The Most Hated Home Chores (and How to Master Them)
Tackling that never-ending list of chores is no walk in the park. While some tasks may be less time-consuming than others, most home chores require a lot of work, time, and patience. But don’t give up hope just yet. You know your list has to get done, so you may as well figure out the easiest, most efficient way — and we can help!
When it comes to the most hated home chores, here are the best ways to master them.
1. Folding fitted sheets
Master it by lining up the corners.
Is it even possible to keep fitted sheets cleanly folded? As Martha Stewart has taught us, yes, it is. You’re not alone in your aversion to this task, though. It’s probably one of the most frustrating chores of all time, and most of us would rather settle for a crumpled-up mess. But it’s time to say goodbye to an unsightly linen closet, and time to learn the right way to fold fitted sheets.
First, you’re going to put each hand in the top two corners inside out, with the elastic edge facing you. Then, fold it in half vertically, and flip the right corner over the left. Turn the sheet 180 degrees to make a second pocket up top. Hold two corners over each hand, keeping the tucked and gathered edge facing you. Fold it in half again so that all four fitted corners are together, and flip the right set of corners over the left. Then fold the sheet as usual.
Still confused? We thought you might be. For a demonstration on how to master the fold of the fitted sheet, check out this video from Real Simple.
Next: If you use a duvet, this next one’s for you.
2. Putting on a duvet cover
Master it by rolling it like a burrito.
Expert Sarah Humphreys took her burrito rolling skills to The Today Show, where she demonstrated just how easy putting a duvet cover on can be. And to be honest, it’s basically magic. Even Humphreys herself said she couldn’t explain how it works.
To begin, lay the cover inside out on your bed, with the opening on the opposite end from where you’re standing. Place your comforter on top of the duvet, lining up the corners, and begin rolling from the bottom end. When you reach the top, tuck the remainder of the comforter inside, and then button or zip to close. Unroll that burrito, and viola! You’ll never do it the hard way again.
Next: It’s an (almost) everyday chore that has to get done.
3. Doing laundry
Master it by avoiding using too much laundry detergent.
The dirtier the load, the more tempting it is to unabashedly pour an entire cup of detergent in. But don’t. According to HowDoesShe.com, “Excessive detergent leads to skin irritations, dull colors, and stiff clothes. Each load of laundry only needs 1-2 tablespoons of detergent.” For soft water, use one, for hard water, use two.
Next: Do you know the right way to sort your linens?
4. Washing your linens
Master it by keeping sheets and towels separate.
It seems like it makes total sense to throw your towels in with your linens, but it’s not the best way to get the job done. In fact, it can actually create issues. “Towels can also create a lot of friction which will reduce the lifespan of your bedding,” Missy Tannen, president of luxury linen company Boll & Branch, told The Huffington Post. “Keep them separate when you clean them and your sheet will thank you for it!” Furthermore, you want to keep them separate when drying, too, as towels produce a ton of lint, which can easily cling right to your sheets.
Next: Keeping the bathroom clean is a must.
5. Cleaning the shower door
Master it by using an at-home mixture.
Annoying as it may be, this task is an absolute must. Let it go undone for too long, and you’ll be left with a stubborn mess of stuck-on mold. But there’s a solution to this problem, and it starts with a little creativity. According to Better Homes & Gardens, one way to tackle the shower door is by mixing heated, distilled vinegar with grease-cutting dish detergent, like Dawn.
Just be careful if your shower is stone, as the vinegar could cause more harm than good. Kris Koenig, CEO of Natura Clean, recommends mixing liquid soap with baking soda. Once you’ve reached a consistency similar to that of frosting, grab a nonscratch sponge, and scrub the mixture into the glass shower door.
Next: A little-known secret about the easiest way to clean the toilet.
6. Cleaning the toilet
Master it by emptying the bowl first.
Of course, keeping a tidy powder room is crucial, and maintaining a sparkly shine in, under, and on top of the toilet is absolutely non-negotiable. Regardless of how confident you are in your sanitizing skills, this one may come as a shock. Truth be told, you should empty the toilet bowl before you clean it. Not only will it guarantee a deeper clean, but removing the water beforehand could end up saving you time in the long run.
Next: Don’t just mop the floor without prepping the area first.
7. Mopping the floor
Master it by sweeping or vacuuming first.
You need to clean the floors in your house regularly. Just think about how many germs you and your family track in every day. Even if you already clean your floors often, it may be time to rethink your process. If you reach right for the wet mop, you’re doing it all wrong.
Mopping the floor with a wet mop before sweeping the area first will only make the mop less efficient. Plus, it will collect much more dirt, dust, and grime than it has to. So, make the job easier by sweeping or vacuuming the area first, then applying your wet cleaning solution to the surface.
Next: Different foods requiring different storage.
8. Organizing and storing certain food items
Master it by reading labels and doing your research.
When you get back from the grocery store, you likely have a clear-cut method of unloading your food where it needs to go. While most things require no thought at all, some food items may leave you stumped for a moment. Does the peanut butter go in the pantry, or the refrigerator? What about the can of frosting you just opened? To ensure quality, freshness, and most importantly safety for everyone in your household, it’s important to make sure you’re storing things properly.
According to Today, processed peanut butter can be stored at room temperature, but the natural stuff should be refrigerated. (Some folks also like to store peanut butter upside down, so the oil doesn’t pool at the top of the jar.) Coconut oil should be kept in the refrigerator, but balsamic vinegar can be stored at room temperature. Just be sure to do your research before deciding where certain items should live.
Next: There’s an easier way to keep your oven clean.
9. Cleaning the oven
Master it by using aluminum foil.
If you like to cook, your oven is home to a lot of wear and tear. Although you’re fully aware that it requires a little TLC every now and then, it’s not uncommon for ovens to be left to their own self-cleaning devices.
We know that embarking upon a full-on oven-cleaning session can be daunting, so here’s a tip that will guarantee your oven stays maintained for longer. “Use an oven liner or line the bottom of your oven with aluminum foil to catch food drips and spills,” Michelle Hainer suggests on Trulia. “Pull it out, toss it in the trash, and voila! A clean oven, no scrubbing or self-cleaning cycle needed.”
Next: This type of material is a magnet for prints.
10. Removing fingerprints from stainless steel
Master it by using a homemade concoction.
Stainless steel appliances attract the most visible stains, which is why keeping them fingerprint-free is an ongoing battle. But follow these tips from The Kitchn, and you’ll be just fine. All you need is vinegar, oil, a soft cloth, and a spray bottle. You’ll be back to that sparkly shine in no time.
Next: This may seem like a mindless task, but it does require a bit of thought.
11. Loading the dishwasher
Master it by stacking properly and using hot water.
Doing the dishes may seem like a fairly hassle-free task, but not so fast. Turns out, you might be doing the dishes all wrong. Like most things in life, there’s a right way and a not-so-right way to tackle this mundane task. To keep things running efficiently, there are a few rules you’ll need to follow.
You’ll want to make sure you’re using water that’s hot enough, and only run the dishwasher when it’s full (there’s no need to waste unnecessary resources here). Scrape the food, don’t use too much detergent, and make sure you’re placing things on the proper rack.
Next: A surprising use for the dishwasher will serve you well.
12. Cleaning dog toys and collars
Master it by tossing them in the dishwasher.
While we’re on the subject of dishwashers (thrilling, we know), you should know that they’re a great vessel for getting those stinky dog toys nice and clean. (And actually, there’s a laundry list of household items you can put in the dishwasher.) When using it to clean your dog’s toys and collars, just be sure to place them on the top rack, and ensure they’re made of water-safe material.
Next: Reaching those high-up places can be tricky.
13. Cleaning the ceiling fan
Master it by using a pillow case.
Ceiling fan blades get dusty, but often the dust goes unnoticed. After all, you don’t have to look at the top of the blades every day. Obviously, they need to be cleaned, but who wants to risk having all that dust flying around in doing so? Apartment Therapy recommends placing an old pillow case over the blade. When you drag it back toward you, you’ll be cleaning the fan, and capturing the grime within the pillow case. Shake it out outside, and toss it in the wash as usual.
Next: Here’s what to do when someone forgets to use a coaster.
14. Removing water marks from wood
Master it by using a homemade cleaning solution.
Even though you have thoughtfully-placed coasters on every coffee table in your home, there’s no stopping the anti-coaster culprits who can’t seem to put them to use. And the result? Unsightly water rings on your wooden surfaces.
Meg Roberts, president of a residential cleaning company, has a solution to this age-old problem. “Mix equal parts baking soda and white cream toothpaste,” Roberts told Woman’s Day. “Dip a clean, white wash cloth into the mixture and gently buff the marks in a circular motion for a few minutes. Wipe clean and follow it with furniture polish.” And if that still doesn’t remove the mark? Put mayonnaise on the stain, let it sit overnight, then wipe it with a dry towel the next morning.
Next: An outdoor chore rounds out our list.
15. Doing yard work
Master it by laying out a tarp.
Some people don’t actually consider this a hated chore. But for those who do, this tip will save you a major headache. If you’re lucky enough to live in a house with a big yard, you know how much debris it can collect. Depending on the time of year, you need to weed the garden, pick up sticks, and rake leaves. But there’s an easier way — at least for the latter.
Lay a large tarp out, and rake all the leave into a pile on top of the tarp. Once you’re finished, you won’t have to worry about scooping tiny amounts at a time. Instead, you can simply collect the tarp by bringing the four corners together and dump it into a trash can from there.