How To Clean Your House Fast (1950s Housewife Speed Cleaning Routine)

How to Clean Your House Fast, a 1950s Speed Cleaning Routine

Once you get to know the difference between tidying and cleaning, you suddenly realize that cleaning can actually be pretty fast — it’s tidying all the clutter that takes so long. But sometimes, you still need a speedy cleaning routine to get all the dirt out, especially if you are a working mom. So here’s how to clean your home fast–the original speed-clean!

How to Clean Your House Fast

How to Clean Your House Fast

Begin by putting all the things that are out of place into a basket. Then take a duster and go through all the rooms, clearing surfaces and dusting. Make the beds and brush the upholstery. Then sweep or vacuum. Tackle the bathrooms by dusting, wiping the sink and mirror, wiping the toilet, and brushing out the bowl. Hang fresh towels and sweep. Clean the kitchen by rinsing and stacking dishes, putting away food, wiping down the surfaces, washing and putting away dishes (or loading the dishwasher), cleaning the sink, emptying the garbage, and sweeping the kitchen floor. Put away cleaning equipment, empty the trash in every room, and then if you have time, put away all the little things you gathered at the beginning, plump the pillows, and straighten the curtains.

Building a Speed Cleaning Routine From Vintage Books

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America’s Housekeeping Book is the #1 book for learning how to clean like a vintage housewife, although its routines and suggestions date back to the WWII housewife! This book was quite popular and went through several reprints thanks to its comprehensive approach to caring for the home.

This speed-cleaning method is mostly taken from The Good Housekeeping Housekeeping Book, published in 1947. The steps in the cleaning process are from Good Housekeeping. However, the basket-tidying method is from America’s Housekeeping Book.

There are also other vintage homemaking books with step-by-step routines to help you learn the best way to clean. Here are some of my favorites:

Having a clean house makes you happy, and speed cleaning makes it easy!

Keeping the House Tidy

This cleaning routine will only work if your home is relatively free of junk or clutter. Keeping the vintage home tidy was a constant process, especially when people were home to mess it up. As a homeschooling mother, I have at least 3 tidying sessions planned into my day, in addition to having rules about cleaning up after yourself.

If you have littles at home with you, begin training them in the habit of tidying up after themselves. Older children and adults should be in the habit of throwing back the bedclothes and hanging up their pajamas in the morning, cleaning the basin and tub after every use, and putting away school books and papers, playing cards, sewing or the stamp collection, as the case may be, when work or play is over. Before bed, everyone should pick up newspapers, return magazines to the table or rack, and empty the ashtrays.

How to Clean Faster

Practice will make you faster at cleaning. But in addition to practice, there are some other things that you can do to clean faster. A large tray for collecting small objects that have wandered into the wrong room—a bag of marbles, the sewing shears, or the baby’s doll—will save many steps. A wastebasket to receive all the odds and ends that must be thrown away is another time saver. The cleaning basket that holds everything you need for odd and unexpected cleaning jobs saves a trip or two to get this or that from the kitchen.

Of course, you will also need to do weekly deeper cleaning, too. You can see what kind of cleaning was common for the vintage housewife here.

Practice will help you clean your house faster.

The Daily Speed-Cleaning Routine

Good cleaning equipment can help you get the sink cleaned before the last dish is put away.

Living Room: 

Take faded flowers and discarded papers and magazines to the kitchen for disposal. To save steps use a paper bag for collecting ashes, flower petals, candy wrappings, and discarded mail. Dust furniture and lamps, and plump-up pillows. Stack magazines and return anything which is out of place. 

Give floors and rugs whatever care they need to make them look presentable. Use your carpet sweeper or your vacuum cleaner to remove surface litter. 

Dining Room: 

Quickly use a carpet sweeper or vacuum cleaner under and around the table so that crumbs will not stay on the floor covering and leave stains.

Take faded flowers and discarded papers and magazines to the kitchen for disposal. To save steps use a paper bag for collecting ashes, flower petals, candy wrappings, and discarded mail. Dust furniture and lamps, and plump-up pillows. Stack magazines and return anything which is out of place. 

Give floors and rugs whatever care they need to make them look presentable. Use your carpet sweeper or your vacuum cleaner to remove surface litter. 

Bedrooms:

Hang up night clothes and put away slippers.

Make the beds.

Straighten up the side tables, bureau, chest of drawers, and vanity top.

Dust furniture and lamps.

Give floors and rugs whatever care they need to make them look presentable. Use your carpet sweeper or your vacuum cleaner to remove surface litter. 

Bathrooms:

Squirt toilet bowl cleaner around the rim and let sit.

Replace soiled towels with clean ones. (To prevent mildew, be sure to dry out damp towels before they are put into the hamper.)

Wash the basin and faucets with household cleanser, water softener, or one of the new multi-purpose cleaners. Keep a cellulose sponge in the bathroom for cleaning up the basin and tub. Clean the bathtub and spread out the shower curtain until dry.

Use the brush to quickly scrub the toilet bowl.

Kitchen:

Don’t forget–cleaning the kitchen should happen after every meal!

Remove dishes from the table, scrape, and rinse under the faucet if they need it. Stack them neatly at one side of the sink.

Put away foods that belong in the refrigerator. Clear away waste food. 

Get rid of grounds from coffee or teapot and empty cooking utensils which have been soaking during the meal. 

Clean the sink so that it will be ready for dishwashing. 

Prepare dishwater and wash, dry, and put away dishes, or load the dishwasher.

Wipe the counters.

Sweep the kitchen floor.

Rinse the sponges.

Empty the wastepaper basket and garbage container and put a clean liner or garbage bag in the garbage container

Final Touches:

Empty all the trash cans in the house.

Sort all the collected laundry.

Sweep the porches and steps, and tidy the yard.

Try a 1950s housewife speed-clean to keep your home company-ready.

References

America’s Housekeeping Book, Charles Scribner & Sons.

The Good Housekeeping Housekeeping Book, Helen Crandall.