Streamline cleaning tasks to maximize sparkle and minimize joint pain and strain. Here are some household cleaning tips and cleaning shortcuts.

1. House cleaning tips begin with pacing yourself. Instead of a dedicated chore day, clean just one room a day. “If you do everything in one day, you’ll end up over­exerting yourself,” says Linda Cobb, author of Talking Dirty With the Queen of Clean (Pocket Books, 2004). 

2. Focus on heavy-traffic areas. “You may need to vacuum only the pathway from the kitchen to the doorway to help spruce up the place,” says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner (Storey Publishing, LLC, 2007).

3. Equip yourself properly. If squeezing a spray bottle or lugging a heavy bottle of laundry detergent is tough, look for easy-to-handle packaging. Concentrated laundry detergents come in smaller, lighter bottles but contain enough product to clean the same number of loads. For scrubbing, simple cleaning tools, such as microfiber cloths and gloves, or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser remove dirt beautifully with just a little water and minimal muscle.

4. Strategically store cleaning supplies. In a two-story house, stash a complete set of cleaning solutions and tools on each floor – including separate lightweight vacuum cleaners, such as the 8-pound Oreck XL Upright, which received the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation. "That way, you don’t have to carry heavy equipment up and down the stairs," says Cobb.

5. Clean messes when they’re fresh. Waiting until a stain sets or clutter builds up ultimately results in more work. “It’s much easier to rinse the sink right after you brush your teeth, instead of letting the toothpaste dry and having to scrub it off,” says Smallin. Keep a canister of cleaning wipes near the sink for quick cleanups.

6. Let cleaning solutions work for you. Once you apply a cleaning solution, let it attack the grime for a few minutes, then come back to wipe up. “You won’t have to scrub as hard,” says Smallin.

7. Freshen it in the dryer. To freshen bed or throw pillows, toss them into the dryer with a fabric-softening dryer sheet. It not only eliminates odors from smoking, pets and spills, it also rejuvenates the pillow’s shape.

8. Easy dust it. To dust high and low places without bending and stooping, make a handy dust mop by stapling your dust rag to a gift-wrap tube.

9. Tip for tucking. When making your bed, use a wooden pizza paddle to help you tuck in sheets and blankets.  

10. Make your bed.  To make making your bed easier, use a large, lightweight bedspread or comforter that can be slipped easily over your sheets.  Just smooth your sheets and throw the comforter over them.  

11. Double duty. When cleaning house, give up that hard-to-grip dust rag. Instead, wear an old pair of gloves or socks on your hands for dusting.

Read about products that have received the Arthritis Foundation’s Ease-of-Use Commendation.