information, tips and advice





How To Be a Good Housekeeper

                                                   Sarah Aguirre







Find ways to reuse items in your home for cleaning purposes. Try cutting up towels or clothing into cleaning rags. These can be hemmed on a sewing machine and washed in the washing machine to reduce the need for disposable cloths.

Get free samples

Many times manufacturer's will send out free samples of new and innovative products.

Line dry your clothes

Line drying your clothes has many benefits that can save money. Eliminating the dryer cuts down on utility costs needed for its operation, but also prevents added cooling costs for your home.

Use energy efficient appliances

Check out the government's recommendations for energy efficient appliances1.

Follow the directions

Following the manufacturer's recommendations makes sure that no expensive mistakes occur as the result of use. Many people overuse cleaning products to try to get done more quickly, with the only result being a hiked up cleaning budget. The directions give you an idea of how much is needed to get a cleaning job done.

Try using natural cleaners

For many cleaning jobs alternative cleansers1 may work wonders without emptying your checking account.

Plan a cleaning budget

Planning a cleaning budget can help prevent impulse buying. To really get a feel for what your budget needs to be, track your spending on cleaning products over the course of a few months. Sit down and analyze where the money was spent. Determine what items were really not needed and which ones cannot be done without. Figure out how long your products are lasting. Use the information to create a budget for your family's cleaning needs.

Share a steam cleaner

Go in with a few friends or family members and purchase a nice steam cleaner together. Work out a plan for everyone to have access to it for routine maintenance, and the occasional emergency.

Buy easily cared for fabrics

Look before you buy. A dry-clean only, no iron blouse may look great on you but is it worth the added cost of the dry cleaners or home dry-cleaning products. You probably can't stay away from all special care items, but reducing them in your home can reduce your costs.

Cut down on outside help

You may be able to reduce the number of visits by a paid housekeeper by delegating chores and creating a cleaning schedule that fits with your family's lifestyle.

Shop around

Find the best deals on the products you can't live without. Check out store circulars. Shop at discount warehouses. If you have the space consider buying in bulk.

Invest in entrance mats

Having a doormat directly inside and outside each entrance can reduce the amount of dirt being tracked on your floors.

Implement a no shoe rule

Go barefoot and give your floors a break. While some people post a sign on the door asking guests to remove their shoes, many guests will voluntarily take them off when they see a selection of the family's footwear lined up in the entryway. Even if you keep only family and close friends shoeless you'll save a lot of wear and tear on floor cleaning costs.

Keep your tools clean and in good shape

Taking good care of your tools keeps them going longer. Make sure to do routine inspections of vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, garbage disposals, washing machines, and dryers. Keep brushes, dustpans, brooms, mops, and sponges clean and ready to be used. Don't forget to clean out filters, belts, bags and other accessories for your cleaning tools.

Use old newspaper to dry mirrors after cleaning.

Freshen your drain

Putting orange or lemon peels down the garbage disposal leaves a fresh scent in your drain.

Find a Review

Before you buy into the latest cleaning craze, find out if it really works. Talk with friends and family members who may have used the product already.

Create your own air freshener

Fill a saucepan half full of water cinnamon sticks, orange peels, and some cloves. Simmer on the stovetop, adding water as the mixture reduces. It will fill your home with a great smell.

Make your own fabric freshener

Mix 4 tablespoons of a ultra liquid fabric softener with water in a new plastic spray bottle. You can use scented fabric softener or try unscented with a few drops of your favorite essential oils. Mix well and test in an inconspicuous spot first. This can be used like the commercial fabric fresheners. Test to be sure of fabric compatibility.

Use lemon juice as a last resort stain cleaner

Lemon juice can be especially effective on white clothing when left in sunlight. The juice acts to bleach out the stains, but will also bleach out color.

Use one pot recipes for meals

This will not only save you money on washing the dishes, but also give you more time to enjoy after dinner.


Use maintenance as a weapon against tough jobs that will require more effort and tools. Setting up a cleaning schedule will help you build maintenance of chores into your daily life. Letting jobs go too long will only take more time and money at a later point to fix.

Use the library

Check out the library to preview the newest books and magazines to help your housekeeping needs. Some books or magazines may turn into favorites, making them a candidate for purchase.

Source: Sheffield School of Interior Design.

Courtesy: Sarah Aguirre