For some, cleaning is the most relaxing thing in the world — an activity you look forward to every day, week, or month. For others, it can be incredibly stressful and exhausting, especially when you have a million other things on your plate. Either way, there are probably times when you can see the dirt and dust piling up around the house, but little time to get rid of it. That's when knowing quicker ways to clean your house can come really in handy. With these tips, you'll finally know the secret to cleaning your house fast. But, in order to make the most of your time, there are a few things professionals suggest doing before you start cleaning.
"Pick up, and put away everything [that] has gathered on the floor," Sharon Lowenheim, MBA, MSE, certified professional organizer, and founder of Organizing Goddess, Inc., tells Woman's Day. "Then, do the same with all the surfaces." Kate Pawlowski, founding partner of Done & Done Home, echoes Lowenheim's sentiment, adding that what makes cleaning so difficult for some people is that they have too much lying around the house. "We always suggest that doing a big declutter will make cleaning so much faster since everything is put away in its home," Pawlowski tells Woman's Day.
It can also be helpful to have a station for all of your cleaning supplies and products, and devote one bucket or caddy to carry around the house with you while you clean, Wendy Silberstein, professional organizer and founder of The Aesthetic Organizer, says. Then, "create a master schedule and commit," she tells Woman's Day. Designate specific cleaning activities for different days. For example, cleaning windows and glass on Mondays and Fridays, the bathroom(s) on Tuesdays and Saturdays, dusting on Wednesday, and so on. "Post it for all family members to see so they may help out," Silberstein says.
Dividing your cleaning tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly ones can also make a world of a difference, Jamie Hord, founder of Horderly Professional Organizing, explains. "You'll never have to spend hours (or days) doing an entire-home deep clean again," she tells Woman's Day. Hord recommends wiping down and disinfecting all high-traffic areas daily — doorknobs, countertops, kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms, just to name a few. "On a weekly basis, wash sheets and towels, vacuum and mop floors, dust surfaces and furniture, and clean your showers and bathtubs," she says. As for monthly tasks, Hord suggests taking inventory of the food in your kitchen, cleaning supplies, and toiletries to make sure they're not expired.
Once you've got your cleaning schedule down and decluttering out of the way, it's time to start cleaning.
The Best Way to Clean Your House
The biggest mistake people make is cleaning room by room (this is called "zone cleaning"). It's much too slow! "You can either clean your kitchen in four hours, or clean your entire house top to bottom in four hours," Lisa Romero, owner of Just Like New Cleaning in Fort Collins, Colorado, tells Woman's Day. "A lot of people get caught focusing on one area — say, doing a super job cleaning the counters — and never get to the stove, let alone the next room. In reality, just wiping things down and moving on is quick and efficient."
A lot of pros are in favor of task cleaning, i.e. completing one chore, such as dusting, throughout the entire house, before starting the next. "You'll do a little more walking, so it's a good workout," Ronald Payne, owner of RZJ Janitorial Services in Plano, Texas, tells Woman's Day. "And I find that it's faster because you're in a mindset to keep moving." Follow these seven steps, and your whole house will sparkle in four hours if you're a beginner — two and a half once you become a pro.
The Ultimate Cleaning Guide
The recommended plan of attack? Top-to-bottom, left-to-right. "I always start [in the upstairs bathroom]," Romero says. "It's a good place to leave supplies."
For each task, start at the highest point in the room (if dusting, this might mean high shelves), and move from left to right across the room. This way, you don't miss anything, and you won't accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower shelves.
Step 1: Dust Your House
Dust each room, including the topsides of all the furniture, undersides of shelves, and all handrails, as well as picture frames, TV screens, and knickknacks. "When it's possible to dry-dust, I do — getting something wet makes it harder," Romero says. To get rid of fingerprints, dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water.
Pro cleaning tip: Look up top. "People don't dust up on the very top of furniture, and that's where all the dust collects and then falls off," Romero says.
Step 2: Clean Furniture Fabric
Go through the house and strip and remake beds; neaten any pillows or furniture blankets. Brush furniture surfaces with a vacuum extension as needed.
Step 3: Clean Mirrors and Glass
Wipe down mirrors and windows throughout the house.
Pro cleaning tip: Using one wet and one dry microfiber cloth won't leave streaks.
Step 4: Clean Surfaces
Wipe down all surfaces and counters throughout the house, disinfecting as necessary.
Pro cleaning tip: Be sure to wipe down all places that fingers touch, like door handles, light switches, TV remotes and phones. "Those are the places that people forget, and they really hold germs," Payne says.
Step 5: Clean the Kitchen and Bathroom
Walk through and spray cleaner on tubs, sinks, and toilets. Return and scrub. Then, in the kitchen, wipe down the inside of the microwave, and cabinet and appliance doors.
Step 6: Clean Floors
Sweep, then mop or scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors, and any other floor that needs it.
Pro cleaning tip: "I always do bathroom floors on my hands and knees with a microfiber cloth and cleanser," Romero says. "That's how I know that I got every corner, even behind toilets, and that they're 100% disinfected."
Step 7: Vacuum the House
"I vacuum my way out the bedrooms, down the stairs, through the living room and out of the house," Romero says.
Pro cleaning tip: It's not crucial to vacuum every single inch. Just keep moving. You'll get the spots you missed next week.
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