You are Spending Too Much Time Cleaning
How much cleaning time do you think you spend in a week? Whatever it is, it is probably more cleaning time than you need. Time is literally the most precious and irreplaceable resource we have. I don’t know about you, but I can think of 50 things I’d rather be doing than cleaning my house. You too?
If I could tell you how to clean a bathroom in 12 minutes, would you be interested? And I mean actually clean, not the way my son “cleans” a bathroom in 12 minutes – ick. I know this method works because I’ve used it myself for about 20 years. It literally was a life-changer for me.
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With his unbeatable “Clean Team” method, Jeff Campbell claims his 3 person teams can clean an entire HOUSE in 42 minutes. He should know because his company has cleaned literally thousands of homes over the years. They have studied and refined their methods and tools to maximize their cleaning time efficiently (time is money in a business like that), so now they are sharing them with the public. I love any kind of life hack that will save me time, don’t you? Think how many hours of drudgery I’ve saved over a 20 year period.
I will share some of the basics of his plan, but if you really decide to give this method a try, you’re probably going to want to find one of his books – he’s written several. This one is my favorite. It’s a quick read and jam-packed with great tips:
Basically, speed cleaning comes down to two factors – tools and methods. It’s really not all that complicated and you can get started immediately.
Basic Tools to Cut Your Cleaning Time in Half
The main way their tools generate the speed is because they keep everything you need in one convenient place. Ideally, you want the tools right on your body as you move through a room. So Jeff has designed a special Clean Team apron for that purpose. It’s really the foundation of this cleaning method because you have all your most commonly used tools right at hand so you can grab them without digging around – huge time saver!
Once you have the apron, it is time to fill it. It is set up very strategically and specifically. The side loops are for your liquid cleaners in sturdy spray bottles. The left side is your Windex or other glass cleaner. He refers to it as “blue juice”. On the other side is “red juice”. This is typically 409, Kaboom, or similar liquid cleaner. Since my bout with breast cancer, I have switched to all natural cleaning products, so I’ve replaced these bottles with Mrs. Meyers or Method cleaning products. Whatever fits your preference.
In the apron pockets, you need the following things:
- An old toothbrush
- A feather duster (I actually prefer a microfiber duster with telescoping handle)
- A plastic paint scraper or a razor blade in a holder for scraping off gunk
- A Magic Eraser – stored in an open ziplock bag held in place with a binder clip so it doesn’t get your apron wet
- A ziplock bag for small trash items (also held with a binder clip)
- A stack of good-sized microfiber cleaning cloths – old burp clothes or cloth diapers work well too
Each item goes in a specific pocket and is always returned to it’s same location – that way you can reach for things and find them quickly without digging around. Time saver!
These are the microfiber cleaning cloths I prefer to use. They are cheap, wash up well, and have a textured backing when you need a little extra scrub power. My apron can hold 3 or 4 of them at once, so I always have a clean one.
When you have an apron stocked like this you are literally a mobile cleaning machine!
Additional Tools that You’ll Need
Some rooms will be fine with just the apron, but in the bathroom you will also need a large plastic open carryall with a handle for more specialty items, such as Lime-a-way, cleanser, brushes, furniture polish, and floor cleaner. The picture below is similar to what mine looks like. I keep a fully stocked caddy like this in each bathroom for quick touch ups.
You’ll also need a good heavy-duty vacuum with a 50-foot extension cord (you plug it in one place and move around the room) and a professional quality sponge mop.
Now for the method. There are some very important rules that you MUST follow for this to actually cut down your cleaning time.
- Hit the clutter items first. Grab a basket and scoop up everything that doesn’t belong in the room. Then at the end, sort them out and take them where they belong.
- Keep all your tools handy for each room so you aren’t hopping back and forth to find tools or cleaning products – you are a mobile cleaning machine!
- When you spray cleaner on a surface, give it a moment to work, otherwise you might be spraying water. Give it a spritz and let it soak in while you clean something else nearby, then wipe clean.
- Very important – Use both hands – wipe with one as you move things with the other.
- Wipe crumbs and dust onto the floor – you will get them on the last step when you vacuum (not sweep!) the floor.
- Always work in a clockwise path, 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. Once you map out your method for a room, always clean it in the same way. Then you can refine your method to be more efficient each time.
- 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 – if you clean each surface regularly things will stay cleaner overall.
- Save vacuuming or mopping until the end. Sweeping takes more cleaning time and doesn’t get as much dirt. Let the vacuum do the work.
- Keep your head in the game. Don’t just mindlessly clean. Use a timer to keep your focus. Work with a purpose and keep an eye on the time. Challenge yourself to continually improve your cleaning time.
- 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 or the razor blade.
How I Cut Down my Kitchen Cleaning Time
Here’s a practical example of how I use these methods to clean my kitchen in just 15 minutes. I do a quick clutter blitz first to remove any stray items. Then I put my apron on and make sure all my tools are ready. I 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 duster and give the top a quick swipe, then use my red juice and cleaning cloths to wipe off the finger prints – done! Then I move onto the first section of counter. Remember – work top down, left to right, back to front. I give the the cupboards and back splash a quick wipe and start the counter.
On the counter, I sweep the crumbs onto the floor, give a quick spritz and then lift and replace each small appliance with my free hand and wipe, wipe, wipe. Any trash goes into my trash apron pocket and scrub any caked on goop with my scraper. 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 by the door 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 cleaner 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. Pick up salt shakers and napkin holders as I go, wiping with the other hand. Also, move the chairs back away from the table and swipe any crumbs off 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. 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 cleaning 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 time and continually improve.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Lucky me! Both the SITS post and your posts are about cleaning tips. I will be printing your post as well. Great tips. Thanks.
Great ideas! Anything that helps me speed up the process is great.
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?
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).
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. 🙂
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).
Brilliant ideas! I think it would help me tremendously. Thank-you for this!
Ooh! Such good tips- thank you!