10 Easy RA Cleaning Tipsby Marianna Paulson, B.Ed., B.P.E.-O.R. Patient Advocate
When you have RA, you need some tricks to help you chase away the dirt devils, dust bunnies, and clutter critters that regularly hold meetings in your home. Keep it simple with these 10 easy tips.
If you're in the market for your first home, you are already ahead of the game. This is when you can save yourself a lot of extra work by planning for the future. Imagine your worst flare ever, then choose a house, furniture, flooring, and fixtures that are easy to maintain.
Make a schedule
To help you stay on track, you can sign up for a daily email from Fly Lady. Bear in mind that even though you might like to follow her schedule, there may be times when your disease has other plans. Be prepared to adjust your expectations and energy, accordingly. Build rest periods in to your cleaning schedule. You don't have to do it all in one go.
Perhaps pre-diagnosis you were a cleaning machine, powering through your home in record time. Now, you may find it difficult to get dressed, or get a decent meal on the table. Break your tasks down into 10-minute, or even five-minute segments, doing the most important (and visible) things first.
Wear indoor shoes
Tender tootsies tend to take a thumping when you get into a cleaning groove. Oh, the pain of hitting the edge of the bed when you change the sheets, or when you give the vacuum a good pull and your foot gets in the way.
Each time I drag the vacuum cleaner out I dream of new flooring. Instead, I struggle – if it's not with the pulling, pushing, and prodding of the vacuum, it's with the changing of the attachments. So, while carpeting is kinder to arthritic feet, it can also be more difficult to maintain.
Washing the floor
I've graduated from using a mop to wash my floors to skating them clean. I put two wet rags on the floor, then use the stronger muscles of my legs to carefully clean backwards across the room.
Blinds & curtains
Curtains and drapes can be taken down and washed or dry-cleaned. I have yet to find the ideal blind cleaning tool – a damp rag and lots of patience (and time) are required to get each slat clean. You can also look into wooden shutters that would be easy to just wipe 'n' go.
You may wish to do some de-cluttering. The more stuff you have, the more you have to move it around to clean it. Look for easy-to-dust pieces of furniture. If you find it difficult to grip a duster, slip two old pairs of socks over your hands and do double-dusting duty.
During a flare-up, I discovered that I could combine contrast baths with doing the dishes. I filled one side of the sink with hot, soapy water, and the other side with cold rinse water. Clean dishes and more flexible hands, all in one go!
If you have children at home, it's important to assign them chores. Not only are they learning invaluable life-skills, but they are contributing to the well-being of the family. Start children off with age-appropriate chores. Encourage them as they grow into their tasks.