My Best House Cleaning Advice - What's Yours?
Saturday, September 08, 2012
HATE housecleaning. I also do research when I have a problem to solve, and continually tweak. Here's forty years of house cleaning experience, the less time I spend on cleaning, mor more I have for fun:
Flylady's two mantras of putting on shoes in the morning first thing to reset your brain, and keeping the kitchen sink sparkling are really good.
I also like the idea of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. If all you have time for a go around with some cutting corners, it's better than nothing.
To me less is more when it comes to the flat surfaces: tables and counters, open shelves. The less we have on them, the less that has to be cleaned. Gone are the knick-knack days. Keep a trash basket next to where the mail lands. Junk mail goes here. Handle it only once. Keep a trash basket near where you read the paper or magazines. They end up here. Keep extra liners in the basket under the liner in use. Every room has an adequate sized trash basket. Keep a big ongoing Goodwill trash bag somewhere handy for castoffs.
I think that Jeff Campbell's book "Speed Cleaning" is excellent. He has a website the Clean Team that sells his products. The main things that I learned from him are, clean top to bottom, left to right around the room. Don't clean anything that doesn't need it (not to worry), have your cleaning supplies in a little tote carrier to carry with you, GET GOOD TOOLS; a good vacuum, good cleaning solutions (he sells his own, but I've found that Professional 409 that you buy at Home Depot in a gallon jug is fantabulous, cuts right through the dirt.) and just regular windex. Get two easy to squirt professional cleaner person bottles with big handles, you can get these at Home Depot or Lowes, too. Put these in your box. Get a razor scraper for stuff that's stick on. He also suggests buying a big stack of cotton terry barmop towels, I have about 30 or 40. You use these for all kinds of cleaning, and throw them in the wash when they're soiled. Stronger and cheaper than paper towels. Save the paper towels for really gross things. I like big microfiber cloths for dusting. They also go into the washer. I've found that Comet bathroom cleaner is absolutely the best for soap scum, and any kind of bleach cleaner for grout mold. If you're cleaning something and the dirt's not coming off, go to a more aggressive method. And watch as you wipe, so that you don't wipe or scrub more than you absolutely need to. Find a scrub brush that's comfortable for your hand and guard it. Put a stiff toothbrush and nylon scrubbie in your tote. I don't use much Pledge-type furniture spray, too messy, but on occasion, like once a year, I'll polish up the furniture with a spray called Cabinet Magic. It is magic.
I've found that the best hand held vacuum is a Hoover Linx if you have pet hair to deal with, because it has a powered brush. I have a Hoover carpet cleaner that I can usually get one of the male residents to use on occasion, I've found that even having the traffic paths done makes a big difference.. Make sure that they rinse the shampoo out, otherwise it just acts like a magnet for more dirt accumulation. I also have a Little Green Machine that is a rug spot cleaner for pet accidents. My goal is to have the professional carpet cleaners come in once or twice a year, but that hasn't actually happened. It's a hassle, but so nice when it happens. I've also found that when the kitchen floor or tile entryway needs a good scrub, the carpet cleaner machine will work
I've found also that keeping the furnace filters changed makes a HUGE difference in the amount of dust and grime in the house. I like the 3M anti allergen ones. Mark the calendar when you change them.
BTW, I used to have a Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. I loved it His name was Robie. he turned himself on in the morning, meandered around the downstairs, beeping, singing, turning, merrily sucking up the dust and pet hair, and then chugged back to his docking station all by himself and sang a little phrase of triumph. He finally died. So sad.
In terms of getting the other residents to help out on the day to day, well, for me it is pretty much a lost cause other than one loading the dishwasher and the other vacuuming. I agree with others, I don't think most males see the dirt . Did you hear this one; "If you ask a man to do something, you don't have to keep nagging him about it every six months?" If I were raising children now, I would start them cleaning when they were itty bitty. But I didn't. I did have the children start doing their own laundry when they were about ten.
My "company's coming in a half hour strategy" is to have a big box or basket and just throw all the clutter in it and shove it in the closet or garage before they get there. The trick is to remember to put it back out and sort when they leave.
Is my house Martha Stewart perfect. Oh noooo. Am I less frustrated about cleaning than I once was? Yep.
What's your best advice?