A clean home is a happy home, and more importantly, a safe and germ-free one! In addition to mask-wearing, frequent sanitising and rigorous handwashing practices, there is a renewed emphasis on clean and hygienic living in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Keeping family and loved ones safe, even while they’re at home, is a top priority.
Every room in the home has cleaning practices best suited to the nature and purpose of the room and the furniture or appliances that occupies it. Some areas, like the kitchen and bathroom, require more scrupulous attention than others. Similarly, certain furniture pieces, like the bed and couches, necessitate a more thorough clean than others.
Dedicating time every day to tackling smaller, more manageable cleaning tasks in each living area and enlisting the help of other family members will reduce the need and frequency for more labour-intensive deep cleans, and in the process ensure a germ-free and healthier home for the whole family.
The guidelines below outline some cost- and time-effective ways to clean and disinfect the home, and in so doing, keep family and loved ones safe from harmful germs.
Daily food preparation necessitates that the kitchen receives the most attention and more frequent cleaning than any other room in the house. To avoid potentially dangerous bacterial contamination and attracting unwanted household pests, kitchen surfaces should ideally be cleaned after food preparation and cooking, or at the very least, at the end of each day after dinner preparation. Daily kitchen cleaning tasks include, but are not limited to, washing dirty dishes or stacking them in the dishwasher, wiping down all countertops and surfaces, disinfecting the kitchen sink and other metal surfaces, as well as sweeping the kitchen floor and mopping up any spills (especially if there are children and pets in the home).
Household kitchen products are designed to tackle a build-up of grease and grime, leaving your kitchen clean and hygienic. For a thorough kitchen clean the most essential products are a strong multipurpose surface cleaner or disinfectant spray, oven cleaner, floor/tile cleaner and an antibacterial/antimicrobial cleaning product to clean and disinfect the refrigerator, its contents, and kitchen cupboards. There are also many inexpensive, eco-friendly disinfectant solutions that effectively disinfect surfaces and eliminate unpleasant odours, conveniently already located in your fridge or pantry. For example, baking soda, warm salt water, lemon juice, or white vinegar.
In bathrooms, the hot water used to shower and bath increase the amount of moisture in the air, leading to condensation forming on colder bathroom surfaces. Excess humidity and moisture can lead to a build-up of condensation which penetrates walls, floors, ceilings, furniture and clothing, resulting in the growth of mould/mildew. For this reason, the most important tip for keeping a bathroom clean and hygienic is to keep it dry. Bathroom surfaces (walls, floors, mirrors, shower tiles etc.) should be wiped down after showering/bathing and the windows opened to allow adequate ventilation. While the bathroom floor does not need to be mopped daily, a quick wipe down will keep the floor free of dirty marks and prevent slipping accidents. Ensure that all used towels and bathmats are hung outside to dry after each use, to keep them fresh, and launder weekly. A more thorough clean with a strong disinfectant bathroom cleaner is required once a week to remove any build-up of germs and bacteria. A generous amount of toilet cleaner or bleach can be poured along the inside of the toilet bowl and allowed to soak for 10-15 minutes, thereafter a toilet brush should be used to give the bowl a thorough scrub. The exterior of the toilet, including the base and floor, require a twice-weekly clean with an all-purpose disinfectant.
The bedrooms are sanctuaries of sleep and as such should be kept clean and tidy to ensure optimal rest and relaxation. Weekly dusting and vacuuming of all surfaces (including skirtings, curtain rails and door jams) are of the utmost importance in bedrooms and living areas to prevent the accumulation of dust. Household dust is a combination of pollen, dander, fur, dust mites and dust particles, and causes inflammation and hay fever-like symptoms in family members with a hypersensitive immune system. Windows, blinds and curtains should be opened daily to allow fresh air to circulate and to eliminate unpleasant odours. Remove unnecessary clutter from table-tops and return out of place items to where they belong. Dirty clothing should be collected from the floor and placed in laundry baskets for washing. Duvets and throws can be aired out each morning with just a quick shake before arranging the bedding neatly, and all bedding should be laundered weekly. Mattresses should receive a deep clean at least once every six months (and more regularly if pets sleep on the bed) to remove dust mites, bed bugs, dust particles, hair strands, body sweat and dead skin cells that encourage the growth of harmful bacteria and fungus, and trigger allergies and asthma.
High-traffic areas like living and dining rooms, especially where food is served and eaten frequently, should have the floors cleaned and vacuumed twice weekly to prevent dirt and germs from accumulating or being trekked into other areas of the home. In addition to vacuuming the carpets and rugs, shake out couch cushions, scatter cushions and throws and use the vacuum cleaner’s narrow nozzle or hand attachment to clean dirt and debris from the couch surface as well as between the cushions where food and dust particles tend to collect. Couches, carpets and rugs should be professionally cleaned at least once a year, and blankets, throws and cushion covers should be laundered regularly if frequently used.
Stains and spills can ruin the appearance of quality leather furniture and care should be taken to preserve the quality and longevity. Leather furniture should regularly be wiped clean with a soft, damp (not soaking) cloth to remove dust and spills and then dried with a separate cloth/rag to remove excess water or cleaner from the surface. A simple and cost-effective cleaning solution of equal parts water and vinegar may be used. Alternatively, numerous high-quality cleaning and conditioning products, as well as leather-care polish, are available in-store and online.
Likewise, quality wooden furniture requires proper care and should be wiped down with a damp, lint-free cloth or water-moistened cotton ball, paying close attention to carved details where dust and grime accumulate.