Dini (damedini) wrote in livinggreen,

Quick green cleaning

In my everquest to become a better housekeeper, I am adopting and adapting these tips from MSN, David Bowers, author of Dad's Own Housekeeping Book, and Laura Dellutri, author of Speed Cleaning 101

In the kitchen:

Every night, take 5 minutes after dinner to:

■ Wipe down counter and stovetop (2 minutes).
Run a damp cleanser-treated (where cleanser means my trusty spray bottle filled with half white venegar and half water) microfiber cloth across the counter using horizontal overlapping strokes, and spot-clean spills and grease on the stove (including under the burner rings) and in the microwave.

■ Sweep the floor (3 minutes).
Look around: If you spot coffee grounds, cookie crumbs, or pet hair balls on the floor, grab the broom or my huge janitor's drymop (one of those 3' wide jobbies which I bought from a Janitor's supply store - I love it as it goes under anything and gatehrs all the cathair and kid-detritus into a neat pile) and give the floor a quick once-over, starting in the farthest corner and working out toward the door. Wipe wet spills with a dampened cloth.

Every 2 weeks, take 13 minutes to:

■ Dust walls and cupboards (4 minutes).
Use a half-damp microfiber cloth (Dellutri says H2O and microfiber are all you need to tackle 90 percent of household surfaces) to spot-dust walls and cupboards as well as door and window frames.

■ Clean out the fridge (2 minutes).
Spot-clean mysterious spills on shelves and inside drawers with a damp microfiber cloth.

■ Wipe down surfaces (3 minutes).
With a cleanser-treated cloth (where cleanser means my trusty spray bottle filled with half white venegar and half water), wipe down the counter, sink, stove, and fridge (including handle) using overlapping horizontal strokes (no redundant circles!). A grout brush will nip grit and grime around the faucet.

■ Clean baseboards and floors (4 minutes).
Sweep baseboards with a dry microfiber mop, then sweep the floor, starting in the farthest corner and working out of the room. Spray cleanser (you know what I mean by cleanser by now) on the mop for an I've-been-mopping- all-day shine.

In the bathroom:

Every day, take 3 minutes after you shower to:

■ Spray tub, tile, and shower curtain/doors (30 seconds) with my vinegar/water bottle.
Let it fight all-over scum while you get on with your day.

■ Spruce up the sink (30 seconds).
Grab a paper towel from under the sink and run it across the vanity and sink bowl to clean up toothpaste, powder bronzer, or whatever you may have left behind.

■ Wipe down the toilet (1 minute).
If the toilet is showing telltale signs of messy aim, use a vinegar and water dampened cloth to give the throne a royal wiping-down.

■ Spot-clean the floors (1 minute).
Use a rag to wipe around the tub and toilet, and below the sink where dust and drips gather.
Every 2 weeks, take 14 minutes to:

■ Disinfect the toilet (1 minute).
Maximize the disinfectant power of your vinegar spray by letting it fight germs and bacteria while you work the room. Spray the toilet - from the commode (don't forget the flusher) to the base.

■ Clean the sink (2 minutes).
Again bucking the "spray your cloth" rule, spray sink fixtures and surfaces. Let the cleanser disinfect while you spray a microfiber cloth and clean the bathroom mirror using horizontal overlapping strokes to prevent streaks. Then, use the cloth to wipe down the sink.

■ Shape up the shower (5 minutes).
Spray tile with cleanser. Let it eat away lingering soap scum while you quickly scrub the tub (target the sides and the floor) with a scrub pad and a sprinkle of baking soda (I have a restaurant style cheese sprinkler can full of it!). Wipe shower tiles with a clean, damp microfiber flat mop, then clean shower door with a microfiber cloth.

■ Finish cleaning the toilet (3 minutes).
pour a bucket of water into the toilet - this will cause it to empty without refilling so you can clean it more easily. Sprinkle baking soda inside the bowl. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away the cleanser and buildup on the surfaces you sprayed seven minutes ago. Now, grab your brush - the two minutes you spent shining up the john just shaved off half your scrubbing time.

■ Sweep and mop floor (3 minutes).
Tackle dirt in hard-to-reach areas - behind the toilet, under the sink - with a microfiber cloth. On entire floor, do a dry, then a wet, once-over with a flat microfiber mop. No scrubbing necessary!

In the living room:

Every night, take 3 minutes before bed to:

■ Clear away clutter (2 minutes).
Tie up newspapers for recycling; stash magazines and remotes.

■ Spot-clean the floor (1 minute).
If the day brought tracks of debris through the room (leaves, pretzel crumbs), use a broom to get rid of messes.

Every 2 weeks, take 12 minutes to:

■ Dust ceiling fans, bookshelves, walls, and windowsills (2 minutes).
Use a microfiber extendable duster or an ostrich-feather duster (ostrich feathers are dirt-trappers too) to dust ceiling fans, blinds, light fixtures, and bookshelves. Then swipe walls and windowsills with a damp microfiber cloth.

■ Tidy the tables (5 minutes).
Swipe coffee tables and other surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth. (Keep a dusting cloth tucked away in a drawer in an entertainment center or an end table so it's easy to find.) Straighten surfaces as you go; whenever you pick up an item, dust the surface where it sat, then the spot that you're moving it to, before you set it down.

■ Sweep baseboards; vacuum or sweep floor (5 minutes).
Run a dry microfiber mop along baseboards to remove dust and pet hair. Continue sweeping non-carpeted floors with the microfiber mop. For carpets, vacuum the room. Employ the golden cornrowing rule: Push the vacuum all the way up one side of the room, turn, and walk back down the next row - it covers more carpet area in less time.

In the bedroom:

Every day, follow basic living-room maintenance plus take less than 2 more minutes to:

■ Make the bed (1 minute).
Pull up the covers and fluff the pillows.

■ Unclutter the dresser or bureau (30 seconds).
Straighten up dresser top, then use a microfiber cloth to pick up any errant dust or hair.

Every 2 weeks, take 6 minutes to:

■ Change the bedding (3 minutes). I change mine weekly.
Wash sheets in at least 130-degree water (set dial to "hot") or pour in a detergent additive (Dellutri recommends De-Mite Laundry Additive, $13.99, natlallergy.com) to kill invisible dust mites lurking in your linens.

■ Vacuum or sweep the floor (3 minutes).

The 5 Golden Rules of Speedy Cleaning

1. Spend 5 minutes a day tidying the main rooms of your home. A day's worth of dirt is easier to tackle than a week's accumulated mess. Then, every two weeks, do a quick, deep clean.
2. Keep your cleaners handy and organized. Stash a set of tools and cleaners under the bathroom and kitchen sinks, so you don't have to lug them around for quick touch-ups.
3. Embrace microfiber technology. The intricately woven fibers trap fine dirt and liquid - rather than pushing it around like other cloths.
4. Work efficiently. Apply cleansers to your mop or cloth, rather than directly to floors or counters, so you don't spend more time cleaning up product than spills. And use long side-to-side strokes (cornrowing) with your mop, vacuum, or cloth on floors and surfaces to avoid repeat cleaning (which happens when you move in circles), says Dellutri.
5. Clean each room from top to bottom, dry to wet. Knock dust and dirt from high places down to low places. And always dust before mopping and dry-wipe before cleansing. (You'll just be moving debris around if you wet-clean first.)
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