Culture & Literature
Real Simple Secrets to a Clean Home

Real Simple Secrets to a Clean Home

Real Simple Secrets to a Clean Home

Discover the smartest way to cleaner rooms with less effort in Real Simple Secrets to a Clean Home. We introduce you to the Real Simple Method of cleaning, the approach that helps you clean faster and better—and with longer-lasting results.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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in this issue

1 min.
welcome to clean

FEW THINGS ARE MORE SATISFYING than sitting back and relaxing in a sparkling space with dust-free surfaces, shining windows, and fresh (folded) laundry. But getting your home to that point might not be exactly how you want to spend your time. Because maintaining a museum-quality space is not realistic for most of us (hey, life happens!), we can all use a little support from time to time. That’s why we’ve filled this special edition of Real Simple with the best products, advice, and hacks to help you get cleaner rooms throughout your home with less effort. Even if you’re a person who dreads picking up a mop, these shortcuts and tips will make cleaning quicker and more pleasant. So go enjoy your clean space … and all that extra time you’ve created…

1 min.
join us online

HACK YOUR CLEAN These handy tips from professional cleaners will help you spend less time scrubbing. You’ll find 12 clever hacks, including ideas on the best order for cleaning a room and how to get rid of pesky fingerprints on the stainless-steel fridge. realsimple.com/professionalsecrets CLEANING CHECK This printable guide gives you an idea of what areas in your home to clean daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Check off each item as you complete it and stay on top of your cleaning chores. realsimple.com/cleanhouse VINEGAR DOS AND DON’TS Vinegar is a great natural cleaner for many places in the house. Discover how to use vinegar to remove grime and dirt from a variety of surfaces—and find out the five places you should avoid using it. realsimple.com/cleaningvinegar NATURAL SOLUTIONS No need to buy expensive cleaning solutions—it’s easy to make your own products…

3 min.
what is your favorite speed-cleaning trick?

I promise myself a treat after I reach the cleaning goal.A nice glass of red wine waiting at the finish line helps spur me on.–E.M., NASHVILLE I always clean the shower when I’m in it. I leave the cleaning products in there, and while I’m waiting for my conditioner to work its magic on my hair, I do my own magic on mildew and soap scum.–D.S.G., MOUNT PLEASANT, IOWA Get me mad and I’ll clean anything. Doesn’t matter what it is—doesn’t matter how dirty it is. I will turn on my headbanger radio station and go to town.–J.R., CARL JUNCTION, MISSOURI When I was growing up, the lemony smell of Pledge signaled that my mom was cleaning. Today, because I usually don’t have time to dust every surface and eliminate clutter, I’ve found…

5 min.
a smarter way to clean

For some, scrubbing floors is the best form of stress relief; others would pay good money never to wield a vacuum again. No matter your opinions about housekeeping, though, you likely feel that there’s nothing like a spotless home to make you feel calm, peaceful, and ready to take on all the other things you care about. Our plan makes that outcome achievable (and maintainable), no matter how much time you have. Step 1 The Prep GET MOTIVATED Fast is fantastic, but only if you’re using tools and techniques that are actually effective (see page 22). Ideally, you’ll adopt the “spray and wait” method whenever possible, allowing quality cleaning products to work their magic while you take care of other jobs (kind of like multitasking in the kitchen—chop while the water boils!). The…

2 min.
tidy upgrades

SMART SPONGE The design on this odor-resistant, antimicrobial sponge fades with use over roughly two weeks, reminding you to toss and replace. Buy in bulk or choose between once-a-month and every-other-month delivery. TO BUY: Skura Style sponges, $12 for 4; skurastyle.com. DISH SQUEEGEE Easily scrape leftover food from plates and bowls with this handy tool. (Bonus: It extends the life of your sponge.) The grip is nonslip, even when wet, and the squeegee stands on end for quick drying. TO BUY: OXO Good Grips Dish Squeegee, $5; oxo.com. BACK-SAVING BROOM This first-of-its-kind sweeper has a retractable plastic scraper, which means no more bending over to clean gunk off the floor. TO BUY: SweepEasy, $29; sweepeasy.com. STAIN ZAPPER Say goodbye to tough splotches on clothing, carpets, and upholstery. TO BUY: A Little Red Wipe of Emergency Stain Rescue,…

5 min.
modern manners

M.S. ASKS … We’re moving soon, and I don’t want visitors to wear shoes inside our new house (mostly because I’m a germophobe). How do you suggest I enforce this rule? Is putting a sign at the front door tacky? It’s fine to put up a sign. I would try to go for witty rather than scolding. Google signs for a shoeless home and you’ll see some appealing ones that say things like “Leave your worries and your shoes at the door!” or “Lose the shoes and rock your socks!” Our house is a shoeless one too, but we make lots of exceptions: for older people for whom bending over is a hardship (“Please,” we say, “feel free to leave your shoes on—we really don’t care”), as well as for people with…