The Best Cleaning Tips We Only Recently Learned

We only wish we knew them sooner...

Mother and child girl little helper loading washing machine

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A clean home is a happy one, and we’re always looking for new ways to keep ours as up-to-date and squeaky clean as possible. For those of us that struggle with getting rid of clutter as well as cleaning up the occasional dust bunny or cobweb, sometimes it may feel as though we have tried every remedy in the book to keep things tidy. However, there are still lessons to be learned when it comes to keeping an orderly home. To bring some inspiration and enthusiasm back into cleaning, Southern Living editors are sharing the newest cleaning revelations we simply can’t stop thinking about. We’re wiping off baseboards, freshening up disposals and teaching lessons we wish we’d known sooner. While not all cleaning tips are life changing – in fact, some of you may think we’re behind the times – we hope these suggestions make your life easier and your home just a touch neater.

Don’t Throw Away Those Dryer Sheets Just Yet

Not one, but two of our SL editors sing the praises of the humble dryer sheet. Not only does it help keep your sheets and clothing fresh, this translucent sheet can take on some of the most hard-to-reach of messes. “I save dryer sheets after laundry day to wipe off dusty baseboards!” Digital Editor Mary Shannon Hodes reveals. Assistant Homes Editor Cameron Beall is in agreement with Hodes. She finds them “particularly useful” when she needs to do a “quick wipe” of her baseboards because this trick doesn’t stir up as much dust as more traditional ways of cleaning.

A Powerful Clean For Your Countertops

Senior Lifestyle Producer Ivy Odom is very familiar with cleaning up her kitchen after video shoots for Southern Living, and when it comes to getting a thorough, deep clean on her countertops, she’s found that nothing compares to Dawn Power Wash.

Toothpaste Should Be Used For More Than Just Your Pearly Whites

Do you have those mystery marks on your walls that just seem to randomly appear out of thin air? We do, too, and we’ve found a solution that’s hiding in your bathroom cabinet: “My dad just taught me that you can use a little water and toothpaste to get marks/scuffs off the wall without removing the paint,” Assistant General Manager Anna Price Olson shares.

Recharge Your Cleaning Companions

We love our sponges and our dryer balls, but did you know that these helpful household tools need a little refresh every once in a while? Just like plumping your pillows, rotating your rugs or cleaning your windows, your sponges and dryer balls don’t need to be cleaned after every use, but it helps every now and again.

When it comes to sponges, don’t be afraid of running them in the dishwasher with your dirty plates. “That blew my mind,” Hallie Milstein, editorial fellow, says. “I've just been replacing them often unnecessarily for years.” 

In regards to wool dryer balls, senior news writer Meghan Overdeep has learned that “you're supposed to "re-charge" your wool dryer balls after every 100 loads! You just wash them in hot water on gentle then dry to restore their powers!” So, the next time you think you need to throw out your sponge or don’t think your dryer balls are doing their job, try these tips to bring new life to these well-loved tools. 

Don’t Despair Over A Dirty Disposal

Garbage disposals are a modern luxury, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have their occasional pitfalls. The issue that impacts us the most is a stinky disposal. However, we’re here to provide you some hope in that department. Digital Editor Kaitlyn Yarborough has found that pouring mouthwash down the disposal proves a very useful trick to trap unsavory odors and kill bacteria.

In the same vein – or should we say drain – Senior Digital Editor Rebecca Baer reveals “I put a lemon wedge down the disposal to clean/freshen it.” So, the next time life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Put a wedge down your disposal instead.

Tennis Balls Can Serve You Beyond The Court

In the South, we love a good comforter to add that extra poof and polish to your bed. When it comes to cleaning them, however, it’s not all that easy. With this tip from Senior Homes and Features editor Betsy Cribb, the ball’s now back in your court.

“If you're washing and drying your comforter, put a couple of new tennis ball in the dryer with it to help the fluff stay evenly distributed and keep it from becoming lumpy,” she explains.

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