Not a fan of spending precious time cleaning your house? If so, you’re like most Americans.
A recent survey found 93 percent of U.S. homeowners would rather do just about anything else than clean. Humorously enough, 44 percent would rather speak in front of a large group, 30 percent would prefer a six-hour car ride with their in-laws and 10 percent would rather eat dog food.
That said, professional house cleaners will tell you the key to quickly getting your house up to speed has everything to do with staying organized and working with a designated plan of attack.
"To get the time down, you have to be consistent — that's the whole premise," advises professional cleaner Debbie Sardone in Popular Mechanics. "The routine is the method, and that is an inherently better way to clean because the speed comes from the method instead of from hurrying. You really can clean your house in half the time. It's not a gimmick."
Consider the following organizational tips for establishing a routine that’s second nature.
- Have a designated outfit to wear for cleaning so you avoid getting your good clothes grimy, smelly and/or bleach-stained.
- Take a tip from the pros by investing in a small rolling cart you can stock with cleaning supplies and easily transport from room to room without a lot of back-and-forth. Then think in terms of minimizing your movements as you clean each section of your home.
- Clean each room from top to bottom, addressing floors last so falling dust, dirt, refuse and crumbs don’t undo what you just did.
- When you use both hands at once, many tasks go faster. For example, you might wipe down a sink with your left hand and scrub stuck-on food with your right.
- Your five basic solutions are a glass cleaner or multi-surface cleaner; a wood furniture polish; a tile cleaner; a heavy-duty degreaser and a powdered abrasive cleaner.
- Identify or install spaces on each floor of your home (maybe a clear vinyl shoe rack on the back of a door?) that can store cleaning supplies specific to that area.
- Invest in sturdy, well-made tools that won’t fall apart after a couple of uses.
- Buy several of the white terrycloth cleaning towels sold in auto parts departments as “detailing towels.” They’re durable, perfectly absorbent and easy to launder using hot water and bleach.
- The quality of your vacuum can make or break you. Invest in a strong-suction model that’s highly rated by consumers, then maintain it at least monthly by wiping it down inside and out, changing bags, rinsing filters and pulling hair and refuse out of the rotating brush. A yearly professional servicing is also a good idea.
- In under-sink cabinets, install inexpensive tension rods where you can easily hang spray bottles of cleaner. Another option: stick-up clips for lightweight tools such as rubber gloves and dust rags.
- Pull-out racks and trays are your friend. Place them at the bottom of cabinets and/or shelves to access cleaning supplies without having to dig deep.
- Hang brooms and mops from S-hooks on closet rods.
- Install pegboard in your garage, basement or closets, then hang other tools on hooks there for easy visibility. The savviest cleaners use permanent marker to outline key tools on the board so they’re always put back in the same location.
- Clean windows faster by diluting three drops of liquid dish soap in a gallon of water, spraying on the solution then systematically applying a squeegee in a downward motion.
- Discourage soap scum from accumulating in the first place by switching to glycerin- or vegetable oil-based soaps that rinse cleaner than tallow-based soaps. Another good idea is to require each family member to (briefly) wipe down shower walls with a squeegee after showering.
Getting your home clean and tidy each week need not be something to dread once you get the process down and optimize your efficiency. Take time to invest in the right tools and learn the best techniques before tackling that necessary chore.