In an ideal world, our homes would be magically clean all of the time without any effort on our parts. Obviously, that is NOT the world we live in, and most of us are just trying to get by, scrubbing and dusting as we can and trying to find long blocks of time on the weekend to get the house in order.

We can find – and have found – all kinds of tips and tricks for making those cleaning sprees more effective, making sure that we’re actually killing all those germs, restoring shine like never more, and sometimes even learning how to make the chores more efficient. What doesn’t change, though, is that those messes are inevitably going to return, and we’ll have to go through the process all over again. What we really need are ways to make our homes achieve a better baseline of everyday clean, and for that, we don’t need huge tutorials— we need the simple, small, smart tricks, tips, and tweaks to our routine that have long-lasting results.

Taking inspiration from PureWow, we’ve put together a list of ELEVEN of the best tips and hacks we know for extending the time between deep-cleanings and generally making a sparkling home more attainable.

  1. Rub a candle into your shower grout.
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    Once you’ve scrubbed away all the mold and mildew from your shower grout, it’s disheartening to have to scrub again in what feels like no time at all. Extend your grouting’s lifespan by protecting it with a coating of candle wax.

  2. Make a DIY daily shower spray.
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    When it comes time to scrub the entire shower, make it easier and keep it sparkling between cleanings with a daily spray you can make yourself.

  3. Keep your toilet fresh with DIY fizzes.
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    When you don’t have time to clean the toilet – and nobody has time to clean it every day – these fizzes keep things fresh and cover up smells.

  4. Double up on trash bags.

    Line your trash cans with not one, but TWO trash bags at the same time. Not only does this trick give you extra lining to prevent your trash from leaking, it means that when you take the garbage out, there’s already a bag waiting to catch the next round of refuse.

  5. When you take out that trash, check the refrigerator.

    Sometimes the best tricks for keeping our homes clean are simple tweaks to our routines. When you take out your garbage, make it a habit to check your refrigerator at the same time for expired or smelly foods. That way, you never give them a chance to turn into hard-to-remove stains and mold!

  6. Put those pots and pans in the sink to soak before sitting down to eat.

    Another routine tweak? Starting the soaking process before you start eating. It’ll only delay your dinner by a few seconds, and the time it takes you to eat should be enough time for a sufficient soak. Not only will your dishwashing be quicker and easier, you’ll be less tempted to leave those pots to soak overnight and make the mess last longer.

  7. Get rid of those extra throw pillows on your bed.
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    You know that one of the best things you can do for a clean home is make your bed every day, right? You’re more likely to actually do it if you get rid of all those extraneous throw pillows that require arranging.

  8. Rub a dryer sheet along your baseboards.

    Our baseboards are one of the easiest areas in our homes to forget. Use a dryer sheet to not only pick up dust – and repel any that tries to land there afterward! – but make your home smell fresh, too!

  9. Line the bottom of your oven with foil.

    Prevent spills from becoming smoking problems by catching them with a piece of foil. You can leave it in the oven until it starts to build up, then just through the foil away and replace!

  10. Put your clothes away immediately.

    Folding and putting clothing is the most tedious part of doing laundry, but doing it right away is the best way to keep it from piling up. Mess attracts mess, after all.

  11. Wipe down your kitchen and bathroom counters every night.

    You’ve heard this tip before is because it’s tried and true. You don’t have to scrub them down every night; just keep some wipes handy for a quick clean to prevent build-up and extend their clean lives between deep-cleanings.

Start applying these helpful habits every day, and your home will be clean in no time— and for all time. If you want more ideas where these came from, check out PureWow’s list AND these seven daily habits of the cleanest people we know. What do you do to keep the mess from taking over your life?