Cleaning for Dummies: Doing the bare minimum

Cleaning specialists suggest scrubbing your toilet sometimes


MATT ESTABROOK | Daily Evergreen illustration

Once you fall behind on weekly cleaning routines, it can seem like a daunting task.

JACKSON FERDERER, Evergreen opinion editor

Let’s get this out of the way: you’re gross.

Not just you, but probably your roommates, too. The trash is overflowing, there’s a solid half inch of hair clogged in the sink, and you’re using Solo cups to eat cereal because all of your bowls have been sitting in the sink for a week. You refuse to FaceTime your mom because you know if she saw how you lived she would be disappointed.

I was like you, once. Broken. Lost in a sea of dirty laundry and afraid to use my own bathroom. I’ve found the light, though. I’ve discovered the key to escaping the frightening darkness that is having a dirty home.

I call it “literally doing the bare minimum.” If you follow my advice, you can do it, too.

I started this journey by seeking out expertise. I talked to cleaning specialists at Wonderful Cleaning. They’ve seen the worst of the worst, including an apartment with “piss” and “poop” (hopefully from an animal) all around the living room. Obviously, the first piece of advice is to not let that happen.

When your place is trashed and you don’t know where to start, cleaning specialist Elizabeth Valencia-Castaneda said to start in the bathroom or the kitchen.

“We see a lot of gross bathrooms, especially college students,” she said.

Once you’ve fallen behind, it’s easy to see cleaning your place as a daunting task. If you keep up with it as you go, though, you can spend the weekend getting wine-drunk and crying about your ex. You know, like God intended.

It’s important especially to wipe out your shower at least once a week, Valencia-Castaneda said.

“It’s all keeping up with it. You can’t really avoid [getting dirty] because you’re showering and all this stuff is coming off of you,” Valencia-Castaneda said. “You can’t really see it, so people don’t really think to clean it or scrub as hard.”

You’re going to have to work really hard when you’re first cleaning the counters and shower or taking out the bags of garbage that have been piling up because it’s Chad’s turn to take them out.

(Yeah, Chad, we know. We all know. Your roommate has been subtweeting about you for months now, and if you would just put down the beer pong for five minutes, you would probably know that).

The truth is, we all have a Chad in our life. But you can’t wait around for your roommates to pick up after themselves. You can ask, but I can’t make any promises. Instead you’re going to have to dive in yourself.

Make sure you have gloves for your nastiness. It’s going to go by much quicker if you don’t have to be careful about getting grime on your fingers.

Once you’ve finished the bathroom and kitchen, go to bed because it’s probably taken you all day. After you wake up and contemplate just dropping out and leaving the mess for your landlord, make your way to dusting your bedroom and living room. Save the vacuuming for last after the dust has settled.

If you get lost somewhere along the way, you can always call your mom (or dad, honestly, because it’s the 21st century and everything). You probably owe them a call anyway.

Giving your apartment an occasional clean is imperative to your mental and physical health. With these simple steps, you too can learn to literally do the bare minimum. And if you’re afraid you’ll forget all of these tips, I’ll leave you with one golden rule mentioned by Valencia-Castaneda:

“Maybe scrub your toilet once or twice.”