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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: 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.

How to Clean House: Get Modern

Once your daily and weekly cleaning is under control, you can focus on seasonal cleaning. And it doesn't have to involve a Herculean effort, Townley Ewer says. "The reason for spring cleaning 75 years ago was coal and oil heating sources," she says. The buildup would make any house dirty. "If you have a modern house, there is no need for that kind of cleaning," she says.

Instead, focus on moving furniture and dusting or vacuuming behind it, hard polishing the furniture and cabinets, she says.

How to Clean House: Products Matter

Good old soap and water is often viewed as an ideal cleaner, but not so, maintains Philip Tierno, Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at the New York University Medical Center, associate professor of microbiology and pathology at the NYU School of Medicine, and author of The Secret Life of Germs.

"Soap doesn't kill bacteria," Tierno tells WebMD. The best way to kill everything, in his opinion, is a mixture of bleach and water, following manufacturer instructions.

In the kitchen, use a disinfectant cleaner spray every time you clean up, ideally once a day, suggests Charles Gerba, PhD, professor of soil, water and environmental science at the University of Arizona, who has long studied germs in the home and office environments. Use it in the bathroom, too, he says, as the kitchen and bath are two of the germiest rooms in the house.

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