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Is your filthy broom creating a bigger mess than it's sweeping up? Here's how to get this housekeeping staple clean and help it last longer.

The basic broom must be one of the oldest household cleaning tools. Chances are, you probably have one or two that you use routinely to sweep indoor and outdoor surfaces. Brooms work overtime cleaning up our messes -- and when we're done with them, we usually just shove them aside.

Because we're so used to thinking of brooms as cleaning tools, we don't always realize that they need to be cleaned too! By design, they're magnets for dirt, hair, and other debris. When your broom stops doing its job, starts distributing dirt everywhere and is down right nasty, it's ready for a cleaning.

Here's how to clean both vinyl and straw brooms:

What you need:

- Vacuum
- Wire brush
- Bucket
- Warm water
- Household cleaner or bleach (for the vinyl broom)
- Dish soap (for the straw broom)
- Scissors

How to clean your broom:

1. Clean out any lint, dust, and hair trapped between the broom's bristles, using your fingers or a vacuum. For a vinyl broom, you can use a wire brush.

2. Fill a bucket with warm water.

3. Add household cleaner or bleach for the vinyl broom. Add dish soap for the straw broom.

4. Soak the broom for about 2 hours.

5. Let the broom dry overnight.

6. Trim the frayed ends.

Here are a few more tips for extending your broom's life:

- Soak your broom in hot salt water for 20 minutes and let it dry before using it the first time.

- Store your broom on a hook hung high enough that the bristles don't touch the ground.

- Don't use your kitchen broom outside where it will wear faster. Instead, purchase an outdoor broom for those projects and leave your indoor broom where it belongs.


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