Clean Your House in Less Than an Hour
By Arianne Cohen
When it comes to cleaning fast, the key is to "have a system, move quickly and never go back to a room,” says Andre Lewis, manager of Alpha Living, a green cleaning service in New York City. Follow this plan—starting upstairs and working your way down—and you’ll be done before you know it.
Zone 1: Bedrooms
Approximate time: 10 minutes per bedroom
Do a clean sweep. Strip dirty linens and toss in the hamper. Stash unnecessary items clogging your dresser or nightstand in nearby drawers or closets. Empty the wastebasket. Think “hotel”—you want spartan surfaces to help the room look tidier.
Make the bed. Take a tip from hotel maids: Rather than trying to tuck sheets under the end of the mattress, lift up each corner of the mattress with one hand and tuck with the other. It’s faster.
Deal with dust. Using a dry microfiber cloth, start with a piece of furniture in one corner and work your way around the room clockwise. Dust each surface, working back-to-front and lifting knickknacks as you go, and dump the dust right onto the floor. Your cloth should only touch each part of the surface once (no constant back-and-forth). If there’s a lamp on the nightstand, clean it top-to-bottom first, then dust the tabletop. Use your long-armed duster on mirrors and wall art.
Vacuum. Start from a back corner and vacuum your way out the door, using long firm strokes. Save time by only running the vacuum over each strip of carpet once—not twice. Don’t worry about missing an inch or two.
Zone 2: Bathroom
Approximate time: 9 minutes
Do your prep work. Spritz the sink, vanity, shower and tub with your all-purpose spray and let sit.
Tackle the toilet. Sprinkle baking soda into the bowl, give it a thorough scrub with the toilet brush, then flush. Next, spray a microfiber cloth with all-purpose spray and wipe down the outside of the toilet and tank.
Clean the mirror. Spray on glass cleaner and, starting in the top corner, wipe in a circular motion.
Go back to the sink. Use the toothbrush to quickly scrub hard-to-reach spots around the fixtures.Then, working back-to-front, start in one corner and move horizontally, wiping the counter, vanity, fixtures and handles.
Wipe down the shower and tub. No need for a full scrub—just give them a quick swipe with a dampened cloth, then pull the curtain shut.
Mop the floor. Using a water-dampened microfiber mop, quickly mop your way out of the room, beginning in a far corner and ending at the doorway.
Zone 3: Kitchen
Approximate time: 12 minutes
Do the dishes. Load the dishwasher and start the cycle.
Declutter. Spend a minute or two removing any clutter from countertops—put items back in the cabinets, stash papers in a drawer. The emptier your counters, the cleaner your kitchen looks.
Pretreat. Notice hard-to-remove gunk on your stove or countertop? Scrape it up with the credit card. And use the eraser sponge to tackle any stubborn stains.
Clean the counters. Wet a microfiber cloth with all-purpose spray and wipe countertops back-to-front, brushing crumbs onto the floor.
Wipe down appliances. Swipe the fridge, dishwasher and stove with
a damp cloth.
Tackle the floor. Starting in a far corner, sweep your way out. Then give the floor a fast once-over with a water-dampened microfiber mop, again working your way out.
Zone 4: Living Room
Approximate time: 15 minutes
Clear the clutter. Quickly scan the room to see what’s out of place. Stash scattered items like remotes and DVDS in drawers; neatly stack magazines on the coffee table.
Dust. Start in one corner of the room, and follow the same how-tos as in the bedrooms, working top-to-bottom and back-to-front so that the dust falls onto the floor. And if you have blinds, swipe them with the long-armed duster.
Make glass gleam. To clean glass surfaces, spray a microfiber cloth with your glass cleaner and wipe in wide circular motions, working from one back corner to the front.
Vacuum. Speed-vacuum yourself out of the room, starting in the farthest corner.
Arianne Cohen is a contributing editor to Woman's Day and author of Help, It's Broken!: A Fix-It Bible for the Repair-Impaired.
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