9 Essential Cleaning Lessons Readers Learned from Their Moms

published Nov 5, 2021
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There’s a lot you can learn about cleaning from your mom or another mother figure in your life, whether they roped you into helping out on Saturday mornings or you’ve simply learned your cleaning habits by osmosis. There are no two moms who clean their homes exactly the same, yet their advice can help almost anyone streamline their cleaning process, whether you have 30 minutes or an entire afternoon.

Here, readers chime in on nine of the easiest, most ingenious cleaning lessons they’ve learned from their beloved mother figures over the years — some may surprise you, while others might already be things you already do in your everyday life.

Develop a cleaning schedule so you don’t tackle everything on the same day.

“Clean as you go. Don’t save cleaning for one day, do a little every day,” shares Alle Connell of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her mother’s advice has also impacted her decorating style. “If it sits out, you have to dust it. It’s why I don’t have a ton of knick-knacks around.” 

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy

Hide dryer sheets in freshly-laundered linens to help them keep their scent.

The aroma of freshly washed towels and sheets has the power to completely change your bedroom and bathroom experience. To keep the fresh vibe going long past laundry day, Megan Schmitz’s mother has a simple trick. “Place dryer sheets between the sheets and towels stacked in your linen closet, so they keep the ‘just washed’ scent.”

Don’t skimp when it comes to cleaning the fridge.

The kitchen tends to be the space in your home that needs the most thorough cleaning, and many moms have great tips and high standards for keeping it in top shape. “Cleaning out the fridge means taking everything out and wiping down all the shelves and drawers,” says Cassandra Peña of San Antonio, Texas. 

Credit: Ghazalle Badiozamani

And don’t forget cleaning the things that help you clean.

Ivana Bartulovic’s (of Minneapolis) mother taught her to “sanitize the dish sponge in the microwave or dishwasher weekly” to keep it fresh, she explained.

Even the garbage can should be cleaned on the regular to reduce any pesky, lingering odors. “Clean your trash can and recycling regularly,” shares Noelle Moen of Portland, Oregon. “Before guests come over, boil water with lemons, rosemary, and vanilla to make your home smell amazing, but not overpowering.”

Clean your house before you leave town — future you will thank you.

Moms also think you should clean your house even when you’re not there. “Always clean your house before you go away! Coming home to a clean house is so nice,” says Stephanie Shirley of Saratoga Springs, New York. Think about it; the last thing you want to do after coming home from a weekend away is clean up clutter and deal with dishes.

The best way to find something you thought you lost is by cleaning.

Keeping your home tidy has many perks, including reducing time spent searching for your keys, your phone, or the book you were reading just a few hours ago. “If you’ve lost something, you’ll find it by cleaning up,” shares Camille Morse Nicholson of Minneapolis. 

“Always put your keys in the same place,” is another gem from Alle Connell’s mom.

Go ahead — splurge on the nice cleaning supplies if you can.

Certain household items are worth splurging on to keep your home organized and in its best shape. “Have high standards for plastic storage bins,” says Tara Niebeling of Minneapolis. 

Reader Crystal Marie agrees. Her mom taught her to “Always buy name brand-garbage bags, paper towels, and toilet paper.” This translates to buying products you trust. “Few things are worse than your garbage ending up all over the floor,” she adds.

Sometimes cleaning is an optical illusion.

If you’re strapped for time, focus your cleaning in places your guests will notice. “If you only have a few minutes to clean up before company comes, wash your mirrors. Everyone looks at themselves,” advises Kirsten Beck of North Dakota.

And always use a simple vinegar wash to welcome fruits and veggies home from the grocery store.

The unsung hero of the kitchen, vinegar is a mom’s best friend. Laurel Lindberg of Minneapolis uses a tip she learned from her mom to make her produce last. “My mom cuts up and washes all of our fruit in vinegar water the second she gets home from the grocery store without fail,” she explains. “This is the only way we actually finish it all and don’t waste any. If I don’t do this, it goes bad because I’m an extremely lazy eater.”

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 9 Little (But Totally Ingenious) Cleaning Lessons Readers Have Gotten From Their Moms