As individuals, our lifestyles differ wildly, and this affects how our homes stay clean. But there’s no doubt about it, lockdown 3 has really taken its toll on our little work from home family and I have found cleaning a chore.
In fact, just thinking about cleaning has proved a difficult task lately. When I was working from the office, I had some home cleaning best practices and housework hacks that would leave even Mrs Hinch open-mouthed. Today however, I think she’d be open-mouthed for all the wrong reasons!
Pets and Kids
With a small child comes all manner of small toys and objects all strewn about the house. While the first thing I usually do after I return home from the office is cook, now the first thing I do is clear the building blocks and other stuff that’s been scattered across the living room. It had become an arduous task – especially when attempting to use the vacuum cleaner. Small pieces were getting pulled into the vacuum chamber.
We came up with a solution that is strangely simple. Pulling a pair of tights over the nozzle of our vacuum cleaner to create a toy-friendly catcher. A bagless vacuum cleaner is strong enough to pull air and dust through the material, but it’s unlikely that Lego and marbles will evade rescue.
The things we forget in the kitchen
Kitchen cleaning is divisive. Some people enjoy making their worktops glisten, but ours is a working kitchen. There’s been little time to scrape the grime off our oven lately because walks have taken priority at weekends. While a clean kitchen is essential for hygiene — after all, it’s where all our meals are made, there are some aspects of kitchen cleaning that are easy to overlook.
One part of the kitchen we sometimes forget to clean is the oven vent. Their job is to extract vapour from above our cooking points, ensuring that our kitchen is not exposed to damaging moisture. However, they are a collection point for grease. Not only is this unhygienic, but it’s also very dangerous. Grease is flammable, and a high flame or strong wave of heat could ignite the grease. Cleaning these vents is essential.
To clean these vents, boil a large pan of water with about 30 grams of bicarbonate of soda. Bring to the boil, being careful not to let the solution spill over. Then, submerge the vents in the water. Let the vents sit in this boiling water for about two minutes, then rinse clean. The grease should fall off.
A job I really detest is cleaning tile grout in the kitchen, so it’s often overlooked, but there’s nothing worse than seeing it rife with grease and grime. Many people avoid cleaning this because the roughness of the cement makes it a difficult clean – but the right solution can make it easy.
Like with the oven vents, bicarbonate of soda works wonders to break down grease. Rub some of it over the tiles and then spray them with some cleaning vinegar or lemon juice. You’ll see a satisfying fizzle. After a couple of minutes, a small scrub with a toothbrush can eliminate any dirt that has built up since their last deep clean. Using lemon juice can also bring a fresh fragrance into the kitchen.
The bathroom is the most important place in the house for me-time. While a good shower helps me kickstart the day, bathing is the only way I can unwind from a busy day, and is often a valuable escape from the noise of normal life. This space must be as clean as possible, but they are dirt traps.
Cleaning the bathroom is a simple task, regardless of how you use the space. For example, if you find make-up stains all over the sink or windowsill you can quickly remove these by using shaving foam. Shaving foam contains surfactants, which means they help loosen the grip of dirt on surfaces. They also act as a detergent. Rubbing shaving cream into your mirror until it is polished clean can also prevent fogging. The glycerine in the cream prevents water from sticking to the surface.
Other innovative cleaning solutions for the bathroom include using coke or other acidic fizzy drinks in the toilet. Allowing these drinks to bathe in the toilet bowl for an hour can remove limescale and unwanted stains.
Using chopsticks is also another handy way to reach those difficult crevices in the bathroom. A cloth wrapped around a chopstick can help you to clean taps, vents, and all the other small nooks and crannies you may encounter.
We’re not talking about robot cleaners just yet. But with technology playing an increasing role in our lives, we must keep our devices clean. Television remotes are a hive of dirt and bacteria. Dust and skin particles can build up over time, especially if your household are serial channel surfers like we are.
Of course, with technology, the electricity must be considered. When cleaning remotes, soak a cotton swab in alcohol and clean the surface of your remote. Use a toothpick to clean between the buttons. This should prevent any internal or water damage.
Devices like televisions or computers should be cleaned with a microfibre cloth. Microfibre cloths generate static electricity which attracts dust and holds particles. This means that you’re unlikely to need any liquid when cleaning these devices. Most of these devices live in the living room. Upholstery can often create dust. Therefore, washing your cushion covers and throws regularly can prevent dust being generated and stop you from having to wipe down your devices and surfaces so regularly.
Cleaning shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, it can be an enjoyable task when the lines between home and work aren’t blurred. Our lifestyles and homes
dictate which things need cleaning the most, but there is often a simple solution to all our housework needs. Sometimes, the easiest option is the best — whether that be a quick vacuum clean of the stairs, or a once over with a microfibre cloth. Understanding how our lifestyles affect our cleanliness is the first step in finding the solution to the mess.