Save on Pinterest

15 Simple Ways to Clean Your Cleaning Tools

When not properly cared for, the equipment and appliances we use to clean the house can spread bacteria and germs. Here’s how to clean your cleaning tools.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

1 / 15
HH Handy Hint broom wide tooth comb dust bunny dustpan hackFamily Handyman

Dust Bunny Broom Cleaner

Every time you sweep, clumps of dust and hair collect at the ends of the broom’s bristles. To solve this problem, hot glue a wide-tooth comb to the top of a dustpan. Just run the bristles through the comb to remove any excess gunk dangling from the broom. Learn how to give your broom a deep cleaning here.

2 / 15
dish scrubber and soapCKP1001/Shutterstock

How to Clean Your Dish Brush


You use it to clean your dishes, but how often do you actually clean your dish scrubber brush? When not properly cared for, this tool we rely on for cleaning up in the kitchen can actually spread harmful bacteria. The trick is to make sure you’re getting the best clean possible. Clean your dish scrubber brush once a week in the dishwasher, or with a vinegar mixture.

3 / 15
HH Cleaning with drill brushFamily Handyman

The Drill Brush

You use your sink to clean dishes, but you won’t get anywhere if your sink is dirty, too. Clean it quickly with this drill brush hack.

To make this drill brush you’ll need a drill, a washer, a bolt, a long machine screw and a brush head replacement.

  1. Start by threading the machine screw through the brush head so the head of the screw rests in the brush head hole.
  2. On the other side of the brush head, slide on the washer and secure it in place with a nut.
  3. Make sure to tighten it with a wrench. Do not over-tighten, as this may cause the plastic brush head to crack.
  4. Attach the scrubber head to the drill.

To clean, fill a bowl or bucket with hot water and dish soap (or the cleaning agent of your choice). Dip the power scrubber into the mixture just enough to saturate the bristles — do not submerge the drill! Now point and press the drill to start and let the drill brush do the work. Check out more expert cleaning tips for the pros.

4 / 15
HH cleaning around lint trap on dryerFamily Handyman

Clean Your Lint Trap

Even if you empty your dryer’s lint trap before each load, chances are there is still lint buildup around the area that could potentially start a fire. That’s why it’s important to deep clean the area once in a while. Here’s the best method we’ve found for cleaning out your lint trap. Wrap a clean rag around one end of a paint stir stick. Remove the lint trap and clean out the area with the rag-covered stick. To help the rag pick up the lint, dampen it with water first.

5 / 15
Fresh Toilet BrushFamily Handyman

Keep Your Toilet Brush Germ-Free

Toilet brushes are relegated to a filthy task, and the thought of what’s left on that brush made me a little queasy. So I put a splash of Pine-Sol in the bottom of the brush container. Not only does this help to deodorize my bathroom, but it also disinfects the toilet brush.

Buy Pine-Sol on Amazon now.

6 / 15
lemon rind down sink disposal

Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky Disposer

You garbage disposal is great for cleaning up food in the sink. But if your disposer has developed an odor, it may be holding on to bits of rotted food. Here’s how to clean it out:

  1. With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
  2. Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
  3. Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.

Got other strange scents to worry about? Here’s how to get rid of a variety of bad smells in the house.

7 / 15
vacuuming mistake clean vacuum

Clean a Vacuum with a Vacuum

The typical way to clean the filter of a bagless vacuum is to tap it against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But that raises a cloud of dust and doesn’t get the filter completely clean. For faster, neater, more effective filter cleaning, use your shop vacuum. Clean pre-filter screens and post-filters the same way. Just remember to be gentle with the shop vacuum’s nozzle. Some filters have a coating that you can scrape off if you press too hard.

Are you skeptical about whether or not robot vacuums really work? Here’s what we think.

8 / 15
tubvia Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber

You spend so much money on cleaners with bleach in them, only to scrub and scrub before your bathroom finally starts to sparkle. Take the effort and money out of cleaning with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber. It features Febreze Freshness and can erase three times more soap scum than leading all-purpose spray cleaners. What makes the Magic Eraser so magical? Find out here.

9 / 15
hand holding kitchen spongeBonNontawat/Shutterstock

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sponge

The kitchen sponge is a well-used cleaning tool. From your dishes to your counters, it soaks up a lot of dirt and leaves things sparkling. That’s why it should come as no surprise that the kitchen sponge harbors a hefty amount of bacteria. The most effective and easy way to clean your sponge is to douse it in bleach. You’ll want to soak it for at least five minutes in a solution of 3/4 cup bleach to one gallon of water, then squeeze and rinse it out.

10 / 15
FH08JAU_DRYLIN_06 clean dryerFamily Handyman

Clean Inside the Dryer and Dryer Vent

Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is restricted. The lint can be ignited by electric heating elements, gas burners or even a spark from the motor, and the flames then travel through the lint-lined exhaust vent. To make sure this doesn’t happen in your house, check the exhaust vent and the inside of the cabinet frequently.

11 / 15
clean dishwasherFamily Handyman

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

You’d think your dishwasher, post dishwashing, would already be clean. But you’d be wrong! Food bits find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, leading to bad smells and eventually poor cleaning of your dishes. Learn how to thoroughly clean your dishwasher here.

12 / 15
dustVenus Angel/Shutterstock

How to Clean Your Duster

No matter how hard we try to prevent it, dust happens. Dusters — whether cloth, feather, synthetic or disposable — are a necessity to keep your home as dust-free as possible.

So it makes sense to clean the dust out of your duster every now and then, unless you use a disposable duster such as Swiffer. Here’s how to clean your duster (the cleaning method varies depending on your duster’s material). Cleaning your duster regularly will not only prevent spreading that old dust around, but it will help keep your duster in good condition.

13 / 15
smelly washing machine

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Just because you’re washing clothes regularly doesn’t mean your washer can’t use an occasional cleaning. Once a month, run an empty load with just hot water and bleach. We also recommend Affresh to kill mold and odors. Toss an Affresh tablet in the washer and run a cycle with hot water.

14 / 15
FH15MAR_DUSTME_05_06 how to remove dust from air furnace filterFamily Handyman

Upgrade Your Furnace Filter

Your home’s forced-air heating or cooling system helps to control dust by filtering the air. A standard cheap fiberglass filter protects your furnace from large dust particles and provides maximum airflow, but it does little to reduce household dust. More expensive pleated filters usually provide a good balance between cost and filtration efficiency. These filters trap 80 to 95 percent of particles five microns and larger. Here are the best furnace filters to buy.

But if you have family members with allergies, consider spending more on high-efficiency filters, which capture 99 percent of airborne particles as small as three-tenths of a micron (bacteria and viruses, fumes and pollen). Just be aware you’ll need to do two things: Run your furnace fan full time to get the maximum benefit from a high-efficiency filter, and change the filter frequently to prevent damage to your furnace from the reduced airflow.

If you go the high-efficiency route, install a filter monitor such as FilterScan, which automatically alerts you when your furnace filter needs changing, or the GeneralAire G99 Filter Gage, which requires you to manually check it.

Get the GeneralAire G99 Filter Gage from Amazon. 

15 / 15
s-hook hanging storage hack cleaning supplies

S-Hook Hang-Up

Once you’re done cleaning the house, your cleaning supplies need a place to stay clean and organized too. Pick up a pack of S-hooks at a home center and turn wire shelving into a rack designated for cleaning gear. Conquer clutter once and for all with these 51 brilliant organizing tricks every homeowner should know.