If anyone knows anything about quick, efficient cleaning, it's the hotel staff who breeze through dozens of rooms a day. House Beautiful magazine spoke to housekeeping managers at the Radisson hotel chain to pick up handy tips for anyone who ever wields a dustpan and broom:

  • Clear the clutter first – Empty the trash and put away anything on the floors or tables so that you can start with a blank slate. That removes the temptation to just wipe around stuff and leave the room looking messy.
  • Use microfiber dust cloths – Slightly dampened, they are best for picking up dust. Terrycloth or polyester cloths actually create more dust.
  • Check the bed sheet tags – You'll never make the mistake of putting a sheet on the bed the wrong way if you check the position of the tags. With king sheets, the tags are on the left. With queen sheets, they're on the right. You can also mark the inside seams with a fabric marker to denote right or left corners.
  • Give drapes a good whack – Use a hand towel to whack the drapes between cleanings. It will make enough of an impact to knock out the dust better than your vacuum attachment can.
  • Clean the bathrooms last – Minimize bacteria transfers by starting in the bedroom and not the bathroom.
  • Give cleaning products time to work – Spray the shower walls and douse the toilets, then let the cleansers do their job while you tend to the mirrors and medicine cabinet. Then go back and clean the shower, sink and toilet as usual.
  • Try vinegar and water – Specialty cleaners are not only more expensive, but they generally don't do a better job than a mixture of one part vinegar to three parts water. In fact, the vinegar and water may remove any residue left behind by other cleansers.
  • Keep a toothbrush handy – it's great for getting into cracks and crevices, and for cleaning often overlooked spots like the bottom screws of the toilet.
  • Vacuum against the rules – Your Mom may have advised vacuuming your way out of a room. But vacuuming your way in and then out again ensures the high traffic areas in the middle get a thorough double cleaning.



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