Maybe you grew up watching the Jetsons, or looked at your self-cleaning oven and wondered why the rest of your house can’t take care of itself, too. Here’s some good news: you can have an almost self-cleaning house — or at least one that does a much better job staying tidy.
While there’s no way to completely get out of doing housework, the following ideas will significantly reduce how dirty your home gets. Sure, you will still wind up cleaning now and then, but not nearly as often.
Easy Ways to Keep Your Home Tidy
Use Mats at All Outside Doors
Think it’s hard keeping the contents of your home dust-free? Imagine what it would be like dusting all of the cans in a grocery store or the goods in a shop! Commercial buildings use large, unavoidable floor mats at their entrances for that reason and so should you.
Keep welcome mats on both sides of your home’s exterior doors and shake or sweep them regularly to reduce up to 80% of the dust in your home.
Switch to a Better Air Filter
Your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system doesn’t just cycle air. It can also clean it by removing dust, pollen, and other allergens, even pet hair. Every time your system kicks in, it can help make your house self-cleaning.
Cheap, disposable filters do nothing to catch tiny allergens, but an HEPA-grade filter will eliminate all of these plus pet dander and smoke particles. Change it regularly or buy a washable one and you’ll be cleaning your home’s air several times a day.
Make Your Toilet Self-Deodorizing
No one likes getting on their hands and knees to deal with toilet odors. Scrubbing the bowl isn’t a pleasant task, either. Installing deodorizing toilet bowl cleaners will eliminate odors every time you flush.
There are many types available: some involve gels you fit in the bowl under the rim, while others go into the tank. Skip them if you have pets that occasionally slurp out of the bowl, though.
Eat Only at the Table
Tired of finding crumbs everywhere? Kids seem to strew messes everywhere they go. (In fairness, so do some adults.) Chocolate-covered fingerprints on the doorknob, anyone? Crushed Cheerios in the sofa cushions?
Adopt a rule that eating happens only at the table — maybe with an exception for popcorn on Family Movie Night. You’ll immediately reduce the number of messes you need to clean, and might even have fewer dishes to wash. It reduces the risk of household pests like cockroaches and mice, too!
Update Your Decorating Style
Midcentury Modern and Scandinavian Minimalist decorating styles are going strong and with good reason. Both feature clean, simple looks without a lot of layered of accessories and knickknacks.
The result? Dusting your home is as easy as running a microfiber cloth over horizontal surfaces without a lot of stuff
Don’t Wear Shoes Indoors
You can dramatically reduce dirt and debris by banning shoes in the house. Most shoes have almost a half-million bacteria on their soles. Keep that stuff from being tracked through your home by having your family wear slippers at home.
Let Your Dishwasher Clean Stuff
Your dishwasher can clean more than plates and silverware. Use it to wash bathroom accessories, glass light fixtures, and other waterproof knickknacks.
Just pop them in the top rack while you’re running a load and turn off the heat for the drying cycle. Give them a quick wipe with a dry cloth afterward.
Line Refrigerator Shelves
Scrubbing spills on refrigerator shelves is a thing of the past when you line them. You can use plastic cling wrap for this, but it’s far more economical to cut washable refrigerator shelf liners to fit.
Next time someone spills, rinse the liner by hand or pop it into your washing machine. Easy!
Stop Using Soap
Soap scum is the product of hard water interacting with the fatty solids in bar soap. It clings to shower surfaces and breeds bacteria. Plus, it’s a pain to clean! So, keep your showers and tubs scum-free by switching to liquid body wash.
You’ll still want to give those tiles a good scrub once you’ve made the switch to get rid of any buildup. (Try my homemade soap scum remover — it’s the best!) Once you make the switch, you won’t have to worry about new scum growing.
Steam Clean These Two Together
Sponges get nasty. Microwaves get nasty. A quick way to clean both is by washing your kitchen sponge with soap and water then popping it, dripping wet, into your microwave. Run the microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes then let the sponge sit and release steam.
Once it’s cool, grab a cloth and wipe loosened grime from the microwave walls. It’ll slide right off. Squeeze your sponge, so it’s almost dry. Don’t forget to replace it every two weeks. (Here are some great ideas for what to do with old sponges.)
Brush your Pets Weekly
Dogs and cats can make a house feel like home, but the hair they shed can make your place look dirty even when it’s not. Giving your pets a quick daily brushing significantly reduces the hair you’ll find on your furniture and floors. You’ll have less dander floating in your home’s air, too.
If you can’t take your pets outdoors to do this, lay a towel on the floor (or your lap) to collect falling hair. Use a brush you can easily wash or something like these pet grooming gloves. (My cats adore them!)