Rafed English

A Cleaner House in One Minute

1. Clogged drains dragging you down? Pour a mix of 1/4 cup ammonia and 1 quart boiling water into bathroom and kitchen drains every few months to dissolve grease and loosen clumps before they become a problem.

2. Here's a slick way to ward off pesky soap scum and water spots on the shower door: Wipe down the glass or fiberglass with Rain-X Original Glass Treat­ment ($5 for 16-ounce bottle), which is used on car windshields to keep them clear.

3. As you bag up the kitchen trash on garbage day, open the fridge and grab any spoiled food or funky takeout. Toss everything in, then throw it all out.

4. Unless you enjoy toiling over a hot iron, spend a minute on wrinkle removal as soon as your clothes come out of the dryer. Just spritz them with Niagara Wrinkle Releaser and Odor Eliminator ($3), then smooth out creases and hang up the garments. The spray worked impressively well in our tests — even on cotton, the king of crumples.

5. Sautéing usually involves oil splatters, so protect the neighboring burners with pot lids. When you've finished cooking, no need to scrub greasy grates — just pop the dirty tops into the dishwasher.

6. Initiate a house rule: Last one out of the shower wipes down the tiles. This routine will keep mildew and soap scum at bay for weeks, maybe months. As long as you provide a good squeegee, this job is so simple, even the laziest member of your family might comply. We like Casa­bella's Clip-on Silicone Squeegee ($11), which clips to the showerhead for easy access.

7. Next time you open a new bottle of a sloppy condiment (olive oil, syrup, honey), take a second to wrap it in a paper towel and secure it with a rubber band. The "bottle blanket" will catch drippings, make the container easier to grip, and prevent your pantry from becoming a sticky flay trap.

8. Pairing socks can be like playing Memory — Where did I just see that brown argyle? To give your brain a break, snap up a Sock Cop ($9 for 20) — a plastic gripper that "handcuffs" socks together. Keep a cup of them near the hamper, so you can clip mates together before tossing them in the dirty-clothes pile. The grippers, which are reusable, will hang tough through the entire wash-and-dry cycle. Now what will your dryer eat?

9. Every few weeks, fill a small glass bowl with 1/2 cup full-strength ammonia, place it in a cold oven, and close. Let the liquid stand overnight (this part doesn't count toward your one-minute timeline since you'll be sleeping). The next day, wipe loosened-up grime with a wet sponge. (If you have a self-cleaning oven, try this trick between self-cleaning cycles.)

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