Cleaning tips & tools for people with limited mobility and chronic pain

Cleaning expert Melissa Maker shares her tips and tricks for cleaning with mobility issues.

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We all strive for a clean home, but physical limitations and chronic pain can make this challenging or feel near impossible. Whether it’s due to restricted movement, exhaustion, migraines, arthritis, or something else, here are helpful cleaning tips and tools to make cleaning easier on your body. Remember to always consult your healthcare team to ensure safe practices.

Reconsider your expectations 

When I dislocated my shoulder in 2020, I had to reconsider the way I cleaned and maintained my house. There were tasks I simply could not do, and I had to readjust my expectations and give myself leeway. It is a humbling experience to lose mobility – temporarily or permanently – and this is part of the acceptance process. It was an inside job and not an easy one.

Satellite cleaning kits 

When movement is limited, having to walk from the bathroom to the kitchen, and then back, simply to retrieve a cleaning product can be a hassle, the same goes for carrying heavy items such as bottles of product. Having small satellite cleaning stations around your house will allow you to clean as you go with additional steps to keep your place clean.

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Your appliances can help you

If you have a dishwasher and/or a washing machine, you can utilize the cleaning power of these appliances to clean much more than just dishes or clothing. Get delicates bags and place smaller items like shoes (think: rubber sandals, Crocs, canvas, and nylon shoes) in the washing machine. If using the dishwasher, place items like hairbrushes (take the hair out first), bathroom accessories like soap dishes and toothbrush holders, kids’ toys made from hard plastic without batteries, certain types of pet toys, as well as pet bowls.

Pace the work

If you deal with chronic pain and/or exhaustion, you need to pace yourself so that you aren’t overdoing it. You might clean the sink one day, the counter the next, and the floor—or a small section of it—the day after. Get a sense of how long you can work and what tasks you can manage before burning out, and then break down your tasks accordingly.


Clutter makes any cleaning more difficult—more things to move, more things to clean. Declutter as much as you can. Ask for help moving larger items, but remember that living with less makes life easier.

Ask for help

If professional cleaning services aren’t an option for you, consider asking family or friends for help. There’s no shame in seeking assistance, especially for something like cleaning. You can make it a social get-together that also involves a little tidying up. You might be surprised at what you can achieve if you just ask. Additionally, you can do a quick Google search to see if you qualify for government assistance. While searching for these programs can be time-consuming, the results—a paid aide—seem worth the effort.

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Tools to help


Use a rolling cart to store and move your cleaning tools and supplies. Rather than having to carry items around, place all items in a rolling cart and move them as needed so that you have all the items with you. This is also a great way to keep organized.


A grabber can save your back from painful “bend-overs” all around the house, help you reach things, and make tidying up easier. Avoiding bending is one of the first things an occupational therapist will recommend to someone with mobility issues, and the grabber helps with both upward and downward movement.
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These are useful for folks who find the repetitive motion of squeezing difficult. When the trigger is squeezed, it lets out an elongated spray which reduces the squeezing you need to do. It allows more coverage of surface area which can help disperse the product effectively and do its work so you don’t have to work as hard.
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Use an electric scrubber to tackle heavy cleaning tasks for you, and thanks to the longer pole, you can easily reach higher and lower areas. It’s perfect for tubs, tiles, baseboards, floors, and more. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, consider a ‘sponge on a stick.’ While this requires manual scrubbing, you still get the benefit of an extendable pole that allows you to reach high and low.


Vacuums are lighter than ever before, battery life is amazing, and the cleaning tech is on your side, so it’s a good idea to invest in a good vacuum. Look for one with a push-button function and find ones that make replacing tools and heads simple. The Dyson Omni is my go-to.


If you have arthritis or limited movement in your hands, removing and replacing tools can be harder. A robot vacuum can roam your floors and do the work for you; just be aware they may not be as thorough as a cordless vacuum and require more emptying on a regular basis.
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Melissa Maker is a cleaning expert, author, and host of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube with over 2.1 million subscribers. Her tips and videos are seen worldwide and she helps people like her find faster, easier and better ways to clean in the least amount of time.

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