Many of the house cleaning tips that follow offer an extra bonus: not only do they save time and effort, but your house will actually stay cleaner and tidier, which has a surprisingly potent effect on your overall wellbeing.
Speed cleaning: Kitchen
For most of us, kitchen cleaning requires the most daily attention. The key to keeping it under control lies in the mantra: Clean as you go. Clear away pots and pans, food ingredients and parings as you cook, instead of doing (or not doing) one big cleanup after supper. Put pots in the dishwasher or a sink of soapy water. After supper, load the dishwasher or rinse and dry pots in the sink, and put away anything left out. Then (or the next morning), give the counters and sink a quick swipe, and sweep or quick-vac the floor.
There are a number of time and effort-saving devices on the market now that make daily kitchen cleaning a (relative) breeze. Those disposable microfibre cloths and mops—and all their progeny, such as sweeper vacs, wet-jet mops, etc.—won’t actually replace a broom, mop and bucket or full-size vacuum cleaner, but they’re marvellous for light daily cleaning. Ditto disposable wipes impregnated with all-purpose cleaner. If you’re concerned about the environmental unfriendliness of disposables, make your own by dousing a cloth in cleanser and storing it in a baggie, or rinsing and reusing microfibre cloths.
My mother used a simple house cleaning rule that kept larger chores from getting out of control: the “one-of” rule. Whenever you run the dishwasher, put in one refrigerator shelf or burner ring. When you’re vacuuming, do one bookshelf. When you clean the counters, wash one cabinet front. If you do this, these surfaces will magically stay clean, almost by themselves and your house cleaning routine will thank you!
Speed cleaning: Bathroom
No one likes to clean the bathroom. But a clean as you go attitude can help make it less work. Keep a package of disposable cleaning wipes under the sink to wipe off everything from glass, tubs and sinks to the outside of the toilet; even kids seem to enjoy using them.
Spritz the shower with cleaner each time you use it, while it’s still wet. Rinse with the handheld shower or run the shower for a minute, and you’re done. Use a squeegee to clean the shower door, to prevent water spots. Run the toilet scrubber around the inside of the toilet, with a squirt of cleanser if desired.
Pick up towels and put in laundry or hang; put away makeup and toiletries; empty the wastebasket. If needed, use the microfibre mop or wet-jet cleaner to clean the floor.
PLUS: Take our quiz! How clean is your bathroom?