Cleaning Tips

Bathrooms

1. Always keep an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge in the guest bath so you can sneak away and clean up when unexpected company shows up.
 
2. Keep a squeegee in the shower so everyone can wipe it down when they are done (this will help prevent mildew).
 
3. Steam helps to loosen build-up so why not clean while you're in there?
 
4. Disinfectant can be used on everything in the bath except the mirror.
 
5. Don't forget doorknobs and switchplates
 

Family Rooms

1. Go through magazine and catalog piles and discard outdated issues, three or five at a time. Toss junk mail daily.
 
2. Vacuum just the high-traffic sections of the floor or carpet and do the other areas later.
 
3. Before you go to bed, do a fast pickup: Put remote controls in a basket, tidy newspapers and loose papers or put them in the trash, clean off the coffee table, plump pillows and fold throws.
 
4. When you're done vacuuming the floor and baseboards, use the upholstery attachment to dust one bookshelf.
 
5. If your children's plastic toys look dirty, grab the worst two or three and clean them with a wet wipe or a paper towel moistened with rubbing alcohol.
 
6. Quick-clean artificial flowers with the upholstery attachment of the vacuum cleaner.
 
7. To freshen throw pillows, put them in the dryer, one or two at a time, on the air cycle.
 
8. Vacuum lamp shades (turn off lamp before you dust) and the back of the TV.

 

Living Rooms

1. Rub glass shower doors with a white vinegar-dampened sponge to remove soap residue.
 
2. To clean shower track door, pour full strength vinegar into the track, let soak for a few minutes, then rinse.
 
3. A coat of acrylic floor finish gives new shine to fiberglass shower doors and makes water spots disappear. Club soda will give new shine to your counter tops.

 

Kitchens

1. Wipe up spills in the refrigerator as soon as you notice them, and if you have time, do the rest of the shelf or any gloppy jar bottoms.
 
2. Go through just one refrigerator or pantry shelf and toss anything that's past the expiration date, that you'll never use again or that's less than a single serving.
 
3. Toss the jumble of unused takeout disposable containers, glass jars and condiment packages you've collected.
 
4. Wipe fingerprints off all the kitchen cabinets.
 
5. Cut time when polishing the floors: Apply the wax with a long-handled paint roller.
 
6. As you cook, rinse dirty utensils, pots and pans and put them in the dishwasher. You'll have the kitchen in good order when you sit down to eat, and you'll have less to clean up after dinner.
 
7. Ease the weekday morning rush by setting the table for breakfast before you go to bed. Put out cereal boxes, sweeteners and other nonperishable items. Prepare the coffeemaker and set the timer.
 
8. If the dishwasher's not full, add burner covers or small shelves from the refrigerator-anything that needs washing.
 
9. While you're talking on the phone or waiting on endless hold, clean out five to seven unwanted, unused things from the kitchen junk drawer or pantry or your purse.

 

Bedrooms

1. When vacuuming the bedroom, take a few extra moments to clean under the bed so the dust bunnies won't multiply.
 
2. While you get dressed in the morning, check your nightstand or dresser top and pick three to five items to toss out (ticket stubs, empty perfume bottles, for example). Clean the phone with an alcohol-based wipe or go through one drawer in your dresser, weeding out items you no longer wear or want.
 
3. Shorten the stack of bedside reading material by moving items you want to save back to the bookshelf or file cabinet and getting the rest ready for recycling.
 
4. If you don't have time for a thorough dusting, go over curtains, mini-blinds and the headboard with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum.
 
5. To save steps in making beds, store an extra set of sheets under the mattress. If you have a sofa bed, store linens and a bed pillow inside one of the pillow shams on the couch.