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If you would like to shorten the time that it takes to clean your house without sacrificing the sparkle and shine, here are a few simple tips that can make all the difference. So assess your routine and adopt the following eight essential tips that will help you work smarter, not harder, and get back a few hours on cleaning day.

Clean your cleaning equipment: Your cleaning equipment includes everything from your feather duster, your vacuum, and dishwasher. If you don’t clean, maintain and disinfect these items, they’re more likely to spread dirt, grime, and bacteria instead of cleaning them up. Some things to do include emptying the dust container or bag in your vacuum, clean and disinfect mops and scrubbing brushes, clean rags and towels in hot water, replace dusting tools, and run a machine-cleaning cycle in your dishwasher and clothes washer.

Use the right products: Using the right products on the right surfaces is key to keeping your home in shape long-term. And there are many downsides to using the wrong stuff: It doesn’t clean the surface because it’s too weak, it causes damage because it’s too strong, and it warps or dulls the material because they interact poorly. Familiarize yourself with the materials and finishes in your home, including countertops, flooring and cabinetry, and then match the right product to each material.

Follow product instructions: Cleaning products have evolved and multiplied. When you grab a new, fast-acting foam cleaner or dissolving tablets, read the directions first. The products won’t be as effective if you don’t use them as intended. People commonly miss or skip these instructions: Let sit for x-amount of time; works on all materials except x; do not mix with other products; dilute in x amount of water; shake first or don’t shake; test on a small area first; rinse with cold water.

Blot – don’t scrub: It’s important to tackle stains in carpet, furniture and upholstery right away, but it’s even more important to tackle them correctly. Immediately scrubbing the stain will only push it further into the fibers. You want to blot at the stain with a cloth to get the liquid up, then treat it with a stain remover. Scrubbing will make your job more difficult, and you may do damage that calls for professional carpet cleaning services.

Clean in the right order: The rule of thumb is to clean from the top down, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rhythm that goes out of order. This just creates more work for you because dirt and dust falls where you’ve cleaned. And if you don’t notice it’s happening, the grime will pile up. So, dust your light fixtures before you mop your floors, and clean the tops of your cabinets before you wipe your countertops.

Be careful with the vinegar: Vinegar is the ultimate multi-use cleaner, and many people think they can use it on everything. But before you reach for this magic solution, do a quick

search on how vinegar interacts with the material at hand, and test it in a small area to be sure. Do not use vinegar to clean pet accidents in carpeting, most stone countertops, hardwood, digital screens, some waxed surfaces, and some types of grout.

Cut yourself some slack: Some materials don’t need to be cleaned as often as we think. And some need more or less attention depending on where they area, like a tile backsplash versus a tile shower. If you clean things too often, you waste time and risk wearing the material out. You can cut back on the following and here as some suggested frequency for each: mopping (every one to two weeks); washing pillows, slipcovers and comforters (seasonally); deep-cleaning carpets and upholstery (once or twice a year); cleaning pantries and cabinets (seasonally); polished wood (seasonally); deep-cleaning windows (once or twice a year).

Remember, less is more: It may seem impossible to use too much product, and many people operate by the principle that more is more. But too much product can damage a material over time, or at the very least waste money. You might notice you’ve used too much when you see residue on your counters or windows after cleaning, or when wood furniture is far too slick with polish. People tend to use these products in surplus: bleach, wood polish, detergent, window cleaner, and carpet cleaner.


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