6 Tips To Clean Like a Pro (& Make It a Habit)

In the midst of a global pandemic, cleaning regularly is one of the most important things you can do. Cleaning is a preventive measure and a form of self-care. Your personal space often reflects your mental state. I’ve been there — when it felt like everything was falling apart, my bedroom looked the part. A messy room can be overwhelming to deal with. So, here are six cleaning tips to help you stay safe and sane this semester.

  1. 1. Set a Schedule 

    a photo of an open planner

    The term “spring cleaning” is misleading. In truth, you should be cleaning at least once a week. Pick a specific day to clean, whether it’s on the weekend or in the middle of the week. If you’re busy and you can’t commit to a day, then clean whenever you can. Once it becomes a habit, the time you spend cleaning will be cut in half.

  2. 2. Clean Top-to-Bottom

    confetti being cleaned up

    The top-to-bottom method is the most effective way to clean. As the name suggests, it involves cleaning a room from the ceiling to the floor. First, dust hard-to-reach places like ceiling fan blades, windowpanes and light fixtures. Next, clean your bedside table, desk, bookshelf and dresser. Last, focus on the floor by vacuuming and mopping. That way, you’ll never have to go over something twice.

  3. 3. Clean Left-to-Right

    Anna Schultz-Soda Beverage Splashing

    Similar to the last tip, the left-to-right method is recommended by cleaning experts. Moving from the left to the right and back ensures that every inch of a surface is attended to. If you’re dusting or cleaning, try combining this strategy with the S pattern. Making circular motions with a cloth helps achieve a complete clean.

  4. 4. Clean First, Disinfect After

    Baking Soda

    Cleaning is a two-step process, and you can't skip either one. 

    Cleaning removes dirt, dust and other contaminants. Clean using a duster or an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. If you run out of cleaner, you can make your own using a mixture of Dawn dish soap, white vinegar and water. 

    Disinfecting kills contagious pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Each disinfectant has a contact time, or a period of time it needs to sit wet on a surface to do its job. Check the back of a product for this information. According to CDC guidelines, you should disinfect with either bleach, alcohol or EPA-approved disinfectants (labeled “kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses").

  5. 5. Prioritize Hot Spots

    pointing at laptop

    Hot spots are points of contact you frequently touch. This is where you’re most likely to come into contact with disease-causing bacteria. These areas include but are not limited to: doorknobs, locks, keys, light switches, faucets, handles, remotes and electronics. Remember to disinfect hot spots daily!

  6. 6. Clean Smart

    a person sits crosslegged on the ground folding laundry, including jeans and shirts which sit in piles before them

    Sometimes when you’re speed-cleaning, you’re on auto-pilot mode. Think smart and save yourself time. The first thing you should do is throw a load in the laundry. By the time you’re done cleaning, your clothes/towels/bedding will be ready to switch or fold. If you’re vacuuming or mopping the floor, start in the corner farthest from the door. You should always work your way out of a room.

I hope this advice changes your cleaning game as it did for me. I actually enjoy cleaning, to the point where I’ll clean to procrastinate on schoolwork. It’s a problem, but at least my room is spotless.

With the power vested in me, a self-proclaimed neat freak, I now pronounce you a cleaning pro. Go on, make your mom proud.