You don’t have to constantly clean to have a tidy house. Here are proven ways to keep your home clean longer, so you can spend more time doing things you enjoy.
With everyone staying home more these days, it can feel like you’re cleaning all the time. Papers take over the kitchen counter. Dust floats around and settles on your furniture. The carpets get dingy, and that mountain of laundry grows.
If you feel like your house is constantly messy, you might be glad the current situation gives you a reason to avoid having guests. At least you don’t have to worry about feeling embarrassed, right? But that doesn’t mean you’ve got to put up with a home that’s always a wreck. You deserve better.
19 Tips to Keep Your Home Clean Longer
Below you’ll find proven ways to make your house stay clean longer. So, instead of it turning into a mess almost as fast as you can clean, it will look tidy all week. Keep in mind, the more of these methods you use, the better your results. So, read on and start putting them into practice today.
1. Use Your Vacuum Better
Vacuuming the wrong way on cleaning day leaves behind a lot of dust and dirt. Slow down and use overlapping strokes from wall to wall. Then, turn at a right angle and clean from one side to the other again. Finish by using the crevice tool at the base of your walls and heavy furniture. You’ll get a lot more dirt out, which leaves less floating around in your home.
2. Tackle Dust with Your Dryer
Soft furnishings like decorative pillows, throw blankets, and curtains get dusty and stale. That’s why you should wash them when they start to look dirty. Between washings, though, you can use your dryer to freshen them and remove dust. To do this, toss a pair of pillows or curtains (or a single blanket) into the dryer. Then run it on fluff — no heat — for 10 minutes. (And here are even more ways to reduce dust in your home.)
3. Use a Damp Mop, not a Dry One
Dry mops or floor dusters don’t do a good job getting rid of dirt — they mostly move it around. That includes Swiffer dry floor cloths, which show you the dirt they’ve picked up but not all the stuff they’ve left behind. If you really want to get the dust off of your hard floors, use a damp mop. This doesn’t mean you’ve got to haul out the mopping bucket every time. Just fill a spray bottle with water or homemade floor cleaner and use it to spritz a small area, then mop it. Rinse your mop halfway through, and you’ll rinse away dirt, not just move it around.
4. Clean Your Air While You Clean
Dusting and vacuuming your home is bound to stir up dust. Rather than let it settle onto your freshly-cleaned surfaces, get it out of your home’s air. The cleaner your indoor air, the longer your home will stay clean and dust-free. All you need to do is switch your home’s central fan on while you clean, then let it run for 15 minutes longer and turn it off. This works even better if you make a point to clean your home’s air ducts each season.
5. Schedule Filter Changes More Often
A dirty HVAC filter can’t clean your home’s air as well. It also makes your system work harder, which wastes money. Change your filter regularly, and you’ll have less dust floating around. How often should you change your filter? If you don’t have pets or allergies, every 90 days. With a pet, you need to change filters more often — every 60 days for one, and monthly if you have more than one. If someone in your home has allergies, change your filter every month.
6. Brush Pets Before Cleaning
If you have pets, you know how their hair collects in corners and skitters across the floor. Even if you take your furry friends to the groomers often, it’s a good idea to brush them between trips. Doing it on cleaning day, before you vacuum, will help keep your home clean longer — especially if you do it outdoors. (Bonus tip: scatter your pet’s hair in the garden to keep pests away.)
7. Dust First, Vacuum Next, Mop Last
Professional house cleaners always work top to bottom when they clean. This method moves dirt off of surfaces so you can get it out of a room, rather than spread it around. So, always dust a room (walls, window sills, furniture, and baseboards) first. Then vacuum or sweep before you mop, or the wet dirt will dry on your floor and turn to dust when you walk on it.
8. Open and Shut Windows
Opening the windows helps improve your home’s air quality and keep it healthy. But if your window screens and sills are dirty, opening windows lets in a lot of dust and pollen, too. So make a point of sweeping or vacuuming your window screens and wiping or washing sills monthly during hot weather. The rest of the year, clean them when the seasons change. And if you live in a dry or dusty area, be sure to close your windows on windy days to keep airborne dirt out of your home.
9. Use the Right Tools
Feather dusters were great when the only other alternative was an old rag. Brooms were essential until cordless or stick vacuums came along. Sponge or rag-head mops were fine for cleaning floors until someone smart invented machine-washable mop heads. Now, it’s possible to get your home cleaner than grandma did if you stop using the tools she was stuck with. (Not sure which are worth it? Check out my recommended cleaning products page for the ones I’ve bought to use in my home.)
10. Stop Bathroom Mildew Before it Starts
Even if you scrub your shower weekly, it can still develop orange or pink mildew after a few days. Shower mildew is a sign of poor air circulation. To prevent it, leave your shower doors or curtain open at least halfway after use. Make sure to run your bathroom exhaust fans for 10-15 minutes after bathing, too. And, of course, never leave your wet towels in a heap on the bathroom floor — that’s just asking for problems.
11. Wear Slippers, Not Shoes
Fun fact: most of the dirt in your home arrived on the bottom of your shoes. Wearing street shoes in the house also brings in pesticides and other contaminants. To keep your home clean longer, get your family on board with taking off shoes at the door. If you’re not fond of going shoeless, switch into slippers, or have a dedicated pair of house shoes. You’ll see a lot less dust inside.
12. Use Dryer Sheets on Dust-Magnets
Keeping surfaces dust-free helps your home stay looking clean longer. Run a dryer sheet over flat surfaces, baseboards, and TV screens after you’ve cleaned. The same stuff that helps controls laundry static repels dust to keep these spots clean. Don’t toss the sheet when you’re done, though. Here are more ways to use dryer sheets around your house.
13. Decorate Selectively
There’s a reason minimalism is all the rage in home decor these days: it’s easy to clean. But what if you can’t stand the bare look? You can still keep your home clean longer by choosing decorative items with care. Use washable fabrics instead of ones you have to dry-clean. Ditch carpets in favor of hard floors if you can. Reduce how many decorative objects you display, and you’ll have fewer collecting dust. (You can always rotate your collection if you don’t want to get rid of anything.)
14. Clean Your Plants So They Can Clean Your Air
Dirty houseplants can’t do a good job cleaning your home’s air. They’ll also attract pests like gnats and fruit flies and shed dust every time someone walks by. So, make a point of wiping the leaves on your plants with a clean, damp cloth monthly. The extra TLC will help them thrive while keeping your home clean longer. Be sure you keep fake plants clean, too.
15. Wash Your Sheets Weekly
Every night, you shed several thousand dead skin cells while you sleep. Those things wind up on your sheets and scatter into the air when you toss and turn. They settle on the floor. They settle on furniture. They settle on windowsills, baseboards, and walls. Then the dust mites come to feed on them. Are you grossed out yet? Wash your sheets weekly, and comforters or duvet covers once a month. You can even wash your electric blanket and should!
16. Clean Welcome Mats the Right Way
Putting floor mats on both sides of your home’s entrances helps keep dirt out, but only if you keep them clean. Vacuum them when you’re cleaning the floor, then turn them over and clean their backside, too. Clean the floor beneath them as well. Every couple of weeks, toss them in the washer or hose them outside in good weather. Keeping your floor mats clean helps your entire home stay clean longer.
17. Store Out of Season Stuff
Anything left untouched for a while starts to collect dust. That includes clothes hanging in your closet, too. Reclaim closet space and help your home stay clean longer by putting away things that aren’t in season. (For example, pack up warm-weather clothes, sports gear, and outdoor furniture in the winter.) That way, they’re not sitting out collecting dirt and attracting pests. Since you won’t have to work around them, you’ll do a better job cleaning, too.
18. Keep Your Fans Clean
Dirty table and box fans fill your home’s air with more dirt. So do dusty ceiling fans. Grimy bathroom exhaust fans can’t do their job getting rid of steam to prevent mildew, either. Wipe fan blades and vacuum their covers monthly, and you’ll keep your home clean longer. Don’t want to climb on a ladder to do it? Use an extension duster to reach high places safely. (Here’s the one I use.)
19. Tidy More Often Than You Clean
Rather than cleaning for hours every day, stay on top of messes with a brief tidying session. Try this 20-minute daily cleaning routine to tidy up every room in your home. You’ll keep surfaces looking fresh and rooms looking just-cleaned all the time with just a few minutes of effort each day. That means once life gets back to normal and we all start socializing again, your home will be company-ready no matter how busy you are.