Stepping into a fresh, clean home is a wonderful experience. Having a clean home doesn’t just feel good either, there are numerous health benefits, from reducing allergens and allergy symptoms to feeling less stressed. Cleaning itself is also good for you—you can burn hundreds of calories carrying out everyday cleaning activities.
Despite all the positives, there’s one huge downside: doing the cleaning. Nobody likes spending all their free time on chores, but by following these tips and doing a little every day, you can keep your home clean and fresh every day of the week.
Don’t make your bed
Okay, we know this one seems weird. Getting into a freshly made bed at night feels great, but it might not be doing you any favors. Dust mites love dark, warm spaces, and if you tuck your sheets and comforter in the moment you get out of bed in the morning, you’re creating a perfect living environment for them.
Instead, make your bed by folding your covers neatly at the foot of the bed and leaving the sheets exposed. Not only will you drive away some of the tens of millions of mites that live in the average mattress, you’ll allow air and light to reach your bedding, neutralizing the odors from sweat and dead skin you shed at night.
Do one laundry load per day
Laundry can quickly build up and become a monster chore, especially if you’ve got kids or lead an active lifestyle. Instead of letting everything pile up until the weekend, commit to doing one load per day, or every other day, and do that load completely—including folding the clothes and putting them away. Not only will you reduce your workload by spreading it out, you’ll eliminate musty smells from having dirty clothes hanging around, or clutter from piles of laundry waiting all week to be folded.
Wash dishes as you use them
A sink stacked high with dirty plates and pans isn’t just an eyesore. Leaving food residue to dry makes it harder to remove, and it can start to smell in the meantime. Wash your dishes as you use them for a kitchen that instantly looks and smells cleaner, for less effort than if you let them pile up.
Never leave a room empty-handed
Take your used glass to the kitchen before you go to bed. Pick up the socks you kicked off and put them in the laundry. Don’t walk past items you know you need to move. Every time you leave a room, take something and put it away. It might seem a small step, but decluttering as you go keeps your rooms cleaner and neater, and prevents tidying from becoming an overwhelming task.
Have a place for everything
Another key step in the fight against clutter is knowing where everything belongs, and returning anything that got moved. The clearer you can keep large surfaces, the less temptation there is to add to the accumulation. Use cheap storage boxes for kids’ and pets’ toys and hobby projects and put everything away once you’ve used it. In the kitchen, have a place for everything in your cupboards. If you’re running out of space, consider donating or selling what you don’t use, or rearrange your storage. An underused cloakroom can be turned into a pantry, or a bare wall can be repurposed with coat hooks or cheap shelves.
Keep supplies where they’re needed
Think about what cleaning supplies you need for each area of the house, and where they’re currently located. Is your bathroom grout cleaner under the kitchen sink, or the vacuum in your bedroom closet? If cleaning supplies aren’t conveniently to hand when you notice something needs washing or wiping down, you’re less likely to do anything about it. Keep bathroom cleaners in the bathroom, kitchen cleaners in the kitchen (obviously away from food storage!), and the vacuum near your living room, so it’s only a matter of moments to grab what you need and get the job done.
Identify problems and put solutions nearby
Go a step further and think about your cleaning irritants. Does the dog continually track muddy paw prints into the kitchen? Then place an old towel on a hook by the door and use it to wipe Fido down when he comes in. Do the kids kick off their shoes at the door? Put a cheap shoe rack or storage box nearby for them to use. Hang a squeegee in the shower to wipe down the door after each use, and keep a small brush and dustpan next to the litter box if the cat likes to kick it onto the floor.
Implement simple rules
Wipe down sinks after each use, take shoes off outside the house, hang damp towels up to dry immediately, and put clothes in the laundry basket, not near or on it. Address bad habits by forming new ones. At first it’ll be hard—it takes an average of 66 days before a habit becomes fixed—but if you make simple rules and keep to them, you’ll find yourself keeping your home cleaner and tidier without even thinking about it.
Clean a room per day
If you can’t face the thought of spending a day washing and dusting and vacuuming your entire house, spread the workload over the week by doing a room per day. Spending just half an hour to an hour in each room makes a big difference. It won’t be a complete clean, but it will keep your rooms fresh and make deep cleaning much easier and more manageable.
Change the bedding and vacuum the floor.
Clean the shower or tub, sink and toilet. Wipe down walls and mirrors and mop the floor.
Wash dishes, remove old food from the fridge, wipe down the cooker top, cupboard doors, worktops and fridge shelves. Put half a cup of baking soda down the garbage disposal and flush with plenty of hot water. Mop the floor.
Remove clutter, dust surfaces, and vacuum the floor and soft furnishings.
Focus on high-traffic areas
Cleaning your spare bedroom might feel like an accomplishment, but if it’s rarely used, it’s probably not the area that needs the most attention. When time is short or your tolerance for cleaning is low, focusing on high-traffic areas is more beneficial than spending the time reordering your bookshelves or folding socks, however tempting the easier chores might be. Your kitchen and living areas will need the most maintenance, and you’ll reap the most benefit from keeping those areas clean and fresh, because they’ll be more enjoyable to relax in.
Open your windows
No matter how many candles or air fresheners you use, you can’t beat old-fashioned fresh air for clearing out a room and making it more pleasant. Studies have shown that breathing fresh air is good for your health, reducing pollutants, boosting your immune system, and improving heart, brain, and lung function. When the weather permits, throw your windows open and let some fresh air circulate.
For the times of year when it’s too hot or cold to open the windows, invest in a HVAC air purifier, and a dehumidifier if you live in a particularly humid region. Reducing damp and allergens in the air will not only make your home feel and smell better, it makes your home a healthier place to live.
There are plenty of tips to help you enjoy your home and keep it feeling fresh and clean every day. While trying to do everything at once can be overwhelming, by spreading out your cleaning chores and working smarter, not harder, you can spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your home.