If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times; one person’s “clean” is another person’s “gross”. We all have our version of “clean” and what we are willing to do to achieve this goal. Most people can trace their habits back to childhood. Many folks carry with them the practices that they were taught. Some rebel to the extreme. Others wouldn’t know how if their lives depended on it. I’ve been a housecleaner most of my adult life. My daughter not only fell from the tree and rolled away, she kept going into the next state. We are near opposites.
What I think we can all agree on is: we want better cleaning. Products abound to make our chores easier, faster, and more effective. Most people don’t like keeping house. I do. I’m a freak and not like *most* people…which is also why I have a housecleaning business. That said, I don’t want to do it ALL the time, so I have developed tricks to get to the end faster.
Take a look at the list below and see which best describes you, and I will give you tips and tricks to maximize your efforts!
A. OCD! I clean house every day! Scrub toilets and sinks, dust, vacuum and mop. No germs here!
B. Once a week, I clean the whole house. Rubber gloves, cleaners, brushes, dust, vac, and mop. Takes several hours. It’s on my calendar.
C. Do rooms as needed, so it ends up being a rotation but not the whole house at once.
D. It’s starting to gross me out. And there’s a smell coming from….?
Help for Type A’s
Slow down there buckaroo! It’s really not necessary to clean every single day. In fact, you may be compromising your immunity by keeping things so sanitary. Exposure to (some) germs and bacteria is what helps our bodies develop immunity. Get some time back, so good daily habits for you would include:
- Shoes at the door/entryway
- Regular handwashing
- Keeping toothbrushes and personal care tools (hairbrushes, curling irons/dryers) in cabinets or drawers and as far away from the toilet as possible.
- Close the toilet lid before you flush
- Wash personal linens (sheets and towels) once a week in hot water
- Lose the bleach/disinfectant wipes. Useless mostly because you have to wash the surface area afterwards anyway. Just use a hot soapy clean dishrag (no sponges) and dry.
- Do whole house cleaning ideally once every 2 weeks, but once a week may be better for your type.
More Time for Type B’s
Allllmost OCD there! If you have children and pets, this is not unreasonable. It doesn’t take long for the schmootz to become noticeable. But as the weather warms up, chances are you all will be outdoors more. Still…to save your time and continue to have a tidy home with a number of inhabitants, try these:
- Shoes at the door/entryway. Keep some slippers handy there for your family and guests because the animals are still going to do their thing.
- Regular handwashing
- Vacuum as needed. This alone can make it look like you did a total housecleaning when you didn’t.
- Tidy up when you’re done with something (make beds daily, put dishes in the dishwasher, etc). Again, it creates an impression.
- At least the toilet, once a week. Keep a brush, cleaner, and rags handy. Swish-swish, wipe-wipe, done.
- Wash personal linens (sheets and towels) once a week.
Improving Cleaning for Type C’s
This is good but you probably find that every so often (once a month?) you need to buckle down and do the whole house firehose-style. You end up spending many more hours putting things away, catching up some laundry, and haphazardly mopping the kitchen floor because your shoes are starting to stick. Lack of time is obviously a factor. The key is to actually put *more* regularity into your housework.
- My business’ most popular cleaning schedule is every 2 weeks. Try doing key rooms at least that often: kitchen, baths, dust, vacuum, and mop. In that order.
- Regular tidying, 5-10 minutes here and there can make a world of difference. Get in the habit of cleaning the kitchen after dinner. This, by itself, can be motivating! You wake up to a new room every day and the coffee tastes SO much better.
- Most dust is, in actuality, discarded skin cells…from everyone who lives there. A thorough dusting every couple of weeks, including over your head and near the floor, is important so it doesn’t build up. Use a cotton rag (microfibers are a topic for another blog) lightly dampened with water or your favorite all purpose cleaner, will help to not scatter the dust. Pick up items and wipe under them and the item itself. Be sure to vacuum afterward.
- Vacuum once a week. Doing this can preserve your wood floors and carpeting. Going long periods between vacuuming, especially on heavy trafficked areas, will ruin the flooring.
- Make a habit of finishing the laundry. If you put it in the washer, make sure you have time to get it dried and put away the same day. Even if it’s one load at a time. Don’t do marathon laundry days. So demoralizing!
Where to Start for Type D’s
So, upkeep is not in your wheelhouse. You may be better off hiring help especially if you’re a renter. Most likely it will need a deep-clean, which can be expensive depending on how long it’s been since a solid scrubbing has been done, but your health may hinge on it. Say you want to turn over a new leaf and be better about it, consider a service to make that initial step and get a leg up, then ask for coaching. Like any task, it takes knowledge and practice. Some people were never taught properly. It’s ok, but don’t put it off! There’s lots of help out there. The key is to take the first step! Don’t try to go to Type A from here. You will only fall short and then fall back to old behaviors. Shoot for Type C and you are on your way!