Clean like a maid!

Clean like a maid!

Let's talk about cleaning. Cleaning is a drag. I hear there are people out there that actually like to clean, but I am not one of them, even though I used to work as a housecleaner. The good thing about having that job is, I learned to clean very quickly and efficiently. Now, I pass that knowledge along to you, Curbly readers! Here's how to clean like a maid:

The mantra of the company I worked for was top to bottom, left to right.  This way you could easily walk into any room and know exactly where to get started. The work was divided into"wet rooms" (bathrooms and kitchens) and "dry rooms" (living room, dining room, bedrooms). If we were lucky and weren't understaffed, we'd go out with a partner and one person would do the "wet rooms" and the other person would do the "dry rooms". One "wet room" and one "dry room" would be "deep cleaned" each cleaning.  

I still clean my house in the same manner. I try to clean on a weekly schedule, and "deep clean" on a rotating basis. I start with the "wet rooms" first, as I hate cleaning them the most. Getting it out of the way means it's all downhill work from that point on.  

On cleaning "wet rooms"

**Maid's Tip** Keep all your cleaning supplies in a tray you can easily carry from room to room.  You'll need a blue shop rag, some white rags (I use cloth diapers), an all purpose spray cleaner (I like Formula 409), a glass cleaner, a heavy-duty all-purpose cleaner (such as Simple Green), a floor cleaner (I typically use Mop N Glo), a good toilet bowl cleaner, and a duster

In bathrooms, I start first with putting the toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet to let it sit while I'm doing everything else. Then (in any room) knock down cobwebs and dust light fixtures. Spray counters, tubs, and sinks. Spray the dirtiest parts first, then move around the room wiping everything down from left to right. Only bother to wipe down the mirror if it's smeary. If you want your fixturesto really shine, use glass cleaner on them. Run your duster along the baseboards and cabinet fronts, then swish the toilet.  Sweep the floor. Toss down some Mop N Glo, wipe it up, and you're finished.

This is probably obvious, but make sure you don't use the same rag in the kitchen as you do in the bathroom.  E. coli is a bad, bad thing. 

**Maid's Tip** Cleaning your microwave is easy peasy.  Put a bowl of vinegar and water in the microwave, and cook on high for 3 minutes. Then just wipe out the microwave with a rag. The vinegar will take care of that funky popcorn/bacon smell combo most everyone's microwave has, and the steam will soften even the most funky funk that's in your microwave. 

 On cleaning "dry rooms"

 Dry rooms are a breeze. Knock down cobwebs, dust light fixtures. Dust all other furniture and picture frames, moving from left to right. (Our bosses at the maid service would occasionally come behind us and check our work- the place they got us most was by doing the "white glove" test on the tops of picture frames. Don't forget the picture frames!) Change the sheets if you're in a bedroom. Run your duster along the baseboards, then vacuum. 

**Maid's Tip** There is no good, fast way to dust an area that has lots of knickknacks and tchotchkes on it.My personal design aesthetic keeps me from having those kinds of little items, but if you must have them, only bother to dust those suckers when you're "deep" cleaning. Trust me on this one. ;) 

 By using this method and making sure you keep up with it weekly, you can clean extremely quickly. I can clean my entire 1200 square foot house in about 45 minutes this way. 



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Ewa @ SHM Cleaning on Aug 13, 2015:

Great ideas,thanks for sharing.

Cleaning Lady on Apr 05, 2015:

In reply to the post of lovetoclean posted on November  15, 2013

If two people are cleaning then you don’t charge your clients by the hour but by the manpower or labour hour. It’s a common practice. Research and take a look at any cleaning agency’s ad. Some Molly Maid (it’s in Canada) or whatever company usually don’t send just one cleaner, they send two or more depending on the size of the place to clean. Do you think they would send 4 people to do 2 hour job and charge the client as if it was just one person cleaning? They would go bankrupt in one week.

For example. It takes 4 hours for one person to clean a house. It takes 2 hours for 2 people to clean the same house or it takes 1 hour for 4 people to do the same job. Does it mean a team of 4 will have to charge the client $15 for this job? NO, NO and NO. A team will charge for a labour hour which equals in your case: $15/hr x 4 = $60. I put a dollar sign, I don’t know your currency.

You can also charge a flat fee but I personally don’t like the idea because some clients abuse it. You are done cleaning and all of a sudden client wants you to do something else and one more thing and another thing and clean here and there and …. And you end up working hours and hours for minimum wage or even less. When you charge hourly, client knows, if they want me to clean for an additional hour, they will have to pay me and this eliminates anything like “oh, I remembered, can you clean here as well"...

Franko Jameson on Feb 20, 2015:

I showed my wife this post and she really liked it. Thank you for making me look good after she was pissed at me for no reason (at least I don't know it as always :P)

sofi on Jan 26, 2015:

It's my first time cleaning someone house there are three bedroom upstairs and two bathroom upstairs one bedroom downstairs and one bath where should i start to clean first

Suzanne Holt on Oct 12, 2014:

I appreciate all of the great suggestions.  Have pinned this article to my "Teaching Children How to Clean" board.


lovetoclean on Nov 15, 2013:

I've been cleaning houses since June.  My business has increased, thank God.  I love to clean but the one problem I'm having is how to charge my clients.  Do I charge by the hour or by the job????  Some of the houses I clean are pretty clean and some are gross.  When I started cleaning I charged 15.00 an hour.  Now that my business has grown I'm cleaning with my husband and we're getting the job done twice as fast.  Some of my clients are still paying 15.00 dollars for 2 people!  7.50 an hour!!!!!!  I assumed they figured 2 people cut the time in half.  What would take me 4 hours to clean now takes 2 because of working with my husband.

With my business growing I really need some advice!  Any suggestions?

Be Happy on Oct 21, 2013:

Great article! This was exactly the info I was looking for. I clean my own home, but I used to have a wonderful cleaner before we moved. You are absolutely right to point out the back of the toilet, the baseboards, microwave to your cleaner. They need to know your standards, and if they can't handle your standards, you can find a wonderful cleaner who can......they are out there. Or, do your own cleaning. ;)

Carolyn on Jul 28, 2013:

Some of the house cleaning ladies told me i have to buy a min. Of three hours. If they did what they thought was a good job, they left early. To me, if i bought three hours, she should ask can she do something else, as time would permit. They could sweep off the porch, or walkway or other small tasks until the three hours are used up. Not one lady noticed the dirty children's prints on the doors to the bathrooms or scuffs on the baseboards!

Carolyn on Jul 28, 2013:

I have used several different companies, and also some house cleaners that were not with any agency. I have found that so few can actually make up a bed! The sheets stick out from under the coverlet and the coverlet is not even all the way around, it is lopsided on the bed.the pillows are not arranged neatly . a sloppy made bed to me is worse than unmade!it They should learn from the housekeepers at the Dismey hotels. they are well trained. After inspecting my house for what did get done, i found so many little things not done like not cleaning the toilet on the outside in the back and the pipes that are exposed from the back of the toilet to the wall. These areas collect dust, and should be wiped down often while the bathroom is being cleaned. Also, we have a fan in the ceiling like an exhaust fan, that rids odors from the bathrooms, they never clean those. They can get full of hair and dust if ignored. The house cleaners were spending so much time cleaning the shower curtain until i told them i wash the clear liner in the washing machine and hang it back up wet. it looks new every time i machine wash it, washing with laundry detergemt and a little clorox added, makes it new again. They miss some of the window sills and never dust on top of the moulding around the windows and doors.Most do not carry a sheet to check off each task so i am going to make a check sheet for each room of every task, even those that are only done once in a while.These sheets can be printed up in bulk and filed in a notebook so we can see what has not been done recently. The odd tasks can be listed on the bulk printed sheets and can be marked if that task is to by completed that cleaning day,so each time she comes to clean, there might be a couple of the seldom cleaned tasks listed to be done.

CJ on Jun 10, 2013:

Thanks for the great tips. Like others have said: I tend to start in one place and then get side tracked by something else. These methods will help me.

Anonymous on Apr 12, 2013:

Thank you for your tips. It is hard for me to stay on task as I would get sidetracked very easy resulting in cleaning my house is any all day chore. Your really simple path of left to right top to bottom has helped and cut my time down to just 1/4. My house also looks cleaner at the end without areas being missed because of my jumping from job to job. Thank you.

amy whitten on Apr 11, 2013:

I am just starting to clean a few Apts first. My sister use to clean my house and it smelled so good when I came home.
It was like peppermint or something ..she does not remember. Also,I don't quite get starting left to right?
Just laid off after 12 yrs.
Background is Payroll/HR..
To competitve and I want to try this.I am 60 and fit!

Need all the tips I can get

Kristina on Apr 11, 2013:

I've been using house cleaning service for a while. Thanks to you I know now how they do such amazing job. I might even try those tips one day! Thumbs up! 

J Bryan on Mar 09, 2013:

Thank you for all the info-sharing. It's Saturday morning and I've been avoiding this for weeks as sick kids and exhaustion has gotten the best of me, but now I'm feeling really equipped and motivated. Thanks!!! PS yes Flylady is great!!!

Stephanie Thomas on Aug 03, 2012:

Having cleaned as a janitor in the past it does make it a lot easier to have your supplies gathered togethr like was mentioned. I used to come home from work and think about how quickly I could clean my bathroom if I had my stuff from work. Also I love the idea of the rotating deep clean schedule. It makes it easier in the future if you stick to your schedule.

LittleLady on Jul 29, 2012:

Hi! Thank you for writing this posting; I find that doing the detective work online helps broaden your understanding and it is worth while getting as much information as possible. I have a few questions if you don't mind (any with experience please feel free to respond!):

-what have you done if you happened across wood stairs w/o carpeting? Backpack vac it, then mop?

-procedural Q- as a prof. housekeeper, did you ask your clients of the types of surfaces ( e.g. finished hardwood, bamboo, poured concrete, etc etc) before you go or do you already have cleaner/supplies on hand that you know that will take care of them?

-Procedural Q: as a prof. housekeeper, how much "tidying" or "organization" have you personally done (past or present) for your customers?

- What is your absolute favorite combination of cleaners do you like to use while prof. cleaning? Favorite vac?

@Darlene ... I agree. I realized how much one should consider before cleaning different surfaces. What have you personally used for the variety of surfaces?

Thank you for taking the time to read my msg. and for responding!


Anonymous on Jul 23, 2012:

This article is awesome. Thanks for posting! After paying too much for shoddy housekeeping I'm going to follow your instructions and do it myself.

becky on Jun 27, 2012:

Excellent, no-nonense, thanks for posting!

Smart Janitor on May 24, 2012:

1.  You are not *guaranteed* to get liver cancer if you use Formula 409 any more than you are *guaranteed* to get skin cancer if you don't use sunscreen.  An increase in risk is not a guarantee.

2.  Water is a fine cleaner, but it cannot dissolve lipids (fats, oils, waxes).  To do that, you need some sort of detergent.  It's very hard to wash dishes with just water, or to clean a bathtub with just water, no matter what your health-crazed fanatic brain may tell you.

3.  Sponges are only dangerous if not cared for the right way.  They *can* harbor lots of bacteria.  To kill the bacteria in a sponge, microwave it until dry (easiest), or boil it in water for ten minutes, squeeze it out and let it air dry completely before reusing it.

MamaDobble on Mar 11, 2012:

If you clean with a sponge, you are just spreading bacteria. Try a dry cloth with just cleaner, no water. Much more powerful and less icky.

Try to avoid sponges AND water. Not counting the awesome vinegar, baking soda and other natural non-toxic solutions listed here.

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