From pet odours to dusty TVs, every home has cleaning challenges. Whether you’re a homeowner or a professional housekeeper, you need to know how to solve these problems.
We talked to housekeeping companies around the country to get the dirt on removing dirt. If you want to make your home or your clients’ homes sparkle, take a page out of the pros’ books with these 17 helpful cleaning tips.
1. Use Multi-Tasking Products
Try not to fall into the manufacturers’ traps of buying a load speciality products for each little aspect of house cleaning. You’ll only end up collecting a cupboard full of expensive cleaning products you never use! Instead, stick to products you really need: for instance a disinfecting all-purpose cleaner that can also clean glass, a disinfecting bathroom cleaner and a floor cleaner that is safe on wood and tile.
2. Have the Right Tools
The same goes for cleaning tools. If you buy all the speciality tools the manufacturers are trying to sell you, you’ll have nowhere to put them. All you really need to keep your house spotless are some quality micro-fibre cleaning cloths, a few sponges, a handle and detail scrub brush, a plastic scraper, a vacuum that can clean hard floors and carpets, a microfiber “feather” duster and a micro-fibre mop.
3. Grab a Toothbrush
It’s hard to find a tool that will beat this all-purpose cleaning gadget. A toothbrush or grout brush can help you get the toughest grime out of the tightest corners and makes cleaning vents simple. The strength is in the bristles though. Let them do the work for you.
4. Make a Cleaning Caddy
Make your cleaning more efficient and less time consuming by organising your cleaning supplies in a cleaning caddy. This way, no matter where you are in the house, the essential tools and products will be right at your fingertips. You could even keep basic equipment and sprays in a tool belt while you clean!
5. Declutter First
Most homes have too much clutter. Removing that excess stuff is key to getting the house clean. You need to find a place to keep your books and magazines before you can begin to dust and polish.
6. Follow a System
Having a system is important for effective cleaning. Make sure you finish one cleaning task before begin tackling another, or you’ll find yourself overwhelmed and a bit chaotic — forgetting what you have and haven’t done. Also, remember to scour each room top to bottom, so you’re catching dust as it falls.
7. Vacuum Efficiently
Speed up your vacuuming tasks with one quick change. Plug in your vacuum in the central room in the house. This will save you time because you can continue vacuuming in every room before doubling back to remove the cord and plug it into another socket. If your cord is too short, add an extension.
8. Dust Electronics
Turn off the TV or monitor, then use a dry microfiber cloth and gently wipe the screen. If necessary, dampen the cloth with distilled water or with an equal ratio of distilled water to white vinegar. Never spray liquid directly on an LED, LCD or plasma screen — it could damage it.
9. Get a Fresh Scent
Many cleaning products have harsh chemical odours that leave a home smelling like a laboratory. To avoid this, you could make your own cleaning solutions with sodium borate, washing soda, vinegar and baking soda. Add a few drops of essential oils like lavender, grapefruit, yang-ylang and lemon for a nice fragrance.
10. Scrub Your Showerhead
Removing built-up residue on your showerhead is easy: tie a bag of vinegar around it and leave it to dissolve overnight. In the morning, rinse the showerhead. It’ll be squeaky clean.
11. Remove Grease
Eraser sponges are ideal for getting rid of a built-up of grease on things that are touched often, like door handles and light switches.
12. Clean Fridge Coils
To get your refrigerator completely clean, get ready for some heavy-duty vacuuming. Remove the refrigerator’s kick plate and vacuum the fur and hair around the coils. Not only will your refrigerator be cleaner, but also it will run more efficiently — saving you money on your energy bills.
13. Wash the Windows
For smaller windows and mirrors, use balled-up newspaper because it’s gentle and won’t scratch the surface. For larger mirrors and windows, use a squeegee with a handle attachment; not only will you cut down on time, but also a squeegee can help you reach the high edges of the window.
14. Eliminate Pet Odours
To remove pet odours from carpets, use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and spray the carpet. Next, cover the vinegar-soaked area with baking soda and allow to dry. Sweep and vacuum up the excess soda. The mixture actually pulls the odour out, leaving your carpet sweet smelling.
15. Vacuum Grout Tiles
If you have tile floors, don’t start scrubbing just yet. You should vacuum or sweep your tile floor to remove all loose dirt and debris before washing it with a cleaning solution.
16. Reach with a Metre Stick
Have trouble dusting high-up or hard-to-reach areas? Grab a metre stick. Fit a sock onto one end and secure it with a rubber band. It’s a nifty tool to reach behind headboards and under furniture.
17. Get Low
When you think you’re done cleaning a room, get down to eye level and examining your home from a new angle. By getting close to your surfaces, you can see if you still have any crumbs or dust that needs to be cleaned up.