From the Magazine

5 Easy Cleaning Hacks That Require Minimal Effort

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Cleaning the house tends to conjure up images of lots of hard work, but it doesn’t have to be a strenuous chore. Natural cleaning expert Kristy Doubet Haare and Houseplants for a Healthy Home ($10.49, Amazon) author Jon VanZile gave us a few simple double-duty tips for cleaning that will require minimal effort and usher in joy-sparking perks. 

1. Open the Windows

An easy way to alleviate dust mites without lifting a finger is to simply open your windows for a few minutes each day. “Mites can’t drink, so they survive by absorbing water from the air,” explains Doubet Haare. Fresh fall air lowers humidity inside your home, which kills these pesky little critters. As an added bonus, airing out your home lowers carbon dioxide levels, helping you fall asleep 23 percent faster on average.

2. Bust Out the Lemon

Ridding your microwave of stuck-on food splatters is quick and simple with a little know-how. “In a bowl, combine the juice of one lemon and 1⁄2 cup of water; throw in the rinds, then heat in your microwave for three minutes,” advises Doubet Haare. “D-limonene in the lemon peel, citric acid in the lemon juice, and the steam from the water combine to loosen grime, so it wipes right off!”

Inhaling the zesty scent of lemon will also send your energy soaring by prompting a spike in the stimulating hormone norepinephrine. Aah!

3. Snap a Picture

Taking photos of souvenirs that have sentimental, if not practical, value makes it easier to part ways with the items that no longer serve your space, according to a recent study. Says study co-author Rebecca Reczek, PhD. “What we really don’t want to give up are the memories, which we can keep just by taking a snap.” 

Photos that spark nostalgia are also shown to make you optimistic about the future by reminding you that more joy is ahead.

4. Let in the Sunlight

For a healthier home, pull back the curtains and let the sunshine in. The ultraviolet rays found in sunlight act as a natural disinfectant that slash the number of bacteria lurking on countertops, doorknobs, and other surfaces by about half, reveals a recent Harvard study.  A sunnier indoor space will also lower stress by roughly 46 percent, according to Cornell University scientists. 

5. Use Flowers to Purify Air

Placing gerbera daisies, mums, English ivy, and golden pothos around your home can remove 87 common indoor pollutants, research shows. VanZile explains, “Plants breathe in toxic chemicals from the air, which they then filter and ‘exhale’ as oxygen.”

What’s more, breathing in a plant’s earthy aroma can reverse mental fatigue by activating alertness-triggering brain regions, per a recent study.

This story originally appeared in our print magazine. 

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