Time poor and on a tight budget? Not everyone can afford cleaners, but few of us are signing up to deep clean our homes between busy work days and weekends full of activities.
If spending hours scrubbing doesn't appeal (and let's be honest, it never does), founder and CEO of cult cleaning product company ENJO, Barb de Corti, suggests trying a different tack.
After 30 years in the business, Australia's original eco-cleaning pioneer knows a lot about keeping a house spotless while juggling childcare and a full workload.
Barb's tips for a quick and efficient clean
Attack the bathroom
Cleaning the bathroom is hands down the no. 1 most hated household task. Yet bathrooms are often the dirtiest rooms in the house.
From the toilet to the sink, bacteria like staph, E. coli, and salmonella populate bathroom surfaces and the only way to get rid of them is with a good, regular scrub.
"Start by treating problem areas with a specially formulated solution to dissolve grout and dirt - it's best to go for a non-toxic, natural product," says Barb. "Use a water-filled spray bottle and mist surfaces before wiping down with a cleaning fibre cloth. It's possible to clean without harsh chemicals with just a cloth and water."
TIP: For a streak-free finish, spray the shower screen with water and clean with the bathroom glove in a circular motion. Always dry all bathroom surfaces to ensure it remains mould-free.
Start from top to bottom
"When cleaning it's important to begin from the highest point in each room, such as dusting ceiling fans or shelves, and work your way down," says Barb.
"Work in a clockwise fashion so you don't end up backtracking. Any dust or debris that falls down can be cleaned up later. This way you avoid having to re-do a task."
TIP: Use a telescopic pole to get to hard-to-reach areas. A wet cloth traps fine dust and reduces falling debris.
Keep the house clutter-free
A good rule of thumb is to make tidying a habit. "Put everything in its place and minimise clutter," recommends Barb. "It's faster and easier to speed clean your house if you make a point of keeping things where they belong before you start the actual cleaning. You won't have to waste any time moving things around while you're in the middle of cleaning."
TIP: Pencil in regular decluttering sessions, which will keep the house from being overtaken by toys, duplicate items and other knick-knacks.
Keeping floors pristine is an ongoing battle, especially if you're contending with pets and kids who make it their mission in life to regularly track dirt and dust into the house. Barb recommends using a floor cleaner with a mophead that traps dust without using water.
"These days you can clean floors without harsh chemicals or water, " says Barb. "Simply run your floor cleaner over surfaces and do a maintenance clean in high traffic areas to keep floors pristine. Then when you're done, throw the mophead in the washing machine.
TIP: To keep floors cleaner for longer, consider going shoe-free inside the house. Pop a shoe rack and the entry way and slip into some cosy house slippers instead.
Use the right tools
Stock up on the right cleaning supplies for the task at hand. Every household should have a floor cleaner and microfibre cloths for various surfaces. "Make sure there are dedicated cloths for cleaning and drying," says Barb. "And, whatever you do, don't mix cleaning tools for the bathroom and kitchen!"
TIP: Colour code your cleaning supplies to ensure you don't get them mixed up.
Multitask like a pro
Give cleaning agents time to work their magic in the bathroom and kitchen while you tackle the business of dusting and mopping. Then return to these areas to polish off any remaining dirt and grime.
"Make your cleaning routine even more efficient by creating a cleaning route around your house," says Barb. "For example, you might start by treating stains in the bathroom and kitchen before running upstairs to dust from the top down.
"Having a consistent route helps ensure you don't overlook any areas and makes the cleaning process a lot more manageable."
TIP: Save time by tidying up whenever possible - leave the dishes in the sink to soak while you wipe down counter tops. Clean your shower glass every time you use. Choose chemical free so you can clean while your small children are around. Every little bit helps shave minutes off your weekly clean.