The SOS emergency cleaning kit that will get you from chaos to clean
Zoe Meunier

Ah, housework. No sooner have you done it, it’s there again, mocking you. When you’ve got kids, it’s all too easy to let the cleaning get on top of you but being surrounded by chaos will only make you feel stressed and out of control.

You don’t want to spend any more time and energy on this necessary evil than you need to. That’s where we come in, read on for our SOS emergency cleaning kit that will give you maximum results for minimum effort.

1. Tidy before clean

Don’t even think about starting cleaning until you have tidied the house.

Grab a laundry basket and a large bin liner and start in the first room. Toss anything in the basket that belongs in another room. Don’t put it away now. Straighten pillows, cushions, towels and rugs. Put books on shelves, stack magazines, throw toys in toy box. Empty waste paper bins into the bin liner, along with any junk mail, old papers, wrappers and any other joyous bits of garbage you find.

Move to the next room, take anything out of the basket that belongs in the current room and put it away. Repeat the process above in this room. Continue to move from room to room filling and emptying the basket, and straightening and getting rid of any rubbish as you go. There, doesn’t that feel better already?

2. Basket case


It’s time to get down to business. Fill a small basket with cleaning products you’ll be using, so you can cart this from room to room.

Basket should include one damp sock or microfiber cloth, one dry sock or cloth, a lamb’s wool duster with a long arm, vinegar in a spray bottle, bicarbonate soda, multi-purpose cleaner and a toothbrush.

3. Dust on, dust off

Start with bedrooms, place the socks (one damp, one dry) on each hand to clean and dry with as you go around, or if you prefer, the microfiber cloths.

4. Two hands are better than one


When you work, get in the habit of using both hands at the same time to attack cleaning tasks, to save time and energy. Spray a mirror with one hand, wipe it down with the other, clean and dry with alternate hands, use your lamb’s wool duster in one hand to clean nooks and crannies while a cleaning cloth in the other skims flat surfaces.

5. Economise movement

Don’t circle a room more than once. Clean everything in your path before you move on to the next thing to make every movement count and whiz through it all with the utmost speed.

6. Mirror magic

Spray your damp cloth with a little vinegar to wipe smears off glass doors/windows as you see them. You can also use old newspapers for this as they give a great lint-free clean.

7. Kitchen blitzin’

Load your dishwasher with dirty dishes and turn it on.

Fill the sink and a separate bucket with warm, soapy water. Soak your oven drip pans and knobs in one of these, so they’ll be easier to clean at the end when you get to them.

Wet a cloth and begin cleaning the appliance fronts, tabletops, the countertops and cabinet fronts, if obvious dirt shows. Only dry anything that shows smudges like black or stainless steel appliances.

When cleaning your kitchen, begin on the right side of your stove, then move clockwise around the room. The stove is typically the dirtiest part of the kitchen, so ending with it keeps you from spreading dirt and grease.

Use the toothbrush to help scrub stove elements and tricky areas such as around the draining board.

8. Bathroom brilliance

Sprinkle bicarbonate soda into the toilet bowl then spray liberally with vinegar. Allow to fizz and sit while you get on with the rest of the bathroom.

Spritz the sink, vanity, shower and tub with your all-purpose spray and let sit.

Spray vinegar on your mirror and wipe in a circular motion using your damp cloth.

Go to the sink and use the toothbrush to quickly scrub hard-to-reach spots around the fixtures. Then, working back-to-front, start in one corner and move horizontally, wiping the counter, vanity, fixtures and handles.

Finally, give the toilet a thorough scrub with the toilet brush, then flush, before, spraying a microfiber cloth with all-purpose spray and wiping down the outside of the toilet and cistern.

9. Suck it up

Vacuum the entire house from the back of the house to the front, including the kitchen and bathroom. Use long firm strokes. Save time by only running the vacuum over each strip of carpet once—not twice. Don’t worry about missing a centimetre or two.

10. Mop then stop


Mop kitchen and bathroom floors with a dampened microfiber mop from back to front, working your way out. You’re done! Sit back and have a cuppa, you domestic goddess, you.

This article was written by Zoe Meunier for and has been adapted for

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