My assistant who helped with the cleaning and gardening quit in June after 4 years, due to her parent’s need for increasing help as they get older and due to her decision to home school both her sons. My other assistant, who has been with me for about a year, injured her knee AND caught COVID and is struggling with what sounds like long COVID symptoms.
That leaves me to do the work and, at 66 years with multiple back issues and two replaced knees, I simply can’t do the cleaning without assistance. Right now it’s difficult to find anyone so I am considering what I can do to automate things (like getting a Roomba type vacuum) or make things easier.
The floors are vintage oak downstairs and pine upstairs, vinyl plank in the upstairs bath, and Marmoleum in the kitchen and sunroom. There are low pile area rugs in the bedrooms, living room, dining room and foyer.
To date, we’ve used an upright vacuum, brooms, and spin mops to clean the floors.
This isn’t really a house where you really can do same day turnovers (although I did in the beginning!) as it is over 2500 sq feet. The house was built in 1913 and has most of the original materials—fireplace mantels, woodwork, tile, original hardware, etc., so I am careful what I use in cleaning so the materials aren’t damaged
I’m wondering about acquiring a robot vacuum and a steam mop. Do any of you use these? Would you recommend them? Is there anything you use that you would recommend? Any suggestions on cleaning at all?
I too now clean my suite.
- I absolutely love my combo vacuum/floor cleaner. You can also use it on low pile rugs but it takes more than a day to dry.
I have carpeting in most rooms so I only need to wash the bathroom floor and the kitchen. I also have an upright carpet cleaner that I use any time I have 1 1/2 days between guest.
For products, I make my own cleaning solution with alcohol, tree oil, a drop of dishwashing soap and about 50% water.
For the wood floors, I use an old swifter that I cover with paper towels and use Holloway House quick shine. Once a month I clean the floors with my Bissel Vacuum/Mop, let dry and the apply 2 coats of Holloway Floor Luster using the swifter. This product is amazing. It makes your wood floors look like the were just refinished.
I can’t say enough about the product below. I removed my stoppers from the sink in the bathroom and tub and replaced them with this. It makes cleaning out the hair so much easier and no more clogged drains. For the sink, you also have to get a plug in case someone wants to fill up the sink. My shower has a built in stopper so I don’t need it there.
- For my vacuum, I tried the rumba’s and I didn’t find for me that it worked well in an old house. It might be that I just didn’t program it correctly. I have a corded shark upright in the STR but I have a cordless upright Shark in my apartment below. I like it so much better that I usually just carry it upstairs. Without the cord, it makes it so much quicker to vacuum all the rooms. (It also does floors - 2 speed).
I’m not that much younger than you and I find these little tricks make things easier. Having a day between bookings also helps. It gives me time to clean so that I don’t have to rush to get it all done in one day. The few times I do the back-to-backs, I’m exhausted.
I use Swiffer wet pads. They really speed up the cleaning but it gets to be expensive since it’s all wood flooring except for the master bedroom.
I do have a Roomba but it really doesn’t do a great job. I still have to use a vacuum cleaner.
Try to get someone in your immediate family to help with the cleaning. We only do 5 nights min. stay and we block two days in between stays to clean.
I’m with @Lynick4442 - love my CrossWave! I have mostly tile floors and it’s amazing how much dirt comes up even after the floor has been mopped and looks clean. Mopping really only moves dirt around - a wet vacuum sucks it up. But my trick is that I use a mop to get the floor wet then use the CrossWave to suck up the water instead of using the CrossWave’s sprayer.
At 74 years young, I still do things Old School. Our Cabana has tile floors with ‘throw’ rugs. I beat the throw rugs and Swiffer wet-mop the floor. Once a month I apply a coat of Mop&Glow (stripped and replaced during the off season).
I have a very old house (1811) that my husband and I clean (ages 71 and 77) and it’s hard to make it look clean. I don’t know anything about Roomba type vacuums since they don’t work well with all our thresholds. We have a canister vacuum that I use about once a month. In-between I love my stick vacuum. It’s a Shark Pet Plus. I also love our steam mop! I sweep well before using it and, of course, it is only safe for some floors. I have a little metal cart on each floor with most of the other things that I need to clean each room and bath. When I started I used a check off sheet, but I know the routine by heart pretty well now after 10 years.
What a thorough answer!
You use the Bissell CrossWave, which I’ve read about as EXCELLENT! We happen to use a similar product, the Tineco.
@Keugenia , I’m not sure whether the Bissell or the Tineco is better, but both are excellent, fun to use and I highly recommend. On the wood floors we vacuum as usual and then use the Tineco after (with just water) and it always amazes us that there’s more to pick up.
Our rental is just 1300 sf and it takes one of our cleaners about seven hours to clean – does a thorough job. Another cleaner does it in 4-5 hours but it’s really not thorough though guests don’t notice that. [Another subject]
I’m sorry to say that in my experience there are ways to clean more effectively, thoroughly and marginally faster it’s unavoidably a big, tiring and time-consuming job. Our better cleaner is our gardener and he is constantly amazed at how much physically harder he finds cleaning. I think it uses different muscles.
What we’re working on is systematizing the process: writing out what needs to be done each turnover, what needs to be done monthly, quarterly, etc. That will help us make sure that everything gets done and helps to provide direction to a cleaner, but doesn’t reduce the work. It does reduce if not eliminate the ‘guilt’ though, when we know you haven’t moved every piece of furniture, checked for cobwebs every time, cleaned the dishwasher filter (well, when did we last clean it?).
So if I were you I would work on developing that set of checklists. I’d have faith that ultimately if it were systematized that you could find someone to do much of this work. You might even craft the checklists so that you have the cleaners do the work that is hardest for you, while you do the cleaning that is easiest on your body.
Good luck. As usual, stay tuned for more wisdom and knowledge from others here.
I originally had the Tineco and it cleans just as well but broke on me in less than a year.
I have robot vacs. This works well for me in this regard: I have an all tile room (and an all tile house) with no rugs. I like that it vacs under the bed, it doesn’t get under every thing, I use a Norwex dust mop or swiffer. I have swiffer products but don’t like that they are disposable so I only use them situationally. I could see a robot vac being one part of a system, even in a home like yours due to it getting under furniture. I consider my Dyson cordless vac with attachements to be indespensible as well. I use it to vac corners, tops of baseboards, hair off hard surfaces like the back of the toilet or bathroom countertop, inside window tracks and ledges, etc.
I have tried many mops. My favorite overall is the Cedar O with covers that can be taken off and washed. I can clearly see the dirt on it. My system is to dip it in water with either vinegar or ammonia, mop a section then rinse out the mop and dip it in the clean solution again. When I use my spin mop the bucket is just full of dirty water immediately. With the amount of dirt and dog hair here I’m hesitant to try something like the crosswave but it sounds appealing.
For cleaning a stubborn spot like something waxy, greasy, tar-like on the floor I use a melamine sponge, aka Magic Eraser. I don’t know how anyone lives without them.
The cleaner uses bleach and hot water on hard surfaces
And carpet cleaning solution on carpet.
I use both. And a robot hard floor cleaner. I have a Dyson V6 (or is it V8?) a regular mop.
The Dyson is probably the best of the bunch as it can be used for many different jobs, followed by the robot.
I’m a couple of years older than you are (but with okay knees) yet I can do each apartment quite quickly. I think I could do it in my sleep after all these years! I want to do it myself for as long as possible though - beats going to the gym.
It took me 6 hours to clean my apartment last weekend. But only takes less 3 hours for my cleaner. I guess you don’t do same day turn over?
We usually don’t do same day turnovers. But sometimes we do and then I have to help clean.
The one cleaner is fast but not nearly as thorough, though truthfully it’s ‘good enough’ so long as we get the through cleaning every other turnover.
It’s always cracked me up when people use all these labor saving devices, or hire people to do the yard work, and then go to the gym to work out because they don’t get enough exercise.
Me too and I’ve known quite a few!
They pay someone to do the cleaning, they pay someone to do the yard, then pay to go to the gym.
I’m too mean to do that.
Does the floor cleaner actually vacuum? Or does it just get the dirt up by washing? Curious because I might want one for my home. I loathe both vacuuming and mopping.
As for people who pay someone to clean and then go to a gym – that would be me. I literally hate house cleaning – I would rather mow the grass and do other yard work, or even maintenance like painting and working on the plumbing – maybe I just don’t know how to clean as my mother never allowed me to help clean house when I was a kid because my dad would get so mad about stuff. She did it herself because then he could only be mad at her. When I clean, it usually looks the same after I have done it as before.
The Bissell Crosswave and the Tineco both vacuum and wash. They’re GREAT!
Look them up on Amazon.
Has anyone used one of those portable carpet cleaners? Like this:
And does it work to get dog smell out of wool rugs? Not urine or anything, just plain doggy smell. I have a tenant leaving next month who has a beautiful and sweet but as is typical, smelly labrador (they’re just musky, I grew up with them, I understand).
I will definitely use my usual arsenal of BacOut, vinegar, baking soda etc but feel like they’ll need a deeper cleaning on top of it. It doesn’t make sense to rent one of the big machines at HD because the largest ones are only 5x7. Does anyone have any experience with these portable machines?
Yes, it cleans and vacuums but It’s not perfect. When you empty the container of dirty water and the filter for the stuff vacuumed you can see how dirty your floors are. The machine has a self-cleaning button that cleans the roller but I also hand clean the rollers occasionally. Once a month I do a deep cleaning where I use a steam mop first.