By Maria Shollenbarger
Tim Evan Cook

Probably the easiest room to get―and to keep―clean. Yet this lightly trafficked, memento-laden area presents one big problem: dust. The room is a breeding ground for the stuff (think under-the-bed dust bunnies and powdery picture frames).

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Freshen the bed. Shaking out or changing sheets kicks up dust, so do those tasks first. To further freshen, spray sheets with linen spray before making the bed.

  • Damp-dust surfaces. Spritz an electrostatic or microfiber cloth with dusting spray and make your way around the room in a clockwise circle. "Otherwise you'll bounce from corner to corner having no idea what you've cleaned and what you haven't," says San Francisco Chronicle cleaning columnist Tara Aronson. Start with the perimeter, then hit the interior.

If You Have 30 Minutes, Add the Following

  • Tackle the floor. If it's wood, run a damp (not wet) microfiber mop around the edges of the bed and all other exposed areas. (Remember don't wet-mop hardwood floors, as they could warp.) Vacuum the same zones if you have carpeting.

If You Have an Hour, Add the Following

  • Get under the bed. And behind it, too. Use an electrostatic dusting tool, such as the Starfiber Dusterator. It will clean hardwood floors and also pick up some dust and hair from carpeting, cutting down on those times you need to push aside the whole bed.

If You Have Half a Day, Add the Following

  • Do the windows, walls, and lights. Use a microfiber or electrostatic cloth and a glass or all-purpose surface cleaner to clean panes, frames, and windowsills in one fell swoop. Wipe down light switches and fixtures. Use an eraser pad to take any scuffs and stains off the walls.

  • Hit the closets. Why? Because dirt and dust are in there and will eventually find their way out. "Dust is microscopic and can aggravate allergies and asthma," says Sarah Smock of the Memphis-based cleaning service Merry Maids. "Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it can't do some harm." Vacuum or mop the floor. Also, dust the shelves and wipe down the doors with a damp microfiber cloth.

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