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The Ultimate Green Cleaning Routine (That Takes Less Than 30 Minutes)

Melissa Maker
March 13, 2017
Melissa Maker
Written by
Photo by twenty20 / @travelling_gg
March 13, 2017

Want to clean less and get better results? It's doable. The secret is all in the products, tools, and techniques (what I call the PTTs) that you use. It sounds simple because, well, it is! With a few simple tweaks to your cleaning moves, you'll be crossing tasks off your list in half the time and live in a space you love. Let's dive into how to find the right products, techniques, and tools for you, then explore a super-quick green cleaning routine.

3 things to keep in mind before you clean

Research and test your products.

Too often, people use the wrong cleaner for the wrong surface, which wastes time and effort. Make sure to do your research and choose one that does exactly what you need it to. Like shampoo or face cream, certain products work better for certain people, so test things out first to find what you love and what works for your home. Green products and DIY recipes work well, too!

Get to know your tools.

Choosing and using the right tool for the cleaning task at hand means you're applying just enough force without harming the surface, and you can level up as needed. Having clean, quality tools handy makes work go so much faster.

Establish a technique.

A few of my favorite moves include the S pattern (applying surface cleaners in an S motion to ensure you reach the whole surface), W pattern (vacuuming in a W motion to make sure you don't miss any spots), and dwell time (leaving cleaners on surfaces for at least five minutes to give them enough time to work their magic). Using methods like these saves time and ensures better results because it forces you to be more mindful through the whole cleaning process.

A 20-minute green cleaning routine for the kitchen

What you'll need

1. A DIY all-purpose kitchen cleaner: Combine 1 cup water, ½ cup rubbing alcohol, ½ teaspoon dish soap, and 10 drops of thyme essential oil. The dish soap lifts dirt and bacteria while the rubbing alcohol and thyme disinfect the surface. This cleaner is safe for virtually all surfaces.

2. A grease and grime pretreat scrub: Mix equal parts dish soap and baking soda. This will help you tackle greasy spots on the cooktop, backsplash and overhead exhaust.

3. A shining scrub: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water. This will help you keep stainless-steel appliances shiny.

Wave one

Tidy and organize the kitchen working your way clockwise around the room with your sink as your 12 o'clock starting point. Centralize dishes, collect and toss trash, and remove any items that don't belong and place by the foot of the entryway. Finish up by washing dishes by hand, or unloading and loading up the dishwasher. By the end of this wave, your kitchen should be neat and prepped for cleaning.

Apply your pretreat scrub to the kitchen sink and allow to sit while you clean. Spritz any dirty areas in the kitchen with the all-purpose kitchen cleaner before you start. Let's allow the products to do the heavy lifting for us!

Wave two

Starting back at your sink (your 12 o'clock starting point), keep the all-purpose cleaner handy along with two microfiber cloths (one for wet work, one for buffing). Remove items on a section of countertop and start scanning the section from top to bottom: cabinet doors, backsplash, countertops, drawer doors, and baseboards. Spray and wipe surfaces you want to clean using the S pattern.

Always make sure dirt and crumbs and falling down onto the floor (you'll deal with that afterward) so that way you never have to re-clean a surface. Wipe your countertop items clean over the floor or yet-to-be-cleaned area, and then replace neatly. Repeat this for each section of the kitchen. Ensure the kitchen table and chairs are included in this clean-up, too! Shine stainless-steel appliances using your vinegar and water solution and a clean microfiber cloth. End this wave at the sink and scrub well with a non-scratching sponge. Rinse with hot water and buff dry.

Wave three

Sweep or vacuum floors and then mop floors using the appropriate floor care solution. For ceramic or porcelain tiles, mix up ½ teaspoon of dish soap and 1 cup of white vinegar along with 5 drops of your favorite essential oil in one gallon of hot water for a powerful floor cleaner. For stone flooring, omit the vinegar and for hardwood and laminate, use a solution of 1½ cups water, ¼ teaspoon dish soap, and ½ cup rubbing alcohol.

Melissa Maker author page.
Melissa Maker

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto's most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in Instyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens. She is the author of Clean My Space: The Secret to Cleaning Better, Faster, and Loving Your Home Every Day.