“Any job worth doing is worth doing well”… a motto I heard quite frequently while growing up. Although most of us don’t have to suffer through those white glove military inspections our spouses endured while living in the barracks, a clean home is still a necessity.
Many of us find ourselves doing most of the cleaning chores ourselves, but if you gather the troops you’ll find cleaning can be conquered like France in any major conflict. Professional cleaning service company Simplymaid Canberra says that you should assign each household member a task compensatory to their age and abilities- even the youngest child can dust a low shelf or two. Turn up the stereo so you can rock it out, set a time limit, and treat everyone afterwards for a mission accomplished.
10 Tips for Easy Everyday Cleaning
1. Unlike a curfew, later isn’t always better:
This is a simple rule for all stains, treat the stain the moment it happens or you’ll have a stained belonging forever more. There are lots of websites that offer tips on how to treat a multitude of stains, for instance, tough stains like coffee stains, so when in doubt… look it up.
2. Clean from top to bottom, back to front:
When cleaning a room, a house or an object it is always best to start at the top and work your way down, allowing gravity to help you. Likewise by starting at the back of a room and cleaning your way out of it- you won’t leave dirt or footprints in your clean room.
3. Start dry then get it wet:
Think in terms of dusting, sweeping and vacuuming as dry activities that move dust around, and scrubbing, mopping and steaming as wet activities that leave it shiny. You don’t want the dust to settle on your shiny so start with one and end with the other.
4. Crawl, walk, run:
It’s always best to start out with light then work your way up to the harder stuff. If you have an object that is fragile, start with the least aggressive cleaner and work your way up to the most chemically enhanced. This way you won’t damage your belongings with a strong cleaner while the gentle cleaner that would have worked best had you thought to use it first.
5. Have a plan and stick to the plan:
I find it’s easy to be distracted by finding something in one room that belongs in another room. Rather than leave the room, I set it aside and finish cleaning the room I’m in. That way I don’t waste time doing half the job in one room only to find myself distracted by the mess in another room.
6. Carry your equipment with you:
Like any good soldier, keep your equipment with you so you don’t have to go out to resupply. A sturdy bucket, an apron with big pockets or a basket filled with all your cleaning supplies keeps you stocked and ready to clean whatever comes your way. Carrying it from room to room keeps you on task as well. This is especially fun for the kids who help with the cleaning… Use your best judgement on which cleaning products to give to a child- remember safety first!
7. Be stealthy:
When unsure how to clean an object or whether a product will damage it- think camouflage. Find a place on the object that isn’t easily seen and test the product there… that way if it causes damage, no one will know but you!
8. Divide and conquer:
Good rule of thumb- if you haven’t touched it, used it or worn it for 6 months to a year, time to get rid of it! Give it to a charity if the object is in good shape. If it can be re-purposed into something useful, do it within a few days or if not recycle at your local recycling center. Just remember, the less you have the less you’ll have to clean.
9. Follow orders:
Like any troop this goes without saying, always read the cleaning product instructions! Even on products you’ve used forever, products and their usage changes frequently so keep yourself up to date. If it’s expired, throw it out!
10. Safety first:
Use safety glasses, face masks, plastic or latex gloves, long sleeves and a hat or kerchief for your hair. You can protect your nails by putting a thin line of petroleum jelly under your fingernails and around the cuticles. This makes it much easier to clean under your nails when you’re done and keeps your cuticles from drying out. Always remember that cleaning products- even the natural ones can react with other products and create dangerous spills, poisonous liquids and toxic fumes. When in doubt flush with water, but have handy the number for poison control and read the safety instructions on every label. NEVER GIVE A CHILD A TOXIC CLEANER– and supervise young children when using any cleaning product. Never transfer product into an unmarked container… this can cause confusion that can lead to a household accident.
Cleaning, like most things military, is a state of mind. When cleaning you can think of yourself as a household hero protecting your family from germs, virus and bacteria that will make them sick. Teaching young children that cleaning is fun will help them grow into responsible and healthy adults. Cleaning also makes our things last longer, which in the long run can save us thousands of dollars in replacement objects. Even if it’s a battle, cleaning is good for us, good for our kids and good for our things!
So here’s to the household heroes keeping us safe on the homefront, keep it clean troops!