Easy Ways to Clean 16 Household Items

Here's how to clean your smartphone, makeup brushes, yoga mat, and more.


Cleaning photo via Shutterstock

You shower every day (ish). You (try) to do your laundry weekly. You clean your apartment (when you can). But when’s the last time you cleaned your phone? Your keyboard? Your yoga mat? We rest our case.

Here, easy ways to clean 16 of your grossest possessions. You know they need it.


1. Smartphones
via Mashable

You’ve undoubtedly read the studies about how gross your phone is. To rectify the situation, either buy electronics-specific cleaning wipes, or dip a microfiber cloth into a mix of one part white vinegar and one part distilled water, and wipe the screen down with the dampened towel. Just don’t spray the solution directly onto the screen.

2. Keyboard
via PC World

Use compressed air to loosen any dirt and debris. Try a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean around keys, and use a cloth or towelette dampened with rubbing alcohol to wipe down the whole thing.

Household Items

3. Kitchen Sponges
via Readers’ Digest

You know the thing allegedly cleaning your dishes? Yeah, it’s gross. Each week, toss it in the dishwasher or microwave for 30 seconds (while damp) to kill germs.

4. Shower Curtain
via Good Housekeeping

We’re guessing the shower curtain often gets neglected when you deep clean the bathroom. If you have a plastic curtain or liner, just throw it in the washing machine with detergent and two or three bath towels. Hang dry.

5. Refrigerator
via Martha Stewart

No one wants to store food in a dirty place. Keep your fridge tidy by wiping down the doors, edges, and handles with a damp cloth dipped in dishwashing liquid and water. The interior can be cleaned with a mixture of two tablespoons baking soda and a quart of hot water. Rinse with a damp cloth, then dry.

6. Microwave
via the Kitchn

Try this easy fix next time your microwave is looking worse for wear. Place a half cup of water, juice from a lemon, and the two lemon halves in a bowl, and microwave for three minutes. Let it steam up the interior for five minutes, then wipe the surfaces clean.

7. Coffee Maker
via the Kitchn

Fill the water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water, and run half a brew cycle. Turn the cycle off and let it sit for an hour. Finish the brew cycle, and run three more with just water to rinse. While all this is happening, wash the pot and exterior with soap and water.

Health and Fitness

8. Yoga Mat
via instructor Sandy Kalik

Spraying your mat with a mixture of tea tree oil and water is a fittingly green way to keep it spotless.

9. Running Shoes
via Asics

You put your sneaks through it all—so why don’t you clean them? Asics recommends washing laces and insoles separately, and using a toothbrush dipped in anti-grease soap and warm water to clean the exterior. Dry by stuffing the shoes with newspaper.

10. Hand weights
via Livestrong

You sweat on your hand weights just about every time you use them, so they probably deserve a bath. Mix a quart of water with a squeeze of dish soap, wipe the weights down with the mixture, and dry with a paper towel. To go the extra mile, finish up by wiping with an alcohol swab or baby wipe.

Fashion and Beauty

11. Purse
via Martha Stewart

Even leather purses can be cleaned regularly. Wipe it down with alcohol-free baby wipes at home, and consider investing in periodic professional cleanings.

12. Hairbrush
via Real Simple

First, don’t let hair build up in the brush—remove it with a fine-tooth comb every day. Roughly once a month, give the brush a deep clean with gentle shampoo, applied with a tooth brush, and warm water.

13. Loofah
via Cleveland Clinic

Don’t clean your body with something dirty. Hang it to dry after each shower to prevent bacterial growth, and soak it once a week in bleach and water for five minutes. Just make sure you rinse it very thoroughly afterward.

14. Makeup Brushes
via Good Housekeeping

Maintain good complexion by keeping brushes clean. First, rinse them under warm water. Then, massage in a gentle soap or a shampoo formulated for makeup brushes. Rinse out all the soap, wring the water out, and lay the brushes out to dry.

15. Nail Clippers
via I Dream of Clean

Hold your at-home supplies to the same standard you expect of your nail salon. Regularly soak your clippers in dish soap and water for a couple minutes, dry them, and wipe them down with rubbing alcohol to sterilize.

16. Straightener/Curling Iron/Hairdryer
via Allure

To clean straighteners and curling irons, wipe the plates down (while unplugged, of course) with rubbing alcohol, baking soda and water, or acetone. Keep your hairdryer functioning properly by cleaning out the vents with a dry toothbrush.