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10 Household Chores You Might Be Doing Wrong

household chores guide
Whether you rent or own, setting aside time to clean is a given. But it doesn’t have to take all day.

“Let’s spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon cleaning the house,” said no one, ever. And yet there you are, scrubbing the bathroom when you could be meeting friends for brunch or taking your kids to the playground.

Yes, we all need to make time to tidy up. But whether you own a spacious home for sale in Austin, TX, or spend your nights in an apartment in Philadelphia, with a few tweaks to your typical household chores, your home will sparkle and your weekend can begin!

1. Mop your hardwood floors

First, figure out if your floors are finished or unfinished, recommends cleaning expert Melissa Maker, founder of (To do this, sprinkle a few drops of water on the floor in a discreet place. If it beads up, you’re good to go.)

Add a tiny drop — we’re talking half a fingernail — of dish soap into a bucket along with a capful of vinegar and fill with hot water. Soak the mop for a few minutes to soften it and then mop in an S-shaped pattern. When finished, run a microfiber cloth over the floor to wipe up any pools of water.

2. Clear your gutters

Do this at least once a year (twice if you have large overhanging trees near your house). Use a small plastic shovel to scoop out the gunk (raid your kid’s beach or sandbox toys for this), then flush the gutters and downspouts with a hose.

3. Put your duvet cover back on

The challenge of slipping a duvet cover back on is enough to make you want to skip washing it. Enter the “burrito method.”

Start by laying the cover on the bed inside out. Then put your duvet on top of it. Roll the two up, starting at the closed end of the cover, until they look like a burrito. Open the cover, grab one end of the burrito and pull it through. Repeat on the other side. The duvet should now be entirely inside the cover. Start unrolling, smooth out the wrinkles, and button the top. Bed made! (Watch this video if you need visual aid.)

4. Scrub shower doors and curtains

To remove stubborn soap scum from glass doors, sprinkle a used dryer sheet with water and start scrubbing. For mildew-ridden shower curtains, throw them in the washing machine with a couple of towels. Add a cup of white vinegar with your detergent and wash on hot. As soon as the cycle is finished, remove the curtain and rehang it to prevent wrinkling.

5. Keep your bathroom (relatively) clean

Stash a microfiber cloth under the sink and use it (wet) to wipe down the sinks, countertops, and faucets, says Linda Cobb, The Queen of Clean. Doing so takes care of toothpaste spatters and product residue, which saves you time later.

6. Clean your Keurig

First, remove all the parts and place them in the top rack of your dishwasher (except for the reservoir lid) or let them soak in hot water and a teaspoon of dish soap in the sink for 15 minutes, recommends Melissa Maker. Gently wipe them down, rinse, and pat dry.

While the parts are soaking, use a clean toothbrush to brush out any coffee grounds in the K-cup holder and wipe down with a microfiber cloth. Wipe the outside of the machine with all-purpose cleaner (use white vinegar to remove any lime scale deposits). Reassemble and enjoy a cup of coffee. You’ve earned it.

7. Clean your oven

Um, turn on the self-clean cycle? Yes, but since that takes many hours — and can leave the house a bit stinky — take care of spills as soon as they happen by pouring salt onto the spill. Let cool, then wipe clean.

8. Wash the windows

First, forget the vinegar and paper towels, says Maker, and instead invest in a squeegee/scrubber combo tool. Then grab a bucket, add a few drops of dish soap, and fill it halfway with warm water.

Dip the scrubbing-pad side into the bucket and scrub the windows using an S-pattern. Then use the squeegee to wipe from one side to the other, starting at the top. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the window frame and any corners you may have missed.

9. Dust your ceiling fans

Slide an old pillowcase over the fan blade and then pull it back. Voilà! All of the dust and dirt will be contained inside.

10. Organize your fridge

First step: Throw out anything that’s expired (or that you think might have gone bad). Arrange like items together and adjust the shelf heights to accommodate your haul.

Use a Lazy Susan to keep small jars from ending up in the back of the fridge. Invest in containers that keep produce fresh and use the now-free crisper drawer to corral individually wrapped snacks or beverage cans.