How to clean your home like a German

How to clean your home like a German

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Want your home to be sparkling clean? In popular imagination, Germany is often thought of as a country that’s big on cleanliness. Helpling looks at some German cleaning habits to see what we could learn from the federal republic. 

Moving to a new country comes with numerous challenges, and sometimes even the simplest tasks can catch us off guard. You might think you know how to keep your home clean and tidy, but do you know how to clean like a German? Let’s take a look at the German approach to cleaning and see which aspects we could incorporate into our own lives. 

1. Understand the importance of cleanliness

Germany is a country famous for its cleanliness - but it’s not necessarily out of step with the rest of the world on that front. According to a representative survey done by Kaercher, a manufacturer of cleaning equipment, Germans aren’t actually noticeably more clean than other people. 

Around 89 percent said that a clean home was important to them, close to the global average, and the average time spent cleaning each week was 3 hours and 17 minutes, also just below the global average. 

However, the German penchant for order and efficiency means that their approach to cleaning might be a bit more “ordered” than you are used to back home. Germans make housecleaning a priority, rather than an afterthought, and they have the tools and the mindset to get it done quickly and efficiently. 

2. Get some good cleaning products

Take, for example, the overwhelming selection of cleaning products in German stores, which may make you feel like you need an interpreter. While many products in Germany are similar to those in the UK or other countries, the sheer variety can be overwhelming. 

However, the following products should be more than enough for most day-to-day cleaning jobs:

  • All-purpose cleaner (Allzweckreiniger)
  • Glass cleaner (Glasreinider)
  • Bathroom cleaner (Badreiniger)
  • Limescale remover (Kalkentferner)

Germany is also an eco-conscious country, so you’ll find a growing number of eco-friendly, plant-based products on supermarket shelves.

3. Invest in some cleaning appliances

Perhaps one reason why the Germans spend less time cleaning than other people around the world is that they invest in time-saving appliances. The Kaercher study noted that Germans clean efficiently as they have more electrical cleaning devices than average. 

To kit yourself out like a German, purchase a good-quality vacuum cleaner with plenty of attachments so it can be used not only for cleaning floors and carpets but also skirting boards, window sills, sofas, cushions and basically everything else, including those small nooks and crannies where dust likes to settle. 

Other appliances you might consider purchasing include steam mops, steam cleaners, and electric scrubbing tools.

4. Embrace cleaning as a communal chore

The main unspoken rule about cleaning in Germany is that it is not just about cleaning up after yourself, but also maintaining a good standard of cleanliness for others. In shared housing, therefore, don’t be surprised when you’re drafted into a cleaning rota and expected to carry out your chores. 

Nowhere is this communal approach to cleaning better exemplified than in the southern German tradition of the Kehrwoche. Originating in Swabia, the Kehrwoche (“sweep week”) is essentially a weekly cleaning rotation. It originates in a law passed in 1492 to try to keep the streets of Stuttgart clean and is a tradition that is still alive and kicking today. 

Each week, a different resident is responsible for a range of cleaning tasks, including mowing lawns, taking out bins, cleaning common areas like entryways and stairwells, clearing leaves and shovelling snow. 

Trust me, you don’t want to be the one to skip your turn. It’s said that some neighbours have an unofficial leaderboard noting the best and... well, not-so-best cleaners! If you’re not sure what’s included in the Kehrwoche tasks in your building, it’s a good idea to get chatting with your neighbours and find out. 

5. Start a cleaning schedule

According to another survey, about 30% of Germans have “cleaning attacks” (Putzanfallen) when their house is not clean, which explains why they do not like to put off housework for another day. Sticking to a routine is a good way of making sure a habit sticks. 

To ensure that standards don’t slip, many Germans will have a regular cleaning schedule, where they dedicate certain days of the week to specific cleaning tasks. This includes things like tidying away mess, sweeping and mopping floors, and cleaning windows. 

This regular cleaning routine might also be supplemented by season deep cleaning, like a spring clean, that will see the whole household go “all in” on getting the home spic and span for the upcoming season. 

6. Get a grip on recycling

Recycling is an important part of life in Germany. There are specific systems and guidelines for waste separation - from paper to glass to organic waste - which are diligently followed in many homes.

A key element to keeping not only your home but also communal areas in your building clean and tidy is to understand the recycling system and ensure that your items are regularly taken out and sorted into the correct bin. 

7. Get some professional help

While your appetite for cleanliness may be strong, it cannot be denied that cleaning can sometimes be time-consuming and not everyone has the luxury of time. Thankfully, there are a number of expert services out there that exist to assist expats in Germany. 

They not only connect you with English-speaking cleaners but also help you navigate the maze of German cleaning supplies. If you’re struggling to keep up with your chores, why not engage a professional and let them keep your home spic and span?

Helpling is an intuitive platform that can match you up with a vetted cleaner in your area. Whether you’re looking for a one-off deep clean or a recurring cleaning session, Helpling has got you covered. Their range of services is designed to cater to all your cleaning needs. With ratings and reviews, you can rest assured that you're inviting a trustworthy professional into your home. Count on Helpling for a clean home! 



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