Spring Cleaning Week: Three Ways to Make Your Cleaning Life Easier

For me, cleaning is a constant game. The challenge: How can I clean as fast as possible, while still getting quality results?

There are three products I turn to on an almost daily basis. Using an all-purpose sprayable cleanser, disinfecting wipes, and the Swiffer duster frequently make it so I have to do deeper cleans that take more time much less frequently.

First, a couple words on disposable cleaning products. I realize the wipes and the dusters need to be thrown away after each use. This isn’t great for the environment. But I try not to be an absolutist when it comes to things like this. By using the duster I don’t have to use a dusting spray. By using the wipes I don’t waste water rising a sponge, or use four paper towels for a job one wipe could do. When I do use the products, I make sure I’m using them completely, and if I don’t, I save them for the next job. (Take a close look at the Swiffer in the picture – the duster has dirty tips but lots of life left.) I’m also always making the ease-of-life calculation, and these products certainly make my life easier.

Disinfecting wipes: Either Clorox, Lysol or a house brand from a store like Target. I keep a tub under the sink in the kitchen and another one in the bathroom. I wipe down my counters every few days with one wipe, and after cooking a particularly splatterful dinner, I use another on the stove. This makes a huge difference, especially on the stove. I have much fewer caked-on messes. These wipes have a little scrubbing power, but not much. They don’t work well at all for cleaning sinks or tubs. For that you’ll need …

All-purpose sprayable cleanser: Like the wipes, I keep a bottle under the sink in the bathroom and another in kitchen. When the sinks are starting to look a little grimy, I just give a couple quick sprays, wait for 30 seconds, and rinse. I have a general rule of only using sprayable cleansers. They allow for even coating of the dirty surface, plus it’s more fun!

Swiffer Duster: While there are many brands of wipes and kitchen cleaners, I only know of one product that makes dusting so easy. I would happily give up using the first two items on my go-to products list if I could keep using the Swiffer Duster. I used to use an old towel to dust, but I found I was quickly pushing the dust around, without picking up any more particles. I also knew dust was falling off my rag, back onto the floor. With the Swiffer Duster I don’t have to worry – it’s a dust magnet and a dust trap. It’s also gentle on delicate objects like picture frames. I dust countertops and tables first, then switch to windowsills and underneath the refrigerator. One Swiffer Duster will clean my entire apartment – after I’m done it’s completely matted and filthy, but it’s still holding the dust.

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  • Mariefrancoise B

    I have a question about cleaning brass (antiques and less antiques): I have been using Tarnex for a while for lack of a better product. Do you know any good cleaning product for that purpose or any home made cleaners?
    Thank you

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      Another widely available brass polisher is Brasso Multi-Purpose Metal Polish. I haven’t tried it, so I don’t know if it’s better than Tarn-X.

      To make your own cleaner, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup white vinegar and mix with enough flour to make a paste. Rub it on the brass, let sit for 10 minutes, and then wipe away.

      To keep the brass from tarnishing, wipe once a week with a little bit of ammonia.

      Here’s a good article with more details about how to care for brass: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/brass

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