A Clean Sweep

From the Desktop of Nancy Kapp

No one has every accused me of being a neat freak, but I’ll be honest, when I am stressed or overwhelmed, I really like cleaning.  I thought there must be something wrong with me, so I was glad to find I’m not alone in this feeling.  In fact, according to a survey done by Offerup, “70% of Americans say tidying their home offers them a feeling of accomplishment, 61% say it makes them feel “destressed,” and 54% say they experience relaxation.”  Okay, it’s not like a glass of wine, but for some reason I really do feel better after spending a little time cleaning.

I have learned a few tricks along the way, mostly by asking excellent housekeepers how they keep their homes so clean.  Years ago an article in the October 2009 Womans Day magazine gave me the routine that I try to follow.  Key word, “try.”

In that magazine the article, “Countdown to Clean” by Susan Sulich, gives these suggestions:

Your gear:  spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner, spray bottle of glass cleaner, can of furniture polish, dust wand with adjustable handle, 3-4 microfiber cloths, small scrub brush, vacuum, mop, bucket.  I have a container that makes it easy to carry this room-to-room.  Note:  Many people are switching to more chemical-free products.  That’s my goal as well and so my list has been changing recently because of the Norwex products. This is recent and I’m slowing working on changing my habits.  More about that later.

15 Minutes a Day.  It’s called the “Daily Hotel Clean.”

Step 1.  Make the beds.

Step 2.  Make sure dirty clothes are all in hampers.  Do a quick room-by-room pickup, putting items back in place.

Step 3.  Wipe dirty counters in the bathroom and kitchen.

Step 4.  Put away all dishes.

Step 5.  Sweep the kitchen floor.

Weekly Clean Sleep.  Either set aside a 2- to 3-hour chunk of time, or work in 15-minute increments throughout the week.  The basic formula:  clean top to bottom and left to right, and only go around a room once (not including floors).

Step 1.  Bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms.  If you have a two-story home, start upstairs.  For one floor, begin in the area farthest away from the front of the house.  First, go through all the rooms and empty wastebaskets.  Then go back into the first room and start at the top, removing any cobwebs with your dust wand and working your way down, dusting ceiling fans, door frames, moldings, picture frames and lamps.  Switch to the furniture spray and a microfiber cloth to clean dressers and tables.  Remove knickknacks first.  Clean mirrors with the glass cleaner and a fresh cloth.  When you’ve finished all these rooms on a floor, vacuum, staring farthest from the door in each room and vacuuming your way out.

Step 2.  Bathrooms.  The pros have a special way to clean bathrooms.  First, spsray cleanser on the shower doors and walls, tub and sink, and in the toilet to start loosening dirt.  Then use the same top-to-bottom, left-to-right system.  Remember to wipe the towel racks and toilet paper holder.  Clean the toilet inside, outside and behind the bowl.  Vacuum, then mop.

Step 3.  Kitchen.  Starting from the top, wipe cabinet fronts and work your way down.  Empty the toaster’s crumb tray and clean inside the microwave.  Unlike your daily counter wipe, now is the time to get behind canisters, mixers and other counter dwellers.  Do the kitchen sink last, then sweep and mop the floor.  Don’t foreget the vent at the bottom of the refrigerator.

Tackle Monthly.  Pick a Saturday to do all eight, or add a few to each weekly session.

  1. Use paper towels or a cloth to thoroughly clean the tracks of sliding glass and shower doors.
  2. Run ½ cup of vinegar mixed in a full pot of water through your coffeemaker (or follow our coffeemaker’s directions).
  3. Wash down the shelves and veggie bins in the refrigerator.
  4. Clean stove hood vents.
  5. Vacuum under couch cushions. A handheld vac makes quick work of this chore.
  6. Clean the top of the refrigerator.
  7. Wash insides of garbage cans and baskets.

A Few 60-Second Quick Fixes.  These simple changes will make your house tidier – no elbow grease required!

  • Place a mat at the front door and enforce a strict no-shoes-inside rule.  You’ll eliminate 70% to 90% of the dirt entering your home.
  • Last person to shower squeegees the shower door to cut down on mineral depositis left behind when the water dries – less scrubbing time for you.
  • When you see it, clean it.  Spills on the counter, a towel on the floor … a few seconds as you pass through a room saves many minutes later.
  • Switch to microfiber cloths.  They speed cleaning by trapping and picking up dust, not just moving it around.  Wash and hang to dry after use.

And the Annual List.  Twelve annual chores, one for each month:

January:  Clean medicine cabinets; toss expired meds.

February:  Clean all the hard-to-reach places:  behind the stove, refrigerator, washer/dryer, sofas and under beds.

March:  Steam-clean carpets.

April:  Wash windows and screens.

May:  Organize the pantry and kitchen cabinets.

June:  Wash duvets, blankets, comforters, spreads, pillows.  I actually do this twice a year.

July:  Clean and organize the garage.

August:  Clean out drawers and closets.  Donate usable clothing and items to charity.

September:  Clean out the linen closet(s).

October:  Defrost (hopefully you have a frost-free fridge, but some of the older ones still need this done) and clean freezer, refrigerator, stove, oven.

November:  Polish silver, wash china, dust inside the china cabinet.

December:  Turn mattresses.


About Norwex products. I found out about these products from a Norwex party I attended.  They are perfect for people who want to begin to eliminate chemicals from their home.  The ones I love the most are the window cloth and the dust mitt.  While I have not been able to eliminate all the chemicals from my cleaning, I have begun to have fewer and fewer.  It’s a work in progress.  If you’re interested in these products, try to attend a party — that’s how I got started.  Their website  is https://shopus.norwex.biz/en_US/customer/shop/cleaning.




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