One of these weeks, you should keep track of how many hours you spend cleaning. Is it more or less than your roommate? Than your partner? Parents or siblings? Do all of you do the same things when you clean, or do you focus on different parts of the house? 

In a recent study conducted by the American Cleaning Institute, Americans reported spending approximately six hours a week on average cleaning their homes, with more than a quarter (28%) spending over seven hours tidying up.  However, roughly a third of us are concerned if it’s enough and if we’re cleaning correctly, according to the survey.

“Whether we deep-clean periodically or do more frequent light cleaning, what’s most important is that we keep our families safer and healthier by removing germs, dirt and allergens that can build up,” said ACI’s Vice President of Communication Brian Sansoni.

Our most regularly cleaned fixtures (and the most dreaded by 52% of the population) are toilets and floors, particularly in houses with three or more people. Appliances, faucets, carpets, and rugs round out the list of routinely cleaned areas of the home, though among millennials, electronic devices like phones, tablets, and laptops ranked higher.

Besides hating the task of cleaning the bathroom (52%), we dread cleaning the kitchen (23%), dusting, (21%)  followed by kitchen cleaning (23%), dusting (21%), mopping (20%), and doing laundry (17%). 

With all this dread, how do we know if we're cleaning as much as we should be? Unsurprisingly, what matters most is not how many hours we spend cleaning but how thorough we are. To that end, ACI says to prioritize your cleaning to-do list like this:

Bathroom: Disinfect toilet bowls, sinks, tubs and showers

Kitchen: Clean cutting boards, countertops and dishes

Laundry: Wash sheets, towels and bathmats (weekly)

Floors: Vacuum carpets and mop floors to reduce asthma and allergy triggers

In addition, ACI points out that cleaning time can be cut way down if you get in the habit of doing these simple things:

• Keep clutter to a minimum. That allows for fewer places for dust and allergens to accumulate (and less need to dust/vacuum)

• Avoid spreading dirt and germs around the house by washing your hands and wiping your shoes as soon as you get home.

• Wipe down and dry kitchen and bathroom counters to reduce mold and mildew.

• Promptly clean up crumbs and wipe up spills.

• Treat spots and stains on clothing as soon as they occur (even if you don't plan on doing laundry for another few days).

Check out ACI’s blog Clean and Happy Nest for more clever ways to simplify your cleaning routine.