Need to know
- Some cleaning products perform worse than water. Save yourself a trip to the shop by not buying them at all. (Or by making do with DIY recipes.)
- Your dishwasher can clean more than just your dishes – use it to help speed up your spring clean
- To get rid of mould stains on silicone, use some toilet paper and bleach gel
Are you the kind of housekeeper whose vacuum cleaner rarely sees the light of day, or do you have a dusting regime and colour-coded cleaning cloths? Wherever you sit on the cleaning spectrum, we can all use help to make our cleaning routines (or lack thereof) more efficient.
The laziest way to get your house clean is, of course, to pay someone else to do it. But if there's no room in your budget for a cleaner, you'll need some shortcuts in your arsenal to minimise the amount of work you'll actually have to do. Here's what CHOICE staff do to power through a spring clean with as little effort as possible.
"Denture cleaning tablets are a great (and easy) way to clean a filthy toilet. Just chuck one in, leave it for 20 mins, give it a quick once-over with the toilet brush and you're done!" - Alice, Content Experience
"I clean the shower whilst taking one – it's an efficient use of time and water." - Simon, Data & Technology
"I once cleaned my bathroom with a Gerni. Highly recommend if you don't mind getting a bit wet, and you have ear protection." - Daniel, Money & Travel
"I got rid of mould stains on the silicone in my shower by rolling up toilet paper tightly, laying it against the stain then soaking the toilet paper overnight in bleach gel." - Kim, Research & Testing
CHOICE tip: Our experts suggest using a mix of 80% vinegar to 20% water to kill mould first. For the best method, read our article on getting rid of mould.
This is a straightforward method of removing mould stains from silicone sealant around the bath or shower, using toilet paper and bleach gel.
If you're a lazy cleaner, you can save yourself even more time and money if you avoid buying products that don't work.
In our testing, we found that a number of toilet cleaners failed to outperform plain water, and 11 out of 20 bathroom cleaners performed worse than good old-fashioned vinegar and bicarb. Here's a list of the cleaning products that are worse than water or DIY options.
In our carpet stain removers review, we found that a homemade mixture of dishwashing liquid, vinegar and water outperformed every single commercial product. You can whip this up in no time and not have to bother leaving the house to go to the shop!
Cleaning the floor
"Got a small child who's a messy eater? Get a dog – they'll sit under the high chair at meal times and dispose of any spilled (or thrown) foods quickly and efficiently. (Note that you may need to watch your dog's weight!)" - Ashley, Research & Testing
"I pin baby wipes under my shoe and 'mop' the kitchen floor by waving my foot around." - Simon
"Wrap damp cloths to your feet to clean the floor, like an ice skater." - Daniel, Editorial
CHOICE tip: What can you chuck in the dishwasher rather than handwashing? You'd be surprised. Here are five things you didn't know you could put in your dishwasher - including your toilet seat (but we don't necessarily recommend it!).
"To cut down on the time it takes to mop your house, buy a mop with the biggest head you can find – you'll cover more surface area in fewer strokes. (Note, you may also need to buy a bigger mop bucket.)" - Ashley
"Had a big party? Why sweep the floor when you've got a leaf blower? More power to you if it's one of those ones that sucks and mulches everything into a bag for you. It's also good for cleaning under the fridge without having to move the fridge (and yes, I have done this)." - Ashley
CHOICE tip: Steam mops can be more convenient than using an old-school mop and bucket, but they only work well in certain circumstances. Don't count on them for spills, stain removal, cleaning grout or refreshing your carpets, but they can be handy for hard floors. Check our steam mop reviews before you buy.
"My lazy cleaning hack kills two birds with one stone: getting the vacuuming done while getting a workout. I secretly vacuum the entire house using my Dyson handheld dustbuster, just to avoid dragging out the corded barrel vac. Bonus is you have to do squats the entire time. Don't tell my diligent cleaner girlfriend!" - Jacinta, Design (not her real name; we've changed it to protect her from her girlfriend's wrath)
CHOICE tip: Is a stick vacuum all you need? We crunched the numbers on stick vs corded vacuums to find out.
"Got a small child at crawling age? Sew microfibre dusters to the knees, bum and stomach of their onesie and you've got yourself a human Roomba." - Ashley
CHOICE tip: Robot vacuums might seem like the perfect appliance for the lazy housekeeper, they don't always do a great job. Find out why in our robot vacuum cleaners buying guide.
Cleaning the kitchen
"A bread knife can be wiped clean with your shirt at least twenty times before actually needing to be washed." - Simon
"Tired of cleaning your oven? Buy a secondhand convection microwave and use that exclusively. Then get rid of it when it gets too grotty and you'll never need to clean your 'proper' oven again." - Ashley
CHOICE tip: A self-cleaning oven is the stuff dreams are made of for lazy cleaners. If you've got the dosh, a pyrolytic oven will save you from ever having to bust out the oven cleaner. Or you could opt for an oven with catalytic liners. While you still have to clean them, they need far less elbow grease than a regular oven. Check our freestanding oven reviews and wall oven reviews to find yourself an easy-clean option.
Windows and blinds
"Windows dirty? Windex is for losers. Grab a bucket and fill it with car wash and a little rinse aid. Use a big sponge to wash, and a squeegee to dry – you'll have spotless, streak-free windows for a fraction of the time and effort. Bonus points if you get one of those magnetic squeegees that does both sides of the glass at once." - Ashley
"Instead of cleaning between open blinds, just shut them and clean the entire continuous surface – then shut them the other way and do the same on that side." - Daniel
"Sometimes it's impossible to get spots off a window or mirror, no matter how hard you scrub. So instead, use a razor blade or scalpel to gently scrape them from the surface." - Daniel