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Cleaning your home: a spotless result in every room

Jana Janssen

Cleaning is probably one of the least popular household chores. Sure, watching TV on the sofa after work is much more tempting than wiping the bathroom floor. However, if you do it right, you can save a lot of time. But what is the most efficient way to clean? The following tips will help you establish a system for each area of your apartment or house, and get your shower, toilet or sink sparkling clean in no time.

Eine Frau steht in der Küche und wischt mit einem Bodenwischer den Boden.
© Getty Images

In this article

Clean quickly and efficiently – with a system

If you clean a little every day, you will save a lot of time. This is because stubborn dirt can’t form in the first place. That makes it worth to establish a daily routine for cleaning your home. You will be able to complete your weekly and monthly tasks much faster as a result.

As well as carrying out daily tasks, it’s advisable to pay special attention to a specific area in your house or apartment every day of the week. Then it will be easier for you to keep the individual rooms clean. For example, start with the bathroom on Monday, continue with the kitchen on Tuesday, and so on. Find out from our list which tasks should be done daily, which weekly and which are only necessary once a month.

Daily

  • Clean the kitchen after cooking, and wipe crumbs off the kitchen table and counter
  • Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or if you don’t have one, wash dishes by hand
  • Wipe down the faucets in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent limescale from forming
  • Sweep up coarse dirt from the floor
  • Put clothes that have been tried on but not worn, and clothes that can be worn again, back in the closet
  • Make the beds
  • Put away toys, newspapers, books, etc. after use
A woman is cleaning up a child’s room with two children.

Before cleaning: tidy up first. Especially in a child’s room, a daily tidying routine helps to save time later when cleaning.

Weekly

  • Clean the toilet
  • Vacuum thoroughly
  • Mop the floors
  • Wash clothes (more frequently if necessary)
  • Empty the trash can
  • Dust

Monthly

  • Clean the refrigerator and oven
  • Clean the washing machine
  • Wipe down cabinet and shelf surfaces in the kitchen
  • Clean the windows, depending on the weather
  • Look through drawers and cupboards for clutter, and sort out and give away anything that’s no longer needed

The right cleaning products: what you really need

Oven cleaner, limescale remover, glass cleaner – in many households, there are special cleaning products for every area. But do you really need them? No, four different cleaning products are usually quite sufficient. You can even replace expensive special cleaning agents with economical home remedies. You should rely on these cleaning products and home remedies:

  • All-purpose or universal cleaner: as the name suggests, you can use universal cleaner for many purposes. It cleans surfaces and you can also add it to the water for mopping the floor – unless you have unsealed wooden flooring.
  • Dishwashing liquid: even if you have a dishwasher, dishwashing liquid is very useful. It not only cleans dishes that don’t go in the dishwasher, but is also ideal for many surfaces in the kitchen. It is even suitable for windows, so there is absolutely no need for a special glass cleaning product. To avoid streaks, it’s best to wipe down the surface with a damp cloth afterwards.
  • Vinegar or lemon cleaner: the acid from vinegar or lemon is particularly effective against limescale. Vinegar-based products are also good for cleaning mirrors. The best thing is that you can also easily make the cleaning product yourself – simply mix two parts of household vinegar with one part of water, or one liter of water with two to three tablespoons of citric acid. Add a few drops of essential oil to make it smell nice.
  • Scouring agent: a scouring agent is also crucial for removing stubborn encrustations on surfaces in the kitchen or bathroom. To make your own DIY version, simply combine baking soda with an all-purpose cleaner.

The bathroom: prevent limescale on the shower, toilet and sink

The main problem in the bathroom is limescale. A bathroom is a place where multiple smooth surfaces (such as those on the tiles and in the sink and shower) come into contact with a lot of water. If the surfaces remain moist, unsightly stains will soon form. You can prevent this from happening by wiping down the fixtures and cleaning the walls of the shower every day after use. Then even mold has no chance. To do so, you can simply use an old towel, which can then be put in the laundry.

If harder dirt gets trapped in the shower tray or bathtub from time to time, you can resort to home remedies for more thorough weekly cleaning. The shine of a plastic or acrylic bathtub can be restored gently with fresh orange juice. Enamel tubs are best cleaned with a mixture of water and baking soda, baking powder or sodium bicarbonate. This will give you a gentle scouring agent.

To clean a bathroom, you should ideally use microfiber cloths instead of two-tone cleaning sponges. This is because they can cause fine scratches – in the long run, you will damage your fixtures. It’s also important not to use same cloths for bathroom surfaces as for the toilet. This is because contrary to popular belief, most germs hide not in the toilet itself, but in the cleaning cloth.

Close-up of two hands cleaning a sink. One hand is spraying on a cleaning product, while the other is wiping down the surface with a microfiber cloth.

Cloths made of microfiber clean surfaces in the bathroom particularly gently.

If you change the cloth regularly and only use it for the toilet, you won’t need aggressive cleaning products. An all-purpose cleaner or limescale remover will do the trick. However, be sure to rub all rough areas until they shine, and don’t forget to clean under the rim as well. This will prevent germs from settling.

And even the washing machine needs a cleaning program from time to time. Bacteria can build up inside, causing foul odors – especially if you rarely turn on a boil wash cycle. That’s why you should run an empty wash cycle at 95 degrees once a month. You can clean the seal of the washing machine with a little water and washing powder. Remove the detergent drawer and rinse it with warm water. Then your laundry should always come out of the machine fragrant and clean.

Kitchen: how to clean different surfaces properly

Many different surfaces come together in the kitchen: the countertop is usually made of plastic, natural stone or wood, and the kitchen table is often made of wood. In addition, there are tiles, the stove, the kitchen sink and the interior of the refrigerator and oven.

For daily cleaning, it’s quite sufficient to wipe all the surfaces with a damp cloth after use and to pick up any crumbs. After that, you should wipe the surfaces again with a dry cloth to protect them. This generally only takes a few minutes, and you will need to vacuum less often as a result.

Especially if you cook frequently, a greasy film tends to form on all the surfaces in the kitchen. You can lay newspaper on top of the wall units, which you will need to replace regularly. This will make them much quicker to clean. For surfaces that are in full view or that can’t be covered with newspaper, the best way to remove the greasy film is with a little oil or gall soap. Then wipe them with a damp cloth and some dishwashing liquid before drying each area.

The refrigerator and oven also need to be wiped out regularly. Of course, if something spills, it’s better to wipe it up immediately. This prevents stubborn incrustations from forming in the first place. If something happens to get burnt in the oven, you can fill a heatproof bowl with water and a dash of vinegar or lemon juice and heat it in the oven. Then it should be easy to loosen incrustations.

Close-up of two hands cleaning the door of an oven.

If you want to clean your kitchen thoroughly, you shouldn’t forget the oven.

Corridor: lock out dirt and grime

Particularly large amounts of dirt and grime often come from outside – you bring them into your house or apartment through the hall or corridor. You can save yourself a lot of work if you rebuff dirt right at the front door. You can do so with the right doormat – for example, made of coconut fiber – and a shoe scraper that brushes coarse dirt from shoes. Wet shoes can then be parked on a shoe tray to dry until they can be transferred to the shoe rack.

In every room: clean the floors and windows properly

There are various different types of floor covering in every apartment and every house. They also need to be kept clean. PVC, tiles and laminate can be damp mopped regularly with water and a little cleaning product, whereas other floors such as unsealed wooden floorboards and carpet should only be swept and vacuumed. You can remove stains on a carpet with a carpet cleaner.

This technique will help make sure you don’t just push the dirt back and forth when damp mopping: always wipe along the walls first. Afterwards, when mopping, it’s best to walk backwards out of the room and move the mop or squeegee in a figure of eight pattern.

The right technique is also important for streak-free windows. It’s advisable to thoroughly wipe the windows first with a damp cloth. You can add a drop of dishwashing liquid to the cleaning water; you don’t necessarily need glass cleaner. Afterwards, pass a rubber squeegee down the windows from top to bottom and wipe the frame with a cloth.

You should also clean your blinds at least once a year. Often all you need to do is sweep off coarse dust and dirt. Afterwards, you can damp wipe them with a mild detergent solution (for example made of dishwashing liquid or washing powder) to remove any stains.

Conclusion: a little bit each day

If you do a little tidying and cleaning every day, it will be easier for you to keep your home clean and tidy. Especially in the bathroom, drying the surfaces after daily use makes a big difference. You may find it a little hard to overcome your inner laziness at first. However, after a while you are bound to get used to it and save a lot of time.

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