By Michael Sweet | 1800 CLEANER
As someone who has been cleaning houses professionally for over 35 years, I believe I have found the answer to this often-asked question.
And the answer is… it all depends.
I know that simple questions like this really demand a simple answer. Yet, this is one of those questions that really does depend on several factors. It’s like asking the shoe size of a human. Well, that depends on the particular human in question. This is a nuanced situation. Let’s look at the factors determining the answer for your particular circumstance.
The first thing to consider is the dust
If you have a lot of dust, you will invariably look to clean your house at least every week.
The problem is that the very act of cleaning does not necessarily get rid of the dust. In most cases, the majority of the very fine dust we disturb through the act of cleaning will actually just be frustratingly circulated as we clean. It floats above us as we disturb these weightless particles. In fact, the fine particles of dust can stay suspended mid-air for up to 5 days.
The second thing to consider is the level of clutter
More clutter means more hidden dust to leak out and frustrate cleaning efforts and probably more dissatisfaction with the cleanliness of your home in general. It also implies that the person living in the house is less concerned with order than one who has less clutter, therefore, requiring less cleaning to achieve at here again is once per week on average. But again, the results are a return of the dust within a few days.
The next factor to consider is the environment outside the house
And the ability of those external dust-oriented pollutants, pollens and exhaust fumes to enter the house either unwittingly through open windows or surreptitiously through the micro cracks in window and door frames.
The air quality outside of the home can be poor, especially for city dwellers and those living close to busy roads. In such situations, the best bet is to improve the air quality inside the home. And then to keep it sealed off from the outside air. Consider doing this depending on which way the wind blows relative to the primary source(s) of pollution.
The number (and size) of the inhabitants in the home relative to the size of the home is also important. As an extreme example, consider a one-bedroom apartment full of four big burly bodybuilders, creating considerably more dust per square metre than a mansion occupied by one little old lady. Charles Weschler claims that humans shed their entire layer of skin every 2-4 weeks at the rate of 0.0001-0.003 ounces of skin flakes per hour. This equates to around 35 kg over the average human lifetime. That’s roughly a full teaspoon of skin flakes every week, which is the favourite food of dust mites.
The dust mites do incredibly tiny poos. And this imperceptibly small process is a major contributing factor in the accumulation of household dust. Therefore, the more people in the home relative to the size of the home will dictate a more regular cleaning requirement.
The fourth is carpet versus floorboards.
Carpet is beautiful, don’t get me wrong. It releases countless microscopic fibres that contribute to the fine dust collecting in your home, and it is also the perfect place for microscopic irritants and pollutants to hide. Over time the fibres become virtual cities for dust mites and their imperceptibly small skin.
Less carpet means less cleaning. If out of sight means out of mind to you, then the carpet shouldn’t be a massive problem. Visually at least, carpet can also hide a lot of dust in many cleans. But those with dust allergies will feel it’s effects. It’s hard to get carpets really clean as dust and dust mites can hide in the pile.
Ultimately my favourite answer to the question is to do a big spring clean once yearly. The goal is to get all the fine particle dust out you can.
This way is less dust “leaking” out of the hidden corners making your regular cleaning schedule more efficacious.
Off the back of successfully doing a dust-reducing spring clean, I would say a good regular clean can be done once every two weeks. I would do a quick mini wet area wipe each alternating weekend.
The best part of this approach for me is that with a strategy to keep the dust away, the cleaning is both quicker and more effective, leading to a much cleaner house and much more free time to enjoy it.