It feels like dirt and grime are piling up faster than ever with more time spent indoors. Whether you dread cleaning or you’re looking for a way to streamline the process, we’re here to help you with top tips from a Seattle pro.
On last week’s episode of Fresh Take, Susan Stocker of Susan’s Green Cleaning shared her expert recommendations for how to clean your home quickly and effectively. Susan’s time-saving tips will help you keep your home spotless without adding extra stress.
Clean your Home Quickly
Start at the back and work forward
Start cleaning at the back of a room and work your way to the front to maximize time and efficiency. Susan also recommends cleaning the rooms at the back of house first, working your way to the front door. Make sure you only clean one room at a time to avoid missing an area.
Clean rooms using the “slice” method
Most people clean their homes in waves, working in horizontal patterns throughout their homes. However, the “wave” method makes it easy to forget where you left off.
Clean each of the rooms in your home in “slices” instead. Divide the room that you are cleaning into imaginary “slices” the size of your wingspan. Then work your way around the room cleaning each “slice” from top to bottom and from left to right. Repeat this process for each section of the room until you have reached the doorway.
After you have cleaned the outer edge of the room, you can begin cleaning the floors by starting at the back of the room and working inward.
Create a To-Do List
To avoid letting tasks pile up, maintain a daily, weekly and monthly chore cycle. This will help you to keep your home clean while saving you time and energy. If you find cleaning overwhelming, try giving yourself a manageable task list that will help you stay motivated.
As a general rule of thumb, daily tasks should take a minute or less to complete. Take care of the following tasks every day:
- Squeegee the shower
- Wipe down the kitchen and bathroom counters
- Wipe down the bathroom floors
- Clean the toilet with a toilet wand and water
- Adopt a “no shoes” policy in the house
- Make your bed
Weekly tasks involve deep cleaning areas where mold and debris can build up. Add the following tasks to your weekly chore list:
- Scrub your shower with a scrub brush to prevent mold from growing in the grout
- Scrub and mop your floors
- Clean the baseboards
- Remove dust from surfaces using a canister vacuum
Monthly tasks involve a little more elbow grease. Every month, you should:
- Clean the blinds
- Clean the oven and the stovetop
- Clean out the fridge
- Clean light fixtures
- Clean the vents
Manage Hard to Clean Areas
Sweep and mop the floors
Heavily trafficked floors can quickly get dirty. Prepare floors for mopping by wiping a microfiber cloth along the outer edge of the room to clear away any dirt and dust that has collected. After you have cleaned the outer edge of the room, use a vacuum or broom to get the hair off the floor. The edging tool of the vacuum can be helpful to get rid of particles that have been pushed into nooks and crannies. If you are using a broom, sweep in small sections in the four corners of the room.
After you have prepared your floors, you can begin scrubbing. Start at the back of the room and work your way inward. Susan recommends using deionized water with a microfiber cloth because the combination will attract dust particles without leaving stains or watermarks on wood surfaces.
Wipe down countertops
Clean your countertops in sections to make sure you don’t miss a spot. Move items on your counter forward so that you can clean behind them and then slide the items back. This will help you to avoid the hassle of moving items elsewhere and trying to remember where they belong.
Remove cobwebs from the ceiling
If you’re struggling to remove cobwebs from your ceiling, get a cobweb duster. Cobweb dusters can be purchased online from Home Depot. For a quick and inexpensive fix, you can create a cobweb duster at home by attaching a microfiber cloth to a broom handle with a rubber band. Then sweep the cloth around the ceiling to remove cobwebs from troublesome corners.
Clean the oven
The self-cleaner button on your oven won’t work for tackling tough, caked-on stains. Instead, use a pumice stone to grind out stains in your oven. Don’t use a pumice stone on painted surfaces because it will scrape away the paint. You can also use a metal razor to remove stuck-on stains from the glass portion of your oven.
Degrease the stovetop
A degreaser is a useful tool that you can use to remove grime that may have accumulated on your burners. Remove metal burners before you begin scrubbing the surface. If you have metal burners, lay a cloth down on your counter before setting them down. This will help prevent you from scratching your countertops. Place the degreaser on your stovetop and let it sit on top of the stove for about one minute. After one minute, scrub the top of the stove using the abrasive side of a sponge.
Remove pet hair
If you’re having problems with pet hair, use a vacuum designed specifically to remove pet hair. Susan’s favorite is the Miele Cat & Dog Canister Vacuum. This vacuum has a small carpet brush tool that will help remove hair from the surfaces in your home. Rubber gloves are also a great low-cost alternative to help remove pet hair from surfaces. Put on the gloves and pick the hair off the surfaces you need to clean. The gloves will easily lift hair from upholstery and other surfaces.
Use hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the surfaces around your home. Spray the solution on surfaces including doorknobs, countertops and handles. Keep in mind that disinfectants need to sit for about ten minutes to be effective. After ten minutes, wipe away the disinfectant.
Make Cleaning a Family Affair
Motivate your family
You and your family will be happier if you live in a clean house. Encourage your family members to contribute to cleaning so that no one has too many tasks to manage. If you’re struggling to keep a family member motivated, find out if there is a way you can simplify a burdensome task to make it more approachable.
Encourage your kids to help out
To encourage your children to help out around the house, give them a small task like cleaning the baseboards. Giving them an apron and a chore that they are accountable for will help encourage them to participate. Make sure that the chores you give them are at their eye level or lower to make it easier for them to complete. You can even reward completing chores with an incentive.
8 Products to Keep in your Caddy
Susan shared her favorite green cleaning products that you can keep around your home to tackle any mess.
Microfiber cloths absorb dirt and dust particles easily without scratching surfaces. Keep these reusable cloths on hand to use edge wood floors and wipe down countertops.
Use tile brushes to clean the nooks and crannies around your sink, in the shower, on door hinges and around the rubber seals in your fridge. After you are done with the tile brush, use hydrogen peroxide to sanitize it.
Reusable rubber gloves will help you to protect your hands from bacteria and cleaning solutions while you clean.
ECOS Parsley Plus is an all-purpose cleaner that you can use on any surface in your house, including wood. Keep this product on hand to clean the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom.
5. Krud Kutter
Krud Kutter is Susan’s favorite degreaser to remove stubborn stains that may hang on to stovetops. Let the degreaser sit for one minute before you wipe it away with a sponge.
6. Deionized water
Spray deionized water onto a microfiber cloth to easily wipe away dirt and dust from surfaces around your home. You can purchase deionized water online, or stop by Susan’s Green Clean with a reusable gallon jug to fill up for free.
7. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to sanitize countertops, handles and doorknobs. It even works on surfaces that are nickel and chrome. Just make sure you don’t use hydrogen peroxide on copper surfaces because it will etch it.
8. Bon Ami
Bon Ami is a green product that you can use to deep clean sinks, shower walls and ceramic cooktops. Apply a small amount of Bon Ami on these surfaces and use the scrubby side of a sponge to easily take the grime off.
These tips will help you maintain a clean home even while professional cleaners are closed. For more top tips and tricks for keeping your home clean, follow Susan’s Green Cleaning on Fresh Chalk.