Life Out Here

Just a small way to keep my friends and family, who are strewn about the country, in The Know about my life in Seattle.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cleaning Tips

I was recently asked for some cleaning tips. My friend is giving up her housecleaner and wanted any tricks that would make it easier to keep up on the cleaning herself. I told her I would ponder this and do a post. I figure, it's a nice change from where Steve and I went, who we talked to, what we bought at Goodwill. Right?

Okay, tips. Forgive me if you're reading this and thinking, "Oh brother, these are your big, insightful tips? You used to get paid for this? Sheesh...."

First tip: Keep multiples of your supplies.
You're more likely to clean if the supplies are easily accessible and where you need them when you want to clean, rather than having to make the effort to go to another room and load your arms up with stuff. I have a basket on the first floor and a basket on the second floor that contain: a Swiffer duster (and a couple of extras), glass wipes, dusting spray, rags, a powdered cleaner, a spray cleaner, 2 sponges and a toothbrush. Yes, a toothbrush. Because I'm that detailed. Our place isn't that big at all so the one basket in the spare bathroom is easily accessible from anywhere downstairs. And the basket upstair is in the laundry room and again, easy to get to.

And if you have the money and the storage, a second vacuum is not a bad idea. I don't vacuum as much as I would like because it scares the crap out of me to haul my canister vacuum up and down the stairs. One of these days, something is going to fall and break - either me or the vacuum. And that puppy was expensive so I would rather it be me.

Second, good products!
Remember my discovery of Windex wipes? Fabulous! Take one out, wipe the mirror down, toss the wipe. Wala! Well, now Method has a flushable wipe. I keep these in the bathroom so when guests come over, I can wipe down the counter, sink and toilet rim (in that order) then flush the wipe. They have a nice, light scent too. Actually, I love the smell of almost all of Method's stuff. It doesn't smell like you just cleaned. Perfect.

Vacuums. Very important. If you don't like your vacuum, you're not going to want to use it, thus making cleaning even more of a pain. And if your vacuum isn't the right one for your carpet or your hardwoods, it's not going to be worth the effort of lugging it out of it's closet and scaring the pets with it.

I love my vacuum. Love, love, love it. The carpet head swivels and you can pull the hose off the carpet head and vacuum along the edge of the carpet without bending over. There's a hardwood floors brush attachment that I use for the entryway (tile) and kitchen (linolium). The little attachments are great for the fabric lampshades. And the cloth bags keep the dust in the bag rather than all in the body of the vaccum. My vacuum has a HEPA filter as well which is great for my allergies. That was a necessity when I was cleaning houses with pets. Anyway, I could go on and on about how great it is.....

Sponges - I have looked and looked and I can't find the name of these sponges, but they're great. They have nylon mesh on one side, cloth on the other side and come two to a pack. They're not Dobies - do not be confused. You can't get a grip on those. They're too firm. These are great. You can scrub with them, but they don't scratch the way the Scotch scouring sponges do.

Also, the bag of rags that you can buy in the automotive section have been a blessing. I bought a bag of 100 when I had my cleaning business and I'm still using them today. I keep half downstairs, half upstairs. I use one (wet) to wipe the counters down and then one to dry. I throw them in the hamper in the laundry room, and since I have so many, I don't run out between loads of laundry.

I was also asked about how I clean a tub and shower.
Rarely, I say.

The tub and shower are the absolute worse part of cleaning. The worst. I hate getting wet, and regardless of how careful you are, you're going to get wet. So why fight it? When I really want to do a good cleaning, I just suck it up and get in the shower, with the shower running. I use Simple Green and I spray the shit out of the walls. Then take my nylon mesh sponge and scrub, scrub, scrub. I have a big plastic cup and I just douse the walls with water as I go. No, it's not the most water-effecient method, but the tub gets cleaned! And since I only do it about once a month (which is why I keep the shower curtain closed all the time) I'm hoping it doesn't hurt the water bill too much.

And the final tip:
Don't even think that you're going to clean the entire house in one day. You're kidding yourself. Especially this particular friend whose house is three times the size of mine. I tend to grab the Swiffer and dust while I'm watching Friends and Will & Grace. I vacuum when the commercials come on, even if that means doing only part of the room. Bite size chunks are the only way to go. Steve is baffled because it seems like I'm always cleaning. Rarely do I sit still long enough to watch an entire show or do a blog post in the evening. But it's so much easier to do a little bit every evening then to spend an entire day doing everything. That makes my body hurt. So I'm a little busy body. Which means I'm also constantly burning calories. It's a small perk.

And this is a great opportunity for you, faithful reader, to throw in your two cents.
I always love good tips!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with all your tips. Here's another product to try if you haven't already - Mr. Clean pads. They're white pads that look like sponges but those things will clean anything. Very good investment. I also agree totally that you can never clean your whole house in one day. Usually only my downstairs is clean (nobody uses the upstairs except when Kristin and Kyle come home) and I pretty much clean the downstairs only when I know we're having company. Which we tend to have alot of, so I guess that's a good thing. When Kristin and Kyle lived at home and they would see me cleaning, they would say "Who's coming over?" Pretty bad, huh? One day I am going to have a cleaning lady. One day.

5:48 PM  
Blogger The Hamilton's said...

I've been looking for those sponges, but all I can find are those Dobies. I'll keep looking. ;-) I despise cleaning the bathrooms. In fact, that and the kitchen were the only things we had our cleaning person do. So, I'll miss her. But, I'll like the extra $80 a month. If you haven't tried it, my cleaning person suggested Tilex Mold & Mildew for the shower/bath. She said let it sit for 15 minutes, then scrub. It's not very earth-friendly, but all the stuff in my shower can't be very friendly to my body. Hehe.

Dee: I like the Mr. Clean pads for a lot, but not for the walls. I've found that if you have any real color on your walls, the pads remove it and it looks really dull. I'm going to have to do some touch up painting in some areas that I used them on. Haven't found anything else to really get the walls clean, though.

5:13 AM  

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