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Houses and Homes: Cleaning Tips from the Maven Melissa Maker, the Cleaning Expert and Founder of Clean My Space | Houses Houses

This month, Clorox is set to launch new cleaning products: Disinfectant mist and disinfectant mop Cloths. lemon balm Makerthe expert behind Clean up my spacegave her the best cleaning tips, common mistakes people make when cleaning, and some recipes for DIY cleaning products at home.

What advice can you offer when it comes to cleaning your home?

Set a timer – it’s the best way for me to start the days when I don’t feel motivated. Sometimes I choose a podcast that is say 20 minutes long and I do what I can during that time. Anything that is not done can be finished later. Often I end up pushing until the whole task is done because I don’t want a job to be 80% complete and have to take time to complete the rest.

Combine cleaning with something else – if you’re waiting for your coffee to be brewed or your water to boil for tea, use that time to unload the dishwasher instead of scrolling through fate. Find small ways to fit cleaning into your day. If you need to stretch your legs after a few video calls, do so by vacuuming your office floor (I just did this) or find another 5 quick cleaning task minutes that allows you to move your body.

Be sure to use the right products and tools for the job. If you take an overly abrasive sponge and use it to clean stainless steel, you will scratch it. If you use a cleaning product with acid (like vinegar), you can etch your natural stone. Learn your home’s finishes and what they can tolerate, and select the products and tools you need accordingly. This way you do the job efficiently and you don’t mess anything up in the process.

What are some common mistakes people make when cleaning their homes?

Don’t get things cleaned because you’re unsure of your cleaning “style”: know yourself! Are you a marathon cleaner – someone who likes to spend half a day cleaning your house to feel ready for the week? Or are you a piece cleaner – someone who likes to do a piece or chore or two a day? If you’re the first, don’t sweat the small stuff; leave everything until your big cleaning and just enjoy the rest of your week without worrying about cleaning. If you’re the latter, you’ll need to be on top of your schedule and make sure you have a room or a few chores done each day so things don’t pile up. We get into trouble when we don’t clean according to our “style” of cleaning, the cleaning builds up and never gets done or feels overwhelming when you finally decide to do it.

Understand how to properly disinfect surfaces and where disinfection is actually needed. Many people would use the terms “disinfect” and “clean” as synonyms, but they are actually two different things and serve different purposes. Cleaning is just that, it removes dirt, dust, debris, grease and grime from a surface. It helps a surface look better. Disinfecting takes cleaning one step further and actually kills 99.9% of germs on that surface. I recommend disinfecting surfaces that are considered “touch points” such as door handles, switch plates, levers, handles, remotes, etc. And to do this, first clean the surface, then apply a disinfectant. I like to use Clorox Disinfecting Mist after cleaning a surface because it’s bleach-free, can be used on hard and soft surfaces, and also comes in an aerosol-free bottle, which I like.

CLEANING AMID THE CLUTTER: Whenever a room needs cleaning, don’t clean it until you’ve removed the clutter. Otherwise, it becomes very difficult to move, replace and clean up a lot of things that are out of place. The way I teach people to cleanse is to use my “3 wave system”. Wave 1 is tidying up and organizing (it tackles that very problem), Wave 2 is the actual cleaning and disinfecting, and Wave 3 is emptying trash cans and mopping floors. By breaking it down into 3 tasks, you can get the job done efficiently and not have to clean up tons of batteries and misplaced items.

What DIY substitutes can you offer?

My favorite all-purpose cleaner that I use to clean most of my surfaces at home is 2 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap, and 5-10 drops of essential oils (the one you choose may be dictated by your mood or preference).

Glass cleaner – vinegar is an amazing glass cleaner, so I like to mix a 50/50 solution of vinegar to water for glass and window cleaning. For dirty exterior windows, I use 3L of hot water, 1 tbsp of dish soap, and 1L of vinegar in a large rectangular bucket. Then I use a double-sided squeegee (the kind that professional window cleaners use) and hit the town. Don’t do it on a sunny day and you’ll have great windows in no time. For sticky grime built up on interior windows and mirrors (like leftover hairspray and air freshener), consider using a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to remove the buildup.