Quick and Span: Fast Cleaning Tips
Tackling overdue cleaning chores wastes time and energy. The first rule of keeping your home spic and span is that it’s easier to keep something clean than it is to make something clean. So, roll up your sleeves, give your rooms a good deep-cleaning, then follow these tips for keeping them that way. By dedicating as little as 15 minutes a day to these tasks, you can keep your home clean and tidy, worthy of even the pickiest drop-in guests.
The housekeeper’s biggest nemesis, dust seems to collect overnight, and always at eye-level. Don’t let it build up. Swipe shelves and knick-knacks at least once a week with an electrostatic cloth or fabric dusting rag. Adding furniture polish to your cloth can help keep dust at bay. Wear old socks spritzed with polish over your hands and run them over surfaces for a fast way to eliminate dust as you pass through the room. On laundry day, make a used dryer sheet work a little harder by rubbing it over blinds, electronics and other dust-attracting surfaces. Its anti-static properties will help repel dust.
Floors need to be thoroughly vacuumed at least once a week, but don’t ignore them for six days in between cleanings. Use a handheld vacuum to pick up spills or tracked-in dirt before messes spread to other rooms, or set a robotic vacuum cleaner loose before you go to bed each night so you wake up to clean floors. Hardwoods, tile or linoleum should also be wet-mopped or scrubbed regularly, as appropriate, but make that task less onerous, and less-frequently necessary, by quickly running over floors with an electrostatic cloth every few days.
They say the devil is in the details. For housekeepers, that means woodwork and fixtures. Don’t forget these important aspects of your rooms when you perform clean-throughs or touch-ups. No matter how clean your floor is, if your baseboards are dirty, the effect is ruined. Use electrostatic dusters or rags on a long-reach pole to make cleaning baseboards, ceiling fans and light fixtures as easy as walking along the perimeter of the room—no bending or stretching required. Don’t forget outlet covers and switchplates, heaters, railings or wainscoting as you work.
Don’t wait until windows and mirrors are covered in grime to clean them. Wipe them regularly to make this chore a breeze. Use a cloth specifically designed for glass cleaning to rub out smudges and spots without chemicals. If you use window cleaner, forget paper towels that shed and leave streaks. For best results, take a hint from the street-corner pros and use newsprint instead.
Don’t let clutter build up throughout the house. Not only does it look messy, it makes cleaning surfaces buried under mountains of junk harder, too. Target problem areas with attractive catch-alls for remotes, keys, reading materials and change, and hang hooks or designate an easily accessible closet for coats and school bags. Pick and choose knick-knacks carefully; rotating your favourites on a seasonal basis is a great way to keep from having too many on a shelf at once and keeping your décor looking different and fresh. Eliminate clusters of photo frames by investing in digital frames that can display all your favourite pictures on a rotating basis. When it comes to toys or pet gear, labelled storage bins or baskets can make a big difference.
At the end of each day, invest ten minutes in picking up the day’s detritus. Schoolwork, toys, books, electronic devices—they all get scattered and left behind throughout the course of a busy day. Putting them away before bed assures a fresh start the next day and saves everyone the headache of searching for misplaced items in the morning. Make this a family project—get the kids involved and set a timer to motivate them or play some favourite music while you work.
If you keep clutter from accumulating on a daily basis, the rest of the household chores are easy. Don’t try to tackle all of the above suggestions every single day; focusing on one thing per day, for just a few minutes at a time, will really make a difference. Keeping things clean on a regular basis saves time and energy, and it makes your home a place where family and friends will feel comfortable at any time. Stop dreading the drop-in by making basic cleaning part of your daily routine.
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