10 Things You’re Not Cleaning the Right Way, According to the Pine-Sol Lady
For 30 years, Diane Amos (known as the Pine-Sol Lady) has been singing the praises of this classic cleaner to the world. These are her expert-approved cleaning tips.
Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.
Stand-up comedian and TV, film and stage star Diane Amos—you know her as the Pine-Sol Lady—has been learning how to clean since she was a kid. “We all helped clean the house on Saturdays, that was my mom’s cleaning schedule,” Amos says. “But if someone called any other day and said they were coming over, we had our 10-minute chores to get the house ready.”
They would gather their cleaning products and tools and pick a room. “I had the kitchen, because I liked to cook and knew how to clean a kitchen. My sister really knew how to clean the bathroom, and she was always so good and quick. Mom cleaned the living room, wiping down all the surfaces. And when people walked in, they felt like they were in a house that was cared for.”
This domestic training was the perfect preparation for the biggest role in Amos’s career. In 1993, she was contracted as the Pine-Sol Lady, and 30 years later, her vibrant smile and personality is associated with the brand in homes across America. “In the Black community, if you walk in someone’s house and it smells like Pine-Sol, you’re like, Yep, this place is clean,” she says. Given the esteemed place Pine-Sol holds in Black households, it was a perfect fit.
Where to use Pine-Sol at home
Currently, Amos and Pine-Sol have partnered with Vanesa Amaro, TikTok’s “queen of cleaning,” in a friendly social media competition over which cleaner is best, Pine-Sol or Clorox. The two have taken to the video platform to discuss viewers’ most valuable cleaner. But it’s not just about choosing the most-reviewed cleaning product or finding the best homemade cleaning solution. For Amos, it’s all about ensuring you’re not missing spots in the home. Here are some areas you might be forgetting to clean or aren’t cleaning the right way—and her favorite Pine-Sol Lady tips to keep them sparkling. They just may have your guests saying, “Yep, this place is clean.”
“You clean the floors with your bucket and mop but don’t pay attention to the baseboards,” Amos says. She suggests gathering the right supplies and taking a little time to clean your baseboards every few weeks. For Amos, 1/4 cup of Pine-Sol mixed with a gallon of water does the trick. She also prefers cleaning with microfiber cloths for this job, but any clean cloth will work. “Do this, and the next time you’re playing on the floor with your kids, all you’ll see is clean.”
“Just because you can’t see the top of the door jambs, [doesn’t mean] dust won’t gather there anyway,” Amos says. This is key to getting rid of dust in your house. Remember to take a cloth (or use a Swiffer) and dust them. “Start high and clean down,” she says, “especially when it comes to doors.”
Behind the doors
“People don’t look behind doors, and so they forget to clean there,” says Amos. “Stuff builds up in that space. Open that door and sweep it clean. While you’re at it, cover your broom with a cloth and clean the corner of your walls from the ceiling to the floor.”
Cabinets and knobs
ela bracho/Getty Images
“Cabinet doors are something that you open a lot in your house, so you have to remember to wipe away all those fingerprints around the door knobs,” says the Pine-Sol Lady. To clean kitchen cabinets, first wipe away dust with a clean microfiber cloth. Then, Amos mixes 1/4 cup of Pine-Sol with a gallon of water, which will also disinfect and sanitize the highly touched area. Dampen a clean cloth and wipe away grease, fingerprints or any other spots or stains. “Keep the outside of your cabinets looking as clean as the dishes that are inside of them—I like to put the kids to work helping clean these.”
“We have a great stovetop and nice hood, but a lot of grease forms on top of the hood,” says Amos. She suggests cleaning the oven hood—and above the hood—every other week. “Using 1/4 cup of Pine-Sol in a gallon of warm water and a microfiber cloth or any cloth you happen to have, you can cut all that accumulated grease. Really, you should wipe these areas anytime you see grease. That’s what we do in my house.”
For extra stubborn grease buildup, the Pine-Sol Lady suggests using Pine-Sol at full strength. Rather than cutting it with water, pour some on a cloth and wipe away grease. Then, dampen a new cloth with water and wipe down the surface. Do this when you’re cleaning your oven, cleaning your stovetop or after wiping down other appliances, including your microwave. “It leaves the hood nice and shiny and there’s no grease dripping into your food while it’s cooking,” she says.
Yes, you can use Pine-Sol to do your laundry! Cleaning clothes, erasing odors and removing stains are all possible. Rub Pine-Sol full strength onto a greasy area or a stain, and launder as usual with the best laundry detergents. “When I wash cushions from outdoor furniture, I throw 1/2 cup of Pine-Sol in the laundry along with my regular detergent, and they come out smelling good and looking good,” Amos says.
Want to learn how to clean every type of countertop properly? The secret is disinfecting. According to Pine-Sol, the cleaning solution kills 99.9% of COVID, staph, strep and influenza germs and bacteria on hard, nonporous surfaces, such as light switches and countertops. Wet a sponge or a cloth with Pine-Sol, and apply it at full strength to the surface (just make sure it’s not marble). Give it 10 minutes to work, then rinse with clean water and dry. This is something the Pine-Sol Lady keeps in her cleaning arsenal when someone in the family gets sick.
You clean your garbage disposal and take out the trash often, but stuck-on grime and garbage can still stay in your home. Amos suggests cleaning your kitchen or bathroom garbage cans as they need it. Remove the garbage bags and clean off anything stuck to the floor of the can. “Pour Pine-Sol on the inside of the can and move it around to coat the sides and bottom,” she says. “Scrub any stubborn areas with a long-handle scrub brush. Rinse and wipe it dry with a clean cloth. Remember to wipe the outside of the trash can with Pine-Sol too. This really gets rid of the odors and makes the room smell good.” Then, make sure you’re putting the garbage bag in the right way.
sefa ozel/Getty Images
Even if you’re using the best mop or most dependable vacuum cleaners, floors are gross—and they require tried-and-true methods to clean. While there are products you should never use on hardwood floors, Pine-Sol is not one of them. Whether you’re cleaning hardwood floors or laminate floors, diluted Pine-Sol is a great option. Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose dirt. Mix 1/4 cup Pine-Sol with a gallon of warm water, mop (don’t let the liquid pool), then rinse with clean water.
“I have this one story I like to tell,” Amos says. “A college girl told me that every time the janitor washed the floors in her dorm, they always smelled icky. Obviously, the man didn’t know how to mop. So when the janitor would go into her room, she’d throw some Pine-Sol into his bucket. No more icky-smelling floors. That’s my favorite Pine-Sol story, and it’s real.”
“I think it’s a good idea to pay attention to your outside areas too, so they look and smell clean,” she says. “We have a patio with a drain, so it’s easy to clean the floor with Pine-Sol. Sweep away the leaves, twigs and dirt first. Then mix up a bucket of cleaner—I use a 1/4 cup of Pine-Sol to a gallon of water—and scrub it with a broom.”
If you want to keep the benches, table and grill nice and clean too, use the same mixture. Pay attention to outside decks and furniture, and make sure not to use Pine-Sol on any untreated wood.
Must-have cleaning products
“I use it straight across the board for almost everything, because it does so many things,” says Amos. However, Pine-Sol is not recommended for use on marble (countertops or floors), copper, aluminum or unsealed, waxed, oiled or visibly worn wood. It’s also not recommended for dishes or other food-contact surfaces. And as always, don’t mix cleaning products, and that includes Pine-Sol.
“You don’t have to have a favorite way, you just have to have Pine-Sol in your cabinet,” says the Pine-Sol Lady, “and you’ll be able to experience cleanliness and get that wonderful fragrance too.”