You know that complicated feeling when you walk into an impeccably clean environment? At first the streak-and-crumb-free orderliness soothes the soul. “Here’s a well-run establishment that sweats the details,” you think. And then comes the guilt over the state of your own floors, countertops and (sigh) restroom back home.
Don’t feel bad. It takes a squad of cleaning professionals armed with powerful, advanced tools to keep businesses, restaurants, schools and hotels shiny and bright. You can hire one too, but it gets pricey. Try these tips and tools to clean house like a pro instead.
Bust the Dust
The only good thing about dusting is using a feather duster, right? Wrong. Cheap dusters, like the kind you pick up at the grocery store, are made of goose or chicken feathers. Instead of grabbing and holding on to dust and dirt they simply spread it around. This can be dangerous. Dust carries soil particles, bacteria, pollen dust mites and mold spores. Inhaling or touching it can trigger allergies, asthma, itchy skin and eyes along with eczema and bronchial infections, especially in children, older people or those with compromised immune systems.
Use a microfiber cloth instead. The small fibers trap dust, dirt and pathogens in the cloth as opposed to dispersing them in the air, leaving the surface dust, lint and streak free. Best of all, microfiber can be washed, dried and reused again and again. Just avoid fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
Re-Think the Squeegee
If you haven’t used a squeegee on a window, mirror or shower wall you’re in for a treat. With one pass the tool leaves vertical surfaces squeaky clean and dry to the touch. Squeegees are so effective that they don’t really need cleaning chemicals, hot water is often enough to remove stains and splatters.
Squeegees can also be used on any hard, flat surfaces even horizontal ones. Try it on your countertops, tables and desks. You’ll be amazed how quick and easy it is to get surfaces clean, dry and shiny just like the pros.
Sweeping and mopping hard floor surfaces is a real chore. Make it easier and more effective by switching to a microfiber system. Traditional mops spread dirt around, cross contaminating as they go. This creates a real problem when you move from the restroom, which can harbor E. coli and other pathogens, to the kitchen.
Try microfiber mop pads instead. They are relatively inexpensive so you can change them out as you move from room to room. When you’re done throw them in the laundry for next time.
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Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.