Keeping your living space clean and tidy can be challenging if you’re visually impaired or have a disability. Cleaning requires a fair amount of energy and time, and finding the right tools and tricks to keep your environment safe and clean can require a bit of trial and error. Fortunately, there are a few good cleaning hacks for disabled people that can simplify household chores.
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There are obviously many different types of disabilities and one could get very granular for each particular situation. This blog article is geared to general orientation and inspiration, with a focus on mobility and visual impairment. Let’s run through some of the best tips to help you make the cleaning process less overwhelming.
Table of Contents
- The Challenges of Household Maintenance for Folks with Disabilities
- Keep Your Cleaning Supplies Organised
- Multi-Use Your Dishwasher
- Invest in a Cordless Hoover or Robot Vacuum
- Use a Long-Handled Mop
- Get Your Grabber Game On
- Enlist Help When You Need It
- Other Considerations
The Challenges of Household Maintenance for Folks with Disabilities
Depending on your disability, whether you’re visually impaired or use a wheelchair, some of the more common chores you might find challenging can include dusting, laundry, hoovering, mopping, or anything requiring simultaneous grabbing, holding and moving.
These chores can be tricky for disabled people for a number of reasons. For starters, many of these tasks require a certain level of mobility and strength that some disabled people simply don’t have. Tasks like dusting or vacuuming can also be difficult to navigate when you use a wheelchair, for example.
Additionally, some disabled folks may not yet have access to the necessary tools and equipment to do these tasks. Adjustable countertops and tables, special cleaning utensils, or ergonomic tools can be pricey. Some people with disabilities may also find it more difficult to concentrate on cleaning tasks due to physical or mental health issues. These can range from fatigue and chronic pain, to depression or anxiety. All of these factors can make cleaning and household chores particularly challenging.
Keep Your Cleaning Supplies Organised
Whether you’re disabled or not, keeping things organised at home is super helpful and this holds for cleaning, too. Organise your cleaning supplies so that you know where everything is located. The best way to do this is by category for tasks. For example, keep all your bathroom cleaning supplies corralled in a cleaning caddy. Or keep all your dusting utensils together in an organiser with handle so you can carry it around the house with you. If you use a wheelchair, you might find a wheeled cart very helpful.
Use Bright Colours or Braille Labels
If you have difficulty with your eyesight, using visual cues such as different bright colours or patterns can make it easier to find what you need quickly. You can also use a label maker to stick labels with giant fonts on your supplies so that you can read them. I’m not visually impaired myself, but even I do this because I can’t read a darn thing on those bottles even with my glasses on!
There are also a number of Braille label makers on the market. By creating labels and attaching them to organised cubbies, drawers, shelves and caddies, you can ensure that you’re always grabbing the right kit for your task at hand.
More and more cleaning supply manufacturers are moving towards scentless products these days due to the general rise in allergies. So a label maker might be the way to go if find you can no longer rely on scent alone to distinguish which cleaning products are which.
Multi-Use Your Dishwasher
A dishwasher is a handy appliance that makes cleaning up after meals much easier. But did you know that dishwashers can be used for more than just washing dishes? Here are a few other uses for a dishwasher:
Garden tools: If you want to clean your plant tools and pots quickly and easily, put them in the dishwasher. They’ll come out bright and clean again.
Sanitising sponges: Sponges get smelly and load up with bacteria. Pop them on the top rack of your dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.
Bathroom utensils: Your toothbrush holder, plastic brush and comb, menstrual cup, and soap dish all come out nice and clean after a run through the dishwasher.
Toys and sports gear: If they’re dishwasher-safe, pop them in. They’ll come out germ-free and clean.
So if you have a dishwasher, don’t just use it for dishes – get creative and find other uses for it!
Invest in a Cordless Hoover or Robot Vacuum
Cordless vacuums have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason. They offer a convenient and easy way to clean your floors without the hassle of a cord. This is especially beneficial for people with disabilities who may find using a traditional hoover to be difficult or even impossible.
A cordless vacuum can be used with ease and is lightweight, making it easier to maneuver. It also offers you greater freedom of movement, allowing you to reach areas of your home that may be difficult to reach with a regular vacuum. And if you’re visually impaired, you don’t have to worry about tripping over the cord.
Additionally, cordless hoovers are often quieter than their traditional counterparts, making them ideal for people with noise sensitivity. And because they’re more affordable nowadays, they’re an attractive option for folks on a budget. All in all, cordless vacuums offer many advantages that make them a great choice.
I can wholeheartedly recommend Dyson. I used a Dyson Animal for over ten years back when my dog was still alive. It never gave me any trouble and never needed repair until the day it died. I bought a Miele after that, which is okay, but just not in the same league. The next time I need a new hoover, it’s back to Dyson for me.
Another great option to keep your floors clean is a robot vacuum such as iRobot. The newer models have WiFi and can even be controlled from a smart device. This makes them easy to manage for people who use wheelchairs. The only caveat here is that they do need to be regularly emptied and cleaned themselves. Hair, for example, tends to get tangled up in them. This maintenance might be something you need to ask someone to help you with.
Use a Long-Handled Mop
Another basic task that can be challenging is mopping the floor. This is where a mop with a long handle comes in. If you sit in a wheelchair, for example, it allows you to reach a wider areal of the floor from a seated position, eliminating any need to bend over. This makes it far easier and more comfortable to wipe the floor.
A mop with a long handle can also usually be adjusted to the height of the user. Ultimately, these gadgets are easier to maneuver, making it simpler to get to hard-to-reach places like corners and nooks. All in all, a long-handled mop is a good tool to have in your cleaning arsenal if you’re looking for a comfortable way to mop the floor.
Get Your Grabber Game On
Grabber tools are invaluable for disabled people who need help picking up items that are out of reach. A grabber has a handle and a claw-like grip at the end of a long pole. This makes it simpler to reach and grab items without having to bend over, reach up, or strain your back. Some grabber tools also come with interchangeable heads or adjustable pole lengths so you can pick one best suited to your needs.
Enlist Help When You Need It
If you’re finding a particular task overly strenuous or just downright impossible, don’t overdo it. Ask a family member, neighbour or caregiver to give you a hand or do it for you.
Cleaning can be physically and mentally taxing for anyone. If you live with a disability though, it’s all the more important not to over-exert yourself with chores.
Even when you live independently with your disability, there may come a time when you need the help of others to complete certain household chores. Many people find it difficult asking for help. There’s a certain amount of pride involved in being able to take care of oneself. However, it is important to remember that this doesn’t make you any less capable or less independent.
Asking for help can prevent injury and simply take a burden off your shoulders, so don’t feel shy about it. If you have no friends or family nearby, ask your health insurer or social services about available options for sporadic household help.
This post doesn’t attempt to cover the scope of all the different types of disabilities people have. Your particular situation might be very different depending on your mobility and strength, as well as your general health.
Cleaning is a chore for everyone, but it can present heightened challenges for people with mobility disabilities and individuals with visual impairments. Finding the tools that work for you and refining your personal tidying routine can make it easier to keep up with household chores so you can enjoy a clean and comfortable space.
Do you live with a disability? I’d love to hear what your favourite cleaning tip is in the comments below!