May 11, 2020

Japanese Cleaning Tips for Keeping Home Impeccable: Part 1

Written by Kumiko Toya

Cleaning in Japan may differ a bit from western societies, particularly in cleaning habits and cultural expectations that are ingrained into us. The culture that values cleanness is even reflected in Japanese vocabulary. “Clean/hygienic” is translated to kirei (きれい) in Japanese which also means “beautiful/good-looking.”


However, this does not mean all Japanese people love cleaning. (Me, for example.) While everyone loves the end result, most of us would rather be using that time for more enjoyable activities. This is how creative minds among us have come up with these brilliant ideas to minimize the energy and time we should spend on our daily duty. This week, I am sharing some of my favorites.

Crosscut Sponge

mango sponge 6
Using a double-sided sponge, make slits as to form a cube pattern using scissors or a knife. Be careful not to cut through the other side. I prefer 1/4” cuts but it is up to what you want to clean with. The cubes provide a more effective cleaning surface than a flat sponge. In Japan we call them “mango sponge” from the way it is cut like a mango!

mango sponge 7

Floss Your House

floss cleaning 5
You don’t need strong chemicals to remove the dirt that is lodged in the seam joints. Dental floss is not just useful for cleaning teeth, but for cleaning nooks and crannies in the house as well! The thin, yet strong fabric can get around the base of faucets and stove top knobs to drag out grime. When fits, double strand it to double the cleaning power.

floss cleaning 4

Fish-out Debris with a Bread-bag Clip

clip cleaning 2
Counter seams collect dust and food bits. To get your counters completely clean, stick a bread-bag clip into the cracks and fish-out those particles. Plastic cards such as an expired credit card or a promotional plastic card that come in the mail also work well. People often use an old toothbrush to clean those narrow spaces, but this is much better!

clip cleaning 3

Steam Clean Your Microwave

micro towl 1
You do not need chemicals to clean the microwave. Instead, steam clean the inside of the microwave with a wet towel.
Place a damp towel on the glass tray or turntable inside the microwave. Heat for 1 minute or until the window starts to steam up. Leave the door closed for 30 more seconds to loosen the grime. Afterwards, use the towel to clean the inside. Be sure to wear gloves when holding the hot towel. 

micr towl 2

Let Rain Do the Job

This tip is perfect for people like me who love fuss-free cleaning hacks! Prop up your screen door in the rain and let the rain wash away all the dirt and dust on the screen.

rain slide door

Squeegee Is Not Just about Window Cleaning

squeezee 5

Cut slits on the rubber blade of the squeegee with scissors about 1/4" apart. Scrape it across your carpet. It will bring hair, pet hair, dust or bits of debris left behind by the vacuum cleaner and stuck in the fibers of your carpet.

It works like a charm for getting to hard-to-reach areas on the bathroom floor and corners of the stairs. You will be surprised how quickly a big clump of dust starts forming! I love this handy tool!

squeezee 6

Never throw away a pair of pantyhose that has a hole or a strain again! You can repurpose them as a wonderful cleaning tool.

- Use It as Duster

pantyhose hanger 1
Pull and stretch a metal coat hanger. Put pantyhose over it and rub the nylon a few times with your hand to cause static electricity. It works great to clean the narrow spaces such as underneath the washer, dryer, oven, and refrigerator or behind furnitures. The dust and dirt will cling to the nylon by the power of static electricity. They can be easily washed off.

pantyhose hanger 6

pantyhose hanger 4

- Use It as Curtain Cleaner

vacuum pantyhose
Place the foot of the pantyhose at the suction end of your vacuum cleaner. This way, you can vacuum a blanket and curtain without them rolled into the vacuum by the roller.
This is also helpful for picking up small pieces of broken glass and retrieving small objects such as earring backs.

vacuum pantyhose 4

- Use It as Faucet Polisher
It is quite easy to get faucets and faucet handles sparkle clean. Just wrap the pantyhose around the faucet and see-saw back and forth as you polish a pair of shoes. Speaking of polishing a shoe, pantyhose work great as a shoe polisher, too!

pantyhose cleaning 1

Cleaning is an important part of protecting your family members from coronavirus, as well as other germs. If you find these tips helpful, share this article with your friends.


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