Clean your home like a pro with these quick and efficient cleaning strategies.
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No one knows how to speed up a cleaning routine—while still tackling all the dirt, dust, and crumbs—better than professional house cleaners. So we reached out to the pros for their insider secrets and tricks of the trade. From little habits that will keep your home cleaner for longer, like storing a squeegee in the shower, to tips that cut down on elbow grease, like steaming your microwave, here's how to clean a house professionally in half the time. All you have to do now is gather up your home cleaning supplies and get started.

Speed Cleaning Routine

1 Shut off your phone.

Distraction happens—even to professionals. It takes Vicki Brown, president of Harmony Clean in Doylestown, Penn., four hours to clean her house—though it should take less than two. "I get sidetracked in my own home," she says. Streamline your routine by removing as many distractions as possible: Cut down your screen time by setting your phone to vibrate, shut down the computer, keep the TV off, and save detailed projects, like organizing the linen closet or packing away winter hats and scarves, for another time.

2 Clean each room from top to bottom.

Before you're tempted to pull out the vacuum for a quick clean, shake crumbs, dust, and pet hair on the floor. Follow the top-to-bottom rule of cleaning every room, and knock dust and debris from curtains, bookshelves, lampshades and mantles onto the floor as you work your way down, says Leslie Reichert, aka The Cleaning Coach, then vacuum it up after. You'll clean faster if you don't have to worry where the dust goes, and as long as you have a good vacuum—preferably one with a HEPA filter—Reichert promises you'll suck it all up in the end.

3 Do the easy stuff first.

Start simple: Spiff up a few low-traffic rooms quickly and easily, so that you're motivated to tackle bigger cleaning tasks in high-traffic areas like the kitchen and bathrooms. "You'll be inspired to finish the rest of your home," says Reichert. Depending on your household, the dining room, living room, or a home office are good places to start.

4 Skip seldom-used rooms—this time around.

For most households, says Brown, an every-other-week cleaning schedule is enough. "After all, you're still going to wipe down counters after dinner every night, right?" she asks. But some chores only need to be done monthly. Her team at Harmony Clean divides less-frequent tasks between the first and second clean of the month. They clean first-floor baseboards and ceilings in one visit and tackle the second floor in the next. Likewise with seldom-used guest bedrooms or formal living rooms.

General Housekeeping Tips

1 Swap out your soap.

Smart cleaning starts before you pick up a scrub brush. Keep your shower walls and floor looking shinier longer by stocking the bath with glycerin- or vegetable oil-based soaps. These soaps rinse cleaner than traditional tallow-based soaps, which can leave white, gummy soap scum crusted on your shower walls, says April Lane, owner of April Lane's Home Cleaning in Seattle and a board member of the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI). 

2 Develop a squeegee habit.

Show of hands: Who enjoys cleaning the tub and shower? Thought so. The easiest way to reduce the frequency of this much-loathed chore is to buy a squeegee (or a broom with a squeegee on the end) and encourage everyone in the house to use it after a shower or bath, says Lane.

Wipe the walls (top to bottom), the sides of the tub, even the floor itself (send the water straight toward the drain). Soap and shampoo residue will be washed away with the water, rather than evaporating and leaving a film on your porcelain or stone. Stick with this habit and you can get away with cleaning the tub and shower just once a month. You're welcome.

3 Toss unconventional items in the dishwasher.

Toothbrush holder looking a little grimy? How about that dish drain? Both Lane and Reichert swear by the dishwasher for effortlessly cleaning soap dishes, toothbrush holders, dish drains, range hood filters, and more. If it's hard plastic, glass, ceramic, or metal—and it'll fit—it's fair game. "I've never ruined anything by sticking it in the top shelf of the dishwasher," says Lane.

4 Give your vacuum a tune-up.

Canister, upright, bagless, bagged—use whatever suits your preference and floor surface, but keep your vacuum well-maintained for maximum suction power and efficiency. Every month, Brown suggests, change disposable bags, wipe the inside and bottom of the machine, and clean out the rotating brush (you know, the part that attracts and tangles hair). Then get it serviced by a professional yearly. "Once a year, I drop off my vacuum at the local repair store before we go on vacation," Brown says. "Then I pick it up when we get back."

5 Steam your microwave.

Maybe you took a cleaning break to heat up some tea. Maybe you always check the microwave on your kitchen-cleaning circuit. Either way, you've opened the door and now it's impossible to un-see the baked-on food splatters on the walls, ceiling, and floor of this appliance. Don't stress; follow Lane's trick:

Fill a mug or measuring cup with water and microwave for two to three minutes, so it gets nice and steamy. The steam will soften the residue, making the wipe-down easier. You can also add lemon or vinegar to the bowl to clean your microwave even more effectively.