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Ask the Experts: The Cleaning Pro

Sabrina Fierman, Vice-president, New York’s Little Elves

What are your top cleaning tips?
De-clutter every day. Don’t keep anything that isn’t beautiful, useful, or necessary. It’s harder and takes longer to clean around clutter. Also, clean a little every day. After you shower, squirt a couple of drops of liquid soap into the water and swoosh it around the bathtub or squeegee the shower glass. Wipe down the bathroom sink after brushing your teeth at night. Little things can save you time in the long run.

What about when it’s time to clean your whole home?
My rule is to tackle one room at a time rather than do it piecemeal, so you feel like you’re making actual, measurable progress. One exception: Do all the floors at the same time.

There are so many cleaning products out there. How do you choose?
Pick a few you like and stick to them. I recommend Fantastik All-Purpose, Windex for glass and mirrors, and a bathroom cleaner such as Tilex or liquid Comet.

Is it possible to avoid using chemicals?
Old-school cleaning products like baking soda and vinegar—plus elbow grease—are ecofriendly.

Is it necessary to spend hundreds on a vacuum cleaner?
I have one word: Miele. Their models start around $329. It’s like a Mercedes—it holds up for a long time. It’s a good investment.

How often are professional cleanings needed?
It depends on your standards and budget. Definitely a spring cleaning once a year. If you’re entertaining a lot during the holidays, hire someone to come beforehand. We tell people, “Figure out what you don’t want to do, and we’ll do it.” Hate cleaning light fixtures? We can do that. Ideally, if it’s in your budget, we recommend a quarterly deep cleaning. A lot of our clients have housekeepers, but our cleaners do things that housekeepers don’t do on a regular basis, like clean specialty materials, light fixtures, windowsills, and frames—even closet floors. When was the last time you scrubbed your closet floor?

What are some simple ways to live cleaner?
Everyone’s shoes must come off at the door. That alone, and your place will be so much cleaner. Keep the windows closed when possible and run the fan on the AC in the cooler months. It helps keep allergens out.

Any other tips on how to maintain your place on a daily basis?
Don’t cook, don’t have children, and don’t have pets.

How has this work changed you?
I notice dirt wherever I go. I’ve even seen it in doctors’ offices.