Quick Cleaning Solutions for Every Room
In everyone's favorite flop spot, clutter reigns supreme. DVDs, crayons, chew toys―they all find their way here. Dirt also collects quickly in this heavily trafficked zone, so floors and furniture need a bit of extra attention.
If You Have 15 Minutes
- Clear the clutter. Tour the room with a laundry basket in tow, picking up any out-of-place items for redistribution later.
- Speed-dust at eye-level. Grab two electrostatic or microfiber cloths. Rotate out the grimy cloth, or opt for quick two-handed dust-busting, says Donna Smallin, author of Cleaning Plain & Simple (Storey Publishing, $17, amazon.com).
- Fluff pillows and fold throws. These small adjustments result in a big visual impact.
If You Have 30 Minutes, Add the Following
- Vacuum or dry-mop the floor. It's time-consuming but important. "Dirt can cut carpet fibers and damage wood floors," says Jeff Campbell, founder of the Clean Team, a residential cleaning service in Jackson, California. He recommends concentrating on the areas around doorways, which harbor tracked-in dirt.
If You Have an Hour, Add the Following
- Tackle upholstery and window treatments. Use the vacuum's brush attachment to get dust off sofas and chairs. Clean under and behind cushions, then flip them to distribute wear evenly. Close the curtains and use a vacuum attachment to clean. For blinds, wipe each slat with a damp microfiber cloth.
If You Have Half a Day, Add the Following
- Wash the windows. To minimize streaking, use a glass cleaner and a lint-free material, such as a cloth diaper or an old T-shirt. Graham and Rosemary Haley, authors of Haley's Cleaning Hints, suggest cleaning with vertical strokes inside and horizontal ones outside (or vice versa) so you'll know which side any remaining streaks are on.
- Spot-clean the walls. Remove crumbs from inside cabinets with a vacuum attachment or a damp cloth.
- Combat hidden dirt and dusts. Get behind, underneath, and on top of tall furniture with a long-handled duster. Roll back rugs and clean the floor below.