We all know how important it is to keep our homes clean, both for our health and aesthetic reasons, but for some people the idea of having to put on the gloves and get scrubbing brings on mental fatigue, overwhelm or annoyance. They want the beautiful, tidy, clean result without having to put any effort in.
And we understand this. There is no ‘end’ to house cleaning. Unless you can afford to hire a cleaner, you’re stuck with having to do house cleaning for the rest of your life.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re here because you hate cleaning. Hopefully, the tips below help guide you through the task of green cleaning so that you can get it done as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
1. Create a fool-proof green cleaning system.
On average, women spend more hours on unpaid housework than their male counterparts. In Australia, for example, full-time working women spend roughly 25 hours doing unpaid housework (including cooking and grocery shopping) compared with full-time working men, who spend just 15 hours on housework. Whether you live on your own or you’re cohabiting, having a cleaning system in place brings in efficiency and for couples, is a chance to reduce these gender inequalities, and feelings of resentment from the person who shoulders the cleaning burden.
The most common mistake people make is that they just grab their cleaning products and start cleaning from a random point. Instead, have a system in place and agree on the division of cleaning tasks (you can negotiate based on preferences and abilities or you can just alternate each week).
Having a system can help you be more efficient. The best way to begin is to pick a room, start from one point and go around the room in a circle, decluttering and cleaning. This will allow you to stay focused and not miss a single spot. Also, make sure not to start another project before you’re completely satisfied with the room you’re cleaning.
Tip: Clean top to bottom so you catch dust. This is logical, but you’d be surprised how many people forget!
2. Keep it simple, silly.
Every year there’s a new cleaning product and tool designed to clean a single type of surface/dirt/material. But don’t fall for it (and no cleaning professional ever would). What happens is that you’ll end up with a closet full of barely opened cleaning products and equipment that you’ll hardly ever use and will probably just dump in the trash (sooo unsustainable!). All you really need is an all-purpose cleaner, a toilet cleaner and a floor cleaner. Many cleaning products can be made at home with just bicarb soda, vinegar, lemon and water, and they work just as well as store-bought products filled with toxic chemicals.
When it comes to your cleaning tools, you can keep your home sparkly clean with just a simple cleaning cloth, a few biodegradable sponges, a mop and a good vacuum cleaner.
3. Play music.
A great way to get through the boring tasks of scrubbing, wiping, vacuuming is to play some of your fave music. The chore of cleaning is made much more pleasant when listening to cool tunes that you can sing along to. Music also helps to boost your mood, cutting through the negative feelings that can occur when you’re cleaning (suffering) in silence.
If you’re not into music, how about tuning into an educational podcast? Instead of cleaning time being a waste of time, you can use that time to learn something new.
Related Post: 5 Podcasts for Conscious Living Enthusiasts
4. Properly clean electronic screens.
The best way to clean electronic device screens (that are true dust magnets, by the way) is to turn off the monitor and wipe it with a reusable cloth. If there are spots that can’t be taken care of with a dry cloth, you can gently dampen the cloth with some water. Don’t spray liquid directly onto the screen as LEDs, LCD and plasma screens can be damaged this way.
5. Grab a bamboo toothbrush.
For many pro cleaners, a simple toothbrush is an essential tool in their cleaning toolkit. It’s super cheap and can be used on a variety of surfaces and particularly useful for cleaning hard-to-reach places, grout and vents. Choose a bamboo toothbrush so you can compost it instead of throwing another plastic one into landfill. You can also use an old toothbrush, so you can maximise the use of the product before dumping it.
6. Clean your air.
Air pollution is a risk indoors, as it is outdoors. Indoor air can contain asbestos, radon, VOCs, tobacco smoke, toxic chemical fumes, dust, dust mites, bacteria, mould and mildew spores, and carbon monoxide and nitrogen monoxide from space heaters and fireplaces. There is a completely natural way to regulate indoor air quality: plants! Some indoor plants like snake plants and peace lilies can filter your air of different harmful air pollutants, plus they look amazing. You should also consider leaving windows open to allow fresh air to circulate.
Love these tips? Want to green your home? You might also like this post: Indoor Plants, Love and All That Jazz: A Plant Enthusiast Shares Her Natural History
For more tips, check out our quick start guide to sustainable cleaning here.