The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

How to Clean Efficiently

Man in wheelchair mopping the floor

Cleaning is a good thing, but if you’re using too many resources, it can quickly turn from a positive to a negative. Given that running a dishwasher, for example, uses between three and 15 gallons of water, and washing machines can use anywhere from 16 to 40 gallons per load, truly environmentally friendly cleaning requires efficiency. Not only will you reduce the amount of water, energy and other resources you would typically use to keep your clothes and space clean and organized, but you can save time and money if you know how to clean efficiently.

Plan Ahead

Where should you begin to make cleaning more efficient? Start by assessing the tasks in your house or apartment that use resources. This could include water and energy used to run appliances or buckets of water used to mop a floor.

Next, prepare to clean so you don’t waste time or resources by accident. Whenever you embark on a cleaning task, make sure you have an area prepped (eliminate clutter that could slow you down) and all your tools are ready (get out buckets, wipes, dish rags, cleaning products, etc.) so you don’t end up accidentally leaving a faucet or a vacuum cleaner running while stopping to move piles of magazines or look for cleaning cloths.

Always read the product label. The label contains important information about how much product you should use to get the best results. Following the instructions on the label will help prevent you from wasting the product.

In general, it’s also a good idea to tackle cleaning systematically. If you’re mopping your kitchen floor, start at one corner and move to the other. This will prevent you from covering an area more than once or using more water than you need. The same goes for cleaning a kitchen counter or scrubbing your shower. You’ll use less cleaning materials if you clean systematically instead of haphazardly.

Resource-Saving Ideas

Looking for some specific ways you can reduce the amount of resources you use while cleaning? Try some of these tips:

For the dishes: Dishwashers use a lot of water and energy, but believe it or not, they use less water and energy than hand-washing all your dishes. To save resources, use a dishwasher if you have one and only run it when it’s full. You can also set the dishwasher to air dry so the appliance won’t spend energy using heat to dry your dishes. Remember that washing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher wastes a lot of water.

For the laundry: Choose the correct load size when doing laundry. You can also run some cycles using cold water instead of hot to save energy. To save add