Housekeeping 101: Tips From The Pros

If you have children or pets or just simply never have a free moment, you could probably use a housekeeper for your home. Unfortunately, most of us cannot fit a maid into our budget.

For those looking for some tips on the best way to clean your house without hiring extra help, The Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen visited the Starkey Institute for Household Management in Denver.

The Starkey Institute trains people on how to keep house for the rich and famous. At the Starkey Institute, Koeppen met lead instructor Bill Altoff. Altoff has worked for three presidents and ran Al and Tipper Gore's personal home.

Altoff's first tip was to make sure that the cleaning supply caddy is fully stocked. Common products will get the job done right, whether you're cleaning a cottage or the White House.

A Swiffer or a Shmop will suffice when cleaning floors, he said. But make sure you have the right technique; for instance, sweep in a side-to-side motion in order to maximize the amount of debris that you pick up.

Koeppen learned that making a bed the right way is a painstaking process. Altoff's directions: Take off all the covers. Then, smooth out the fitted sheet, and lay down the top sheet. When tucking in the sheets, you want the corners to be as tight as possible, and make sure to minimize wrinkling. Repeat the tucking process with the blankets, and put on the comforter when the sheets and blankets are neatly on the bed.

Altoff said, "When you come home, (the bed) is completely fresh and new, and it gives you a special feeling."

When throwing a dinner party, the Starkey Institute instructs its pupils to place glasses over boiling water. Once the cups are moist from the steam, wipe them dry for streak-free glasses.

Koeppen also learned several other good housekeeping tips. When cleaning a mirror, use your normal spray cleaner. But instead of wiping the mirror with a paper towel, use newspaper. Newspaper will leave your mirror free of streaks and lint.

To clean a lampshade, Koeppen suggests using a lint roller. And if you are pressed for time and cannot iron your clothes, there's a quick alternative: take a damp wash cloth and throw it in the dryer with your shirt for five minutes; your shirt will look freshly laundered.