Cleaning Tips to Make FM Life Easier

Cleaning Tips to Make FM Life Easier

Through the Fog
I am very fortunate that my husband does most of the cleaning around the house. But I know many of us may not have that option. Sometimes we need to adjust our standards so we don’t overextend ourselves. We may have to try to let go of any lingering perfectionism, as fibromyalgia leaves us little choice in that regard. Fibromyalgia pain also can make it difficult to tend to household cleaning.

Here are a few ideas to help make cleaning a little easier with FM:

Ask for help: When asking your spouse or children for help around the house it is likely you will need to accept less than what you might normally deem as clean and neat. You can ask younger children for help with household chores. There are lots of websites that list age-appropriate chores; here’s one example, which provides a printable chart broken down by age groups.

Go at your own pace: You could try doing one chore or household duty per day, and write it on your calendar or in your planner so you don’t forget what you have done. Try that for one month and make note of what worked well, and what may need some tweaking. The next month you can change your chore schedule, if needed, and revise your plan for the month.

Make accommodations for yourself: I have very weak leg muscles so I can’t bend down too far, and I definitely can’t get down on my hands and knees, as I can’t get back up without assistance. If I was doing all the cleaning, I would use a low stool to sit on to clean lower areas like the outside of the toilet, or lower cabinets and drawers.

Find ways to avoid bending: In an effort to avoid bending down to clean your shower or tub, you could use a sponge mop to scrub either clean. Next, wet the mop and spray some cleaner on the tub/shower. Use your wet mop to scrub the shower or tub area clean. If you have a detachable sprayer, you can use that to rinse off any remaining residue. If you do not have a detachable sprayer, a bucket or cup filled with water also could be used to remove any remaining cleaner or grime.

• Clean one room at a time: I usually like focusing on one room at a time for most cleaning. I look around the room and see what needs the most attention and do that first. It might mean breaking that down into smaller steps, but that’s okay. If I have a closet, dresser or book shelves, I just clean them one drawer or shelf at a time. I set a timer for five minutes and then I stop. I take as long of a break as my FM requires, and then if energy allows, I’ll set the timer for another five minutes and keep cleaning.

• Make a schedule: Go room to room and write down everything that needs to be done in that room daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. Do your best to not feel overwhelmed. Get help if you’re able, especially with larger chores that need to be done only monthly or yearly, such as cleaning windows.

If you will be doing the majority of your household cleaning, you will need to set more realistic standards for yourself and do it all in baby steps. Keep a routine, but keep it flexible. If something doesn’t get done this week, or this month, the world won’t come to an end. Only you can decide which rooms or chores are a priority.

If you have any tips that work well for you, please share them in the comments so we all may benefit.


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Susan says:

    I live in a very small flat.. I only carpeted the living room, so when I need to vacuum, I can actually sit on the couch and vacuum most of the carpet: to do the bits I can’t reach from there, I can either just stand to do it, if I’m up to that: or I’ll move the piano seat out and sit on that while I do it. I have a feather duster with a long handle, so dusting is easier: I don’t have to hold my arms above my head when dusting the light fittings or ceilings. If I just want to give the tiles in the kitchen, hall and bathroom a quick clean, rather than try to mop them, I tie a cloth around the head of my broom, dampen it with a cleaning spray, and use it to ‘sweep’.. it cleans up any dust and crumbs without the fuss of mops and buckets: it’s lighter than my mop: and I don’t have to bend or stoop.. I can also clean skirting boards like this instead of trying to get down on hands and knees. I have been known to vacuum crumbs and things from my kitchen counter if I have the machine out (sometimes the smell of the cleaning chemicals in the wipes/sprays can trigger a flare headache) I’m always looking for ways to make it easier for me to do my chores: I live alone, so no help. The best advice I can offer though is what was said to me, and that is that if it doesn’t get done today, it will still be there tomorrow. I had to learn to stop stressing and berating myself if I couldn’t do everything at once.. now I pace myself: one of two tasks a day, and plenty of resting if I need it. And shortcuts if I can find them!

  2. Saundra says:

    Arm and Hammer has a product that is a powder for shaking on the carpet. The pet one helps release the pet hair from the carpet and has a simple neutral smell (unlike the others). It makes tackling the pet hair a little better.

  3. Janice says:

    Ladies, don’t use anything with any kind of perfume smell to it. Use plain old baking soda on your carpet and not the Arm and Hammer (check A&H ingredients as this is not recommended due to inhalation plus your pet is inhaling it more than humans and licking it off their hair), use it in your sink, toilets and tubs (if not acrylic).

    I have a motto: I do what I can, when I can and how I can.

  4. Janice says:

    One other suggestion, not so much on cleaning but on water. Stay away from chlorinated water! Use a shower filter specifically designed to filter OUT chlorine, not just the smell of chlorine. Drink reverse osmosis water (not Brita) and not spring water; spring water does not rehydrate. I developed chemical sensitivities and chlorine is a major culprit. I drink the reverse osmosis and use spring water to wash my face and brush my teeth, plus the shower filter. I also use 1tsp of powdered ascorbic acid in the rinse cycle for my bed linens and towels/faceclothes, it neutralizes the water. Otherwise, chlorine allergy is severe. You become delirious, dehydrated, GI/sick, overall very sick.

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