Clean your home in 10 minutes

Tips, tricks & techniques to whiz through those tedious household chores.

With the right tools, cleaning your home is easy! Make sure you have the following:

•    100 percent cotton cloths,
•    A toothbrush for getting into tight spots,
•    Scrapers, and
•    An ostrich-feather duster.

Straighten up the house before the cleaning starts. Clutter slows down your cleaning. Go through the house, room by room and put away items that are lying about, but don't sweep things under the proverbial rug.

Shoving items in drawers and closets just to get them out of the way isn't a good idea either. You're going to have to deal with it eventually, so why not take care of it immediately by putting them in their proper place?

Expert tips:

Work from a list. Think logically about where you're going to start and end, rather than bouncing between rooms and floors of the house. Prioritise what needs to get done and where it makes sense to start. If you think of other things as you're working, add them to the list and address them when appropriate.

Make every move count. Choose a focal point within each room as your starting block. Whether it's the kitchen sink or the bathroom shower, giving yourself something to concentrate on immediately can help motivate you to get to work. As you finish one area, move to the next in a clockwise direction.

Use the right tools. Let the cleaning solution do the work for you. Spray tough spots - such as a soap scum-covered shower wall - with cleaner and let it soak while you clean something else. You'll make double use of your time and save elbow grease.

Work from top to bottom.

If it isn't dirty, don't clean it.

Don't rinse or wipe a surface before it's clean.

Don't keep working after it's clean. Go around the room only once - a lot of time is often lost going over areas that have already been cleaned. Just remember that you should save the floor for last - if you disturb dust or debris as you work, it'll fall, and you can pick it all up in your last step.

If what you're doing isn't working, shift to a heavier-duty cleaner or tool.

Keep your tools in impeccable shape.

Repetition makes for smoother moves.

Pay attention. Answering the phone can break your concentration and momentum, so make it a "do not disturb" time. It can be tempting to start reading through catalogues and magazines you're putting in the recycling bin, but if you don't resist the urge, you'll be dragging your chores out and cutting into your own free time.

Keep track of your time. Every time you clean, keep track of your time and try to finish cleaning each room a little faster than the time before.

Use both hands. Finish one step with one hand, and then begin the next with the other. This not only will make you work faster, but it will even out the workload so one arm isn't doing all the work.

If more than one person is available, work as a team.

Get everyone involved

The best practice for a clean home is to involve the whole family. While some husbands have a fairly good excuse — that they don't know how to clean — teaching is a big part of the equation. Speed cleaning is kind of linear, which appeals to men. Being good at something and being fast is satisfying.

Give your children assignments based on their skills, even if you know you'll have to do the task over yourself. As the kids get older, gradually make the assignments more challenging.

Not only does this system it free up time, it also inspires cohabitants to keep up the daily chores. If you get the regular cleaning under control, it encourages you to do the daily stuff to keep the place civilised.

Floors

Ceramic-tile floors can be cleaned easily with nothing but warm water, but be sure to sweep or vacuum first to remove any loose soil or grit. Never use a sponge mop to clean ceramic-tile floors. It will pull the dirt right into the grout tracks. This makes the floor more difficult to clean. A micro-fibre mop picks up all the dirt that a sponge mop leaves behind. Pour the ingredients into a bucket and use a rag or micro-fibre mop to clean. If you do use a rag and the on-your-hands-and-knees method, be sure to wipe in a circular motion across the floor.

Use boiling water and two teabags to clean hardwood floors. The tannic acid in tea creates a beautiful shine for hardwood floors. Let two teabags steep in the boiling water for a few minutes. Pour the tea into a bucket. Take a soft cloth and wring it out in the tea. The cloth merely needs to be damp, not soaked. This will enable the floor to dry quickly. Wash the floor and be ready to be amazed by the sheen.

If there are scratches that stand out after cleaning the hardwood floor, simply take a crayon the colour of the floor and rub it on the scratch to fill the gap. Turn a blow dryer on high, heat the area where the crayon was applied and buff it with a soft cloth.

Got a query? Visit www.homedzine.co.za or speak to Janice Anderssen, Women24's decor and DIY expert here.
 
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