Basic house cleaning tips apply whatever the type of dwelling is concerned. You could live in a compact-sized city condo or in a suburban sprawling cottage or in a summer house by the lake, but there are parts and elements of a house that need to be cleaned regularly – at least weekly for optimum results.
These are the washrooms, the kitchen, front yard and back yard and if you entertain a lot, the living and dining rooms. The bedrooms, garage and the study do not have to be cleaned assiduously, but still need some looking after at least twice a month.
As for the elements, we’re talking about appliances and fixtures that require weekly cleaning: the fridge and oven – because these are the fixtures where our food is prepared. Hygiene dictates that they be cleaned regularly to avoid the growth and spread of bacteria.
Let’s start with the schedule.
House Cleaning Tips: Work out a Schedule First
House cleaning is not exactly an activity that excites and stimulates us, but it has got to be done, no matter what. What some people tend to do is neglect the cleaning for weeks and then when they feel a sudden burst of energy, or company is expected, they go on a full-blown cleaning marathon that can take at least two or three days. The reason it takes that long – even if the dwelling is only a single’s pad – is due to negligence. All of a sudden, the place needs to be really cleaned because there are tell tale signs of negligence.
What we recommend is that some parts of the room and certain chores be scheduled for particular days in the week. In our home, we always try to vacuum the second floor on Mondays, and then vacuum the first floor on Tuesdays. Vacuuming is essential so that dust does not permeate the whole house and cause allergies.
The bathroom and toilet scrubbing and disinfecting are done on either Thursday or Friday, and the appliances are taken care of on the weekend.
The secret, as you may have guessed, is NOT to cram all cleaning chores in one or two days. This is how house cleaning becomes a most tedious obligation and we begin to resent this activity because of sheer physical fatigue. By spacing out our chores into certain days of the week, it does not become an endless string of “to do” things, making us feel totally uninspired and de-motivated. When house cleaning turns out to be a marathon, we dread the next round and tend to put off for weeks what needs to be done until it’s time again to get rid of the “crud” and the “muck.”
House Cleanings Tips: Hardwood Floors
Wouldn’t it be nice if our floors could look brand new everyday, minus the scratches and the chipped edges and dull appearance?
When we moved into our place, the hardwood floors were so beautiful and shiny we were afraid to step on them. We wanted to spread out large area rugs to protect the finish. We almost went out to the local hardware store to buy a bucket of cleaning chemicals and solutions, eager to maintain the sheen of the wood. But we decided to ask a construction expert who was putting on our lighting fixtures if he knew anything about hardwood floors and how to care for them. His advice was: vacuum regularly, and then every now and then pass a damp cloth soaked in lukewarm water to be a followed by a quick dry with a soft cloth. He said never to use any chemicals or solutions – just plain water. We glad we took his advice, because four years later, our floors have not lost their shine.
As for the fridge: we wash the detachable storage compartments with warm water and dishwashing detergent, and for the inside of the fridge, we simply use warm water with vinegar. Use 1 cup of vinegar with 3 cups water. After cleaning, we leave a fresh box of baking soda in one corner of the fridge.
For the oven: if you have a self-cleaning oven, this is a blessing, but for those who have the old-fashioned ones inherited from grandma, a good scrub down with warm water and vinegar should do the trick. This is to disinfect the oven. Occasionally, there are grease spots that remain on the corners and on the glass door, and we scrub them with a small amount of household cleanser. If you have a modern oven with ceramic tops, there is a whitish solution you can get from the supermarket, drugstore or hardware store. Make sure the label reads “for ceramic glass top ovens.” This solution is an excellent de-greaser.
House Cleaning Tips: Cobwebs Everywhere?
This is where your ordinary broom will be useful. Make sure the broom is clean and free of ingrained dirt before you “swat” down the cobwebs from the ceiling and corners of walls. If you’d rather not have to deal with cobwebs on your broom, wrap the broom with an ordinary cloth before you take down the cobwebs. This cloth can be discarded or thrown into the wash.
One writer suggested buying two products that are available that can serve as substitutes for your broom. One is the cobweb eliminator and the telescoping duster. They are perfect for hard to reach spots. We looked up some telescoping dusters and they range in price from $20.00 to $150.00. The high priced ones come with multiple accessories to clean paneling, molding and intricate carvings. Some dusters come with a soft brush head and extension pole that can be extended from six to sixteen feet. The nylon bristles can reach vaulted ceilings, skylights and air grates.
House Cleaning Tips: No Need to go Overboard!
One valuable lesson we learned when we became a homeowner. There is absolutely no need to go overboard with cleaning products. Are you sometimes surprised when you look in the cupboards of people and you see all kinds of cleaning brands – one set for the bathrooms, another set for the kitchen, and another for the living room and dining room?
If you have a brand new house, you don’t usually have to deal with permanent stubborn stains and dirt accumulation. What we’ve learned is that we need only the following:
- Dishwashing detergent
That’s it! Cynical? Don’t be. We use dishwashing detergent not only for dishes, but also to scrub bathroom walls, toilets, sinks. We use nothing on our floors, just water. Cleanser is to clean the soap stains off the aluminum and metal fixtures and vinegar to disinfect the fridge and coffee brewer. When we were tenants, we lived in an old apartment building and we had a whole arsenal of chemicals: toilet freshners (the kind that turned toilet water blue), Murphy’s oil, CLR, and the toxic solutions that needed careful handling. With a brand new house, it would be a waste of dollars to buy all kinds of cleaning products.
Think house cleaning tips when your house is over five years old, and “things” begin to appear. It’s time to invest in stronger cleaning agents to deal with the wear and tear, and the smells that linger in the house and apartment. In very cold climates like Canada, homes don’t get aired regularly because the harsh winter forces us to keep our windows closed at all times. That’s when we need to clean more vigorously and with more diligence.