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Friday, August 23, 2013

Take Your Cues From Professional Cleaners to Get Housework Done Quickly and Properly

Last week and the week before that, I was on a kick of watching and reading about how professional cleaners get their job done.  Janitors, professional housekeepers and full-time maids, etc.  Even though I consider myself a fairly expert housekeeper and organizer, there is ALWAYS more to learn on the subject.  I found some cool tools and videos that I thought might help my readers out here, too.  But I found a lot of cleaners who are alleged experts who actually do some pretty foolish things while cleaning, as well!  That's okay, though- better to do housework imperfectly than not at all, right?  However, for the amateur housekeeper who is always on the lookout to cut time down while still cleaning efficiently and as perfectly as possible, I hope that the following links will be helpful.

My big video find was on YouTube.  I watched this particular video several times over to get down the techniques, especially for shower/bathtub cleaning.  Last week I cleaned my mother's tub with more speed and efficiency following the guidelines of that video.  My own shower never needs deep cleaning because I wipe it down after every shower and keep it aired out properly.  Once in a great while I'll use a little Comet in the tub to scrub away built-up dead skin cells and soap or I'll brighten the shower tile's grout with a couple spritzes of spray bleach.  However, my mother is disabled and doesn't do the daily wipe-down of her shower with a towel, so I have to clean her bathroom every couple of weeks with "the big guns" (i.e., Scrubbing Bubbles and a good scrub brush).  I know Speed Cleaning techniques (developed by Jeff Campbell- the book of the same title is available on Amazon if you're interested), but I was going a bit brain dead and needed a refresher on how to clean more quickly.  It doesn't matter how long you've been doing something- occasionally you will need some re-training to renew your skill set.  Wow, it was so much easier on my back to follow the right techniques again!  The bathroom looked great afterwards and I got the cleaning done faster than ever.  This video on YouTube was a half-hour training video for a hotel's housekeeping staff.  However, a lot of hotel-style cleaning can apply to your own home as well.  It was the very best of the dozens of training videos I reviewed.  I highly recommend that you check out free training videos like these when/if you can find them.  Sadly, this particular video was removed from YouTube for some odd reason.  However, if you buy Speed Cleaning on DVD, the bathroom cleaning regimen is almost identical to what I originally found on the 'Tube:

Here is a 10-minute preview of what's in the Speed Cleaning DVD.  Yes, it looks dated- but basically, the cleaning techniques and things to clean in the home really haven't changed that much since this video was produced.

I found some other cleaning videos on YouTube which overall use pretty good techniques for thoroughly but quickly cleaning a home, though.  They were designed to teach professional cleaners, but you can still adapt the techniques to cleaning your own house.  I recommend these because a) they're free to watch and b) they teach how to work around a room for dusting and cleaning in a logical, pretty environmentally-friendly fashion.

This is a hotel cleaning training video.  Obviously, you won't clean your own house every single day like the guy here cleans the room.  But it gives some great tips on cleaning products and form that you can utilize for your weekly or bi-weekly housecleaning.

Okay, I'm about to be critical here but...I must be.  The following video is an example of how NOT to clean, as far as I'm concerned.  You don't have to watch it unless you're curious.  DO NOT get into a tub with both feet like the woman does to clean the tub in this video.  You can use a deck scrubber brush on a long handle that's set aside for this purpose if you're cleaning a deep, long tub.  (I recommend always using a clean, dry hand towel to wipe down a tub and shower walls right after you bathe so that this type of heavy cleaning is never needed.  Run a fan in the bathroom to dry up moisture during and for awhile after your shower, too.)  If you must step into a tub to clean shower tile or a tub, put a dry hand towel underneath your foot/shoe.  Keep one foot outside the tub at all times for safety!  Wear slip-resistant work shoes if at all possible while cleaning.  I recommend wearing rubber gloves when cleaning a bathroom, too (something the woman in this video doesn't do, despite being a professional cleaner).  Also, the work this woman does on a ladder is almost completely unnecessary.  High areas in a bathroom don't get the splashes, dust, etc., that lower areas get, as a rule.  Only clean these areas when really necessary, which probably won't be that often.  High areas usually just get dusty, too- not actually "dirty".  One of the very few exceptions to that rule is in a kitchen, where grease and cooking oils leave a film that must be cleaned off with something other than a feather duster.  Light bulbs and fixtures which are high up can be dusted with a long-reaching duster or feather duster with a long handle.  Occasionally a light fixture must be taken down and have the interior washed- bugs and dust get inside and there's just no way to clean them otherwise.  But that is only an occasional chore, not something that has to be done frequently.   But I digress.  A squeegee on a pole can more safely clean very high mirrors or glass, as opposed to you getting on a stepladder to clean.  I don't like using step stools in bathrooms unless it's absolutely necessary.  There's no need to go around a bathroom more than twice, either.  She uses Comet on the toilet, which really isn't my favorite product.  I believe it eventually scrubs away too much of a toilet's surface and really isn't a strong enough cleaner for the job of killing the kinds of germs that live on that fixture.  I really prefer to use a liquid or gel disinfecting all purpose or toilet bowl cleaner myself.  All purpose disinfecting cleaner is great because you can use a little on a cleaning cloth to wipe down counters, in the toilet to clean and disinfect and then on a mop head to clean the floor.  The less products you can use, the better for your wallet and probably for your lungs, as well.  But here's the video clip, now that you've read my dissertation!

I'm learning to re-use my leg strength and not my back to get chores done.  When I watched the professional housekeepers and janitors, I realized that I was bending over at the waist way too much and not using my legs/knees enough.  No wonder my back hurt so much!  Though it was hard at first (I have knee problems and my legs are naturally my weakest body part), I started squatting and/or kneeling to get housework done.  Getting down on hard floors is still challenging for me because I fell on a concrete floor directly onto my right knee about five years ago, and still can't put my full weight on that knee.  However, I've been doing a TON of leg lifts, squats, step-ups and other leg training exercises in the last month and that's really been paying off!  Physical fitness and using proper cleaning form in the body is absolutely imperative to stay a lifetime housekeeper.

As far as organizing the household goes, I've been watching YouTube videos from an awesome professional organizer named Alejandra.  She is, even for my hyper-organized taste, a little OCD when it comes to organizing stuff.  I thought I was bad because I organized my dresser drawers and closet by rainbow, but this girl takes organizing to a whole new level.  Be warned- she will make even Martha Stewart look like a slob!  That said, Alejandra has some awesome ideas.  I recommend watching her stuff when the de-cluttering is done and what's left is the organizing that you do have in a pretty way.  Alejandra is a whirlwind of youthful energy- but you've been notified in advance!

I also REALLY like her "Products I Use" link for her favorite organizing tools.  She's really creative and knowledgeable about these items.

Here's to being a cleanly organized minimalist,


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