Do you feel like there’s never enough time to keep your home as clean as you would like?
Here are 26 shortcuts, efficiency-boosters and other tidy tips to help make cleaning your house faster and easier… and hopefully a little more painless.
These ideas come from the experts at Molly Maid, Merry Maids, The Maids and Maid Brigade, as well as Jenny Botero, director of housekeeping operations for Marriott International and Laura Dellutri for SC Johnson.
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. (Molly Maid)
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. (Molly Maid)
3. Keep cleaning supplies on each floor so you don’t waste time walking up and down steps. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
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. (Maid Brigade)
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. (The Maids)
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. (Molly Maid)
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. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (Laura Dellutri for SC Johnson)
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. (Laura Dellutri for SC Johnson)
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. (Merry Maids)
Make soap scum disappear on shower caddies and soap dishes by running them through the dishwasher. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
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. (The Maids)
20. Use a squeegee for mirrors and windows! It’s faster than using a towel and leaves glass streak-free. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
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. (The Maids)
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. (Laura Dellutri for SC Johnson)
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. (The Maids)
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. (Jenny Botero for Marriott International)
25. Wipe down sinks and mirrors as you brush your teeth, since you only need one hand for each task. (The Maids)
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. (Maid Brigade)
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