It's summertime, and the living is easy. Cleaning should be easy as well, but often it isn't.
Dust collects on countertops, kitchens build up grease and grime and the bathrooms - well, we all know what summer can do to bathrooms.
With work, kids and leisure pursuits all competing for your attention, why devote any more time to cleaning than is absolutely necessary?
Here are some summer home cleaning tricks for keeping cleaning time to a minimum.
Here are speed cleaning tips for cleaning each room more simply and faster.
After all, fast house cleaning will help you zip through housework so you'll have more time to relax and enjoy the summer days.
Four basic cleaning products are all you'll need to get things sparkling:
You'll also need the right cleaning tools: a long-handled brush, scrubber sponge, a dust cloth and paper towels.
Save time by spraying cleaners on areas that will benefit from some extra soaking time - such as the toilet and tub or shower - and tackling other surfaces while the cleaners do their work.
By letting the cleaners penetrate, all you'll have to do to most surfaces is wipe them clean. To make your job easier in the future, keep a squeegee in the shower or a sponge in the tub for quick wipe-downs of the shower walls and door or the sides of the tub to prevent soap-scum buildup.
To keep mildew in check, open the shower door or curtain after use to let it air-dry. Put a finishing shine on your shower, tub and sink fixtures by giving them a once-over with a glass cleaner and a polishing cloth.
For the kitchen's potluck of dirt, grease and germs, you'll need an all-purpose cleaner; hand dish-washing detergent; a clean, dry cloth; and a scrubber sponge.
Start by putting away anything that's out of place, such as the kids' art projects or mail that has taken up residence on your kitchen table. Send oven mitts and dish towels into the wash. Don't waste your precious time scrubbing dried-on foods or baked-on spills on the countertops or stove - instead, give them a generous spritz of all-purpose cleaner.
Allow the cleaner to penetrate the grime while you move on to the (cool) oven. Remove the racks, and scrape off any burned-on gunk with a dull knife.
Use an oven cleaner or, if you have a self-cleaner, simply turn it on and let the appliance clean itself.
For baked-on messes in the microwave, apply hand dish-washing detergent using your scrubber sponge; rinse clean.
Spot-clean countertops, the oven exterior, cabinets, dishwasher and refrigerator by spraying on an all-purpose cleaner and wiping clean with a dry cloth.
Finish the job by sweeping the floor to get rid of corner crumbs; then mop your way out the door.
Move clockwise around each room, putting away surface clutter and mislaid items. Stash outside the door any stuff that doesn't belong.
Dust shelves, windowsills, mgniblinds, lamps, tables, bureaus and TV screens with a clean, damp cloth. Don't use a feather duster - it just sends dust into the air, and it eventually will settle back down where it came from.
Vacuum upholstered chairs and sofas, and take decorative pillows outdoors to shake off the dust, or fluff them up with a 10-minute tumble in the dryer. Change bed linens.
Finish with a quick surface vacuuming, and spend a few extra seconds vacuuming near the doorways.
Now relax and enjoy - summer fun awaits!