7 Cleaning Tasks You Can Accomplish If You Only Have 30 Minutes

Staying on top of the chores list has never been so speedy.

Whether you’re trying to get ahead or company is on their way, a quick clean can be just the ticket. But, how do you know if you’re taking on too much if you really only have 30 minutes to pull this place together? Unfortunately these are oftentimes lessons learned the hard way. To simplify your strategy, we got all the speed-cleaning know-how from Marla Mock, President of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. These are the tasks you can (and should!) cross off your list in 30 minutes or less. Use them when guests are headed your way or as a daily one-and-done task that helps you stay on top the household chores

Marla Mock is the President of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company.

Young woman cleaning carpet with vacuum cleaner

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Spot Clean

We’re not talking laundry. Smudges on doors, cabinets, and floors can easily be wiped away to reveal a home that looks pulled together at a moment’s notice. “Spot treat focus areas when you don’t have time to wash it all down,” says Mock. For stubborn stains, pretreat them with the appropriate solution before tackling the more wipeable messes. By the time you’re finished with the easy part, those trickier spots will have softened, making them ready to wipe clean in a flash. 

Try the Laundry Basket Method

It’s a trick that’s as much therapeutic as it is efficient. Grab an empty laundry basket and walk around house (or even a single room) collecting all the items that don’t belong. Return them to their rightful homes in other rooms throughout the house. If you’re tackling the whole house, unload the basket when it gets full and then pick up in the space where you left off. Perhaps it goes without saying, but don’t get lazy! All items should be returned to their spots—not just dumped in an out-of-sight area. 

Purge the Fridge

Deep cleaning the refrigerator can be a full-day task at worst and typically require at least a couple hours, at best. To keep your fridge moving in the right direction, allot 30 minutes (or less) per week for checking expiration dates, tossing, and organizing. It will create additional space while also eliminating the potential for bad odors. 

Clean the Stove

Quick kitchen cleaning shouldn’t leave stuck-on messes behind. The place where that is most likely to happen? Your stove. To make quick work of it, Mock says to remove burners and place them in a sink of hot, soapy water. While they soak, wipe down the counters, appliances, and spot clean cabinet messes with a solution of half vinegar, half water. If your burners haven’t soaked for a full 10 minutes yet, go ahead and commit a few more minutes to cleaning out your toaster’s crumb tray. “After 10 minutes, scrub [the burners] with scrubby sponge,” she says. “Rinse and dry.” 

Take Out the Trash

Taking out the trash sounds easy enough, but to really deodorize after the mess is gone, Mock suggests an additional step. After you remove the bag, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of the can and add a couple inches of warm water. Let it sit for a few minutes then swish it around. Using a sponge or cloth, wipe down the sides. Empty the water into a utility sink, bathtub, or outside and rinse. Let it dry completely before replacing the bag. 

Make Windows and Mirrors Shine

No one likes smudges. Walk around the house armed with your microfiber cloths and a bottle of a DIY non-smearing glass cleaner. Here's how:

  1. Add ½ cup of vinegar, ½ cup of rubbing alcohol, and about two squirts of Dawn dish detergent to a gallon of water.
  2. Spritz onto the surface and wipe clean.

If you prefer to forgo the solution, Mock says a dampened microfiber cloth designed for glass can wipe away smudges and messes on glass without the need of a glass cleaner. 

Refresh the Bath

A bathroom refresh is crucial whether it’s in anticipation of guests or simply a mid-week wipe-down. When speed cleaning, Mock has an easy formula. “Spray toilet seat, lid, rim and base with equal parts vinegar and water. Allow to sit for a few minutes then wipe clean with a microfiber cloth, starting with the lid and working down to the base.” She then sprinkles the inside of the toilet bowl with baking soda and scrubs with a toilet brush. Don’t forget to flush. You can also put a deodorizer in the bowl for a pleasant aroma. Check toilet paper stock and put out fresh towels. Finally, take out the trash and put in a new bag. 

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