8 tips to keep your home cleaner longer


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You just spent hours cleaning your home. You scrubbed. You vacuumed. You got down on your hands and knees, and you stood on step stools. Everything is sparkling clean … so long as nobody moves. There are few things more frustrating than seeing your house get dirty immediately after you clean it. Luckily there are some tricks that you can use in your home to keep your home cleaner longer.

Remove your shoes

The first tip to keeping your house clean longer is to always remove your shoes outside. Our shoes often carry lots of dirt, dust, and other unwanted items on them. If you wear them in your house, they are going to leave traces of that icky stuff on your floors. Even if your shoes seem clean, it’s always good to get into a habit of removing them as soon as you get into your home.

If you have kids, this tip is especially important. I used to run a daycare, and was constantly amazed at the amount of sand, dirt, and rocks that came out of kids’ shoes when they took them off. How they didn’t feel all that stuff in their shoes was a wonder, but it did teach me that you can never trust a kid’s shoe in your house. Teach your kids to remove their shoes before, or right when they enter the house, and you’ll at least keep the bulk of the outdoors out of your house.

Change your air filters

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know the importance of air filters until I married my husband. At that time, I had never owned a house, and figured the maintenance of my apartments was the responsibility of the apartment complex. Then we bought a house together, and he started educating me on all the things you get to do as a homeowner. Changing air filters on a regular basis was one of those things.


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Those papery air filters may not seem like they do a lot, but they get a lot of the dust and dirt out of the air. They are placed in the vents where the air is being pulled, so the air goes through, and the filter catches all the stuff from the air. If the filters are dirty, that means that less air can get pulled through, and less dust can get trapped in the filter. If your house gets dusty soon after you clean it, your air filters may be too full to do their job. Change them out once a month, and they will help collect a lot of the dust that would otherwise be settling on your furniture.

Groom your pets

If you have pets, your house is almost certainly going to get dirtier than a house without pets. When the animals go outside, or even crawl under furniture, they are collecting dirt and dust in their fur. Then, when they hang out in the house, the dirt and dust starts to fall off them all over the house. Combine that with normal pet shedding, and you have a recipe for a very dirty home.

The solution: Groom your pets often. Brush your pet outside every couple days to help get some of the loose hair and dust to fall out, and give them a bath at least every few weeks. During the summer, when they are shedding a lot, we do a serious hair removal brush about once a week, and bathe them every other week. It’s time intensive, but consistent grooming will help prevent them from leaving hairballs and dirt all over your home.

READ MORE: 5 Quick and Easy Ways to Remove Pet Hair 

Clean under furniture

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned the house, only to have a dust bunny fly out from under a piece of furniture as I walk past it the next day. If you aren’t cleaning under your furniture, especially in rooms with hard flooring, you are missing a bunch of dust that is bound to make its way back into the room. To make sure you aren’t constantly chasing dust bunnies, use a fluffy floor duster to reach under all your furniture and wrangle up those bunnies.

Teach kids how to clean up spills

This may seem like common sense, but remember that young children haven’t learned most cleaning lessons that adults have. They don’t realize that if they spill their snack crackers on the floor and don’t pick them up, they are going to get stepped on and become a crackery dust that is can spread all over a room. They also don’t know that a little juice spill gets really sticky if it’s left long enough to dry. By teaching them the importance of cleaning up their spills as soon as they happen, you will help prevent the messes from spreading or getting tougher to clean.

QUICK TIP! Dealing with spills is inevitable when you have kids, but if you can teach them to clean up their own, your home will stay just a little bit cleaner.

Install a water softener

If you live in an area that has hard water, a water softener is one of the best things you can do to keep your bathrooms and kitchen cleaner longer. Hard water creates a film or crust on everything it touches. Installing a water softening system will help prevent the hard water stains from forming. This won’t mean that you can stop cleaning your bathroom, but it will mean that you won’t have to be quite as diligent about using the squeegee in your shower and wiping up water before it leaves spots.

Keep your windows closed

I’m a huge fan of letting fresh air into the house, but in order to keep our house cleaner longer, there are times when I make sure everything is sealed up. Where we live in Arizona, we get big dust storms. You have probably seen images or videos of the massive dust clouds that make their way across the desert. Not only can these dust storms wreak havoc on allergies, but they can also leave one-quarter inch of dust on surfaces if the windows are left open.

Even though most parts of the country don’t get these big dust storms, there are other times that leaving your windows open can cause your house to get dirty quite quickly. If a rain storm comes in, or if the landscapers show up on a day you left your windows open, you are going to come home to at least a little mess. To prevent these messes from happening, always make sure to shut your windows before leaving your house each day. You can always open them right up when you get home, so keep them closed to keep out the dirt, rain, and allergens.

Designate one eating area

The last tip I’m going to give is a habit changer, and will likely make a huge difference in your home if you aren’t already doing it. The habit? Only eat in one area of your home. The more places in your home you allow food, the more places that are going to get crumbs, spills, and messes. Those numbers go up significantly for each person you have in your home too. If you live by yourself, your crumbs might not make too much of a mess. If you have a spouse, roommates, and/or children in your home, the messes appear almost instantly.

By limiting the eating to one area, you are going to be able to contain the messes much more easily. You also won’t have to go hunting for dishes, food wrappers, and half-eaten snacks in all the rooms of your house when you clean. I should probably mention that this is one of the easiest ways to prevent bugs and critters from taking residence in your home too. Leftover food, even little crumbs, are a surefire way to attract ants, mice, and other unwanted roommates to your home.

This article originally appeared on Quick&DirtyTips.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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5 essential power tools every homeowner should have

5 essential power tools every homeowner should have

As DIY’ers, we always get a little giddy when it comes time to chat about tools. (Yes, we’re nerds like that.) So, it should come as no surprise that we’ve covered tools here on the HireAHelper blog before. We outlined the 7 essential tools that everyone should have in their toolbox, and we even showed you our tips to keep all of your tools organized and accounted for.

Now it’s time to move up a level… to power tools! Just that word “power” may sound a little scary and overwhelming to the DIY newbies out there. But we promise there is nothing to be scared of because if even we can handle these tools, then pretty much anyone can.

If you’re looking to spruce up your home, add to your tool collection, and just be an all-around rock star homeowner, then these are the first five power tools we suggest adding to your collection. We’ve also included the general range of prices you can expect to pay for each.


This tool was already covered in our list of seven essential tools to own, but it’s a power tool too! And it’s quite possibly the most important tool to have, overall.

In fact, we believe every household needs a power drill (even if you’re a renter) because it can be used for pretty much anything.

How do we know? So many people in our lives have asked to borrow our drills (and we always oblige), but we quickly emphasize how they really should invest in their own. It’s a necessity! Trust us, it’ll make putting together Ikea furniture a heck of a lot easier.

Price: $30-50

Shopping Tip: Power is measured by battery voltage and ranges from 6-18V. Higher voltage models come with extra power but are quite a bit heavier. We suggest going with a nice, middle-of-the-road 12V cordless drill.

Also, be sure to also pick up a variety of drill bits when you buy your cordless drill.

DIY Projects:

  • Hanging curtains
  • Building shelves
  • Drilling holes
  • Anchoring
  • Pretty much anything


This was the first “real” power tool we ever bought and we’ve used it so many times since. Are you ever going to be touching wood? Don’t think you won’t use this because you absolutely will. It makes straight cuts, sure, but it’s also able to make incredibly accurate cuts at an angle.

Price: Average 8-10 inch saws range $140-250

Average 12+ inch saws range $250-500+

Shopping Tip: Consider the blade size when buying a miter saw (8, 10, or 12 inches).

Yep, larger blades allow for longer cuts. We have a 10-inch compound Miter Saw. Oh, and be sure to pick up safety glasses and an extension cord when you invest. That way you stay safe, and your saw can reach any outlet when working away!

DIY Projects:

  • Board and batten siding
  • Wood planter
  • Shiplap wall
  • Smoothing


Instead of using a hammer and nails for a project, you can use a nail gun and get the job done 100 times faster. There’s a wide variety of nail guns out there, but we suggest going with a finish nailer. These come in handy when securing wood together or to a wall, and you can easily putty over the holes for a seamless look.

Price: $30-100

Shopping Tip: Nail guns can be gas-powered or air-powered, but we suggest going with an air-powered one. When it’s plugged into an outlet, compressed air is used to drive the nails.

Make sure you also pick up extra brad nails for your project and that they’re compatible with the brand/size of your particular nail gun.

DIY Projects:

  • Installing baseboard
  • Creating decorative wall
  • Adding trims
  • Hanging anything


You’ve probably used sandpaper or a sanding wedge for a project before. And if you have, you know that your arm can get pretty tired when going back and forth over and over again.

It’s time. Get a sander. You add sanding pads to the sander and when you turn it on the pads move in a circle, sanding the surface as you go. We’ve also ended up using sanders when refinishing old pieces of furniture.

Price: $25-80

Shopping Tip: There are various types of sanders (palm, detail, belt, etc), but we use an orbital sander.

Orbitals are lightweight and because they’re not too heavy-handed, it’s very difficult to damage the piece you’re working on. Be sure to buy extra sanding pads for your sander, so you always have a fresh one for your project.

Oh, and a dust mask may come in handy too!

DIY Projects:

  • Refinishing furniture
  • Smoothing DIY picture ledges
  • Sanding down excess paint on a wall


What’s compact and relatively inexpensive?

A jigsaw can be used to make both curved and straight cuts in a variety of materials (metal, plastic, wood, particle board, etc.). Whenever we are tackling a woodworking project, we almost always get out the jigsaw because there are bound to be some “wonky” cuts that don’t need to be straight or angled.

For example, if you’re adding shiplap to a wall and need to make room for an outlet … the jigsaw is the tool to get the job done!

Price: $25-90+

Shopping Tip: If you’re planning to use your jigsaw on tough materials, then you may want to buy a jigsaw with a cord. 

By far the most important thing to remember is that you need to buy the right blade based on the material you’ll be cutting!

DIY Projects:

  • Curved headboard
  • Holes for outlets
  • Shaped signs
  • Personalized crafts

A jigsaw is isnt just useful and easy to learn, it’s pretty fun!

We hope this list gets you excited to start creating and building things around your home! Getting power tools means you can ditch the builder-basic look and customize a home that looks all your own.

This article originally appeared on HireAHelper.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


Featured Image Credit: fizkes / istockphoto.