When choosing cleaning products, we should always look for ones that feel comfortable in our hands (nothing heavy or hard). A cleaning tool should be an extension of our hand. The more pleasant something is to use, the more we will use it.
I promote heavily cleaning with only water wherever possible and to avoid buying specialty green products. I try to buy unscented wherever I can for air quality’s sake. Scented products can affect allergies, skin conditions, and headaches. Green ways to add scent to your home is to add essential oils to a diffuser, a few cinnamon sticks with lemon to a pot on the stovetop, or flowers. I do not use essential oils for the most part in cleaning as I keep it as simple as possible.
Most of our cleaning is in regards to dust caused mainly by hair and food or fiber particles. Dust does not require chemicals to clean, only mold and splatters do, which are caused by liquids. Dust can be eliminated with a few handy tools and water.
Cleaning is divided into:
dusting – food, hair, and fiber particles
mold/stains – counters, sinks, tub, floors
cloth – laundry, bedding, towels
streaks – mirrors, windows, car
The main reasons we tackle dust:
the feel of particles on our feet/hands
How to avoid dust:
own as little fabric as possible (shortest curtain you can get by with)
keep fabric tucked away when not in use
buy only a few statement pieces of decor (less to dust around)
keep items that are not in use in cabinets (things like plunger and toilet brush)
avoid open shelving
own as little furniture as you can get by with (furniture/shelves get in the way of dust falling straight to the ground, requiring an extra step for us to clean)
light gray and wood floors show the least dust
light colored furniture shows the least dust
champagne, silver, and white cars show the least dust (a neutral color retains resell value)
light-colored interiors are preferrable, especially for the dash (think electronics)
Especially dark woods and electronics show dust, so if at all possible, do not put in dark floors. Light gray or light brown looks cleaner and brighter.
Dust is caused by hair (pet and human), dead skin, food particles, and fabric fibers. The dustiest houses have many tchotchkes and yards of fabric, rugs, bedding, and carpet (Victorian style). The more fabric, possessions, and square feet, the more difficult it is to manage dust. So for health and sanity’s sake, own as few blankets, rugs, carpet, and curtains as you can comfortably get by with.
I personally love curtains and blankets because they add warmth to a room (sealing in heat) and because they catch sound. I love the look of a long curtain. An empty room is loud and hard. Still, if at all possible, do not put a rug and long curtains in every room. Keep fabric and possessions as minimal as possible, while still retaining warmth and color. A rug and carpet harbors and also produces a lot of dust. In my bathroom, I keep just a clear curtain (no fabric) so that I can see my candle while showering, which is relaxing and clean. Keep towels tucked away if you can. Heavy items are hard to pick up to clean, so own as few heavy lamps as possible.
When it comes to dusting, all that is necessary is a duster and a damp microfiber cloth. Start from the top of the room (curtains and walls) and dust down. Use a feather duster, then follow up with a damp microfiber cloth. Next, finish the floors where the leftover dust has settled with either a cordless vacuum or broom and microfiber mop. (The best way to sweep is to start from each corner and sweep towards the center.)
More on the miracle of microfiber cloths in another post, but here are the products I recommend:
mop – no more reuseable wipe heads, microfiber is a miracle, see the reviews
cordless vacuum – in the Five Products That Changed My Life video
When it comes to dust, water is all that is necessary. Stains/mold require all-purpose and/or vinegar; my post on cleaning with water is here.