She's Felix. I'm Oscar. Helpful hints from Heloise?
September 19, 2018 6:03 AM   Subscribe

My partner and I have wildly different levels of comfort when it comes to cleanliness in the house. I have some major gaps in my housecleaning education. Can you help me come up with a list of chores and the frequency with which to do them?

The current arrangement in our home is that I am responsible for most of the household chores. This is an agreement we have come to together, and one that makes the most sense for a number of economic and time-management reasons. I am not looking for advice along the lines of, "Well, if she wants it cleaned to X standard, she can be the one to do it."

I grew up in a household where most cleaning was done only when we had company (so maybe once every 6 months). Vacuuming was once a week or every 2 weeks, and dishes and laundry were done regularly. Other than that... not so much. Thus, I have a number of gaps in my sense of what chores should be done on what timeline, or even what chores need doing at all.

For example, we had a conversation last night that went something like this.

Her: The couch cushions are filthy! When's the last time you vacuumed them?
Me: What now?
Her: Vacuumed the couch cushions.
Me: ...That is not a thing that people do???
Her: It's definitely a thing and you should be doing it every time you vacuum the living room.

I know I need to be:
vacuuming every couple days to stay on top of the dog hair [I used to vacuum maybe once every 6 weeks]
vacuuming the couch cushions, apparently!
scrubbing down the bathroom once a week (toilet, sink, tub) [this was a quarterly thing]
mopping the kitchen floor at least every 2 weeks [I did this maybe once a year]
dusting when I vacuum [this was new]
wiping down kitchen counters as needed, definitely every day if not more

What else am I missing? I am asking MetaFilter for help with this in addition to talking to my partner about it, because there are a lot of things she takes for granted that of course I would know that it needs to be done, and then it comes out only after the fact that, no, I had no idea. I would like to be more proactive about Doing The Things!

tl;dr: what are your chore routines, what do you clean, and how often do you clean it?
posted by coppermoss to Home & Garden (32 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
scrubbing down the bathroom should include the floor, especially if there are ever any men that pee standing up (don't forget to reach around/behind toilet).

kitchen is easiest done at the end of the night every night- put all the dishes away/in the dishwasher. then spray down the counter (product will vary depending on your counters, i use vinegar as we just have laminate counters) and wipe.
posted by noloveforned at 6:10 AM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Clean the bathroom mirror as part of that routine- it gets grubby fast. Also don't forget the handle and base of the toilet.

Clean the kitchen sink once a week.

Just FYI, without pet hair in the mix, couch cushions only get vacuumed by me (a person who needs the house to be cleaner than my partnet) biannually at most.
posted by Temeraria at 6:11 AM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

It is the goofiest website, but I completely recommend Flylady.

I taught myself so much of how to Adult Clean from her site.
posted by frumiousb at 6:14 AM on September 19, 2018 [21 favorites]

we follow this mantra: half assed regular cleaning is better than a once a year deep clean.

Your list is pretty solid start; I would add doing all dishes within 12 hours of use; and then washing down the sink each day. (sinks are germ city) You also imply pets- we wash the cat's dishes and tray every other day; if you don't we get ants. We wipe down countertops after every meal prep, and sometimes during meal prep. If working with meat, we usually stop and wash the cutting board and knives as soon as we are done handling raw meat, so the rest is not so terrible to wipe down.

I dust every time we vacuum; and we figure a half assed job done every week is better than done well once a year. that way if you miss something one week, you just get it done the next. We include the tops of doorways and the baseboards in our half assed dusting. (ie we just run a dry Swiffer across it, it's not like I'm getting into crevices)

We lint roll our fabric chairs/couch whenever they get too pet-haired. (this may be take care of by vacuuming)

Kitchen/dishtowels go in the wash every 2-3 days; better to wash them more regularly than to have a really groddy towel floating around.

Bathroom mirrors and surfaces get surprisingly dusty- we just keep a sponge behind the mirror, and wipe down surfaces while brushing teeth. BF washes the mirror, I wipe down the top of the vanity and shelves. again, half assed cleaning every day works pretty well for this. Nothing ever REALLY needs a deep clean, so we never fear someone showing up.
posted by larthegreat at 6:20 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

As someone who also does all of the domestic work in the relationship.

Vacuuming couch cushions regularly is ridiculous to me. Maybe a quick run between them with the thin attachment...

Mopping the kitchen every other week is also silly to me. A good sweep every day or every other day does just fine unless you've made a mess.

I absolutely clean the bathroom once a week, but focus much more on neatening, wiping/scrubbing the toilet down and sweeping. The tub can definitely wait a week or 3 between scrubbings.

Don't forget to wipe the stove down and clean beneath the grates (if it has them). Every time after use on the wiping, every other week beneath the grates unless you've got food crumbs and the like down there, then just take care of it when you're wiping down.

Someone mentioned mirrors, don't forget to wash the windows(inside) as well. Outside of the windows probably needs some attention maybe once or twice a year.

Regardless of how you and your partner view the division of household labor, as the one doing it, you absolutely can and should stand up to anything you find ridiculous.

As an example. I love cats, but I hate dealing with the litter box, this made me OK with not having a cat. Not so with my wife. The deal is, she ALWAYS does the litter box. You can and should push back and seek compromise when you find a chore silly, repulsive or just 'too much'. Having a clean bathroom is something we all NEED, having a cat is something she WANTED.
posted by deadwater at 6:20 AM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

Her: It's definitely a thing and you should be doing it every time you vacuum the living room.

What? No. We have a cat and I don't even do this and I consider myself quite clean. I think we do this maybe once every 6 months?

vacuuming every couple days to stay on top of the dog hair [I used to vacuum maybe once every 6 weeks]

Woah yeah 6 weeks is way too long between vacuums (I think every couple of days is overkill but I guess it depends on your dog and household fittings).

Given what you have told us about this conversation and your partner, I would take our suggestions with a grain of salt. Cleanliness is so subjective and she seems to have some pretty specific standards. So, maybe show her list of suggested chores and have a discussion together about expected frequency and standard of cleanliness?

- General tidying (putting things Where They Belong)
- Wipe down kitchen counters and a quick scrub of the kitchen sink
- Load/Unload dishwasher
- Empty kitchen trash

- Bathrooms (Toilet, shower/bath, sink, floors, mirrors)
- Dusting of all surfaces (tricky places you may miss: bed headboard, radiators, top of tv and other electronics)
- Kitchen (Stove, microwave, toaster)
- Laundry
- Sweep/swiffer bare floors
- Empty bathroom trash
- Changing of the bedsheets Part 1 (I use a double layer system for the mattress and pillowcases so I change the top layer once a week).

- Changing of the bedsheets Part 2 (Change everything)
- Vacuum (we only have a few rugs)
- Clean mirrors/reflective surfaces that reside outside of the bathroom
- The surface of the fan extractor above the stove
- Dusting of non-obvious surfaces (behind books and knicknacks, deep corners under the bed, lightbulbs in lamps, top of hanging pictures)
- Kitchen mopping (could be monthly if it's in a decent state)

- Vacuum the couch
- Clean all the windows, inside and out
- Clean the oven
posted by like_neon at 6:31 AM on September 19, 2018 [6 favorites]

So do your doorways and windows have molding? At least once a month, you should run one of those microfiber dusting cloths along the top of the molding and the doors. (If you're expected to dust every time you vacuum, you should probably do it every time you vacuum--I don't)

When you wash the windows, vaccum and wipe down the sill, including the part that is between the window and the screen when the window is closed. That gets pretty dirty with car exhaust and other debris that fits through the screen.

But given the standards, I'd hire a weekly cleaning service.
posted by crush at 6:32 AM on September 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

Martha Stewart has some great cleaning checklists- daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal tasks. You can adjust as needed!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:42 AM on September 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

Unfuck Your Habitat has some handy checklists for daily/monthly/seasonally cleaning tasks.
posted by slipthought at 6:49 AM on September 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

Bathroom sink: the cleaning woman does it for real every two weeks, but every time I change the hand-towel--which is all the time, daily or every two days, max--I wipe off first the mirror smudges, then the faucet and handles waterspots, then the sink water with the old towel. Keeps everything that's supposed to be spotless and shiny shining, keeps the sink from getting slimed, doesn't use product. I hate using product: costs money I'd rather give the cleaning woman.
posted by Don Pepino at 6:56 AM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

I think the vacuuming the cushions thing depends largely on how much shedding (pet and human...I used to have quite long hair that would create tumbleweeds in our house) is going on. Depending on how much furniture you have, vacuuming the cushions (surface-level) is pretty easy to do whenever you drag the vacuum out. I do that, but we only have a sectional and two other seats in the living room, so it may not be as big a chore as for others.

Since we have cats, I try to mop the kitchen floor at least once a week. I use a Swiffer wet pad and it's fine. Every couple of months, I'll do the mop and big bucket of scalding, soapy water and rinse, for whatever stuck there a bit longer than necessary.

Feather dusters (or their non-feather equivalents) are your friends, as you can surface-dust most things pretty quickly on a weekly basis with those, and then Pledge or Endust or whatever with moving everything maybe once a month?

Dishes, laundry, changing towels in the bathroom, etc., I always do more often than I think other people do, just because if they pile up even a little bit, I tend to let them go entirely until I'm out or the towels, sheets, etc. are yucky. So for me, sheets and towels are weekly (with the rest of my laundry), dishes get washed immediately after meals (and pots and pans while I'm cooking, as soon as I'm done with them).
posted by xingcat at 6:59 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

My generic advice is to pick a series of checklists or a book together and adhere to that (tweak where necessary.) The few hours of your life you will spend bringing your standards together will be worth it.

My method of cleaning works for me as someone who went through a lot of cleaning issues, and summarized, it is:

Dishes, wipe counters, kitchen table, etc.
"Swish and swipe" bathroom (see FlyLady)
5-10 min tidy up, focusing mostly on getting things from where they have landed to their homes. In each room we have a basket or a spot where Things That Go Elsewhere go, so if the room is good I empty that, if it's untidy, I use those spots to tidy it quickly.
I try to do a wash daily by putting it in the washer on my way out, dryer over dinner time, fold at night. We are a household of 5, so. This hasn't been happening lately, but there you go.

"10 thing fling" (get rid of ten things in like, 2 minutes, so toss that one Amazon box, etc.)
Empty garbage, clean out fridge, all that kind of stuff
Vaccuum, mop (we have kids and pets, so weekly mopping is essential...I use a steam mop, it's so easy, then really scrub every third month or so) and deep-clean one zone
My zones are: Kitchen/bathroom, living room/front hall/bathroom, bedrooms/bathroom, rec room/downstairs/bathroom. Your zones may vary. This means each room gets a deep clean once a month with bathroom every week. Deep clean means like vaccumming inside of things like the gaps in the couch, dusting baseboards, cleaning blinds, re-organization, dust everywhere, wipe the cabinets in the kitchen down, etc.

Our couches are leather so I wipe them down on the deep clean times, but your house will vary.
posted by warriorqueen at 7:09 AM on September 19, 2018 [5 favorites]

Do you have ceiling fans? You have to dust those damn things. Also blinds. Anything out in the air of the house that has horizontal surfaces will get dusty. Stuff in the kitchen that you wouldn't think would get dirty because you're not touching it will be impacted by flying grease if you fry anything ever. Periodically wipe down the fridge shelves and throw out horrors.
posted by Don Pepino at 7:17 AM on September 19, 2018

Strong recommendation for the entire Unfuck Your Habitat system. It's all in there.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:27 AM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

A few maxims...

  • Per the 5S approach to business organization, Sort (stuff into the right room or the trash/donate pile), Straighten (and declutter), Shine (that is, clean), Standardize (attain previously agreed-upon standards for "clean"), Sustain (clean as you go).
  • Start cleaning from high spots and move down, e.g., get the spiderwebs before dusting before vacuuming. Dust from high to low.
  • Designate space(s) for supplies and make it easy to grab your potions and tools. That way you'll be more likely to deal with problems as they arise instead of letting them go until your next cleaning session.
  • Make a cleaning caddy so it's easy to grab your potions and tools and go. If you live in a multi-story house and/or have more than one bathroom, consider maintaining multiples, especially for the bathroom.
  • Wet is your friend when trying to capture dust and dirt but it's the enemy when trying to avoid mildew and mold.

    Tasks not mentioned above...
  • Dust books.
  • Dust ceiling fans
  • Clean lampshades and ceiling fixtures (where flying insects go to die)
  • Cleaning under/behind furniture

  • posted by carmicha at 7:28 AM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

    Under the stove when you mop the kitchen, as crumbs, sticky stuff, pet hair and the like do accumulate under there, and boy does it get gross when it's never done but once a year. It's easy (for me anyway) to pull out the drawer, sweep the mop under there, and replace it. I also regularly mop under my fridge, but it has casters, which makes that really easy.

    As for vacuuming the couch cushions, well, if your pet sits on the couch, I can see why she would want it done regularly. Neither you nor she may be allergic, but anyone who is allergic who sits on your couch will appreciate it. Not to mention the not-getting-up-from-the-couch-covered-in-pet-hair part.
    posted by Armed Only With Hubris at 7:44 AM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

    We* vacuum our couch cushions religiously because they are cream colored so it's easy to see how dirt hanging around on top eventually gets ground in and things start looking grubby. And now that we've had a couch that color and I can see what dirt is doing to it colorwise, I will always forever now vacuum my couch even on couches where this process is invisible.

    [*and by we, I mean the cleaning service, because we gave up on agreeing on what needs to be cleaned regularly and how, and let experts decide]
    posted by Tandem Affinity at 8:14 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

    My only cleaning hack: when doing bathrooms, vacuum the floor and counters and other surfaces before using any wet cleaners to avoid the whole issue of hair damply clinging to things and refusing to be easily wiped up.

    (My partner and I are extremely not tidy or routine-based in our cleaning, so I'm reading these answers with interest!)
    posted by LadyNibbler at 8:43 AM on September 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

    Response by poster: re couch cushions: we have 2 dogs, one with the undercoat from hell, and a long-haired cat, so the pet hair problem is real. Also, we had our house renovated and haven't closed up all the walls yet, so there's some ambient plaster dust.
    posted by coppermoss at 8:51 AM on September 19, 2018

    If you google household cleaning schedule, you will get many, many ideas. A written list would help you and partner review expectations. I think it's fair to negotiate the expectations. Bathrooms and kitchen should be very clean, but vacuuming couch cushions could be bi-weekly, that sort of thing. Dust is not a hygiene issue, it's just grubby.
    posted by theora55 at 9:22 AM on September 19, 2018

    I "quick clean" one room daily - super fast tidying of clutter, surface dust, and vacuum. Then I have a monthly rotation of deeper cleaning tasks in that room, so the baseboards and blinds get dusted in each room once a month, non-ktichen floors get steam mopped once a month, upholstery gets deep vacuumed/cleaned once a month, etc. This seems to be a good balance for us.

    Kitchen floor gets steam mopped every week because it's gross laminate that's gross whether we spill stuff or not. This is part of my "quick clean" for that room. But honestly, we have two sheddy dogs and the couch cushions get vacuumed once a month or when they are visibly hairy. And I vacuum them by actually throwing the vacuum on the surface of the couch and pretending like it's the floor. As far as taking it all apart and vacuuming crevices? MAYBE once a year.
    posted by raspberrE at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

    If you have two dogs it is absolutely reasonable to vacuum your couch cushions daily. I have two giant light colored dogs and a dark couch and it is my personal hell. Those things get vacuumed a at least daily.

    I’m pretty clean. Here’s our routine

    Everyday: vacuum floor and furniture, wipe down bathroom counters, wipe down toilets, clean kitchen countertops, dust all major surfaces that get dog hair on them, put away all clutter that isn’t where it should be.

    Then I clean one room every week day:
    Monday - bedroom - thorough dusting and pledging of furniture and windowsills, wipe down baseboards and light switches, change sheets, wash windows, mop floor
    Tuesday - living room - same except wash couch cushion covers
    Wednesday - dining room - same
    Thursday - kitchen - clean microwave, wipe down cabinets, wipe down front of oven / dishwasher / fridge, wipe down backsplash
    Friday - bathrooms - because I really clean these every day I basically just have to clean the tubs
    Weekend - laundry

    Hope this helps.
    posted by pintapicasso at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

    there are a lot of things she takes for granted that of course I would know that it needs to be done, and then it comes out only after the fact that, no, I had no idea.

    This thread is a good representative survey of MeFite cleaning habits, but the information you gather here may not ultimately be very useful in solving your issue, because a self-selecting MeFite sample is unlikely to reflect any one individual human's personal and idiosyncratic cleaning preferences. So the conversation is probably the most important part.

    When you have the conversation with your partner about this, get a notebook or a bunch of individual sheets of paper, and allocate each room in your home a separate page. On that page, list all the individual elements in that room -- so the page headed "Bathroom" includes "Sink," "Floor," "Walls," "Shower/Tub," "Mirror," and so on. Next to each element, list the necessary caretaking steps, the materials required for that caretaking (vinegar, cleaning spray, furniture polish) and the desired cleaning interval for each. Leave a bit of space by each entry for additional notes or 'seasonal' tasks that don't come up frequently (like bleaching/cleaning grout, or oiling furniture, or changing out screen doors for storm doors).

    You might also want to add pet grooming and pet-oriented cleaning as its own entry page; regular brushing or vacuuming of pets (if it doesn't already happen) can help a lot when it comes to keeping up with furballs.
    posted by halation at 10:46 AM on September 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

    2nding the recommendation for Unfuck Your Habitat.


    1. Open windows first thing in the morning, turn back bedsheets to air. Leave open while you get ready for work, closing when you go out.

    2. Switch dishcloths. Have 1 cloth for dishes and 1 different-looking cloth for surfaces. Also switch the teatowels.

    3. Check if any laundry is piling up/a category is running low. Launder if appropriate.

    4. Clean the sink and keep it clean.

    5. If you walk into the kitchen and find the dishwasher has finished its cycle, empty and reload it.

    6. All dirty dishes go straight into the dishwasher, do not pass go.

    7. If you walk in and find the washing machine has finished its cycle, take the stuff out and dry it.

    8. If you walk in and find the dryer has finished its cycle, empty the lint trap, pour out the water and fold the laundry.

    9. Wipe down the kitchen surfaces.

    10. Vacuum or sweep the kitchen floor.

    11. Clean the bathroom sink after you're done with it.

    12. Clean the toilet thusly: wipe down the flush handle, lid and area behind the lid, inside of lid, top of seat, bottom of seat. Run bleach along the inner rim. If you see limescale building up, skip the bleach and use the brush to scrub it away.

    13. Wipe down the bathroom floor.

    14. Clean the bathtub & shower after yourself, remembering to wipe down the shower door/spritz the shower curtain and pull it out straight so it doesn't get mildew.

    15. Empty the wastebaskets at the end of the day.

    16. When a garbage bin gets full, empty it right away and double-bag the trash. You can get compostable bin liners. If the garbage bin has dirt on the inside, wash it out.

    17. Run the coffee percolater through with water at the end of the day.

    18. Put stuff away, don't let it become clutter.

    19. If you are wearing something which is hand-wash only, wash it as part of the undressing process. If you don't, it will lurk in your laundry bin forever.

    20. Only handle mail once. Either act on it right away, or shred it. If it's not possible to act on it right away, put it in your in-tray (you need one) and set a reminder of what action to take on it next and when.

    21. Pet each pet for at least 4 minutes, at least once a day.



    1. Vacuum one floor of the house, and the relevant half of any stairs. If pets get on furniture, vacuum pet hair off furniture. Gently and carefully swipe the vacuum cleaner over any smoke alarms.

    2. Change the bath and shower towels, as well as any hand towels.

    3. This only applies to cat people, but 3 times a week, if the litter trays have been used, I remove the old litter, sluice the trays down with boiling water (detergent is bad for cats), pour in fresh litter, and vacuum around the litter tray area. Any scooping has to be done immediately, without waiting till it's time to change the whole tray.



    1. Change the beds. In hot weather, you might want to do this twice a week. Also, if your pets sleep on the beds and/or someone has allergies, you probably want to run the vacuum cleaner over the mattress after you strip it.

    2. Test your fire alarms.

    3. Do your shredding.

    4. Throw out your pan scrubbers and replace them with new ones. You need three: green or blue for dishes, yellow for surfaces, red for pet dishes.

    5. Empty the bathroom garbage bins and wipe down the insides.

    6. Wash the floors.

    7. If you have pet odors, set vinegar traps around the house for a few hours. That is, take some white vinegar, pour it into a bowl, and set it down. I don't know if this actually neutralizes smells or not, but it feels so good when you stop.

    8. Declutter 1 thing or 1 section of a thing. For example, last Saturday I decluttered my bra drawer and threw out 6 dead bras and 2 items I couldn't identify and don't remember drying. Marie Kondo would say to do it all at once, but to me that means I never get a big enough block of time to do it.



    1. Flip the mattresses. Definitely vacuum them this time.



    Most smoke alarms are only up to code for about 10 years so remember when you put up a new one and remember you'll need to replace it in 10 years' time. If it doesn't have a 10-year battery, make a note to replace the battery every 6 months whether it seems to need it or not.

    Take any pest control measures and make a note to reorder at the next interval. For example, I reorder moth killer papers every 6 months, except that I saw clothes moths after 5 months so I adjusted the interval accordingly. I have a reminder to put flea stuff on my cats' necks every month, tapewormer every 6 months.

    If you run out of a thing, buy 2 to replace. When you get down to 1, restock. (I learned this on the Green.) Have a shopping list on your phone and add an item to it as soon as you see something running low.


    As for deep cleaning or spring cleaning, IDK. I live in a hard water area, so limescale and scunge still builds up in the bathroom and I don't have much success deep cleaning it myself, so I get someone in. This IMO is the most efficient way to outside hire cleaners - if I live in mess, and someone comes in 2 hours a week and shovels the garbage out of the way and cleans, then 2 minutes later I can filth it up and empty a dump truck of fresh garbage right on top of it so what even was the point? Stay reasonably clean and tidy on the daily, and deal with any buildup periodically and perhaps with professional help.

    So that's about the limit of what I'm able to do. I really don't know what to do about stuff like dusting or ironing so I ignore that.
    posted by tel3path at 10:57 AM on September 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

    If you get heavily into this, you might enjoy Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson. It has chore lists plus everything else about housekeeping you might care to know.
    posted by 8603 at 12:16 PM on September 19, 2018

    Ha, so what you want then is a list of chores I stopped doing after I was no longer living with my mom:

    -Sweeping or Swiffering the kitchen after cooking a meal (every meal)
    -Lifting up items on kitchen and bathroom counters and wiping under/around/behind them (weekly)
    -Cleaning the entire toilet, not just the top and seat (weekly)
    -Polishing wooden tables with Pledge (2-3 times/year)
    -Wiping window sills, mirror frames, wall molding (2-3 times/year)
    -Scrub grout between shower tiles with an old toothbrush and Soft Scrub (once a month)
    -Dust on top of books and decorative items on shelves (ideally weekly, but can be every 2-3 weeks)
    -Turning the mattress--flip upside down and reverse head/foot side (twice a year)
    -Vacuum or sweep under beds (once a month, more frequently with no bedskirt)
    -Polishing the silver, if you have any (once a year)
    -Polishing wood floors (1-2 times per year)
    -Deep clean the kitchen sink with Soft Scrub (weekly)
    -Beat the rugs out (every 2-4 weeks; if you live in a building your lease or condo bylaws may have specifications about which outdoor areas you're allowed to use to beat the rugs). While you're doing this, vacuum UNDER the rugs because it's gross under there.
    -Take the nice rugs to the cleaner's (once a year unless they get gross more often), or in the case of the special wool rugs, we would hand wash them in a kiddie pool with Ivory soap powder

    Yes, you should definitely wet mop kitchen and bathroom floors every week...I do not...

    21. Pet each pet for at least 4 minutes, at least once a day.
    Don't just pet them, brush them. You'll have way less pet hair to pick up afterwards.
    posted by capricorn at 12:16 PM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Oh yeah, totally descale all your porcelain sinks once a year! You can actually do this yourself--buy CLR cleaner or a similar product, use a face mask and gloves, and keep children and pets away while you use it; it's super caustic but not hard to work with.
    posted by capricorn at 12:21 PM on September 19, 2018

    I use a great app called HomeRoutines that both has suggested cleaning routines and lets you personalize them to your own standards. Once you two have agreed on an ideal routine, you can use something like that to keep up with the checklist.
    posted by oblique red at 1:47 PM on September 19, 2018 [2 favorites]

    For your consideration with the pet hair, from a lifetime of pet-having: cover the couches with things that are easier to clean than couches. I always used blankets that were good on fur-release in the wash (currently they are the ultra-soft fuzzy throws Costco sells in the fall and winter) as Nap Magnets, but underneath that was an additional single, double, or triple layer of sheets. Twin or full size are best but we mostly use sheets from our King bed that have become worn or undesirable. When you're not using the couch, spread out the Nap Magnets. When you do gather there in the evening, move the NMs aside and sit on the sheet, removing a layer every couple of days to expose fresh un-furred sheets.

    But even if you want to actually sit on your sofa cushions like normal humans, use blankets or sheets when you're not on it, and maybe encourage animals to use a Nap Magnet even when you are. But the other thing that works fairly well is those nubbly gloves or rubbery upholstery brushes that let you rake the hair up into a pile and throw away or put outside for the birds or whatever.
    posted by Lyn Never at 11:16 AM on September 20, 2018 [2 favorites]

    If you're mopping floors on any regular basis, the only possible sane reason for that is you live somewhere wet outside and have a dog that goes in and out a lot.

    Get a mat near the door the dog goes in and out through to dry it's feet a wee bit before it hits the rest of the house, or perhaps spend a bit more time cleaning the *dog* and a lot less time cleaning absolutely everything else it seems to be wrecking?
    posted by talldean at 8:10 AM on September 21, 2018

    Hah? My floors get fiiiiilthy and we only have a little cat who barely treads upon them, preferring to travel mostly atop the furniture. Plus I make people de-shoe at the door. I feel like you should at least schpritz and swiffer pretty regularly, no? (Not that I do. I'm just saying I should.)
    posted by Don Pepino at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

    I guess I'm a slob by y'all's standards? Or maybe only people who enjoy cleaning are interested in this question? Some of these ideas strike me as totally insane. Clean a room every day? Mop the kitchen floor every day? Clean under my fridge once a week? Wut. I barely have time to take care of myself, let alone do a chore like that.
    Some things on the checklists linked are baffling to me. (Why on earth would you need to wash your bathroom walls regularly? Wth are you doing in there? Do you need a doctor? I'm not going to make my goddamn bed every day because a) I don't want to and b) it needs to air out. I clean the inside of light fixtures when I change a light bulb...

    On the other hand, I would think it would be self evident that cleaning the toilet means the entire thing, not just the seat, but I guess not for some people.

    The kitchen and bathroom are the things that need the most attending to, imo and weekly is seems like a reasonable rubric to me. Mopping though? Forget that. I sweep once a week and maybe wash it once a year. I think hands and knees washing is more effective than mopping and I just...dislike mops.

    I dust a few times a year and not the whole house at once. I like to clean the inside of my windows in winter and spring because I swear it seems brighter inside after I've done so.

    My point is: you've gotta work out what's reasonable for you and your household and this should involve compromise.
    posted by purple_bird at 3:32 PM on September 21, 2018

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