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Speed-Clean with These Pro Tips

Experts share some of their best time-saving tricks

Illustration by Allan Sanders

While there's no magic potion for making your house immaculate in minutes, years on the job give pro house cleaners an edge when it comes to tackling dirt, dust, and grime. Read on for their seasoned advice.

Assemble a kit

Keeping cleansers and tools together makes it easy to pick up and go. "Fill a handled plastic bin with your go-to cleaners," says Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro. "One of the reasons cleaning is overwhelming is because people run all over the house looking for what they need."

Use double-duty items

An edited cleaning stash is an efficient cleaning stash. For Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, most items have to serve multiple purposes to keep a spot in her cleaning closet. "Dryer sheets are surprisingly versatile," she says. Roberts uses them to clean grimy shower doors, to dust baseboards and moldings, and as deodorizers at the bottom of trash bins. Other pros recommend just three must-haves: an all-purpose cleaner for hard surfaces, a scrubbing cream cleanser for bathrooms, and white vinegar for glass.

Let cleansers do the heavy lifting

"I can't stress enough that cleansers need to soak before you try to scrub," says Homer. "Most need a minimum of 60 seconds, but almost any cleanser becomes more effective if you leave it on for 5 to 10 minutes."

Don't confuse organizing with cleaning

Homer says homeowners frequently get overwhelmed because they get distracted trying to put everything back in its rightful place. "Instead of trying to put things away, stick a laundry basket in the corner of the room and fill it with objects that don't belong as you encounter them," she says. "Then when it's time for a break, you can pick up the basket and put everything back all at once."

Have a system

MaidPro follows what the firm calls the cleaning spiral. "Start with your dominant hand and pick a corner of the room. Work your way around the room, starting at the ceiling, then moving down to cabinets or hutches, then counters or tables, before ending at the floor," Homer says. With this method, not only do you ensure that you're hitting every spot—you're also guaranteeing that as you hit high surfaces, dust and grime won't fall onto areas you've already cleaned.