How to Cut Your Cleaning Workload - dummies

By Gill Chilton

The furniture, floor surfaces, and how you store your personal possessions have a huge impact on how frequently you need to clean. Choose wisely and you can significantly cut your work.

  • Go for easy-care washable furnishings and floors.

  • Avoid dust-traps by choosing furniture without grooves, and cupboards and glass display units over open shelving.

  • Take good care of your things. It’s only after it gets scratched that a wood table or linoleum floor becomes a dirt magnet.

  • Whenever you buy something new, ask the shop assistant how to keep it clean and how to treat stains. If the assistant merely smiles and shrugs, walk away.

As an example of how just one buying choice can save you a working day a year, a painted louvred door can take 20 minutes to clean thoroughly because you need to run a gloved finger along each slat. If the door’s in a high dust area, such as a kitchen, you need to clean it every two weeks.

In contrast, a plain door takes a minute to wipe clean. With no crevices for dust, you can simply wash down every other month. Multiplying out the time, the cruel fact is that just one louvred door takes an amazing 8 hours and 34 minutes a year longer to keep clean. Multiply this throughout your home to understand how radically the things you buy affect your cleaning.

You can also cut your workload if you:

  • Get others involved in the cleaning. Even children can be motivated to help out, possibly with the promise of pocket money. Even a three-year-old can clear a floor of toys to get it ready for sweeping.

  • Pay for help. Either have someone come regularly or get a cleaner in for a catch-up cleaning session.

  • Avoid situations that create mess. Parties, pets, and visiting children are obvious ones.

  • Make more use of the garden. Eat and entertain outside in summertime.

  • Choose cleaning products that you don’t need to rinse. You can cut the time you spend on cleaning sinks, walls, and floors in half!

  • Buy the best-quality cleaning materials and equipment. A good-quality dustpan and brush means you get all the dust in with one or two strokes instead of chasing dirt around the floor trying to get it up.

  • Clean when you feel refreshed and energetic. If you’re tired before you start out, you’re bound to be slower and less effective.

  • Throw away unnecessary clutter and store possessions in drawers or closed containers.