5 House Cleaning Tips to Save You Time and Energy

Are you ready for spring cleaning, but does the thought of cleaning your home make you feel overwhelmed? These house-cleaning tips will save you time and energy — and they might even make some chores fun!

Bucket of cleaning supplies, including a squeegee, duster, rubber gloves, next to a dustpan and hand broom
Before you begin, make a list of all the gear and products you’ll need. (AlexRaths, Getty Images)

1. Buy All the Gear

You’ve probably heard the expression, “If you fail to plan, then plan to fail.” This applies to anything in life — including house cleaning — so, take this tip to heart: Before you pick up a speck of dust, make a list of all the gear and products you’ll need.

Take it room by room. No single space requires the same safety equipment, appliances and cleaning products as another. Make a list of items you’ll need to clean just the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms and garage.

Think about each space’s unique needs and how to address them, whether that’s with a broom, vacuum cleaner, mop or an old toothbrush. No one knows the space as you do, and in many cases, you can ‘make do’ with simple cleaning tools.

Also, consider the specific cleaning products and safety gear you’ll need. While it’s tempting to grab popular products — with harsh chemicals — there are many natural cleaning solutions for everyday spills, stains and odors. You’ll also need to plan for safety glasses, gloves and maybe even earplugs, depending on the task.

Spray bottle cleaning products and sponges on a blue background
Purchase all the cleaning products you’ll need beforehand. This way, you’ll have no surprises to slow you down! (JanPietruszka, Getty Images)

Eco-Friendly House Cleaning Options

Here are eight eco-friendly house cleaning tips to clean, disinfect and wipe away the winter mess.

  • All-Purpose Cleaner: Slice up some lemons, place them in a bowl and pour white vinegar up to the brim. Then, let this combination sit overnight and pour it into a spray bottle to create an all-purpose cleaner.
  • Grime Loosener: Need to clean the inside of your oven? Make a paste from baking soda and water, apply it to the bottom of the oven and let it sit for an hour to turn all the grime loose.
  • Garbage Disposal Solution: Your garbage disposal and dishwasher are often the culprits of kitchen odors. So, to make the place smell good, place baking soda in the garbage disposal and leave it there for a few minutes. Then, flush it out with water.
  • Dishwasher Deodorizer: Pour a bowl of white vinegar right into the dishwasher, and then run a normal wash cycle to clean the appliance and make it smell great.
  • Cutting Board Cleaner: Rub a slice of lemon on your wooden cutting board to disinfect the surface. Bonus effect: It’ll also make the cutting board smell great!
  • Easy Rust Remover: Make a paste from baking soda and some water and apply it to the rust stain. Let it sit for a half-hour and then wipe it clean.  
  • Window Spray: Washing windows? Here’s a simple trick: Put 50 percent water and 50 percent vinegar in a spray bottle; then, spray the windows with this mixture and wipe them with a microfiber cloth.
    Want to speed things up? Have a partner help you with the house cleaning! In this case, have one person inside and one person outside working on the same window. Don’t forget to clean the window frames and screens!
  • Mold and Mildew Mixture: Notice mold and mildew on your patio or brick surfaces? Don’t use chlorine bleach to remove them — oxygen bleach is much friendlier to the environment, less caustic and most important, it really works!

A bucket full of cleaning products on wood floor
Keep a cleaning caddy stocked with the essentials for every room. (vitapix, Getty Images Signature)

2. Stock Some Cleaning Caddies

Purchasing cleaning gear is just the tip of the iceberg. After all, you can stuff a bunch of products in your pantry or garage and forget they’re even there!

And let’s face it: No one feels motivated to perform even the most basic home maintenance if they lack the right tools to do the job, or if they can’t find those tools when they need them.

So, here’s a house-cleaning tip that will help you to get into a convenient routine: stock some cleaning caddies with everything you need when you need it. That way, they’re ready and waiting for you to grab and go!

Now, you can tackle this in one of two different ways. I like having a cleaning caddy for every room. This is the most convenient option because you can purchase everything you need to clean each room and keep a fully stocked caddy in each closet or another nearby location, out of view.

Yes, there’s some additional upfront expense — for all the caddies, the safety glasses and gloves and other items you may need — but that means you’re not running from one room to the next to grab what you need. And some of these items (like safety glasses, or a duster) will last a while.

As for Plan B? You can purchase all the products you need and keep one central cleaning caddy to maintain every room.

To do this, just grab your room-by-room checklist — the same one you took to the grocery store or home center — and fill the caddy with the items you need to clean each space. After you’ve cleaned one room, refer to the checklist, then remove any items you don’t need to clean the next room and add any items that you do need.

This option, of course, requires less upfront expense but takes more time because you have to change the caddy’s contents from room to room.

There’s no wrong option, so just pick the one that’s right for you and your household budget.

Organized kitchen cabinets and countertop
Declutter every space before sanitizing and disinfecting it. (onurdongel, Getty Images Signature)

3. Declutter

Don’t lift a broom or grab a mop before you do one important thing: declutter the room. This house-cleaning tip is important for two reasons.

First, you need to prioritize home maintenance tasks. For example, it doesn’t make sense to scrub a countertop covered with mail, books and groceries. You need to clear that countertop to properly clean and disinfect it.

Second, it’s good to get in the habit of organizing your home so nothing gets out of place — which makes the room harder to maintain and reduces your motivation to clean it.

Here’s the game plan: First, remove any trash or debris — anything you can quickly pick up and throw away — and discard it right away. Then, identify everything in the room that’s out of place and relocate it. So, mail? Filed away in the office. Shoes? In the mudroom. Groceries? In the pantry. Reusable grocery bags? Ditto.

Once you’ve removed everything that doesn’t belong and cleared spaces you know will need scrubbing, it will make it that much easier to clean.

After all, you’re halfway there — the space will look less daunting to maintain, and all you’ll just need to add the finishing touches, like sweeping, vacuuming, mopping and then sanitizing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.

Gloved hand wiping down a kitchen cabinet handle
Work from the top down — cabinets, countertops, alliances, and then finish with the floor. (Thomas Faull, Getty Images Signature)

4. Work Smart

When it comes to cleaning each room, the same expression with which we started this list: “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”

To that end, here’s a house-cleaning tip to ensure success every time — and prevent headaches down the line: work smart. In other words, think about each space’s needs and how every action you take in the room will impact another area of that room.

The simplest thing is to think “top to bottom.”

For instance, think about cleaning the kitchen. If you sweep the floors before you brush off the countertops and range, you’ll inevitably have to do double work as you pick up any crumbs and dust that fall to the floor after tackling those areas.

Newton’s third law of motion — “What goes up must come down” — applies, so that’s why it’s important to start at the top and work your way down in each room.

First, clean out the cabinets and dust them, because anything your duster doesn’t catch will fall to the countertops. Then clean your countertops, because any debris will inevitably fall to the floor. Then sweep and mop your floor because that’s the most logical place to end things!

Of course, your space’s needs will vary. But if you work with the same top-down strategy — to include windows, doors and appliances — you’ll save yourself plenty of time and prevent double work.

Split image of Today's Homeowner TV cohost Chelsea Lipford Wolf mopping a floor with a spray mop and Today's Homeowner TV host Danny Lipford using a dryer sheet to clean a ceiling fan blade
Make cleaning a team activity — feel free to mix in some friendly competition! (3 Echoes Content Studio)

5. Delegate Work

The poet John Donne said, “No man is an island.” That’s true whether you’re a woman or a child, too, and it’s especially apparent when you’re cleaning the house.

For this final house-cleaning tip, remember one word: teamwork.

Cleaning a house is not a one-person job — not if you have family members under the same roof who can help. Tell your family: We’re all in this together, and everyone should do their fair share, whether it’s washing the dishes, sweeping the porches or cleaning the bathrooms.

To that end, go ahead and delegate some tasks. Get the family involved, and you’ll be surprised by how much time you can save when house cleaning becomes a group activity.

For instance, no one likes washing the windows. But that’ll change when you have a partner clean the outside of one window while you clean the same window from the inside. Take it window by window, and you’ll cut this tedious chore’s time in half! (You can even have fun with this chore because while you’re both washing the same window, you can make funny faces at each other!)

You can even delegate this list of house-cleaning tips! For instance, one person can stock the cleaning caddies while the other person declutters the space and preps the room for maintenance. One person can tackle upstairs chores while the other person can tackle downstairs chores.

There’s no wrong way to delegate these tasks — just figure out the combination that works for you, your family and your home’s needs.

These are some of our favorite time-saving house-cleaning tips. What are yours?

Share them in the comments below!

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