How to clean more effective

a few years ago, I found out that I’ve been cleaning my home all wrong. I was in a hotel room when a maid came in and sprayed a solution on every surface…and then left. Right when I thought she’d forgotten, she returned. She wiped for less than two minutes with a thin dry cloth, and the whole place sparkled. It had, frankly, never occurred to me to let one solution do all the work, so I asked her what she’d used. It was something called Butcher’s Bath Mate—an industry standby.

Pro cleaners have brilliant tricks to get the job done. We asked three pros to school us on how to clean every room of the house much more efficiently. Plus, get there can’t-live-without-it cleaning supplies and top dos and don’ts.

The Best Way to Clean Your House

The biggest mistake people make is cleaning room by room (this is called “zone cleaning”). It’s much too slow! “You can either clean your kitchen in four hours or clean your entire house top to bottom in four hours,” says Lisa Romero, owner of Just Like New Cleaning in Fort Collins, Colorado. “A lot of people get caught focusing on one area—say, doing a super job cleaning the counters—and never get to the stove, let alone the next room. In reality, just wiping things down and moving on is quick and efficient.”

cleaning guide

Most pros are in favor of “task cleaning”: completing one chore, such as dusting, throughout the entire house, before starting the next. “You’ll do a little more walking, so it’s a good workout,” says Ronald Payne, owner of RZJ Janitorial Services in Plano, Texas, “and I find that it’s faster because you’re in a mindset to keep moving.” Follow these seven steps and your whole house will sparkle in four hours if you’re a beginner, two and a half once you become a pro. Need an even quicker method? Check out our tips for cleaning your house in only an hour, or our speed-cleaning guide for just 30 minutes.

Our Ultimate Cleaning Guide

The recommended plan of attack? Top-to-bottom, left-to-right. “I always start [in the upstairs bathroom],” says Romero. “It’s a good place to leave supplies.”

For each task, start at the highest point in the room (if dusting, this might mean high shelves), and move from left to right across the room. This way, you don’t miss anything, and you won’t accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower shelves.

dusting house

Step 1: Dust Your House

Dust each room, including the topsides of all the furniture, undersides of shelves, and all handrails, as well as picture frames, TV screens, and knickknacks. “When it’s possible to dry-dust, I do—getting something wet makes it harder,” says Romero. To get rid of fingerprints, dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water.

Pro cleaning tip: Look up top. “People don’t dust up on the very top of furniture, and that’s where all the dust collects and then falls off,” says Romero.

Step 2: Clean Furniture Fabric

Go through the house and strip and remake beds; neaten any pillows or furniture blankets. Brush furniture surfaces with a vacuum extension as needed.

Step 3: Clean Mirrors and Glass

Wipe down mirrors and windows throughout the house.

Pro cleaning tip: Using one wet and one dry microfiber cloth won’t leave streaks.

how to clean glass windows

Step 4: Clean Surfaces

Wipe down all surfaces and counters throughout the house, disinfecting as necessary.

Pro cleaning tip: Be sure to wipe down all places that fingers touch, like door handles, light switches, TV remotes, and phones. “Those are the places that people forget, and they really hold germs,” says Payne.

Step 5: Clean the Kitchen and Bathroom

Walkthrough and spray cleaner on tubs, sinks, and toilets. Return and scrub. Then, in the kitchen, wipe down the inside of the microwave, and cabinet and appliance doors.

cleaning floors of house

Step 6: Clean Floors

Sweep, then mop or scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors, and any other floor that needs it.

Pro cleaning tip: “I always do bathroom floors on my hands and knees with a microfiber cloth and cleanser,” says Romero. “That’s how I know that I got every corner, even behind toilets, and that they’re 100% disinfected.”

Step 7: Vacuum the House

“I vacuum my way out the bedrooms, down the stairs, through the living room and out of the house,” says Romero.

Pro cleaning tip: It’s not crucial to vacuum every single inch. Just keep moving. You’ll get the spots you missed next week.

Credit Source: Cohen, Arianne. “Here’s How to Clean Your Whole House in Two Hours Flat.” Woman’s Day, Woman’s Day, 25 Apr. 2018,

4 ways to keep your building shine

Facility budget cuts can often mean the decline of effective cleaning programs within offices, schools, hospitals, retail malls, and other buildings. However, cleaning is essential for creating a safe environment, maintaining occupant satisfaction and keeping a facility well-maintained and looking great. Rather than eliminating many cleaning practices from a facility, organizations can instead implement a variety of cost-cutting cleaning methods and new technologies to make cleaning more efficient.

1) Day Cleaning

  • How it provides savings: Day cleaning programs help reduce cost and improve sustainability by adjusting cleaning schedules to more productive hours. Buildings can lower their energy bills by turning down lights and adjusting HVAC settings at earlier hours rather than keeping them running at night for cleaning crews. Day cleaners are actually more productive during the day on a per square foot basis because they have better visibility of soiled areas and can establish relationships with occupants so that messes are cleaned up as they occur.
  • Expected savings: Day cleaning offers substantial savings. For instance, a high-rise building in Pittsburgh that implemented day cleaning in January 2014 expects to save approximately $100,000 for the year. Savings are achieved by turning lights off earlier to limit energy consumption and reduced labor costs due to more efficient cleaning hours.

2) Dilution Control Problems

Dilution control solutions dispense the correct chemical dose so that employees don’t have to manually dilute them. By implementing this solution, facilities can avoid switching to lower quality chemicals to cut costs, which typically require employees to use more chemical to achieve the same results.

  • How it provides savings: Dilution control solutions help reduce unnecessary waste in chemicals and packaging. Properly diluted chemicals and proper cleaning practices will help protect the investment made in the facility (i.e. floors, equipment, etc.). Dilution control solutions also reduce hazards and error by ensuring that employees avoid contact with concentrated chemicals and that concentrated solutions are not mistakenly mixed together or improperly diluted. Some dilution control systems are very easy to use and employees can be quickly trained on proper use. It’s important to match the dilution control system to expected usage, chemical mix and the number of locations that would require access.
  • Expected savings: Facilities with dilution control can save two to three times their usual chemical use because they aren’t overusing concentrate.

3) Technologically-Advanced Floor Care Machines

Facility managers should review the overall cleaning cycle (preparation, operation, and maintenance) when selecting a machine to determine if it will provide savings over time. For instance, it shouldn’t be difficult for the operator to prepare the machine or adjust pads and brushes and maintenance shouldn’t require ergonomic strain.

  • How it provides savings: Traditional machines continue to dispense chemical solution even during turning when the machine is operating more slowly. Advanced floor care machines offer speed dependent dosing systems that apply the chemical to the floor based on the machine’s speed rather than the amount of time that has elapsed. This wastes less cleaning solution. These machines can also allow operators to vary the level of dilution/solution and in some cases turn off chemical dispensing to properly clean floors based on the level of the soil. In some areas, water will be sufficient whereas other sections of a floor will require chemicals to remove the soil. Advanced machines increase productivity because employees will not have to empty and refill tanks as often. They can also reduce downtime after cleaning because they leave very little moisture behind. Bathrooms, hallways, and other areas can be used immediately after cleaning.
  • Expected savings: Facilities can reduce cleaning solution waste by up to 30 percent by using an advanced dosing system.

4) Customizable Cleaning Carts

Customizable cleaning carts can be configured based on the user’s preferences. Frequently-used cleaning chemicals and microfiber cloths can be kept on the top and the closest side of the cart to the worker. Lesser-used items can be kept at the bottom.

  • How it provides savings: These carts improve productivity because items are strategically placed for workers. Cleaning can be completed more quickly, thereby reducing labor costs. The carts also reduce ergonomic strain for workers, limiting injuries, time away from work and workers’ compensation claims.
  • Expected savings: Studies have shown that efficiency increases by 20 percent or more when using carts designed for a specific cleaning task versus fixed solution carts.

When facility managers face budget cuts, the ideal solution is to make adjustments to cleaning programs, rather than cut out resources completely or switch to cheaper options that yield less impressive results. Technology, innovative tools, chemicals, and equipment can make cleaning more efficient and cost-effective. Together, they allow organizations to reduce energy, chemical and water consumption and improve productivity, thereby creating a more affordable cleaning program that doesn’t sacrifice results, sustainability, safety or occupant satisfaction.

Source: “4 Cost-Cutting Cleaning Methods to Keep Your Facility Sparkling.” Facility Management and Commercial Building Resource,