Cleaning Hacks From A Former Cleaning Lady

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Looking for the best way to keep the house clean? Here are some cleaning hacks from someone who cleans multiple houses a week — a cleaning lady!

This is a guest post from Lynn of Always Moving Mommy.

Cleaning has never been my favorite thing to do but there is an odd satisfaction I get from the instant gratification of seeing a messy room become clean and tidy after a bit of work. 

And there’s not much better than sitting down to enjoy those ten minutes where your house is completely clean before the kids or husband or someone comes in to mess it back up.

Back when I was pregnant with my oldest, I started cleaning houses in addition to my full time job nannying to save money to support myself and my son.  I learned a lot during that time about how to clean and want to share some tips with you.

Ready to spring clean like a champ? Before you dive in, tackle these things to do before spring cleaning.

Know What You Want

Cleaning hacks for you:  If you’re going to set out to clean your house (or even just a specific room), know what you want the outcome to be.  If you’re just going to pick it up, then focus on removing the things that don’t belong in the room or putting them back where they belong. 

When you’re trying to do a more deep clean, that takes a different plan of attack. Don’t overwhelm yourself and work twice as hard because you didn’t have a goal to start with.

For a cleaner: When you meet with someone who’s going to clean your house for you, know what you’re going to want from them. 

Be specific – both with what you’re going to do and what you want them to do. Yes you’ll still have to do some work even with a cleaning person.  They can’t just come in and wave a magic wand to fix it all for you.

Get Your Space in Order

Cleaning hacks for you:  Sit down and think about what you want for each space.  Then make sure you’ve got what you need as far as bins, baskets, or storage totes (if you’re putting things away for now).

Lots of people use the three pile method: keep, donate, trash.  By decluttering right off the bat, you’ll have less to clean and take care of.

For a cleaner:  If you don’t know where things belong, how are you going to tell the cleaning person?  You’ll have to spend some time finding a place for things. Maybe it’s not a permanent place. 

Lots of families had a basket on the stairs or the counter where I’d put things I’d find while I was cleaning.  Their focus for me was to clean – not to figure out where their child’s toy went.  

Ready to spring clean like a champ? Before you dive in, tackle these things to do before spring cleaning.

The First Time Takes Way Longer Than You Think It Should

For you:  So you’ve decided to get yourself on a cleaning schedule.  That’s awesome! Know that the first time or two you clean, it’s going to take you longer than you think it should. 

Finding that rhythm and routine takes a little bit of time. It’ll also be so much dirtier the first time than it will be when you clean it later on. You also need to see how often you need to clean things for your family and lifestyle. 

Some things need to be cleaned each week while others can be cleaned every couple of weeks or every month. Take the time you need in the beginning. It’ll be worth it in the end.

For a cleaner:  It’ll take your cleaning person a time or two to get their routine for your spaces.  There will likely be questions along the way, so you’ll need to be patient with each other.  

Find a System With Cleaning Hacks That Work For You

For you:  Because you’re in your house every day, work on finding a routine that works for you.  Will you be cleaning something every day? Do all your cleaning one day a week?

There’s no “right” way to do it.  Take a look at your family’s schedule and think about what you can delegate to other family members to help with too.

For a cleaner:  There are lots of decisions to be made when you’re hiring a cleaning person.  Will you be there when they’re there?

Are they just doing surface cleaning (you’ll have everything cleaned up and they’re just wiping down counters, mirrors, windows and running the vacuum for example) or deep cleaning? 

How often should they be cleaning certain things or spaces? Will they be using your cleaning products or expected to bring their own?  

Related Post: When To Hire A Housekeeper While On A Tight Budget

When should you hire a housekeeper, when on a tight budget? This post answers that question.

Need some tips to make your cleaning a little easier?  Here are a few cleaning hacks I learned along the way:

  • Go run errands.  I can get a lot more done without being a babysitter entertaining your kids while I’m trying to clean your house.  I also can’t clean properly when your kids are pulling out toys as fast as I can put them away. It’s the same when you’re cleaning yourself.  Having your spouse, another family member or babysitter, take the kids out to the park. 
  • Do the long stuff first.  Once I got my routine down for a house, I’d always start out doing the stuff that takes the longest.  For example, if it was the week to clean the shower heads, I’d prep them and let them soak while I went and cleaned other things.  (Another reason it’s easier if you’re gone – I’m probably working all over the house, not so much room by room.)
  • Put your stuff away.  Or at least have a space where I can put everything.  I’m happy to dust, wash the windows, and vacuum the living room. But, that can be challenging when it’s covered in puzzles, books, toys, and laundry to be folded (unless it’s my job to fold the laundry).  
  • You don’t need pricey cleaners.  To this day, I still clean a lot of things with water, vinegar, baking soda, and bleach. DIY household cleaners will do the trick. They’re fairly inexpensive, work well, and can be safer than other chemical options.
  • Be specific.  When you’re writing down what you want done (for you or the cleaning person), be very specific.  “Do the dishes” on a list can be confusing. Do you want me to load the dishwasher, empty the dishwasher, hand wash your dishes?  I want to do the tasks you’re leaving me without having to bother you for clarification.
  • Get a game plan together.  Look at everything that needs to be done.  Start the tasks that can allow you to multitask. Start the dishwasher or a load of laundry while you’re working on other things.  
  • Combine tasks when possible.  If you’re working in open areas, dust everything all at the same time.  Wash all the windows at once. Sweep or run the vacuum all at once. That way you’re only getting things out once for that space.
  • Work top to bottom.  Think about where things will land when you’re cleaning.  You don’t want to sweep the floors in the kitchen before you wipe the counters down.  Those crumbs are going to wind up on the floor and you’ll have to sweep again.  
  • Keep everything together.  Dedicate a spot to all your cleaning products (rags, cleaners, wipes, ect) so you’re not wasting time trying to locate everything you need.
  • Keep extras on hand.  When you’re only cleaning once a week or once a month, it can be easy to forget you’re running low or used the last of something.  Make sure you’ve got a good system to keep track (have an extra on hand, add things to your grocery list or Amazon cart as you run low, ect).
  • Trust your system.  Maybe you go through the entire house and pick up all the stuff that’s just laying around then go through that bin once all your other cleaning is finished.  If that’s what works for you, go with it! If you’re more motivated to get one room cleaned at a time, then go with that. And have the courage and confidence to change things up if they’re not working.  As long as you reach your end goal, the process doesn’t much matter.  
  • You’re going to be sore.  Cleaning is a work out! Try to plan to clean when you’ll be able to rest/relax a bit the following day to give your muscles a little bit of a rest.  Don’t be surprised if you need to take a pain reliever, especially the first few times.

What an awesome post from Lynn! Was this helpful? Did you learn any new cleaning hacks you’ll implement this week?

About Amiyrah

My name is Amiyrah and I'm an an African American fashion & lifestyle blogger based in Ohio.

Plan Your Year Now!


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  1. 3.20.24
    Samuel Williams said:

    These are excellent cleaning tips from someone with professional experience! It’s so valuable to learn little hacks and tricks from cleaning experts. I appreciate Lynn breaking down such practical advice for both DIY cleaners and those hiring help. Things like getting your space in order, doing long tasks first, and allowing extra time initially is wisdom. Combining tasks and working top to bottom makes so much sense too. And the reminder that cleaning is exercise had me chuckling – so true! Thanks for sharing real-world knowledge. These small adjustments could truly make a big difference in staying on top of chores.