You don’t have to be Monica Geller to appreciate a clean house. Some research indicates that clutter and mess can contribute to stress and depression, while a tidy living space can improve your mental and physical health. A clean home can also improve air quality, reduce allergies, and keep pests away. It also helps you avoid sickness.
The truth is, we all know there are plenty of benefits to cleaning. The problem is that, unlike Monica Geller, most of us just don’t have the time, energy or motivation. Luckily, there are strategies that make cleaning your house a whole lot easier.
“Effective cleaning is not just about how quickly you can get it done,” says Lina DaSilva, one of the founders of Toronto Shine Cleaning. “It’s about creating a healthy, happy environment in your home. We forget how living in a clean and organized space can improve our mental and overall health.”
Read on for some of DaSilva’s best tips on how to clean smarter — and not harder — in 2024.
Divide And Conquer
Starting a big clean can be overwhelming, which is why you should always have a plan. DaSilva likes to think of her own home as a little map, which she divides into different zones and then tackles one by one. This strategy also works if cleaning an area of your home every day is one of your New Year’s resolutions.
“Think of it like this: every day, give a quick wipe to places that get a lot of action, like kitchen counters, bathroom sinks and shower boxes,” she says. “A light cleaning is your best friend. It’s surprising how quickly dust and grime can build up.”
Then, once a week, DaSilva recommends diving into a more thorough cleaning with actions like vacuuming and mopping, dusting, and cleaning the toilets. “It’s all about balancing maintenance and deep cleaning,” she adds.
Clean it Right the First Time
Many people have specific areas they like to keep clean, but DaSilva says that becoming fixated on certain spots can also eat up precious cleaning time.
“It’s funny how we can get fixated on certain spots in the house,” she says. “For instance, a lot of people I’ve worked with have this habit of obsessively cleaning their floors and countertops. It’s like they’re on a quest for that elusive, perfect shine.”
While it’s great to clean those areas, DaSilva warns it’s possible to go overboard redoing the same spots multiple times.
“Overcleaning can be inefficient. The trick is to clean it right the first time. Use the right tools and products and give it a thorough, effective clean. That way you’re not going in circles!”
Work From Top to Bottom
One of DaSilva’s top cleaning tips is to work from the top to bottom of each room. She advises beginning by dusting higher-up areas like mirrors, art, and fans. Then, work your way down to mid-level surfaces like tables, chairs and windowsills. Finish with the lowest points, like floors and carpets. That way, you’re not doubling up on work.
“Imagine dusting your coffee table, then cleaning the ceiling fan, and watching all the dust from the fan settle where you’ve just cleaned,” she says. “Frustrating, right?”
Don’t Forget Overlooked Areas
DaSilva often sees people forget about some of the smaller but high-traffic areas in the home, like door handles, light switches and remote controls.
“It’s usually the stuff we touch all the time but don’t really notice how dirty they get,” she says. “Baseboards are often overlooked, but they can get pretty dusty very quickly.”
Related: How to Deep Clean Your Oven
Set Aside Enough Time
Each home is unique and the amount of time it takes to clean it varies. House size, overall tidiness, what’s actually within the home, and whether you’ve got kids and/or pets all factor in.
Generally, DaSilva says it’s smart to put aside three to five hours to clean each week but be realistic about how much time you may actually need to do a proper job.
“If your home is generally well-kept and tidy, your weekly cleaning will be more about maintenance,” she says. “But if you’re dealing with clutter, dishes, picking up after kids and pets before you even get down to the cleaning part, it’s like you have to do a bit of a clean-up before you can even start on your actual cleaning list.”
Know When to Hire a Pro
If you’re in the position to financially hire someone to come in and help you clean your house, it may be one of the best investments you make all year. Having a professional come in biweekly or monthly doesn’t just free up your time, but it allows someone with fresh eyes to tackle your space.
“Honestly, it’s a game changer. Having someone come in even just a couple of times a month can massively up the cleanliness and hygiene level of your place,” DaSilva says. “Plus, instead of spending your weekend scrubbing floors, you could be out there living your life, maybe catching up with friends or just relaxing.”