A Few “Don’ts” That Will Cut Out Cleaning Time

When you are cleaning, it is best to avoid unnecessary tasks, and in turn, save yourself some time. We have a few things that will save you time and energy when tackling your cleaning tasks.

1. If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it. This rule isn’t as dumb as it sounds. You’d be amazed at the amount of time that is wasted cleaning surfaces that weren’t dirty to begin with. When Clean Team trainees first tackle the front of a refrigerator, for example, their first impulse is to spray the whole thing head to foot with Red Juice. Meanwhile, the old pros size it up and spot-clean the fingerprints, polish the chrome, and move on. The result in both cases: a clean door – but with an obvious difference in time. Vertical surfaces are almost never as dirty as horizontal ones, and areas high up in a room are cleaner than lower ones. So all parts of a room don’t merit equal zeal or attention.

2. Don’t rinse or wipe a surface before it’s clean. There you are, scrubbing away at something unspeakable on the kitchen counter and wishing you were done. You decide that surely all the grunge is gone by now and you take a chance on rinsing. Alas, the grunge remaineth. But you secretly knew it was still there all along, didn’t you? You were just trying to wish it away. Nice try, but grunge cannot read your mind. And now you endure the time-consuming task of starting all over again.

The alternative to this little game? Learn to “see through” the dirt you’re cleaning until you’re really done, so you only have to rinse or wipe once. Actually, you’re often “feeling through,” not seeing. That is, keep scrubbing until you feel the actual surface below the dirt – a real change in the way the brush touches the surface. And try to disengage your capacity for wishful thinking at the same time, which is more difficult. There’s no hurry to wipe off the gooey mess that you’re making. Just bide your time until the area you’re working on is really clean all the way to the surface. The scrub brush or cloth will feel different as soon as the grunge is really gone. Then wipe clean. You will be thrilled with your new self-discipline, but it is one of those quiet little joys that cannot easily be shared.

3. Don’t keep working after it’s clean. (Or “Enough! Enough already!”) To be sure, this rule is abused far less often than the previous rule. It’s just that sometimes we have a need to keep scrubbing in an utterly useless manner. The point is simple: if you’re paying attention to what you’re doing, you’re going to detect when you’ve hit ground zero more quickly. Then just stop, wipe or rinse clean, and move on.

Now with all this time you’ve saved, you can go spend some time in the sun before it starts getting unbearably hot!

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