Hi Guys! A few weeks ago I shared my favorite tips for faking a clean house. They are some of my absolute favorite secrets, but let's face it, we all do have to actually clean sometimes! (It's awful, isn't it?) When we transitioned to a four bedroom house from a one bedroom apartment cleaning took on a whole new, overwhelming, meaning. Living in an apartment meant that we could clean our entire home in just a couple of hours, and I'm talking deep clean... baseboards, bath tub, all of it! When we first moved into our home, I spent countless hours just trying to maintain everything. I usually started Saturday morning, and finished after the sun went down, totally exhausted. Since then I've adjusted my habits and picked up some tips to make the basic cleaning process quicker and less painful, and I'm excited to share them with you today.
(In this post I'm going to share my favorite products and tools. This post does contain affiliate links, but the opinions are my own and reflect my personal choices for use in our home. See my disclaimer for more.)
#1 Use multi-purpose products
A good all-purpose cleaner can drastically simplify your cleaning, not to mention seriously tame the chaos under the kitchen sink! I have a few go-to products that I can't get enough of.
The first is Mrs. Meyers Multi Surface Everyday Cleaner. I'll admit I was late jumping onto the Mrs. Meyers train, but now that I'm on board I'm totally hooked. My sister-in-law turned me onto it when the winter scents were out and I fell in love. I've now discovered the Basil and Lavender scented lines and I find myself cleaning my kitchen counters constantly, just because it smells SOO good. Seriously you guys, I start looking for things to clean with this stuff, it's a problem, ha! Once I fell in love with a scent, I went overboard on dish soap, hand soap, shower cleaner, etc... If you're not already addicted, I'm warning you it's a slippery slope.
There are some places/situations that just seem to demand Clorox (i.e. toilets, trashcans, etc.). I've tried every type of Clorox, Lysol, Store Brand, Fancy Brand of wipes out there and only recently found my favorite. Now I refuse to buy anything except Clorox Scentiva Disinfecting Wipes. Not only do I feel good about their germ fighting abilities, but they actually smell good and not just like scented chemicals. Plus, they are super convenient and I love the disposable aspect for those moments when you need a quick fix, or those messes that are so yucky you really don't want to keep anything involved in the clean up.
Now these products are both great for hard surfaces but don't help battle the dust (and pet hair) that seems to be a never ending challenge. When it comes to dusting nothing beats a microfiber cloth and multi-surface dusting spray. Yet, I'll admit, that if I'm feeling lazy and want a quick and easy solution, I'll reach for my Swiffer Duster. They really do seems to grab the dust rather than just shuffle it around like traditional dusters. When mine start to loose their grip I can usually extend the life with a light coat of dusting spray. These products alone or separate work great on furniture, appliances, window sills, light fixtures, you name it.
#2 Take Full Advantage of Your Vacuum
Vacuums aren't just for carpet anymore. I'm always surprised by how many people don't take full advantage of their vacuum cleaners. All those wacky and confusing attachments have multiple functions and can make your life SO much easier! Seriously, I use my vacuum for EVERYTHING. I can't tell you the last time I pulled out my broom. Why would I ever push dirt back and forth, bend over to scoop it into the dust pan, and still miss atleast 10% of it, when I can whip out my vacuum?! (I've even vacuumed the backyard, but that's another story for another day...)
If you've purchased a vacuum cleaner in the last decade then chances are it came with a whole bunch of gadgets that are sitting in the back of a dark closet somewhere. We've had a Shark Rotator for about four years and absolutely love it, but most vacuums these days offer similar accessories. Of course there are several more you can purchase, but I've stuck to the ones that came with it originally and have yet to find a project it can't handle.
They're a bit pricy, but I got mine from Bed, Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon (always a win!). We borrowed a Dyson for a few weeks before making our purchase and I would chose the Shark over and over again.
Besides the obvious crevice aka "long skinny narrow thingy" tool and the dusting attachment there are a few other pieces that I can't live without.
The Multi-Angle Dusting Brush is probably my favorite attachment of them all. It bends in all kinds of directions and has bristles to bring the mess in toward the suction. I use it for basically everything, and love it on hard surfaces when the pet hair is out of control. I can use it on any hard surface including electronics, light fixtures, ceiling fan blades, blinds, etc.
The Straight Suction Nozzle is great for hard floors of all types. While I usually just turn off the brush roll on mine to do our hard floors, the traditional vacuum is no match for kitty litter. This attachment picks it up in no time and is great for running under furniture and things that sit low to the ground. Plus it's gentle and won't scratch delicate surfaces.
Lastly, the Premium Pet Power Brush probably gets the most use in our home. With it's mini rollers it is my favorite tool for picking up pet hair from the furniture, the bed, the ottoman, their beds... pretty much anywhere they go, which if you have pets you know is basically everywhere. It's the only thing that gives lint rollers a rest around here.
#3 Stash Your Basic Supplies in Every Room
This one was a SERIOUS game changer for me. When our bathroom was no longer 10 steps away from the kitchen I found myself constantly walking back and forth for supplies. Sure my fitbit was impressed, but the time I wasted pacing my house started to get out of hand.
I'm not suggesting you buy multiples of everything, but even having a bottle of Clorox wipes stashed under the bathroom sinks makes all the difference. No more running through the house with wet toenails to grab wipes and paper towels after spilling nail polish on your white tile. (Trust me on this one, time is of the essence in these situations.)
In my house the basics also includes lint rollers, we've got those suckers stashed everywhere. (Like the compartments of the vintage secretary pictured below). I've also learned that the only lint rollers worth using are the Evercare in the green packaging. I definitely don't understand how one sticky piece of paper can be so much better than another sticky piece of paper, but I'm telling you they're light years better than everything else on the market, and we've tried them all.
The other products that I keep in multiple rooms are the toilet and shower cleaners. I'm not on such a schedule that my bathrooms get cleaned on the same day, or really with any kind of consistency for that matter. The guest bath gets cleaned when, you guessed it, we are expecting guests. When you get that short notice "we're going to drop by" phone call you don't have time to waste digging under the kitchen sink.
#4 Clean Room to Room
This was another major lesson learned for me. In the apartment I'd usually pull out a product, walk around using it on every surface necessary and then move on to the next. It worked well in a smaller space, I'd dust everything, clorox wipe all the hard surfaces, clean mirrors/glass and then follow up with the vacuum everywhere and ta-da! finished in no time. After moving into the house I quickly learned that was a sure-fire to exhaust myself and often prevent me from every really finishing a space. Now I start on one end of the house, arm myself with favorite supplies and knock it out room by room. This is another great reason to have the basics stashed in several places around the house, as it makes transporting all that stuff much easier.
For those items that you do end up carting around, I recommend getting a bin with a handle like this one so that you can carry it in one hand while dragging the vacuuming along with the other.
#5 Take The Shortcut Sometimes
When Robert Frost suggested you chose the road not taken, I don't think he wasn't talking about cleaning house. There are some products/cheats that are just worth it. The time we spend cleaning is time we don't spend living, so I think he'd approve. Everyone has a chore that they despise more than others. I am a very visual person, so anything that doesn't have an obvious before/after I tend to dislike. For example, unloading the dishwasher might be my least favorite chore in the world. You can't see the dishes before you unload, and you can't see the dishes after you unload, so I don't find any satisfaction in it. Anyone else feel this way?
I'll admit I take several shortcuts. Because having a clean house is so important to me, and I spend a lot of time cleaning, I usually default to the easier route. These may make me sound lazy but some of my favorite "cheats" are as follows:
- If it can't go in the dishwasher I don't want it! With the exception of my beautiful white Le Creuset dutch oven. I love that thing so very much that I'm willing to make an exception.
- There is a Clorox Toilet Wand within reach of every toilet. Again, some messes you want to be able to forget ever existed, so the disposable pads get an A+ from me. This also really helps when you're trying to clean the guest bathroom in under two minutes before the in-laws stop by.
- As previously discussed, I love Clorox Wipes. These are not good for the environment, I get it. I try to use a cloth and Mrs. Meyers whenever I can instead, but these things are so convenient and have that germ fighting power we need sometimes.
- Roomba. Ya'll, I remember thinking robot vacuum cleaners were absolutely ridiculous. That was also back when I vacuumed every day. I don't think I ever would've purchased it on my own, but it was a gift and now I can't imagine ever living without one. You've probably heard the horror stories. Roomba runs over some substance that you do not want spread around the house, and the rest is history. I've come to accept the fact that there may come a day as our pets get older, or we have little kids around, that running Roomba might be asking for trouble. But for now, I will blissfully tap the power button every single morning on my way out the door. We have the cheapest, bottom of the line version and I would recommend it to anyone. It doesn't completely replace vacuuming carpet, but it definitely buys me time. For hard surfaces it's a major lifesaver, especially with two very furry pets.
I hope you found some tidbits here that can help you spend less time cleaning and more time living. Do you have any tricks that you'd like to share? Or maybe you've found a deep cleaning hack that has made all the difference. Let me know, I'd love to hear from you!