The Calgary-based professional cleaner has a built a loyal fanbase of more than one million Go Clean Co followers on Instagram, with much of her growth in recent months thanks to her tips for “quarancleaning” — a trend that’s seen many Canadians dive deep into home-cleaning as their pandemic hobby.
Fans are especially fond of her handbook and “laundry stripping” method, which pulls out hidden gunk from clean clothes using a concoction centering Tide powder detergent.
“A common thing I hear from people is, ‘I’ve always hated cleaning and you’ve made it fun again,’” she told HuffPost Canada. “It’s been helpful for them and dealing with stress in the time of COVID.”
The repetitive motions of sorting belongings and scrubbing surfaces can calm anxious minds. But if you’re always exhausted or already stressed out, the sight of laundry piles on chairs and mountains of deep dishes may worsen your mental health.
As the founder of Go Clean Co, McAllister sympathizes with overwhelmed people who dislike cleaning up; knowing how to keep an immaculate household isn’t a skill everyone learns from a young age. As well, good housekeeping isn’t a priority for busy Canadians who are always away (with the exception of the dumpster fire year of 2020, that is).
“You can almost tell when someone’s overwhelmed when we go into a house,” McAllister says. “It’s not necessarily that they are dirty; life just gets away from you. Don’t be hard on yourself.”
If you’re looking for help taking baby steps towards a spotless abode, here are McAllister’s top tips for Canadians who want to make tidiness a habit:
Don’t overwhelm yourself
McAllister: You make yourself a huge to-do list and then you procrastinate because you think, “I just don’t want to start it, it’s going to snowball.”
I tell people to take breaks. You don’t have to do the whole house every single day.
You don’t understand how good it feels until you do it. Once you do it, you’ll get a feeling of accomplishment and pride in your homeownership.
Do one room at a time
McAllister: Once you start one room, it’s like a domino effect happens. You look around and you think, “Oh my goodness. Look how nice it is.” Then you’re going to have the confidence and the motivation to do another one.
Her room system: A lot of cleaning influencers or cleaning gurus on YouTube say, “Make a checklist, Mondays we do bathrooms and Tuesday we do kitchens.”
It’s a really good system, but for me I find cleaning depends on what my mood is like for the day. If I want to clean the kitchen, then I’m just going to do it, then I’m going to put my feet up and be with my family, as opposed to trying to live an unattainable life.
Get the bigger jobs out of the way
McAllister: Start in the kitchen or bathroom, those are the dirtiest rooms because we’re in them cooking food and washing up all the time.
Bathroom: Open your drawers, organize them. Get your shower sparkling. I tell people to vacuum first. If you get the hair and lint wet with cleaner, it’s gonna get gunky, it causes so much more work because you’re moving mud around.
Kitchen: You’re supposed to clean your dishwasher filter and no one knows that! Not every single dishwasher has a filter, some of the higher-end ones almost have like a garburator built into them. I’d say Google your make and model before opening it up. Some of them are so horrible, it’s like swamp slime.
You can work miracles with very little
McAllister: A lot of people have said to me, “I have too many cleaning products.” You can really dial it back to clean your home.
Her essentials: A small box of Tide powder detergent, a bottle of bleach, a microfibre cloth or ripped-up old towel, Mr. Clean, and Windex. Especially water, bleach, and Tide detergent. Those are the three things I absolutely need. If I had to clean a house without any [warning], I could do it with those.
Bar Keeper’s Friend is in our cleaning kits and we can’t live without it. You can use it on your toilet, stainless steel, and in so many ways.
Get roommates or kids involved
McAllister: It works best to work in a team. Think about it: If you have four people in your house that are capable, roommates or family members, get everybody to tackle one room.
How she motivates her kid: If you don’t think young kids can clean, well, my daughter is eight and she can clean a bathroom. So, that’s her claim to fame. I gave her a cloth and said, “Wipe down the baseboards all the way around the house! You have to do a circle and you have 10 minutes.”
They’re obviously going to take longer and ask questions. That’s OK. I think sometimes we think they can’t do stuff, but then I’m like, “I did this at her age.” You can chalk it up to being a millennial mom.
She can sort out towels, load the dishwasher. You need to teach them young, because you’re doing them a disservice down the line with their future partners or roommates.
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