26 'Hacks' That Can Make Cleaning Easier If You Have a Chronic Illness
When you have a chronic illness, seemingly mundane tasks like washing the dishes or doing a load of laundry can be difficult and exhausting. Doing more thorough household chores such as vacuuming, mopping or scrubbing counters can easily exacerbate chronic pain and fatigue. On bad flare days, cleaning may not be possible at all.
Therefore, many of those with chronic illness have developed certain tricks or found accommodations to help maintain their home while they battle various symptoms. We asked our Mighty community to share some of their “hacks” for making cleaning with a chronic illness easier. Perhaps the following can be of help to you as well.
Join the Spoonie Life Hacks group to get tips for tackling everyday tasks from other people who live with chronic illnesses.
Here’s what the community shared with us:
1. “Cleaning in sections! I don’t stress about the whole picture at once anymore. I’ll work on laundry one day, maybe the bathroom another day, organizing one space at a time, etc. It’s much easier to get a small area/specific chore done and it still feels like you accomplished something – because you did!”
2. “Have extra underwear. Lots. Doing laundry only every six to eight weeks. $25 and two-plus hours at a laundromat instead of multiple trips. Priceless.”
3. “It takes a lot of energy to repeatedly bend down and pick things up off of the floor for us with chronic illnesses. The best thing I have found is to use one of those long reacher/grabber things. It conserves a lot of energy for me.”
4. “Some things I do to make things easier are to use disposable plates, silverware and aluminum pans to cook, use a sponge mop to clean my shower/tub to help with my back and alternate between activities that exert a lot of energy and things I can do sitting down.”
5. “Baby wipes! Paraben-free ones. They are amazing. I use them to clean sinks, work surfaces, clothes – all to delay having to do a proper, long, tiring clean or a washing load.”
6. “I ‘mop walk.’ I put small towels under my feet and spray cleaner from a bottle as I shuffle around the house cleaning the floors!”
7. “I have a Roomba, got it for Christmas. It’s fabulous! I know that brand is expensive, but I’ve seen cheaper versions from other brands at Target. It’s amazing how much less exhausting it is not lugging that big ol’ vacuum around, and how much better I feel with clean floors.”
8. “I wear painters’ masks so I don’t aggravate my dust and mold allergies.”
9. “Products on infomercials are actually made for people with disabilities. So, I scope those out a lot and get the ones I think will make my life easier. I figure if they can do the job 80 percent as well as I could and save me energy without causing a pain flare, it will be worth it.”
10. “Hire someone! I know this isn’t an option for everyone, but it’s been such a relief for me. Even if I can’t have them do everything, it takes a lot off my plate.”
11. “I have my children do it! Seriously, I have given up on having a pristine house. I have baskets and bins all over the house that things get chucked into. I use disposable wipes for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. I nag my family to put things back.”
12. “I took a minimalist approach. I got rid of a lot of stuff I just didn’t use and it made cleaning and laundry a lot easier. I know minimalism isn’t for everyone but it did help me.”
13. “When tidying, place things ‘in the direction’ of where they need to end up. Only travel when there’s lots of stuff heading that way.”
14. “When I’m not feeling great but have things that need to get done, I do ‘commercial break’ cleaning. I will be watching TV and every commercial break I get up and do something until the show comes back on.”
15. “I use a mop to scrub the bath tub and shower. It saves me having to bend too much to scrub.”
16. “Decided that the level of clean I used to feel was crucial is not necessary now. I have relaxed my standards.”
17. “Cleaning in stages really helps! For example: clean both bathroom mirrors and counters today, do the toilets and floors tomorrow. There is no shame in splitting up rooms or tasks to keep from spending all your spoons.”
18. “Vinegar and baking soda. I let it soak for 30 minuets and any mess just wipes away with ease. No hard scrubbing.”
19. “My hack for clearing the mess out of each room is to hang a bunch of used/reusable shopping bags over my wrist, or the door handle for whichever room I’m in. Then designate each bag for a different destination. Like that dirty glass from my nightstand? Goes in the ‘kitchen’ bag. Shoes? Living room bag. Etc. That way, I don’t have to walk back and forth all over the house 100 times just to clean one room. When I’m finished, I just distribute the bags to each room once. It also works to put the bags in a laundry basket, then scoot the basket around the house like a delivery truck.”
20. “I ask my mom over to help me by ‘distracting’ me from the pain so I get more done since I am entertained. As a bonus, she helps because… well, she’s a mom. Also, blast music or comedy skits in the background. Again, distraction.”
21. “I have a robo-vacuum and one of those grabber arm things. I also use the Unfuck Your Habitat app because it’s geared towards people with chronic illness, mental illness and disability.”
22. “When I am tackling the kids’ rooms/toys, I sweep their toys into a pile so I can sit down and sort them all at once (usually into buckets to make putting them away easier) rather then walking around picking them up individually.”
23. “I have a service pup pick things up for me. Would never get anything done without him.”
24. “I use cleaners that can be sprayed and left to do most of the work themselves then just wiped off. If I need to do serious scrubbing, I use a scrub brush or a sponge on a long handle so that I can hold them without my hands cramping.”
25. “Take breaks! Work for a little bit then take a small break. Work then break. It’s efficient and helps get more things done in the long run.”
26. “Honestly my biggest tip/hack for anyone who is chronically ill is to be gentle with yourself. If the washing doesn’t get done today it’s no big deal. If you forgot to do something that needed to be done it’s not the end of the world. Write a list so you don’t forget next time. Our bodies are hard enough on us without ourselves being even harder. Be kind, be patient, be gentle. Treat yourself how you would treat another chronically ill person.”
What’s a “hack” you use to making cleaning with a chronic illness easier? Let us know in the comments below!