Even some of the best housekeepers have a dirty little secret: There are places in their homes that they fear to go.
It might be the basement, where storage spaces that haven’t been touched by human hands for years send chills up their spines. Perhaps it’s the garage, where terrifying piles of junk take up the parking space. Just as forbidding is a teenager’s closet, a place where access has been denied to all adults.
Oftentimes, it’s the most-used places – sinks, toilets and shower stalls – that can be intimidating, given the unseen organisms that thrive there.
To make even the scariest cleaning jobs easier, follow these tips from The Maids, the only franchised residential cleaning service that cleans for health using a methodical, multi-step process.
1. Know what lurks within
Before you take the cleaning plunge, determine what you are up against. Are your biggest enemies the creepy spiders, cobwebs and layers of dust that have accumulated in ignored places? Do dirty socks and decaying food languish behind heaps of junior’s unwashed clothing? Or are you petrified by the few million bacteria and toxins that can cause illness as they wait to reach out and touch you from the toilet bowl? Make a list of all things you might encounter and determine what you can do to eliminate or mitigate the issues, then begin to strategize.
2. Plan an attack
Once you’ve assessed the situation, design a blueprint that includes how long the job might take. In the case of storage areas in basements or garages, a thorough cleaning might take several days or even a week. The first few days might entail going through boxes and choosing what to keep, what to throw away, and what to donate. Once that’s finished, you can dust, mop or vacuum as needed. Don’t think you have to do it alone. Recruit family members to help and make it an enjoyable learning experience.
3. Use the proper tools
Soap and water usually are enough to clean most areas of your home, but in some places, including kitchens and bathrooms, disinfectants might be necessary. Assemble appropriate cleaning products and other tools before you being the project and place them in a bucket or bag. Cleaning cloths, soap, water, paper towels, trash bags, brooms and scrubbing brushes are some of the items you might need. Having everything within reach will save time and energy and allow you to concentrate on the task at hand.
4. Start at the top
The Maids uses a methodical approach to cleaning, always starting at the top and moving down, and working from one side to the other. This ensures that debris doesn’t have to be cleaned twice. Do the same with your project, breaking it into sections to make the task less daunting.
5. Make a vow to clean as you go
Often, the most frightful thing about cleaning is the clutter. It might take some time to change your habits, but if you clean as you go, you’ll be shocked by just how simple cleaning can be. For instance, always throw away unwanted mail immediately rather than letting it stack up. Another idea is to wipe down the bathroom sink every morning after you brush your teeth. Or, especially if you have children, make it a rule that everyone in the family must save toys, work, or projects before bedtime. It won’t take long before horrifying cleaning experiences will become a thing of the past.