I know I often gush about new books I’ve found – but be advised (that yes! I’m enthusiastic!) that it’s because I don’t bother much with critiquing books that I didn’t like. Who has the time? and besides, by the time a book makes it to the top of my “To Read” it’s usually been recommended to me by not one, but two or three friends I trust. The same goes for movies, websites, stores, etc… I put a lot of value in word-of-mouth, even though it generally takes a few mentions for the name to stick.

So, the book that everybody should run out and buy? The one that everybody I know is getting for Christmas?

Click on the book to buy a copy at amazon.

Click on the book to buy a copy at amazon.

It would be a small book that was published almost 25 years ago called Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell and the Clean Team. (Thank you Nathen for sending me this book.)

The method of cleaning clearly outlined in this book was developed by a professional cleaning service in San Fransisco called The Clean Team – so every tool, procedure, and product has been time-tested and true. The Clean Team cleans over 10,000 houses a year, and not surprisingly, they have developed an incredibly efficient cleaning system. Campbell boasts that a team of three can clean a full house (3B, 2B), top to bottom, in 42 minutes flat. A standard bathroom can be cleaned in 18 minutes by one person.

It also means that by reading this book, you can train yourself to as efficient and speedy and effective as a professional house cleaner. See, I thought for sure, that a house cleaned that quickly could not be that clean; but once you read through the book, you see clearly that the house will be cleaner than when you normally clean it (for me at least…) and in much less time.

Interestingly, Campbell is so confident about his methods that from the start he unequivocably states that he is the Boss – and if you want his results, you must clean HIS WAY.

Basically, the cleaning starts with the proper tools – which are stored in both a work apron (worn while cleaning) and a carryall caddy. There is nothing complicated about the tools – I already have everything, except an ostrich feather duster (ordered it today) and two dozen cleaning cloths (used white cloth napkins are best, diapers are second best – bought those this week too).

In a nutshell, you move around a room, always cleaning from top to bottom, and never back-tracking. The book is divided into three main sections, intended for the three members of the cleaning team: the kitchen, the bathroom, and the dusting.

To show how standard his cleaning toolkit is, I’ll list all the products and tools here – but without explanation. Campbell does a thorough job justifying every product and tool in the book.

  • Work apron
  • Toothbrush
  • Razor-blade holder
  • Scraper
  • Carryall tray
  • Red juice (strong cleaning formula, like 409)
  • Blue juice (like Windex)
  • Bleach
  • Spray bottles (3)
  • Tile juice (in a squirt bottle)
  • Feather duster
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Pump-spray furniture polish
  • Furniture polishing cloth
  • Powdered cleanser
  • One-pint plastic container
  • Whisk broom
  • 50-foot extension cord on a cord caddy
  • Toilet brush
  • Tile brush
  • White scrub pad/sponge
  • Green scrub pad/sponge
  • Mop (We’ve got Scooba!)
  • Floor cleaner/polisher
  • Ammonia
  • Oven cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Vaccuum cleaner – canister type.
  • Vaccuum cleaner – portable
  • Miscellaneous tools: pliers, phillips and regular screwdriver, and a spare fanbelt for the canister vac.

P.S. I’m buying the feather duster at this site. I don’t know if it’s any good or not, but it’s ostrich feathers for $15 and free shipping.