House-cleaning tips from a professional cleaner

Want to get your home looking and feeling spotless? Check out our expert advice for home cleaning and learn the tricks behind making your home shine.

By Tudor Robins

Professional cleaning tips to get your house looking spotless
©iStockphoto.com/Wierink-video

I'm not sure why it happens. It's not like cleaning the house is my favourite activity, yet whenever I start cleaning I end up spending twice as much time as originally planned, while only accomplishing half of what I thought I would.

Enter Rick McSheffrey, owner of Ottawa's RM Cleaning. This self-confessed neat freak and professional cleaner of 23 years says that not only can I do a better job in less time, I can also learn to enjoy my cleaning time. He should know; with 40 homes to clean each month, in addition to 10 commercial properties, McSheffrey can't afford to let inefficiencies slow him down.

Here are McSheffrey's strategies for making the biggest impression in the least time.

Have a cleaning plan
Before he enters any house, McSheffrey knows where he's going to start and where he's going to finish. His system involves starting at the farthest point from the front door and, in effect, cleaning his way out of the house. Having a plan focuses your efforts and prevents you from getting off-task, meaning you don't waste time and you do a better job.

Make the most of your time
In my life it's rare to have time to clean the entire house from top to bottom. So, what to do with a set amount of time and a dirty house? First, McSheffrey says, figure out if you're cleaning for yourself or for company.

If you're cleaning for yourself: Two words. Kitchen and bathrooms. Plain and simple. McSheffrey says these rooms are where the germs hang out so you should tackle them first.

If you're cleaning for company: Think of where you'll spend most of your time. "If they start snooping upstairs, it's time to give the in-laws the boot!" McSheffrey jokes. He calls the family room, kitchen and main floor powder room "panic spots" along with the "runway" -- the central strip through your house linking front door, hallway, stairwell and kitchen. Focus on removing fingerprints from walls and spots from floors and vacuum thoroughly.

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