Dust off your Echo — 5 ways Alexa can help your spring cleaning

Echo Dot with Clock review
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I spent this past weekend spring cleaning my apartment with some help from my bestie Alexa. Amazon's smart assistant is one of my most essential everyday tools. I keep an Echo in every room to control the best smart home devices, act as an intercom to talk to my family, and remind me of tasks such as taking the trash bins out to the street on Sunday and Wednesday nights.

My Echo Dot ($49, Amazon) is indispensable when it comes to cleaning. Most people simply use their smart speaker to play music while they clean. Some might even use them to control the best smart lights. However, Echo smart speakers and smart displays are capable of so much more. Here's 5 ways how a smart assistant can help you be more efficient and make your chores more convenient.

Create an Alexa cleaning routine

When it's time to kick off a deep cleaning session, I simply say "Alexa, clean" to my nearest Echo. This phrase triggers a routine I built in the Alexa app to focus on the task at hand. First, it turns off both my Roku TVs, enables Do Not Disturb, plays a specific Spotify music playlist, and ends by sending out my Shark IQ robot vacuum. I find that this helps me lock in when the cleaning bug bites and pushes the overall thoroughness to the next level.

You can use my routine as a blueprint to get started but you can do a lot more than that. If you have smart blinds they can open up to let in some sun. Or if you get hot cleaning, you can have your smart thermostat automatically kick on the A/C. There are endless possibilities if you're creative enough and have a handful of connected devices around your smart home. 

Robot vacuum deals

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Set reminders & timers to work in blocks

Speaking of saving time, I use my Alexa to keep track of it. You can set up daily, weekly, or monthly reminders. For example, you can say "Alexa, remind me to unload the dishwasher every day at 5:30 p.m." or "Alexa, remind me to take the trash out at 9 p.m. tomorrow." You can also add tasks to a To-do list to manage them and check them off as they're completed.

My ADHD brain is at its best when I use the Pomodoro time technique to get work done. I use Alexa to set a 25-minute focus timer followed by 5 minutes off to break and gather my thoughts. This breaks tasks into shorter, more manageable chunks so I can see the progress of putting clothes away or mopping one-half of the floor. Try saying “Alexa, set a 25-minute timer” or longer if you prefer to work for 45 minutes and take a 15-minute break.

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th Gen)

(Image credit: Future)

Entertainment while cleaning

Beyond music, you can also ask Alexa to play your favorite audiobooks and podcasts to catch up on your backlog while you clean. If you have Echo devices sprinkled throughout your living space you can take advantage of Multi-room listening. you can play the same content throughout your home by saying "Alexa, play music everywhere." This comes in handy while I mop between rooms.

Monitor your air quality

Amazon's Smart Air Quality Monitor ($69, Amazon) relays indoor air quality in an easy-to-understand score. It breaks down humidity, harmful particles, and temperature to rate the quality of your environment. You can use it to kick off routines like turning on your Alexa-enabled devices such as air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and fans when the indoor air quality drops too low. In fact, Alexa can send you notifications on your phone or even announce a hazard on your Echo devices.

I bought one because I've been staying in an older apartment that stored heavy duty sanding machines and wood stain. Although I've cleaned it a few times, I continue to use this gadget to monitor the air particles and kick on my air purifier automatically when the air quality get too low. I just wish my window could be automated to open itself up.

Amazon smart air quality monitor sitting on table with Echo Show displaying air score

(Image credit: Amazon)

Reorder cleaning supplies

If you notice you’re out of an essential like toilet paper or cleaning spray, you can say, "Alexa, reorder [item name]" or "Alexa, add [item name] to my shopping cart" and checkout when you’re ready. Alexa completes the entire process in just a few steps by voice so you can stay focused on the task at hand. You can also set up smart notifications and automatic reorders which allows Alexa to track and automatically reorder staple household items like plastic bags, laundry pods, soap, toilet paper, ink cartridges, and more.

If you've been around the smart home block long enough you may remember Amazon's Dash buttons. These physical buttons could be placed in your kitchen or bathroom to reorder frequently used supplies such as paper towels with a tap. The Echo makes things even simpler.

A bucket filled with cleaning equipment

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Hunter Fenollol
Senior Editor, Smart Home

Hunter Fenollol is a Senior Editor for Tom’s Guide. He specializes in smart home gadgets and appliances. Prior to joining the team, Hunter reviewed computers, wearables, and mixed reality gear for publications that include CNN Underscored, Popular Mechanics, and Laptop Magazine. When he’s not testing out the latest cooking gadgets, you can likely find him playing a round of golf or out with friends feeding his paycheck to a QuickHit slot machine. Hunter started his career as an intern at Tom’s Guide back in 2019 while in college. He graduated from Long Island University Post with a degree in Communications and minor in Advertising. He has been vlogging ever since the iPhone 4 took front-facing cameras mainstream.