Household chores

Here are some tips to help you manage household chores so that tasks such as washing up, vacuuming, and cleaning surfaces, are simpler and quicker.

On this page

Hints and tips 

When doing housework, you can use a range of general skills and strategies that you’ll also find helpful in other situations, including:

  • Visual strategies and systematic search techniques to check whether a surface is clean or to find something in the room. 
  • If you’re trying to find an item, keep your hands close to the surface to reduce the chance of knocking things over.
  • Be mindful of trip hazards. As you walk around your home, think about safety. For example, is the corner edge of the rug upturned or are there any trailing cables that you could potentially trip over?
  • Colour and contrast, for example having a dark cloth on a white table top or using white furniture polish on a brown table (and then using a systematic approach to clean it off).
  • You might also consider using sighted support from an app such as Be My Eyes. Using this app, the sighted volunteer could let you know if you’ve missed an area or if there is anything else you need to do.

Vacuuming and cleaning floors

Organising and knowing the room layout is key to being able to successfully clean the floors. These suggestions may help:

  • If you want to check for smaller dropped items before vacuuming, such as an earring, toys and keys, place a thin sock or stocking over the end of the vacuum cleaner attachment. Turn the vacuum on and then as you move around, the small item should attach to the sock or stocking.
  • Move furniture before beginning to vacuum.
  • Be systematic; move from one end of the room to the other and use items of furniture to help identify where you are.
  • Divide areas of the room into smaller parts.
  • Clean around the edges first, going around clockwise or anti-clockwise.
  • Research and find the type of vacuum which suits you; a cordless lightweight vacuum cleaner may feel more comfortable and as there’s no cord, there’s nothing to trip over.
  • Adding tactile markers to equipment, such as the vacuum cleaner, will help you identify the various settings.
  • If you have some remaining vision, you may find it helpful to use a brightly coloured vacuum or mop. Alternatively, you could place some brightly coloured tape along the edge of the vacuum or mop, so that you can more easily track its movement across the floor.
Our blind hack for finding small objects using your vacuum and a pair of tights!
Don’t believe anyone who says you can’t hoover! You need a systematic approach using furniture as landmarks and moving section by section.
Andrea, guide dog owner

Washing up

Organising the space around you can help you to wash up more efficiently. 

  • Keep your washing up liquid, sponge and cloth in a set place; you may find a kitchen caddy/organiser helpful.
  • Keep a small bin caddy near to the sink so that you can scrape leftover food into it rather than having to go to the bin.
  • A dish rack may help you to safely stack the dishes next to the sink.
  • Always think about your safety before plunging your hands into the sink. Before you fill it with water, make sure it’s clean and check there are no sharp knives in it; lightly complete a systematic search all around the sink.
  • If you’re living with others, remind them not to leave sharp knives/utensils in the sink.
  • If you’re unsure how deep to fill the sink, a good guide is to place your fingers at the bottom of the sink and fill the water up to your wrist.
  • Be methodical – wash glasses first (keeping these in a separate area if you can), cutlery next, then move onto the heavier items which have the most food debris on.
  • Use your hands to feel the debris; run your fingertips over plates and dishes to check for cleanliness.
  • Before placing items you’ve washed on either the drying rack or draining board, check by feeling the space available that the items will fit.
  • Place one item at a time, rather than filling the sink with every item.
  • If you have any remaining vision, you could use crockery in a contrasting colour – for example, a darker plate may show up better than a light-coloured plate.

Dishwasher loading and unloading

Here are some tips for loading and unloading the dishwasher safely and more easily:

  • When bending down to load/unload, always use upper body protection and be mindful of the cutlery sticking upwards.
  • Work methodically – loading starting from the back of dishwasher and unloading from the front – so that you’re less likely to knock items over.
  • Pull out and unload the bottom drawer first so that residual water from the top doesn't drop onto the items at the bottom.
  • Always load knives and forks in the basket with point side DOWN to prevent cuts or pokes.
  • Always close the dishwasher fully to prevent trips or bruised shins. And remind family members to do the same!
  • If you find the settings on your dishwasher complicated to follow and identify without help, place a tactile marking such as a bump-on or use Tacti-mark. Read more information about both of these handy items in our guide for labelling and organising everyday items.

Cleaning and polishing surfaces

You may like to try using what's known as a ‘wiping pattern’. We’ve given a suggested way to clean kitchen worktops as an example below. You then can develop a pattern that you follow for each surface area of your home. Also, remove table top or work surface items before cleaning, polishing or dusting.

Clear up immediately if there’s been a spill or you drop something. Don’t be offended if someone tells you that you’ve missed a spot.
Ruby, guide dog owner

Organising your bedroom

  • Try to keep the space in your bedroom organised, it will make it easier for you to find things and to move around safely.

  • Try to keep the room free of clutter and, if you’re sharing the room, ask the family member not to leave out sharp objects or electrical equipment, such as a hairdryer, with the cord lying on the floor.
  • Consider texture, as this can help you find your way around. For example, a rug on a wooden floor might tell you that you’re approaching your bed.
  • If you have some useful remaining vision, think about how contrast and lighting might help.