Cleaning Secrets: The Benefits of Daily House Cleaning

Keeping a clean house is all about maintenance. Dirt and grime come into your home every day. It’s not realistic to expect that cleaning once every six months will keep your home in tip-top shape.

dusting furniture

Establish Routines

Establishing a regular cleaning routine is the easiest way to keep your house clean and fresh. “Regular” is a subjective term; it might mean every day, or once a week, or once every two weeks, or even once a month. Some people do a little bit of cleaning every day and then a full sweep once every week or two. Your schedule and circumstances will determine what works best for you. Whatever you decide should be a routine that will fit into your lifestyle so that you’re able to follow through consistently.

One option is doing a little bit of cleaning every day. This approach has many benefits. The first two should be quite obvious: cleaning every day means your home will always be in great shape and it means that you’ll never lose hours at a time cleaning on a Sunday afternoon.

If it’s important to you that your home always be in prime condition to receive company, or if you’re a very fastidious type who can’t tolerate disorder, daily cleaning may be the way to go. If you’ve never got a large enough block of time to clean your whole house at once, breaking it down into smaller increments is a good alternative.

Clean Daily to Keep Your Home In Tip-Top Shape

Beyond these basic advantages, daily housekeeping will prevent deterioration to your home. For instance, when dirt and grime aren’t allowed to sit around, grit never gets the chance to erode floor surfaces. Soap scum won’t build up, which means you’ll never have to use damaging chemical cleaning agents to facilitate its removal, or scrub it away with erosive cleansers or scrubbers. Mold and mildew will never get the opportunity to cause permanent discoloration. Spills won’t harden into congealed messes that become nearly impossible to remove without leaving scars behind.

Clean Daily to Save Time in the Long Run

Daily cleaning also saves time in the long run. It’s quicker to take half an hour every day to spot clean and touch up than to spend five hours on the weekend. By quickly cleaning the kitchen after meal prep and sprucing up bathrooms every couple of days, you eliminate some of the more time-consuming jobs in a house cleaning regimen.

As an example, scrubbing a shower clean can take fifteen minutes or more. It’s much quicker to squeegee the shower walls clean after each use and then apply a mist made from a vinegar and water mixture. This approach means it’ll only need a quick five-minute cleanup with a sponge periodically. No big deal.

Keeping entryway floors continually clean means that dirt doesn’t get tracked further into the house, which saves having to vacuum, sweep, or mop as frequently or as comprehensively. The same principle applies to spilled milk on the kitchen floor: a quick clean-up immediately after the occurrence prevents it from being tracked anywhere else.

Daily Cleaning Reduces the Need to Use Chemicals

Cleaning every day means you’ll never have to use smelly, toxic chemicals to remove tough grime because it’ll never get the chance to build up. It means you’ll never get a sore back from scrubbing your shower or floors on hands and knees. It keeps dust from building up, which in turn means you’ll have significantly less dust in your air and on surfaces. Never having crumbs or spills on countertops or floors significantly reduces the likelihood of attracting the attention of unwanted guests like ants.

Daily cleaning isn’t for everyone. It’s one of many possible approaches to house cleaning. Any effective house cleaning regimen is based on simple diligence and regularity. However, daily cleaning is one of the easiest methods if you’ve got the time. Repetition and frequency work to your advantage to quickly offset the daily intrusion of dirt and grime and the damage they can cause over time to your home. For this reason, daily cleaning is the ultimate form of cleaning maintenance, ensuring that your home is always in tip-top shape.

clean bathroom sink

 

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.

 

 

 

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Get Up Off the Floor: Tips for Finding Your Best Mop

Floor care is one of the most time-consuming aspects of a home cleaning regimen. Removing dirt from bare floors is one of the biggest challenges in this area. Finding the perfect mop helps you meet this challenge.

Why Cleaning Your Floors Is So Important

It’s important to keep your bare floors clean for several reasons. First of all, floors last longer if they’re well-maintained. Second, dirt on floors doesn’t stay put; it transfers onto the feet of anyone passing through and gets tracked all around. Third, food spills have the potential to attract bugs or other unwanted visitors. Finally, clean floors feel great on your bare feet (and keep your bare feet clean).

Getting your decks clean doesn’t require scrubbing on your hands and knees, so get up off the floor. There’s no need for you to use the same method your Grandma did.

Types of Mops

Mops these days are much more effective, and easier to use, than the mops of yesteryear. In fact there are many excellent choices available, including sponge mops, string mops, flat head mops, steam mops, and robot mops. The trick is selecting the best type for your situation.

A sponge mop has a sponge head with some kind of ringer to squeeze out excess water. The problem is, these don’t always wring out fully, which can leave excess water on the floor. Another drawback is that they aren’t very maneuverable so it’s hard to get into corners and under the edges of things.

String mops or strip mops come in lots of different types and are typically made from cotton, rayon or microfiber. The ends of the strings or strips may be cut or looped, and the heads wring out in various ways such as hand wringing, or using a twister to pull the head up, which forces the water out. Some come with a wringer that attaches to your mop bucket.

moppA good string mop will wring out well so you don’t end up with a lot of water on your floor. String mops are also very maneuverable, so you can get into corners and under the edges of things with them. Many also have washable heads that will last and last.

Flat head mops usually have a microfiber pad or head that can be removed and washed then re-used. Some types use disposable pads instead. Some types have a reservoir tank that holds cleaning solution and a sprayer that attaches to the handle so you can spray your cleaning solution into the path of the mop as you work. With others you use a hand-held spray bottle to spray solution into the path of the mop as you work. Some flat head mops are both a dry dust mop and a wet mop and some have exchangeable heads that serve different functions.

Steam mops use steam to clean the floor along with a pad of some type that attaches to the base. Some types of floors should not be cleaned with a steam mop, so make sure it’s safe to use on your flooring if you go that route.

Robot mops wash and dry the floor while you do something more interesting. You’ll spend some dough for the convenience, these aren’t cheap.

What type of mop is best for you?

If you’ve got wood floors, a flat head microfiber mop is your best friend. Get one with changeable wet and dry heads. It can be used for spot cleaning as well as total-floor cleaning, if necessary. These are good to use on wood floors because they don’t leave much water behind and they are very soft.

If your floors see a lot of use and need frequent mopping, a good microfiber string mop will be a sure bet. Microfiber wrings out excess water more efficiently than other materials and picks up most common floor messes effectively. A string mop is versatile, durable, and washable, so you can use it over and over and over again.

Steam mops are handy for cleaning small areas, for disinfecting, and for cleaning grouted floors. If these situations apply to you, a steam mop will fit the bill. However, if your floors tend to be very dirty, you’ll need to change the cleaning pad several times as you work. In this case it might be easier to use a string mop and bucket of water instead.

If you want to splurge, try a robot mop. It works on the same principles as a robot vacuum cleaner. You might want to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t try anything funny, though.

Sponge mops are okay in a pinch but are handier for jobs like washing walls or cleaning showers. As floor care tools, they come in low on the list because they’re not very maneuverable. They have their applications, just not on floors.

Keeping floors clean can be pretty simple if you keep up with it as often as necessary. Your situation will dictate how often your floors need cleaning. By not allowing dirt and grime to build up on floors, you make cleaning easy and protect the life of your flooring.

Get a decent mop and be sure to use it often enough that dirt never gets a chance to take root. That’s all you have to do to make sure you never have to scrub a floor on your hands and knees.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon. For more info: https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips

Is It Possible To Clean Your Home Without Using Chemicals?

clean a keypadCan you actually keep your home clean without using any types of chemicals? That’s a tricky question. The health conscious among us are rightly concerned about the effects of chemicals on our planet and our bodies. But strictly speaking, there’s no way to eliminate dirt, grease, and germs without using any chemicals whatsoever. However, it is possible to minimize their use.

Let’s break it down. Look at dish washing. You can’t clean a greasy pot without using a de-greaser. Dish detergent is a chemical. What about laundry? It’s not possible to remove the typical dirt from laundry without using laundry detergent, which is a chemical. How about bathrooms? Again, you’ll need some kind of chemical to get rid of soap scum, mold, and mildew. Are you beginning to see a trend here?

The good news: it’s absolutely possible to minimize the use of chemicals for cleaning. Dialing it way back is easy with a few simple tricks:

  • Clean frequently.
  • Reduce the messes that require chemical intervention.
  • Use the right tools for cleaning.
  • Use chemical products sparingly.

Clean Frequently

Cleaning frequently is the best way to reduce the need for strong cleaning agents. By controlling the buildup of dirt and grime on hard surfaces, you eliminate the likelihood of having to break out tough degreasers or lime-scale removers and other noxious chemicals. Simply wiping up the kitchen after each use and regularly cleaning your stove, oven, microwave, and other kitchen appliances will keep the accumulation of grime to a practically non-existent level.

Tip: Keep a small spray bottle with a 50/50 mix of water and rubbing alcohol plus a few drops of dish soap by the kitchen sink. Mist surfaces with the mixture and wipe clean for quick and easy cleanup.

Reduce the Messes that Require Chemical Intervention

Spot-clean your bathroom every day or two to hold soap scum or mineral deposit buildups at bay. Keep a squeegee in your shower and pass it over the shower walls after every use. This will make bathroom cleanup much easier. Make your own daily shower mist spray by mixing a 3:1 ratio of water to vinegar.

In the kitchen, get into the habit of covering things that might splatter when they’re cooking and don’t let pots boil over. If you’re baking a casserole that might bubble over, place a cookie sheet underneath so you don’t end up with a mess on the oven floor.

Apply these principles throughout the house to prevent and reduce messes and thus avoid having to use chemical cleaning agents.

Use the Right Tools for Cleaning

There’s a vast arsenal of scrubbers and sponges and cloths at your disposal these days. Rather than resorting to using chemical cleaning agents on bathroom or kitchen surfaces, use a nylon scrubber sponge or a scrub brush to apply a home-brewed cleanser  mixed from baking soda and dish detergent to cut through soap scum or remove dried-on debris.

A scrub brush with a handle that you can grip firmly gives you added leverage for removal of really tough messes. Microfiber cloths are handy for eradicating a variety of messes from hard surfaces and are more effective than traditional rags because they’re more tightly woven. Just a little bit of elbow grease easily replaces chemicals if you use the right tools.

Use Chemical Products Sparingly

Finally, when you have to use chemical products, don’t use any more than is necessary. Plus, by cutting back on the application of cleaning agents to hard surfaces, you reduce the need to clean because cleaning agent residue that wasn’t thoroughly rinsed from any surface actually attracts dirt. So resist the urge to apply excessive amounts of any type of cleaner. Less is more.

Additionally, don’t use any products that are more powerful than what you need. Simple, basic products such as vinegar, ammonia, baking soda, and dish detergent can be used for cleaning 95% of the surfaces in your home.

You shouldn’t have to wear a gas mask when you’re doing routine cleaning chores. Keep it simple, clean often, use tools. These are the secrets to house cleaning using minimal chemicals.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon. For more info: https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips

Back to Basics: What Supplies Do You Really Need To Clean A House?

Expensive disposable and chemical-laden house cleaning products are the trend right now, the result of successful marketing campaigns leading consumers to believe that their homes cannot be made clean without using them.

There are dozens of types of cleaning products for doing any imaginable job, and people purchase this stuff in droves because no one likes to clean and everyone wants to find the magic bullet that’ll get the job done more quickly and easily. Unfortunately, as often as not, it turns out that these products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The truth is, there aren’t many shortcuts where house cleaning is concerned.

The quickest way to get the job done is to use the right tools and products efficiently, and you don’t need pricey products to do it.

Essential Cleaning Supplies

So, what do you need? The following is an overview of the essential supplies that will get your home clean (with your help):

  • Basic cleaning agents that will break down dirt and grime on glass, bathroom fixtures, kitchen appliances, countertops, floors, and other hard surfaces.
  • Cloths, sponges, and brushes for cleaning kitchen counters and appliances, sinks, bathroom fixtures, and everything else that you need to wash or scrub. Using the correct tool speeds up the job and reduces the need for harsh chemical cleaning agents.
  • A dusting tool or cloth. The right dusting tool can save a lot of time.
  • For bare floors, something that will first pick up loose dirt and, second, something that will clean dried-on dirt and spills. Think broom and mop, or the equivalent.
  • For carpeting, a vacuum cleaner. Also handy for removing loose dirt and debris from bare floors and pet hair from upholstered furniture.

What you use for cleaning really depends on what you need specific to the characteristics of your home. By streamlining your tools and supplies as much as is practical without compromising efficiency, you’ll simplify your cleaning procedures. Most importantly, you want products that you won’t dread using.

Cleaning Agents

Natural cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda are handy and have their uses. They are best for daily cleaning; any kind of heavy buildup of grease or grime calls for stronger cleaners. This is why daily (or very frequent) cleaning is the way to go if you’re committed to cleaning using minimal chemicals.

Chemical cleaning agents are hands-down the quickest means of eliminating soap-scum buildups, mineral deposits, baked-on greasy messes, and other similarly tough jobs. This means using commercial products specifically geared toward whatever you’re trying to clean up. Don’t blow a whole paycheck, though, moderately-priced products perform just fine.

Cleaning tough messes without strong chemicals can only be accomplished with lots of elbow grease. Should you choose to go this route, use a nylon scrubber or scrub brush. A scrub brush with a handle gives you a little more leverage than a sponge scrubber, and the bristles usually get into corners and tight spots a little better.

Hand wash dish detergent is a very good multi-purpose cleaning agent. Diluted in water, it can be used for most kitchen cleanup jobs. Mixed with baking soda (one part dish detergent to three parts baking soda), it’s a great, inexpensive bathroom scrub cleanser.

Both ammonia and rubbing alcohol are also inexpensive, multi-purpose cleaning agents. You can make sudsy disinfectant cleaner using equal parts water and rubbing alcohol plus a few drops dish detergent. Ammonia (diluted in water) is a good kitchen cleaner, floor cleaner, glass cleaner, and general multi-use cleaner.

Cleaning Tools

The stuff I’ve just mentioned is all you really need by way of cleaning agents. Necessary cleaning tools are equally simple. A dusting wand of some type is handy and saves time; a plain old rag dampened with water will also do the job. Your vacuum cleaner dusting brush also serves the purpose.

Speaking of vacuum cleaners, it’s totally unnecessary to spend a fortune on one. A decent-enough machine can be had for just a couple hundred dollars. Spending any more than that will get you more bells and whistles, but don’t feel like you have to go there. You don’t.

To wrap up floor care products, a simple broom, dustpan and mop are perfectly fine for cleaning your floors and will actually do a better job than some of the pricier products out there in the marketplace. A string mop gets into tight spots and wrings out quite well.

House cleaning supplies don’t have to be expensive or complicated. A few simple tried-and-true cleaning agents, rags and sponges, a mop, broom, and vacuum cleaner are all you really need to do the job right. No expensive, trendy, Earth-unfriendly products necessary. Just get back to basics and you’ll see how easy cleaning can actually be.

spray kitchen sink

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon. For more info: https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips

Vacuum Cleaner Types and How to Choose the Best Machine for You

A vacuum cleaner is one of the most versatile tools at your disposal in the cleaning game. It can be used for pet hair removal and removing cobwebs. It’s the best choice for pickup of any type of dry goods. And it’s an excellent means of trapping and locking down dust. But how do you know what kind of vacuum cleaner is best?

Types of Vacuum Cleaners

Vacuum cleaners come in literally hundreds of different shapes and sizes. Types include uprights, canisters, central vacuums, handheld, stick vacuums, robotic, and electric floor sweepers. Varieties of these are available in models that are either bagless, in which the captured dirt is stored in a collection chamber, or bagged, which uses a paper or cloth bag to contain debris.

Upright Vacuum Cleaners

Upright vacuum cleaners are self-contained, best suited for cleaning large areas of carpeting, and not always ideal on bare floors. Most uprights these days have onboard attachments for cleaning furniture, stairs, etc. Uprights tend to be the heaviest type of vacuum cleaner, loudest, and least versatile.

Canister Vacuum Cleaners

Canister vacuums are more versatile than uprights. They have a main unit on wheels that you pull around by a hose that attaches to the various cleaning tools. Canisters are great for areas with a mix of bare floors and carpets or area rugs, and also handle carpeted stairs better than uprights. If you have pets that leave hair on furniture, a canister may be your best bet. Canisters tend to be quieter and more lightweight than uprights.

Central Vacuums

Central vacuums have a stationary central unit located somewhere in the home, often in the basement, which connects to all the rooms via tubes in the walls. The user plugs a hose into receptacles (inlets) located throughout the home and changes attachments as needed. With a central vacuum, there’s nothing to move around other than the hose, but the downside is that the hose is usually kind of long and can be cumbersome to move around. The user has to be careful to make sure the hose doesn’t rub against walls or furniture, which can cause damage. Central vacuum units are one of the best options for anyone with dust allergies because the dirt is channeled away to an area that’s remote from your living space.

Robot Vacuum Cleaners

Robot vacuum cleaners are cute little gizmos that do the work for you. The unit parks on a dock somewhere in your living space, and the user only needs to program the machine as to when to do its job and then empty the dust bin periodically. Sensors help the unit navigate so it doesn’t run into everything in its path. It can be operated remotely, it can recharge itself, and it learns. Cons: You will pay for the convenience; models with great reviews aren’t cheap. Also, the collection chambers are small, so they need to be emptied frequently.

Small Vacuums

Stick vacuums, floor sweepers, and hand-held vacuums are smaller, lightweight versions of upright or canister vacuums. Some of the newest models have been designed for use throughout the house on carpet, rugs, and floors. Some stick vacuums convert into handheld vacuums. These vacuums are either corded or rechargeable and are handy to have for quick jobs, floors, stairs, and furniture, and are easier to use than larger, heavier machines.

Bagged Versus Bagless

Most of the stick vacuums and smaller machines are usually bagless, as are robotic vacuums. Other types vary by make and model as to the availability of bagged versus bagless as an option.

There are three primary disadvantages to using bagless vacuums, in my experience. One: they have filters which need to be kept clean or the unit loses suction. Two: emptying the collection chamber is messy because dust tends to fly around rather than just falling neatly into the trash, and if you happen to set the chamber down somewhere on your way back to re-inserting it into the vacuum it’ll leave a ring of dust that you have to then clean up. Disadvantage number three: the user has to reach into the collection chamber with their hand to get all the debris out, especially any kind of pet hair.

The obvious advantage to bagless vacuum cleaners is that you never need to buy bags, which is better on the wallet and better for Mother Earth. So hopefully in time their design will be improved upon.

What Type Do You Need?

So what type of vacuum cleaner is best for you?

An upright vacuum cleaner would be fine if you have mostly carpeted floors. Upright vacuum cleaners tend to be hit-or-miss on bare floors; some models pick up dirt well while others blow dirt around more than they pick it up. If you have back problems, a traditional upright might be too heavy for you to use comfortably.

For Pets

If you have pets, a mix of carpets and bare floors, or lots of stairs, a canister vacuum would probably be your best bet.

Bare Floors

For mainly bare floors with only area rugs or small areas of carpeting, you might be able to get by with a good stick vacuum that has a rotating brush for carpets. This wouldn’t be a good choice if you have a lot of dirt, because the collection chamber on these units tends to be small.

Dust Removal

Central vacuum systems are probably about the best vacuum for removing dust from the air. Central vacuums are pricey and have to be installed, which involves running tubes from the main unit to the inlets in various rooms in your home. If you’re having a new home built, you might consider installing a central vacuum system.

Be sure the vacuum cleaner you choose can get into all the areas where dust settles, including under beds and behind furniture. Many uprights will not lie flat enough and are not versatile enough to do this. You’d be amazed how much dust can accumulate under furniture if you never clean there.

Dust Allergies and Vacuum Cleaners

Another consideration when it comes to vacuum cleaners is whether you or anyone in your home has dust allergies. If so, a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filters and/or that uses cloth bags might be your best option.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a decent vacuum. Somewhere between $200 and $300 will get you a good machine that should last quite a few years. You can definitely spend more than that and get a machine with more features that would be nice to have, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

I recommend researching product reviews before buying a vacuum cleaner because there are hundreds of models available, and, in my experience, some are really, really bad. Most are fine. Some are not worth their high price tag. And a few are excellent products that will undoubtedly outlive us all.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.

Cleaning Secrets: The Versatile Vacuum Cleaner

House cleaning is challenging. Keeping up with the dirty footprints and the spilled cereal, the dust that never seems to stop settling onto surfaces high and low, plus the other two-million myriad tasks that are part of day-to-day housekeeping, requires tenacity and resourcefulness.

One of the most versatile tools at your disposal is your vacuum cleaner. A good vacuum cleaner is useful for a wide variety of jobs beyond removing dirt from carpeting.

Vacuum Cleaner Attachments

Most vacuum cleaners come with an assortment of tools for dusting, getting into tight spots, vacuuming upholstered furniture, and vacuuming bare floors. Most modern machines also have extendable wands that will allow you to reach high spots and get into corners.

So what can you do with all of these tools? The sky’s the limit. Well, the ceiling anyway.

If your wand will reach, use the dusting brush to tackle cobwebs up high where the wall and ceiling meet, or on light fixtures or wall-hangings. Use the dusting brush to tackle interior window shutters, window grates, window sills, curtains and valances, louvered doors, chair rails, baseboards, heating grates and vent covers, lampshades. Remove dust from the top sides of books on shelves. Dust knickknacks and picture frames and everything in between.

The dusting brush also does an excellent job of removing dirt and dust from uncarpeted stairs. Its versatility allows you to get into all the corners and in between spindles, as well as removing dust from any other surfaces in the vicinity while you’re at it.

Tackle baseboard heater dustouts with this double-duty-duo: your dusting brush for horizontal surfaces and crevice tool to get to areas inside and underneath.

Use the floor brush to remove dust accumulations from the top of ceiling fan blades. This handy, wide tool also quickly removes dust and cobwebs from walls. Use the floor brush to eliminate accumulated hair in the bathroom, and not just on the floor. As long as surfaces are dry, use it on countertops and other horizontal surfaces.

Vacuum Pet Hair

How about furniture? Pet hair on upholstered furniture is easily removed with a small rotating brush attachment, if your machine is equipped with one. Otherwise, use the upholstery tool. Don’t forget to get underneath cushions and tackle the edges, too. Use the dusting brush attachment on leather furniture.

Your vacuum cleaner is also handy for cleaning loose debris inside of cupboards and drawers, like spilled rice and the crumbs at the bottom of your bread drawer. Spilled powder and the 1001 sequins that broke free in your craft supply bin are no match for the almighty vacuum cleaner.

Got pet hair all over your suit jacket and no lint brush in sight? Use your vacuum cleaner to quickly solve the problem.

Be creative. Have fun with it. Allow your imagination to run wild thinking up new uses for the superstar of cleaning tools, the oh-so-versatile vacuum cleaner.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon. For more info: https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips

House Cleaning Checklist: How A Pro Cleans

Who out there wonders what everyone else does when they clean their homes? Do you secretly worry that you’re not doing everything you should to keep your house in order? Do you want to know the process a professional house cleaner uses when cleaning a home? If so, you’re in the right place.

To help you achieve the best results from your cleaning routines, I’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist breaking down the tasks which make up a typical house cleaning job. Completing every item on the list each time you clean isn’t necessary, so don’t be intimidated.

The trick is in establishing a rotation that’ll ensure all items are done on an as-needed basis. And “as-needed” is a pretty loose timeframe. Some things might have to be done every six months and some every week. Each home is different. Customize your cleaning routine to fit your situation and keep it as simple as possible.

Tasks that are done in all rooms:

  • Working from high to low, eliminate cobwebs or dust along the edge where the walls and ceilings meet, on the ceiling itself, and in corners.
  • Dust ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, and anything else up high.
  • Dust the top edges of curtains and valances or other window treatments, window blinds, window sills, window grates, shutters inside windows.
  • Dust the edges of picture frames and wall-hangings.
  • Dust ridges on multi-panel doors, louvered doors, tops of door frames and doors, chair rails, air-vent covers.
  • Dust free-standing floor lamps, lampshades, finials, light bulbs, floor lamp bases.
  • Dust baseboards, baseboard heaters.
  • Spot clean fingerprints and other marks on walls, switch plates, doors and door frames.
  • Clean doorknobs, handrails, banisters.
  • Clean exterior glass doors and spot-clean insides of windows if necessary.

Tasks in the living room, family room, foyer, den, dining room, bedrooms, similar rooms:

  • Dust tables, shelves, stands, curios, dressers, chests, and other similar furniture, as well as the stuff on top, such as bric-a-brac, electronics, books, clocks, lamps, pictures.
  • Dust the sides, legs and feet of furniture. Eliminate any cobwebs along bottom edges.
  • Spot clean glass doors on things like china cabinets.
  • Spot clean mirrors.
  • Dust (or vacuum with a dusting brush) fireplace hearths.
  • Wipe down or dust leather furniture.
  • Vacuum upholstered furniture as needed.
  • Clean the floors: vacuum, sweep or dust mop bare floors & damp mop as needed.

Cleaning interior stairways:

  • On uncarpeted stairs, use a damp cloth or small broom and, starting at the top, brush dirt and dust down each stair using a dustpan to collect the dirt as you go.
  • Dust around spindles, the spindles themselves if necessary, and any moldings.
  • Use your vacuum cleaner stair brush attachment to clean carpeted areas on stairs, and use the dusting tool or a cloth to clean and dust uncarpeted edges and any moldings.
  • When cleaning stairways, don’t forget to wipe the handrails clean.

Kitchen cleaning tasks:

  • As in any other room, dust ceilings, blinds, furniture, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to dust off the top of the fridge and the tops of cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
  • Wipe down table and chairs or stools.
  • Clean appliance fronts: microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, trash compacter, stove, oven(s). Look out for fingerprints and sticky areas on keypads, knobs and handles.
  • If you have an inset water or ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, don’t forget to clean this area.
  • Clean inside the microwave, if necessary.
  • Clean cook top.
  • Clean top of range hood if you have one.
  • Wipe off the countertops and backsplashes, and wash the outsides of appliances on the counters as well as any other paraphernalia and anything mounted to the underside of upper cupboards. Shift appliances from side to side so you can clean the counter underneath.
  • De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
  • Optionally, clean your garbage container outside and/or inside.
  • Clean the sink
  • Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.

Laundry room tasks:

  • Dust from the ceiling down, as in all rooms.
  • Dust all flat surfaces, walls, ridges on cupboard doors, whatever areas you can reach behind your washer and dryer, baseboards.
  • Spot clean the outsides of washer, dryer and any other appliances, and clean dispensers for laundry soap, fabric softener, as well as door gasket.
  • Vacuum the dryer lint trap.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and wipe off any countertops.
  • Clean utility sink, if applicable.
  • Clean floor. Clean behind and under laundry baskets, hampers, etc.

Bathrooms:

  • Dust the bathroom as you would in any other room. Don’t forget the edges of towel racks, the lip along the top of partially tiled walls, the ridges around the top of shower walls, the top edge of shower curtains or shower doors, blinds and window grates, knick-knack shelves, and the edge along the top side of medicine cabinets or other cupboards.
  • Dust the covers on any ceiling vents.
  • Dust light fixtures.
  • tile wall
  • If walls are tiled, clean with a damp cloth and buff dry, or spot clean.
  • Clean sink and vanity.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors.
  • Clean mirrors.
  • Clean tub/shower.
  • Clean the toilet inside and out.
  • Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.

The most important element to keeping a home in the best possible shape is maintaining a regular cleaning routine. This ensures that every part of the house gets cleaned periodically, meaning that everything gets dusted, floors get cleaned, the kitchen gets a thorough wipe-down, and bathrooms get sanitized.

While the list might seem long, the basics of cleaning are limited to dusting, vacuuming or floor cleanup, rudimentary kitchen cleanup like keeping counters clean, and bathroom maintenance. Both kitchen and bathroom cleaning is most efficient if it’s done on a daily basis, but do what you can when you can. Just know that more often is better in those two rooms, if nowhere else.

Cleaning your home every week or two doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive experience. Keeping up with the basics is quick and easy if you do it often, focusing on controlling the accumulation of dust and whatever debris gets tracked in on the feet of all who enter your home.

Add in the kitchen and bathrooms tasks that are part of good hygiene practices, and you’ve got yourself a simple routine that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Then just rotate in whatever other chores need to be done as you notice the need arise. All those other chores are nothing more than gravy. At its core, house cleaning is really quite simple. The real secret is keeping it that way.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.

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House Cleaning in a Busy World

Many years ago I worked for a number of little old ladies whose house-cleaning styles could only be termed “old school”. While I learned a lot from these very interesting women, their methods were, at times, redundant bordering on ridiculous.

I recall one lady in particular whose mantra was “there’s no need to make a big production out of it,” which was oddly contradictory to the elaborate procedures she insisted I follow in carrying out the cleaning of her home.

She wasn’t the only one. Many of these ladies went far out of their way to make extra work for themselves (and me). I can only hypothesize that their overly-complicated cleaning rituals were borne of the boredom from which many housewives suffered before it became common for women to have careers outside the home. They were overachievers ahead of their time.

Don’t Make Work for Yourself

Fortunately for me, not only did I learn a lot about house cleaning from these women, I learned a lot about not making work for myself. As a result, from the start of my long tenure as a house cleaner, I have constantly analyzed the processes I use on the job and streamlined wherever possible.

To my way of thinking, efficiency trumps the elimination of every granule of dirt when efficiency takes half the time and eliminates 98% of the offensive material anyway. That extra hour and half of labor simply isn’t worth the pursuit of the other 2% of grime that no one cares about.

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For example, washing floors by hand is usually unnecessary. By first picking up all dirt and other loose matter with a vacuum or broom and then using the correct type of mop that’ll get into corners, floors will stay just as clean and well-maintained as they would from scrubbing on hands and knees.

Additionally, cleaning floors frequently and on a regular schedule guarantees they never become so dirty that scrubbing is required. This principle applies to housecleaning across the board. Regularly performing the cleaning basics like dusting and vacuuming removes dust from the air, decreasing the time you’ll have to spend removing dust from all the nooks and crannies where it typically settles.

What this means is that you’ll be able to sometimes skip dusting baseboards and door panel ridges and the top of the refrigerator. This means you’ll only have to dust window blinds once a months instead of weekly. You’ll be free to only occasionally dust off the top of the refrigerator. You get the idea.

By frequently performing the jobs that are basic to cleaning, you save yourself time in the long term. Modern day cleaning is all about figuring out which tasks to spend your energy on and which tasks to eliminate from your rotation. In this busy world we don’t have time to devote to superfluous cleaning.

Don’t Clean What Isn’t Dirty

This cleaning evolution has made obsolete those chores that are unnecessary. For instance, my little old ladies were big into cleaning windows in the spring and fall whether they needed it or not. But really, if they aren’t dirty, what’s the point of cleaning them? There’s nothing to be gained.

Washing curtains is another chore that isn’t necessary all that often. My ladies would take down and wash curtains when they washed windows, regardless of whether the curtains were actually in need of laundering.

Nine times out of ten, if they’re regularly dusted off, curtains either need no attention or can be quickly vacuumed free of any type of dust. Which brings us back around to simply doing the basics regularly, and the rest kind of takes care of itself.

The “don’t clean things that aren’t dirty” rule extends far and wide where house cleaning is concerned. Rooms that no one ever uses don’t need to be cleaned every week. Areas that don’t get dusty, floors that see no action, kitchens that aren’t used, are all things that don’t need to be cleaned more than superficially.

Save your time for where it’s needed when you clean your home. There’s no point spending an hour dismantling your ceiling fan to clean it in the sink when a five-minute session with an inverted dust mop will remove 98% of the dust, no disassembly required.

Why bother taking your entire refrigerator apart and spending an hour and a half scrubbing each crevice with a toothbrush? That, my friends, is a huge waste of time. Use a microfiber cloth and some warm, sudsy water to wipe clean all surfaces right where they live. The only parts that need to be removed are those that will clean up more quickly in the sink.

Don’t use elaborate processes when it’s not necessary. Blaze your own path. Do it your way. Save your valuable time for things that are more interesting than washing all your storm windows in the bathtub when you could have done the job in half the time using a bucket of water and a sponge.

Think Critically About Your Process

Thinking critically about your cleaning procedures might even make cleaning seem a little more interesting. There’s challenge in finding a more efficient means of achieving the result you’re shooting for.

Avoid doing things a certain way based on habit or because your mother taught you to do it that way. Don’t behave like a throwback to a bygone era. Cleaning a home is hard enough work. There’s no need to make a big production out of it.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.

The 7 Day Deep Clean Challenge: Bring Your Home Up to Par in a Week, Day 4 Bedrooms from Top to Bottom

Deep cleaning your bedrooms is a great opportunity to target accumulated dust under beds and on window treatments, as well as behind furniture.

To Begin

To begin, temporarily remove any lightweight objects like lamps or knickknacks to make it easier to move furniture around without fear of breaking anything.

Any small area rugs should be removed and washed or shaken outside and left to air.

This is a good time to wash or air textiles like bed skirts, duvet covers, bedspreads, decorative pillow shams, etc. Do this now if you’re electing to take this step.

 

Start from the Top Down

Start cleaning from the ceiling down, dusting away cobwebs and dust on ceiling fans, ceilings, light fixtures, and walls. Use a dusting tool or a dust mop.

Pictures, wall art, wall hangings, or anything else on the walls should be cleaned or dusted.

Vacuum or dust louvered doors, ridged doors, door frames, window frames, shutters. Work your way downward, dusting any chair rails, baseboards, and baseboard heaters. Vacuum or dust air vent covers.

Clean Woodwork

Spot clean walls, door frames, woodwork.

Move furniture around as necessary and if possible, to get to all the walls and other surfaces that need to be dusted.

Take the opportunity to vacuum or clean areas of floors which are normally underneath furniture and not easily accessible. If furniture can’t be moved, try to get under and behind it as much as possible using a dust mop, broom, or your vacuum cleaner.

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Dust

Dust or vacuum lampshades and window treatments.

Dust furniture and begin re-assembling your room, dusting objects before replacing them.

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Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. Vacuum your mattresses and flip them over.

Wash the floor, if necessary.

Replace throw rugs and any textiles that you washed or aired.

Smell the clean air. Good job!

Tomorrow: Bathrooms.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.

House Cleaning Basics: Floor Care Tips

Floor care is a large component of house cleaning. The majority of the dirt on your floors comes in on the feet of those who enter your home. Using door mats at each entry area along with leaving shoes at the door significantly reduces the introduction of dirt into your home. Keeping a towel handy to wipe Fido’s feet also reduces the tracking in of mud and grit.

Keep a Broom Handy

If incomers aren’t so careful about wiping their feet, your floors will probably need more maintenance. In this case, you would be wise to keep a broom or stick vacuum handy and clean high traffic areas every few days. It also wouldn’t hurt to damp mop bare floors near the door frequently. Your objective is to keep dirt from being tracked all through the house.

Vacuuming

On cleaning day, floor care will probably be one of the most time-consuming parts of your routine. If you’ve got wall-to-wall carpeting throughout your house, you’ll be doing a lot of vacuuming. For best results, use the correct height adjustment for your vacuum carpet brush. It’s better for your carpeting and the machine will do the most optimal job if the height is adjusted correctly.

Carpet Care Tips

More carpet care tips:

~Always check your vacuum bag or collection chamber before you start. A full bag or chamber will not have good suction.

~High traffic areas warrant more attention than corners. Make a few passes over the sections that see a lot of action.

~ If no one walks there, don’t bother to vacuum it every time. Areas under furniture or in corners should be vacuumed periodically, but these are areas you can skip sometimes.

~Spot clean high traffic areas as needed with a good quality spot cleaner that’s safe to use on your type of carpet.

Mix of Bare Floors and Rugs

Areas with a mix of bare floors and area rugs are usually most quickly cleaned with a canister vacuum cleaner. If the rugs are all smaller, it might be easier to pick them up and shake them clean outdoors. However, if the rugs aren’t especially dirty, you can quickly go over them with your vacuum floor brush. Hold one side of the rug in place with your foot as you pass the floor brush over it.

Alternatively, if the floors are dusty rather than dirty, using a dust mop on the bare areas and vacuuming large rugs may be quicker. If you don’t have a canister vacuum, this would also be the best approach. Use whatever method will most expedite the process in your particular situation.

Use the rotating brush head on carpeting only, never on bare floors. The rotation of the brush can scratch the floor so use the floor brush attachment on bare floors. Also use the floor brush on oriental rugs, antique rugs or any rugs that are delicate, like silk rugs.

Bare Floors

Bare floors can be swept, vacuumed, or dust mopped and then damp mopped or steamed clean if necessary. There’s no need to wash a floor on your hands and knees. Use a mop that’ll get into corners and under the edges of appliances and such. Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself.

Wood Floors

Wood floors shouldn’t be washed unless they are dirty. Wash wood floors with a mop very lightly dampened in plain water or with a microfiber mop and wood floor spray cleaner. Use as little liquid as possible. Water is bad for wood and can ruin a wood floor if it is used in excess. Never leave standing water on a floor, and especially not on a wood floor.

Vinyl Floors

Vinyl and similar sealed floors can be cleaned with just a little all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, ammonia, or commercial floor cleaner diluted in water. Don’t overdo it with cleaning agents in your mop water as too much will leave a film that looks cloudy and attracts dirt. Less is more.

Stone Floors

Stone floors shouldn’t be cleaned with anything other than mild soap (like a few drops of castile soap) or plain water. Using vinegar or ammonia on a stone floor can damage the surface.

Ceramic Floors

Ceramic and other shiny tile looks better if it’s dried with a cloth after washing. This eliminates water spots from forming as water evaporates off the floor. To dry a wet floor quickly, use a couple of old towels and swish them around on the floor with your feet. Be careful not to slip and fall down while you’re doing this.

Whatever method you use to wash flooring, if your mop water, mop head, or cloth is filthy after one use, you aren’t cleaning your floors often enough.

Keeping your floors clean is one important means of protecting the investment you’ve made in your home. Floors will wear out more quickly if they aren’t maintained. Loose dirt and dried-on debris can destroy the finish on your flooring and ruin your carpeting. And like every other area of house cleaning, the more frequently you clean your floors, the easier the job will be each time you do it.

Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.