Advice From a Professional Maid on Cleaning Your Home

A clean house brings about a feeling of peace and satisfaction. There’s nothing quite as unsettling as a house that desperately needs your attention. Perhaps you feel like you just don’t have the time to keep up with it properly or it just seems overwhelming. The good news is a clean home can easily be achieved if you follow a few tips from the professionals. While taking night classes at a business school I worked as a professional maid during the day to pay for my expenses. I found that if you have what you need close at hand and an orderly plan of attack, even the largest homes could be a breeze to clean.
The first time you use this method to clean your house you will essentially be priming your house for all future cleanings. You will find from week to week each cleaning session will be come shorter and shorter.

What You Need
The first thing you need is a really good vacuum cleaner. The company I worked for supplied us with lightweight vacuums that sit on your back much like a backpack. It weighs only eight pounds and was very easy to use. These vacuums cost close to a thousand dollars each so they are not realistic for everyone. Just make sure your vacuum has a hose and wand attachment that will reach up to your ceiling and has enough suction for your needs. Some vacuums work well until you try to use an attachment. Buy the most powerful model you can afford. If anyone in your family suffers from allergies you may want to get a model that has a more efficient filtering system than the typical model.

To make things easier for you as you clean you will want to purchase a large square sized bucket with compartments. This will be used to store all of your cleaning needs. You will also need a smaller bucket for floor cleaning and a good set of rags. You can purchase cleaning rags or use old clothes you have laying around the house. The best material to use is cotton. If you are buying rags look for the lint-free material. You will also need a good toilet brush and a mop.
You can use any cleaning products you’d like but if you are looking for a simple all purpose cleaner consider vinegar. Vinegar can be diluted with water and put into a spray bottle for a very effective cleaner. You can use it on windows, some bathroom surfaces and walls. Vinegar may even clean your kitchen surfaces. You will also want to purchase a wood polish, Comet or Softscrub, a bathroom spray cleaner and a good grease-cutting kitchen cleaner.

Before You Begin
You should choose one day a week for your cleaning spree. Remind those you live with that you will be cleaning the house that day and ask them to please have their clutter picked up, dirty clothes in their hampers and to have their beds made. Once you get started in your cleaning project you won’t want to stop to pick up piles of toys or books left laying around on the floor. Be sure that your dishes are done or at least put into the dishwasher so that your kitchen surfaces and sink are clear to be cleaned.

Have all of your supplies ready before you begin. Place all of your cleaning products into your bucket. Along with those you should have about ten to twenty rags ready to use. You can carry this bucket from room to room. You can tie a small plastic grocery bag from the handle of your bucket as a receptacle for your dirty rags. You will also want to have at least two garbage bags with you.
Set Up Your System

There are four basic cleaning segments to any house. They are kitchen, bathroom, dusting and vacuuming. The key to a quick and thorough cleaning is always go from top to bottom and from left to right. When you start high and move down as you move to the right any dirt you remove can fall to the floor and not onto any surfaces you have already cleaned.
Dusting

You will want to begin with dusting. Begin on the uppermost floor of your home. Pick one room and start there. If this room contains a bed, make the bed (if needed) first. Mist a rag with polish and one with glass cleaner and leave your supply bucket outside the door of the room. As you enter the room go from left to right and dust as you move through the room. Do anything in the center of the room last. Pick up everything and dust underneath. This would include photo frames, knickknacks and books. Use your rag misted with glass cleaner to do any glass objects or surfaces in the room. The first time you go through the room you may have to stop and change rags a few times. As time goes on you may be able to use one rag per room. This will heavily depend on how dusty your home becomes within the course of a week. Empty any trashcans you see into a garbage bag as you go. After exiting the first room do not forget any baseboards or hallway furniture you see on your way.
Continue through each room until you are finished dusting the entire floor. You may find that it did not take as long as you thought it would. Go down the steps and dust off the banister of your staircase (if you have one) as you go. Don’t forget to take your bucket of supplies with you.

Now do the same thing on the first floor. Start with one room and move from left to right and change rags as needed. The first time you dust you may find it necessary to use water and a mild wood cleaner such as Murphy’s Oil Soap to get dust from the baseboards and other neglected areas. If you clean weekly you shouldn’t have to do this again.
Vacuuming

Once you are done with your dusting you should head back up stairs and get out your vacuum. For the initial cleaning you will want to use your attachments in each room to clean off any ceiling fans and along the tops of curtains, door and window frames, high book shelves and hanging lights. You can also use the attachments to clean underneath sofa and chair cushions and around the bottom of your furniture. The very last step in any room is vacuuming the floor. If you have hardwoods, use the hardwood attachment. For carpeting start in the far corner and vacuum as you back out of the room. As you did with dusting, go from room to room. Don’t forget to use the hardwood attachment to clean any dirt or dust from your bathroom floors. This will make cleaning them later much easier. If you have bathroom rugs or floor mats, put the out of the room and vacuum them as well. Once you have all of the rooms done, do your hallway and then clean down the stairs. Do the same on the first floor. Don’t forget to remove and vacuum your kitchen rugs as well.
Bathrooms and Kitchens

You should next tackle your bathrooms. Set your supply bucket outside the door and clean the room the same way you dusted the others. Go from left to right and from top to bottom. The last thing you want to do is clean the floor. The very best way to clean any floor is on your hands and knees. You can use a mop if you wish but it will not be as clean. If you vacuumed your bathroom floor while you were vacuuming earlier, you will find this chore easier because you are not dealing with crumbs and hair left on the floor. Fill your small bucket with warm or hot water and add the floor cleaner of your choice. Use your rags to clean the floor, beginning in the far corner and backing out as you go. Use the same method for your kitchen and kitchen floors. Tie up the bags of garbage you have collected and place them wherever you keep your trash. That’s it! You are done! Any used rags you have collected in your bag can be placed in the washing machine and used again the next time you clean. Be sure to wash these rags with hot water and bleach.
Special Projects

This system does not include windows, oven, refrigerator (interior) or wet washing hardwood floors. These projects do not need to be done on a weekly basis. You can incorporate them in on an “as needed” basis. Hardwood floors, as a rule, should not be mopped very often. If you think they need to be mopped follow manufacturers recommendations. You should only use soaps on hardwoods on very rare occasions. Take extra care with marble or stone countertops and flooring. They should only be cleaned with plain water. Soaps and chemicals can get into the stone and cause cracking. A nice touch for ceramic surfaces and metal fixtures is to spray them with window cleaner and rub dry. This will help them shine and will remove any residue left by cleaners like Comet or Softscrub.
Final Thoughts

Don’t be discouraged if the first cleaning seems to last forever. This will depend on how well you have kept up with dusting and cleaning in general. If you use this system weekly you will find your cleaning time each week declining. Everyone’s home is different and you should adjust your method to your own home. If you have someone to help you, you can split up the chores and clean your home in half the time. Assign one person to dust while you vacuum and then have them tackle the kitchen while you clean the bathroom. You may be surprised that you cut your total cleaning time in half and can enjoy the more free time for yourself.

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