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Now for the method.  There are some very important rules that you MUST follow for this to work.

  • Everything goes with you into every room, so you have all the tools you need right at hand.
  • Work in a clockwise path, always cleaning from highest to lowest.  That way, you aren’t knocking dirt and dust onto the lower surfaces you’ve just cleaned.
  • Make every move count as you clean each surface and move on to the next area.
  • Use both hands – wipe with one as you move things with the other.
  • Don’t rinse until it’s clean, and don’t clean it unless it’s dirty.
  • Get things clean, but don’t obsess over cleaning every switch plate and line of grout.  That’s what slows you down – give it a spritz and a good wipe and move on.
  • Keep your head in the game.  Don’t just mindlessly clean.  Work with a purpose and keep an eye on the time. Challenge yourself to continually improve your cleaning time.

If clutter is a problem, do a blitz-through first.  Grab a laundry basket and buzz through each room, grabbing anything that doesn’t belong to that room.  Then add a task at the end to sort the items out and put them in their proper rooms.

Using the right tools is important.  If there is stuck-on gunk on the counter, don’t even try to clean it with a cloth, start right in with the plastic scraper.  If it doesn’t come up easily with that, immediately move to the razor blade, use a shallow angle so you don’t scratch the surfaces.  Wipe crumbs and dust onto the floor – you will get them on the last step when you vacuum (not sweep!) the floor.  Pay attention to what you’re doing and track your time with a stopwatch or timer.  That will encourage you to move faster the next time.

Sample Cleaning Session

So, using these tools and methods, I can clean my kitchen in just 15 minutes.  Since I’ve already done the clutter blitz, I can get started preparing. To start, I put my apron on and make sure all my tools are ready.  Grab my carryall and take my plugged in vacuum and leave it by the door.   I am ready to roll!

First stop, the fridge.  Take my feather duster and give the top a quick swipe, then use my red juice and cleaning cloths to wipe off the finger prints – done!

Move onto the first section of counter.  Remember – work top down, left to right, back to front.  Start with the cupboards and back splash and I’m ready to start the counter.  Sweep the crumbs onto the floor, lift and replace each small appliance with my free hand and wipe, wipe, wipe.  Trash into my trash apron pocket and anything (spices, dishes, mail) that doesn’t belong is moved onto the next area or somewhere out of the way.  Done!

My stove is next, range hood first – I clean it left to right, back to front using both hands.  I use my toothbrush or scrapers for anything caked on, and liberal use of red juice – or blue juice if it’s a shiny surface.  If a cleaning cloth gets used up (keep them folded and flip them several times to have several clean surfaces to work with) I throw them on the floor and grab a fresh one.

Yank off the used kitchen towels and lob them over by the door – you’ll get them on your way out of the room.  Next section of counter and cupboards – whisk through them.  Spritz a little bleach in the sink and let it work while I use my toothbrush to clean around the faucets and edging.  If there are any dishes piled up, I stack them on a clean section of counter and come back for them later.  We are at the 7-minute mark and halfway done!

Finish the rest of the counters the same way and move onto the dining room table.  Hopefully, it is clear.  If not, sweep everything off onto one of the chairs for later attention.  Also, move the chairs back away from the table and whisk broom the seats.  Wipe half the table as you’re going, then circle around to the other side, wiping the crumbs onto the floor as you go.  Remember to use your red juice liberally and keep moving.

Then I finish up with a quick dusting of the desk/cookbook shelf and a swipe of the pantry doors.  Only 15 minutes and my kitchen is already looking pretty.

Now it’s time to vacuum.  Brooms are considered a big time-waster with this method.  Grab the vacuum and start back in front of the pantry you just finished.  Working carefully and quickly, whisk over each section of the floor in a forward, then diagonal motion to make the most of each pass – no need to go back and forth multiple times.  Snake around the kitchen in a counter-clockwise rotation, getting under and around the table being careful not to tangle your cord.

As you pass the sink, put the drain plug in and start filling it full of hot water and your preferred floor cleaner for mopping.  Finish your vacuuming and swap the vacuum for your mop.  Soak the head well, squeeze off most of the liquid and start at the point in the furthest corner.   Mop, mop, mop using your Magic Eraser or scraper for black marks or ground-in mess.  Rinse the mop head often, especially after the dirtiest areas – by the door, and in front of the stove/fridge.  Finally, leave an exit strip, so you can get out without slipping on the wet floor or getting dirty footprints on your clean floor.

And you’re DONE!  Note the time so that you can improve your speed next time.

Conclusion – This is just a very basic overview of the Clean Team method.  To really understand it, you need to read the book.  Happily, it’s quick and easy reading, with lots of pictures.  I buzzed through it in about 30 minutes this last time.  I think its time well spent since you will easily knock that 30 minutes off your first week’s cleaning and many times thereafter.

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15 Comments on Cut your Cleaning Time in HALF

  1. Sounds pretty efficient! The only thing I give a “caution” to is when people go around and put all of the clutter into a big bin… mixed together. That is the kind of habit that I call, “making a future project.” If you need to clear clutter to clean, at least group like items together, not all in one giant box.

    • Good point Seana. I was thinking of the “stash and dash” method to be able to focus on the cleaning routine, but I did have that niggling thought in the back of my head that they might end up with a bottomless basket of “stuff” lying around. I’ll have to rethink that part of the strategy. But I do like the Clean Team method of cleaning. It makes me feel like I am using my time efficiently and getting a LOT done in a small amount of time.

  2. Stopping in from SITS. I found your post to be very helpful. Let’s face, I do a lot to get out of cleaning. And then I run around like a maniac trying to get it done.(Heck, I’d rather be blogging) I am definitely going to see what I can incorporate. Have a great weekend!

  3. I wish I did a better job modeling this behavior for my children. I tell them the best way to keep the house clean is to deal with things when you see they need done, but…I don’t always do it. You’ve provided great, common sense tips here. Stopping by from #SITSSharefest!

  4. Great tips….though I’m bad. When I first saw your post title, my reaction was “hire a cleaning service”. In any case, I’ll be pinning this for reference. Thanks!

  5. Lucky me! Both the SITS post and your posts are about cleaning tips. I will be printing your post as well. Great tips. Thanks.

  6. I need all the help I can get too! My boys love to help, as long as they can do their part in 20 minutes. Maybe this is our answer?

  7. I need all the help I can get! And this seems like it’ll help (and be a timesaver, although I’d still like it better if I had someone else to do it).

  8. Might have to pin this!!! I clean my house, my Grandfather’s house and my Mother’s house. ANYTHING to save me time and get me in/out of there as quickly as possible is appreciated and utilized. 🙂

  9. This sounds like it really works. I will never know because I’ve forced my children into cleaning. The smaller ones seem to like it. And, even their shoddy clean up jobs is better than my not at all cleaning job. I quit cleaning my house right around 2010 and only do it if I’m bribed, under duress, or in emergency situations (ie mother in law visits).

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