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2003 SDA New Year's Cleaning Survey

Cleaning House Beats Renovation, Redecorating and De-Cluttering as Top New Year's Resolution for the Home

A recent study reveals more Americans want to keep their homes cleaner in 2003, but can't find the time; SDA offers yearly cleaning advice

Washington, DC—December 17, 2002—When it comes to New Year's resolutions for sprucing up the home, more than one out of four Americans surveyed said "keeping it cleaner" would be their top priority in 2003.

"Cleanliness" (28%) won the vote over redecorating (18%), renovation (14%), and even de-cluttering (14%), according to The Soap and Detergent Association's (SDA) latest National Cleaning Survey. As much as 48 percent of the respondents claimed that they don't keep clean homes because they can't find the time to clean. That's no surprise, according to the SDA (

"Time is a precious commodity for so many individuals and families. We often put off simple tasks like cleaning, which we tell ourselves we can do later, but later never comes," said SDA Vice President of Communication Brian Sansoni. "If you take a little time to plan, keeping your home or apartment clean isn't as tough as you think it is."

To help the country clean its quarters, the SDA offers these top tips on successfully achieving this New Year's resolution.

Tip #1: Have the Right Products Ready

Today's cleaning products, from antibacterial and disinfectant wipes and single use scrubbing pads, to electro-static dry mops and dust mitts, are designed for people who may only have a few minutes each day to clean.

"Many of the innovations and enhanced ingredients in these products are designed to take the drudgery out of cleaning," said Sansoni.

Among recent innovations cited by SDA:

  • Pre-measured gel capsules for automatic dishwashers.
  • Dye-trapping sheets for the washer, which act like magnets, preventing colors from being transferred from one clothing item to another.
  • Toilet cleaning wipes that can safely be flushed after use.
  • All-in-one, no hassle sweeping and mopping devices, making floor cleaning a cinch.

Tip #2: Create Your Own Calendar of Clean

Dedicate one calendar to schedule cleaning jobs at the beginning of the year, so you will be sure to know what needs to be done. Depending on your personal preferences, you can mark monthly, weekly and even specific daily tasks. Choose regular days of the week to do the tasks such as laundry, floors, dusting, countertops and cabinets.

Mark a day every couple of weeks for jobs like washing the windows, scrubbing the bathtub, and cleaning out the refrigerator. Dot the calendar once a month for less frequent jobs, like cleaning window treatments and polishing silver. And SDA says don't be afraid to use your favorite high-tech gadgets to remind yourself to clean.

"Set an alarm to go off in your Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or send yourself a timed reminder e-mail: 'It's time to scrub the tub,'" said Sansoni.

Tip #3: Tackle Tasks One at a Time or One Room at a Time

While keeping a clean house is part of common sense health and hygiene practices, particularly in cold and flu season, don't feel like you have to clean the whole house at once. Choose one task (like windows or doorknobs) or one room from your checklist, and tackle that task thoroughly before moving on.

The SDA also recommends cleaning more frequently in areas where asthma-causing allergens can collect, such as bedroom linens, carpets and near pets. "Asthma and allergies affect millions of families every day," said Sansoni. "Cleaning is one of the simplest and most effective ways to remove allergens from the home."

Tip #4: Delegate Your Cleaning Tasks

According to the SDA, one of the best solutions to time management is delegation. Assign other members of your household small cleaning tasks each day, week or month.

"By breaking up the cleaning tasks, it's easier to encourage family members to chip in," said Sansoni. "Dust mitts are fun for kids. Let them help you out. Have your teenager clean the windows using window wipes."

SDA reminds consumers to always read the product label prior to usage, to ensure that the product will be used safely, properly and effectively. SDA's website has a goldmine of tips on household cleaning, fabric care, and hand hygiene. Visit it online at

The independent consumer research was completed for SDA by International Communications Research (ICR). ICR questioned 1,000 American women and men regarding their house cleaning habits. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus five percent.