We all love having a flawlessly clean home. But when your days are fully scheduled, the idea of cleaning can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety and stress. Household cleaning and organization chores can pile up quickly, and many of us are holding our homes to impossible standards – especially in the era of social media. After all, people tend only to share photos of their homes when looking "picture perfect" and not when they're in a normal, everyday, lived-in state. That's not to say, though, that keeping a home clean and tidy is something that cannot be attained by those with busy lives with minimal stress.
The simplest way to keep your home dependably clean? Stick to a cleaning schedule. Take heart; it's not as daunting as it sounds. In fact, it's quite the opposite; A whole-home cleaning schedule allows you to feel less stressed because you know that a clean and tidy home is never too far out of reach. For example, suppose you notice that your credenza is looking a bit dusty on a Monday, but you know that Tuesday is your cleaning day. In that case, you can avoid the urge to stop what you're doing to clean it. By sticking to a clear-cut list, you can streamline your cleaning routine and ensure you hit all the important spots you might otherwise have missed.
Do a quick search on Google, and you'll find thousands (if not millions!) of pretty printable cleaning schedules. However, the secret to having a truly realistic cleaning schedule is creating one that works just for you. Depending on the time you have available and your household's specific needs, that could mean a daily, weekly, or even monthly cleaning schedule.
Read on for tips on stress-free cleaning success.
Prioritize & Plan
Start by figuring out which cleaning tasks are most important to you. We all have different homes, heavy traffic areas, and specific needs. Some of us have kids and pets that add another dimension to the level of cleaning needed. For instance, if you cook every meal, keeping up with the dishes may be a priority. If you're using cloth diapers, laundry is probably number one on your list. Or, if you have a furry companion that sheds, it may be vacuuming once a day. Grab a pen and notepad (or use the "notes" section on your phone) and write down the tasks you know absolutely need to be done every day.
Once you've pinpointed which tasks you need to focus on, follow up by walking through your space, room by room. Make a realistic inventory of the areas in your home that require regular cleaning, including bedrooms, entryways, hallways, and stairways. You can leave spaces that aren't regularly used (like guest rooms or storage rooms) off your list – work them in as needed or seasonally.
Build on this List
After you finalize your list, customize and build on this basic cleaning checklist:
- Put away clutter
- Empty garbage cans
- Dust surfaces, shelves, windowsills, light fixtures, blinds, picture frames, furniture, etc.
- Clean door handles and dust door frames
- Vacuum and wash throw rugs
- Vacuum and mop floors
- Clean mirrors
- Clean and disinfect countertops and sinks
- Clean and disinfect cabinet fronts and handles
- Clean and disinfect toilets
- Clean and disinfect shower or bathtub
- Clean and disinfect countertops and sink
- Clean stove, oven, and range hood
- Clean microwave (inside and out!)
- Clean cabinet fronts
- Clean appliances
Decide on Frequency
Decide how often you want to clean each room. Most spaces only need weekly or bi-weekly cleaning but consider your lifestyle when determining the frequency for your whole-home cleaning schedule. If your family spends most weekdays out of the house, for example, you may not need to clean as often as someone who works from home or stays home with small children. Also, consider that shared spaces like the kitchen and family room might need to be cleaned more frequently than private spaces like bedrooms or home offices. Assigning certain rooms or tasks (like dusting and vacuuming) to days of the week can help.
Have the Right Supplies & Tools
Now that you've identified cleaning tasks and frequency, make sure you have the right supplies and tools on hand to get the job done. Here's a list of everything you'll need to keep your home in tip-top condition:
Tough on messes while being gentle on clothes and other household washables, our Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent has a plant and mineral-based formula that eliminates grime, stains, and odors. It also neutralizes allergens like dust mite allergens, pet dander, mold, mildew, and smoke. Our hypoallergenic detergent is fragrance-free, dye-free, enzyme-free, 100% biodegradable, and recommended by allergists and dermatologists. Get it here.
Our all-in-one multi-purpose cleaner, sanitizer, and disinfectant, Vital Oxide, can be used to clean virtually every surface in your home, from the bathroom to the kitchen and even the baby's nursery – all without harsh chemicals, noxious fumes, or harmful residues. One bottle of Vital Oxide can replace bleach, glass cleaner, surface cleaner, disinfectant wipes, and more. Get it here.
NOTE: Vital Oxide comes full-strength, ready-to-use (RTU) right out of the bottle but can be diluted for specific uses. You can dilute 1 part Vital Oxide to 9 parts water for deep cleaning and sanitization. Vital Oxide must always be used full-strength for actions like disinfecting, mold removal, and heavy-duty odor elimination.
While Vital Oxide can replace nearly all of the household cleaners under your kitchen sink, dish soap and dishwasher detergent are everlasting household staples. When choosing a dish soap and dishwasher detergent, opt for formulas without fragrance.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. Vacuums equipped with HEPA filtration trap the dirt you can't see rather than sending allergens back into the air. HEPA-type vacuums are especially helpful for those who suffer from allergies or who have furry pets.
Wool dryer balls separate clothes better than dryer sheets, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, reducing drying time by 10 to 25%. Ultimately, over-drying can damage clothes as well as increase static. You can also use lower temperature settings with dryer balls, which also helps reduce damage to clothes.
Research shows microfiber to be more effective than traditional cleaning cloths, thanks to its tiny filaments that attract dirt. Strong, versatile, and gentle microfiber cloths make your home cleaner and more sustainable.
Make dusting and mopping a breeze with this method. Start by grabbing two buckets. In one bucket, mix a solution of one part Vital Oxide with nine parts water. In the second bucket, add plain water. While you're dusting or mopping, use the clean water bucket as your "rinse" bucket. When you're ready, dip your cleaning cloth or mop into the Vital Oxide bucket and wring out the excess. Then, wipe or mop surfaces as needed. As you need more Vital Oxide solution, first rinse your cloth or mop in the clean water bucket, wring it out, then dip it again in the Vital Oxide solution. When you notice your rinse bucket getting cloudy, empty it and fill it with clean water.
Scrub brushes are handy for every grimy surface, especially in the bathroom for harder-to-clean surfaces like grout and around the edge of the tub.
More than just for use on clothes, lint rollers are super handy for removing stubborn pet hair from furniture, upholstery, and carpets.
Put Your Cleaning Schedule into Practice
Whether you format and print out your cleaning schedule or keep a handwritten list on the fridge, it's time to put it into practice. Start by tackling your priority items, whether it's emptying the dishwasher or starting a load of laundry, and then follow up with another task on your list. To avoid overwhelming yourself, limit time spent in each room and plan to pick up where you left off next time. Keep in mind that it will get easier. Like anything, it takes practice before a new home cleaning schedule will function smoothly. Happy cleaning!Have questions about cleaning, disinfecting, or reducing allergens? We have answers! The Ecology Works has been leading the way in green cleaning since 1993. We can help you select the products you need to live a better, allergen-free life. Please feel free to Contact Us or message us on Facebook. No question is too small! We're here to help.