I admit that I really didn't know how to clean when I first started taking care of a home. I knew the basics, but I was doing everything the hard way and I wasn't doing it often enough. It's taken me years to learn how to clean quickly and efficiently. Honestly, I'm still learning.
I pick up cleaning tips wherever I can. Some I get from magazine articles, some from on-line message boards, like Mothering.commune, and others from chatting with people in real life. Here are my five favorite cleaning tips that I've learned through the years.
1. Dust with the vacuum. When I'm in a hurry or just don't feel like dusting with a cloth, I put the brush attachment on the vacuum hose and dust. It's quick, easy and does a decent job.
2. Clean burned-on foods and grease from pans with baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the pan and scrub with a dishcloth. The burned food comes right off. If the pan is really nasty, sprinkle with baking soda and water and let soak over night. The next day, it will be loosened enough to scrub clean. This works so well and is so easy for me that I don't keep any scrubbing pads anymore.
3. Put white vinegar in the rinse aide compartment of the dishwasher. This appeals to my thrifty side. Store-bought rinse aides are expensive and there is no need for them. White vinegar works just as well and I don't worry about chemical residue left on the dishes.
4. If you don't have baking soda, table salt works just as well for cleaning pans. And, it shines the sink nicely, too.
5. I learned about this final tip recently. Someone on the Mothering forums posted that she decluttered her house last year. She made a list of all the things she wasn't sure she could part with. She vowed to get rid of them if she hadn't used them in six months. When six months had elapsed, she checked the list and was able to finish her decluttering. I'm going to try this tip this year. I think I'll start a pile in the garage. My husband will want me to wait a year instead of six months. I can work with that.
I love tips that make cleaning and organizing easier, cheaper and quicker. If you have any tips that you'd like to share, let me know. Either leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I need all the cleaning short-cuts I can get!