Cleaning Fixes for Busy Households

Household cleaning combines necessity with effort, putting it far down the list of regular chores that most homeowners undertake with enjoyment. Supplementing the elbow grease with smart technologies helps you raise the cleanliness factor without increasing your workload. Between choosing the right appliances, scheduling your cleaning tasks efficiently and tackling them with the right approaches, you can keep a sparkling house even with a full life in the busiest of households.

High-Efficiency Laundry Cleaning

Unlike machines that use a center-post agitator and slosh clothes through a tubful of suds, an HE machine sprays water through laundry that tumbles in a vertically mounted drum, using half the water and 37 percent less electricity.

Smart HE washers link to your smartphone to give you updates about load status and opportunities to start and pause individual loads. Brian Peters, COO of TruBlue Total House Care, warns of the importance of using only HE detergent in these machines and of keeping them clean. "Use an HE washer cleaner monthly to prevent mold build up," he says. Smart washers that include built-in self cleaning cycles reduce the maintenance required for your laundry equipment, eliminating the need for separate appliance cleaning products.

What to Wash & When

Rebecca Morley, Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing, recommends putting your home on a regular schedule of cleaning tasks to improve your home-maintenance efficiency and actually reduce the amount of effort it requires. "Linens and towels should be washed weekly," she says. "For linens, a light detergent is best in terms of skin contact to avoid irritation. Hot water (130 degrees F in the washing machine) and a hot dryer are best at killing allergens, including dust mites in fabrics."

Smart laundry equipment includes sanitizing cycles that provide the heat necessary for this type of preventive cleaning. Peters recommends adding a general dusting and bathroom cleaning to the weekly schedule, and cutting the workload with proper HVAC maintenance, including regular filter changes. "Sometimes we forget and as the filters get dirty, they end up circulating more dust into the air, versus taking it out. This greatly reduces the time it takes to clean the house, as there is less dusting to be done on flat surfaces."

Effective Vacuum Cleaning

An efficient vacuum cleaner makes a big contribution to thorough cleaning. Morley recommends that "Rugs and carpet should be vacuumed weekly. For those with asthma and severe dust-related allergies, a special HEPA filter vacuum is recommended." These vacuums make a big difference in homes with pets, and improve cleanliness even for people without allergies.

Keeping a tidy house helps minimize the amount of surface area that collects dust and eases the vacuuming process. Morley points to home organization as a path to many advantages, including easier cleaning. "Keep clutter to a minimum by purging regularly and immediately recycling things you don't need," she says, adding that "Cleaning less is the best way to save time."

Other Considerations

Your household technology can help you organize and implement your cleaning strategies. A touchscreen refrigerator with apps that enable you to leave yourself digital memos can remind you to tackle a regular cleaning task. You can press your computer, smartphone and tablet into service to compare cleaning products and publicize a yard sale through which you declutter. Peters recommends using high-tech microfiber cloths to clean tough soap scum with a touch of dish detergent, and turning a clothes steamer into a helper when you need to remove grime from tile and grout. Along the lines of maximizing results and minimizing effort, Morley suggests keeping dirt out in the first place "by installing walk-off mats inside and outside of your home."

Photo Credits: Pamela Follett/Demand Media

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