Cleaning made easy
Ok, so cleaning is not exciting. But unless you want to live in a dump overrun by cockroaches, maggots and mice, it has to get done.
Here’s how to make it faster and easier.
- Clean as you go, and try to keep cleaning stuff in each room where it’s needed – e.g. fill the sink up before you cook and soak dirty dishes so they’re easier to wash later; wipe benches and tables as you go; and spray and brush the toilet if it needs it.
- Make a cleaning roster for the stuff you need to do with your housemates or in turns. Print one out here
- Turn the music up loud and get into it.
- Use it for exercise – it’s cheap and easy and can give you a good workout.
Whack a few slugs in the bathroom and let them eat the slime?
Wait till the cockroaches tidy up the kitchen?
Watch the maggots gobble the mess while they multiply?
3 cheap cleaning products to do it all
You’ll need supplies to clean, but, surprisingly, three products – white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and eucalyptus oil – will basically do everything except your clothes and dishes.
This is really cheap (cleaning vinegar is a couple of bucks for a few litres – get it and bicarb in the cleaning aisle at the supermarket) and means your house has less nasty chemicals.
General cleaning tips
- Vinegar (or lemon juice) alone or diluted, works on pretty much any hard surface in the kitchen, bathroom or living areas.
- Dilute vinegar in a spray bottle (from discount stores) for a surface spray.
- For stubborn dirt, spray on vinegar then throw on bicarb and watch it bubble. Wipe it away after it stops reacting.
- Bicarb soda works well as a paste when mixed with a bit of water – use it to really scrub dirt off, like on dirty stovetops.
- A few drops of eucalyptus oil (or peppermint, tea tree or any essential oil really) on a mop dipped in boiled water will freshen floors plus deter ants. Also use it to clean toilets (the oil, not the mop, eeew).
- Eucalyptus oil also removes stains – rub it into the stain then wash normally.
- Clove oil (from pharmacies) kills mould spores, so put a few drops into a spray bottle of water and use it for areas that get mouldy, or to spray onto soft-furnishings like lounges or curtains.
- An empty, open bottle of essential oil in your car or bathroom works well as an air-freshener.
My friend (yep, a he…) once said there are four ways to wear underwear: standard, back-to-front, inside out and inside out/back-to-front.
Hmmm…what about commando?
Jobs to do
So you’ve got cleaning products – what’s next? Print the main cleaning tasks checklist for a rundown.
- Washing, folding and putting away clothes (unless you’re a naturist…that is, you don’t do clothes).
- Dishes to do (or a dishwasher to stack and unstack) and table-tops to wipe.
- Garbage, recycling and green waste to chuck out.
- Random extras like cleaning air conditioning vents (who knew?), wiping down dirty walls and windows and washing the shower curtain if you have one.
Those tricks your Mum and Dad never told you (or, frankly, who could be bothered to listen) only seem important once you’ve shrunk your favourite top or dyed your undies pink.
Check out my laundry tips checklist for a rundown of how to keep your clothes in good shape.
Who does what?
Of course, when you clean, and how often, will vary depending whether you live in a house or apartment, how often you’re home, what appliances you have, and how many of you there are. FYI: lots of flatmates isn’t easier – there’s also lots more mess. Do a bit each day though, and you’ll stay on top of it; if you let the mess pile up your house quickly turns into a hoarders’ episode.
Work out how you’ll do it in your house. Will you do the big jobs together or take turns? Once you’re on the same page as a household, make a roster and stick it on the fridge to remind you all. You could divide the jobs so everyone has a few daily and weekly chores, or whatever suits you.
Print this cleaning roster and fill it in the way it works for your household.