When you buy your first home there are a number of exciting things to look forward to and many new habits and routines that you’ll get into. Getting organised from the start is something you’re going to want to do: you’ll want to start planting in your garden, arranging all your belongings and getting to grips with all of the household chores.
Whilst cleaning might not be the most inspiring thing on your list of things to do, it is one of the key ingredients to keeping your home happy and healthy. And, one of the best ways of staying on top of these chores is to create a cleaning system that’s tailored to you.
Find your cleaning style
Depending on what kind of lifestyle you lead and how much you enjoy cleaning, you’ll probably find that your cleaning habits fall into one of the following routines:
1 – The marathon clean – once you start, you just can’t stop, so you like to tackle the whole house in one day.
2 – The little and often – you either lead a hectic lifestyle or you just don’t like to spend hours upon hours cleaning, so you divide the rooms up into manageable chunks, tackling a bit at a time.
3 – A bit of both – you might like to clean from top to bottom some days, but you’ll often run out of time so you flit around a room at a time, as and when you can.
It doesn’t matter which of the above applies to you, it simply depends on your own schedules and preferences but you’ll find that once you’ve established a routine, it’ll all run like clockwork.
Setting a time
To create an efficient routine, try to plan ahead by looking at your calendar, opting for a regular time every week that will slot into your schedule.
Or, if you’re struggling to find the time to clean, why not set yourself a certain time frame to get the cleaning done? Then, you can divide it across the week into more manageable slots.
Top tip – why not get the kids involved too? Make it into a bit of a game by making it a ‘race’ to do a certain task within an allocated time.
Make sense of the order of your cleaning
The basics of cleaning are to start at the top and work your way down. That way, any dust or grime that falls to the floor whilst you’re cleaning higher areas will be left ready for you to clean at the end.
When it comes to ordering rooms, always start with the most used and most in need of frequent cleaning, i.e. your bathroom and kitchen. That way, these will receive a thorough clean even if you do start to run out of time.
Don’t over-complicate your cleaning equipment
You can turn cleaning into a complicated, clutter-making activity if you buy too many products and tools to do it with. Keep it simple but effective by investing in the following:
Microfibre mops: Buying one of these along with removable and washable covers is a must as they are far more effective than traditional mops. In fact, a study conducted by the University of California demonstrated how a microfibre mop can remove 99% of germs while traditional ones will only remove 30% of bacteria.
Microfibre cleaners are so effective because of how small the fibres are. This allows them to attach to even the smallest pieces of dust and dirt, something their large-fibre cloth equivalents just can’t do.
The mop can be used to clean many areas including floors, ceilings and walls and, in a lot of cases, just using water is enough because the microfibre collects the germs and dirt.
Microfibre cloths: Just as with the above, this type of cloth provides you with the ultimate cleaning accessory. For best results, dampen the cloth with warm water, then dry the surface using a dry microfibre cloth, which will remove all of the germs, dirt and dust. Wash these after each use.
A good quality vacuum cleaner with attachments: It’s always worth spending a little bit more on your vacuum if you can because a high-quality one should last a lot longer and will make light work of your tasks. Plus, if you can get one with various different attachments, it can help to speed up the cleaning process of other things like carpets, blinds, upholstery etc.
An extension lead: There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to vacuum a large space to find that the lead doesn’t run far enough. Try purchasing an extension lead so you’re free to vacuum around without having to constantly re-plug.
Squeegee: To get a streak-free finish on your windows, mirrors and shower glass, invest in an unbeatable squeegee!
Gloves: Protect your hands from harsh chemicals and excessive water by opting for a pair of rubber gloves.
The master to do list
One of the ways you’ll be able to manage and keep up an efficient cleaning routine is by creating a to do list for each individual room. Take a look at some of our top tips below and personalise these for your home and cleaning requirements.
Weekly to do list – the kitchen
- Clean the fridge: To keep on top of the cleanliness in your fridge, empty out any old, out-of-date food before cleaning the interior of the fridge and shelves using warm water and a microfibre cloth.
Top tip – if you find there are areas that have tougher stains, try using a little bit of baking soda. Once you’ve scrubbed this in, rinse with water.
- Freshen the drains: To keep your drains clear and smelling fresh, pour 1 cup of baking soda down them before following this with ½ cup of white vinegar. Leave for 10 minutes before pouring boiling hot water down it.
Top tip – try putting a chunk of lemon through the drain if you have a garbage disposal drain.
- Clean small appliances and surfaces: Using warm water and a microfibre cloth wash down all of your small appliances (microwaves, toasters, kettles etc.) and any surfaces as well as the exterior of any large appliances (ovens) before drying off with another dry microfibre cloth.
- Clean the floors: The cleaning method required will depend on the type of flooring in your kitchen. For older homes that have waxed or unfinished floors, vacuuming is probably best; for engineered wood floors or ones with a polyurethane finish, vacuum then wash with a dampened, not soaked, mop.
Weekly to do list – the bathroom
- Clean sanitary ware: Baking soda is great for using in the bathroom and avoids all of the harsh chemical smells that can leave you with a headache. To clean the sink, shower, bath and any other surface, make a paste using equal parts of water and baking soda before scrubbing this in. Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water. For the toilet, use a cup of baking soda and scrub this in with a toilet brush – once done, just flush!
- Mirrors and glass: Use a homemade vinegar and water solution or glass cleaner and a microfibre cloth before removing with a squeegee or drying with a lint-free cloth.
Top tip – When you spray cleaning product directly onto a mirror you can damage the backing or frame, so always spray onto a cloth instead.
- Wash bath mats and towels: Between baths/showers, try to leave your bath mat hanging over the side of the bath so it can dry fully.
- Mop the floor: Using an all-purpose cleaner or warm water and a microfibre mop, clean the entire bathroom floor.
Weekly to do list – the living and dining room
- Dust: Using a microfibre cloth or duster, clean all of the surfaces, including picture frames, light fixtures and ornaments.
- Vacuum: Get rid of any dust by vacuuming all of the floors and upholstery in these rooms.
- Recycle: Don’t forget to pop any old, unwanted magazines or newspapers in the recycle bin.
- Plump cushions: So your cushions retain their shape, turn these round each week so they wear evenly.
Weekly to do list – the bedroom
- Get rid of the cobwebs: To get rid of cobwebs in hard to reach places, use a microfibre mop with an extension pole. This will help you to reach into all of the corners and up and around light fittings.
- Dust: Using a duster or microfibre cloth, clean down all of the surfaces and any ornaments and pictures.
- Laundry: Wash your sheets, duvets and pillowcases.
- Vacuum: Have a whizz around with the vacuum.
Daily to dos
To make the above lists even easier, you could try to incorporate a few of the tasks into your daily routine. Here are a few top tips as to how you can make your cleaning regime even more effective and time-efficient:
- Laundry: Instead of getting to the point where your laundry basket is overflowing, try to split the loads throughout the week so you don’t have all of the washing and ironing to do at weekends.
- Showers: Once you’ve had a shower, quickly wipe down the bathroom sink, shower and mirror with a microfibre cloth.
- Sweep up: After meals, sweep or vacuum under the table to remove any crumbs.
- Spills: Wipe the floors and sides as soon as any spillages happen as they will be far easier to clean straight away than if they’re left.
- Beds: Make your bed every morning, plumping the pillows and airing the duvet, if possible.
Learn to do it quickly
As you get into the routine of cleaning your home regularly, you’ll probably find ways in which you can take shortcuts. Here are just a few handy ways you can cut down on your cleaning time:
- Know the bare necessities that need doing on a regular basis, so you can carry these out when you’re feeling unenthusiastic about your cleaning chores. These could be vacuuming the house, changing towels and bedding or whizzing around the kitchen and bathroom with a cloth.
- If there are cleaning products that take time to soak in (e.g. oven cleaner or baking soda paste on sanitary ware), put these to work before going off to do another task, then return to this one later. This will save you scrubbing time too!
- Use a timer to find out how long it takes to do each room. If you know that it takes you x-amount of time to clean a particular room you’ll know if you can squeeze it in before you go out.
- Do each task in an order, so you get used to doing all of your cleaning in a process. This will help to make it much more efficient and will save time.
As you start to get used to the jobs that need carrying out, you’re sure to find that cleaning becomes a more enjoyable task. And if you get your favourite playlist on and bust a few dance moves while cleaning, you’ll soon fly through all of your chores!