House Cleaning Tips for People with Arthritis

People with arthritis can experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion in their affected joints. 

Hands, fingers, and knees are common spots for arthritis, and restrictions at these joints can make house cleaning difficult.

Let’s discuss various tips and strategies that could be used to help with cleaning.

  1. Pace yourself – complete only as much cleaning as your body says it can do

Arthritis sufferers may have greater difficulty with completely cleaning their homes in one session. Pushing the body beyond its limits to clean may result in muscle soreness for the days that follow. In some cases, this soreness may be so severe that someone may be unable to get out of bed and have trouble engaging in other activities of daily living such as dressing or bathing.

A better solution is to focus on cleaning one room at a time, then re-evaluating if you still have the strength to continue with a different area.

If you are experiencing fatigue after tidying one room, you can either rest and try to clean more later or continue from where you left off on another day.

Essentially, it is important to listen to your body as it will tell you how much energy you have, pain you can tolerate, and how much work can be done. Do not clean until you have fully exhausted all your energy reserves and can barely stand.

  1. Focus on cleaning highly frequented areas – skip things that can be put off

One way to make it appear that a lot of cleaning has been accomplished is by focusing on areas of the home that are highly used and skip non-essential areas.

For example, if you have an extra bedroom that is not occupied, it can be cleaned less frequently and skipped on days when one is feeling unwell. 

Similarly, you can pass on making the bed every morning if energy levels are low or experiencing an arthritis flare.

It is not essential to make a messy bed when having an arthritis flare.
  1. Let cleaning solutions work for you – use chemicals to dissolve and breakdown messes

Instead of scrubbing surfaces, which can be very demanding on the joints, it is better to use chemicals that can dissolve and breakdown messes. 

When experiencing an arthritis attack, it is better to allow time for chemicals in the cleaning solutions to act and make it easier to wipe surfaces. This reduces the need for scrubbing and will place lower stress on your joints, which can make cleaning less painful.

TIP: Scrubbing bubbles is one brand of bathroom cleaning products that can help remove shower mildew and scum.

Similarly, dissolvable dishwasher pods and tablets can help leave glassware and dishes sparkling clean by removing tough food stains, grease, and baked on food. This reduces the need for scrubbing dishes prior to placing them in the machine.

  1. Use easy to handle packaging – frustration free packaging is easier on the fingers

Arthritic fingers may have difficulty with manipulating and applying the strength needed during fine motor tasks. This can make it hard to open plastic packaging or child protective seals on cleaning products.

A good alternative is to explore products that have frustration free packaging that are easy to open and ready to use. 

Alternatively, you can also have someone remove the cleaning product from its original packaging and have it transferred into a container that is more arthritis friendly.

CAUTION: Always store and keep cleaning products away from children and vulnerable individuals.

  1. Clean messes when they are fresh – do not let messes dry up and become harder to scrub

When messes are still fresh, they are easier to clean. As an example, less scrubbing is needed before food dries on dishes and utensils.

If one does not have the energy to clean dishes right away after preparing or eating a meal, they can be soaked in water to make dry stuck on food easier to remove at a later time.

Furthermore, cleaning messes as they are made prevents them from piling up. This makes cleaning seem less daunting when there is less to do at a later point in time.

  1. Tidy up throughout the day – when leaving a room, take two things with you 

A good piece of advice that helps with tidying up is to pick up two things every time you leave a room. This can involve taking items to the garbage bin or placing something away in the drawer.

Following this strategy will reduce the need for massive cleanup days, which often leave people exhausted from the amount of work needed to clean everything.

If you are organizing and cleaning in small amounts constantly throughout the day, things will not pile up and rooms will be more tidy.