House cleaning is a chore few people relish. It can be monotonous and time-consuming. But ignoring cleaning tasks may leave you with a much larger mess to tackle.
Vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon are natural cleaning workhorses.
Cleaning does not have to be such a difficult job. There are a number of time-saving strategies to keep the mess to a minimum and keep your weekend afternoons free from all-day cleaning marathons.
1. Do the dishes after every meal. A sink full of dishes can make the kitchen look like a mess, and letting dishes pile up increases the risk of an insect infestation. Although it may seem like a chore, keeping on top of dishes actually reduces your workload. If you’re lucky enough to have an automatic dishwasher, then load dishes directly into the dishwasher instead of putting dirty items into the sink.
2. Protect your microwave. The inside of the microwave tends to get dirty rather quickly. Heating up snacks or quick meals may result in spill-overs or splatter. To cut down on cleaning time, stack several paper towels on the turntable. Should a spill occur, simply discard the top paper towel for an easy clean-up.
3. Switch your soap. Glycerin or liquid soaps do not have traditional binders that are in many bar soaps. Without the binders, which are the primary cause of soap scum, you will have to contend with much less soap scum in showers and sinks. To further cut down on soap scum, use a small, flexible squeegee to wipe down tile walls and glass doors after each shower.
4. Work from the top down. Dust and dirt settles at the lowest levels. Avoid messing up what you have just cleaned by beginning any cleaning task high up and moving downward. Therefore, dust shelves and cobwebs from ceiling corners first, then tackle tables and other surfaces before ultimately cleaning the floors.
5. Concentrate on one room at a time. Some people suffer from cleaning attention deficit disorder. This means they’ll begin one task and then go into another room for something and start a new task, and so on. Focus on one room at a time to save time. You will do a more thorough job with less frustration.
6. Establish a drop zone. Foyers tend to accumulate a lot of clutter. Organize the space so you’re less tempted to drop items as soon as you come in. Keep the recycling bin (or shredder) handy for dealing with junk mail. Have a coat rack for hats, coats and umbrellas. Keep a basket available so you can transport items that belong in other rooms in the house.
7. Do laundry every day. Invest in a hamper that enables you to sort clothing into different compartments, including lights, darks and delicates. This way the sorting is already done when it comes time for washing. Then aim to do a load a day so that you’re not faced with 100 pounds of laundry come the weekend.
8. Rely on baking soda and vinegar as cleaning products. These kitchen staples are the workhorses of many cleaning projects. A mix of baking soda and vinegar can dislodge a clogged drain and be added to a wash to freshen towels and linens. A paste of baking soda can often scour tough stains, like marker, while vinegar has been known to neutralize pet odors from accidents.
9. Think outside the box. A can of Coca-Cola can be effective at cleaning the ring in the toilet. An unsweetened package of Kool-Aid brand lemonade can be used to freshen and clean an empty dishwasher. The citric acid will scour the inside and get rid of any scaling or hard water stains.
Cleaning is a task that may not be enjoyable, but it is a necessary evil of healthy living. Keeping on top of the mess can save time in the long run.
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