Cleaning

5 Clever Tricks to Make Your Most-Hated Household Chores Easier

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A new poll reports that dishes, laundry, and vacuuming are among the household chores we hate most. Here, our pros reveal how to make them easy — along with a couple more genius hacks for getting tedious chores done in mere minutes.

Speed through dishes with a spritz of vodka.

According to a recent national survey, dishes are public enemy number one — the most-hated of all household chores! Luckily, there’s an easy way to speed through cleaning them, and it actually involves doing less work, promises Abe Navas, general manager of Emily’s Maids in Dallas, who says just soaking dishes in hot, soapy water for 15 minutes “super hydrates” stuck-on gunk, helping it lift right off. Pro tip: Add a splash of vodka to the dishwater to speed-clean greasy pots and pans — the alcohol absorbs grease particles, so dishes easily wipe clean.

Clean bathrooms fast with multipurpose vinegar.

To make quick work of the second-biggest cleaning peeve, break out the white vinegar. “Wipe tiles and sinks with a cloth soaked in vinegar to lift soap scum and mildew,” says cleaning expert Leanne Stapf. Leave for 15 minutes, then rinse. “You can also pour vinegar down the toilet to break up rings.”

Lessen laundry labor with two easy steps.

“Pre-sorting alone saves you 15 minutes,” says Stapf. “Just use a hamper with different sections or divide laundry into separate baskets.” In another survey, 66 percent of us said ironing is our most dreaded laundry-related chore. The fix: Skip it, and lay shirts or pants flat on top of each other on your bed while they’re still warm from the dryer. The lingering heat will flatten clothes like an iron.

Vacuum in half the time with a dryer sheet ‘pre-treat.’

No doubt about it, vacuuming can be tedious, confirms Liz O’Hanlon, director of Metro Cleaning, Ltd. The time-saving solution: Before vacuuming, take a dryer sheet and run it over trouble spots like pet hair-infused sofas and rugs. “This breaks up the static cling that causes grime to stick to fibers, making it easy for your vacuum to suck it up.”

Stay sane at the supermarket by shopping on the right days.

There are still ways to make grocery shopping easier: “Sunday remains the most popular day to shop, so if possible, go during the middle of the week, ideally in the morning,” says Stapf. Also smart: Make transporting groceries from your car easier by keeping an old laundry basket in your trunk. This way, you can put several bags in the basket and make a single trip.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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