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Cleaning tips when you have arthritis - useful things to remember (Part 1)


Unless you're of a Mary Poppins disposition, the chances are you don't take a huge amount of joy from household chores. If you're living with arthritis, you'll know they can be even less appealing.

From wiping down kitchen surfaces and changing bed sheets to vacuuming tight spaces and scrubbing the bathroom, such tasks are doubly difficult when your joints aren't playing ball.

Thankfully, there are little things you can do to make life easier for yourself. We asked our Facebook community to offer their insights as well, and their tips were typically brilliant.

Clean mess when it's fresh

Let’s be honest. When you allow mess to stack up, it’s only going to make the prospect of cleaning it all more daunting. If you’ve been cooking, instead of piling your used pots and pans in the sink for the next day, be sure to wash up or stack the dishwasher once you’re done eating. As Vicky Williams points out on Facebook:


In the kitchen and bathroom, it’s useful to have anti-bacterial wipes to hand to clean up any spillages and they’re great for a quick, hassle-free spruce up of the sink and surrounding surfaces. Similarly Marilyn Andrews Younger and Irene Turner tell us that cleaning and polish wipes can come in hugely handy:


A small handheld vacuum cleaner is also great for keeping on top of small build-ups of dust and grime in between uses of your main vacuum cleaner.

Tackle one room at a time

As we’ve outlined above, tidying up as you go is a great way of staying on top of things. We also like the idea of breaking up tasks by tackling rooms on a rotation basis. If you know your energy levels are low or you’re likely to feel physically uncomfortable after an extended cleaning session, avoid dedicated chore days. Instead, redistribute your energy and spend a few minutes each day sprucing up a small area. That way you won’t feel overexerted and your home will still look spick and span. Something Ivor Gratwick on Facebook smartly suggests as well:


Tactical storage

Consider storing cleaning products near where they are regularly needed to minimise carrying heavier items. For example, you might want to keep bathroom cleaning essentials, like bleach, both upstairs and downstairs if you have toilet facilities on more than one level.

If your washer and dryer are a long way from where you change your clothes, try placing your laundry basket at a halfway point so you won’t have to carry a heavy load of washing further than necessary.  

You might also consider having a handheld vacuum cleaner for a couple of rooms, while your heavy duty version stays somewhere more convenient. Jessie Bauchope Young has the great method of finding something a little less strenuous to do basic cleaning:


Think about timing

If, like many people living with arthritis, you suffer from stiffness in the morning, don’t tackle any cleaning until you’re feeling physically sharp. You might also be interested in our “How To Get Moving In The Morning” tips. Similarly, if you know you’re tired - perhaps you struggle to sleep at night or you fatigue quickly during the day - wait until you’re feeling more sprightly. The more tired you are, the more likely you are to feel pain or injure yourself.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If for whatever reason you don’t feel able to tackle the cleaning, particularly if it's getting to a point when you feel uncomfortable with the level of mess around you, don’t be shy about asking a friend or family member to lend a hand. While it might not be the easiest conversation to have, you can be sure that those closest to you will rarely turn their back on such a request. For those bigger tasks - windows, high dusting, floor polishing, gutter cleaning - consider hiring a specialist cleaning service. This was the most common advice from our Facebook community: