Cleaning our homes can feel like a daunting task we have to prepare for and block out time for in our schedule. Whether it takes all Saturday morning, or a chunk of time off our evening wind-down routine.
To help avoid cleaning when you feel overwhelmed, cleaning experts suggest working in three-minute blocks, helping you to maintain order in your home before it becomes too messy, and even helping you have a chore-free weekend.
These are the six quick cleaning tasks that take less than three minutes to help you stay on top of your to-do list without any extra effort.
Cleaning tasks that take less than 3 minutes
Three minutes may not sound like enough time to get anything significant done, but it can certainly help to tick off the more tedious tasks on your to-do list without it feeling like extra effort. Of course, you can’t completely clean a bathroom or clean a kitchen at this time (much to our chagrin), but these micro-moments are perfect for dealing with the smaller tasks that otherwise build up to become overwhelming.
1. Unloading the dishwasher while food is cooking
‘This is my favorite time saver during the week,’ begins Ronnie Kendrick, cleaning expert and founder of CompanyClean. ‘When I'm scrambling some eggs for me and my baby, I quickly unload the dishwasher while waiting for the pan to heat up or moving the eggs around. I can unload and put any new dirty dishes in before it's all ready. Quick, easy, and ready to start the day,’ he shares.
If your dishwasher is already empty, you could probably also clean the dishwasher in three minutes too, quickly emptying the filter and setting up a cycle to clean the dishwasher with vinegar while you eat.
2. Vacuuming while watching TV
Given how often you need to vacuum your home, it helps to build this activity into your routine so it doesn't feel as daunting. Justin Carpenter, cleaning expert and founder of Modern Maids always recommends vacuuming or mopping your floors while you watch TV – ‘this is a simple task that can be completed in two or three minutes while you enjoy something else so it doesn't feel like it is detracting from your time,’ he says.
3. Dusting high-traffic areas as you walk by
Removing dust in your home is a continuous process, but it is made simpler when we break the task down into micro-moments, says Karina Toner, cleaning expert and operations manager at Spekless Cleaning. She recommends keeping a microfiber cloth handy and quickly dusting high-traffic areas like tabletops, shelves, or electronics while waiting for a call or during a brief pause in your day or when you pass them by. ‘This prevents dust buildup and maintains a cleaner living environment,’ she says.
Keeping microfiber cloths, like these from Amazon, in important spots like your bathroom, hallway, and bedroom, removes the barrier of having to seek out supplies and makes quick cleaning simpler. Just be sure to wash microfiber cloths properly and regularly so you don’t spread old dust around your space.
Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.
4. Tidying the coffee table as you watch TV
Our living rooms are prone to collecting a lot of clutter no matter how good our organizational systems are. As with vacuuming, Angela Rubin, professional cleaner and founder of Hellamaid suggests taking some time when watching TV to quickly clear off surfaces like the coffee table so the mess doesn't pile up and you can relax more easily:
‘Utilize commercial breaks or moments during your favorite show to declutter your living space. Quickly clear the coffee table by returning items to their designated places or doing a swift pick-up of any scattered items. This habit ensures a neat living area without interrupting entertainment.’
Hellamaid is an award-winning cleaning company in Canada that's been featured on multiple global media brands.
5. Wiping down bathroom vanities as you brush your teeth
Cleaning a bathroom sink and the vanity around it needs doing at least once per week, but more frequently if you want to avoid toothpaste stains and watermarks. Karina Toner, a cleaning expert, likes to use the time she is brushing her teeth to do a quick wipe down of surfaces and maintain their pristine appearance.
6. Clear out your fridge when reaching for a snack
Decluttering a fridge is another simple task that we often build up in our heads. I am sure a few of us at least are guilty of opening the door, spotting something that needs to be thrown out, and ignoring it for next time. The cleaning experts at The Cleaning Force suggest building the habit of spending a few minutes removing old or expired items from your refrigerator whenever you open the door.
If you are waiting for dinner to cook, consider taking the time to quickly clean down the shelves too, they add: ‘Wipe down one shelf quickly with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner. This not only keeps your fridge clean but also helps you keep track of what you have and need.’
How long should I clean for each day?
When you have the time in your schedule, it is good to attempt cleaning for around 15-20 combined minutes a day to help stay on top of daily messes before your home becomes chaotic. Working little and often like this should help you to achieve a chore-free weekend where the bulk of your major household chores such as cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, or vacuuming, are complete.
What is the difference between light and heavy housework?
Light and heavy housework classifies two different types of cleaning tasks. Light housework is usually the things we do daily with ease such as vacuuming and mopping, dusting, disinfecting counters, and cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Heavy housework, on the other hand, is larger deep cleaning tasks such as moving furniture to clean beneath, using specialized tools such as carpet shampooers, cleaning appliances like washing machines, and removing extreme clutter and mess.
Cleaning tips don’t need to be elaborate to be useful. Incorporating just a few of these micro-moments into your daily routine will take a significant amount of time off of your cleaning tasks for the week without you realizing it, meaning you can spend more time to yourself without worrying about how your home looks.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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