Saturday, October 5, 2013

Dishing the Dirt on Cleaning

Chiot's Run on flickr

I've been thinking a lot about average cleaning habits, although it's harder to find stats on Americans cleaning habits than I would have guessed, at least on the net. I found one stat (albeit from a robotic vacuum seller) that says 45% of women vacuum every 2-4 days.

Most of the time, I don't mind cleaning, but what I really love is having a clean home. I like my home so much more when it's clean and tidy, in fact when I'm feeling down on the place giving it a good clean is the first step to improving my mood. It's a lot easier for me to relax and enjoy when the house it clean. Some people, including the boyfriend, would call me a neatfreak, but I'm pretty sure Martha Stewart and her ilk would not find my home up to snuff.

I have a lower tolerance for clutter I can see (behind closed doors or squirreled away where I can't see it is another story) than dirt, although I don't like either. I give the place a general once-over every week, but beyond that I'm much more likely to declutter than deep-clean. I ALWAYS clean before company comes over no matter how recently I last cleaned.

I wasn't always this way. I remember being constantly nagged to clean my room when I was little. Sometime during my late teen years things began to change and I began cleaning more than my mother, at least at certain jobs. 

While my home looks pretty clean, especially on the weekends, if you look closer you'll see that I'm less stringent about moving and cleaning under big furniture, waxing the floors (and heck, mopping them), scrubbing walls and the shower, and washing curtains.

When I was an au pair in Scandinavia I found out what a heavy cleaning schedule was like. Maybe it's because they had hired help to do it, but I had to vacuum and dust the entire house 3x per week; mop all the floors, wash doors, moldings and door handles once per week; wipe down all cabinet and pantry shelves, and completely clean out the fridge once per month.

I'm curious: what's your cleaning routine and who takes care of what chores in your household? I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours... 

-I sweep, dust and clean the bathroom (but, um, not always the shower) once per week
-mopping is done twice a month or so, the kitchen floor more so
-sheets and towels are washed weekly, sheets sometimes stretch to two weeks
-litter-boxes are cleaned daily, mostly by the boyfriend
-dishes are done as-needed in the dishwasher, but some pots and things are hand-washed only
-walls and baseboards are washed 1-2 times per year, more in the bathroom
-curtains are washed when they get really bad. Usually 2-3 times per year
-a little tidying is done every day, but the main cleaning, like vacuuming and dusting is done on the weekends.
-I use mostly greener cleaners: microfiber cloths for dusting (no spray), vinegar and baking soda for cleaning, bleach cleaner once every month or two on the shower.
-most hated cleaning chore: scrubbing the shower. It needs renovating and never looks clean no matter how much you scrub.

As mentioned before, I live in a pretty small house, so if I'm motivated and the stuff is fairly picked up, I can do a routine clean in 90 minutes or so. If I add in mopping, laundry, cleaning up the cats areas, taking out trash, and just generally poke around, as I usually do, it expands to two to three hours on Saturday morning, or afternoon.

Is this routine adequate? In general, yes, although with three cats and two shedding adults, this place can get hairy and the floors messy. I think a second vacuum mid-week would make a big difference in cleanliness levels and my happiness, so I'm going to try that out and see how it goes. I wish the clutter and STUFF didn't pile up as it tends to at times, but that's life I guess.


  1. Very interesting indeed! I clean 'as needed' - so the toliet gets brushed when it needs it (or company is coming either for a meal or the night), then I vacuum about once a week, but usually as soon as I can see the dust and have time. I hate the wooden floors cause they seem to need polishing, which I know nothing about! I liked concrete floors I just mopped every so often (ie far less often than these wooden floors at least).

    I clean sheets between 1 and 2 weeks, again, as they smell and I have time. I also swap towels to fill washing loads unless they smell sooner. if company is coming, the bathmat and hand towel get swapped, otherwise, I leave them til the other towels of their colour is getting done.

    What I HATE is the constant stream of washing up - like, recycling. I don't feel right stashing it for a week with food in it, but I get over hand washing all these cans and stuff. And I have a dishwasher, but so many things don't clean properly. When I lived alone, I washed up everything, and it worked for me. But now with the BF, we stack the dishwasher. I foolishly put it on tonight, not realising it was clean and he'd put it on last night (don't think I realised he could have done that I me not know!!)

    1. I'm not so good at cleaning as needed. Tidying as needed yes, but cleaning no. I hear you on recycling. I always have something soaking in the sink, usually cat food cans.

      Oh and I HATE double running the dishwasher! Happens here too. Buying the brand name dish washer detergent, as opposed to the nontoxic stuff, made a big diffence in how clean our dishes get.

  2. I'm the same way - I love having a clean house! I makes me feel happy to look around my house after I've tidied it up. I also have a low tolerance for visible clutter, but I'm more lazy about clutter shoved into closets and drawers. Your cleaning schedule is pretty admirable, you clean way more than I do!

  3. Me too, on the feeling happy with a tidy house and tolerance of clutter you can't see. Glad the cleaning schedule doesn't make me sound like a slacker, it's amazing house dirty this place gets in a week.

  4. My cleaning schedule is pretty lax. There are two of us and two cats. Cooking and washing the pots and pans are done daily, along with wiping counter tops and sweeping the floor. The dishwasher is run when full, about twice a week. I rinse lunch containers and let them pile up by the sink until I feel like washing them, every day or two. Laundry including sheets and towels is done weekly but if the sheets get forgotten then they are done the next week! I'm like you, I do a thorough cleaning of the bathroom but often leave the shower for "later"! I vacuum weekly - twice a week would be better - and just sweep in between (hard flooring). I only move the furniture and clean all the floors about twice a year! My worst procrastination is dusting - all of my shelves and surfaces should be dusted regularly but they are not! I don't mind if books and magazines pile up but I like to get junk mail out of the way immediately. As for division of labour - um, not so good. I posted about it here:
    Feel free to delete the link as I don`t want to be a shameless self-promoter.

    1. Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't move furniture to clean under it often! It's just not high on my list of priorities, ya know?

      I thought I'd read most of your archives, but I had missed that post, thanks for sharing. On-topic links are always welcome here, whether they link to your own blog or other sites!


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