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How Clean Is Your House?

If the words 'clean house' are always on your to-do list, here's help.

How to Clean House: Minimum Maintenance continued...

Discuss the list, and delegate, then figure out when the chores will get done. You might decide every night after dinner is when the kitchen sink gets scoured or that you'll pop in a load of laundry as soon as you get up every morning -- so you don't have a mountain of it when the weekend comes.

Instead of dividing up the house room by room, designating days to clean each, Townley Ewer has a novel idea: divide the house into "wet" rooms and "dry" rooms and figure out how often they need to be cleaned.

How to Clean House: Wet Rooms

Wet rooms -- the kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room -- ideally need cleaning twice a week or so, Townley Ewer says, depending on your family size. And because you use similar cleaning products in wet rooms, scrubbing them all at once can save time over switching back and forth between wet and dry.

Forget specialty cleaners, too, says Townley Ewer, and get basic products that will do double duty. Degreasers, scouring powders, and soap scum removers work for kitchen and bath, for example. Another timesaver: "Put everything in a tote or a bucket," she says. "You have all the tools and equipment to clean the room in one place."

How to Clean House: Dry Rooms

In dry rooms, the enemy there is dust. Vacuuming is most important, as well as laundering bedding to keep down the dust mite population. Once a week may be enough, depending on how many animals and kids you have.

In the family or TV rooms, equipment such as DVD players and the cable box get dusty fast, says Townley Ewer, due to static charge. "Your tools for dry room cleaning are the vacuum and electrostatic dry cleaning cloths." They'll both cut through the dust.

Another time-saving tip: "Start at the top, such as the ceiling fan," then work your way to the bottom. Otherwise, you clean the whole room, turn on the dusty ceiling fan, and all that work is for naught, she says.

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