What to Clean if You Only Have 15 Minutes

Take a 15-minute break for chores today and check off some of these daunting tasks from your list. Some are common and necessary, while others are definitely things we’ve been known to let slide until it’s too late. But with a little effort, these chores will make your home feel better maintained.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
March 05, 2019

Photo By: D2 Interieurs

Photo By: Marie Flanigan Interiors

Photo By: ymgerman

Photo By: John Woodcock Photography

Photo By: Emily Fazio ©2017

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Verbatim Photo Agency

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Vacuum Your Stairs

You might find it easy to get area rugs vacuumed in shorter cleaning sessions, but cleaning the stairs typically demands more time and muscle. The stairs also seem to collect more dust and fibers and dog fur than any other area in the home, but maintaining them shouldn't feel like a tough chore. Find a really powerful lightweight vacuum, bust it out for 15 minutes every week, and commit to cleaning this high-traffic part of your home.

Read Our Article: HGTV Editors Swear By These Vacuum Cleaners

Clean Bath Toys

A bubble bath alone isn’t enough to clean your children’s tub toys, especially those water-absorbing squirt toys. (They’re the perfect breeding ground for mold.) Make it a practice to keep these toys clean, and remove residues inside and out by following these simple processes.

Read Our Article: An Easy, Natural Way To Clean Your Kids’ Bath Toys

Vacuum Under the Couch Cushions

It's hard to believe how many crumbs collect beneath the couch cushions, so next time you have the vacuum available, dedicate a few extra minutes to pulling back the cushions and cleaning up the mess.

Steam Mop

Among the easiest-to-use products in the floor mopping category, I find that I use my steam mop in cleaning sprints, rather than during a deep clean. The reservoir of the machine typically runs for about 15 minutes, and in my house, it’s just enough to pass over all hardwood and tile surfaces.

Dust Baseboards and Molding

Baseboards and chair rails accumulate lots of dust but are often overlooked. Take 15 minutes of your day and pass through all the rooms in your home, collecting the dust with a dry microfiber rag.

Wipe Down the Refrigerator Shelves

It’s a big chore to clean the refrigerator - and do it well - so my strategy has been to clean one shelf every time I’m back from the grocery store. Before I fill the fridge with the food I brought home, I clear one refrigerator shelf, completely sanitize it (and yes, sometimes this includes pulling it out of the fridge and giving it a soapy wash to remove sticky residues), and then put all of the groceries away. If I do this chore once a week, I clean the whole fridge every six weeks. Not bad!

Dust Your Fan Blades

Depending on how low your ceiling fans are situated, this could easily be a faster chore. Use a pillowcase to make cleaning individual fan blades a cinch; if you slide the cover over the blade, it’ll capture all of the loose dust when you agitate the top of the blade.

Clean Your Laundry Vent

Prevent fires in your home by learning how to clean your dryer vent from the machine, all the way out the vent. You probably only need to do this chore about once every six months. (Align it with daylight saving time!) It's actually quick and easy with the right tools, so learn how to do it and rest at ease.

Read Our Article: How and Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Today

Cleanse the Inside of Your Dishwasher

A clean dishwasher = clean dishes. Don’t rely solely on the dish detergent to clean the inside of your machine. Be proactive, and check the drain at the bottom for trapped food particles. Wipe the rubber seals on the door as well, because they can catch food debris during the wash. Lastly, run the machine with a mug of vinegar situated on the top rack to loosen deposits on the racks and along the walls of the dishwasher.

Read Our Article: The Easiest Way to Clean a Dishwasher

Wipe Down Your Shower

Reduce the build up of deposits and mildew by doing quick washes more frequently than your ordinary "deep clean." Spray down the shower head and the inside of the shower 10 minutes before you plan to bathe with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution. Then, use an abrasive scrubbing pad to wipe down the walls before you jump in. If you have a hand sprayer, use it to rinse the walls. Once clean, allow your shower to ventilate before you close it up again to allow the moisture to completely evaporate.

De-Bug Your Outdoor Light Fixtures

Take a dust rag to your porch lights once every few weeks, because these well-lit accessories are a magnet for spiders making webs. (Plus, those webs collect other bugs and plenty of dust; it's a vicious cycle.) A dirty light is a real eyesore, but most fixtures are easily maintained.

Shop This Look