Best products to deep clean your home for spring, according to experts
Spring has almost sprung, which means it's time to open the windows and give your home a good scrub-down. From dusty corners to mildew-y bathroom tiles to grimy kitchen sinks, we tapped the top cleaning experts to spill the dirt on the best products to get the job done. Grab those cleaning gloves and prepare to give your digs an immaculate makeover.
1. Method All-Purpose Cleaner
If you’re looking for something that’ll leave your kitchen counters and stovetops spotless, consider Method’s All-Purpose Cleaner. Katie Berry, author of "30 Days to a Clean and Organized Home" and founder of HousewifeHowtos.com, says, “It cuts through grease wonderfully and doesn’t streak on appliances. Plus, it’s non-toxic.” Her favorite scent? Pink grapefruit.
For a DIY cleanser, Melissa Maker, founder of Clean My Space, combines a teaspoon of dish soap with two cups of water and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil. “Dish soap helps remove dirt and grease, while essential oils add a pleasant scent, as well as offer some beneficial properties,” she says. She likes to use eucalyptus, tea tree, or lemon essential oils which may have antibacterial benefits.
2. AmazonBasics Blue and Yellow Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
Unlike using paper towels or even sponges, microfiber cleaning cloths cut cleaning time in half because they’re able to grab the smallest — microscopic to be exact — particles of dirt, dust and dander. Becky Rapinchuk, author of "Simply Clean" and creator of Clean Mama, recommends her own microfiber cloth. “I’m partial, but it’s my favorite because it’s lightweight and dries quickly. There’s no lint on surfaces, and it’s soft to the touch,” she says. Amazon also sells an affordable 24-pack.
3. Splash Patrol Natural Latex Cleaning Gloves
Just like a boxing match, you’re about to go head-to-head with dirt and bacteria, so you want to make sure you’re properly gloved. These slip-resistant mitts will hook germs, while protecting your hands from harsh chemicals. Rapinchuk says, “I love these because they’re natural latex and they keep water out.” Whether you’re scrubbing the bathroom tub or greasy stovetops, these gloves also have a soft lining inside for extra comfort when dipping into hot water.
4. Old English Furniture Polish Spray
It’s important to clean your floors and counters, but your furniture likely needs some spiffing, too! Berry loves Old English Furniture Polish Spray. “It actually moisturizes and conditions wood. It also doesn’t contain silicones, which eventually causes furniture to look cloudy,” she says. Most commercial wood polishes contain silicone to give furniture that nice glistening shine, but after a while, it can make surfaces sticky. To best use the spray, Berry recommends dusting furniture top to bottom and then left to right so you don’t scatter dust. Here are her other tips for cleaning bedroom furniture.
5. Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap
Doing the dishes is the most disliked daily chore, but when you’ve got Mrs. Meyers by your side, your plates aren’t the only things getting a boost. Mrs. Meyers’s products are formulated with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils, which provide an aromatherapeutic experience. Beth McGee, author of "Get Your House Clean Now: The Home Cleaning Method Anyone Can Master," says, “Dish detergents are best when they can cut grease and leave your dishes feeling clean. It’s not just for dishes, but can also be used full strength on greasy stoves and other cooking appliances to remove the hardest stains.”
6. Twist Naked Sponge
Taking the time to choose the right sponge might seem like an unnecessary chore, but the best kinds are the ones you can easily disinfect and throw into the dishwasher. Rapinchuk likes Twist’s Naked Sponge because it’s plant-based and natural, meaning it doesn’t have the chemicals and colors you find in other store-bought sponges. And because it’s made with real loofah and cellulose, it can, by nature, soak up anything.
7. Fantastik 32-Oz. Scrubbing Bubbles Bleach 5-in-1 Cleaner
Don’t let soap scum and mildew stains get the best of your bathroom. You’ll want to have this all-purpose cleaner in your arsenal. Cassandra Aarssen, author of "Real Life Organizing: Get a Clean and Clutter-Free Home in Just 15 Minutes a Day" and founder of Clutterbug, says, “This is a must-have cleaner in my house for things like bathtubs, toilets and white plastic handles on appliances. They tackle hard to clean stains and grime without scrubbing.” What’s great is that you can also use this spray for your kitchen and outdoor surfaces, like lawn furniture.
8. Mr. Clean Original Magic Eraser
No one can handle tough messes like Mr. Clean. Consider his Magic Eraser the ultimate cleaning wand. Thanks to its durable, built-in microscrubbers, it can literally lift dirt with water alone. “I don’t use one often, but for a tough mark or grime, Mr. Clean is the way to go,” Rapinchuk says. Those burned oven bits on your oven door? Goodbye. Stickers and crayon marks on the wall? Sayonara.
9. Clorox Disinfecting Spray
There are cleaners and then there are disinfectants. The main difference is that the disinfectants will kill harmful bacteria and disease-causing organisms that cleaners can’t. Think: E.coli, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus. Berry likes Clorox for disinfecting surfaces, especially ones that have been exposed to raw meat, blood, or other bodily fluids.
10. OxiClean MaxForce Laundry Stain Remover Spray
Whether you’re battling spilled wine or messes, ahem, “accidents” from your furry friends, Oxiclean’s Max Force Spray is Berry’s first choice. “I like Oxiclean because it’s great on grout, grimey outdoor furniture, and carpet stains without damaging colors,” she says. This smudge fighter works to remove blotches through an oxygenation process, while deep cleaning and freshening up fabrics.
11. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser
If your stainless steel pots, glass, or porcelain could use some TLC, you’ve got a keeper in this product. McGee says Bar Keepers Friend is her favorite cleanser because it can remove scuffs, rust and food stains. “It will not scratch surfaces, as long as you apply it with a non-scratch sponge or microfiber cloth,” she says. A fairy dusting of this powdered multi-purpose cleaner goes a long way. “It can be used successfully to remove scuffs, rust, and food stains, whether dried on or burned on. It can also bring a scum-covered shower door to a shine. No other cleanser works as well for all of these tasks,” McGee adds.
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Whether you have the new iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21, it's probably filled with dust, dirt and all sorts of germs. Your phone is the host to bacteria from everywhere. Think about everything you touch -- like door handles, buttons, and even tables. Between the ongoing spread of coronavirus and the flu, it's critical to make sure that you disinfect frequently touched items and surfaces. Yes, that includes your phone.
It's recommended to clean your phone at least once a day and it's best to follow your phone's manual on how to clean it without damaging it. But cleaning your device the wrong way can really mess up your screen and its functionality. For example, you can use an alcohol-based solution but rubbing alcohol and paper towels are not the answer (more below). It can strip away coatings that can protect your screen.
We'll explain how you can remove makeup, gunk and germs to keep your new phone clean without damaging it. And here are a few ways to make your phone last as long as possible. You should also know which cleaning products to avoid and how to care for phones rated for water resistance. We've recently updated this story.
Learn smart gadget and internet tips and tricks with our entertaining and ingenious how-tos.
Use disinfectant wipes or the right alcohol-based solution
If you touch your phone after touching a public door handle or grocery cart, your first thought might be to clean it with rubbing alcohol. Don't. Straight alcohol can strip the oleophobic and hydrophobic coatings that keep oil and water from damaging your phone's display and other ports.
Some websites suggest creating a mix of alcohol and water yourself, but it's crucial to get the concentration right. Get it wrong and you could damage your phone. The safest bet is to use disinfectant wipes that contain 70% isopropyl alcohol to clean your phone screen.
Before the pandemic, we were instructed to not use disinfectant wipes on our phone screens, but Apple says it's OK to use Clorox Wipes and others with similar concentrations.
AT&T's cleaning guidelines suggest that you "spray a nonabrasive or alcohol-based (70% isopropyl) disinfectant directly on a soft lint-free cloth and wipe down your device while it is powered down and unplugged." Samsung has also said you can create an alcohol-based solution of 70% ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, applied with a microfiber cloth.
Another option for day-to-day cleaning is investing in a UV light, such as PhoneSoap. This UV light company claims its product kills 99.99% of germs and banishes bacteria. As far as we know, it hasn't been tested in relation to this strain of coronavirus.
Get rid of fingerprints with a microfiber cloth
Fingerprint smudges are hard to prevent because your skin constantly produces oils. That means that every time you pick up your phone, it's bound to get fingerprints all over it.
The safest and most effective way to clean your screen is with a microfiber cloth. If the screen is in desperate need of cleaning, use distilled water to dampen the microfiber cloth and then wipe down your screen -- avoid squirting the water directly on the screen. This method can be used on the back and sides of your phone, too.
You can also try a microfiber screen cleaner sticker, which you stick to the back of your phone and can pop off when you need to give it a wipe-down.
Check out Samsung's tips on cleaning your phone, too.
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Remove sand and lint with this tape trick
Lint and sand can get stuck in the small ports of your phone and in the crevices where the screen meets the body.
The best way to remove sand and lint is Scotch tape. You can lay it along the creases and speaker, and roll it up and gently place it in the ports. The tape's stickiness will pull out any lint or sand that may be stuck in your phone.
For the smaller speaker holes that tape can't reach, use a toothpick (gently) or try to vacuum the debris out with a small crevice tool. These tools can also be used for other small appliances or hard-to-reach areas in your car.
Wipe away makeup with a damp cloth
When you have a full face of makeup and need to make a call, guess what that foundation is about to stick to? That's right, your phone screen. And while you may use makeup remover to take off your makeup every night, you shouldn't use it as a screen cleaner due to some chemicals that could be lurking in the ingredients. (Organics.org explains the chemicals that could be in your makeup remover.)
Instead, you could get your phone its own makeup remover, such as Whoosh. The company claims its product is safe for all screens and contains no alcohol, chlorine, ammonia or phosphates that could damage the various screen coatings.
You can also use a damp microfiber cloth to clean the phone -- and then throw that cloth in the wash. Make sure to use a spray bottle to spritz the cloth, rather than running it under water. The less water, the better.
Can you wash waterproof phones?
If you have a water-resistant phone, rated for IP67 and above, you can rinse it with water. Although these phones, like the iPhone 13 and the Galaxy S phones, can withstand submersion for up to 30 minutes in up to 3 feet of water, it's a much better idea to use a damp or wet cloth to clean your phone. Then dry your phone with a dry, soft cloth to remove the water. Make sure to pat dry all speakers and ports.
Dunking the phone in water or running it under a faucet will get water into the ports, which means you won't be able to charge it until they're dry, and that can take time. Remember that having a water-resistant phone is more about peace of mind in case of accidents than it is about purposely taking your phone for a swim.
9 things you should never use to clean your phone
We're here to warn you, not shame you, but drop that bottle of Windex, stat. This is how not to clean your screen.
Since some hand sanitizers have ingredients like fragrances and ethyl alcohol, it's best to keep sanitizer off your phone's screen. However, if you've touched anything outside your home, you should sanitize your hands before touching your phone to prevent viruses and bacteria from spreading. For best results, use a manufacturer's hand sanitizer rather than making your own at home (they're not as effective).
You clean your mirrors and windows with window cleaner, and they're squeaky-clean, so window cleaner must be OK to use on your phone? Wrong! Some newer phones, such as the iPhone XR ($499 at Amazon), have a protective coating that resists water and oil and that can wear out over time.
Using harsh cleaners can strip the coating and could leave your phone more vulnerable to scratches. James LeBeau, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at MIT, told us that any cleanser with an abrasive agent will likely scratch the surface, so those should be avoided entirely.
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A screen's scratch-resistant properties won't get ground down by cleaning agents, but stripping that protective coating is still a problem. That's why Apple also suggests not using household cleaning products to clean your iPhone, including bleach. Bar Keepers Friend, for example, states that its abrasive formula may harm the protective layer. Bon Ami states not to use on glass with coatings.
They may be the go-to for cleaning your desk, but keep them away from your phone. The paper can shred, making the debris on your phone much worse. Paper towels can even end up leaving scratches on your screen.
Since many newer phones have a protective coating, rubbing alcohol can wear it away more quickly over time, causing your phone to be more prone to scratches. Make sure to check for alcohol in the product ingredients on any "safe to use" phone screen cleaners. Apple says to avoid alcohol when cleaning its devices.
Some makeup removers may have chemicals that can be harsh to an electronic screen. LeBeau suggests avoiding makeup remover and instead using a soft cloth with a little bit of water.
Your phone is delicate, so blowing an intense amount of air into its portals can cause damage, especially to your mic. Tech companies, like Apple, specifically warn not to use compressed air.
Dish soap and hand soap
While your dish and hand soaps may be gentle, the only way to use them is to combine them with water. Most phone companies suggest keeping water away from your phone, so again, stick to a damp cloth.
This is a no-no. Vinegar will strip the screen's coating. You could, as Lifehacker suggests, use very diluted vinegar to cleanse other parts of your phone. Android Central suggests a 50/50 mix with distilled water for cleaning the sides and back.
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