Do you ever feel like it’s impossible to keep your house clean? We’re with you! Even after a thorough, deep clean, it takes about a single day—maybe—of kids or pets running through the place, and it’ll start to feel messy again. Your house always looks like a tornado hit it and, quite frankly, you’ve had it.
You also can’t help but look at people who always have a clean house with envy. What do they know that you don’t? Truth be told, there isn’t some magical solution. Nine times out of 10, they’re merely tidying up on a daily basis instead of leaving it all to one long day of cleaning.
“Keeping your house clean during a workweek can be tough, but these tasks are crucial to preventing major cleaning overhauls down the line,” says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid.
We asked cleaning experts to break down the most useful tactics you can use to keep your home continuously spic and span.
Keeping a house clean takes some good strategizing. So work out a plan, and stick to it.
Create daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning to-do lists, and divide the big tasks up by days so you don’t have to tackle the whole house all at once. For example, sort and recycle all your loose papers once a week.
“At the start of every week, take a quick inventory of all the bills, newspapers, and other papers that you consider important, and toss out the ones that are no longer relevant,” says Kathy Cohoon, director of franchise operations at Two Maids & A Mop.
You should also be smart about the order in which you clean.
“Top to bottom is ideal,” says Peterson. “You should always dust first and vacuum last.”
“Begin by dusting the top of the ceiling fans and cabinets. Then, tackle the mid-areas, which include countertops, sinks, and tops of dressers and side tables. Last, you’ll vacuum and mop, which will ensure you’ve collected all of the dust particles that fell to the ground,” says Cohoon.
Clean daily, even if it’s for a few minutes at a time
“Chaos can be kept at bay by putting 20 minutes a day away for little tasks. If you can manage one task a day, the weekend will not be a clean-a-thon,” says Peterson.
Recognize the most difficult and high-traffic places to clean—like the bathroom—and keep in mind that you’ll probably have to tackle them a couple of times during the week.
“Bathrooms are typically some of the smallest areas in the home but can be the most time-consuming to clean, and the least desirable,” says Cohoon. “From the toilet and shower to the tile grout and sink, there’s plenty to be done, so it’s best to knock it out first.”
“This is one of our favorite cleaning tools because it’s efficient at collecting dust. A damp microfiber cloth almost never leaves lint or dust behind like many other dusting cloths,” says Peterson.
Create the ultimate dusting microfiber cloth by soaking it in a solution of one cup lemon oil with 2 cups hot water for eight to 10 hours. Hang dry, then store it in an airtight container.
Create cleaning caddies
“No one wants to spend 10 minutes gathering cleaning supplies from every corner of the house. I recommend creating two to three cleaning caddies that are designed for a specific area of the house,” says Peterson.
Each caddy should be stored in a convenient location in the room it targets and include everything you need to get to work. Peterson’s three caddy suggestions include bathroom, bedroom/living space, and kitchen.
Here are a few more cleaning tips our experts swear by.
“Use vacuum attachments and vacuum or dust the exterior of the shade to remove any excess dust or debris. For embellished shades, attach a nylon stocking over the vacuum cleaner hose to remove dirt while preserving the trim,” says Petersen.
Ceiling fan blades
“First, make sure the fan is off and has come to a complete stop. Slide a pillowcase over each individual fan blade, then press gently against the blade and slide the pillowcase off the blade,” says Cohoon.
Mix 1 cup baking soda to 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, and use it to scrub dirty grout.
“When applying this solution to kitchen grout, add some degreasing dish soap to break down the greasy buildup that’s common in most kitchen areas,” says Peterson.
Mix a half-cup distilled vinegar, a half-cup white vinegar, and one tablespoon cornstarch in a spray bottle. Shake well. Use your microfiber cloth to wipe across the mirror, working from edge to edge, top to bottom.
Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray on tough stains and soap buildup in the shower.
“When scrubbing the shower, remember to start at the top and work your way down using a medium-bristle brush,” says Peterson
Curtains or other fabric window treatments
“Use your vacuum to cut the cleaning time in half. Leave the drapes hanging up as they are, use the upholstery attachment, and vacuum from top to bottom,” says Cohoon.