EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to a writer's error, the notes taken from a source were published as Monday, April 28, 2008's What Women Need. Andra Bryan Stefanoni was not the author of that story. Below is the intended story.


Among married couples, women still do 63 percent of the household work, dedicating an average of 16 hours per week to household tasks such as cleaning, according to findings last year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to a writer's error, the notes taken from a source were published as Monday, April 28, 2008's What Women Need. Andra Bryan Stefanoni was not the author of that story. Below is the intended story.

Among married couples, women still do 63 percent of the household work, dedicating an average of 16 hours per week to household tasks such as cleaning, according to findings last year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What women need, it would seem, are tips for streamlining the process.

Marla Cilley, whose given name probably doesn't ring a bell but whose super hero-like name, “Fly Lady,” has catapulted her to fame among would-be domestic divas, recommends a “maintenance approach” to house cleaning: Rather than spend an entire day a week cleaning, or several days a year “spring cleaning,” complete a few 30-second to 1-minute chores each day in each room.

“In the kitchen, always start with the sink. Keep it empty and shining,” said Cilley, who authored Sink Reflections (Bantam, $15) and created www.FlyLady.net. “A sparkling sink becomes your kitchen's benchmark for hygiene and tidiness, inspiring you to load the dishwasher immediately and keep counters, refrigerator doors, an the stove-top spick-and span, too.”

Real Simple Magazine online offers an approach much like the Fly Lady: For example, follow a 4 1/2-minute daily plan for the kitchen to keep it shining:

1.    Wipe down the sink after doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher (30 seconds)

2.    Wipe down the stove top (1 minute)

3.    Wipe down the counters (1 minute)

4.    Sweep, Swiffer, or vacuum the floor (2 minutes)

Area professional house cleaner Mary Brinson, Frontenac, offered her own tips and tricks for streamlining chores:

“For a weekly cleaning, I always start with the bathrooms,” she said. “They usually are the dirtiest and take the most effort, so I tackle them first when I am fresh.”

She then moves to the kitchen and living areas, and finishes with light cleaning in bedrooms.

For daily maintenance and weekly cleaning, Brinson recommends using Clorox Wipes to wipe down the exteriors of toilets and sinks.

“You can use them to wipe around the base of a toilet, the flush handle, the seat, and it disinfects. Then you just throw them away,” she said, adding that to do such a chore with a sponge or rag that then is laundered “moves the germs and grime from your bathroom into your washing machine.”

She also advocates the use of the relatively new cleaning product Kaboom, a spray-on “aggressive cleaner” by the makers of Arm and Hammer that can be found locally in most grocery and discount stores.

“I like it because it can be used on about anything, from porcelain to stainless steel - your tubs, your applicances,” Brinson said.

When it comes to seasonal housecleaning chores, Real Simple Magazine offers a step-by-step process for each chore along with products that yield the best results on its web site at www.realsimple.com

For example, when it comes to washing windows, Real Simple advises:

“Save this job for a cloudy day (the sun's rays cause streaking) and start indoors. Just spray the panes with water and wipe clean with one of the versatile new microfiber cloths, which work by trapping dirt between the fibers. When the cloth looks dirty, rinse it in warm water.”

“Finish up outside with a blast of Windex Outdoor, which attaches to your hose, spares you the experience of falling off a tippy ladder, and is harmless to plants. Windex Outdoor works even through screens and dries without streaking. (If you have hard water, you'll need a ladder, a friend to hold it, and a squeegee on an extension pole to finish the job properly.)”

The microfiber clothes can be found at ACT Natural, $15 for three, 888-638-3552, and locally at Wal-Mart in the sponge and dishwashing section. Windex Outdoor can be found for about $9 for 32 ounces at grocery, hardware, and discount stores. For squeegees, visit www.cleret.com or call 800-825-0750.

In addition, the site includes printable charts of cleaning tasks and to-do lists, as well as advice for what to tackle if you have 15, 30, or 60 minutes to clean.

As for basic rules that can't be broken, all housecleaners agree on one:

Dust high to low. Let dust that you've kicked up from the top of an armoire or the crown molding, for example, have plenty of time to settle before you sweep the floor.

Andra Bryan Stefanoni can be reached at andra.stefanoni@morningsun.net.