Cleaning the house is unavoidable, but there are some chores we dread way more than others. We asked our Facebook fans which cleaning tasks they put off or try to shirk onto another family member the most. Whether it was tough on aching backs or just plain gross (no one really likes to clean the bathroom), these were the most hated chores, plus how to make them easier.
We all hate folding the fitted sheet — we just can’t ever seem to get it just right. There’s good news for us, says cleaning expert Melissa Maker, founder of Toronto-based cleaning service Clean My Space. There’s a right way to fold the pesky fitted sheet, and much like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it you won’t forget. Say goodbye to that messy ball in your linen closet forever — watch Maker’s video for step-by-step instructions here.
As we age some chores become even more dreaded because of the extra stress on our bodies. Case in point: we may no longer be able to scrub the bathroom as we once did. The solution? Embrace products that help overcome physical limitations, and clean the correct way to make this job easier. Maker recommends a “sponge on a stick” scrubber with an extendable arm. These products are great for “standing at a distance that’s comfortable” while you clean your shower and tub, and the extendable arm isn’t hard on the arms or back. Make sure you’re cleaning correctly: “bathroom products can work well if given time. Allowing them to sit will make cleaning a lot easier,” Maker says. Spray a tub and tile cleaner and let sit for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse off the shower and tub walls to remove any residue that could be slippery.
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Dusting is frustrating. Seeing the dust return soon after you spent time wiping down surfaces is enough to make you swear off it altogether. Here’s a tip for banishing dust: use your vacuum more. When we just wipe away dust and don’t vacuum, it just gets kicked up and resettles, Maker says. A vacuum’s brush attachment can be “very handy for vacuuming jobs that seem daunting,” like cleaning blinds. When you do dust surfaces, ditch the paper towels in favor of microfiber cloths. Cotton or paper towels leave lint behind, Maker explains, but microfiber picks up dust well, is absorbent, and reusable — you can mostly clean cloths with just water, or toss them in the laundry.
When was the last time you got out your heavy ironing board? We’re with you. It may be time to ditch this appliance for good. Instead, try a steamer, which can get rid of wrinkles in seconds, is easy-to-use, and lightweight. While a steamer won’t give crisp edges like an iron, Maker says, if you can handle the tradeoff, a steamer is a great choice. “And frankly, anything you want crisp edges on, send it to the cleaners,” Maker says.
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Many of our readers ranked mopping as their most hated chore, and it’s easy to see why. Wringing out mops can be tough on those with arthritis or other conditions, and scrubbing motions can aggravate shoulders, arms, and backs. Luckily, there are products on the market that make this chore easier. Maker recommends a spin mop, which is not much heavier than a regular mop and bucket. Spin mops come with a bucket with a built-in wringer that you can operate with a foot pedal, making it much easier to get rid of moisture, which is essential for getting the best clean.
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Prevention is the key to keeping a clean fridge. Prune the items in your fridge on a regular basis, Maker says, "so there are no science experiments." This will help prevent leaks, spills, and odors. A good rule of thumb is to clear out anything old or wilting before you put new food in, Maker suggests. "That helps ensure that the fridge isn't overburdened." Learn the best way to organize your fridge to reduce food waste. Use products like the Fridge Coasters to line shelves and drawers. "They absorb stains and odors, and help prolong the time spent between cleans," Maker says. When it comes to cleaning the entire fridge, start on the top shelf and remove everything. Inspect jarred products and toss anything out of date. "Remove shelves if you can, and spray with all-purpose cleaner," says Maker. For "any stains in the fridge, a baking soda scrub should help lift them up."
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Dealing with appliances is “sort of like going out on a first date,” Maker says. “You have to get to know the appliance to know how to treat it right.” Maybe that explains why our readers listed cleaning appliances, like the oven, as a chore they dreaded. When it comes to the oven, in particular, Maker says, a lot of people aren’t sure whether theirs is self-cleaning or not. Double check before you attempt to clean yours — if you have a self-cleaning oven, it shouldn’t be cleaned by hand. Products can ruin the coating inside, Maker says. Before setting to clean, remove everything from the oven’s surface, then the racks, and anything in the warming drawer. “You can wipe out any debris, as it will burn up and stick,” Maker says. Set it to self-clean, and wait. You’ll hear a loud click, but don’t be alarmed, Maker says. It’s the oven door locking into place. Open your windows and wait for the oven to complete the cleaning cycle — usually about three hours.
If your oven isn't self-cleaning, it may be best to call in a favor, or even a professional. Cleaning it by hand is "a very physical job, and requires a lot of scrubbing at a weird angle." Let's face it, as Maker says, "it's not worth hurting yourself to clean your oven."
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