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Speed-Clean Secrets

The last thing you want is to spend the weekend scrubbing, dusting, and wiping. Carol Seelaus, owner of Somebody's Gotta Do It, a cleaning business based in Philadelphia, shares some of her fast spic-and-span strategies:

  • Follow a system. Work each room from left to right and top to bottom, and finish one before starting another.

  • Don't overscrub. Nearly everything manufactured in the past 50 years  -- including appliances, fixtures, countertops, and floors  -- is covered with a thin veneer of plastic laminate. Instead of using harsh cleaners and scouring pads, which will create tiny scratches, try a soft sponge. A little bit of baking soda mixed with some Formula 409 makes a gentle and effective cleanser.

  • Stay ahead of the mess in the bathroom. Switch to liquid soap or shower gel  -- neither one leaves behind a scummy residue, as bar soap does.

  • Keep the outside out. An oversize doormat at each entrance is a good investment; better yet, try to encourage everyone to take off their shoes at the door and wear slippers or socks inside.
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