Whether you choose to hire a maid or do it yourself, house cleaning is inevitable. There are only so many days you can go without feeling completely guilty and (a lot of times) disgusted by the filth that has accumulated in your living space! From cobwebs in the corner and dust on the furniture, to stains on your floor and a highly unsanitary bathroom; the list goes. Lack of cleaning or irregular house cleaning not only puts your health at risk, but leaves you with an overwhelming list of household chores to complete.
While the option to hire a professional to keep your house in check may or may not be on the table, the thought of spending money on something that you and your family can do yourselves is a huge turn-off! On the other hand, one can’t help but imagine the amount of time and effort that goes into achieving those professional cleaning results. Nevertheless, with the awesome tips below, backed by a little determination, you’ll be cleaning your home like a pro in half the amount of time!
1. Declutter Before You Clean
To be perfectly honest, a cluttered home will still look dirty or untidy after cleaning it, simply because one cannot clean efficiently with so many things getting in the way. Any professional with cleaning experience will tell you the importance of decluttering before cleaning, not only for better results, but also for a quicker and easier cleaning routine!
Simple tips to declutter your home:
- Keep two large boxes in your garage (or any space that will accommodate them); label them as ‘Donate’ and ‘Discard’. Whenever you come across items that can be put in either of these boxes, do not think twice about it!
- Make sure you have a designated place for everything. If you feel like you don’t have enough storage, perhaps you need to sort through items in cabinets and drawers to get rid of stuff and make space for things that are left lying around.
- Use a tote bag or basket to do a quick round-up of items that do not belong in the room. This saves you time and energy of walking in and out of a room to put things back in place.
- Discipline yourself and household members to carry any personal belongings with them when leaving a room.
- Take immediate action when dealing with clutter before it accumulates and becomes a time-consuming and tiring affair.
2. Vacuum Everything You Possibly Can!
When you think of a vacuum cleaner, you think floor cleaning. Very few people use these appliances to their full capacity which, in fact, can be used to clean many areas of a home. The key here is to use appropriate attachment heads for different household surfaces or items to get desirable results.
Things you can clean in your home using a vacuum cleaner:
- Upholstery and linen – sofas, cushions, curtains, etc
- Ceiling fans
- Ceiling, walls, and corners
- Shelves/tables (after clearing them)
- Window rails
- Cabinet tops
- Wall hangings
3. Dust with a Multi-Purpose Spray
Using an ordinary rag to dust your furniture is not effective enough. For starters, the dusting tool itself will not pick up dust effectively, while lack of product will leave surfaces looking rather dull. The solution to this problem is multi-purpose cleaners! For best results, it’s advisable to use a microfibre cloth with your choice of product; simply spritz the cloth (avoid soaking) and in one quick swipe, you can clean up furniture and just about any household surface to reveal a beautiful sheen!
Professional dusting tips for best results:
- Clean and dry off your dusting tool after every use
- Replace dust cloths as and when needed
- For very dusty surfaces or dust bunnies, vacuum first, and then use a multi-purpose product to clean the surface
- Start dusting higher levels of furniture/surfaces and work your way down to lower ones
- Avoid dampening dust cloths if they are lightly soiled as this will spread or smear dirt around
- Always clear surfaces before wiping for a thorough clean
4. Give Cleaning Products Enough Time to Sit
More often than not, household cleaning is a rushed affair which, in turn, leads to ineffective results. Apart from cleaning hastily, many homeowners discount the importance of allowing cleaning products to sit and actually work to breakdown dirt, grime, and stains. For example, if you were to clean a stovetop immediately after spraying the surface with a cleaning product, you would not only struggle to remove grime, but you will find the end result to be less than satisfactory. On the other hand, allowing the cleaner to soak stains and breakdown grease for at least 10 minutes before attempting to clean will make a world of difference!
Recommended sitting time and tips when cleaning around the house:
- Toilet Bowl – The most effective way to clean your toilet bowl is by leaving the cleaner to work its magic overnight. If you’re pressed for time, give it at least 30 minutes to sit before scrubbing the interiors.
- Kitchen Sink – Plug the drain, fill up the sink with hot water, and mix in the cleaning product. Leave the solution to sit for 15-20 minutes before cleaning.
- Sticker Residue – To remove sticker residue from furniture, use a solution of mildly hot water and white vinegar. Dampen a cloth with the cleaner and gently press down on the sticky residue for a minute (the longer you wait, the easier it will come off). Wipe with the same cloth thereafter
- Floor Stains – Apply the cleaner directly to the stain, wait for 5 minutes, and clean with a damp mop. For old or stubborn stains, give the product 10-15 minutes of sitting time.
- Couch Stains – It’s hard to predict how much time a cleaning solution requires to successfully remove couch stains because this largely depends on the type of stain in question; however, a minimum of 10 minutes is definitely advised before attempting to remove sofa stains.
5. Use Appropriate Tools and Products
To achieve professional cleaning results, you need to have the right cleaning tools and products. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and buy fancy equipment and expensive products, but rather stock up on tools/products that will allow you to clean efficiently for best results. For example, cleaning wooden furniture requires a specially formulated solution for a safe and effective clean. Similarly, different types of surfaces or materials require suitable products and tools to avoid damaging when cleaning thoroughly.
A list of cleaning tools and products every home should have:
- Microfibre dust cloths
- Vacuum cleaner
- Broom + dustpan
- Mop + bucket
- Lint roller
- Scrub brushes (soft-hard bristles) for bathroom floors, bathtub, wall tiles, sinks, upholstery, etc
- Scrubbers and sponges
- Spray bottles (for homemade cleaners)
- All-purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- A range of surface cleaners (for wood, chrome, leather, etc)
- Floor cleaner
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Liquid and powdered dish soap
- Laundry detergent
- Different types of stain removers
6. Clean Floors Last
If you observe a professional cleaning service at work, you will see that the floor is the last thing they clean. This makes complete sense since there is a lot of moving around while cleaning other areas of your home. Moreover, dirt and dust tend to get knocked off of higher surfaces, and settle on the floor. Therefore, to ensure that it stays clean for a much longer duration of time, it’s advisable to end your cleaning routine with a thorough sweeping or vacuuming of the floor, followed by mopping.
Professional cleaning tips for different types of flooring:
- Hardwood – A daily dust mop is typically advised, while a damp mop of hardwood floors twice a week will keep it clean. A pH-neutral floor cleaner is suitable for polyurethane, wax, or unfinished wooden floors.
- Natural Stone – Avoid cleaners with acidic content, bleach, and ammonia. Stick to either hot water or a pH-neutral cleanser. A steam clean once in a while is a great way to sanitise stone floors, as well as to remove stubborn grime and stains.
- Vinyl – It is best to quickly sweep vinyl flooring with a soft broom, and then vacuum over it as grout lines tend to accumulate dust which cannot be removed entirely unless these cleaning tools are used in combination.
- Laminate – Keep moisture on laminate flooring to a complete minimum. Clean by vacuuming regularly, and spot clean stains with a slightly damp mop and a mild cleanser.
- Carpeting – Vacuuming is a given; however, for mild carpet stains or dull patches caused by dust and dirt, make a runny solution of water, white vinegar, and baking soda, and scrub the area with a brush to brighten your carpet up; vacuum thereafter.
7. Make Glass Surfaces Gleam!
One of the best ways to achieve the appearance of a professionally cleaned home is to get your windows and glass surfaces gleaming! It’s one of the first things people notice because, after all, a shiny reflection catches one’s eye immediately! Moreover, indoor glass surfaces are prone to fingerprints, grease (particularly in kitchens), dust, and the likes, while exterior windows encounter all types of outdoor pollutants and bird/insect droppings. Hence, regular cleaning is a must.
Quick tips to make windows and glass sparkle:
- Always wipe the surface with a clean rag before using glass cleaner
- Use crushed newspaper sheets to clean (with glass cleaner)
- Work quickly to avoid streaks
- Clean windows when it’s not too sunny or hot (to avoid streaks)
- Wear gloves to avoid getting fingerprints on the surface
- Clean from top to bottom.
- Clean window corners with cotton swabs
- Wipe exterior windows with a rag; then splash a mug of water on the glass, and wipe it dry with a clean cloth before using glass cleaner on the surface
8. ‘Clean & Dry’ Always!
Do you find stains or dirty marks on your floor soon after you’ve mopped? Well, this tends to happen a lot, especially if you’ve got kids and pets that are constantly moving around the house. Similarly, a bathroom cleaned to perfection can also encounter unwanted marks, simply because it was left damp for too long. Therefore, drying surfaces immediately after cleaning/washing eliminates the chances of someone leaving footprints and fingerprints, or dust and dirt clinging to the surface.
Things that should be cleaned and dried immediately:
- Bathroom floor and flooring using a dry mop
- Kitchen counters using a clean towel
- Kitchen and bathroom sink using a lint-free cloth
- Glassware and utensils using a kitchen towel
- Upholstery and other household fabrics
There’s nothing better than a well-kept living space to come home to. Better still, you feel a sense of self-achievement when you look around and, just for a second, think that a professional maid has cleaned your home!