Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cleaning When Affected by a Chronic Condition

When you feel lousy, or your caring for someone round the clock, it’s really hard to keep your house clean. With that in mind, these are tried and true ways that people affected by chronic illness are dealing with housekeeping issues.

• Accept whatever level of clean you have to. Don’t compare your place to someone else, particularly since they aren’t dealing with what you are.

• Clean a little each day and when you have the energy. Do what you can, when you can for as long as is reasonable. You’d be amazed what you can get done in 5 minutes. Rest and don’t over do it.

• Turn on your favorite radio program, listen to music or even watch a little TV while you fold clothes, dust or engage in a chore. I have a routine where I listen to one of my favorite programs on public radio and clean the kitchen. 

• Set priorities of what gets cleaned. Priority areas should be kitchen, bathroom and the room you spend the most time in. Focus on the heavy traffic areas. You may only need to vacuum those areas of the house where people walk the most in order for the house to look good.

• Establish routines, such as sorting mail when it arrives; washing down the shower before you step out.

• Ask children, family, friends and neighbors to help, particularly when deep cleaning is needed.

• If someone asks what they can do, don’t hesitate to assign them some of the heavier cleaning chores you don’t have the stamina for.

• Hire a cleaning service, particularly for the heavy lifting.

• Check out local resources to see if there are volunteers that can help. Call 2.1.1 as every state has this service. Contact your condition specific organization (e.g. Parkinson Disease Foundation)  as some do help with cleaning. Local schools, churches, colleges, civic organizations, and the health facility where you receive your care are also places to contact for help.

Cleaning for a Reason: As a nonprofit serving the entire United States and Canada, they partner with maid services to offer professional house cleanings to help women undergoing treatment for cancer, any type of cancer.  

• The less stuff you have the less you have to keep clean. Adopt the philosophy of “bring one thing, throw two things out.”

Green Clean
Most commercial cleaning products are not only unhealthy for the environment; they can be life altering for people with a chronic condition. Check out Are Your Green Cleaning Products Making You Sicker? 

All you need to clean is baking soda, white vinegar, liquid soap and good cleaning clothes. Not only will making your own cleaners save you money, it’s going to be healthier for you. Fresh air is the best freshener. Opening the windows, even for as little as 10 minutes, is sufficient to air out the house. For practical cleaning tips, check out:

Easy Does It
Make it as easy as possible:
• Use disposable when you don’t have the energy to clean dishes

• Equip yourself with tools that are easy for you to use and keep cleaning supplies in every room, so if you have a few moments to clean, everything is at the ready

• Let your cleaning products do the work. Let dishes soak. Spray the toilet, tub, sink, counter etc. and let it sit and soften up so it slides off with little effort.

Tools that help
• Wipes can be very helpful for cleaning bathrooms and “spot” jobs

• Swiffers are easy to use and can get in all sorts of places. The dusters come with long handles to reach where you can’t no matter how much you stretch your arm. The floor Swiffer uses disposable clothes, which can become very pricey. Try a microfiber cloth in place of the Swiffler cloths. Wetting your microfiber cloth with water, or a mixture of white vinegar and water, is a very easy way to wash floors.

• Shark Steam vac is very popular as it only uses water so no harsh chemicals and sanitizers. It’s also fast drying so limits risk of slipping and falling.

• Hand vacs are easier to use than a regular vacuum cleaner. The Oreck XL Upright only weighs 8 pounds.

• Magic Erasers: Purchase at the Dollar Store as they can be pricey, but they also get all sorts of stuff off of walls, floors and other surfaces with minimal effort.

• Microfiber clothes are the best and are available in varying sizes at the Dollar Store.

• Have pets? A good way to get pet hair off of sofa or other surfaces is with a rubber glove. Slip in on and wipe. For carpets, a squeegee is very helpful.

Laundry Tips
• Have ample bedding and clothing so if you can’t wash for a few weeks you’re okay.

• Use a laundry basket with wheels

• If possible, remove dirty clothing in your laundry room thereby eliminating a trip with the laundry basket

• Store detergent within easy reach. Shelves can help with this. Put the laundry basket on a chair or stool to reduce bending.

• Take a minute after a shower or bath to wipe down and clean out. Dirt and grime comes off quicker when it’s wet.

• While wipes are good for cleaning toilets and other surfaces, you can get the same effect for less money by using a spray and plain old toilet paper.

• For other tips check out Deep Clean Your Bathroom in 7 Steps from Real Simple.  Lots of easy ways to get a good clean.

Websites that can help The FlyLady's Simple FLYing Lessons Will Show You How to Get Your Home and Your Life in Order--and It all Starts With Shining Your Sink! Very popular with those with fibromyalgia. 

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