Cleaning the house is not generally something we look forward to, and we all want to get it done quickly and efficiently. So, from cleaning, decluttering and vacuuming tips, to a sneaky way to cut the time it takes you to make the bed, here are some ways housekeepers help your house look like a show home so you can create more time for coffee with gal pals and cuddling your little ones!
1. Change the way you vacuum. Most of us vacuum from the far end a room then towards the door. Instead, start at the doorway and work your way into the room along the path you walk the most. Then vacuum around the room and back out of the doorway again. This way high-traffic areas are vacuumed twice.
2. Steam your microwave. Microwaves are tricky to get into and bits of food can really stick hard to the inside surface, which is why many people leave theirs to become a science experiment before attempting to clean it. Next time, place a heatproof cup of water (add lemon juice if you like) into the microwave and ‘cook’ it for 3-5 minutes on High. When you open the door, the walls of the microwave will now be wet and all that crud softened. Grab a dishcloth or paper towel and wipe all around – your appliance will be clean in under a minute!
3. Clean up spilt egg. Eggs are slimy, hard to wipe up and can leave your dish cloth feeling gross and unhygienic. Sprinkle a spill liberally with table salt and leave it for about 10 minutes. The spill will become more solid and much easier to pick up.
4. Make greasy stains disappear. If you accidentally spill a bit of olive oil or salad dressing onto your clothes, or the kids miss their mouth while eating fatty battered or crumbed fish or chicken, reach for the dish detergent. Put a little on a sponge dampened with warm water, rub over the stain, then rinse. Most detergents are kind even on really gentle fabrics such as washable wool and silk.
5. Know how to put sheets on a bed. Put up your hand if you have started making a bed with a fitted sheet only to find that you have the long side of it at the short end of the bed, so you have to turn it around and start again. Me, too! Next time, take note of the tags. These always go at the bottom – on the left side for king sheets, and on the right side for queen sheets!
6. Remove texta on furniture and walls. A little toothpaste rubbed over a texta stain will remove the evidence of an extra-creative child. Toothpaste is abrasive, so be careful not to scrub too hard on the painted/varnished surfaces. A damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda can also be effective.
7. Vacuum before you mop. You seriously don’t want to be pulling long hairs and other gucky items from a damp mop.
8. Use microfibre cloths for dusting. This material is sure to clear away dust without just whipping it up only to resettle again. Avoid polyester and terrycloth.
9. Store bathroom essentials wisely. Pop all your items from toothbrushes to make-up tools and various creams and lotions into jars, baskets and other containers. This will not only keep them tidy and clean, but it will be much easier to move a basket of items aside to wipe over a bathroom benchtop, than have to pick up a stack of individual items first.
10. Invest in a lint roller. Nobody wants to spend hours picking up human and pet hairs from couches and car seats, and you don’t always want to pull out the vacuum cleaner. A lint roller can make short work of it.
11. Remove any clutter before you clean. This includes everything from toys left lying around and shoes that have been kicked off to photo frames on side tables. Starting from a clean slate will take you much less time to clean an area, plus you’ll do a much better job of it than trying to clean around or under items as you go.
12. Clean white rubber on shoes. Those white rubber soles on kid’s shoes and sections on Converse’s and the like can easily be brought back to looking new again with a little water and toothpaste!
13. Spray and wait. Cleaning products take time to penetrate gunk in bathrooms and kitchens, so spray on the product, then wait for 15 minutes before scrubbing. It will take much less elbow grease to get things sparkling.
14. Tote your tools. Whether it’s a bucket or another large container with a handle, pop all your cleaning tools inside. You can then store it easily (and tidily) in the laundry in between conveniently toting it from room to room as you clean.
15. File paperwork. Don’t just dump household letters on the first flat space you see as you walk into the house or shove them into a draw. It looks messy and you won’t be able to find important bills to pay. Instead, devote a small basket or similar for unopened mail, and another for unpaid bills and things requiring immediate attention, and then file paid bills and other paperwork immediately into the family filing cabinet.
16. Make windows sparkle. Mix one part vinegar into two parts water and spray it onto a window. Wipe off with a microfibre cloth (not paper towel which can leave streaks) and voila!
17. Contain all shoes. Whether it’s your child’s runners in a basket at the bottom of their wardrobe, or your heels in a hanging shoe organiser, if you keep shoes from being tossed into the corners of cupboards or rooms, cleaning the house will be that much easier.
18. Clean outdoor furniture. Add a bit of antibacterial dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, then simply wipe over your furniture and wash it off with the garden hose.
19. Leave the front of the fridge bare. Yes, we are all tempted to cover the fridge in kids’ drawings and magnets from all around the world, but it can make a kitchen look really messy. Instead, pop a few special magnets on an exposed side of the fridge, if you are able, and think of other ways to show-off the children’s artwork. For example, you could frame special pieces and hang them for all to see, or hang a length of picture wire in their bedrooms and peg paintings and drawings to it on rotation.
20. Keep an old toothbrush handy. From cleaning around tap ware to getting into the corners of window frames and into the nooks of your jewellery, a toothbrush is a very clever tool to have as part of your cleaning arsenal.
21. Remove tea stains from cups. Tea stains can make your beloved china look cheap and unclean. To easily remove the stains, sprinkle the inside of the cups with salt, then take a dampened paper towel and rub the salt over the stains. The stains will disappear really quickly, leaving your cups looking brand new.
22. Freshen smelly shoes. Sprinkle a little baking soda inside smelly gym sneakers or the kids’ shoes and you won’t need to hold your nose to pick them up! The baking soda will soak up all those stinky aromas leaving them smelling fresh again – just tap out the powder before the shoes are worn again.
23. Help stainless-steel shine. There’s no need to purchase expensive stainless-steel wipes and the like. Just spray your appliances with Windex or any other household cleaner containing ammonia, then wipe over to remove all marks, including pesky fingerprints, in an instant.
24. Hang the sauce out to dry. Spaghetti bolognese and tomato sauce might be the children’s staples, but we don’t need a constant reminder on their clothes. Even when we wash the clothes the stains tend to stay. But if you hang the items on the line so that a stain faces direct sunlight, the sun will bleach that stain into non-existence in just a few hours on a hot day.
25. Declutter. It might seem like a no-brainer, but the less ‘stuff’ you have around the house, the more space you’ll have and the easier cleaning the rooms will be. This includes buying extra storage items such as consoles and bookshelves – they’ll only be extra items to dust. So, before you purchase extra storage ask yourself: do you want to store the items because you love them, or just because you have them? Maybe you are better off getting rid of unnecessary items altogether and living a simpler (and tidier) life…
If you have any other household tips, please share them in the comments section below.
More on making your home lovely…