According to Adriana Beddingfield, owner of Absolute Housekeeping in Brentwood, the single biggest step residents can take to keep their homes in tip-top shape is to start at the beginning. “The first thing I always tell my clients is to start with a deep cleaning,” said Beddingfield, whose company services hundreds of homes throughout East County. “And that includes cleaning items such as the oven, refrigerator, baseboards, showers and tubs. Then after that, those heavy items can be checked once or twice a week and kept up with that way.”
But if paying a housekeeper is not in the cards or you prefer to do it yourself, there are plenty of strategies to keep the dust away without becoming a slave to your mop and broom.
Make a list
Whether it’s the junk drawer in the kitchen or the shower in the guest bathroom, make a list of to-do items and check it off as you go. After just a few weeks your house will be in great shape, and in a lot less time than you’d imagine.
Keep up with the clutter
Instead of piling your clothes on the Stairmaster or dropping everything on the dining room table, make a conscious effort to put things away as you go. It’s easier said than done, but keeping up with the items that collect into piles makes cleaning and mopping a breeze.
Clean in short bursts
Got five minutes before your favorite TV show comes on? Grab a cloth and dust the television, pictures and tables in the family room. Catching up on the phone with an old friend? Multi-task while you’re talking and clean off the hallway table or dump a load of laundry in the wash. Every little bit helps.
So what kind of cleaning supplies do the best job and which ones should you stay away from?
“We use water spot removers, degreasers and window cleaners that work well and make the job go faster,” said Beddingfield. “What I don’t use are toilet cleaning tablets. I find that they aren’t very good and can leave a ring in the toilet. It’s better just to use detergent and a brush.”
Other household cleaners that might not be worth the money include:
• Antibacterial sprays and soaps. The jury is still out, but many consumers believe that an excess of antibacterial products can diminish the body’s natural resistance. Better to stick with plain old soap and warm water.
• Furniture wax and polish. Sometimes all a wood finish needs is a quick dusting. Avoid that waxy build-up by wiping smudges with a damp cloth and saving the sprays for an occasional, deeper cleaning.
• Drain cleaners. For regular maintenance, your best bet is prevention. Baking soda and vinegar often work better than the harsher commercial products. Try pouring a half-cup of baking soda and a half-cup of vinegar down the drain once a month or so for fresh-smelling sinks and clog-free drains.
When it comes to housecleaning, we all have our own approach. But even if you can’t afford a regular housekeeping service, a one-time or holiday housekeeping-service visit can help you keep the grunge under control.
“Most of our clients like us to come every other week,” said Beddingfield. “But people also call us for one-time cleanings when they are moving in or out of a home, or for a good cleaning just before Thanksgiving or Christmas. My rule of thumb is to make each house look like I would like my own home to look, and that’s what makes our customers happy.”
For more information on Absolute Housekeeping, call 925-240-0576 or 925-516-6932.