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How to Decide on Cleaning Frequency

Previous generations had a neat answer to the question of how often you should clean: every day, from dawn until dusk, would be about right so long as it was the hired help who wielded the broom.

Even 30 years ago, keeping up appearances meant homes had to be clean enough to be seen at any time and a rigid cleaning agenda kept.

Today, it’s reasonable to clean your home as often as it needs, accepting that these needs change along with the seasons and how you happen to be using your home during a particular time.

Periods when your home needs more cleaning include

  • Autumn and winter, when shoes bring in dirt and mud and closed doors and windows keep it trapped inside.

  • The permanent arrival of more pets or people (especially children) who bring with them the need for more frequent cleaning that bears no relation to their size.

  • Guests are staying and you have raised expectations of what you believe to be clean enough.

  • Renovations – DIY projects, even when confined to one room, have a knock-on effect of creating dust and mess throughout the home.

  • Sickness in the household, especially if a family member has a condition that suppresses their immune system or is receiving a treatment, such as chemotherapy, that decreases their ability to fight infections.

  • Your home is up for sale and you have potential buyers touring through it periodically.

  • Summers and holidays when everyone’s off work and school. If the whole family is around the house all day, they can create a whole load of mess to clean up.

Clearly, at the base lie important health safeguards. A dirty bathroom, for instance, is a health hazard. But given that a thorough cleaning takes a good deal of time, you need to balance the pleasure and well-being a clean house gives you against the impact it has on the rest of your life.

You are the best judge of how often your home needs cleaning, because you’re cleaning it to meet your standards as a reaction to what dirt and dust life throws at your home.

Unless you’re giving home to a pet zoo or running a day-care nursery, your lifestyle is not the most important cleaning variant. Your home’s contents determine how often you need to clean. If you want to cut cleaning consider these simple changes:

  • Go for durable surfaces when you fit new kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Replace worn items throughout your home. Old always takes longer to clean, because you have to do so with care, and because once the surface has become pitted, it takes longer to remove the dirt.

  • Anything that comes in a single, large panel or unit is quick to clean. Consider the time it takes to clean between the grout on small tiles with a fast sweep across a uniformly flat surface, and you know what sort of worktop to choose.

  • Have adequate storage. Put items away in closed drawers where they stay dust-free, rather than on open shelving that draws dust.

  • Paint in colours that mask dirt: on walls cream is forgiving where white never can be.

  • Open windows on the quiet side of your home: lessen the dust and dirt that comes in with passing traffic.

  • Set clean house rules for children, pets, and visitors. Taking off shoes in the porch and keeping the dog downstairs both dramatically cut clean-ups.

  • Restrict eating to as few rooms as you can.

  • Buy great-quality cleaning appliances.

Some areas of your home need cleaning attention more frequently than others.

Room Frequency
Bathroom Daily for hygiene; all surfaces fortnightly (every two weeks)
Regular bedrooms Air daily; clean weekly
Guest bedrooms Monthly
Halls Twice weekly, more often in wet weather
Kitchen Daily for hygiene; all surfaces fortnightly
Living rooms Vacuum daily as needed; clean weekly
Dining room Vacuum and clean weekly, or less often if you use it only on special occasions.
Stairs Vacuum fortnightly; vacuum uncarpeted stairs on hard floor setting or sweep twice weekly
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