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Automating Household Chores and Cleaning: Where to Start

Last Updated Jun 2, 2022
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Chores. Cleaning. Yardwork. Something we all have had to do and none of us enjoy. House cleaning and upkeep are necessities of life we just can’t get away from unless you are fortunate enough to have a full-time maid. We are going to assume the majority of us do not have that luxury.

You should first look at how much time you spend doing chores and if they’re worth automating to know where to start automating house cleaning. Devices that automate home chores won’t completely lift the burden but will allow you to keep your home tidier and improve your quality of life. 

The average person will spend, on the low end, about an hour cleaning a day. In most households, that daily hour is all pushed to the weekend, when we go on cleaning marathons. And according to the clean experts, we probably aren’t even cleaning enough… Awesome.

How to Automate Household Chores

There are solutions out there to help. Smart options that you can automate and control from anywhere, like from the couch. If you are already utilizing any smart home devices, this will be right up your alley. If you’re the type that’s always on the go and don’t have time to keep your place in shipshape condition, automating some of your daily chores might be a necessity.

The following household chores are the easiest to start with automating:

  1. Vacuuming
  2. Mopping
  3. Pet care, such as feeding and cleaning up after them
  4. Outdoor tasks such as lawn mowing and watering the lawn
  5. Window cleaning

Where you decide to start automating household chores is entirely up to you. You should consider which chores you dislike doing the most and ones that take up the most time to figure out where to start. Keep on reading to learn how to automate house cleaning and chores to make your life much easier.

Vacuuming

When people think of smart cleaning devices, number one on the list is always the vacuum. Cleaning experts recommend sweeping or vacuuming regularly, so it makes sense that cleaning floors were one of the smart cleaning spaces entered.

When these first hit the market, they were rough. They looked cool, and the concept was on point, but functionally, they were not good at the job. Like if you gave a toddler a handheld vacuum and told them to clean the kitchen floors. It’s probably not going to go well.

We have all heard of Roomba. They are the industry leader for sure and have the most name recognition. Even though they weren’t the first robot vacuum, they have easily been the most popular. Roomba also works with Alexa, so you don’t even need to lift your phone to get Roomba to do its job.

With more competition in the space now, smart robot vacuums have really stepped their game up. If this is all new to you, it may be confusing with so many options and functionality available.

Here are some things to look for and know before purchasing a smart robotic vacuum:

roborock  robot vacuum
  • WiFi connected. If you want to add a vacuum to your connected home, you will need a WiFi device. Many of the vacuums are coming out with these, making cleaning more automated. You also want to make sure it fits in with your home’s smart ecosystem, such as with Alexa or Google Home.
  • Mapping sensors/lasers. The laser sensor lets the vacuum map out your home before or while it cleans.
  • Camera mapping. Camera mapping relies on what it can see. These are issues in low light areas. The camera mapping can lead to missed spots as well.
  • Wheel size. If you have hard floors and carpets, you will want to make sure the vacuum can clear and work on both. If you have shag carpet, be sure it can handle that.
  • Noise level. Some vacuums are louder than others. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer my vacuum to be as quiet as possible, especially at night.
  • Voice Control. Does it offer compatibility with your voice assistant? Alexa, clean the floors.
  • Zone cleaning. Zones allow you to segment your home. With zoning, you can have the vacuum clean specific house areas.
  • Dustbin size. You might have to change the dustbin often if it is not big enough. Some even offer self-emptying dustbins, like the Roomba i7, but it will cost you.
  • Cliff sensors. If you have stairs, you will want to ensure the cliff sensors keep it from tumbling down.
  • Cleaning history. It gives you the ability to see when and where your vacuum has cleaned.
  • No-go zones. These are areas you don’t want the vacuum to go, like a virtual wall. Some use physical barriers or tape, and some can be mapped from the app.
  • Rounded or square edges. A benefit of having some square edges is that it can easily get along the walls and corners.
  • Battery life. This is important if you have a larger house. Most robot vacuums have batteries that last about 2-2.5 hours. Most will know when they are running low and will return to their port to charge.
  • Budget. These can get expensive. If you are looking for all of the bells and whistles but don’t want to spend a fortune, you may be out of luck.

If you want a house that looks clean at all times, get a robotic vacuum. They are life-changing and have significantly improved since their inception. Some are pretty pricey, but a solid choice that is highly regarded is the Roborock S5. It even offers mopping, which we will talk about next!

Mopping

So now your floors are spotless from your new smart robotic vacuum. All you need is its little brother, the smart mop, to come and shine them up real nice. This is assuming you have some hardwood or tile floors. 

Some robot vacuums will also have the ability to mop with attachable cleaning pads and water tanks.

You will want to look for many of the same things in a robot mop as you did with your vacuum. There are a few other things you are going to want to check for when looking at robot mops:

  • Pads. How many pads does it come with, and what are they for. Some are better with different scenarios. Some also have reusable pads, so you don’t have to worry about creating more garbage.
  • Spray. Does it spray to keep the pads moist? You don’t want it to dry out while in the middle of cleaning.

Because so many vacuums are coming out with dual capabilities, it might be best to find a good vacuum that does both. If you are set on having a dedicated mop that is actually built for mopping full-time, check out the Braava Jet 240. It has consistently good reviews and gets the job done.

Pet Care

Does feeding your fur babies and cleaning up after them count as a chore? We’re gonna say yes. For some of us, it is easy to forget, and when we do, we feel like the worst type of person. So let’s take it to the next level and automate them!

Pet Feeders

Smart Pet feeders give you the ability to feed your pets from anywhere. Some even have built-in cameras that allow you to check in on them when you’re not home.

When looking at automatic pet feeders, consider if you have a larger dog who eats more; make sure the bowl will be large enough for a full meal. Some of these feeders have been known to jam with larger food bits, so check the reviews to make sure it can handle your pet’s food.

Some pet feeders offer schedules, portion control, and other cool ways to help monitor your pet’s nutrition. The WOPET Smart Feeder is a pretty solid choice, and it can integrate into your existing smart home. It doesn’t have a camera, but there are workarounds if it’s a must-have.

Litter Boxes

One of the most dreaded chores for a cat owner is cleaning the litter box. It is such a fickle task that even forgetting to scoop one day can cause a cat to act up. Automate cleaning a litter box with a self-cleaning litter box. The most you’ll have to do for any model is empty out the litter pan and refresh the litter every couple of weeks.

Keep in mind the rules for the number of litter boxes in your home, one box per cat plus an additional box. Having a self-cleaning box will not mitigate this.

You have a variety of options when it comes to self-cleaning litter boxes. You can have something as simple as the Litter Maid Box or as high-tech as the Litter-Robot, which can be controlled from an app on your phone.

Lawn Mowers

What is everyone’s favorite spring and summertime activity? We’re almost sure no one said mowing the lawn. Yeah, it may be a nice chore very occasionally, but we all have other stuff we would rather be doing outside. Why not automate it? 

Smart lawn mowers work a lot like smart vacuums, where they take care of most of the work for you. We say most because they aren’t the best at getting those edge lines perfectly straight. You will have to do a little touch-up once in a while, but these mowers will take care of about 90% of the job. You can work on the edges while your smart mower takes on the difficult job.

There are some downfalls with these mowers. They are not quick, and like a smart vacuum, it will often be cutting. But don’t worry, these things are quiet. You won’t be dealing with loud mower noises all the time.

They do get pretty expensive, so be prepared to fork over a bit more than you would be getting a new push mower or riding mower. A smart mower will also require an outlet for its charging dock so it can charge when its batteries run low. Be prepared to have it as a permanent fixture in your garden area.

The other side to that is your neighbors will be pretty jealous of your cool new tech.

Depending on the model you decide to go with, you may still have cut that grass one more time. The more affordable models are better for maintaining grass that has already been cut once. The more expensive big brother lawn mowers can tackle grass much higher. It’s just gonna cost you as much as a cheap car.

What to look for in a smart mower:

  • You are going to want to make sure the mower can handle your yard’s size and complexity. If you have a larger yard with ponds and gardens, you will need a mower that can handle the size and navigate around the garden. Sometimes navigation requires you to bury some wires, not mark off no-go zones.
  • If you have some hills in your yard, make sure the mower can get up and over them. Check the maximum slope to make sure there won’t be any problems with it getting around your hilly yard.
  • Maximum and minimum cutting height. If you like your grass cut super short, make sure the mower you grow with can accommodate. Same for those who prefer their grass to be a little longer.
  • Rain sensors. If you prefer the mower not to cut when it senses rain, be sure to look for this feature. You can disable it from the app, and if it is raining, it will stay put.
  • Noise level. Most of these are extremely quiet, but some more than others. These are not as loud as push mowers or even electric mowers. But the least noise it makes, the better.
  • Battery Life. This is more for the larger yards. Although not a huge deal, it would be nice to get the entire lawn cut from one charge.
  • Security features. Since these will just be hanging out in the yard at all times, theft is always a possibility. Some mowers have anti-theft deterrents or flat-out refuse to work without the right code. Some even have alarms built into them.

Voice activation is available with a lot of smart mowers. Just ask Alexa to cut the grass, and it’s done, no back talk. Now they recommend you keep these away from kids and pets, but there really isn’t much it would do if it ever came into contact with anyone. They have a lot of safety precautions built into them.

Husqvarna has a wonderful line of automated lawn mowers that will take care of your lawn, as long as it’s no bigger than three-quarters an acre. Be prepared to spend as much as some people spend on their kid’s first car.

Window Cleaning

HOBOT-198 Glass and Window Cleaning Automatic Robot

We’re gonna assume everyone reading this has at least one window in their home. When was the last time you washed them? Windows aren’t exactly the highest priority for cleaning.

And for those of you with those really tall windows, you either have to pay someone or get on a ladder to get them all. This is where automatic window cleaning comes into play.

Smart window cleaners take care of a task most of us probably don’t do and save a lot of time for those who actually regularly wash windows.

You will want to make sure the window cleaner you choose can support your window’s thickness. This won’t be an issue for most. The smart window cleaner market is pretty light right now. If you are going to go with one, check out the Hobot 198. This is their second iteration, and they have figured the game out pretty well.

Watering the Lawn

To fully automate this task, you’re going to need two things. 1. A yard and 2. An existing irrigation system in that yard. Like most, you are controlling your existing watering system from an old school box with buttons in the garage. Yes, you probably have schedules set and maybe a few zones, but that’s where it starts.

Smart watering systems give you that and so much more. Control the system from your phone or use your voice—Alexa, water the lawn for 15 minutes.

With weather updates, your irrigation system will know how much rain has fallen and update the schedule accordingly with weather updates. Monitor when each zone you have set up was watered right from an app. Add what type of yard or garden you have and let a smart sprinkler water them perfectly.

In this space, the clear winner is Rachio. Extremely easy installation and works with the wiring from most existing systems.

So is Any Of It Worth It?

Yes, yes, a million times. Yeah, some of this stuff is a bit pricey, but nothing compares to saving time on menial tasks and doing something better, like spending time with family or friends. If you are in a position to purchase anything listed above, we highly recommend it.

You may never have to do some of these tasks like watering the lawn or cutting the grass. But some we all should be doing at the very least weekly, like vacuuming. Why not get an assistant robot to take care of it for you?

And it doesn’t stop with what’s listed above. You still have automatic pool cleaners, air purifiers, pet treat dispensers, gutter cleaners, etc.

So much cleaning power is all being controlled from your phone!

Pretty soon, we won’t have to do much cleaning at all. But it will be exciting when we can automate the whole laundry process. Like really, really exciting!

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