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House Cleaning 101: Tips for getting it done fast and easy

Updated on April 11, 2012
In any era, cleaning is a pain in the neck.
In any era, cleaning is a pain in the neck. | Source
The Magic Eraser
The Magic Eraser | Source
The ubiquitous washcloth
The ubiquitous washcloth | Source

If you hate house cleaning or just don’t have a lot of time, here are some useful tips on how to shave time and energy out of house cleaning without sacrificing efficiency.

1)The Magic Eraser –

This is truly a gift from the heavens. This inexpensive product made by Mr. Clean will remove just about anything from surfaces including paint, grease, and even hair dye. It is a good product to keep on hand for “accidents” but it is also very useful in keeping your house clean day to day. The Magic Eraser works well on stove tops, sink tops and countertops, inside microwaves and inside the refrigerator but also on walls and even floors (for scuff marks).You can put off major cleaning and disinfecting to do every couple weeks or once a month and rely on using a Magic Eraser on a daily basis. The Magic Eraser also works wonders on stains and marks on the wall and on scuffs. Word of warning: On flat paint, it will actually remove the paint from the wall. Also not recommended for high end surfaces or for wood. Don’t forget that the Magic Eraser works great for soap scum rings in the bathtub.

2)Using washcloths, paper towels and toilet paper –

  • Washcloths: I have two separate types of washcloths: most are used in washing but some I use to mop up as part of cleaning maintenance on a daily basis. I buy the cheap washcloths for the cleaning, usually five bucks for ten at places like Walmart or TJ Maxx. I set a clean washcloth near every bathroom sink. When I use the bathroom and am done washing my hands, I will swipe the wash cloth over the sink top and around and even under the basin. Sometimes I will even use the same wash cloth to gently wipe off the top of the toilet and countertops or shelves in the bathroom. I change them every day and keep these washcloths separate from the others. This daily maintenance allows me to restrict major bathroom cleaning days to once a month or even less so.
  • Paper towels: Also useful are paper towels, in conjunction with Windex. Every other day, I will take a handful of paper towels, squirt the pile with Windex, and then wipe off several surfaces, leaving the toilet seat for last (because you don’t want to spread icky toilet germs). I will pass the paper towels over the kitchen counter, the bathroom mirrors, inside the microwave, and over hand prints on the glass panels on our back and front doors. It takes me five minutes.
  • The toilet: Lastly, from time to time I even use toilet paper in cleaning but only on the toilet! You can take a handful of clean toilet paper and wet it just a little bit. Then wipe it under the toilet seat and the porcelain rim underneath, and even the sides of the toilet stand. Then just pitch it into the toilet and flush.

3)More about cleaning the bathroom:

The toilet brush - Be sure to use your standing toilet brush (get one if you don’t have one) on a weekly basis for the toilet bowl itself in conjunction with a toilet bowl cleaning product. Once in a while, you will need to “drain” the toilet bowl stand that it is stored in by pour excess water into the toilet bowl.

Mold and mildew - Since I live in an area that has some humidity issues, I have to watch out for mold and mildew build up. To address this, I buy a mold and mildew cleaning product called Tilex (there are several brands available). I will spray Tilex in the shower, on the tiled surfaces, about once a week. I mostly target areas that look moldly/mildew-y like the corners. After spraying the shower walls and floor, I leave the spray on for an hour or so before rinsing it off. The shower should not be used during this time and be sure to thoroughly rinse the surfaces afterwards. Otherwise, it can cause irritation on your feet or worse. You can additionally use products like Scrubbing Bubbles for all purpose cleaning in the shower or bathtub not limited to mold/mildew. Also, if you don’t have a hand held spray nozzle in your shower and/or bathtub, you may want to consider installing one. It makes rinsing much easier.

4) The Swifter Sweeper Mop or Wet Jet

Not to further push products but one of these inexpensive machines is a must. I prefer the Wet Jet but either works just as well as the other. One hesitation here is that you must buy the liquid refills and mop pads every once in a while and those will run you about $6 - $12 every month or so. But I think it's worth the money and it is so much easier on your back. After sweeping your floor, just run one of these wet "padded" mops over your tile or vinyl floor. Wet Jet has a liquid made especially for wood floors. Of course, if you have some bucks, you can always buy a wet/dry vacuum (which is cheaper in the long run).

5)Schedule your cleaning tasks to do throughout the week

No one really likes committing a whole weekend day to cleaning after a long week at work. However, if you mindfully schedule cleaning tasks for during the work week and stick to it, you can spend little or no time on the weekend cleaning. For example, I clean the kitchen sink, inside the microwave and the stovetop on Mondays. It takes me 15 minutes. Therefore, I spend no time on the weekend cleaning these up and only every couple months or so do I need to clean the stove and oven thoroughly. I vacuum the stairs and living room Tuesday and Saturdays (10 minute each time) and spot clean bathrooms on Fridays. Wednesday and Sundays I dust and vacuum our bedroom. The only task I do daily is sweeping the floors in the kitchen and hallways.

Because I keep a schedule and clean throughout the week, I spend less than 20 minutes on the weekend cleaning (sadly, this does not include time I spend doing laundry).


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Nice ideas about daily clean up. I especially like the cheap washcloth idea, definitely one to try! Voted up.