Do you feel like there’s never enough time to keep your home as clean as you would like?
Here are 27 shortcuts, efficiency-boosters and other tidy tips from the experts to help make cleaning your house faster and easier… and hopefully a little more painless.
Boosting your cleaning efficiency
1. Before you start each room, pick things up and put the clutter away. A little organization will help you clean faster, keep you on task, and minimize frustration.
2. Clean efficiently by having all of your supplies at hand before you start. Just throw everything in a bucket or basket and carry it with you, eliminating unnecessary trips back and forth and increasing your productivity.
3. Keep cleaning supplies on each floor so you don’t waste time walking up and down steps.
4. Pick a room to clean and divide the room into four quadrants (or sections). Clean one section at a time, leaving the area with the doorway for last.
Using the same method in each quadrant, wipe down surfaces, walls, baseboards, and windows, then move to the next quadrant. Work around the room until you get to the door.
5. Wipe once and move on. Don’t waste time scrubbing. Use straight, overlapping strokes combined with the right cleaning tool.
If there’s a tough spot, pre-treat it and come back after the product has had time to do its job, then wipe with a non-scratch scouring pad. This will save on elbow grease and free you to clean something else.
6. Every house has those easy-to-miss areas like doorframes, windowsills, and baseboards. To help make sure you don’t overlook these things, go from top to bottom and left to right throughout each room.
7. When tidying the room in a clockwise direction, make the bed completely on one side, then walk around the bed to complete the other side.
8. Dust before vacuuming. Today’s vacuums are much better at keeping the dust to themselves, so by all means go with the conventional thinking of cleaning from top to bottom, left to right. Dust before you vacuum so all the little fuzz pieces can meet a mighty end in the vacuum.
9. Vacuum your way out of a room by starting in the far corner and working toward the door. Use the detail hose around the baseboards to remove dust and debris that has collected.
10. Use a long extension cord so you don’t have to continually unplug and replug the vacuum cleaner. Use a dust wand with an extension handle to reach cobwebs in high corners.
11. No backtracking! Just like a professional maid with a cart, have everything on or near you. Each time you forget something it can waste five minutes of your time.
12. Time yourself. Give yourself mini goals to hit: ten minute bathroom, ten minute dusting and the 18-minute kitchen cleaning. Breaking down the tasks room by room helps make cleaning more organized and efficient.
Shortcuts to clean your house fast
13. Clean your bathroom after a steamy bath or shower. The walls, fixtures, etc., will be much easier to clean because the steam will have loosened the dirt.
Make soap scum disappear on shower caddies and soap dishes by running them through the dishwasher.
14. Disinfect and clean your toothbrush and toothbrush holder in the dishwasher, especially after you’ve been sick. Note: Always make sure items are dishwasher safe and are placed securely on the racks in the dishwasher.
15. When doing top-to-bottom cleaning, put your glass light fixtures in the dishwasher to get rid of the dust and bugs instead of washing by hand.
16. If your washing machine has a detachable fabric softener or bleach dispenser, add them to your dishwasher load, too, to help easily remove dirt and grime.
17. Drop lemon slices or one tablespoon vinegar into a sink of soapy water to help cut grease and stubborn leftover food from dishes and glasses.
18. To quickly clean your blender, rinse out any large pieces of food or fruit, add water and dish soap. Now blend. It’s that easy.
19. Whether you are adding laundry detergent or cleaning a bathtub, use only enough to do the job. Otherwise, you’ll spent more time wiping up the excess than actually scrubbing.
20. Use a squeegee for mirrors and windows! It’s faster than using a towel and leaves glass streak-free.
21. When removing pet hair from draperies, carpets and upholstery, don’t automatically reach for the vacuum. Use a rubber latex glove, wet or dry, to do the job, because hair will cling to it.
Quick work now saves time later
22. Spot-clean high traffic areas on a weekly basis to keep stains to a minimum. Save deep cleaning for when it’s really needed.
23. Drop several extra trash bags inside each garbage container before relining for a quick and easy way to remove future trash when it really starts to pile up.
24. For hard-to-clean surfaces like shower tile, spray cleaner, spread it, and let it work while you do another task.
Later, scrub the surface, rinse well and dry. Skipping the rinse and dry steps will leave behind chemicals that can build up over time, and the moisture can cause mold growth in as little as 24 hours.
25. Wipe down sinks and mirrors as you brush your teeth, since you only need one hand for each task.
26. After each load of laundry, remove wet clothes as soon as you can. Check inside the corners of the washer for clothes that may be hidden on the sides. Leave the washing machine door slightly open to prevent the growth of mold and mildew by allowing the air to circulate.
27. Get the family to help. Pretty much anyone else who lives under your roof should be able to help you with these tasks. Be specific about what you need, provide the materials, set a deadline, and expect a good result!