8 Smart Tips You Should Steal from These Professional Cleaners

updated Apr 20, 2021
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A person standing with a cleaning tool belt around their waist
Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

I have two go-to sources for cleaning tips: My grandma, who has plenty of clever ideas (often, utilizing things from the kitchen pantry) passed down through the generations of our German family, and all the amazing house cleaners I talk to for my articles here at Kitchn. And it turns out, I’ve found, that many of their best tricks come from within the family too! 

To capture the best of both cleaning worlds, I talked to folks at a few family-owned cleaning companies to learn about their most effective tips. Here’s what they had to say. 

1. Use Soft Scrub on your stovetop.

Have a dirty stovetop with caked-on grime? Whether it’s a glass top or even a retro gas coil stovetop, Austin Miller, founder of the Seattle-based, family-owned cleaning company Spruse Clean, has a secret weapon: Soft Scrub. Just apply it to the stovetop, lather thoroughly, and let it sit for one to two minutes. Then, grab a Magic Eraser and wipe all the excess solvent to the middle. Finally, grab a microfiber cloth to remove streaks and any remaining Soft Scrub residue. For an even shinier finish, she suggests lightly spraying glass cleaner and wiping with a new towel. (You can even use this method to clean oven knobs and the actual coils!)

Credit: Sarah Crowley

2. Clean your greasy cabinets with Krud Kutter.

Val Oliveira, founder of Chicago-based Val’s Services, has a quick-and-effective way to de-grease your kitchen cabinet fronts and backsplash: Krud Kutter, the degreaser beloved by Amazon reviewers! Just spray the stuff on your cabinet doors, let things sit for a minute or two, then wipe everything down with a clean microfiber cloth. I’ve actually tested this stuff and can vouch for it. It’s definitely worth the hype.

3. Use hot water.

Whether you’re cleaning or disinfecting in the kitchen, Oliveria says it’s always important to always use hot water. It not only helps to kill potentially harmful germs, but it’s also better for removing dirt and tough stains like grease. (Of course, if you’re using a product, follow the instructions on the label, even if it requires cool or lukewarm water!) And if you’re using hot, hot water, be sure to wear gloves and take proper safety measures!

4. Polish stainless steel with baby shampoo.

The second greatest hack of all time for kitchen cleaning, Miller says, is the baby shampoo method for polishing stainless appliances. Mind blown? Try it for yourself. Just add a dollop of baby shampoo to a clean and dry microfiber cloth, then wipe down the surface. Just make sure it’s true stainless steel, not chrome, and you’ll end up with a streak-free, smear-free surface! Who knew?

5. Shine up chrome fixtures with glass cleaner.

Speaking of chrome, it’s all too common for faucet fixtures and handles to end up looking like a kindergartener’s paint project, coated with what may be food, soapy finger prints, and who knows what else. Miller’s best trick to leave it streak-free and shiny? Glass cleaner! For a polished look, she suggests using a second dry microfiber cloth after cleaning it with the first towel for an even superior shine finish.

6. Use Dawn and vinegar to clean counters.

Alicia Medina, owner of Milwaukee-based Mega Cleaners, has a great, two-part tip for giving countertops extra shine: First, use a wet, no-scratch sponge and some Dawn soap to get rid of grease that has accumulated on countertops. Then, use a clean cloth with a bit of vinegar to make your newly clean counters shine.

7. Clean cabinets with Dawn dish soap.

If you don’t have any Krud Kutter, on hand, Miller suggests something most of us do keep around: Dawn dish soap, which he says is he most concentrated cleaning product in the industry to break down grease. Just use a dollop on a rag (no scrubbers or sponges, which will scratch your finish) and watch the grease come off with ease.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

8. Throw some citrus down your disposal.

If your garbage disposal is getting stinky, grab a few spent lemon wedges (or dice up fresh ones) and toss them down the disposal, running warm water when you turn it on. “The enzymes in the lemon will combat odor and actually clean the insides of gunk and grime,” Miller says.