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Living Space: Hate sprucing up the house? Try these 10 speed-cleaning tips

By Kathryn Weber
Sept. 13, 2012 at 4:13 a.m.

Cleaning smart saves time and hassle.

Some people love to clean and become transfixed by gleaming porcelain, burnished wood and sparkling glass. For most of us, though, cleaning is a time-eater and anything but fun. Try these speed-cleaning tips to ease the pain and improve your results:

1.Mop windows clean. If you have tall windows, chances are you don't clean them very often, and when you do, it's not easy. If you don't have the time or inclination to drag out a ladder for those hard-to-reach spots, try this trick instead: Take a cleaning pad mop and fasten a microfiber cloth to the mop head. Spray lightly with a quality window cleaning spray, then mop your windows until they shine.

2.Don't let scratches detract from your furniture. Simple fixes like lemon oil will camouflage scratches and gouges. Don't have any lemon oil? Just grab a walnut and rub it into the scratch. The nut's natural oils will do the job.

3. A smelly sponge makes your whole kitchen smell. What's more, a sour sponge is riddled with bacteria. For sweet sponges all the time, buy a wire sponge caddy to store sponges odor-free. Plastic sponge holders don't let enough air circulate, and sponge never lie flat.

4. Save grease-stained clothes. Did a stick of lip balm go into the wash and stain your clothes? Carbona's Laundry Devil No. 5 for grease will cure those garments carbona.com of their oily affliction.

5. Dust-busting secret. Baseboard cleaning is easier and more effective using a dryer sheet. The anti-static properties help keep dust and animal hair from accumulating on your baseboards.

6. Organization is key. Use bread bag clips to mark electrical cords. Upended hairspray caps can fill in the space between drawer organizers and corral tiny items like swabs, bobby pins, medicine tubes and flossers.

7. Keep the fridge fresh. Line vegetable crisper drawers with newspaper, then top with old placemats. The paper will absorb odors and the place mat will keep produce dry and can be tossed in the wash when it's dirty.

8. Stale linens? Refresh your linen cabinet and closets with a homemade odor-chaser. Take a canning jar and punch holes in the lid, fill the jar half way with baking soda and add 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus. Your closets will smell fresh and clean again.

9. Baby oil your metals. To make stainless and chrome shine, add a small drop of baby oil to a microfiber cloth and polish until shiny. Use a drop of baby oil on a straight pin to unkink knotted necklace chains, and use it in a pinch to silence squeaky door hinges.

10. Vacuuming, not pulling pet hair off upholstery and carpets. Try a simple car snow sweeper. Windshield sweepers have fibers with frayed ends that can reach in and pull up stubborn pet hairs. Use on carpets in your house and car and on upholstery.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her web site, redlotusletter.com.

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