We’ve all heard the saying “work smarter, not harder,” but when it comes to mundane household cleaning, it seems that nothing replaces hard work and time. That may be one reason why we hate doing it so much. You can only put off cleaning the toilets or doing the laundry so long, which means that at some point your stuck inside on a sunny, beautiful day doing housework rather than heading out for a day of fun. Well, maybe the picture doesn’t have to be as bleak as it seems. In actuality, you can use a good night’s sleep to start the cleaning process. In fact, we would venture to say that there are major home chores that you should only do as you sleep. Interested? Read on for our top five.
Clean the toilet
Okay, so cleaning the toilet doesn’t always take that long, yet it’s one of those chores that adds time to your routine. On the other hand, if you have hard water, cleaning the ring around the toilet can take a fair amount of elbow grease and time–or some pretty high-powered chemicals. An eco-friendly and easy solution to this task is a little white vinegar or Borax. Before bed, add a couple of cups of vinegar or 3/4 of a cup of Borax to the toilet bowl. For tough hard water rings, use your toilet brush to make sure the solution is applied above the waterline. Then go to bed. That’s right…stop everything and let the vinegar or Borax do their job. When you wake up, swirl the toilet brush around the bowl and flush. Doing this once a week should be plenty.
Clean your (non-self-cleaning) oven
One word of caution: never turn on your oven to run while you sleep. That being said, “soaking” your oven overnight is the perfect way to soften and release baked-on and burned-on oven messes. Spray the oven’s interior with your choice of oven cleaner, then place old towels or paper towels just outside the door to catch any drips. When you wake up, don your rubber gloves and gently wipe away the softened dirt and leftover oven cleaner. It’s a trick that may just give you back an hour or two on oven cleaning day.
Deodorize your carpets
From pet odors to musty smells, baking soda is always a good choice when carpets and upholstery smell less than fresh. The biggest obstacle to using it is the time it takes to fully absorb the odors. Of course while it’s on your carpet, you tend to walk over it, tracking it all over the house and actually removing patches of the baking soda from where it really needs to be working. The solution is deodorizing overnight. Before bed, vacuum your carpet, then sprinkle baking soda liberally. If you have really stubborn odors, you may want to work it into the carpet or upholstery with a clean broom. Then go to bed and let it do its magic. When you wake up, run the vacuum back over the area to remove the baking soda.
Clean your shower
We’ve all seen the advertisements for automatic shower cleaning solutions. Just spray after a shower, then it cleans. The problem is often that you don’t get the greatest results unless you do it the right way. First, you are going to have to clean. Find time to get your shower sparkling. This step allows the shower cleaning solution to work at its maximum potential. Second–and a big reason to do it while you sleep–fresh water running over the cleaner weakens its effects. Spray the shower down after the family’s last shower for the night, then let the solution work while everyone sleeps. In the morning, there’s no need to wipe down or rinse away. Just complete this step every night and you’ll probably never clean the shower again.
Do the laundry or the dishes
Unless the sound will keep the family awake, doing the dishes and laundry at night is smart. First, you aren’t waiting for the cycles to finish. Second, energy costs can be lower at off-peak hours like bedtime (important for those of us who are surcharged for energy use during peak hours). Fill the dishwasher and let it cycle through during the early part of your sleep. The washer, on the other hand, should be set to start in the middle of the night, if possible. If your washer doesn’t have a delayed start cycle, you can still begin the wash at bedtime. Just keep in mind that laundered, wet clothing may not smell quite as fresh after sitting in a closed washer all night long if your home is hot and/or humid. In cooler months, or if you always use air conditioning, the potential for soured laundry is nearly non-existent, making bedtime the smartest time for starting a long cycle like towels or whites.