10 Golden Rules of Cleaning

Stick to these ten commandments of cleaning and you'll discover that making your surroundings spic and span is easier and quicker than you think.

from 2,001 Amazing Cleaning Secrets

6. Carry your supplies with you Carry your core cleaning products with you. This will save you from making multiple trips around the house looking for the right tools and cleaners. Pick up one of these accessories at a home improvement store or hardware store: a. A cleaning caddy — a plastic or rubber carrier with a handle and compartments for holding your gear b. A sturdy, large plastic bucket with a good handle c. A rolling supply cart d. An apron with roomy pockets Put all of your cleaning supplies into the receptacle you’ve chosen, including clean rags, paper towels, and a trash bag for emptying all of those wastebaskets, and cart it with you from room to room. If your house has more than one floor, keep a fully stocked caddy on each level.

Don’t weigh your carrier down with specialty products that are needed for only one job around the house. Store toilet bowl cleaner, for instance, under the bathroom sink.

7. When in doubt, make a stealth test Before you use a new cleaning technique or product, test the method on an inconspicuous area of the object you’re cleaning. This rule also applies when you first clean an object that is delicate and might be damaged by a cleaning compound. Testing will show you whether the object is colorfast and whether the cleaning method is likely to do damage.

8. Don’t deluge easily damaged items When you clean an item that could be harmed by a liquid cleaning product (electronics, computer screens, framed artwork, or framed photographs, for example), first spray the cleaner on your cleaning cloth and then wipe. Don’t spray cleaner directly on the object you’re cleaning. Cleaner dripping into your electronics could do damage, and cleaner dripping into a frame and soaking the matting could harm your artwork.

9. Yes, you’ve heard this before But the makers of all of those wonderful furnishings in your house do know best how to clean them. And the makers of your cleaning products know best how to use them. So when at all possible, follow the manufacturer’s directions when cleaning anything. This goes for everything from toasters to silk blouses and down comforters to miniblinds. File the directions and cleaning tips that come with any new appliance, rug, or other household item. Don’t remove those care labels that come on clothes, linens, and other potentially washable objects.

10. Protect thyself Last but not least, take care of yourself. Many cleaning products contain acid, bleach, abrasives, and other ingredients that can damage your eyes, skin, nose, and even your lungs. So make sure your cleaning kit includes a pair of rubber gloves and protective safety glasses. If it’s not too steamy, wear old long pants or sweats and an old long-sleeved shirt to cover your arms in case of spatters from cleaning products. Cover your hair with a kerchief or baseball cap.

To protect your nails, dab a line of petroleum jelly underneath your nails to keep out dirt. Dot more on your cuticles to keep them from drying out, roughening, and splitting from exposure to cleaning chemicals. Don’t let your cleaning products get mixed together. Some combinations–chlorine bleach and ammonia, for instance–will produce poisonous gases. When you’re using cleaning chemicals, make sure the room you’re in is properly ventilated.