House cleaning requires some type of supplies, including cleaning agents. These are substances that help with the removal of grime or bacteria or bad smells. Things like dirty fingerprints on walls, grease on the stove, or mildew in the shower call for the use of detergents to help remove them. And using cleaning agents correctly maximizes their effectiveness.
Here are some hints for making the most of your cleaning agents.
Use the Right Amount
You may be tempted to use more than the recommended amount of a cleaning agent, or try to get by with less. The quickest and easiest means of achieving your desired results is to use the cleaning agent as it is meant to be used.
Using too much of a cleaner can result in unnecessary rinsing or residue left on the surface, which will attract dirt. Too little cleaner may not do the job.
Apply It Correctly
Follow the application instructions. If it’s supposed to be sprayed on and allowed to sit for fifteen minutes and rinsed, use this method. Don’t reinvent the wheel; the maker of the product already figured out how it should be used.
Use the Right Stuff
Use products appropriate for the surface that’s being cleaned. The wrong product may be ineffective or might damage whatever you’re trying to clean. For example use a degreaser to eliminate grease or a mildew remover to remove mildew and not vice-versa.
Let it Soak to Loosen Grime
Sometimes time is on your side. Letting a cleaning agent penetrate grime for a few minutes can mean less scrubbing.
No one wants to spend hours upon hours cleaning their home. The key to keeping a home cleaning regimen short and sweet is simple: maximize efficiency. By making the most of your time and efforts, your house cleaning routine will be streamlined and you’ll have plenty of time left over to do more interesting things. The following are some house cleaning tips to maximize efficiency.
Begin With a Walk-Through
Before starting to clean, take a quick lap through your home with a laundry basket and large trash bag. Gather up loose items that should be put away and deposit them in the basket. Collect trash, and empty trash containers into the trash bag.
Pay attention to what tasks need to be done, what areas might require extra attention, and what places are in good shape and therefore don’t need any sprucing up. Mentally calculate how much time you’ll need for each area, keeping in mind how much time you have overall to spend cleaning.
Starting off knowing that there’s dog hair all over the sofa in the family room and the upstairs bathroom is a disaster makes it easy to allocate enough time to these areas. This way you know from the start that you won’t have time to vacuum under beds today.
Set aside the basket of lost items that you collected on your walk-through and deal with it later. Picking up and organizing are not part of house cleaning; they are prerequisites. Clutter control should be an ongoing process. Spending an hour picking up and putting away miscellanea before you can start cleaning means you’ll potentially run out of steam before the housework is done.
Working around, or worse, having to shift and replace, clutter while cleaning eats up time as well. Clear surfaces and spaces make cleaning quick and easy. Cluttered surfaces and piles of paraphernalia collect dust and complicate cleaning.
Have What You Need On Hand
Keep your cleaning closet stocked with whatever you need. Penalize household members who make off with the vacuum cleaner or the broom and don’t return it. Having to spend twenty minutes tracking down the mop is an inefficient use of time.
Wear an Apron or Tool Belt
Keep what you need readily at hand as you work so you don’t have to repeatedly stop to fetch supplies. Wear an apron with lots of pockets, or a tool belt, or carry a caddy with you. Reducing steps reduces time and maximizes efficiency.
If chatting with a buddy while you work isn’t a distraction, clean your homes simultaneously and cheer each other on. Exchange cleaning tips. If it keeps you motivated, go for it.
Pay Attention to What You’re Doing
On a related note, don’t allow your mind to wander off while you work. Pay attention to the job at hand. An efficient cleaner cleans only what is dirty, which requires mindfulness as you work.
Anticipate what’s next as you perform each task and work in such a way as to minimize unnecessary steps.
Don’t Get Sidetracked
Stay focused. If you’re easily distracted by side jobs, keep a small notepad in your apron pocket and make a to-list as you work. If you notice that the fridge needs to be wiped out or the kids’ closets are a mess, plan to tackle these extra chores as soon as your schedule permits, but don’t stop doing what you’re doing now. Completing one job from beginning to end is satisfying and motivating. Starting three jobs and not finishing any of them is frustrating.
Work in a Straight Line
Clean either room by room or in zones, and work in straight lines. Don’t backtrack.
Don’t sit down. Keep working until the job is done. If you must take a break, time it. When your ten minutes is up, so are you.
Focus on What Shows
Clean what’s dirty, focusing on areas that stand out. When there’s time, clean the dusty bookshelf in the corner. When there isn’t time because the sofa has to be vacuumed free of dog hair, leave it. The dust will be there next time.
Treat Cleaning Your House like a Job
Cleaning your home is a job, treat it as such. Make a schedule, stick to it, see the job through to the end.
Use an Eraser-Type Sponge
Eraser sponges have many uses throughout the home. Soap scum removal, tough kitchen cleanups, scuffs on floors, and fingerprints on walls are just a few. These sponges save time and effort, both of which maximize efficiency.
Forget dusting with a cloth; the quickest means of removing dust from surfaces is to use a tool, preferably a microfiber wand with nubs, because this will grab and lock down dust. Don’t belabor the task; working from the top of the room downward, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, wall hangings, window treatments, window sills and grates, chair rails, baseboards and baseboard heaters. Then tackle furniture and lamps. Work swiftly, don’t backtrack, and make every movement count.
Keep a Spray Bottle of Water on Hand
A damp cloth cleans a variety of surfaces, from wall smudges to water glass rings to fingerprints on switch plates and sticky doorknobs. Avoid having to hunt down a cloth and find a faucet; keep a supply of cleaning cloths and a spray bottle of water on hand as you work.
Work Out a Routine
A regular, consistent cleaning routine works to your advantage in several ways. First, repeating the same tasks over and over increases speed and efficiency (the learning curve). Second, a regular routine gives you the chance to clean everything in your home on a rotating basis. From week to week some tasks can be deferred until next time, and others can get the attention they need right now. Third, working out a system forces your focus onto efficiency; over time your routine will inevitably become more streamlined as you work out the bugs. Finally, by making home cleaning a habit and a priority, it will get done. Period.
Stay motivated by finishing what you start. Each time you successfully complete your cleaning routine, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Take a little time to admire your handiwork. This feeling of pride in a job well done will inspire you to take up your broom next week and clean on.
Use the Right Cleaning Supplies and Equipment
Use whatever cleaning agents and equipment make you happy. If you use scented cleaners, be sure the scents make you feel good. Likewise, cleaning agents should do the jobs for which they’re intended, leaving you feeling satisfied that you’ve accomplished something by using them. Your equipment should be easy to use, not frustrating.
Spending a little more money on good cleaning supplies that you’ll look forward to using (or at least not mind using) is well worth the investment. You cleaning tools should be easy for you to use, perform well, and make you feel glad to use them.
Eat Right, Exercise, Get Some Sleep
Cleaning is hard work! Give your body what it needs to do the job. If you feel sluggish and run down, you’re not going feel overly enthusiastic about mopping and vacuuming and making beds. When you feel good and are energized, cleaning is a breeze.
If you’re the type of person who is motivated by crossing items off your list, write up a list of chores before you start cleaning. Staying on task is very important to cleaning efficiently, so if writing it down helps achieve this goal, go for it.
Don’t be a Perfectionist
It’s a waste of time to try to remove 100% of the dirt from your home. Perfectionism will turn a three-hour job into a six-hour job. The difference between 95% efficiency and 100% isn’t worth three hours of your time.
Set Realistic Goals
There’s only so much any one person can accomplish within a few hours. Don’t set the bar too high. Set realistic goals that you’ll be able to achieve. Accomplishing goals is motivating. Failing to achieve goals is not.
Don’t Make a Big Production Out of It
House cleaning is labor intensive but not overly difficult. Don’t make it harder than it is. Don’t’ clean what isn’t dirty. Don’t perform elaborate cleaning rituals that make no sense just because your grandma did it that way. Simplify your procedures and get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Who out there wonders what everyone else does when they clean their homes? Do you secretly worry that you’re not doing everything you should to keep your house in order? Do you want to know the process a professional house cleaner uses when cleaning a home? If so, you’re in the right place.
To help you achieve the best results from your cleaning routines, I’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist breaking down the tasks which make up a typical house cleaning job. Completing every item on the list each time you clean isn’t necessary, so don’t be intimidated.
The trick is in establishing a rotation that’ll ensure all items are done on an as-needed basis. And “as-needed” is a pretty loose timeframe. Some things might have to be done every six months and some every week. Each home is different. Customize your cleaning routine to fit your situation and keep it as simple as possible.
Tasks that are done in all rooms:
Working from high to low, eliminate cobwebs or dust along the edge where the walls and ceilings meet, on the ceiling itself, and in corners.
Dust ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, and anything else up high.
Dust the top edges of curtains and valances or other window treatments, window blinds, window sills, window grates, shutters inside windows.
Dust the edges of picture frames and wall-hangings.
Dust ridges on multi-panel doors, louvered doors, tops of door frames and doors, chair rails, air-vent covers.
Clean the floors: vacuum, sweep or dust mop bare floors & damp mop as needed.
Cleaning interior stairways:
On uncarpeted stairs, use a damp cloth or small broom and, starting at the top, brush dirt and dust down each stair using a dustpan to collect the dirt as you go.
Dust around spindles, the spindles themselves if necessary, and any moldings.
Use your vacuum cleaner stair brush attachment to clean carpeted areas on stairs, and use the dusting tool or a cloth to clean and dust uncarpeted edges and any moldings.
When cleaning stairways, don’t forget to wipe the handrails clean.
Kitchen cleaning tasks:
As in any other room, dust ceilings, blinds, furniture, baseboards, etc. Don’t forget to dust off the top of the fridge and the tops of cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
Wipe down table and chairs or stools.
Clean appliance fronts: microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator, trash compacter, stove, oven(s). Look out for fingerprints and sticky areas on keypads, knobs and handles.
If you have an inset water or ice dispenser in your refrigerator door, don’t forget to clean this area.
Clean inside the microwave, if necessary.
Clean cook top.
Clean top of range hood if you have one.
Wipe off the countertops and backsplashes, and wash the outsides of appliances on the counters as well as any other paraphernalia and anything mounted to the underside of upper cupboards. Shift appliances from side to side so you can clean the counter underneath.
De-crumb the toaster or toaster oven.
Spot clean cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
Optionally, clean your garbage container outside and/or inside.
Clean the sink
Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.
Laundry room tasks:
Dust from the ceiling down, as in all rooms.
Dust all flat surfaces, walls, ridges on cupboard doors, whatever areas you can reach behind your washer and dryer, baseboards.
Spot clean the outsides of washer, dryer and any other appliances, and clean dispensers for laundry soap, fabric softener, as well as door gasket.
Spot clean cupboard doors and wipe off any countertops.
Clean utility sink, if applicable.
Clean floor. Clean behind and under laundry baskets, hampers, etc.
Dust the bathroom as you would in any other room. Don’t forget the edges of towel racks, the lip along the top of partially tiled walls, the ridges around the top of shower walls, the top edge of shower curtains or shower doors, blinds and window grates, knick-knack shelves, and the edge along the top side of medicine cabinets or other cupboards.
If walls are tiled, clean with a damp cloth and buff dry, or spot clean.
Clean sink and vanity.
Spot clean cupboard doors.
Clean the toilet inside and out.
Sweep/vacuum/mop the floor.
The most important element to keeping a home in the best possible shape is maintaining a regular cleaning routine. This ensures that every part of the house gets cleaned periodically, meaning that everything gets dusted, floors get cleaned, the kitchen gets a thorough wipe-down, and bathrooms get sanitized.
While the list might seem long, the basics of cleaning are limited to dusting, vacuuming or floor cleanup, rudimentary kitchen cleanup like keeping counters clean, and bathroom maintenance. Both kitchen and bathroom cleaning is most efficient if it’s done on a daily basis, but do what you can when you can. Just know that more often is better in those two rooms, if nowhere else.
Cleaning your home every week or two doesn’t have to be a labor-intensive experience. Keeping up with the basics is quick and easy if you do it often, focusing on controlling the accumulation of dust and whatever debris gets tracked in on the feet of all who enter your home.
Add in the kitchen and bathrooms tasks that are part of good hygiene practices, and you’ve got yourself a simple routine that shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours. Then just rotate in whatever other chores need to be done as you notice the need arise. All those other chores are nothing more than gravy. At its core, house cleaning is really quite simple. The real secret is keeping it that way.
Floor care is a large component of house cleaning. The majority of the dirt on your floors comes in on the feet of those who enter your home. Using door mats at each entry area along with leaving shoes at the door significantly reduces the introduction of dirt into your home. Keeping a towel handy to wipe Fido’s feet also reduces the tracking in of mud and grit.
Keep a Broom Handy
If incomers aren’t so careful about wiping their feet, your floors will probably need more maintenance. In this case, you would be wise to keep a broom or stick vacuum handy and clean high traffic areas every few days. It also wouldn’t hurt to damp mop bare floors near the door frequently. Your objective is to keep dirt from being tracked all through the house.
On cleaning day, floor care will probably be one of the most time-consuming parts of your routine. If you’ve got wall-to-wall carpeting throughout your house, you’ll be doing a lot of vacuuming. For best results, use the correct height adjustment for your vacuum carpet brush. It’s better for your carpeting and the machine will do the most optimal job if the height is adjusted correctly.
Carpet Care Tips
More carpet care tips:
~Always check your vacuum bag or collection chamber before you start. A full bag or chamber will not have good suction.
~High traffic areas warrant more attention than corners. Make a few passes over the sections that see a lot of action.
~ If no one walks there, don’t bother to vacuum it every time. Areas under furniture or in corners should be vacuumed periodically, but these are areas you can skip sometimes.
~Spot clean high traffic areas as needed with a good quality spot cleaner that’s safe to use on your type of carpet.
Mix of Bare Floors and Rugs
Areas with a mix of bare floors and area rugs are usually most quickly cleaned with a canister vacuum cleaner. If the rugs are all smaller, it might be easier to pick them up and shake them clean outdoors. However, if the rugs aren’t especially dirty, you can quickly go over them with your vacuum floor brush. Hold one side of the rug in place with your foot as you pass the floor brush over it.
Alternatively, if the floors are dusty rather than dirty, using a dust mop on the bare areas and vacuuming large rugs may be quicker. If you don’t have a canister vacuum, this would also be the best approach. Use whatever method will most expedite the process in your particular situation.
Use the rotating brush head on carpeting only, never on bare floors. The rotation of the brush can scratch the floor so use the floor brush attachment on bare floors. Also use the floor brush on oriental rugs, antique rugs or any rugs that are delicate, like silk rugs.
Bare floors can be swept, vacuumed, or dust mopped and then damp mopped or steamed clean if necessary. There’s no need to wash a floor on your hands and knees. Use a mop that’ll get into corners and under the edges of appliances and such. Don’t make unnecessary work for yourself.
Wood floors shouldn’t be washed unless they are dirty. Wash wood floors with a mop very lightly dampened in plain water or with a microfiber mop and wood floor spray cleaner. Use as little liquid as possible. Water is bad for wood and can ruin a wood floor if it is used in excess. Never leave standing water on a floor, and especially not on a wood floor.
Vinyl and similar sealed floors can be cleaned with just a little all-purpose cleaner, vinegar, ammonia, or commercial floor cleaner diluted in water. Don’t overdo it with cleaning agents in your mop water as too much will leave a film that looks cloudy and attracts dirt. Less is more.
Stone floors shouldn’t be cleaned with anything other than mild soap (like a few drops of castile soap) or plain water. Using vinegar or ammonia on a stone floor can damage the surface.
Ceramic and other shiny tile looks better if it’s dried with a cloth after washing. This eliminates water spots from forming as water evaporates off the floor. To dry a wet floor quickly, use a couple of old towels and swish them around on the floor with your feet. Be careful not to slip and fall down while you’re doing this.
Whatever method you use to wash flooring, if your mop water, mop head, or cloth is filthy after one use, you aren’t cleaning your floors often enough.
Keeping your floors clean is one important means of protecting the investment you’ve made in your home. Floors will wear out more quickly if they aren’t maintained. Loose dirt and dried-on debris can destroy the finish on your flooring and ruin your carpeting. And like every other area of house cleaning, the more frequently you clean your floors, the easier the job will be each time you do it.