Home Improvement

Household Hints Book

Speed Cleaning by Jeff Campbell, the Clean Team, The Clean Team Staff Speed Cleaning
by Jeff Campbell, the Clean Team, The Clean Team Staff

Paperback: 194 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.58 x 5.55 x 8.01
Publisher: DTP; 3rd edition (May 1, 1991)
ISBN: 0440503744

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Ingram: A time-saving, step-by-step guide to housecleaning in half the usual time...or less.

From the Publisher: Clean your entire house in 42 minutes with the Clean Team's unbeatable system that makes every move count.

Customer Reviews
Lots of Hype, But Less Real Substance, December 21, 2002
Reviewer: kelly-lcce from Kennesaw, GA USA
I was very excited about this book and the idea of learning to clean my house more quickly and efficiently. When I read the author's intro and the comments included in the book [as well as the positive reviews here] I just knew I'd hit on a great cleaning solution. Unfortunately, in reading the book, I found it really didn't live up to the author's build up.

For starters, the method really ISN'T very efficient. The author strongly recommends a whole arsenal of cleaning solutions and cleaning devices/tools. I just don't think the average home owner really needs all that stuff to do a quick and good job cleaning. [I'd be lost just trying to keep up with all those things!] I will note however, that all of these cleaning items are offered for sale on their website and catalog - a fact that is mentioned NUMEROUS times throughout the book ["buy our stuff!"]. The first time or two I read about their catalog in the book, I thought "how cool - one place to pick up all this stuff!". By the 10th mention of it I was feeling a little like I'd paid for a book that was really just advertising for their company and products. ["No, really, BUY OUR STUFF!"] I also thought the prices on the website were pretty ridiculous [way higher than I would pay to get the same stuff at Home Depot or someplace like that]. You would *easily* spend well over $$$ to buy all the products they tell you that you MUST have from their website/catalog.

Another example of why I don't feel this method is very quick or efficient - many long years ago I read a Don Aslet book [who I recommend!]. In that book he said something that has stuck with me for almost a decade - "don't scrub anything you can soak" [or something to that effect]. Practically speaking, this means that when I begin to clean, I soak things first. If there are spills of food on the stove that have turned to rock, I pour a bit of water on it and let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes while I clean something else. The same with dishes, etc. I *NEVER* have to scrub - when I come back, I am able to wipe up the mess in one or two swipes with a paper towel. VERY QUICK and energy and time efficient. In contrast, Mr. Campbell spends pages and pages on how to scrub and scrape up a similar hardened spill/mess. He recommends beginning with one scrubbing utensil and working up to another and then yet another and then moving to a putty knife type instrument and then an actual RAZOR blade [which would damage my kitchen surfaces to no end...]. Never once does he even mention the idea of just soaking the stuff so it wipes up easily. I don't think that's very efficient personally.

Other things that bugged me about the book were that it seems really written more for commercial cleaning teams. It claims to be written for the average homeowner, but most of the methods are truly suited to a professional "team" approach. He spends a great deal of time describing how the team should split up the work, etc. [I don't know about you, but I certainly don't have a set of friends that show up at my house every weekend to help me clean it...]. He runs a cleaning service in San Francisco, which he mentions repeatedly - I feel this book was really written for professional cleaners like him. I also didn't like the constant high pressure sales pitch; and I agree with another reviewer that the "spanish summary" at the end seemed kind of useless - why not publish the whole thing in spanish? Much more useful.

There WERE good things about this book - while I found most of the better suggestions to be "common sense", they might be really helpful to someone who has never done a lot of cleaning [maybe a young person out on their own for the first time] or for someone who doesn't feel that they are very "efficient" in general. I also LOVED the chapter on the environmental impact of the cleaning products and found it very useful. [Worth the price of the book in fact]. There is also a good chapter on hiring a cleaning service/housekeeper - although that chapter seemed very misplaced in this particular book [If I could afford a house cleaner, I *wouldn't* be buying this book to learn to do it myself!]. The book was also very easy and quick to read.

Overall I'd say it was worth the money, but not NEARLY as wonderful as it is hyped up to be!

Handy and Complete Reference, July 25, 2002
Reviewer: jenila72 from Tennessee
Bought this book about 8 years ago. Loaned it out and it never came back. I missed it so much I had to buy another!

This book helps you learn what it takes to clean thoroughly AND quickly. The advice they give on techniques, tools, and cleaners is invaluable. I have less stuff under my sink, and can get my cleaning done in 1/3 the time.

Great little book that takes you from step one to done!

Help for the cleaning impaired, March 16, 2002
Reviewer: Kathy Livingston from Katy, TX USA
I am finally getting the bathroom clean, with just one short cleaning session! Speed Cleaning doesn't give you a bunch of "helpful" hints and tips for each tiny cleaning situation. It gives you a strategy for each room and each area within each room, with instruction on products (just a few that you carry with you) and techniques (make every motion count; don't clean it if it isn't dirty) to get results with a minimum of effort.

Messie no more!, March 13, 2002
Reviewer: buggychic8 from Rosebush, Michigan United States
This is a great book to read,with interesting ideas on how to make a routine for yourself and your messy house! I am a very messy person and the systematic approach has helped me become more organized and thorough in my cleaning. Good book, great ideas and an easy read!

My house is much cleaner, much faster. :-), March 12, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Kirkland, WA
I was a clueless housecleaner, absentmindedly pushing a sponge or rag, without much thought as to where to start, which cleaning tools to use, when to use powders vs. liquids, how to economize motion, etc. I knew there had someone who figured all this stuff out, so I picked up Jeff Campbell's "Speed Cleaning" book. Jeff runs a cleaning service and is an efficiency expert, who has cleaning down to an economy-of-motion science. His book is an easy, entertaining read, with well-explained instructions and many helpful diagrams. He makes a good case for his methods, although he does come across with the attitude that his is the only and right way to clean.

I decided I would give his system a try, so I bought the cleaning apron, cleaning cloths, small cleaning tools, and Jeff's own brand of non-toxic, cleaning agents (free of animal products and not tested on animals) available on his website. Then I put on my cleaning apron and followed the book nearly to the letter. I'm delighted to report that his system absolutely works! My bathrooms and kitchen especially are cleaner than before, and his system is much faster and easier than what I was doing. It is not necessary to use a cleaning apron or Jeff's cleaning agents to improve one's results, but I do find the apron convenient, and the two cleaning agent bottles that hang from it are the 16 ounce size, so they're not heavy even when full.

I have several issues with the book that prevent me from giving it 5 stars:

1) He often tells to reader to only clean what is dirty--not to clean phantom dust nor wipe surfaces where you don't see dirt. However, not all dirt is visible, such as germs and dust (complete with dustmites) that builds up before it's visible to the naked eye. So it's actually a good idea to wipe and where appropriate disinfect surfaces that don't look dirty. Why not be proactive and prevent visible dust?

2) Jeff encourages people to dust with an ostrich feather duster, which only moves dust around. He reasons that you move the dust to a lower level & vacuum it later. I disagree that this is the most effective system for removing dust. Also ostrich farming is a very cruel industry where the feathers are removed with pliers or electric shears from the birds *before* they are slaughtered, to protect the commercial value of the hide, which makes expensive leather.

3) Twenty pages of the book (10%) is a Spanish summary. Like many non-Spanish-speaking readers, this part of the book is useless to me. Why not publish a Spanish-speaking version of the book or sell the summary separately as a booklet?

Overall however, I'm very happy with this book and cleaning system, and have a cleaner home and more time on my hands to show for it. :-)

this is a godsend for the perpetual slob, July 29, 2001
Reviewer: ccjello from Kansas City, MOUSA
As someone who has suffered with a messy home for . . . uh, several decades, I can honestly tesfify that these techniques work. Campbell's "clean team" techniques can help you cut your cleaning time in half and more importantly, you'll end up with a cleaner home, with the dust out of those nooks & crannies, the splotches of paint off of the linoleum floor, the cobwebs out of the vents, the grime out of the grout in the bathroom. This is a no-nonsense, no-gimmicks (well, except for the apron), how-to book about systematically going throughout your home getting things clean. Really clean.

Campbell's approach is surprisingly straight-forward and simple. Working from top to bottom, left to right, he methodically goes from room to room, explaining how to clean. He makes the basics seem simple, but his technique has you getting out grime in all sorts of often-overlooked spots. Campbell recommends that you carry your basic cleaning supplies -- a heavy-duty cleaner like 409, a windex-like cleaner, cotton towels, a scrubber, scraper & razor blade -- with you in an apron (after all, who would hire a carpenter that went back & forth to supplies every time he needed a nail). A little dorky, but three weeks after reading the book, I now own a dorky "Jeff Campbell's clean team" denim apron -- and admittedly, it's pretty handly. Campbell doesn't push his own products, but they are available by catalog. And they're good.

Some of the tools he suggests (cloth napkin "cleaning cloths", a large, flat-head mop) are infinitely more effective than the old sponges, old towels, and sponge mop I had been using.

Campbell's style is pleasant and easy-going. You don't sense that he advocates creating an antiseptic, anti-bacterial, hermetically sealed home where you have to leave your shoes & pets at the front door, or taking up cleaning as a hobby. Rather, he advocates using your cleaning time wisely, to create more time for fun.

My house has never been cleaner!, July 7, 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Craig from San Marcos, CA USA
I've always tried to keep a fairly clean (2,600 sq. ft.) house. My friends thought I was successful, too. But after the first "Speed Cleaning" pass through my house, I can honestly say that my house has never been cleaner. Yes, it took over 5 hours to complete the job the first time. But I can see that once the initial "baseline" cleaning job is done, the weekly trip through the house will be much faster.

There are great tips in here for how to clean things, what tools and cleaning agents to use, how to enlist help from your family and more.

If you want to buy the "right" tools, you can obtain reasonable facsimiles of the recommended products at Home Depot and Target/Wal-Mart for a lot less dough.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants a cleaner house, but is overwhelmed at the prospect of attacking the cobwebs in the corners or the dustbunnies under the beds. You'll learn the fastest, easiest, most effective ways to conquer these areas in addition to the basics (scrubbing the bathrooms, kitchen, dusting EVERYTHING, etc.)

This book is not for ridding your house of too much stuff. In fact, if clutter is a problem that needs to be attacked before the real cleaning begins, I recommend Campbell's other book, "Clutter Control" or "How Not to be a Messie" by Sandra Felton. Both give detailed instructions and guidelines on how to reduce the amount of stuff in your home. If this is a problem for you, you will be amazed at how freeing it is to discard things. The more you discard, the more you will want to discard, so motivation to complete the project is sort of self-perpetuating.

If you need help, here it is., March 15, 2001
Reviewer: amyred from Houston, TX United States
I bought this book on a lark 3 or 4 years ago, and have since bought the rest. I love these folks, and you can also get the absolute best cleaning tools and supplies at www.thecleanteam.com. Everyone else's reviews are right on par--these folks are fantastic. Their people will answer your cleaning questions even if you don't buy something from them. They are wonderful. You don't have to buy their stuff to utilize the "system," of course, but I may pop for that multi-pocketed apron one of these days. Use it and use it well!

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