The inside of my cleaning cupboard is full of products from polishes for wooden furniture to different floor cleaners for tile and wood alongside glass sprays and bathroom foams. Yes, there are products to clean nearly every surface of the home. However, one area that always collects dust, no matter what I do is the baseboards with the result that before visits from friends and family (especially the more eagle-eyed members of the latter) I spent ages down on my hands and knees scrubbing the baseboards with soapy water.
Yet it wasn’t until I told my mom about my bugbear that we realized she’d had the answer all along with a dryer sheet cleaning tip which not only keeps my baseboards clean but also makes my entire house smell beautiful.
This is the trick my mom didn’t know I didn’t already know that now means I can get baseboards clean in double quick time.
‘Wiping baseboards with a dryer sheet picks up dust’
Dryer sheets are a staple of my laundry room ideas but I had never thought to use them other than in my dryer. And I have to admit that when my mom told me that they were the cure for my baseboard woes, it sounded too good to be true.
‘Don’t spend ages scubbing them,’ my mom told me. ‘Just wipe with a dryer sheet and pick up the dust.’ She was amazed it was a tactic I hadn’t already tried, but it was one I hadn’t seen – or perhaps taken notice of when she’d done it.
My mom explained that all you need to do is take a dryer sheet and wipe down your baseboard. The dryer sheet will quickly gather up all the dust and will even lift light stains. I’d been wasting time on a lengthy and messier process when wiping was so much quicker.
The technique’s not miraculous, though, and for heavier staining, washing with sugar soap is the answer while, if your baseboards are in bad repair, then learning how to caulk baseboards could be the answer.
‘Dryer sheets repel dust, too’
What’s even better about using dryer sheets to clean baseboards is that they’ll stop the dust building up again.
‘Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static on clothes, and it makes the baseboard repel dust, too,’ my mom explained. And it’s true. Since cleaning my baseboards this way I've found I don’t need to clean them as often. I’m down to once every couple of months rather than rushing round when I'm expecting visitors to tackle the accumulations.
‘Dryer sheets add pleasant scent as well as cleaning’
Another benefit revealed by my mom? ‘They smell good – and your room will as well.’ My preference since I’ve started cleaning this way is Downy's Calm which has lavender and vanilla bean fragrance that I like for cleaning a living room and cleaning a bedroom.
I find the aroma much more subtle than an air freshener while still making my home smell clean.
‘Dryer sheets are a super-quick way to clean’
The reason I may not have learned this cleaning trick from my mom is that it takes so little time. ‘You’ll be right round the room in no time,’ she said. It’s true and it takes me less than a minute (and several dryer sheets) to wipe down all my baseboards now.
It’s so effective, too. The first time I did it, I had cleaned the baseboards with soap and water the weekend before, but I was amazed at the amount of dust the sheets still picked up.
What is the easiest way to clean your baseboards?
The easiest way to clean your baseboards is with dryer sheets. No need for water, fancy sprays, or cloths, simply grab a standard dryer sheet and wipe over your baseboards. Any stains may need a little more effort but dryer sheets are definitely the quickest and easiest way to clean your baseboards.
What do professionals use to clean baseboards?
Professionals often use a microfiber cloth to clean baseboards. ‘If you’re going to clean baseboards this way, make sure the cloth is a little damp,’ says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief of Homes & Gardens. ‘This way, you don’t just end up dislodging the dust, leaving yourself the job of cleaning it up from another surface.’
Pros often vacuum baseboards with an attachment as an alternative but do bear in mind that you may need to move furniture to have enough space to get the vacuum cleaner where it’s needed.
The professionals might equally spray a cleaning solution onto the baseboards, then mop them.
For home cleaners, our advice is to make the job speedy using dryer sheets.
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Having graduated with a first class degree in English Literature, Holly started her career as a features writer and sub-editor at Period Living magazine, Homes & Gardens' sister title. Working on Period Living brought with it insight into the complexities of owning and caring for period homes, from interior decorating through to choosing the right windows and the challenges of extending. This has led to a passion for traditional interiors, particularly the country-look. Writing for the Homes & Gardens website as a content editor, alongside regular features for Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors magazines, has enabled her to broaden her writing to incorporate her interests in gardening, wildlife and nature.
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