Tips & Tools for Cleaning & Homekeeping
For most people with fibromyalgia, cleaning and homekeeping are big chores. They are tasks that need to be completed, but often times cause pain and/or fatigue. In this post I will share some of the tools that help me accomplish these chores easier. Besides using tools, pacing myself helps greatly. Opposed to cleaning the entire house in one day I look at cleaning as an ongoing process. Often times I will straighten the house one day, dust and vacuum different parts of the house on different days, clean the bathrooms on another day and do laundry throughout the entire week.
I think the tool that helps me THE most is my self-propelled, bagged vacuum cleaner. The twisting, turning, pulling and pushing of vacuuming can really be tough on my back, wrists, hands, neck, knees and ankles. Having the vacuum take some of the push, pull and weight out of chore makes it a lot easier! I also use a vacuum that has HEPA air filter in it. The HEPA filter traps dust and pollens while I vacuum, helping the air quality of my home.
Another helpful item is something I saw on TV, a handled glass cleaner. I use this for cleaning all the mirrors in my house. The handle helps for two reasons, it can reach higher than I can without straining and it provides leverage to push down against the surface harder. For dusting I use a Swiffer Duster with Extendable Handle. I know this product doesn’t trap as much dust as a damp rag, but I’m okay with that since it is so much easier for me to dust with. It makes dusting faster, is lightweight, helps me reach up high and gets into nooks.
I also try to use cleaners that have less chemicals than normal. This can make a major difference for those who are chemically sensitive. For cleaning mirrors and other surfaces I use a spray bottle filled with white vinegar, water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. For laundry I buy Mrs. Meyers Mrs. Meyer’s laundry detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets on sale. For my dishwasher I use Ecover Dishwasher Tablets. I know Green Works still has some chemicals in their products, but they work better for some tasks than many non or low-chemical cleaners I have used. I use their glass & surface cleaner for my kitchen, bathroom cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. If the cleaning products still bother you, consider wearing a safety respirator mask and gloves.
Another thing to keep in mind is that your house doesn’t need to look perfect at all time. Remember that cleaning and homekeeping are very physical tasks and try to find a balance that will be good for both your physical and mental health. Having a sparkling house won’t matter too much if you’re in a flare caused from pushing yourself to finish cleaning! If I’m having a bad fibromyalgia week, I consider skipping vacuuming all together. If something really needs to be cleaned when I don’t feel well I ask The Helpful Hubby for help.
What are some of your favorite tips for cleaning and homekeeping?