Pros and Cons of Running a House Cleaning Service

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Starting a house cleaning service is relatively simple; actually doing the job is the hard part. Like any job, running your own house cleaning service has pros and cons. I can attest to this fact since I’ve been doing the job for a very long time. It’s a job that isn’t for just anyone, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully.

Self Employment Means You’re In Charge

Everybody wants to be their own boss. Who wouldn’t want the total autonomy to do as they please without anybody looking over their shoulder every minute?

Self employment has a lot of perks. You can take vacations at will, set your own schedule, and pick and choose for whom and where you will work. Best of all, you decide your own rate of pay and you decide how many hours you want to work. You’re in control of your own paycheck.

The down side is that when you take a vacation, you don’t make any money. When you don’t feel well enough to work, you don’t make any money. When you’re sitting at home figuring out what next week’s schedule should look like or doing other paperwork, you’re not getting paid.

Running your own business is hard work, and not just physically. While it’s great to set your own schedule, it’s not so great when things go wrong and you end up running way behind and there’s no one but you to fix it. You have to wear many hats; you are the manager, the laborer, the administrative support professional, the bookkeeper, and the public relations specialist.

Keeping Customers Happy is Important

It’s really nice to be able to take a vacation when you want to without fanfare or rigmarole. But you’ll find that your clients’ life events will factor into your decision about when to go to Aruba. The week of Mrs. Blueberry’s daughter’s wedding will be a very bad time for you to be out of town. That is, if you want to keep Mrs. Blueberry happy, which you do because she’s one of your biggest accounts and she’s sent a lot of work your way. So, while you don’t need anyone’s permission, your decisions directly affect your business.

Fortunately, Mrs. Blueberry’s daughter will only get married once or twice, and there are lots of other weeks in the year. My point is: house cleaners have many bosses and are accountable to each one. You work for each of your clients, and these nice people have every right to expect that you will perform the duties you agreed to do when you were hired.

Sometimes clients will ask you to do things that make you unhappy and there won’t be a supervisor acting as liaison between you and the clients. It’s all on you to decide if you want to keep your client happy at your expense or make yourself happy at the client’s expense.

So while you have the freedom to pick and choose your clients, your workdays and hours, even what tasks you will perform, you still answer to your customers. If they’re not happy, you don’t have a business. And sometimes dealing with customers can be challenging. You’ll need to be able to diplomatically handle a wide variety of situations.

You Must Be a Self-Starter

Self-employment isn’t a walk in the park. When you are your own boss, you must be self-directed. You must have the skills and knowledge to figure out how to do whatever needs doing and the willingness and ability to solve whatever problems arise. You must be responsible enough to hold yourself accountable.

Some days you’ll have to really push yourself to work even though you don’t feel like it. There’s no one to ask to step in to take your place. You can always take a sick day when you’re really sick, but there will be many days when it’s more a question of motivation. Or maybe you’ve got a headache, so you’re not really sick enough to stay home but don’t feel all that enthusiastic about working either. It’s tough being the boss, especially when you’re the only employee. The upside is you get to keep all the profits for yourself.

You Keep All the Profits and Pay All the Bills

While it’s a beautiful thing to take home 100% of the profits you earn, it’s not so nice that you can’t count on cushions like paid sick days, employer-sponsored health insurance, or matching contributions to your retirement fund.

Self-employed individuals have to pay social security self-employment tax. You may want or need to be bonded and insured. Your travel time isn’t covered in your pay check.

You’ve got to take a good look at the numbers to make sure whatever you charge is enough to cover all the expenses of self-employment and still leave you with a decent living wage.

You Don’t Have to Dress Up

One of the nice things about being a house cleaner is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on wardrobe, hair, or makeup. While you should dress in decent clothing and not wear anything that’s too shabby or unprofessional, you don’t have to dress up or spend a lot of time getting ready to leave the house in the morning. And no dress code means wearing shorts on hot days!

Good footwear will be more important than any other aspect of your wardrobe. Being on your feet all day is a lot more comfortable if you’re wearing comfortable shoes.

You’ll Meet Lots of Different People

One of the best parts about house cleaning for a living is meeting some really nice people. Often, you’ll develop long-term relationships with your clients.

On the flip side, every once in a while you may run into a client who is impossible to please or whose personality just doesn’t mesh with yours. Then you’re stuck deciding whether it’s worth toughing it out or not.

Cleaning Gets You Moving

Another advantage: cleaning houses every day is a great way to get exercise. You’ll burn enough calories to occasionally indulge in the treats you’d have to skip if you worked sitting at a desk all day.

The downside is the wear and tear on your body. House cleaning is hard work! Sore elbows and knees are to be expected, at least occasionally.

Another big drawback is the potential damage to your body from exposure to toxic cleaning chemicals. This can be minimized by using natural products.

In Summary

Here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons of self employment as a house cleaner.

Pros:

~You are in charge.

~You make your own hours.

~You schedule vacations and personal time at will.

~You’ll meet some nice people.

~You decide who to work for.

~You decide where to work.

~You decide what to charge.

~You don’t have to get dressed up for work.

~Cleaning is great exercise.

Cons:

~You are in charge.

~Your personal life will be affected by your clients’ needs.

~You wear many hats.

~You don’t get any employee benefits.

~Sometimes you’ll have to handle difficult situations.

~Cleaning is hard work.

~You may be exposed to cleaning chemicals.

Like any job, professional house cleaning has its ups and downs. This post should have given you a clear picture of the good and bad points. It’s a job that isn’t for just anyone, so be sure to understand what you’re getting into before diving in.

For more tips about starting or running a house cleaning service, check out my book How To Become a Cleaning Pro: The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service, available on Amazon.

 

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Starting a House Cleaning Service

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A house cleaning service is a very simple business to start up. You don’t need a big investment or any specialized education or an enormous inventory.  To succeed, you do need to know how to clean a house, and you should have some specific qualities, outlined in my post Do You Have What It Takes To Successfully Operate Your Own House Cleaning Service?

Despite being quite simple to get up and running, a cleaning service does require that you consider a number of factors. Planning these out in advance is advisable so that once you’re ready to go, the process of launching your business will be simple and straightforward.

These factors include the following:

  • How will you advertise your business?
  • In what geographic area are you willing to work?
  • How far are you willing to travel?
  • What will you charge?
  • Will you charge by the hour or by the job?
  • Will you use the clients’ supplies or provide your own?
  • How many hours per week and per day are you willing to work?
  • What days of the week are you available to work?
  • What tasks will you perform as part of your typical cleaning regimen?
  • Are there any limitations to what you’re willing to do?
  • What are your business policies?
  • How will you keep track of client information such as names, addresses, security codes?
  • How will you keep track of your schedule?
  • How will you record your income and expenses?
  • Will you be bonded/insured?
  • Do you know some people who you can use as references?

How Will You Advertise?

Advertising is the means through which you will get clients when you’re starting out. Some ideas for connecting with potential customers include:

  • Telling friends and family that you’re starting a business.
  • Getting business cards printed up to hand out to people and leave in strategic spots.
  • Printing up flyers to post on bulletin boards.
  • Setting up a website.
  • Using local online classified ads or yellow page ads.
  • Networking on social media.
  • Placing an ad in a local newspaper or free paper.

Where Will You Work?

Figure out where, geographically, you will work. How far do you want to travel? Clearly communicating your territory when you advertise saves both you and potential clients time and trouble.

What Will You Charge?

The next thing to think about is your fee structure. Will you work by the job or by the hour? What will you charge? Do some research about the fees other cleaning services in your area charge.

When you’re starting out, the simpler approach is charging by the hour. Giving flat rate estimates requires some know-how about the time it will take for you to perform a job, which might be tricky when you don’t have a firm handle on timing. Plus, a lot of people will already have an idea what they want to spend, so charging by the hour makes it easy for them to decide if you’re offering a better deal than someone else.

Will You Provide Supplies?

Another factor to think about is whether you will provide cleaning supplies or use the clients’. Using the clients’ supplies is easier because you don’t have to carry a bunch of stuff around with you, lugging it in and out of your vehicle and people’s houses. Cleaning requires, at a minimum, a vacuum cleaner, mop, bucket, toilet brush, cleaning cloths, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, and specialty cleaners. Some clients like to have certain products used on their surfaces, as well.

I’ve always felt that it’s better to use each individual client’s vacuum cleaner, mop, cloths, etc. because this eliminates the potential of dragging germs, odors, and dirt from one person’s home to the next.

How Many Hours Per Day and Week Will You Work?

The next consideration is figuring out how many hours you want to work. Do you want to work the same number of hours each day or will it vary? Figuring this out ahead of time makes it easier to schedule jobs when the time comes.

What Days Will You Work?

Also decide what days you want to work and at what times. For example, Monday to Friday 9 to 4, or just mornings, or extending into evenings, or including weekends. Many people like to have their houses cleaned between 9:00 and 4:00 on weekdays. However, if you would prefer to work early mornings, evenings, or weekends, you’ll probably find some folks looking for someone to work during those hours.

What Tasks Will You Perform?

Clearly defining what specific tasks will be part of your cleaning routine is important. You will want to be on the same page with clients from day one.

To help you figure out what to include in your typical cleaning routine, I’ve compiled a  sample list of the chores a house cleaner might perform when doing a cleaning job for a client.

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:

  • Vacuum or sweep stairs.
  • Dust around spindles, the spindles themselves if necessary, and any moldings.
  • Wash stairs and risers.

Kitchen cleaning tasks:

  • Dust ceilings, blinds, furniture, baseboards, the top of the refrigerator, 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).
  • Clean inset water or ice dispenser in the refrigerator door.
  • Clean inside the microwave.
  • Clean cook top.
  • Clean top of range hood.
  • Wipe off the countertops and backsplashes.
  • Wash the outsides of appliances on the counters.
  • De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
  • Clean 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, ridges on cupboard doors.
  • Spot clean the outsides of washer, dryer, any other appliances, clean dispensers for laundry soap, fabric softener, clean door gaskets.
  • Vacuum the dryer lint trap.
  • Spot clean cupboard doors and wipe off any countertops.
  • Clean utility sink.
  • Clean floor.

Bathrooms:

  • Dust furniture, 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.
  • 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.

Also consider if you’ll do things like picking up clutter, washing windows, doing laundry, making beds, changing linens, picking up cleaning supplies for clients, taking broken vacuum cleaners to the repair shop, or running other errands. People might also ask you to water plants, let their dog outside or take him for a walk, and even watch their children “just for ten minutes while I run to the store”.

If there are any tasks that you flat out don’t want to do, make a note of these as well. For example, if you don’t want to clean windows or do any jobs that call for working outside, like sweeping off a porch.

What Are Your Policies?

The more clearly your policies are spelled out, the less room there will be for confusion later on. It can be helpful to write up a list of policies to hand to potential clients to make clear what you will and will not do.

How Will You Keep Track of Client Information?

You’ll need a system for keeping track of clients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, entry codes, and keys. Your system should safeguard clients’ personal information in the event that keys or your phone or address book are lost or stolen.

How Will You Keep Track of Your Schedule?

Plan a system for setting up and keeping track of your schedule. You might use your phone, or a spreadsheet, or a pocket organizer. If you have very many clients, you might find that it’s easier to use a calendar or table to help visualize what time slots are open on your schedule.

How Will You Keep Track of Income and Expenses?

Keeping track of income and expenses will also be part of your business record keeping. Your system can be as simple or complicated as you would like it to be. One easy option would be to keep a notebook with weekly totals written in as you go along. Or you could use a spreadsheet or ledger paper.

Will You Buy Insurance?

Another consideration when you set up your business will be whether you want to be bonded and insured. Bonding is a form of insurance that covers losses to customers if something gets broken while you’re cleaning their home. Liability insurance protects you in case someone sues you. You can also buy insurance to cover on-the-job injuries.

Do You Have References?

Finally, make a list of people who would be willing to vouch for your excellent work ethic, honesty, and integrity. New clients might ask for references, so having a list on hand will be helpful.
People you might ask could be prior supervisors, teachers, coaches, or friends. Make sure it’s ok with the people you’ve selected and let them know you’ll be giving out their information so they’re not surprised if someone calls.

Launching a business, even one as simple as a cleaning service, involves many details. Giving some thought to these details ahead of time means that when your business gets going you’ll be free to spend your time and energy doing the important work that brings in income: booking jobs and cleaning houses!

For more tips about starting or running a house cleaning service, check out my book How To Become a Cleaning Pro: The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service, available on Amazon.

Do You Have What It Takes To Successfully Operate Your Own House Cleaning Service?

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Starting a house cleaning service is pretty simple. You don’t need fancy office space or a huge bankroll or any special licenses. But cleaning houses for a living isn’t for just anyone. You need to have some specific qualifications and qualities as well as the drive to succeed and a willingness to work.

I’ve been a house cleaner for many years, and I’ve seen a lot of people jump into professional house cleaning without really understanding what the job entails. I’ve also heard from my customers about other house cleaners who didn’t know how to clean, didn’t have good customer service skills, or who just didn’t like to clean.

So if you’re toying with the idea of starting your own house cleaning service, I recommend that you spend a little time doing a self-assessment to determine if you really have what it takes to succeed. Based on my experience in the field, I offer the following tips to assist you in this endeavor.

Do You Know How to Clean a House? Are You Interested in Cleaning?

The first thing you should ask yourself is whether you really know how to clean a house. As long as you have basic house cleaning skills, you can improve upon them as you go. However, if you’re a terrible housekeeper and/or you hate cleaning, there’s no cure for that. A successful house cleaner doesn’t mind cleaning, is interested in learning more about cleaning, and is proficient at cleaning on a basic level at the very least.

Do You Have an Eye for Detail?

House cleaning is a lot more involved than just sweeping floors and cleaning toilets. A good house cleaner knows what a cobweb is and understands that dust settles on the top of the refrigerator even though you can’t see it. A good house cleaner pays attention to little details like dust on lamp finials and fingerprints on switch plates.

Cleaning a house means scrubbing dirty showers into submission and taking the time to buff ceramic floors to a brilliant shine. Cleaning professionally involves paying attention to hundreds of little specifics and making quick decisions about what details are important today and which will wait until next time. A good house cleaner makes sure freshly-cleaned areas look and smell freshly cleaned.

If you understand cleaning basics, have an eye for detail, and are willing to learn, that’s enough to get you going. Your skills will improve over time. Mine did.

Do You Have Good Communication Skills?

When I started out I had a good idea how to clean a house, so I thought I was some kind of expert. I wasn’t. Fortunately, I had good listening skills and was receptive and responsive to the instructions given to me by my new clients. I soon figured out that cleaning for other people is not the same as cleaning your own house.

Everybody has their own idea about what constitutes a clean house. Cleaning for other people requires that you ask questions and pay attention to the feedback you receive from clients. Your success as a professional house cleaner will require good communication skills so you are able to extract specific information from folks regarding their expectations of you and then find out how they think you’re doing as you go along.

You’ll also need to be thick skinned if the feedback you receive isn’t always positive, and you’ll have to be flexible in response to people’s expectations. When a client lets you know she wasn’t happy with something, you can’t take it personally because it’s the client’s satisfaction that defines a job well done.

When you’re starting out as a cleaning pro, there’s bound to be a learning curve. It’s important to maintain a good attitude and act professionally as you become familiar with the job. The only way you can figure out what the clients want is if they tell you.

Cleaning for other people tends to be very subjective. What I think is clean and what you think is clean might be different. And what the client thinks is clean is all that really matters.

Each cleaning job is different; some clients are fussier than others, all have differing expectations, and the makeup of homes one to the next varies.

Are You in Good Physical Condition?

Some homes are much more difficult to clean than others. House cleaning in general requires the stamina to stand and move for long stretches of time. Some houses have lots of stairs. Some homes have lots of low-placed objects that require bending or squatting to reach. Cleaning for a living is a physically demanding job.

A strong back and general good physical condition are non-negotiable unless you want to be in constant pain. The movements a house cleaner performs again and again all day long use muscles in the neck and the entire back, plus arms, wrists, and legs. You’ll also need to have feet strong enough to carry you through the days. If you’re starting out with any type of severe back, knee, hip, or foot injuries, your house cleaning career won’t last long.

Do You Have Business Sense and Organizational Skills?

Other key elements to successfully running a cleaning service include having at least a bit of business sense and good organizational skills. To operate a business you must be able to keep track of income and expenses and deal with customers in a professional manner.

Organizational skills are important, because you will have to be able to keep track of where you’re supposed to be each day and you’ll need a system to keep records of clients’ names, addresses, phone numbers, security information, door keys, and special instructions for each job.

Do You Have Reliable Transportation?

Reliable transportation is another essential element to operating a cleaning service. Clients will expect you to consistently arrive at the agreed-upon time. It’s up to you to make sure that’s possible. You will not be successful if you’re unable to guarantee that you will show up on time consistently.

Do You Have Integrity and a Strong Work Ethic?

Finally, integrity and a strong work ethic are absolutely necessary for you to succeed as a self-employed house cleaner. You’ve got to have the drive and determination to show up every day and do the work that you promised to do to the best of your ability. You may often work unsupervised, which means you’ll have to be self-motivated.

Successful house cleaners aren’t lazy. They don’t cancel jobs simply because they don’t feel like working that day. A strong work ethic means having the self-discipline and maturity to police yourself into showing up every day, on time, leaving personal problems at the door.

Integrity is necessary because people trust house cleaners to enter their personal space, handle their possessions, and become part of their private lives. House cleaners are privy to clients’ secrets. We see things no one else outside the family sees. House cleaners have to be honest and must be able to treat clients respectfully, which includes respecting their right to privacy.

From reading this post, you should now have a good idea of whether you have what it takes to successfully operate a house cleaning business.

In summary:

~Do you know how to clean a house?

~Do you have an eye for detail?

~Are you interested in cleaning and willing to continually work to improve your cleaning skills?

~Do you have good listening and communication skills?

~Are you in physically good shape?

~Do you have business sense and organizational skills?

~Do you have a means of reliable transportation?

~Do you possess integrity and a strong work ethic?

Cleaning houses every day is hard work, but it is also very rewarding. It’s a good way to make a decent living, and clients are grateful for a job well done. The “well done” part of that statement is the most important part. Clients aren’t interested in paying top dollar for bad or unreliable service.

If you possess the qualities outlined above and are willing to work hard and act like a mature professional, congratulations! You have what it takes to successfully operate your own house cleaning service!

For more tips about starting or running a house cleaning service, check out my book How To Become a Cleaning Pro: The Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service, available on Amazon.

10 Things Your Cleaning Lady Will Never Tell You

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Do you ever wonder what your cleaning lady secretly thinks about your home? Sure, she’s always pleasant and upbeat when she talks to you, but does she silently seethe about having to clean your bathroom? Read on to discover ten things your cleaning lady thinks but will never tell you.

Your Vacuum Cleaner Sucks

Poorly performing equipment makes for a poor result, which means your house isn’t getting as clean as it could be. For instance, if your vacuum cleaner doesn’t function well, dirt and debris will be left behind. If your vacuum cleaner doesn’t suck, the job it does will.

Likewise, old, worn out mops, brooms, brushes, sponges, and the like don’t perform well. And cheap (poorly made) cleaning supplies are just as bad; they break easily and produce poor results.

If you go to the expense of hiring someone to clean your home, go the rest of the way by supplying supplies that perform with the same efficiency that you expect from your house cleaner.

Your Home is Too Cluttered

Clutter impairs house cleaning. Maybe you’re indifferent to the mountains of junk mail and magazines overtaking countertops, but your cleaning lady isn’t.

It’s impossible to properly clean kitchen counters covered in stuff or remove dust from surfaces buried in objects. Vacuuming and sweeping and mopping cannot be effectively accomplished in areas where floors are inaccessible.

Reducing clutter makes it possible to clean a home properly. Plus, clutter-free spaces actually look clean after your house cleaner has visited.

Your Bathroom Is Disgusting

The bathroom is the one room in the house that requires constant attention. Soap scum and other nasties build up quickly if they’re not dealt with on a regular basis. No one wants to spend an hour and half scrubbing an inch of accumulated crud off your shower walls, even if you’re paying them to do so. And that gross stuff in the toilet bowl? Forget about it. Nobody wants to look at that, much less clean it.

Using a squeegee in the shower after each use all but eliminates soap scum buildup. A toilet brush isn’t difficult to use. If your house cleaner only comes once a month, take measures to ensure that your bathroom gets the attention it needs in between. The bottom line: don’t expect others to clean up filthy messes you wouldn’t touch.

She Can’t Read Your Mind

If you’ve got specific ideas about what you’d like to have incorporated into your home’s cleaning regimen, your house cleaner needs to be clued in to this information. For example, if it’s important to you that upholstery be vacuumed or window grates get dusted, communicating these expectations to your cleaning lady will ensure that the job gets done.

Many little details comprise a house cleaning routine, and one person’s idea of what it means to clean a house will never be identical to the next person’s. Your house cleaner can’t customize your house cleaning routine to suit your needs unless you let her know your preferences.

Your Problems Aren’t Her Problems

Your cleaning lady works for many people besides you, all of whom have issues that arise from time to time. Sometimes these situations create the need to reschedule or cancel house cleaning appointments; the unexpected is an inevitable part of life.

However, regularly asking your house cleaner to reschedule appointments is not fair to her or the other people for whom she works. It’s simply not realistic to expect others to repeatedly rearrange their schedules to accommodate your life.

If you don’t think you’ll be able to stick to a regular schedule due to extenuating circumstances, be up front about it. Your cleaner might be glad to keep you on standby to fill in the gaps when regulars occasionally cancel or go on vacation.

She’s Not Your Dog Walker

Pet care and house cleaning are two completely different jobs. Unless prearranged, walking your dog doesn’t fall under the “house cleaner” umbrella. Asking your cleaning lady to potty your pet is actually forcing her to take responsibility for your pet’s well being, which is more than she signed on for. Think about what would happen if Fido ran off or got hurt.

Plus, pet care takes time away from the job you hired your house cleaner to do: clean your house. If Fido needs to go out, hire a dog walker.

She’s Not Your Personal Shopper

If you don’t have time to pick up cleaning supplies, why would you assume that your cleaning lady does? Chances are she’s just as busy as you. She’s also got fifteen houses besides yours to think about. Write it down and pick up what you need when you’re buying bread and milk.

Your Chitchat is Distracting

Your house cleaner wants to be friendly, but not necessarily your best friend. Casual conversation as she comes or goes is nice. Following her around and filling her in on the details of your Cousin Erin’s dermatological problems is distracting. Don’t take advantage of having a captive audience; the job will suffer for it.

Your Prompt Payment is Not only Appreciated but Expected

Unless prior arrangements have been made, payment is expected at the time service is provided. Forgetting to leave payment once in a while is forgivable human error. Repeatedly stiffing the cleaning lady is just tacky. If you can’t afford the service, don’t sign on for it.

Your Courtesy is Valued

The true barometer of a person’s character is how they treat others. Your house cleaner remembers which clients treat her respectfully, and which ones don’t. Diplomacy and courtesy go a long way toward establishing a good rapport, which is a highly desirable situation when it comes to your relationship with someone who works in your home.

Having an open line of communication that flows in both directions is the best way to ensure that both you and your cleaning lady get what you need from your affiliation. After all, that’s the point of the whole arrangement, isn’t it? You want your house cleaned, and your cleaning lady needs to earn a living. So why not make sure she has what she needs to provide you with what you hired her to do? It’s a win-win.

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.

Holiday Housekeeping Hints

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The day after Halloween, my local shopping plaza started playing Christmas tunes. This reminded me that it’s never too early to start getting ready for the holidays. They’re coming whether we like it or not, so why not be proactive and head off the anxiety that comes with hurried, last-minute preparations?

Many people dislike the holiday season because they associate it with stress. There’s a lot of pressure to make everyone else happy, usually at the expense of ourselves. The best way to avoid this situation and learn to love the season of joy and giving is planning and organizing as early as possible and getting as much done ahead of time as you can.

The following tips will help you achieve these goals.

Make a Plan

Before diving into any large-scale project (which the holiday season definitely is), it’s essential to have a blueprint of what needs to happen to make the venture successful.

Don’t procrastinate, just do it. Begin today.

Do some planning:

  • Make out menus for holiday meals. General is ok, specific is better. At least get an idea of what you’ll be serving.
  • Make meal preparation charts. Write a list or draw a diagram to visually plan the steps, including approximating a schedule. It’s easy for details to get lost in the fray when you’re trying to do ten things at once on Thanksgiving Day. Having a plan at hand will come in very handy.
  • Make a list of chores that need to be done before Thanksgiving to get your home ready. This would include things like getting your fine china dusted off, figuring out where you stashed your turkey roaster last year, and preparing guest rooms for occupancy.
  • If you don’t stick to a regular cleaning routine that keeps your home in shape every week or two, look around and write out a list of areas that need to be cleaned before the holidays officially kick off. The kitchen, bathrooms, and areas where you entertain should be spruced up, if nothing else.
  • Create a master list of people to whom you’ll play Santa Claus. Figuring out what to buy can only come after knowing who to buy for. If you already know what to buy, skip this step.
  • Make another list of chores that will need to be done before Christmas to get your home ready. This would include things like creating a space for your Christmas tree, decorating, cleaning the oven in readiness for cookie baking, etc.

Next, make three master shopping lists:

  • Food supplies to have on hand for holiday gatherings, holiday baking, feeding out-of-town guests, etc. Think about what non-perishables can be stockpiled ahead of time. Refer to the menu plans you made.
  • General supplies necessary for the comfort of out-of-town guests, parties, or decorating. Things like toilet paper, gift wrap, paper cups, napkins, etc.
  • Gift ideas for people on the master list you prepared earlier.

Shop Now

Don’t wait until stores are overrun with frantic shoppers or online traffic is wreaking havoc with website usability. Stock up while lines are short.

Hit the grocery store with list number one, then Costco for lists number two and three. Go online when you get home to finish up.

Not only does this approach save time in the long run, it’ll take some of the pressure off later on. Knowing you’ve already got a pantry full of staples is like having money in the bank during the holiday season, when the pressure in on and that last-minute stop at the grocery store leaves you frustrated and running late, late, late.

This is also the best time to shop for gifts, especially if you’re not sure what to give. Having time to browse and reflect on what would tickle the recipient’s fancy isn’t a luxury you can afford the day before gifts are exchanged.

Get Your House in Order

With the bulk of shopping out of the way, move on to the next step: getting your home into shape. Refer to the lists you made earlier and get busy doing chores and cleaning.

Give your kitchen a good going over. Make sure the fridge is clean inside, the stovetop is free of burned-on messes, and the microwave isn’t harboring splatters or spills. This saves embarrassment when cousin Fran needs to store her Jell-O mold in the fridge and Aunt Kate needs to microwave her green-bean casserole.

Clean the dining room and other areas where you’ll entertain. Dust away cobwebs on the chandelier, sweep away the dust bunnies in corners, and vacuum up the dog hair that’s accumulated on the sofa cushions in the living room (guests don’t want to have dog hair all over their clothes after visiting you, no matter how much they love your animals).

Dust and vacuum guest rooms and make up beds so they’re freshened up and ready for use.

Be sure bathrooms are clean, that there are clean hand towels at the ready, and check your inventory of soap and toilet paper. Running out of TP with a house full of guests would not be a happy moment.

Start Preparing for Christmas

Yes, you read that right. It’s wise to begin Christmas preparations before Thanksgiving, if time allows. Once that train starts rolling on the day after Turkey Day, it gains momentum rapidly.

So, with Thanksgiving preparations well in hand, start getting a jump on your Christmas to-do list.

If you’ve already purchased gifts, which is advisable (as discussed above), start wrapping them as time permits.

Begin tackling other chores.

Think about what else you can do now to get ready ahead of time.

photo of pumpkins
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

On Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is the day that officially kicks off the season of holiday madness. If your plans were laid out with thought and diligence, Thanksgiving Day should find you calm and well-prepared.

Before Christmas

On the day after Thanksgiving, go back to your Christmas readiness list and get going with whatever hasn’t yet been accomplished. Take satisfaction in ticking tasks off the list as they get done.

Reducing stress later is accomplished by buckling down now. Looming deadlines cause anxiety. Conversely, thoughtful preparation well in advance creates a feeling of calm.

Having the situation well in hand affords us the time to spend doing things that matter, like simply being with friends and loved ones. Take the bull by the horns now so that you can learn to love the season of joy and giving.

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 Lazy Person’s Guide to House Cleaning

clean a window

Having a clean home isn’t a luxury limited only to people who leap out of bed every morning brimming with energy. House cleaning can be accomplished by just about anyone, even people whose energy levels drag along on the ground behind them like dead weight.

Know in advance that there’s no way to clean a house with no effort at all. But there are lots of tips and shortcuts that can greatly reduce the amount of work involved in home cleaning. This guide will give you some ideas.

Minimize the Need to Clean

A little preventative maintenance minimizes the need to clean. For example, don’t be a slob. This means using care when pouring juice so it doesn’t spill and covering your frying pan so that nothing splatters onto the stove when you cook.

Throw garbage into the trash can, not onto the floor. Pick up dirty dishes and put them into the dishwasher after you are done with them and before any remaining food debris gets the chance to harden or congeal. Don’t make work for yourself; make the effort now to minimize the amount of work you’ll need to do later.

Take measures to prevent dirt and grime from tracking or building up. Place door mats at each entrance to contain mud or other debris on footwear. Ask family member to remove their shoes at the door. Use an old towel to wipe the dog’s paws when he comes in from a walk on rainy days.

Place trash containers strategically so that no one has an excuse for not depositing garbage into the appropriate place. Don’t allow old magazines and newspapers and junk mail to pile up. Recycle recyclables. Keep a donation box on standby and toss in any items you don’t use in order to avoid ending up with accumulations of clutter or unnecessary possessions that complicate your house cleaning endeavors.

Squegee shower walls after each use so soap scum doesn’t build up. Clean other areas of the bathroom often so that grime, toothpaste, and other materials don’t build up. While it only takes a minute or two to wipe up a little bit of mess, if it’s left to build up into a monumental mess the job becomes monumental. Apply these principles throughout the house to reduce the need to clean.

Spread it Out Over Time

Clean a little bit here and a little bit there rather than all at once. For example, clean the kitchen on Monday, bathrooms on Tuesday, shared living spaces on Wednesday, bedrooms on Thursday, and whatever’s left on Friday.

Do laundry a little bit at a time instead of all at once. Pre-treat stains immediately to avoid having to spend a lot of time fussing over them later on. Fold or hang clothes as soon as the dryer cycle is complete so clothes are wrinkle-free and wear-ready.

Sweep or vacuum entry ways every few days; it’ll only take a couple of minutes and will also reduce the tracking of dirt further into the house.

A big job broken down into smaller jobs is a great way for anyone with low energy to net the same results as people who have the stamina to whip through the whole job at once.

Lower Your Standards

If you’re not especially energetic, it might not be realistic to expect that you’ll be able to keep your home so clean that you could eat off the floors. A few dust bunnies in the corners or cobwebs on the chandelier never killed anyone.

Save your energy for areas that matter. A clean kitchen is more important than a clean dining room, because food is stored and prepared in the kitchen.

A clean dryer vent can potentially prevent your house from burning down. Dust under your bed doesn’t really matter all that much in the grand scheme of things.

While there are lots of advantages to having a spotless home, it’s not necessary to set yourself up to feel like a failure if you’re never going to be able to get there. Give yourself a break, clean the important things, and let the rest slide.

Delegate

Share tasks with roommates, kids, or any willing helpers. Make a list or chart and assign chores. It may turn out that your progeny are more domestically inclined, and more energetic, than you are.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help; housework should never be the sole responsibility for any one member of the household. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so cut yourself some slack.

Brains Over Brawn

When you clean, make the most of every movement. Carefully plan out the job so that it can be accomplished as quickly and easily as possible. Clean from one end of the house to the other or from top to bottom so you don’t retrace your steps.

Keep cleaning supplies in the same spot so they’re ready and waiting when you need them. Twenty minutes spent searching for the mop is a waste of time and your precious energy.

Wear an apron with lots of pockets so you can keep cleaning supplies with you as you work. Develop a cleaning routine that you follow each time you clean; practice increases speed and efficiency, and saves energy.

Think smart, work less, make the best use of your brain power to reduce the need for man power.

Barter

If you’ve got a friend who hates to cook but loves to clean, and you love to cook but hate to clean, turn the situation into a win-win for both of you by trading off tasks. This may seem like an unconventional approach, but if it nets all concerned parties the results they need, why not?

Outsource

Finally, there are people ready and willing to do the heavy lifting if you’re willing to pay them for their time and trouble. Hiring a house cleaner saves your back and requires much less energy expenditure on your end. You’ll still have to keep the house picked up and load the dishwasher, but a house cleaner will do jobs like dusting, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the kitchen, and scrubbing bathrooms.

There’s a solution to every problem, so don’t allow low energy to deter you from living in a reasonably clean home. The kitchen and bathroom are rooms that must be cleaned, no matter what, to maintain good hygiene. Floors also are non-negotiable if any amount of dirt gets tracked in from outside. Dusting should take place at least occasionally in order to ensure good air quality.

You don’t have to be a cleaning ninja to keep your home clean; anyone can keep a reasonably clean home using the simple tips outlined above.

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.

Get Your Home In Shape for the Holidays: a Week-by-Week Action Plan

 

close up of two flute glasses filled with sparkling wine wuth ribbons and christmas decor
Photo by VisionPic .net on Pexels.com

The holiday season is bearing down on us like a freight train. If your home is not quite ready for the time of year when people show up at your door and expect to be invited inside, now’s the time to get busy. This holiday-readiness action plan breaks down home holiday preparation into a simple five-week plan that’ll have your house in tip-top shape by Thanksgiving Day.

Week One: Cut Down on Clutter in Common Areas

Phase one calls for clearing out unnecessary stuff that collects dust and complicates cleaning in common areas like the living room, dining room, kitchen, and family room. The goal is uncluttered surfaces throughout: countertops, shelves, tables, and wherever else stuff has accumulated.

File or toss out stacks of bills. Recycle magazines that you’ll never read. Donate the box of baking pans that have been sitting in the corner since your mother-in-law gave them to you after she cleaned out her kitchen cupboards (and which don’t fit into yours either).

Look around your space with a critical eye and be merciless. If it’s not useful to you, get rid of it. Things that you don’t need can be used and appreciated by someone else if you donate them to a local community action center or church.

This de-cluttering phase is a fresh start. When it’s complete you’ll be able to clearly spot, and access, the dust on flat surfaces, cobwebs in corners, and dirt everywhere else. It’s infinitely easier to clean and maintain spaces that have minimal clutter, so this first step ensures that your subsequent cleaning endeavors will be successful.

 

Week Two: Tackle Dust and Cobwebs in Common Areas

Phase two is the time to clean up accumulated dust and cobwebs that are clearly visible and accessible now that the clutter has gone away. Get out your long-handled, telescoping duster to first tackle cobwebs and dust up high. If you don’t have one, secure an old towel over the business end of a broom. Areas where dust settles and cobwebs form: valances and window treatments, ceiling fans, the top of wardrobes and cupboards, recessed lighting fixtures, and corners where walls meet up.

After all the dust up high has been removed, move on to areas at eye level and below. Target chair rails, lampshades and finials, picture frames and wall hangings, window sills, shelves, door ridges and louvered doors, air exchange grates and covers, baseboards and baseboard heaters.

Dust also accumulates at floor level under appliances like the refrigerator and stove, under beds and couches, and in the corners behind furniture and in closets. Tackle these areas with crevice tools, a dust mop, a broom, or your vacuum cleaner.

Remove as much dust as you can from these typically overlooked areas. Eliminating dust from your ceiling fan and on top of the fridge reduces the overall amount of dust that can be stirred up and re-distributed later on. Once the lion’s share of dust is gone, a little bit of upkeep between now and Christmas Eve will guarantee a dust-free family bash, so Aunt Gertrude will have no cause to cast a critical eye at dust bunnies in corners.

leather chair

Week Three: Deep Clean Guest Rooms

If you’re expecting out-of-town guests for the holidays, phase three of your pre-holiday cleanup involves getting guests rooms ready for occupancy. The nature and amount of work involved in this step depends on the state of the rooms: if they’ve become household catchall spaces, the task will be more complicated than if they simply need sprucing up.

Do whatever needs to be done to make them habitable. De-clutter, if necessary, dust and vacuum, freshen bed linens and window treatments. When this phase is completed, your guest rooms will be ready and waiting when Santa Clause and his compadres come to town and you won’t have to scramble at the last minute to unearth the beds.

Week Four: Thoroughly Clean the Kitchen

The kitchen typically sees a lot of action during the holiday season. For this reason, giving the kitchen a good cleanup is the goal of phase four of your holiday action plan.

This is the time to tackle tasks that don’t get done regularly: purge the pantry, re-arrange and re-organize cupboards, clean the oven and the fridge. Really take time to get into corners and underneath furniture.

When you’re done, the kitchen will be in prime condition for holiday baking as well as entertaining visitors. No cringing when Cousin Celia opens your oven door to pop in her green-bean casserole!

Week Five: Give the Whole House a Quick Cleanup

Phase five is the time to whip through the whole house: dust, vacuum, mop, clean bathrooms, and generally tidy up. Pay particular attention to the areas that will be visible to visitors. Since you’ve already de-cluttered, eliminated cobwebs and dust, plus cleaned guest rooms and the kitchen, this phase of the operation should be quick and easy.

Breaking down a big job into manageable segments is the key to successfully achieving any goal. This five-week action plan gets your home into shape just in time for the holiday season kickoff: Thanksgiving. So get busy, stay on track, and allow yourself the luxury of less stress at game time by implementing this preparation plan over the next five weeks.

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 Your Home Ready for the Holidays: Fall House Cleaning Tips

orangetreeThe change of seasons is the perfect time to tackle chores around the house that don’t get done as part of your regular cleaning regimen. Getting your home ready for winter isn’t difficult, and it’s worth investing a little time now to start preparing your home for the busy holiday season. The following are some common tasks that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Dust Baseboard Heaters

If your home has baseboard heaters, this is the time to really get them clean. Use your vacuum cleaner dusting brush and crevice tools to remove dust, cobwebs, and other debris that collects inside and underneath.

Dust Vent Covers

Use your vacuum cleaner dusting brush to thoroughly remove accumulations of dust or cobwebs on heating vent covers and grates.

Freshen Cozy Throw Blankets

Wash or air out throws that you snuggle underneath during cold winter months. Anything too bulky to put in your washing machine can be taken to a Laundromat.

clean an oven

Clean the Oven

This is the perfect time of year to clean the oven. Before holiday entertaining season begins, get your oven in tip-top shape so it’ll be performing optimally to bake pies and cookies.

Wash Fine China

Dust or hand wash the fine china and crystal that doesn’t get used in the summer, when picnics and grilling outside are the norm. You’ll be glad you did when it comes time to set your Thanksgiving Day table. More done now means less stress later.

Deep Clean the Dining Room

Take time to thoroughly clean the least-used room in the house: the dining room. Holiday entertaining is right around the corner, so get your home in shape now. Eliminate cobwebs in corners and on light fixtures. Dust the tops of hutches, and tackle baseboards. Get into all the areas that don’t receive regular attention.

Freshen Guest Rooms

This is also the perfect time to give guest bedrooms a good once-over. Freshen window treatments by vacuuming, or air them outside. Organize the closets, sort out miscellanea in wardrobes or dressers, and get rid of things you don’t use that are wasting space.

Vacuum Mattresses

While you’re cleaning the bedrooms, vacuum and flip mattresses. Also freshen bedding, by airing outside or laundering, if necessary.

spray a window

Clean Glass Doors

Before cold weather sets in, clean glass entry doors. Gleaming glass makes a great first impression on holiday guests. Plus, it’s tough to clean outside glass when the temperature drops below freezing.

Wash Entry Mats

Start off fresh when messy winter weather hits. Wash entry mats, boot trays, and runners so they’ll be ready for the workout ahead.

Winter is on its way, and with it, the holiday season. Give yourself time to enjoy fun and family by getting your home ready now. Why put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today?

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 Express: The Quickest Route to a Clean House

rugWho has time to clean?

Everyone wants a clean house, but who has time to do the job? Getting your home clean without spending a lot of time isn’t difficult; it just takes a little dedication. This guide will explain how to keep a clean house when your time is limited.

Keep It Picked Up

When your home is free of unnecessary clutter, cleaning is ten times easier. Clutter makes it look messy, breeds dust, and impedes the cleaning process.

Some simple steps to accomplish neatness:

  • Assign every object in your home a space to call its own.
  • Make “putting things away” a habit. When you’re done using the scissors, put them away. When you bring groceries home, put them away. When you get undressed, put your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper. In no time at all, you’ll be putting things away without giving it a second thought.
  • Make each household member take responsibility for their own stuff. Assign each person a basket and place stray items into the basket. If baskets are overflowing, hold the contents ransom until the errant party agrees to deal with their mess.
  • Purge unnecessary items on a regular basis. Keep a donation box in a prominent spot and make use of it.
  • Use baskets, bins, totes, shelves, or whatever tickles your fancy to keep your stuff organized and put away.

window and curtain

Clean as You Go

Housecleaning is most effective when it’s done on a regular basis. The quickest method by far is cleaning up every day. This doesn’t mean cleaning the entire house every day. This means doing various tasks as necessary so that areas never really get dirty. Daily tasks include the following:

  • Kitchen cleanup: as soon as food preparation is done, areas that were used should be wiped clean. Constantly be alert to the state of your kitchen appliances. If the stovetop is dirty, wipe it clean. If the inside of the microwave has food splatters, wipe it clean. When you begin to notice fingerprints on keypads or handles, it’s time to clean them. None of these tasks, taken individually, requires much time. Spending ten or fifteen minutes each day sprucing up the kitchen means you’ll never have to spend an hour or more at one time cleaning everything.
  • Bathroom patrol: clean bathroom sinks, vanities, and the toilet when you notice that it needs to be done. If there’s toothpaste on the mirror, take a minute to wipe it clean. Squeegee shower walls clean every day so that soap scum doesn’t get the opportunity to build up. Keep rags, sponges, paper towels, and bathroom cleaner under the sink and make use of them as necessary so the bathroom never really gets dirty.
  • Laundry: do it as often a necessary to avoid a huge accumulation.
  • Sweep or vacuum entryways as soon as dirt is tracked inside. This prevents dirt from getting tracked further into the house.
  • Clean pet areas often. Mats under water dishes, pet beds, and other pet-related paraphernalia should be cleaned whenever you notice they’re dirty.
  • Floors: spot clean as needed. If something gets spilled, clean it up before it gets tracked anywhere else.

Commit to a Regimen

On a regular basis, preferably weekly or every other week, make a point of completing whatever other housekeeping chores need doing. When the kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, and pet areas are kept clean on a daily basis, there’s not much left to do. Change bedding, dust, vacuum or sweep, and mop (if necessary). Don’t clean anything that isn’t dirty. An hour or two at most, and your home will be spic-and-span.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Tried-and-true cleaning methods and tips are everywhere. The internet and magazines are loaded with cleaning advice. Put it to good use. House cleaning has been around for a long time. Cash in on the experience of others to save yourself time and trouble. A clean house doesn’t have to be a huge hassle, don’t turn it into one.

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.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator

stainless steel refrigerator beside white kitchen cabinet
Photo by Alex Qian on Pexels.com

While we typically clean the sticky handprints off of the outside of the fridge as part of a regular cleaning routine, the inside often gets neglected. Food drips, spills, and crumbs accumulate on surfaces inside the refrigerator and need to be cleaned up periodically.

Equally important, if you find that foodstuffs are passing their expiration dates before you get a chance to use them, clean them out as often as need be. Don’t let old food sit around stinking up the fridge, because bad smells are tough to remove from a refrigerator.

Start with the Door

When cleaning your fridge, start by cleaning shelves or racks on the inside of the door. Working from the top down, check for any food that needs to be tossed. Shift items from side to side so that you can wipe all surfaces clean. If areas are jam-packed, remove the contents and set aside temporarily, wipe the area clean, then replace items. Be sure to wipe clean any containers that are sticky on the outside prior to replacing.

Any tough or sticky messes on trays or racks might need special treatment. If trays are removable, wash them in warm water with dish detergent. Let them soak for a bit, if necessary. Scrubbing with a non-abrasive nylon scrubber sponge might help loosen the mess. After they’re clean, rinse, dry, and replace.

Don’t forget to clean the door gasket before moving on. Wipe gently with mild soap, getting into the ridges carefully to avoid causing damage. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth.

Shelves and Drawers

After the door is clean and re-organized, move to the shelves inside. Work from the top down so that any falling debris lands in areas that haven’t yet been cleaned. Use the same method as for the door: either shift items from side to side to clean surfaces, or remove items, wipe the area clean, then replace the items. Again be sure to clean the outsides of containers if they are sticky and toss out anything that’s no good.

Also clean inner walls (sides and back) as you work.

If they’re very dirty or sticky, remove drawers and other removable parts and clean with warm water and dish detergent, then rinse well.

The Freezer

The freezer can be cleaned using the same methods as for the fridge. Use a cloth dampened with very hot water to remove drips or spills in the freezer.

But Wait, There’s More

After the interior of the fridge is clean and organized, there’s still work to do. Dust builds up underneath and behind the fridge. Small objects also tend to find their way under the refrigerator. This is the time to unearth the bottle caps, toys, popsicle sticks, and dried-up green peas that accumulate in this space.

How to Clean Underneath

Many refrigerators have a grill on the front toward the floor and underneath the door. These are generally held in place on each side with clips. Give it a little pull and it’ll usually pop right off.

Next, wrap a rag or old towel around a yard stick and use this “tool” to remove any objects under the fridge, such as those mentioned above.

Finally, use a long, narrow attachment tool to vacuum the area clear of any remaining dust. If you don’t have such an attachment on hand, improvise by using a cardboard wrapping paper tube.

Removing larger objects prior to vacuuming prevents you from ending up with bottle caps or similar objects lodged in the vacuum cleaner hose.

Pull It Out (If It Rolls)

Some refrigerators have wheels underneath so that they can be pulled out away from the wall for cleaning ease. In this case, carefully pull the fridge forward and clean the floor area under the fridge as well as the wall behind it.

Since the refrigerator is a food storage space, it’s important to keep it clean. Plan on wiping up spills and crumbs at least once every month or so. Keep a close eye on expiring food as well, and clean it out as often as necessary. These simple maintenance procedures ensure that your fridge will always be clean and hygienic.

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.