If you’re struggling to keep up with the cleaning after moving out for the first time, or you just need a few hints and tips to keep everything sparkling, this guide should help you out. Many of us have no idea how often we should be cleaning our common household items, so they’re often left neglected. Here, we’ll tell you how best to clean them and how often:
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to stock up on a few essential cleaning items:
- Rubber gloves
- Bicarbonate of soda
- White vinegar (in a spray bottle, if possible. Otherwise, pick up an empty spray bottle too!)
- Food-safe antibacterial spray
- Microfibre cloth
- Washing-up liquid
- Cotton buds
- Drain cleaner
- Rubbing alcohol (optional)
1. How often should I clean my fridge?
Of all the appliances that we take for granted, the fridge might be top of the list. It’s often not until we open the fridge and are assaulted by some horrific smell that we realise two things. One, that we should probably clean out this large box we trust with all our food from time to time. Two, that that horrid smell is near all our food.
If you’ve been motivated by some unholy smell radiating from your fridge, it’s past time to give it a clean out. Generally, you should be giving your fridge a wipe around every day to keep it hygienic. To keep it in tip-top condition, set aside a little time each week to go through your fridge to get rid of anything past its best or actively on its way to reaching its worst. Mouldy food can be toxic, cause airborne allergens, and more — you really shouldn’t be letting food in your fridge get to this stage.
For a deep clean, doing this at the start of each season will be enough, so four times a year.
- Empty your fridge and throw out anything past its best.
- Take out the vegetable drawers and shelves and soak them in warm, soapy water.
- Wipe inside the door, the top of the fridge, and the seals with a mix of bicarbonate of soda and hot water (two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda to one litre of water).
- Clean the fridge seals/gasket with a toothbrush and a little washing up liquid mixed with warm water.
- Wipe everything down with a wet cloth to rinse away the mixture.
- Rinse the drawers and shelves with warm water, then replace.
2. How often should I clean my oven?
There are two parts to oven-cleaning: interior and exterior. That is, cleaning the outside of your oven is a separate task to the more deep-cleaning necessity of cleaning the inside of your oven.
Oven top: It’s a good habit to get into the wipe over the top of your oven after each meal you cook on it — do it when you are doing the dishes after dinner as part of that process and you’ll see how well it helps you keep on top of things. A wet cloth should suffice, but if you’ve really gone to town stirring that bolognaise sauce, fetch your antibacterial spray and get a little elbow grease involved!
Oven door: Wipe down the oven door once a week to prevent build-up. Build-up on your oven door will heat up every time you use your oven and can burn, so be sure to prevent it forming. Again, a wet cloth and antibacterial spray should be enough, but if you’re dealing with a large amount of build-up, combine the cleaning of your oven door with the bigger task of cleaning the whole inside (see below).
Oven interior: The bigger task of cleaning the inside of your oven should be a monthly task. Luckily, cleaning the inside of an oven can be made very easy:
- Take all the racks and accessories out from inside your oven.
- Mix eight tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda with a few tablespoons of water and mix into a paste. Add more water if needed.
- Spread this paste all over the inside of your oven and the inside of your oven door. You don’t need a cloth to do this — just get in there with a pair of rubber gloves and you’ll be able to get the mixture into all the nooks and crannies!
- Rub it in, and watch in horror as the mixture turns brownish and reminds you just how long it’s been since you last cleaned your oven out.
- Leave it overnight.
- Take a damp cloth and wipe out the bicarbonate of soda mix.
- With a little white vinegar in a spray bottle, (you can easily make your own, but some outlets sell this in a spray bottle already), spray vinegar over any areas that still have bicarbonate of soda caught in them. The vinegar will cause it to foam up.
- Wipe it all down one last time.
Pop your oven racks back in, and voila! A shiny clean oven, inside and out. Plus, it’ll be much quicker and easier to do next month when you repeat the process.
3. How often should I clean my mattress?
Mattresses are often overlooked during a spring clean, beyond simply changing the bedsheets. But did you know that the average house mattress has around 2 million dust mites in there? It sounds gross, but it makes sense: you’re lying on your mattress for around 8 hours a day. It’s gathering up plenty of skin cells in that time, and dust mites love that.
Now, dust mites are generally harmless — they don’t carry diseases, and they won’t bite you (not that you’d feel it if they did!). But if you’re allergic to dust-mites, then having a few million in your bed isn’t great. Plus, your mattress is also gathering fungal spores and bacteria, so you do need to give it a clean every now and then.
You ought to clean your mattress at least twice a year, but ideally, at the start of every season is best.
- Strip the bedsheets off your bed, including any mattress protector you might have.
- Vacuum your mattress to remove dust and debris.
- Take a sieve and sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda over your mattress, enough to cover the whole mattress.
- Let it sit for two hours — the bicarbonate of soda will draw out moisture and dirt trapped in the mattress, as well as sweat and odours.
- You can hoover the bicarbonate of soda before remaking the bed, but if you want a really deep clean, you can leave the bicarbonate of soda on the mattress and put your fresh bedsheets on as normal. When you go to put fresh sheets on your bed the following week, vacuum up the bicarbonate of soda then — it will have had time over the week to really suck up all the dirt and dust from your mattress!
4. How often should I clean my sink?
Like your dishwasher, while you primarily use your sink for cleaning things, it will gather grease and muck over time and needs a deep-clean every so often.
Your sink needs cleaning properly at least once a week, but if you’ve used your sink to wash potatoes or rinse knifes after cutting raw meat, for instance, clean it immediately.
- Hot water and washing-up liquid will work wonders. Fill your sink up with the mix and, with a clean sponge and rubber gloves in hand, get scrubbing!
- Empty out the sink and spray some white vinegar on the surface, then scrub and rinse this down.
- If your sink’s drain has clogged up, clean this out with a one shot drain cleaner. If your drain isn’t blocked, protect it with 100ml of one shot drain cleaner each month to keep it running smoothly.
5. How often should I clean my dishwasher?
Yes, your dishwasher is a machine that primarily washes. You’d think it keeps itself clean in the process of all that soapy water rushing through it. But it’s also rinsing away loads of food particles, and over time, these build up and make for a mucky dishwasher. Grease, fat from food, residue, soap scum, it’s all building up in there and getting rinsed around your dishes every time you set your dishwasher going.
You should be cleaning your dishwasher once a month, but you can get away with cleaning it at the start of every season, like with your fridge.
- Take out the bottom rack of your dishwasher, and if you can, remove the filter from your dishwasher drain to clean it. Either way, you need to remove the larger food piece that are trapped there. Replace the filter when you’re done.
- Pour 250ml of white vinegar into a dishwasher-safe dish and put it in the upper rack.
- Run the dishwasher on a hot cycle with only the vinegar dish inside.
- When the hot cycle finishes, open it and remove the dish.
- Sprinkle enough bicarbonate of soda to coat the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Run a short, hot cycle.
And that’s it! Now, your dishwasher will be squeaky-clean and washing your dishes much better.