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April 17, 2014  |  Login
Simple Cleaning Strategies
By Elizabeth B. Goldsmith PhD, Betsy Sheldon
By following this methodical path, you're less likely to have overlooked a corner or a piece of furniture.

• Group by task. Here's another plan of attack: Instead of moving through the house room by room, approach your cleaning one task at a time. For example, begin with your dust rag and wood cleaner and dust everything in several rooms. Put that down and pick up the window cleaner and do the mirrors and so on.

Bundling your chores can be a very efficient approach: After you finish all the vacuuming, for example, you can put away the vacuum instead of leaving it out until you're ready to use it in the next room.

A Surefire Spring Cleaning Strategy

Ah, spring! In cultures ancient and traditional, spring holidays have celebrated the renewal of life through food, festivity - and cleaning rituals. Doors and windows are opened, the sun is welcomed in, and homes are given a good airing.

According to a survey conducted by the Soap and Detergent Association, 77 percent of Americans participate in spring cleaning each year. Out with old, in with the new!

And the new may include a fresh approach to cleaning. As motivated as you may be to tackle your spring housework, the prospect of overhauling your home from top to bottom is a bit intimidating - overwhelming, even. Try the following to bring it down to a manageable level:

* Spread it out. Don't try to power through your entire homestead, from window washing to attic-purging, in one weekend. To do a thorough job of spring cleaning without losing momentum, divide the chores and spread out the work over a month or even more.

* Practice patience. Take on the tasks as they make sense. Wait on washing the windows for a cloudy day (fewer streaks than on a sunny day) or cleaning out the fireplace if more winter storm activity is likely. Repaint the living room first and then replace the old carpet with a new bamboo floor.

* Don't go it alone. If your housemates and family members aren't reliable members of the housekeeping team, then sign on a free agent: Enlist the help of a cleaning service, especially for the most demanding jobs. Better the licensed experts climb on the ladder to dust your chandelier and clean the skylight, and you polish your heirloom silver.

Seeking Professional Help

The most effective way to reduce your cleaning efforts? Let someone else do the work. There's no shortage of housecleaning services in the phone book or notices on your mailbox. But until recently, most of them, whether national franchises or local businesses, were anything but green. Driven primarily by a clientele who wanted clean at any cost, such enterprises typically chose cleaning products that clean fast and powerfully. No surprise, most services used powerful products with bleach, ammonia, and other fossil fuel-based or eye-watering powerful chemicals.

That's changing, and changing fast. Housecleaning companies that offer green services are popping up from coast to coast. But before you pay a premium for green service, do a little digging to find out exactly how that company differentiates itself.

• If the service claims to use "green" cleaning formulas, find out what they are. more



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