#10413_AR Source: Merry Maids
Having a clean and tidy home is a high priority for many people, but so is having time for fun and relaxation.
Cleaning can take a lot of time, but there are some handy tools that can cut down on how long it takes to get that satisfying clean.
"If you have a plan of attack, and then equip yourself with a few time-saving tools, you really can get your house clean in a lot less time," said Debra Johnson, training manager at Merry Maids, a nationwide cleaning company.
Here are Johnson's five house cleaning "must-have" tools for saving time while getting the job done right:
• A 50-foot heavy-duty extension cord. This lets you plug in the vacuum cleaner once, instead of having to lug it around to different outlets.
• A sturdy step ladder. Having a two- or three-foot step ladder lets you get to those hard to reach areas, like air vents near the ceiling, light fixtures and the highest shelves.
• A cleaning caddy. A portable tool caddy lets you keep most of what you need right at hand. Stock it with a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner, oil soap for wood surfaces, nonabrasive cleanser, microfiber cloths for dusting, paper towels, sponges, latex gloves to protect your hands, and a squeegee for windows, mirrors and tub and shower doors. You may want to get a caddy for each floor of your home and stock them with appropriate cleaning supplies.
• A sturdy carpenter's apron. These handy canvas aprons have multiple pockets that can hold additional items, such as old toothbrushes for cleaning grout and hard-to-reach areas, a widget (a small tool with a blade for removing stubborn dirt), and dryer sheets for cleaning mini blinds and computer and TV monitors.
• A steamer. Cleaning with steam lets you clean and deodorize surfaces around the house. Johnson says that steam is quick and powerful, and since you're only using water, you eliminate the need for using products. You can get a handheld steamer for small jobs, or an upright version for ﬂoors. If you have hardwood floors, make sure it is made for cleaning sealed ﬂoors.
Before you put your cleaning tools away, Johnson says it's a good idea to make sure they're ready for the next cleaning session. "That way, when it comes time to clean again, you can just grab your tools and get started. And the quicker you can start, the quicker you can get done."
For more tips, visit www.merrymaids.com/cleaningtips/.