Real Clean Home – August

1. Do I dust or vacuum first?  Always, always dust first.  When you dust, you knock crumbs off furniture onto the floor.  Vacuuming will pick this up if you dust first.

2. How can I spend less time cleaning?  Did you know that 80% of cleaning time is spent just putting things away and straightening?  Spend one day straightening and the next day cleaning.  Or, straighten one day, dust and vacuum the next, and do bathrooms the day after.

3. How can I get my kids to clean?   Put it on a schedule.  Tell your kids that their time to clean is on the calendar and make sure they all have a list of chores to do.  When it’s scheduled and expected – and has to be done before having fun – kids are more likely to do it.

4. How can I get my husband to help with cleaning?  Tell your husband that vacuuming is like indoor mowing!  Really.  And, just plain ask.  Many women just expect their husbands to see them huffing and puffing and just “know” to help out.  Give your husband specific chores to do that he might like.  Mine loves to vacuum with our Dyson vacuum because it rewards him visually and picks up tons and tons of hair and dirt.  Men love dirty.  You might also check out this book:  The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting And Housework By Joshua Coleman, PhD.  He gives tips and suggestions for getting your husband more involved around the house.

5. Should I use more than the recommended amounts of cleaners?  That’s a mistake to think that more is, well, more.  In reality, you should use less.  I usually recommend using half of the recommended amounts that manufacturers suggest because these are at the higher end of effectiveness – which makes you use more product and buy more.

6. Why don’t my dishes come out of the dishwasher clean?  There could be several reasons.  One might be the water temperature isn’t getting hot enough.  It should be about 140 degrees or higher.  If the water isn’t hot enough, you may need to turn up your hot water heater higher.  Another problem could actually be too much soap.  Most people overfill their soap receptacles.  More isn’t better.  Try using half your usual amount.

Next, check to be certain your dishwasher drain is clean and that food and other items aren’t trapped in the drain.  lastly, I swear that grocery store cleaners are horrible to your dishes.  They wash the finish right off and dull your glasses and silverware.  For that reason, I only use Neu Home care Automatic Dishwashing Liquid.  Use it for a week and you will see the shine return to your dishes.  If you’ve done everything, maybe you’ve just got a bad dishwasher.  Think about replacing it.

7. How can I make laundry go faster and easier?  Get a good laundry sorter . (The link takes you to my hands-down favorite and I own one just like it.  Put your dry cleaning in one side and then you can remove the bag, pull up the string and drop it off at your cleaners.  This is a great product and has the Amazon reviews to prove it!).  Put all the clothes in at the first of the week, do a quick – but full – load each day for the number of loads you have (i.e, one load of towels, one load of whites, one load of darks).  Before you know it, you’ll have the laundry done and not spent one whole day doing it.

8. How can I keep my carpets cleaner?  It’s easy – don’t wear shoes on carpeting.  Leave shoes at the doors and try to avoid eating and drinking in carpeted areas.  If you do eat in these areas, get an area rug with a pattern that can take the spills and not show the stains.

9. How can I clean dirty walls?  Regular cleaning is the best way to keep walls looking good.  If your walls are painted with flat paint, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to get up stubborn stains.  This is truly a miracle cleaning product.   One of the best ways to keep your walls looking good is to make them “cleanable.”  Few flat paints are cleanable, so don’t waste your time with flat paint.  Consider painting as many of your walls as possible with cleanable paint and regularly wipe them down.

10. Is there an easy way to keep the house cleaner with less work?  Yes, there is.  It’s the “Do it when you see it method” of cleaning.  If you cleaned whatever you see that is dirty when you see it is dirty, your house will be cleaner and you will not be spending all day working on cleaning the house.  You will be doing cleaning more often, but the total time spent will actually be less.  Make your motto “I clean it when I see it!”

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