7 quick cleaning jobs to make your home look better

A woman holding cleaning equipment while looking at her watch
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Finding time to clean can be quite a challenge. There are so many areas and items around the home which need regular attention, that it seems everyone needs to know how to cut their cleaning time in half. But, should you suddenly have guests coming over, or find yourself short on time for one reason or another, what can you do to refresh your home under such circumstances?

The good news is, you still have time to make your home look better — even if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare. We’ve pulled together 7 quick cleaning jobs that can make all the difference to your home. Each of these takes no time at all, and yet they can have a huge impact on your living space. We’re not saying these chores should replace your regular cleaning regime, but they can certainly make a difference when time is of the essence. Here’s what you need to clean to quickly refresh your home.

1. Get rid of crumbs on surfaces

Crumbs on a counter

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The first step is to check the state of the surfaces in your kitchen. Quickly sweep and throw away any crumbs which have gathered on the dining table or countertops. A microfiber cloth can help make quick work of these. Should any sticky stains prevail, grab your nearest surface cleaner (distilled white vinegar can work here), and give it a quick spritz. 

Should you have a vacuum cleaner to hand nearby, you can also quickly collect any crumbs which have gathered against the edges on the floor, using the crevice tool attachment. Failing that, one of the best robot vacuums can help you keep on top of this and these take no time out of your day at all.  

2. Bathroom mirrors 

Someone cleaning a bathroom mirror with a microfiber cloth and spray bottle

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Bathroom mirrors can quickly pick up all kinds of residue — toothpaste, fingerprints and watermarks frequent this space, and this is the last thing you want guests to see. Cleaning a mirror needn’t be such a chore. While you might assume this takes time and effort, especially if you want to avoid a greasy and smudged finish, it actually takes seconds as long as you have the right tools. 

Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball to tackle any residue. Once you’ve removed that, dilute equal parts distilled white vinegar with water and apply directly to the glass. Wipe in a sideways motion using a microfiber cloth, and your mirror will look spotless in no time. Here’s how to clean a mirror for full step-by-step guidance.   

3. Around door handles 

Someone holding a door handle

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Door handles as well as the door itself can soon look grubby and feel sticky with everyday handling. These stains will be all the more obvious on white painted surfaces, but they can show up on plain wood as well. This is one of the many areas which we forget to clean, but which can make a huge difference to the appearance of our homes.

Cleaning door handles and the surface of the door takes seconds. All you need to do is wash the handle and the door with a microfiber cloth dipped in warm, soapy water — make sure to scrub in the direction of the grain if you’re dealing with wood — then rinse and dry with a dry cloth. This can give your doors a new lease of life.    

4. Leaves on plants 

Someone cleaning the leaves on a plant

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If you want to improve the color and vibrancy of your home, a useful quick tip is to clean the leaves on any nearby plants. Whether real or fake, plants can quickly gather dust, which gives them a faded appearance. Getting rid of this dust will not only make plants look better, it will improve the health for live specimens as well. 

For real plants, all you need to do is wipe down the individual leaves with a damp microfiber cloth — don’t forget to clean on the underside as well. You can do the same for fake plants, or you can also use one of the best vacuum cleaners to speed up the process. Just make sure you use the dusting attachment and a low power setting (if applicable). If you have time to spare, there’s also 7 ways to make your fake plants look more real.    

5. Around the kitchen trash can 

A kitchen trash can with a bag of trash next to it

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While your trash can is for trash, you’ll still want to keep it clean. After all, residual food debris, wrappers and all kinds of items end up chucked in here, so it’s no wonder that stains and messes collect around the lid. Cleaning your whole trash can regularly is important, but if time is tight, you can always just give the lid a once over. 

This will improve the appearance of your kitchen trash can substantially and it takes no time at all. All you need is an appropriate household cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Give the rim and lid a good scrub, before rinsing and drying. Don’t forget to learn how to clean a microfiber cloth to give your tools a thorough wash afterwards. The last thing you want guests to stumble upon is a dirty trash can, so this is a good tip to follow.   

6. Handrails on stairs 

Someone's hand on a banister

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Much like your door handles, the handrails, or banisters, on stairs can quickly get grubby and stained. Plus, if you’ve got multiple rails, the lower levels can end up covered in dust. This is a quick problem to rectify and it can help leave a lasting impression on your guests. 

Simply run a microfiber cloth over the handrails with a dedicated wood cleaner, such as Method Daily Wood Cleaner ($25.96, Amazon). However, keep in mind that wood cleaners may not be suitable for unsealed wood. In such cases, use a dedicated cleaner as recommended by your manufacturer.  

7. Baseboards 

Someone cleaning the baseboard on a wall

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Baseboards are another area we forget to clean, which often makes a home look messier than it is. In a matter of weeks, these can get covered in dust and hair, resulting in a gray and dull appearance. Ignore this area, and it wont help your allergies — that’s how much dust can build up here. 

Luckily, baseboards are quick to clean. You’ve got a few options here —- either you can run a clean microfiber cloth over the rim to collect the dust, or you can do the same with the crevice attachment on your vacuum cleaner. Once you’ve done this, your floors and walls will appear brighter and tidier. 

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Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.