House Cleaning 101 Introduction to Making Your Home Shiny and Clean

If you’re a total cleaning novice, you’re in the right place. This is House 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.

house cleaning, home cleaning, bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, housekeeping, homemaking, home cleaning
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

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.

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, counter tops, bathroom fixtures, floors, and any other surfaces. My post entitled What Supplies Do You 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.

Make a Strategy

Next, take a few minutes to make a strategy for 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 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 counter tops 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.

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.

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 author page on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/darlenephillips.   My books include the titles De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips, Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

The Lowdown on Dusting Tools

Every home has dust. Getting the lowdown on dusting tools will help you understand how to clean it up easily.

Remove Dust to Reduce Dust

Depending on how quickly dust accumulates on surfaces in your home, it may have to be dusted only once in a while or every few days. The more dust that can be removed from the air, the less dusting there will be to do.

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

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

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

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.

Microstatic Dusters

Static or microstatic dusters look similar to feather dusters but have electrostatically charged synthetic fibers that grab dust then get shaken off outside.

Specialty Dusters

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

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.

Flat Surfaces

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;  use anything up to and including an old sock dampened with a little water and pulled over your hand.

Cluttered Surfaces

For surfaces with a lot of books or knick-knacks or uneven or cluttered areas, the job will go most quickly using a duster with fingers or nubs that the dust will cling to. This way every object doesn’t have to be moved. A microfiber mini-duster or microstatic or microfiber wand would fit the bill.

Baseboards and Moldings

To dust 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 the best bet.

apartment architecture chairs clean
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Dust Often

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 organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Basic Lesson in House Cleaning

A significant percentage of the general population 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.

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 to Clean

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.

pink teal and orange panel
Photo by Milly Eaton on Pexels.com

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 Simple Steps 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 organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

What Supplies Do You Need To Clean A House?

What supplies do you need to clean a house? There are dozens of types of cleaning products for doing every house cleaning task. People purchase these products because no one likes to clean and everyone wants to find the magic bullet that’ll get the job done more quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, as often as not, it turns out that these products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The truth is, there aren’t many shortcuts where house cleaning is concerned.

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

house cleaning, home cleaning, bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, housekeeping, homemaking, home cleaning
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Essential Cleaning Supplies

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

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

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

close up of drop splashing in water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cleaning Agents

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning Tools

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

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

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

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

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Home Disinfecting Facts

There’s a time and a place for all things, as the saying goes, and now is the time for disinfecting. We live in a dangerous and terrifying moment in time: the age of COVID-19. And so we must do what we must to protect our homes and our families from the virus. This calls for disinfectants. In the interest of promoting their proper use, I present these home disinfecting facts.

house cleaning, home cleaning, bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, housekeeping, homemaking, home cleaning
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

There’s a Difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting

Cleaning and disinfecting are different processes. To clarify, the following information comes directly from the U.S. Center for Disease Control website:

Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. 

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.”

Cleaning and disinfecting can be a two-stage process, or disinfection can take place independently, or they can occur simultaneously, such as with the use of a cleaning disinfectant. The more thorough approach involves both cleaning and disinfecting; however this may not be always be necessary, for example at times when all household members are healthy.

close up of drop splashing in water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Disinfecting Wipes Must Be Used Correctly For Maximum Effectiveness

Simply swiping a disinfecting wipe over the surface of a remote control doesn’t guarantee that the area will be disinfected. In fact, disinfection usually requires that the disinfecting agent be allowed to sit on the surface for a period of time ranging anywhere from three to ten minutes.

This means you may need to re-apply the disinfectant to the surface to maximize effectiveness.  Make sure to look at the instructions on the package of wipes to determine how long the liquid has to remain on the surface in order to kill pathogens.

Also pay attention to the surface area that each wipe effectively covers. If your wipe has run out of moisture, it’s not going to distribute the effective ingredients onto the surface that you’re aiming to disinfect.

Not All Disinfectants are the Same

There are many different types of disinfectants created from many different mixtures of ingredients. These do not all work in the same way.

According to Nyco, a leading cleaning chemicals manufacturer, “the ‘active ingredient’ in each disinfectant formula is what kills pathogens, usually by disrupting or damaging their cells.” Active ingredients vary along with the other components of the formula that are mixed together.

The correct choice of disinfectant depends on what surface needs to be disinfected, among other factors.

Use EPA Registered Disinfectants To Kill COVID-19

If disinfectants are not all the same, how do you know what to use?  To kill COVID-19, make sure you’re using EPA approved disinfectant products.

According to the March 5th news release by the EPA, “coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. Consumers using these disinfectants on an enveloped emerging virus should follow the directions for use on the product’s master label, paying close attention to the contact time for the product on the treated surface (i.e., how long the disinfectant should remain on the surface).”

The list of EPA-registered disinfectant products can be found here:  https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

Many popular commercial products are on this list including Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox Commercial Solutions Clorox Disinfecting Spray, Lysol brand Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate, Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, and Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner.

Disinfectants Don’t Have to Be Fancy

Effective disinfectants can be mixed using simple ingredients that you may already have on hand, like chlorine bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and peroxide.

To disinfect hard surfaces that won’t be damaged by its use, mix 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart (according to CDC guidelines). Allow to work on the surface for one minute.

Also according to CDC guidelines, for disinfection of phones or other electronics: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products. If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids. (Also according to CDC guidelines.)

Finally 3% hydrogen peroxide is “a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate surfaces,” (again, according to the CDC website.

While the topic of disinfecting isn’t glamorous or sexy, it’s one of great importance to many people at this particular point in time. Although the recent trend has been toward minimizing the use of chemical cleaning products, we must be vigilant about eliminating germs until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Do We Use Too Many Cleaning Products?

Today’s homes are easy to clean in comparison to homes of yesteryear. Yet we have more cleaning products at our disposal than ever before. What gives? Do we really need half a dozen different products to clean a bathroom? Do we use too many cleaning products?

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

Modern Homes Practically Clean Themselves

Most modern surfaces hold up to wear and tear extremely well; many actually repel grime. Floors don’t need to be waxed. Shower walls wipe clean in minutes. We have robotic vacuums and hand-held scrubbing devices.

Our indoor air quality is better than ever. HEPA filters remove dust and other pollutants. We have clean heating systems that don’t emit smoke, dust, or other byproducts, ensuring that homes have fewer indoor pollutants than in days past. Plus, new homes are airtight, so dust, pollen, smoke, and airborne pathogens remain outside as long as windows remain shut.

Given these facts, it seems a little strange that we use more cleaning agents and gadgets than ever before. Hundreds of products are available for every conceivable use, from cleaning ceilings to floors and everything in between. Do we really need all this stuff???

house cleaning, home cleaning, bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, housekeeping, homemaking, home cleaning
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Most People Dislike House Cleaning

The fact is, 99 out of 100 people dislike house cleaning. These 99 people are interested in finding the magic elixir that will take the sting out of the job. And the people responsible for marketing the many, many cleaning products being manufactured take full advantage of this situation.

Smoke and Mirrors

Television infomercials make amazing claims about house cleaning gadgets and potions. Internet ads lead people to believe this is better than that or vice-versa, when in fact this and that are equally useless. Companies peddle cleaning tools that require endless accessories and refills, thereby guaranteeing future profits. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

Today’s homes don’t require the amount of upkeep that older homes did. Floors wash easily. Windows tip in for cleaning-ease. Showers can be kept clean with minimal regular maintenance. A simple roster of basic cleaning agents and tools will easily get the job done. Besides, using simpler products with gentler means is better for us and for our environment.

Cleaning Agents Pollute Our Homes

Ironically, because modern construction is so airtight, the fumes from harsh chemical cleaning agents used in homes these days become trapped, contributing to indoor air pollution. To boot, some of these cleaning products are known carcinogens.

Cleaning Agents Pollute the Earth

Furthermore, the residue from these strong chemical cleaning products finds its way into the Earth, contributing to the pollution already plaguing the planet. Equally problematic, disposable cleaning products add to the trash overflow also afflicting our society. And many of those wonder gadgets that we buy, use once, and relegate to a corner in the garage, likewise end up in landfills.

Make a Difference

Be a smart consumer. Know what you’re buying and don’t buy what you don’t need. You vote with your dollars; when you avoid buying products that are harmful to people and our planet, you can make a difference. House cleaning doesn’t require a closet full of chemicals.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

 

House Cleaning Tips to Remove Germs

Preventing the spread of illness in our homes is one of the primary reasons to clean. Controlling germs in our environments is one way to prevent these noxious microorganisms, such as COVID-19, from polluting our bodies.  Following basic cleaning and disinfecting procedures can aid in achieving this control.

house cleaning, home cleaning, bathroom cleaning, floor cleaning, housekeeping, homemaking, home cleaning
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Cleaning Versus Disinfecting

First let’s talk about the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the mechanical action of removing germs, dirt, and other materials from surfaces. This can be accomplished through any number of methods, such as wiping hard surfaces with a cloth, vacuuming rugs, or sweeping floors.

The process of disinfecting, on the other hand, involves the use of chemicals to eliminate germs.  Typically in homes, disinfectants are applied to surfaces to specifically target common household pathogens. Disinfectants come in many forms, which will be discussed below.

Cleaning and disinfecting can be a two-stage process, or disinfection can take place independently, or they can occur simultaneously, such as with the use of a cleaning disinfectant. The more thorough approach involves both cleaning and disinfecting; however this may not be always be necessary, for example at times when all household members are healthy.

Preventing the spread of highly contagious illnesses calls for treating hard surfaces by both cleaning and disinfecting. This method most effectively removes the highest percentage of germs.

Surfaces That Harbor Germs

Certain surfaces in your home are more likely to harbor germs than others. This is because these areas tend to be the ones with which multiple household members come in contact most regularly.  To prevent the spread of germs in times of illness, these “hot zones” should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. This will significantly reduce the spread of microorganisms.

Targeted surfaces include all areas that are frequently touched: door knobs and handles, drawer pulls, kitchen counter tops or other similar surfaces, sink handles, light switches, frequently-used tabletops, and electronic surfaces such as phones, remote controls, and keyboards.  Bathroom sinks, faucets, and counter tops should also be cleaned and disinfected, as well as toilet handles and all other toilet surfaces that are often touched.  Any other areas that are subject to frequent touching by hands should be likewise cleaned and disinfected.

close up of drop splashing in water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cleaning

The process of cleaning a surface has the potential to remove a substantial percentage of germs, depending on how thoroughly and diligently the job is performed. Many variables weigh in on the effectiveness of mechanical cleaning to reduce germs. For example, when wiping surfaces with a cloth, factors such as the density of the weave of the cloth, number of times the cloth is rinsed in water, and the number of passes made by the cloth over the target surface will directly impact the resulting removal of germs.

Since the primary objective of cleaning isn’t so much to remove germs as to remove other debris, such as crumbs, dust, pet hair, or dirt, the elimination of germs at this stage is beneficial but incidental. Many densely-woven microfiber cloths have the potential to remove substantial amounts of undesirable microbes, and when the prime overall objective is the elimination of germs, this is very advantageous.

Disinfecting

Stage two, disinfecting, should eliminate any remaining germs from hard surfaces. This may require that applied cleaning agents be allowed to remain on the surface for several minutes in order to achieve the most effective result.

Thoroughly rinsing the surface after the proper amount of time removes the dead germs along with the cleaning agent, which is likely also toxic to humans and pets. Rinsing is the equally important third step in the process.

kitchen and dining area
Photo by Mark McCammon on Pexels.com

Disinfectants

Let’s talk about disinfectants.  Disinfectants are chemicals that kill germs. They are also generally not especially healthy for humans and pets. Many of these strong agents produce fumes requiring ventilation and may cause unpleasant respiratory irritation, among other things. Generally, it’s best to wear gloves when using these products.

By and large, the use of disinfecting agents should not be taken lightly.  These products have their place to contain the spread of contagious pathogens.  In healthy households, it is generally not necessary to use these products on a daily basis and may be counterproductive because their use increases household members’ exposure to chemicals.

What Disinfectant Should You Use?

Common household disinfectants include chlorine bleach, isopropyl alcohol, and many pre-mixed commercial products such as Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Clorox Clean-Up, and Lysol Disinfecting Cleaner. Some disinfectants can be harmful if used around pets, for instance many Lysol products. All disinfectants should be used with caution.

The CDC recommends specific disinfectants to control the spread of microorganisms such as COVID-19. Taken directly from the CDC website, these are as follows:

  • Diluted household bleach mixed using 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.
  • Alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
  • EPA-registered household disinfectants. A link to EPA-registered household disinfectants can be found here.

Safety When Using Disinfectants

When using disinfectants, be sure to follow safety precautions. Wear disposable gloves and properly ventilate the area in which the agent is being used by opening a window or using a vent fan. Rinse thoroughly any products that instruct you to do so.

Never mix any cleaning agent with another cleaning agent and especially never mix ammonia or chlorine bleach together or with any other products.

Also be sure that it’s safe to use the disinfectant on the surface to which it is being applied. For example, chlorine bleach can damage many surfaces. Use common sense as well; you wouldn’t want to saturate a phone or remote control with liquid.

Also be very cautious using any type of disinfectants around pets or small children. Many disinfectants have great potential to cause illness in or even kill pets.  Finally, always be sure that children can’t accidentally get hold of any type of disinfecting agent.

Wash Your Hands

A final note: according to the CDC, the most important thing all members of your household can to do reduce the spread of germs is hand washing. Plain old-fashioned soap and water used many times throughout the day is what they recommend doing to improve your odds of staying healthy.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Tips for Cleaning a Home with Toddlers

toddler

When you live with small children who are on the move, house cleaning has special challenges. Since toddlers put their hands on everything, and put everything into their mouths, your house cleaning routine should include steps above and beyond the typical basics. The following are tips for cleaning a home with toddlers.

Tackle Everything Down Low

When cleaning a home with toddlers look at everything from their perspective: floor level. Think about which objects might be handled or touched by tiny hands and potentially be a source of germs or bacteria.

Don’t skimp on this step. Look into corners and under the edges of furniture. Toddlers can venture into tiny spaces, so take care to cover all the bases.

pexels-photo-3933275
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Do a Germ Patrol

Pay special attention to surfaces that could potentially harbor germs and use your due diligence to reduce the spread of these pathogens. Use common sense; every surface doesn’t need to be disinfected. But if little Henry’s nose is running from a cold and he’s wiping it with his hands, pay attention to areas that he subsequently touches.

Scope Out Fingerprints

It shouldn’t be difficult to deduce which surfaces your toddler favors for tactile stimulation: the fingerprint trail will tell the tale. Keeping this evidence cleaned up reduces the spread of germs and keeps areas looking fresh and clean.

pexels-photo-247770
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cleaning Agents

Use appropriate cleaning agents when cleaning surfaces with which toddlers will come in contact. Read labels to be sure whatever you’re using is safe for your toddler, safe for the surface being cleaned, and doesn’t pollute your indoor air quality.

Keep Cleaners Close at Hand

Keep track of your supplies when using cleaning agents around toddlers. Accidents take only seconds. Wear an apron with pockets or clean at naptime and don’t allow yourself to become distracted so something toxic gets left where it shouldn’t be.

brown wooden floor
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Wash Floors Often

Toddlers need safe spaces in which to explore. Keep carpets vacuumed and floors mopped. Spot-clean soiled areas ASAP.

Pick Up Toys

Don’t allow toys to accumulate on the floor. When not in use, keep them picked up, both to make floor cleaning easier and to reduce the transfer of dirt and pathogens to the objects with which your child plays.

Cleaning homes with small children is challenging, but it’s important to make the effort. Beyond just having a home that looks clean; small children need a safe, clean environment in which to live and grow. You owe it to them to do all you can to provide them with one.

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page on Amazon.   My books include the titles De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Don’t Make House Cleaning Difficult

bathroom interior
Photo by Jean van der Meulen on Pexels.com

When 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. Don’t make house cleaning difficult.

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.

appliance carpet chores device
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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 would 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 organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.

Tips for Keeping a Clean House when You have Pets

adorable animal canine cute
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pets enrich our lives with unconditional love and companionship. They capture our hearts, so we bring them into our homes without a thought about the additional work they’ll create. It’s only later on, as we’re scrubbing the carpet stains, that the reality of living with pets hits us smack in the face.

Pets are animals. Their standards of cleanliness differ from ours. They don’t care about clean floors. We, however, do care about the mud that Fido tracks in each time he comes inside after digging in the flower beds. In fact, it gets pretty darn annoying.

Pets create a lot of extra work when it comes to house cleaning. The messes can be minimized to some degree by taking measures to reduce the tracking in of dirt, shedding of hair, and other culprits. Here are some strategies:

Wipe Fido’s Feet

Keep old towels by the door to clean Fido’s muddy paws before he gets the chance to track mud all over the clean floors. Also use towels to dry him off on rainy days so he doesn’t leave wet puddles behind.

adorable animal beach canine
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Brush Dogs and Cats to Minimize Shedding

Regularly brushing dogs and cats, especially the long-haired breeds, reduces the quantity of hair that ends up on your clothes, furniture, carpeting, and in the air.

Buy Pet Beds

Giving dogs and cats their own beds makes us feel less guilty about insisting they stay off ours. Isn’t it enough that we provide them with a roof and meal plan? There’s absolutely no need for dogs and cats to nap wherever they please. Teach them to use their own beds in order to avoid shedding (and leaving that doggy smell) on furniture.

two yellow labrador retriever puppies
Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

Train Your Dogs

Diligence at house-breaking time pays off exponentially later on. Train Fido not to makes messes on the floor, and always make sure he has ample opportunity to do his business outdoors. He can’t hold it indefinitely!

Keep Litter Boxes Clean

Cats prefer a clean environment in which to conduct their business. If their litter boxes become offensively dirty, cats may seek out alternative areas. Encourage and reinforce desirable behavior by keeping litter boxes clean.

Maintain Good Pet Health

If your dog or cat suddenly starts urinating in areas they shouldn’t, have them evaluated by your vet for health issues. This can be a sign of a health problem.

nature animal dog pet
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Keep Messes at Bay

Pets almost inevitably shed fur on furniture and leave drool on windows. Keep messes at bay by frequently cleaning up after them so little messes don’t become big ones.

  • Vacuum pet hair off upholstered furniture often.
  • Sweep up litter box areas daily to avoid having litter tracked all through the house.
  • Regularly clean nose prints, saliva, or other deposits from window surfaces.
  • Spot clean walls, ledges, corners, or edges that pets rub against or jump on. Use vinegar, all-purpose cleaner, or ammonia.
  • Use an enzyme spot cleaner specifically targeting urine stains to remove accidents on carpeting. All traces have to be eradicated in order to ward off repeat offenses.
  • Vacuum or sweep floors regularly to remove dirt tracked in from outside as well as pet hair.

Reduce the hassle of cleaning up after pets so that the benefits of having Fido or FiFi as a roommate outweigh the drawbacks. And don’t we owe them a clean environment in return for their unwavering affection?

Want more organizing and house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my author page. My books include De-Clutter and Organize Your Home in 7 Simple Steps, Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, and How to Become a Cleaning Pro: the Ultimate Guide to Starting and Operating Your Own House Cleaning Service.