away easily afterward. 

17. Oven Cleaning Made Easy

white wooden kitchen cabinet and white microwave oven
Photo by Andrea Davis

Cleaning the oven is one of the most difficult and dreaded household tasks. The pros use an easy method to reduce laborious scrubbing. Start by making a paste with baking soda and water. Spread it all over the oven and let it sit overnight. The next morning, the paste will wipe away easily and your oven will sparkle like new.

16. Getting Windows and Mirrors Crystal Clear

woman in white long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans standing beside white wooden framed glass
Photo by CDC

By now, everyone should know Windex and similar products still leave streaks, plus, they are expensive. The simple and inexpensive solution that pros use is a mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Vinegar costs around $1 or less per half-gallon. Combining vinegar and water works remarkably well to achieve shiny, street-free glass surfaces.

15. Wiping Down Glass the Right Way

white ceramic sink
Photo by Christian Mackie

Another secret of the pros in achieving streak-free glass surfaces is a result of what they use to wipe the window down. Microfiber cloth works well. However, you can get old newspapers for free and they work amazingly well. Don’t use the glossy finish type of newspaper, use the type without the shine, such as black and white newsprint.

14. Removing Scuffs From Floors

green tennis ball on black textile
Photo by JK Sloan

You can spend a lot of money on a variety of products that claim to remove scuff marks from vinyl or linoleum floors. Unfortunately, some work and some don’t. The pros have another secret solution that is incredibly inexpensive. They rub a tennis ball over the scuff and buff the marks away. A cheap tennis ball costs around $1.

13. Keeping Tile Floors Clean

person holding yellow plastic spray bottle
Photo by Precious Plastic Melbourne

Products for cleaning tile floors are expensive, plus some contain harsh chemicals. “Green” cleaning products without harsh chemicals can be even more expensive. Once again, the pros turn to an inexpensive cleaning product that costs only $1 or less per half-gallon. Vinegar. Mix some warm water with vinegar and achieve sparkling tile floors on the cheap.

12. Protect Delicate Garments During Washing

pink and green plastic container
Photo by engin akyurt

One pitfall of washing delicate garments in a machine is they get tangled with other clothing or stretched out in the wash. The pros have a secret to prevent this. They placed delicate items into a mesh bag before adding them to the washing machine. You can find 3-packs of mesh laundry bags with zippers starting at $5.99 at Amazon.

11. Less Expensive Fabric Softening


Save money on the cost of fabric softeners with this hack the pros use. This also helps remove soap residue from your clothing and unpleasant odors, such as mold and mildew. Again, the pros tap into the many uses of vinegar. Add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your laundry. Vinegar costs $1 or less per half-gallon.

10. Easy Pet Hair Removal From Furniture and Clothing


You can try wiping, swiping, brushing, and vacuuming to remove pet hair from your furniture and clothing. But the pros have found a simple hack that is much easier. A lint roller works wonderfully to pick up pet hair from your clothing or furniture. The price of a lint roller starts at around $5.

9. Making Stainless Steel Shine

clear glass bottle beside plant
Photo by Dimitri Karastelev

Commercial stainless steel cleaners and polishes are expensive and some of them have a weird smell. But pros use a trick that is not only cheaper but will keep stainless steel services cleaning longer. The solution is a mixture of olive oil and vinegar. This combo provides a streak-free shine that costs about a buck.

8. Cleaning Nooks and Crannies

brown wooden toothbrush
Photo by Nacho Fernández

Trying to access hard-to-reach areas is always challenging. This hack may be a solution you’re already aware of or use. If so, guess what? The pros use the same method. The best way to clean nooks, crannies, and tight corners is by using a toothbrush. Save your old ones or buy a cheap one for cleaning at around $1.

7. Cleaning Pots and Pans With Less Scrubbing

white table spoon on coffee
Photo by Andrea Tummons

If you have any pots and pans with baked-on food stains that just won’t budge, try this. No harsh, abrasive cleaners or exhaustive scrubbing is required. The pros add some used coffee grounds to the pot or pan. Then they gently scrub away those tough cooking messes. This eco-friendly solution costs around $0.50.

6. Easy Coffee Maker Cleaning

a man is making a cup of coffee
Photo by Nam Quach

Like any faucet or appliance that uses water, over time, mineral deposits can build up in coffee makers. Since you drink the contents, you probably don’t want to use harsh cleaners. The pros turn to vinegar for this task. They run a vinegar and water solution through the brewing cycle to dissolve buildup and deodorize the machine.

5. Cleaning a Cutting Board

yellow lemon fruit beside clear glass bottle
Photo by Precious Plastic Melbourne

Professional chefs have long used bleach on their cutting boards to kill germs and keep them sanitary. Nonetheless, stains can build up on cutting boards that won’t go away. The pros cut a lemon in half and use it to scrub the board. The acid in the lemon removes both stains and odors. The cost is only $0.50.

4. Properly Cleaning a Thermos


Whether you use a thermos to take coffee, tea, soup, water, or juices, they eventually get stained on the inside and may have odors. The pros turn to baking soda for this task. They mix baking soda and water and shake vigorously. The baking soda works as a gentle abrasive to remove stains. It’s cheap at around $1.

3. Removing Beverage Rings From Furniture

blue and white plastic bottle
Photo by 莎莉 彭

If someone failed to use a coaster and left a beverage ring or coffee stain on your furniture, don’t worry. There’s an easy way the pros use to remove it that won’t harm your furniture. Dab a little white toothpaste (don’t use the gel type) directly on the stain and rub it in with a clean cloth.

Read More: Scientists Say Your Makeup Brushes are Dirtier Than Toilet Seats

2. Easy Vase Cleaning

black and brown shell on white and yellow textile
Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann

A vase that has mineral buildup or tough stains can be hard to clean because you don’t want to scratch or break it in the process. The pros have an easy trick for removing grime stuck on the inside. They add uncooked rice to the vase and some warm water. Then they swirl and shake the mixture. The rice will gently scrub away the buildup without scratching. This only cost around $0.50.

Read More: 20 Home Renovation Projects on a Budget

1. Safely Picking up Broken Glass


To avoid cutting yourself when picking up broken glass, try this trick the pros use. Put on a pair of rubber gloves. The thick kind, not the thinner, disposable medical type. A good pair of rubber cleaning gloves runs around $4.99-$6.99. Bonus tip: Turn off overhead lights and use a flashlight to spot broken glass.

Read More: Dry Cleaners Share the 10 Worst Laundry Mistakes You’re Making