Keep the Living Areas Clean Longer

Tips to make your time spent cleaning more effective (so you won't have to do it again).

  • Kathleen Squires

Artwork

  • Before rearranging paintings on walls, slip on white cotton gloves. Natural oils from your fingertips can seep onto artwork, damaging the color over time.

Floors

  • Eighty percent of dirt in the home is the dry, tracked-in kind. Set a doormat of toothed, bristly material, such as Astroturf, outside the door to leave dirt and grit where they belong―outdoors. (Muddy shoes can stay out there, too.)
  • Slice wine corks into disks and glue them to the bottoms of furniture and heavy pottery, or stick on adhesive felt pads. Dust settles into gouges made by furniture on floors and turns into grime, making it tougher to clean.

Furniture

  • Keep a dusting cloth in various handy places throughout your living spaces―on a nightstand, in a coffee-table drawer―so you can grab it to dust furniture anytime you notice an accumulation.
  • Opt for patterned upholstery, which conceals dirt better than solid fabric.
  • Wipe pets with a microfiber cloth, a dry-cleaning sponge, or a specialty pet wipe each day to reduce the amount of dander on the upholstery.

Light Fixtures

  • Once a week, mist a few squirts of room deodorizer on cool lightbulbs. (A note of caution: Moisture can seep into the light socket and damage the bulb, so spray from about a foot or so away.) The next time you turn the light on, the heat from the bulb will activate the scent.

Walls

  • Arrange furniture six inches from walls instead of flush against them so there will be fewer smudges from bumping to tend to later. You’ll also have easier access to dusty corners that need a visit from a dust mop.

Window Coverings

  • Open and close window treatments (blinds, curtains, shades) often to displace dust from the fabric instead of letting it sit until you get around to cleaning it. When it falls to the floor, run a dust mop over the surface.