47 Household Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Home Looking Its Best

cleaning materials
The Spruce / Michelle Becker

Tidy closets, organized drawers, and a perfectly styled pantry—everyone aspires for their homes to be clean, comfortable, and always looking their best. Every household requires regular cleaning, maintenance, and organization to achieve this, though. So, we scouted out the best household tidiness tips from experts of all sorts, like organizers and professional cleaners.

Here are 47 expert-approved tips to help you work smarter, stay one step ahead of household chores, and keep your home looking its best.

Declutter as Often as Possible

deciding where to sell clothing
The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

When it comes to decluttering, always take it one small space at a time. Focus on getting rid of food past its expiration date, and keep track of when you last used things like clothing and gadgets. Aside from critical items, like birth certificates or work items, really analyze what items are currently serving you daily in your home.

Kathy Cohoon of Two Maids shares that a clean space is a happy space, and decluttering is a key step to achieving that.

"Having a clean space can help with focus, as it eliminates distractions and confusing clutter," she explains. "If you have a duplicate or something, no longer use it often, or keep it just because, then it's probably time to ditch it or donate it."

Skip the Rinse Before Loading the Dishwasher

scraping off food before loading dishes into the dishwasher
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Stop rinsing dirty dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. You'll save water and time, and you'll end up with cleaner dishes. Dishwasher detergent powders, liquids, and tablets contain enzymes and other ingredients that are meant to attach themselves to food particles to dissolve the mess and then allow the spray action of the water to flush them away.1 

When you rinse dirty dishes, the detergent is wasted because it can't cling to anything. However, it's still important to scrape away large amounts of food before loading dishes into the dishwasher.

Try Following a Cleaning Calendar

cleaning schedule by day
The Spruce / Daria Groza 

Creating a weekly, monthly, and yearly list of chores will help you remember what needs to be accomplished. Schedule chimney cleaning during the spring and garden equipment maintenance in the fall when professionals will welcome the off-season work.

Polish Away Smudges on Stainless Steel Appliances

Applying cleaning paste with a microfiber cloth
The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Sick of smudges on your stainless steel appliances? Skip the store-bought products and use distilled white vinegar as a homemade stainless steel cleaner. It's all you need to keep your stainless steel appliances, countertops, and sink looking great.

Just spray the surfaces with undiluted distilled white vinegar and rub gently with a microfiber cloth following the grain of the metal. Rinse with a damp cloth and buff to a shine.

Use Zones to Organize Your Pantry and Fridge

organizing a pantry
The Spruce / Kevin Norris

Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin, the expert organizers of The Home Edit, know kitchen organization starts with organized food. Keep all food categories in a designated zone for easy organization.

"When organizing a fridge, the most important thing to remember is creating zones," the duo share. "Everything should be categorized and grouped together."

The organizing duo love using clear containers in a pantry or fridge, that way you see what you have and know when you’re running low. Adding a label also helps members of your household find things easily.

Shearer and Teplin also recommend following the same plan in your pantry. "You want your pantry to flow," they say. "For example, breakfast items should flow into dinner, and snacks should be placed down low and accessible."

Use Salt and Lemon Juice to Clean Outdoor Furniture

lemon juice and salt for rust removal
The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

Prerna Jain, a professional cleaner and founder of Ministry Of Cleaning, recommends salt and lemon juice to remove grime from outdoor tables and chairs.

"For an extra cleaning boost, you can also leave salt-coated furniture in direct sunlight for a few hours," Jain says. "The combination of salt and sunlight can help break down stains and enhance the cleaning process."

Steam Clean Your Microwave

Damp sponge with lemon cleaning solution rubbing microwave door
The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

To freshen your microwave, simply boil one cup of water in a bowl with lemon slices or one cup of distilled white vinegar added. Heat on high until the solution is boiling, and allow the steam to work for at least five minutes before opening the door.

Pick up Broken Glass with Ease

Broken wine glass on wooden floor
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

When glass breaks, practice safety first. Put on your shoes and keep everyone away until the glass is gone. Use kitchen tongs to pick up large shards or wear heavy gloves. Sweep up as much as you can that's still on the floor or carpet. Then use a piece of fresh bread, a sliced potato, several layers of wet paper towels, or a lint roller to get the final tiny shards.

Don't Skip Making Your Bed

How To Make Your Bed, According to the Pros

properly made bed can have a dramatic impact on the way a room looks and feels. Not only does it help the room appear less cluttered and chaotic, but it also sets the stage for a good night's rest. After all, it's so much nicer to slip into a bed with smooth, crisp sheets rather than one with rumpled sheets and a balled-up blanket.


If you don't think you have time to master Army-approved corners, use a comforter that can easily be smoothed over the bed and fluff the pillows.

Utilize Vertical Space in Your Bedroom Closet

Front view of an organized closet
The Spruce / Michelle Becker

To make a small bedroom closet more functional, Courtney Finley of Organized Designs recommends putting clothes and accessories in categories—and don't forget about optimizing for vertical storage, too.

"Utilize vertical hanging space by using cascading hangers or investing in hanging organizers," she suggests. "Install adjustable shelves or customizable modular closet systems to meet your needs, and consider adding hooks on the inside of the closet doors for additional hanging space."

Clean and Organize Your Garage

Organized garage wall with black and white checkered rigid plastic floor tiles
The Spruce / Jacob Fox

While a garage is handy for storage, it can quickly become a dumping ground for extra items. Todd Lamson, director of franchise operations at The Junkluggers offers these tips to get the space back in shape.

"Taking out the old or unused items is a simple way to help you focus on reorganizing what matters most," he says. "Adding some sturdy cabinets or shelving can certainly help organize your home. For example, wooden pallets on the wall are great for hanging lightweight lawn equipment in the garage, and old bathroom towel racks are perfect to organize power cords on." 

Don't Neglect Your Entryway and Coat Closet

Coat closet organized with bag hooks, wire shelves and shoe bench
The Spruce / Sarah Lee

Think about first impressions and organize your entryway and coat closet. Guests will remember tripping over shoes the moment they walk in, so hide them away in a closet or a storage system. To keep boots upright, cut pool noodles in half and slip them into the boots.

  • Upcycle Items You Love

    Re-used candle wax in candle container, wax melt bars and fire starters
    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    If you have a sentimental object just stashed away, get it out and change how you use it. Cohoon notes that upcycling helps items feel fresh and new.

    "If you love something but it is collecting dust, try to find a new use for it—like turning an old pitcher into a vase for fresh flowers," she says.

  • Add Smart Toy Storage

    White cubicle cubby with organized toys in a playroom
    The Spruce / Jacob Fox

    To help keep kids' rooms neater, Lamson suggests utilizing over-the-door shoe organizers for small toys, stuffed animals, craft supplies, and shoes. 

    "Keep Legos organized and away from your feet (ouch!) and dolls or action figures organized and easy to find by placing them inside the shoe pockets," he says.

  • Start at the Top

    Closeup of a person dusting off a ceiling fan
    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    Save time and energy by following Cohoon's suggestion. "Start cleaning at the ceiling and work your way down to cut down on repetitive work (no use vacuuming before you dust the ceiling fan)," she says. "If you work your way down the room, you will save time and effort and ensure each space is sparkling."  

  • Reduce Household Dust for Easier Cleaning

    Cleaning out HVAC filters
    The Spruce / Tessa Cooper

    One of the best ways to make a room look better is to reduce dust so cleaning is easier. Keep doors and windows closed, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Air purifiers are a great option to reduce dust, and make sure air filters are being changed often.

  • Keep Pet Hair Under Control

    Using a lint roller on fabric to reduce pet hair allergens
    The Spruce / Sanja Kostic

    While we love them, pet hair seems to reach every corner of a home and even the best vacuum can't trap all of it. While you'll never be able to get rid of hair completely, using pet-friendly fabrics will make the job a bit easier. And one of the best tools to keep on hand is a lint roller. Use it for clothes, fabric shoes, pillows, upholstery, and quick pick-ups of hairballs on the floor.

  • Less Is More

    Safe household cleaning products with brushes
    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    "This may come as a surprise, but there is such a thing as using too much cleaning product," Cohoon says. "In the past, you may have used large quantities to feel assured that the products were doing the job, but this can be a pretty wasteful habit."

    Using too much cleaning solution or laundry detergent can leave a residue, and this residue actually becomes a magnet for more dirt. Always stick to the amount suggested in the directions.

  • Clean Your Cleaning Tools

    Tools and materials for cleaning a hydroflask water bottle
    The Spruce / Adelyn Duchala

    To get the cleaning results you want, always use clean tools. A dirty mop does not absorb dirt well and leaves residue on the floor, and a vacuum that is filled with dust can't clean well. Dusters filled with grit can leave scratches on surfaces. Clean supplies after every use so they are ready to go when you are.

  • Freshen Your Home's Air With Easy DIYs

    air freshener made from vinegar and essential oils
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    "A fresh scent can make your home feel warm and inviting and create the effect of a clean space," Cohoon says. "You can attain this by lighting a candle, using a scent spray, or freshly baking a meal or dessert before settling in for guests or to relax."


    No time to bake? Place some citrus slices and whole spices (cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamon) in a pot of water and simmer on your stovetop.

  • Unclog Sputtering Showerheads

    Warm vinegar poured over showerhead in deep dish
    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Fix sputtering showerheads by soaking them in distilled white vinegar to cut through the mineral deposits that are clogging the jets. Remove the head and let them soak in a bowl or bucket overnight.

    Showerhead won't come off? Fill a plastic bag with vinegar and attach it securely to the showerhead with several rubber bands. Remove the next morning and turn on the water to rinse away the dissolved minerals.

  • Attack Soap Scum Often

    Using vinegar to clean soap scum on a shower curtain
    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    "Before sticky soap scum shows up as an unsightly film in your bathtub and shower, a quick vinegar and water rinse daily (or every other day) can help keep the area clear," Cohoon says.

    Keep a spray bottle filled with a 50:50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water in the shower. Spritz it on and then use a squeegee or towel to wipe down the walls.

    Since a shower curtain can also be a big magnet for scum and mildew, opening bathroom windows can help completely dry it out. If you don’t have a window in your bathroom, vinegar and baking soda spritzes help keep mildew and mold at bay, which is important for both the look and health of your home.

  • Fix Slow-Running Drains With Vinegar and Baking Soda

    Baking soda and white vinegar in glass containers in bathroom sink corner closeup
    The Spruce / Sarah Lee

    Kristopher Juniel, the host of USA Today’s Problem Solved series, recommends using vinegar and baking soda as a fix for slow-running drains in this social post.

    Add a few tablespoons of baking soda into the clogged drain, and pull out the drain plug if it is removable. Then, add equal parts of vinegar. Allow the concoction to rest in the drain for about twenty minutes, working its magic, and then rinse it with warm water. This hack works wonders on all household drains, including shower and tub drains.

  • Keep Cleaning Supplies Handy

    White metal caddy holding sponges and brushes next to houseplant
    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Cohoon recommends keeping a stocked cleaning caddie in the bathroom and any other rooms you clean often. In addition to toilet bowl cleaner, Cohoon suggests that the bathroom caddie include disinfectant wipes, glass cleaner, and a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner.

    "Now, you have the supplies you need to spot clean quickly—toothpaste splatters don't have a chance to dry on the mirror, water doesn't stick around long enough to make a moldy mess around the sink," she says. "And, as an added bonus, your bathroom is always drop-in guest ready."  

  • Remove Hard Water Stains from Toilets With Household Essentials

    cleaning hard water stains out of the toilet
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    Even if you clean your toilet regularly, if you live in an area with hard water chances are you have an unappealing ring or streaks in your toilet bowl. Hard water has an especially high mineral content of magnesium, calcium, and iron particles. Mineral buildup or limescale forms chalky white residue and rust-colored stains that need extra attention to remove.

    Fortunately, you can remove them by catching them early and using household cleaning products like vinegar, baking soda, or borax to scrub away the discoloration.

  • Quick-Clean the Bathroom Often

    Eco-friendly cleaning bottle with cleaning supplies in bathroom
    The Spruce

    If guests are on the way and the bathroom is a mess, do a quick clean:

    Add toilet cleaner to the bowl and let it start working. Next, stash any laundry and dirty towels and put out fresh towels. Wipe down the sink with a disposable wipe and dry with a microfiber towel to prevent streaks.

    Shake out area rugs or stash them and sweep the floor, and add a few drops of essential oil to the cardboard tube in the toilet paper roll to freshen the air. Don't forget to swish out the toilet bowl, too.

  • Don't Forget to Disinfect Door Handles

    woman cleaning door handle
    Getty Images / Xsandra 

    Appliance handles, door knobs, and electrical switches can accumulate germs if not cleaned often, and bacteria can be transferred to other surfaces in your home, Cohoon says.

    "A common mistake people make is to only clean the front of the handles when we touch the inside of the handles just as—if not more—often," she says. Make sure you are using a disinfectant wipe or cleaner correctly to kill the most germs.

  • Clean Rugs and Carpet When You're Home Alone

    Vacuum cleaning carpet fibers after cleaning stain
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    Nothing spoils the look of a room more than a stained and soiled carpet or rug. You can clean them yourself to remove dirt, pollen, and pet dander or hire a professional.

    If you decide to tackle the chore yourself, pick a day when there isn't much foot traffic, and be sure to pretreat stains before cleaning. Move furniture off the carpet or place squares of plastic (food storage container lids work great) under the legs to prevent staining.

  • Keep Rugs From Slipping With Floor Gripping Pads

    throw rug on a hardwood floor
    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    Rugs that slip and slide not only are unattractive but also hazardous. Instead of getting rid of your floor coverings, use a proper non-slip pad, gripper tape, double-sided carpet tape, or silicone caulking dots to hold an area rug in place

  • Keep Hardwood Floors Shiny

    Cleaning supplies for hardwood floor
    The Spruce / Margot Cavin

    If your hardwood floors still look dull after cleaning, be sure you're removing loose soil by sweeping, vacuuming, or dust mopping before you clean the wood. Be sure your damp mop is clean, don't use harsh cleaners, and don't use too much of any cleaning product. Finally, use a dry microfiber mop to buff the clean floor to prevent streaking and ensure a shiny floor.

  • Clean and Freshen Window Coverings Yearly

    simple window treatment ideas
    Design by Emilie Fournet Interiors / Photo by Kasia Fiszer

    In addition to obvious stains, curtains, drapes, and shades attract airborne dust and odor molecules. The curtains in food preparation areas may have oily residue and bathroom curtains frequently catch droplets of hair spray and other cosmetics.

    All types of window treatments should be cleaned at least once a year. When you take the drapes down, check the panels for care instructions. Most lined drapes will need to be dry-cleaned to remove any stains or heavy odors. If they are only dusty, toss them in a clothes dryer on the air-only cycle to freshen them. After the drapes are rehung, use a clothes steamer to remove any wrinkles.

  • Take Care Furniture Upholstery Often

    Sponge dipped in cleaning solution passing over back cushion of upholstered couch
    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

    As one of the most used pieces of furniture in your home, your couch deserves to be taken care of and kept clean. One of the best things you can do to improve the cleanliness of your couch, no matter what style or type of upholstery, is to vacuum it well weekly.

    While a lightweight portable hand-held vacuum works fine to gather up potato chip crumbs, you need to use a vacuum with more suction and an upholstery brush and crevice tool to get at the really yucky stuff.

  • Clean Light Bulbs and Fixtures

    Globe light fixture being cleaned inside with microfiber cloth
    The Spruce / Danielle Moore

    Light fixtures are both practical and decorative, but they are also magnets for dust, bugs, cobwebs, and dirt. Dirty light fixtures lessen the amount of light a room receives and make everything look dull. While you're cleaning, don't forget to clean the light bulbs.

  • Remove Dirt and Smudges from Walls

    Walls rinsed with clean water and blue microfiber cloth
    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    In most homes, walls are the most visible surfaces and if they are scuffed and dusty, nothing else looks clean. Areas near doors, light switches, and furniture gather soil and scuffs from hands, feet, and sharp corners.

    As part of your regularly scheduled chores, walls should be dusted and cobwebs removed at least monthly—twice a month is even better. Clean away smudges and dirt around doorknobs and light switches weekly. Large splatters and scribblings with crayons should be cleaned immediately for the best results.

  • Clean and Shine Leather Furniture

    Dry yellow microfiber cloth buffing cushion on brown leather couch
    The Spruce / Olivia Inman

    Leather sofas are durable and easy to both clean and maintain. After vacuuming off dust and loose soil, simply use saddle soap to clean away grime. Then use a leather conditioner to keep the hide soft and supple.

  • Rearrange Your Furniture

    Living room furniture arrangement
    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

    Simply rearranging your furniture can actually make a big difference in your home, experts say.

    “When planning out your living space, identify the largest wall and place your biggest piece of furniture in that area," interior designer John McClain of John McClain Design says. "It is easier to arrange your furniture around statement elements rather than accent pieces.”

  • Add Slipcovers to Furniture

    Easy-Going 4 Pieces Stretch Soft Couch Slipcover
    The Spruce / Jay Wilde

    Slipcovers can give furniture a new look and are much easier to clean than upholstery. Spot clean stains and give slipcovers a thorough cleaning at the end of every season to refresh them. When you wash slipcovers, be sure to clean all the components in one washing machine load. This will prevent uneven fading that can happen if you wash one piece at a time.

  • Simply Paint a Room for a New Look

    living room with painted green half wall
    Fantastic Frank

    Even if you come back with the same color, a fresh coat of paint makes every room look better. Or, add an accent wall to highlight artwork or built-in structures like bookcases or fireplaces.

  • Freshen Your Trash Can

    Gold trash can surrounded by cleaning materials
    The Spruce / Almar Creative

    Even if you use a plastic liner, the trash can needs attention. Before you take out the bag of trash, give the can a quick clean-up. Use a disinfecting wipe or wet paper towels and a spray of all-purpose cleaner to go over the lid, sides, and foot pedal to remove drips and food splatters.

  • Clean Windows Often

    Woman Cleaning a Window with Vinegar

    Sparkling clean windows bring more light into a room and help a home look fresh and clean. Cleaning can usually be done quickly and efficiently with just a few tools and cleaning products. Out of window cleaner? Make it yourself with distilled white vinegar or isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and water.

  • Add Natural Elements to Your Home

    pothos plants in the kitchen
    The Spruce / Ali Elshabrawi

    Bringing the outdoors inside with houseplants or flowers. Adding houseplants to a room is a quick and easy way to spruce up your decor. The right plant can help purify the air, add a splash of color, or even provide fresh herbs year-round.

  • Make Dishwashing Easier

    A woman is hand washing a coffee cup and other crockery dishes and glasses and cooking pots and pans using a yellow cleaning sponge. She is working in a two section stainless steel home kitchen sink.
    Willowpix/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

    Add a couple of inexpensive plastic dishpans to your sink to make dishwashing easier. Use one dishpan as a spot to put dirty dishes as they accumulate. Using a dishpan reduces water use instead of using a large sink to wash just a few items.

    If you don't have a double sink, a dishpan can be used for rinsing dishes, a quick disinfecting dip, or soaking stuck-on food. Plastic dishpans protect your dishes from chips that can come when they hit the harder surfaces of stainless steel, stone, or porcelain sinks.

  • Add Under the Cabinet Lighting to a Kitchen

    Best Under-Cabinet Lighting Options

    If you want to enhance the look of your kitchen, under-cabinet lights might be just the thing. Interior designer Elizabeth Herrera notes that puck lights are popular because they are affordable and battery-operated, so you don't need to worry about unsightly cords.

    "Not only can they provide task lighting, which is great for food prep, but this style of lighting also won't create harsh shadows like overheads and can create a welcoming feel," Herrera says.

  • Do an Inspection

    A Spanish-inspired home exterior with an olive green door
    The Home Consultant

    Protect your most expensive investment by hiring an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don't normally see. They may discover hidden problems that negatively impact your home's value and safety. Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. If you don't feel comfortable tackling the repairs yourself, hire a handyman for a day and watch your "to-do" list disappear.

  • Create a Welcoming Front Entrance

    A front home exterior with a coral colored front door
    Michelle Boudreau Design

    Your front entrance creates the first impression of your home. Take time to clean it often to remove dust and scuffs. Sweep the porch or stoop and add a clean mat (it helps trap dirt before it gets inside your home). Consider painting the front door a new color and adding a wreath or showcasing plants near the entrance.

  • Trim Foundation Plants

    yellow front door
    Lovely Indeed

    The inside of your home will look better if you trim overgrown foundation plants and low-hanging tree branches that are blocking light from coming in. Of course, trimming hedges and keeping lawns maintained always make the landscape more appealing.

  • Clean Your Gutters Without a Ladder

    Garden spade used as scooper to remove leaves from gutter
    The Spruce / Jayme Burrows

    Avoid climbing a ladder by vacuuming the leaves out of the gutters using an attachment on your wet/dry vacuum. You can also attach a long wand to a pressure washer and blow the leaves out of the gutters.


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