Home Cleaning Tips: Time Savers

House cleaning isn’t fun or easy, but there are lots of ways to streamline the process in order to improve efficiency. The following are some basic time-saving tips to help minimize the hassle on cleaning day.

Strategize

Before you begin cleaning, make a plan. Figure out your goals and the best path to reaching them. For instance, you may want to focus on the areas that are dirtiest or clean whatever areas need sprucing up for a dinner with friends. Map out a cleaning strategy that makes the best use of every step you take. Set realistic goals that can be realized within the time frame you’ve allotted to cleaning.

Make a list, draw a chart, keep in mind a picture of what you hope to achieve. However you go about it, knowing what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it is half the battle.

Develop Cleaning Flow

Cleaning on a regular schedule, for example spot cleaning as you go supplemented with a bi-weekly once-over, helps you to develop a routine that flows smoothly. Easy and logical transitions from task to task increase cleaning speed and efficiency. Vacuuming furniture would logically transition to vacuuming floors, for instance. Repeating the same process over and over again allows for refinements, so over time your routine will be streamlined to perfection.

Vacuum Everything to Eliminate Dust or Pet Hair

The best way to eliminate copious quantities of dust or pet hair is to vacuum them up. This method traps debris and locks it down so it doesn’t end up re-circulating back into the air. Many modern vacuum cleaners have long enough hoses to reach most areas high and low. Vacuum ceiling fans, window treatments, wall hangings, baseboards, baseboard heaters, grates, door sills, furniture of all types, and anything else that’s coated in dust or hair.

The more dust and debris that’s eliminated from surfaces is that much less to potentially be stirred up into the air later on, only to resettle somewhere else.

Use Eraser-Type Sponges

Eraser-type sponges are time savers for cleaning all kinds of stubborn messes, from bathroom gunk to cooked-on debris in the kitchen, streaks on floors, marks on walls, and many other tough jobs. Use in conjunction with cleansing powder to remove tough soap scum. Or use with an all-purpose cleaner containing bleach to eradicate mold and mildew. The only caveat: be cautious using eraser sponges on painted surfaces or they’ll take the paint right off along with the grime.

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Use a Dusting Tool

Use a microfiber or microstatic dusting tool instead of a cloth to quickly dust furniture, baseboards, blinds, lampshades, and everything else. Don’t pick up every item; pass the tool over and around objects carefully. This method is ideal for areas that aren’t loaded with dust. It’ll take half the time as it would using a damp cloth.

Clean with Intent

Work purposefully, constantly thinking one or two steps ahead. Strive to minimize steps and maximize each movement to get the most bang for your buck. Don’t simply plod along, move steadily and as quickly as possible without compromising the quality of the job.

Don’t Clean What isn’t Dirty

If it doesn’t look dirty, doesn’t smell dirty, and hasn’t been used lately, don’t waste your time cleaning it.

Use Good Equipment

Sturdy, well-designed cleaning tools and equipment get the job done quickly. Invest in a decent vacuum cleaner, mop, bucket, brushes, sponges, and cleaning cloths.

Use Appropriate Cleaning Agents

Use cleaning agents formulated for whatever you’re cleaning, and in the correct concentration. Not enough won’t do the job. Too much is just as bad; you’ll waste time rinsing, or worse leave behind a residue that will attract more dirt. Using the wrong detergent can damage the surface you’re attempting to clean and/or fail to do the job.

Remember, the purpose of a cleaning agent is to assist in breaking down dirt and grime so it can be more easily removed from surfaces. Use them to your advantage by understanding their benefits as well as their limitations.

Don’t Rush the Job

Frenzied, rushed cleaning sessions cause accidents that cost time. Work steadily and purposefully, not manically.

Clean Continuously

Know that from the minute your house cleaning routine is wrapped up for the week, the creation of new messes begins. House cleaning is never really done. The number one time-saving cleaning tip is to clean frequently.

Not only does this approach break a big job down into manageable parts, but it reduces the overall time you’ll actually spend cleaning. Attacking spills seconds after they occur makes cleanup a two-minute job instead of a twenty-minute job two weeks later, after the spill has congealed into a nasty, sticky mess.

However you choose to approach house cleaning, a little bit of knowledge can go a long way toward streamlining your processes so that cleaning day is as hassle-free as possible.

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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Washing Dirty Vinyl or Metal Blinds

dustblindOver the years, I’ve tried a lot of different methods for cleaning dirty window blinds. In my experience, you have to really want to have spotless blinds to bother even attempting this, because blind washing isn’t a lot of fun. It takes time and elbow grease. I have found two methods that work well.

You need a bathtub for method one. If you don’t have a bathtub, skip to method two. Also remember these methods are for vinyl or metal blinds only. If you are cleaning vertical blinds, the slats can usually be removed from the headrail for cleaning.

Method 1

Put some warm water and all-purpose cleaner in a bathtub and immerse the blind in the water. Kneel beside the tub (you may want a towel under your knees) and, using a scrub brush, rag, or sponge, scrub several slats at a time until they are all clean. Reverse the slats or flip the blind over and repeat the process on the other side.

Drain the soapy water and replace with clean water to rinse the blind. Carefully wrap the blind in a towel to catch dripping water, and take it outside. Drape the blind over a railing or hang it up somewhere else to dry. You can hang it in the shower to dry if you can’t take it outside. Wherever you hang it, bear in mind that it will drip water for a while.

Method 2

Take the blind outside and find a clean place to lay it down, or place a tarp or some plastic sheeting on the ground and lay the blind on top. Spray all-purpose cleaner on the blind, then, using a long-handled brush, kneel or squat beside the blind and scrub the slats, working in sections.

When you finish one side, turn it over and repeat the procedure. Then take a hose or bucket of water and rinse the blind until all the crud and soap is gone. Hang the blind from a railing or clothesline or tree branch until it is dry.

Either procedure is time-consuming and tedious. The only consolation I can offer is that blinds always look really good afterward.

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.

 

Spring Clean Express: Deep Cleaning Shortcuts

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Spring is the time to refresh and rejuvenate. It’s also an excellent opportunity to do those cleaning jobs around the house that you don’t usually get around to doing. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. Just a few minutes here and there can get the job done.

vacuum upholstery tool

Vacuum Upholstered Furniture

The next time you’ve got the vacuum cleaner out, tackle upholstered furniture. Vacuuming and rotating sofa and chair cushions takes just a few minutes, freshens the furniture, and prolongs its life. Use the upholstery tool or dusting brush attachments, depending on your furniture’s composition. Be gentle on delicate fabrics.

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Get Rid of Cobwebs

Use a telescoping dusting tool to reach cobwebs that form in high spots, like where walls and ceiling meet, on light fixtures and ceiling fans, along the tops of window and door frames, and in any recessed areas like skylights. While you’re at it, dust the tops of any cabinets or tall furniture.

Freshen Window Treatments

Dust horizontal blinds with a damp cloth or your vacuum cleaner dusting tool. Vacuum heavyweight curtains; take lightweight curtains outdoors and give them a good shaking to remove dust. Use a dusting wand to get into all the spaces on interior window shutters.

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Wash Windows

If you’ve got tip-ins, this tedious task goes quickly. Have a supply of dry rags on hand. Make a window cleaning solution by mixing a half cup of ammonia into a gallon pail of water. Use a sponge or rag to wipe clean your window surface, rinsing your sponge as necessary. When your surface is squeaky clean, buff with a dry cloth. Switch out your cloths as they become damp to avoid streaking.

Dust Your Curio Cabinet

Spend a few minutes dusting inside cabinets that aren’t routinely cleaned. This is an excellent opportunity to cut down on the free dust circulating in your air. The more dust you can eliminate from your environment, the less dust there is floating around, waiting to settle down on your grandma’s crystal.

Purge Your Pantry

Remove items from your pantry, sorting as you go. Discard expired foods or anything that looks suspect. Dust shelves and re-organize as you restock.

Wash Entry Mats

Rubber and rubber-backed mats and rugs can be sprayed with an equal vinegar/water mixture and then hosed off outside. Leave to dry in the fresh air and sunshine. They’ll look and smell like new.

These are just a few ideas to give your home a spring boost. For more quick home freshen-ups, check out my post Cleaning Secrets: Details Matter.

Look around and see what else needs to be cleaned, polished, or freshened up. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it can make a big difference in the way your home looks and smells.

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 Made Difficult

cleaning applianceWhen it comes to house cleaning, the best approach is to keep it simple. Use straightforward methods and basic supplies. Think about your techniques, streamline procedures, become an efficiency expert. Aim for getting maximum results for your efforts.

Clean Habitually

No one should have to spend hours upon hours cleaning house. Integrating elementary cleaning habits into your daily routines will keep your home in great shape every day of the week. Allowing messes to build up and spills to harden into congealed globules of goo means you’ll spend your weekend scrubbing the kitchen instead of doing something a little more fun and interesting.

Clean As You Go

The simplest approach to keeping a nice home is the clean-as-you-go method. This system takes a little bit of time each day and calls for cleaning messes as they occur and doing little bits of whatever else needs to be done as the spirit moves you.

Using this technique, you clean your kitchen after cooking and wipe up the bathroom every couple of days. A broom or stick vacuum by the door makes it easy to give the entryway floor the attention it needs so that dirt doesn’t get tracked any further into the house. Dusting and vacuuming get done when you notice that it needs to be done, wherever it needs to be done.

Allowing dirt to accumulate, greasy messes to linger, and soap scum to thicken makes house cleaning difficult and time-consuming. Throw away the notion that a house needs to be cleaned top to bottom every other week. In the span of two weeks, lots of tasks that would have taken a mere five minutes to clean up at their outset compound into labor-intensive, back-breaking chores.

Cleaning as you go also makes it easy to use simple cleaning products. Basic cleaning agents like vinegar, ammonia, baking soda or scrubbing powder, and dish detergent can easily constitute your entire housekeeping arsenal if messes are never allowed to reach a point that requires tough chemical interventions.

See a Mess, Clean It

House cleaning is very simple: see a mess, clean it. Repeat. It’s a continuous process that’s never done. Life is messy every day.

The thing about dirt is that it grows roots and digs itself in when you leave it to its own devices. It’s much quicker and easier to get rid of it immediately on its appearance using straightforward methods, and then move on.

The longer dirt and grime linger, the longer it takes to eliminate them. House cleaning can be quite simple; don’t make it difficult.

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 101: Introduction to Making Your Home Shiny and Clean

sweepIf you’re a total cleaning novice, you’re in the right place. This is Cleaning 101, the introductory course to making your home shiny and clean. Cleaning is both simple and complicated at the same time. At its core, house cleaning is quite simply the means through which dirt and other unwanted substances are removed from your living space.

There are also many nuances to cleaning which make it complicated. We won’t worry about the nuances today. Our focus today will be on some basic home cleaning fundamentals.

Cleaning is a Process

The first thing you should understand about house cleaning is that it’s a process. Done properly, cleaning isn’t something that only happens once in a while. Keeping a home shiny and clean requires commitment. Simply put: the more frequently you clean, the nicer your home will look and smell. It’s therefore necessary to establish a cleaning routine that involves cleaning your home on a regular basis.

Establish a Routine

Figure out a schedule that will easily fit into your lifestyle. Your routine could be carried out daily, weekly, every other week, or some combination thereof. Whatever the routine, the most important element is that you have one. Get into the habit of cleaning your home on a regular basis in order to ensure that it stays clean.

Doing an extensive cleaning of your home once every six months isn’t a cleaning routine; it’s damage control. When dirt and grime sit around for a long time, they begin to degrade surfaces. Furthermore, it’s much more difficult to remove long term buildups; a process that is both time consuming and potentially damaging to the surface. Refer to my blog post Cleaning Secrets: Frequency is Your Friend to expand your knowledge on the subject.

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Get Some Supplies

After deciding on a cleaning schedule, you’ll need to know what supplies to have on hand. The short list: a broom or vacuum cleaner, a mop for bare floors, a bucket, a toilet brush, some rags or cloths, sponges, possibly a dusting wand (makes the job go quicker), and some basic agents for cleaning glass, appliances, countertops, bathroom fixtures, floors, and any other surfaces. My post entitled Back to Basics: What Supplies Do You Really Need To Clean A House? gives more in-depth info on this topic.

Get Busy

Once you’ve got your cleaning supplies, it’s time to get busy. First de-clutter and organize your living space as much as possible. It’s a lot easier to clean surfaces that aren’t covered in stuff. Organizing and de-cluttering are the prime prerequisites to keeping a clean home. This step might take ten minutes, or a week and a half, depending on your particular state of clutter. If need be, just work around the clutter for now and plan to organize and de-clutter incrementally.

Strategize

Next, take a few minutes to strategize your plan of attack. Decide how much time you have available to spend on cleaning. Then take a quick walk through your home, getting an idea of what needs to be done. Refer to my House Cleaning Checklist post for ideas about what specific tasks comprise the steps in cleaning a house.

Look for trouble spots as well as areas that don’t need any attention. Once you’ve got an overall picture of the job, plan how much time you’ll spend cleaning each area, keeping in mind the total overall time that you have available to spend on the job. Getting the whole house cleaned is your goal. Budgeting your time and staying on schedule will help you to make that happen.

The cleaning process itself shouldn’t be too elaborate at this point. If you’re a cleaning novice, focus on the obvious. You’ll hone your skills over time. There’s a learning curve to house cleaning.

Keep it Simple

For now, keep it simple. Dust, vacuum, sweep. Clean glass surfaces and countertops and appliance fronts. Clean your bathroom fixtures and mop your floors. Don’t concern yourself with eradicating every speck of dirt. Cleaning every single nook and cranny is time-consuming and unnecessary.

If you perform your cleaning routine on a regular schedule, everything will get cleaned eventually. For now, focus on high-traffic areas. These will need to be done every time you clean. Areas that see little or no use don’t need to be cleaned as often.

As your cleaning skills improve, you’ll get a better feel for the process. Regular cleaning  ensures that high-traffic areas are always in good shape and areas that need less attention get cleaned as needed. My post House Cleaning Demystified will give you more insight.

Maintenance

The final step of house cleaning is maintenance. Getting your home into excellent shape might take a few weeks, or months, depending on the state it’s in today. Once you’ve achieved a state of excellence, your home will stay that way if you clean regularly and keep up with the control of dirt, grime, and dust.

This sometimes calls for aggressive proactive measures and sometimes can be handled with a more laid-back style. Every situation is different. If you notice that you’re losing ground, increase your vigilance. It’s much easier to maintain a state of order than to have to reclaim it after you’ve lost control. My post Maintenance: The Cornerstone of House Cleaning  will give you more insight.

Following the steps laid out here will get you going in the right direction. House cleaning is a hands-on endeavor. Get in there, get your hands wet, learn on the job. Before you know it, you’ll be effortlessly keeping your home shiny and clean.

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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The Cardinal Rules of House Cleaning

clean a windowHouse cleaning, at its core, is very basic. The objective is the removal of dirt and grime from a home in order to promote the good health of its occupants as well as improve their quality of life. Regardless of whether you’re cleaning a two-bedroom cottage or a twenty-bedroom mansion, some basic cardinal rules will help you achieve these goals.

Clean regularly and routinely to keep your home in the best possible condition. Integrating a regular cleaning routine into your schedule serves several purposes. First, it ensures that your house gets cleaned. Second, routine cleaning quickly becomes a habit. Third, the more often you clean, the less time it takes to complete the job. Fourth, regularly cleaning your home means you won’t get stuck spending an entire weekend playing catch-up. Fifth, a clean home just makes you feel good, both because it smells and looks good and because you feel a sense of accomplishment at having completed the task.

Make house cleaning a priority; a regular schedule means that important things get done before they get out of control, and less important things get done sooner or later as time permits.

For example, if you clean your home faithfully once a week, high traffic areas will get the attention they need before dirt and grime reaches toxic levels. This means your kitchen, bathrooms, and other common areas will always be in good-enough shape. They’ll be nice and clean on the day after you clean, and by the end of the week they’ll again need attention but won’t be terrible. And some weeks the kitchen won’t demand as much of your time so you’ll get a chance to vacuum under beds or couch cushions.

A set routine gets you into the habit of cleaning regularly, which ensures that all areas get cleaned from time to time. A clean home is a healthy, happy environment. Plus, you’ll never be embarrassed when unexpected company shows up at your door.

Reduce clutter to speed up the cleaning process and enhance effectiveness. Keeping clutter at bay makes cleaning quicker and easier. Dusting minimally-cluttered surfaces not only takes less time but also cuts down on dust in general because there are fewer surfaces on which dust can settle.

Having to work around or move multiple objects when vacuuming consumes time. Mopping is a nightmare when you’ve got to shift things around from space to space to even get at the floor. Plus, clutter-free spaces just look better.

Clean from top to bottom to make sure dirt always falls into areas that haven’t yet been cleaned. The first step to cleaning any space is dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures, and anything else up high. The last step is cleaning floors.

This principle should be applied continuously throughout the cleaning process so that dirt and dust fall down into areas that haven’t yet been cleaned. For instance, don’t sweep the floor before cleaning crumbs off of the kitchen countertops.

Clean in a continuous line so dirt doesn’t get tracked back into areas which have already been cleaned. Work from room to room in a continuous line as much as possible. Plot your course in a manner that will contain dirt and grime rather than spread it around. Tracking dirt back into areas you’ve just cleaned is counterproductive.

Use tools to maximize efficiency. For example, a good dusting wand with nubs that grab dust can be used almost universally throughout the house. A string mop gets into the corners and tight spaces that a sponge mop can’t reach. And never underestimate the usefulness of your vacuum cleaner. It’s one of the most versatile cleaning tools at your command.

Use appropriate cleaning agents in the correct amount. Know when to break out the tough cleaning agents. Mold, mildew, soap-scum buildup, grease, and mineral deposits are all most quickly eliminated by using chemical cleaning agents.

Conversely, don’t use stronger cleaners than are necessary. You’ll waste time rinsing away suds you didn’t need; furthermore, any residual cleaner left on a surface attracts more dirt. Sometimes less is more.

Keep entry mats at doors to reduce the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the house. The biggest source of dirt on your floors is the feet of those who enter your home. Keep door mats at all entrances and encourage visitors to remove their shoes. Keep a towel near the door to wipe off paws, as well.

House cleaning doesn’t have to be a big deal. Taking the time to learn and understand basic tried-and-true principles will maximize outcomes while making the best use of your time and energy. Learn from those who have gone before you. Don’t reinvent the wheel.

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: Tips and Time Savers for the House-Cleaning Challenged

Keeping your home clean can be challenging. Some folks make it seem effortless, while others struggle every day to keep even the basics under control. While it’s true that some fortunate souls have a natural ability, anyone can learn what it takes to be a cleaning whiz.

House cleaning is a very straightforward process. To stay on track, don’t undermine yourself by making cleaning unnecessarily complicated or procrastinating getting started until the job looms large. Don’t be the person who dillydallys as a mode of avoidance, so that in the time it would have taken to clean up the kitchen, the minor mess that could have been easily converted into a gleaming space becomes a minor hazmat event.

The best way to get yourself on the road to cleaning wizardry is to simply get busy. Dust off the vacuum cleaner, rustle up a few cleaning cloths, and get going. Don’t think about it. Just do it. Follow the trail of dirt, dust, and grime and erase it. When the dirt is gone, your job is done. My post House Cleaning Demystified might help.

Once you’ve mastered the basic process of cleaning, make it a habit. That’s really all there is to it; do it, and do it often.

Tips and Advice

To fine-tune your cleaning skills, here are some time-saving tips and advice:

  • Clean frequently.
  • Eliminate clutter from your home.
  • Organize your stuff so you know where everything goes when it’s time to pick up.
  • Dust with a long-handled dusting tool rather than a cloth or rag, and work swiftly, dusting everything with your tool. A tool with nubs that grab dust will work universally on all surfaces from chair rails to baseboards to lampshades to knick-knacks and books to tables and shelves. The long handle means you won’t have to bend down to reach baseboards or strain to reach up high. Don’t move any objects that you don’t have to move in order to reach dust.
  • Rotate tasks. Many chores shouldn’t have to be done every time you clean. You will soon get a feel for which ones you can do on a rotating basis. If it isn’t visibly dirty, you probably can put it off until next time or the time after.
  • Use appropriate cleaning agents. Use a cleaner that is strong enough to break down the grime you are aiming to eradicate. Don’t use a heavy-duty cleaner on a surface that isn’t particularly dirty or use more of a cleaning agent than is necessary.
  • Invest in good equipment: a faulty or ill-performing vacuum cleaner or mop will cost you time in the long run. For more advice about what to use, check out my post Back to Basics: What Supplies Do You Really Need To Clean A House?
  • Keep track of your cleaning supplies. On cleaning day, you should be able to readily lay your hands on everything you need without spending a half hour hunting down the mop.
  • Don’t try to rush while you’re cleaning. It’ll only cost you time in the long run if things get overlooked, or worse broken or spilled.
  • Do it right the first time.

Home cleaning can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. Spending a little time every day or two and a couple of hours every week keeping the situation in hand is all it takes. There are many benefits of daily cleaning. Keep it simple, don’t make work for yourself, and don’t procrastinate. Establish good habits and in no time you, too, can be a cleaning whiz.

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: Dusting Tools Explained

dust doorEvery home has dust, to varying degrees. You may have to dust only once every couple of weeks, or twice a week, depending on how quickly dust accumulates on surfaces. The more dust you can remove from the air, the less dusting there will be to do.

A dusting tool is an optional item that makes cleaning easier. Yes, you can do without one and the sky won’t fall. A damp rag or microfiber cloth will effectively remove dust from your collection of porcelain dog figurines. In the absence of specialty equipment, you can remove dust and cobwebs from ceilings with a dust mop or a broom and under the refrigerator with a yardstick that you wrap in a rag.

Types of Dusting Tools

Dusting goes a lot quicker and is more effective with a tool that grabs and holds onto dust. Types of dusting tools include microfiber dusters, feather dusters, lambswool dusters, telescoping dusters, static dusters, and specialty hand dusters.

Microfiber dusters grab dust and lock it down so it isn’t released back into the air. Many can be washed and re-used; some are disposable.

Feather dusters are what our grandmothers used to swear by, or at when the feathers fell out all over the place. Some people still swear by them. And the feathers still shed all over the place. They don’t really grab dust as much as knock it down.

Lambswool dusters are great for getting dust off of baseboards, chair-rails, behind furniture, and for reaching cobwebs in corners and on ceilings and ceiling fans. These things last forever and come in lots of different styles. The drawback: they don’t hold onto the dust so much as knock it down.

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Static or microstatic dusters look similar to feather dusters but have electrostatically charged synthetic fibers that grab dust, then you shake them off outside to release the dust.

There are also specialty dusters for getting under appliances like the refrigerator or dryer, or for dusting ceiling fans, window blinds, and more.

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If you have high ceilings, you can, and should, get a duster with an extendable (telescoping) handle to reach cobwebs and dust on light fixtures, ceiling fans, etc.

Dust With Your Vacuum Cleaner

Your vacuum cleaner will often do the best job of removing dust from places like louvered doors or the grated covers over heating vents or air exchanges. Use the dusting tool attachment so the bristles grab the dust. If you have a thick layer of dust anywhere, your vacuum will do the best job of trapping it and locking it down.

Figuring out what to use for dusting depends on what surfaces and/or areas you will be dusting. Lots of flat surfaces with little clutter are easy; you could use anything up to and including an old sock that you dampened with a little water and pulled over your hand.

If you have a lot of books or knick-knacks, uneven or cluttered areas, the job will go most quickly if you use a duster with fingers or nubs that the dust will cling to without having to move every object. A microfiber mini-duster or microstatic or microfiber wand would fit the bill.

If you have a lot of baseboards, chair-rails or other molding, wall sconces or ridged areas like paneled doors, a microfiber wand or lambswool duster would probably be your best bet.

When it comes to dusting, frequency is your friend. Using an effective tool that is comfortable to use and gets the job done quickly is the most efficient way to go. The act of dusting removes dust from your environment, so there’s less dust floating around in the air waiting for the opportunity to settle down on your grandma’s china.

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 Demystified

There’s a significant percentage of the general population that doesn’t know how to clean a house. This is problematic because keeping a home clean is a basic survival skill. We should all maintain minimum standards for our own good health and well-being as well as the well-being of anyone we happen to invite over for dinner. For this reason, I will today present a basic lesson in house cleaning.

dustmop

Why Clean?

At its core, house cleaning is very simple. Eliminating dust, dirt, bacteria, and other unwanted matter from our environments is the objective. We do this so that we can breathe easily in our homes, avoid illness, and generally maintain a living environment that’s agreeable to our senses.

How is this objective achieved? House cleaning is comprised of two elements: picking up and then cleaning up. These are two distinct steps. Picking up means removing clutter from your environment. Cleaning up means removing dust and dirt from your environment. It’s much easier to clean up an area that’s picked up. Cleaning up can technically be done without picking up, but the job will be much less thorough.

Pick Up After Yourself Every Day

The easiest approach, if you haven’t a clue where to start, is to work on developing the habit of picking up after yourself as you go along. It’s actually easier than it sounds once you get into a routine. It’ll take a little dedication at first, but making the effort will pay off.

Take it in small steps to get used to doing it. Start developing the habit of putting things away. Organize your possessions. Do it bit by bit, if necessary. If you need pointers, my blog post De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Days – Day 1: Make a Plan may help you.

Clean Up

Once you get the hang of picking up and have a pretty good organizational system in place, it’s time to work on cleaning up. Cleaning up is the straightforward process of getting rid of dust and dirt. Get yourself some supplies: cleaning cloths, a vacuum cleaner, mop, bucket, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner.

Then go to it. Use your cloths to remove dust from all surfaces. Use your vacuum to clean loose dirt and debris from carpeting and floors. Use your mop to wash floors. Use your glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and bathroom cleaner to clean kitchen and bathroom surfaces. It’s just that simple.

This is a process that should be repeated on a regular basis. Each time you do it, it’ll get easier, assuming you to do often (every week or two).

Daily Chores

Also work on keeping daily chores under control. Don’t let laundry and dirty dishes pile up. Don’t let clutter accumulate. Sweep or vacuum and spot-clean as needed. The more you do as you go along the easier it’ll be to maintain order.

Once you’ve mastered the basics, hone your skills. True house cleaning gurus have lots of tricks up their sleeves. Look for ideas, read up on the subject, develop your own systems and shortcuts. Practice makes perfect.

In no time you’ll be cleaning like you’ve been doing it your whole life. Your environment will be healthy and appealing, and no one will hesitate to come over to your place for dinner.

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, Part 6 Living Room

Today your deep cleaning challenge is your family room, living room, and other common areas. Because these are the spaces where we usually entertain company, they tend to be kept in pretty good shape. Your prime objective is getting to areas that aren’t usually in the line of fire when you clean, like under and behind furniture.

To Begin

Start out by setting aside any objects-de-art or other bric-a-brac so they don’t get broken in the throes of your cleaning frenzy.

Remove small area rugs to wash or shake outside and get some fresh air.

This is a good time to wash textiles like throws that you snuggle under in cold weather.

Dust

Dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, ceiling and walls. Clean or dust wall sconces, pictures, wall art, wall hangings.

Dust or vacuum louvered doors, ridged doors, door frames, window frames, shutters.

Work your way downward, dusting any chair rails and baseboards.

If you have baseboard heaters, don’t forget to clean ridges and spaces underneath, not just the top edge.

Vacuum air vent covers with a dusting brush or dust with your dusting tool.

Dust or wash woodwork. Spot clean walls, switch plates, door frames.

Move Furniture

Move furniture around to get to all the walls and other surfaces that need to be dusted and washed. Be careful not to scratch the floor when moving furniture. If you can lift a piece of furniture enough to slide soft cloths under the legs, then you can shove it around on a bare floor.

Thoroughly dust any built-in shelves. Either remove objects completely or shift them so you can dust behind and under them. Dust other areas that you don’t normally clean, like inside of china closets, if necessary. If it’s not dusty inside, don’t bother.

Free-standing bookshelves or other shelves that hold objects-de-art should be thoroughly dusted or vacuumed. It’s sometimes easier to vacuum the top side of books with a dusting brush attachment. If there’s a space behind books, pull them out and dust back there.

Vacuum

Thoroughly vacuum upholstered furniture. If cushions are removable, turn them over.

Vacuum lampshades carefully, if they’re dusty. Or use a clean, damp cloth to dust them off.

Vacuum window treatments.

Clean the floor.

Reassemble

Reassemble your room. Replace objects that you removed earlier. Replace throw rugs and any textiles that you washed or aired.

Smell the clean air. Admire your handiwork. Well done!

Tomorrow: The Kitchen

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.