Cleaning a house is such a daunting task, many home owners and housekeepers rigorously avoid it. But it doesn't need to be an all-encompassing all-day experience.
What makes a task less than all-day, all the time? Sharing it! This is the time to delegate housekeeping tasks, since anyone not living alone should have others to help shoulder the responsibility. If some people in the household cannot clean together on that lovely Saturday designated for "cleaning day" one can put together a rotational schedule for cleaning.
"Cleaning day" itself is a great idea for housecleaning, since most people prefer to put off household chores as long as they can; a cleaning campaign is usually a great morale booster in addition to a necessity in home maintenance.
The alternative to cleaning a house all at once, particular if one lives alone, is to do little tasks, one a day, so the housecleaning does not pile up; that way, the major "cleaning day"only has to happen once or twice a month.
What are the steps to housecleaning?
First and most rigorous is cleaning windows and mirrors; not even maids can be made to do this. However, it's usually a quick and easy job, as long as the housekeeper realizes that the best substance to clean glass is NOT glass cleaner, but warm soapy water (dish soap works fine, so there is no need to get any specialty cleaners). The cleaning is done easily with a squeegee or rag, and once the surface gets a wipe-down drying with a lint-free cloth or paper towel, the results are marvelous.
One alternative to soapy water is a no-scratch powder cleaner, which works beautifully on mirrors and ceramics ”the reason these dull out is because of hard water residue, which the cleaner removes very effectively.
The next step is furniture care, particularly dusting and polishing. This is another case where a furniture cleaner/polish is not the best cleaner, since most furniture will clean easily with a damp soapy rag. Then furniture polish can be used later to create a good looking shine.
A caveat: it's a good idea to check not only the labels on furniture polishes but also on all the products that advertise themselves as "all-purpose" cleaners. There's really no such thing (no product will clean both ovens and tarnished silver, just to give one example), and there are specific applications for an "all-purpose"cleaner where it will work for one surface and not for another. One should know which cleaner works best where, and never, ever mix cleaners the interactive reactions can be incredibly damaging to furnishings, surfaces and skin.
Laundry is a consideration that most housekeepers seldom worry about anymore, with the use of washing machines and dryers, but one should be careful about a/water temperature, b/use of laundry detergent (too much is as bad as too little, and never use any other kind of detergent in a washing machine) and c/fabric softener. The best thing about the latter is fabric softener balls, which can be filled and thrown into the wash at the start of the cycle (always do this with the water and detergent already in the washer, then the softener, THEN the clothes, to avoid staining them).
One should always shake laundry pieces out of the wash before putting them in the dryer, to avoid wrinkling and increase drying efficiency.
Finally, the housekeeper should vacuum the floor (the only task that may be a daily one, if there are pets or heavy traffic); a dust mop (dry) works well on tile and wood, and a wet rag mop is excellent for textured and tile floors for removing residue from cracks. Hot water and dish soap still work wonders here as well.
And the job is done cleaning a house has never been easier.