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Home maintenance is more than just mopping your floors and dusting the shelves. It is the never-ending battle of mankind versus gravity. It’s simple: every time you shed a cell of dry skin and it ends up on your floor or keyboard, that’s the entire planet’s will of keeping things where they ought to be. Which is down. As down as possible.
But man disagrees. For it is in man’s nature to defy Nature. And looking after your home is an expression of this very defiance. How’s that for motivation? But right now you are probably wondering “Well, what else is there to do? I already vacuum the carpets every other day and the dog is not allowed on the sofa!”
Ah, well, there a few more things that you can do to keep your dwelling not just clean but immaculate. So here are another 17 home cleaning tasks for you to do at least once a month.
1. Spray upholstery/carpeting with essential oils
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Vacuum cleaning may be effective when it comes to removing general dust and grime from your textile floor coverings. But what about the stale smell and the microscopic sneeze-inducing dust mites that have settled comfortably in between the fabric fibres?
Easy! Spray your carpets and upholstered furniture evenly with an essential-oil-based air freshener. Make sure that the ingredients list doesn’t include anything dodgy and you’re good to go. This is a great way to refresh your carpeting and upholstery in the months between your regular deep-cleaning service is due. Find more on how much does professional carpet cleaning cost here.
2. Interchange your cleaning products
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Look, we are no biology experts. But some studies suggest that germs can quickly adapt and become resistant to certain cleaners. This also applies to personal hygiene products because the human microflora is quite adaptive as well. So just in case, make sure you switch up some of the products you use.
3. Who cleans the cleaners?
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Or to rephrase this, who takes care of the tools and devices you use to keep your place neat? With time and usage, the sponges, mops, rags, brushes and whatnot become stale, smelly and grimy. You have two options here: either dispose of whatever you can and replace it with a brand new item or just shove everything in a bucket, fill it with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water, and let it soak overnight.
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4. Dust around and under electronics
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You see, everything that runs on electricity has its own magnetic field that attracts dust like a… well, like a magnet. Therefore, your TV, fridge, PC and so on are prone to get dustier and dustier with time. So make sure to give them the “finger” test. Just swipe a finger over a surface and if it gathers some dust, it’s time to reach for your trusty paper towel roll.
5. Dust indoor plants and flowers with canned air
You probably water George, the Rubber Plant, every now and then. But pay attention to his leaves as well for they might be dusty. And a great way to dust something that is not meant to be dusted is to use a can of compressed air. Just gently hold each leaf with one hand and blow away any accumulated dust with short, controlled bursts from the can.
6. Launder the shower curtain
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The shower curtain is one of those items that is usually ignored when it comes to maintaining the overall hygiene in your home. But it is a no-brainer that something should be done about it. Being exposed to water and soap splatters all the time, slowly but surely, the humble shower curtain gets covered by an invisible layer of gunk that harbours all kinds of germs. So just shove it in the washing machine with the rest of your clothes every month or so and you’ll have another task from this list crossed off.
7. Nuke your chopping board and utensils
If there is an item on this list that is filthier and downright more dangerous than the rim of a public toilet, it has to be the chopping board. With time and use, the tiny cuts and cracks that your plastic or wooden chopping board receives, become stuffed with bacteria. It’s a known fact that germs love to feed on any remnants of raw food that has been in contact with the board. And simply washing it after use is often ineffective.
However, there is a simple and reliable way to eradicate every single living thing that resides on that board. Just turn to your microwave. You see, your microwave oven doubles as a mini world-purger. All you need to do is to get the chopping board wet and shove it in your microwave. Turn it on for a reasonable period of time depending on how powerful it is. This will send every last germ on the chopping board into oblivion. You can use this little trick for every wooden or plastic cooking utensil you have.
8. Sanitise your pet’s bedding and food bowls
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Your cute furry best friend eagerly scoffs down his/her dinner without a care in the world. And it’s very doubtful that your cat or dog is ever bothered about the condition of the bowl they eat or drink from. But they deserve better and you should ensure to properly sanitise their dinnerware on a monthly basis and replace it with new every few months. A quick rinsing simply won’t do the job. If made of plastic, you can safely call on the above tip and nuke pet utensils in the microwave now and again.
Follow the same train of thought with your best friend’s bedding. You may firmly believe that you always wash the dog’s bed, blanket or cushion but on close inspection, you realise that this hasn’t been done since last Easter. Pet dander, mites and God forbid, fleas can be put to rest peacefully in the washer. So to save your pet from any skin nasties and avoid costly vet fees, simply remember to wash their bedding on a high temperature every four weeks.
9. Cleanse the coffee machine with vinegar
Coffee makers, kettles and food processing equipment are often inadvertently ignored when it comes to cleaning them properly. We may remember occasionally to stick the coffee machine jug or a removable part of the blender in the dishwasher, but more often than not, we forget.
Hard water deposits inevitably build up in the kettle. And those will be generously shared with you every morning in the form of whitish flakes, floating in your first cup of tea for the day. Or do you really want to make your healthy cranberry smoothie in a blender that has been stained from little Jason’s spinach soup, you prepared for him last Tuesday? I guess not!
Here’s the trick: Mix some water and white vinegar (50/50) and fill any of the above kitchen appliances with the mixture to soak overnight. You can replace the vinegar with the juice of one lemon if you wish.
10. Give your fridge and freezer the vinegar treatment
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Now, onto the larger kitchen appliances! Your fridge may be cold enough to keep food from going off but it can still become an unsafe environment due to mould growth and bacteria buildup. So disinfecting it on a regular basis is simply a must. There are a number of kitchen cleaners you can use for this purpose but if you are a fan of green living, you can sanitise your cold food storage equipment with vinegar and soda bicarbonate.
Defrost your refrigerator beforehand and empty it from its contents. Mix a few spoonfuls of baking soda with some white vinegar in a bowl until you get a paste-like mixture and scrub the inside of your fridge with this homemade cleaner and a sponge. Proceed by wiping thoroughly all surfaces with a cloth, dipped in warm water, until the paste residuals are cleaned off. Polish dry with paper towel.
11. Dust and clean hard-to-reach areas
I bet your regular play with the vacuum cleaner does not involve reaching the top of cabinets and wardrobes. And it should, at least once a month. Modern hoovers come with all the handy extensions and add-ons to help you in this quest. And what about the space under the cushions of your sofa? How many times do you end up lifting them in an attempt to find your lost car keys (probably little Jason’s doing again) only to discover an array of eclectically accumulated small items, like crumbs, smarties, broken crisps, lego pieces and all the invisible organisms that feast on them? And your car keys, of course! Well, it’s a 10-minute job, so no excuse, here!
Other grimy areas, which you may feel keen to address only during a spring clean, are hidden behind furniture. If it is easy to move, then move it! Your vacuum hose is flexible enough to reach almost anywhere!
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12. Clean the closet and chest of drawers
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That’s right! There is no point to store your laundered linen and fresh-washed ironed clothing in dusty drawers and a closet, full of cobwebs. Once a month, you can give those shelves and storage compartments a good wipe. And why not take the opportunity to declutter and organise your wardrobe in the process?
Keeping stuff that you will never wear is just impractical. The same goes for your kids’ gear that they have outgrown months ago. Along with their long forgotten fluffy toys, pack a bag and visit the nearest charity shop.
Don’t forget to clean the shoe cabinet, as well, where copious amounts of powdered mud and beach sand have been accumulating for weeks.
13. Vacuum clean the mattresses
Apparently, half a million Brits wash their bedding just three times a year, with Londoners being the worst when it comes to bed hygiene. Surely, you are not one of those people! Still, just because you put fresh sheets and change your bedding every month, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your bed is entirely clean. Your mattress gets dusty, for certain, over time and harbours a variety of live microscopic critters. Dust mites are the worst culprits for triggering allergies and asthma, so stay healthy and vacuum thoroughly your bed pieces once a month. Take note that it is recommended to steam clean them at least twice a year. To achieve the best results, especially for worn out pieces, it’s a good idea to schedule a deep mattress cleaning and let the professionals clean and deodorise it.
14. Dust the blinds & wash your curtains
Window coverings are, of course, designed to shield our privacy and control the quantity of light, we wish to permeate through the glass panel. But they are also the “lungs” of your home. This especially applies to curtains, which, unfortunately, are hardly ever washed. They filter out all sorts of airborne particles, from dust and smoke to pollen that has sneaked in, making them possibly the dustiest items in the house. Hence, do wash them regularly to ensure a better quality of air in your living space.
Blinds are simply unpleasant to look at, if dirty. Dusty blinds make your home feel neglected and unclean. It will not take you long to wipe them occasionally or give them a quick brush with a duster, depending on what material they are made of.
15. Wash the AC units’ filters
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Play it safe and resort to professional assistance to service your AC and ventilation system at least twice a year. This way, you will ensure that they run properly and efficiently. Often, a leak in the condensation hose or in the exterior unit can cause mould buildup, which unbeknown to you, is blown back into the interior of your home. It does not sound very healthy, does it?
You can also do something yourself to make sure your family breathes clean air at all times. Once a month, especially during cold and hot seasons when it is most likely for you to rely on the AC system to keep warm or cool off, you should sanitise the filters.
It might seem like a complex job but it’s not. Take off carefully the unit cover and remove the filter. Vacuum thoroughly and wash it in a bucket of warm water or under the shower with some washing up liquid. Dry the filter out completely before placing it back in the unit.
16. Clean the grease off kitchen tiles and the cooker hood
Well, you may eagerly say that you always wipe the tiles near the cooker after a fry-up but I bet you do it too quickly to be any good! Once a month, inspect the surfaces in your kitchen and you may well find that they are far from clean. And considering that you prepare food and cook in there, it is vital that you keep the heart of your home in pristine condition. Also, the cooker hood is surely covered with a layer of sticky grime. It is usually a mixture of grease and dust that it may take you hours to scrub off if the device has not been maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.
After all, food authorities visit commercial kitchens and restaurants for a reason! Think about it!
17. Dust and wipe light fixtures and any areas that you never do
You can clean all “odds and ends” around your home whenever you have some time on your hands when you feel bored, or purely for the therapeutic effect you will get if you’re feeling a bit down. We will start the never-ending list, here, which you can just extend as much as you like!
So, clean, wipe or dust: picture frames, light switches and fittings, light shades and bulbs, mirrors, the top of the window frames, the PVC window and door tracks, door handles, the smoke alarm, the extractor fan, cupboard handles and knobs, curtain railings, every little figurine that adorns your mantlepiece or is sat on the window sill, the space between books, your vinyl records, the CD rack and CDs, etc. Carry on!