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Clean House Faster: Great Cleaning Shortcuts

Have Good Cleaning Tools continued...

Smallin also uses disposable wipes for quick cleaning jobs. She keeps containers of wipes around the house -- under the bathroom sink, for example -- so she can give the sink or the bathtub a quick wipe down without hauling out the bucket and sponge. "What I like about the wipes is that you aren't just getting rid of dirt, you're getting rid of germs as well," she says. Smallin recommends biodegradable wipes to minimize waste.

If you avoid using your vacuum cleaner because it's heavy, unwieldy, ineffective -- or all of the above -- consider buying a new one. Many new models are lighter than their older counterparts, with ergonomic design features; they also clean more efficiently. "You're more likely to use your vacuum if it's easy on your back," says Smallin, who uses a lightweight, full-power canister vacuum cleaner. If you purchase a new vacuum cleaner, consider buying a model with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters trap smaller particles better than regular filters, thus helping to reduce dust and allergens in your home.

Store Cleaning Tools in a Convenient Spot

If you have to hunt down your supplies before getting started, cleaning will be even more of a chore. Instead, keep all your products and tools together, and put them back in the same place when you're done.

Beyer recommends storing products and tools in a container with a center handle. She keeps a set of cleaning products in different spots around the house, so they're easily accessible for quick jobs.

And keep it simple, Smallin advises. "If you pare your products down to the basics, you'll have less to tote around," she says. "There's a lot you can do with a multipurpose cleaner -- you can wipe counters, scrub the shower, and use it to clean the toilet."

Change Air Filters Regularly

Replace the air filter in your furnace every three months or so.  A clean filter will catch more of the dust and particles in the air, and minimize wear and tear on your furnace. A clean filter also reduces the energy your furnace consumes, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Use Your Dishwasher More

Your dishwasher offers a variety of cleaning shortcuts. Many pots and pans can go in the dishwasher (check the label first), as can refrigerator shelves, drawers, and ice trays. Beyer recommends putting sponges in the dishwasher to sterilize them for reuse.

Put Clothes Hampers All Over

If you place clothes hampers in every bedroom and bathroom in your house, you're likely to find fewer cast-off clothes and towels on the floor -- even if you share your home with teenagers.

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