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What four letter word do housekeepers all have in common? Dust. Although house dust is comprised of harmless particles of natural materials like skin, hair, pollen, insect parts, plant matter, paper and other natural fibers-it can also be contaminated by a wide variety of pollutants like heavy metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons, synthetic chemicals and other toxins. Here are some tips for keeping your home as dust-free and healthy as possible.
By Ellen Brown
When I see a smudge or dirty spot, I clean the area right away. If I see something that needs dusting, I dust it. Once a week, I dust the entire house. The bathroom gets used the most, so on a daily basis I wipe this or that and it is clean and kept clean. It only takes a few minutes and when cleaning day arrives I don't have to work as hard.
By Gem from VA
I save money a number of different ways by keeping a clean house. This may seem like "too much work" to some people or you may say it "takes too long", however I have not found that to be the case. True, I am a SAHM, but I do have other activities that keep me busy throughout the day, such as running a farm, and being a home schooling teaching mom. I find that I can clean our home in about 45 minutes a day. My children also take part in cleaning; as each is responsible for their own room and bathroom. They share laundry and kitchen chores. We don't buy fancy cleaners or air fresheners. We do a lot of our cleaning with lemon juice and salt, vinegar, baking soda, some bleach, and soap and water. For air freshener, we usually burn a candle or use a match. I will go through the typical home, room by room, and point out the ways that keeping it clean is saving us money.
Weekly (or more often if we use the fireplace), I wipe down the light bulbs with a damp rag, while the light bulbs are cold. Dusty lights do not put out as much light, which makes a person unnecessarily use a higher watt bulb, or turn on more lights than necessary. I also clean the globes on the ceiling light fixtures every month or more often. It only takes a couple of minutes for nice bright results.
I hit the windows once a week on the inside with a vinegar and water solution. The outside I get about once a month. I do have newer windows and I can get the outside from the inside. This allows more light into the house, keeping the lights off.
I wipe down the TV screen and electronics every few days. This keeps dirt and dust from collecting on them and making them last longer.
Once a day, I take a rag damp with vinegar water or bleach water (diluted) and wipe surfaces down to help prevent the passing on of germs. These surfaces include the remote controls, telephones, door and cabinet knobs. It only takes me about 5 minutes to do the entire house.
I don't like clutter in the house. I have been in houses where it is cold, and I see that they have boxes and stuff stacked up over the heat registers. I make sure ours are uncovered while the A/C or heat are on. I also make sure that clutter or shoes do not block doorways. This ensures that doors can be completely shut. I keep our closet doors closed so that we are not paying to heat or cool the inside of the closet.
Twice a year, I rotate and flip the mattresses and then vacuum them. This extends the life of the mattress. If you have a larger/heavier person in your home, you would probably want to flip and rotate them more often.
I wash the curtains every few months and rehang them in the opposite window. This allows them to sun fade more evenly and be replaced less often. I just throw them in with the regular laundry and line dry.
Declutter! Turn unwanted items into cash. Sell them; get them out of the way. If it's trash, then put it out with the trash. Otherwise, you are basically storing garbage, paying yourself to heat and cool it, and to clean around it. Also, you can donate items and get a receipt for your taxes.
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If you try to wait to clean, you shouldn't. Just get it out of the way so you can hang out with friends and family. Also, don't yell at your kids if they don't want to clean, because you remember being a kid don't you? You didn't want to have to spend your weekend having to vacuum or do dishes of fold laundry did you?
By Kelsey from Honolulu, Hawaii
Looking back on last year and housework. Don't you wish you could make a new plan to keep things organized and the washing caught up? Trust me, it is possible! I'd like to suggest a few tips to frustrated and overwhelmed homemakers that I've used for many years. I've passed them down to my daughter and sons as well. Fortunately, my daughter picked up on it! As for the sons, well, they're still struggling but I figure one out of three ain't bad!
First, use the month of January to reorganize. Unfortunately, to do this you'll need to invest in storage products. After the Holidays, there are a lot of plastic crates, etc on sale. It doesn't matter if it's red and green or a holiday design, who cares! Go through one a closet at a time. To attempt more than one at a time gets you feeling overwhelmed, so keep it down to one.
My second suggestion is to form new habits concerning dish washing and laundry. Try this for a week or so and you'll make it a practice. If you're fortunate enough to have a dishwasher, do not go to bed without loading it. If you hand wash, use the same practice. Same with laundry, once you make one big laundry "catch-up day", make a practice to wash the days clothes before bedtime. If you do this; you can keep yourself caught up.
Now I want you to know, I'm not SUZY HOMEMAKER, by any means, but I raised three kids using this method. A piled up house and laundry room makes for a frustrated Mom. And you know the old saying "If Mom ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" Speaking of happy, Happy New Year!
By Sharon from Ravenna, KY
The best way I have found to ensure a spotless house is to go though it with a digital camera in hand, snapping pics. Upload them and then look for all your eye missed! Amazing!
By Veronica from Sedalia, MO
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Here are questions related to Keeping Your House Clean.
Please share any tips that you may have that can make housekeeping easy and ways to have the house always company ready.
By Donna215 from Glendale, NY
By Frugal Sunnie 03/01/2012
My number one housekeeping tip is to have a place for everything, and to put everything back in its place as soon as you are finished with it.
The one and only thing I don't put back immediately is the iron-that goes on top of the stove until it cools completely. Letting it cool atop the range means people see something on the stove and instinctively think HOT, plus, I have to put it away to cook. Win-Win:)
If you make a habit of putting things away every time, you're ahead of the game because the house stays tidy all the time.
My wife and I are want to start a housekeeping/companion business of our own. For considering rates is there a difference between housekeeping Vs. housecleaning?
By James T.
By Shawna 01/14/2013
When I hear "housecleaning," I think of a person who comes in and does a thorough job of cleaning out a house... getting rid of the deep grime and junk, deep-cleaning carpets, washing walls and windows, getting into the closets and under beds, etcetera... really CLEANING that house. Sort of a one time thing to get a house that has slipped behind back into shape and ready for daily maintenance tasks. An expensive, dirty, lengthy, thorough job.
When I hear "housekeeping," I picture someone who comes into an already fairly clean house and does small maintenance tasks like laundry, dishes, dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, etc. The sorts of things which most people just do from day to day. In other words, keeping the house clean.
If you are offering both of these sorts of services, be sure to outline in your policies what each one is and is not. You don't want to come into a home expecting to just dust and sweep but discover that first you will have to scrape up filth and throw out mounds of garbage! And on the other hand you wouldn't want to over-charge someone for simple light dusting.
Be sure the customer knows what the price will be for deep cleaning versus "light housekeeping." You might want to visit first to get an estimate of the job, or charge more for your first visit but after that charge less because it will just be upkeep.
If this is in conjunction with a companion or sitting service, the usual form is doing "housekeeping" in the form of small tasks, sometimes including cooking meals (my mother used to do this sort of work). If the customer expects more (clean out my fridge and de-clutter my closets), charge more accordingly. But be sure that both parties know what to expect for your service so no one feels cheated.
Are the rates of a housekeeper the same as rates for a house cleaner?
By James T
I'm a young mom of two toddlers. One is 3 yrs old and the other is 17 months. I find I am constantly picking up after them, it's kinda overwhelming. And also at the end of the day I am tired and don't wanna do much cleaning after they go to bed. I am the type of person that needs 8- 9 hrs a night.
One of the ideas I have come up with is to put them in their bedroom with a baby gate and sweep and mop the floor for 30 minutes. And just play with them in the bedroom until the floor dries. What are some of your ideas to keep your house clean with your kids, babies, etc.?
By Krystal from Kenora, Ontario
By Krystal 11/19/2010
Thanks so much for your feedback! I find that these ideas can be very useful to me. :)
How do I keep my house clean and tidy? I work like a slave every day, still the kids are not helping the matter at all.
By Martina from Jacksonville, FL
By Lelia Jo Cordell 12/04/2009
Having raised four kids and knowing the sheer number of excess toys their kids have, I'd subscribe to the "less is more" philosophy. If the kids aren't swamped in dozens of toys, not only will your home automatically be neater, they'll appreciate what they have. Giving away their older, gently-used toys will make some poorer child very happy. Thrift shops of all stripes are more than glad to process them, and of course there's always the Salvation Army and Toys for Tots.
I'm also an advocate of turning cleaning into a game, a la Mary Poppins (without the magic, of course, lol!) Poor as we always were, I never could make the "chore chart" work for my brood. Simply put, I lacked the means for those cash incentives.
Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.
By Tracy Elaine
Don't have dogs or cats in the house (like I do), especially shedding ones (like I do, a Cocker spaniel). They also track dirt into the house and leave fur/hair everywhere in the house.
Electric forced air furnaces blow the dust in your home around, whereas radiant heat and baseboards do not. A girlfriend just moved into a newer home. She is now complaining about having to dust all the time. If you do have a forced air furnace in your home, get the duct work cleaned out once in a while.
Do not do any renovations to your home that requires drywall, like we did. It makes lots of dust when installing and priming with paint. The sanding down of the walls, lots of dust again.
Do not open your windows in the home. The wind will blow dust into your home and you will have to dust more often. This just isn't done in my home. I like fresh air.
Do not place bird feeders at the front door like I have. Now I also have sunflower shells coming into the house, tracked in by the kids, husband, dog and myself.
Teenagers/kids and their friends can also create quite a mess. Make your teenager/kids clean up their own mess after the "party". Don't you do it for them.
Do not be a collector of anything. The more stuff you have, the more things to take care of and clean. This is not happening here in my home either, I love collecting perennials (more to clean in the garden). I collect or have many crafting hobbies, more stuff, and I love reading, more books.
I remember way back to life in our first apartment just after we got married, no extra stuff, no kids, no pets, lived in town, no birds, gone to work all day (no one home to mess up the place). Boring, would much rather have what I have now, with all it's work and cleaning up to do!!
I even have a day to clean the car in there. But if for whatever reason I am unable to do a certain day's cleaning I don't worry about it. I just skip it and move on the next day. Unless that room is extremely messy and it's not one I can just close the door on, in that case I just add it to the next day and just do a "lick and a promise" so I'm not embarrassed about it. Then the following week I make up for it. This schedule has made my life so much simpler and I have so much more time now to enjoy the day. (04/28/2009)