Ultimate long weekend cleaning projects
To help make the most of your time during the four day “lockdown” over Easter, we have compiled a list of cleaning projects. We will admit that at first glance they don’t seem like a lot of fun, but you will feel so good when you finish them and experience the results!
High touch areas
In busy households, high touch areas require frequent cleaning to stop the spread of germs and viruses. Around the house, this includes light switches, door and cabinet handles, hand-rails, table and countertops, remote controls as well as all bathroom surfaces. Your personal electronic devices, such as smart phones, laptops and keyboards should be cleaned regularly as they harbour microbes.
High touch areas need to be cleaned, sanitised and disinfected regularly. Cleaning can be easily done with a soapy damp cloth. Use disinfecting wipes to sanitise. If you do not have wipes, spray Dettol Surface Cleaner onto a damp cloth and wipe.
For light switches, sockets and cleaning around electrical areas, use very little moisture on the cloth. For smart phones use isopropyl alcohol wipes. These will not damage the surface. Otherwise, clean gently and thoroughly with a lightly damp, soapy microfibre cloth. For keyboards, a q-tip is helpful in cleaning the space between keys.
The methodology is simple, and the task can be done quickly.
Remove all contents, disposing of outdated food
Remove shelves and drawers and place in sink. Wash them in the sink with warm soapy water and leave on the side to dry while you are wipe down the inside of the fridge
Wipe the inside of the fridge with a microfibre cloth and a simple 50:50 mix of vinegar and water
Where necessary, wipe down contents with a damp cloth before returning them to the fridge
The dishwasher is not constantly washing itself and gunk builds up on the inside making it less effective. Thankfully, there a relatively effortless way to clean it.
Place a cup filled with white vinegar (and lemon juice) on the top rack and run a normal cycle but with no detergent or dishes. White vinegar is as effective as branded dishwasher cleaner. Lemon juice adds a fresh smell
The filter traps loose food remnants and needs to be cleared out regularly. Unlock and remove it from the machine. Place it a bucket of warm soapy water and clean with a light a light brush or sponge before rinsing under a tap and replacing back in the machine
Spray arms distribute hot water in the machine and can get clogged impacting cleaning performance. To clean the arms, remove them from the machine, soak is a bucket of warm water, use coat hanger wire to clean holes before reattaching in the machine
Always use dishwasher salt as it softens the water and prevents the build-up of limescale.
3 Washing machine
It is essential to clean your washing machine from time to time to prevent the build-up of bacteria and moulds affecting your laundry. It takes some effort cleaning your machine, but you will be rewarded with cleaner laundry.
Start with the detergent drawer which is a breeding ground for germs and mould. Remove the drawer and soak it in warm soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to away mould and hardened powder. Rinse and dry. Wipe the cavity with a damp cloth before replacing the drawer
To clean the drum and internal parts simply run an empty hot wash cycle every alternate month with a branded washing machine cleaner tablet
The filter protects the pump from lint and loose items. Generally located below the drum, place a small bowl or rag on the floor to catch leaks before removing the cover and filter. Remove trapped dirt and wipe clean
Leaving the door open after washes prevents mould build-up. You can use vinegar and cloths to clean rubber door seals and an old toothbrush is helpful for cleaning gaskets.
4 Oven and stovetop
Nowadays, many ovens are self-cleaning which means dirt is reduced to ash by high temperature and is easy to remove. Where there is baked on grime on oven surfaces, use a scrub sponge with baking soda to clean. If possible, it is best to wipe any spills quickly after the event to avoid later scrubbing.
To clean the dirt around door joints and edges wipe them with soapy water or a solution of white vinegar and water.
For cleaning the stovetop, fill the sink with hot water and add some washing liquid to it. Soak burners and knobs for an hour before scrubbing and wiping them clean. Vacuum crumbs that have fallen in the crevices between stovetop and counter.
Very simple and effective methodology. Heat a bowl of water and lemon for a few minutes until the steam loosens grime on surfaces. Wipe clean with a clean cloth.
6 Coffee machine
Pour a solution of one-part white vinegar and two parts of water into the water chamber and insert a coffee filter. Run the solution in the machine and then run with just water two to three times to remove any trace of vinegar.
Cleaning your shower unit takes a certain level of laborious scrubbing but there are some tips and tricks for best results.
Poke dirt out from the drain with an untwisted coat hanger to. Pour a mix of ½ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of salt down the drain followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Wait 15 minutes before flushing with boiling water
Soak the shower head for 15 minutes in a bag with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Then wipe away loosened dirt and mineral deposits. Run the shower with hot water to flush and clean holes
Shower curtains are notorious for bacteria. Take them down to wash and air dry fully once a month
Spray glass shower doors with white vinegar and wait 2 minutes. Rub a paste of baking soda, salt and water over the surface of the glass door with a damp sponge. Rinse thoroughly with warm water
To clean tiles, spray a mixture of ½ cup of baking soda, 1 tsp of washing up liquid and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide onto tiles and leave for 10 minutes. Wipe down with a damp sponge
Buy a specialist cleaner to tackle mould. Cif and Dettol make mould cleaning sprays. Follow instructions and make sure the room is well ventilated when using.
Garden cleaning tasks
1 The patio
Moss should be killed with a weed killer or patio clear product before cleaning. A pressure washer is effective for cleaning the patio if you own or can rent one. Otherwise, a bucket of warm soapy water and a stiff broom also works well.
2 Garden furniture
To clean wood furniture use a bristle brush to clean, sand weathered areas and rinse with water. Protect with a coat of teak oil.
For plastic furniture, simply clean with a sponge and warm soapy water. Plastic can discolour so keep your furniture covered with a sheet or stored in a shed.
To clean metal furniture, firstly tackle any rust by sanding it off and paint with rust-resistant paint. Hose down the furniture to remove dirt and grime and use a hard brush to remove struck-on grime. Cover metal furniture when not in use to prevent rust.
Tidy up the garden by removing twigs and litter, raking up dead leaves and pulling up any dead plants from last season. Then follow these tips for weeding
When removing weeds by hand, soil which is damp makes it easier to remove the plant by the roots
Use a hoe to loosen the soil around the weed to make it easier to remove
Use an environmentally friendly weed-remover to protect wildlife
4 Bird feeders
Wash your feeder every 4 weeks to prevent the build-up of bacteria that could harm birds. You can clean the feeders with commercial cleaning solutions or simply a weak bleach solution (1 part bleach, 9 parts water). Rinse thoroughly before refilling.
Cleaning your mattress every once in a while keeps it fresh and pest free. There are a number of different cleaning methodologies
On warm day, take the mattress outside and leave it in sunlight which will kill bacteria. Beat it with a bat on both sides for 10 minutes to remove dust, dead skin and hair
Vacuum both sides of the mattress. Spray both sides with a solution of 1-2 table spoons of baking soda mixed with warm water. Leave to dry for 2-3 hours before vacuuming again
To remove any dried blood stains, spray the stained area with a solution of 1-2 table spoons of baking soda and cold water. Blot with a dry cloth, leave to rest for one hour and blot again with another dry cloth
To remove urine stains, blot with a solution of equal parts of water and white vinegar. Use a second dry cloth to remove excess moisture
Check the label of the upholstery before cleaning to see if the fabric can be cleaned with water, steam, solvent (dry cleaning only) or none of these (professionally cleaned only).
Vacuum clean with upholstery application to remove dust, crumbs and other debris
Wipe leather sofas with a damp cloth to remove dirt and stains
To clean spots on fabric sofas, mix 1-part of washing liquid and over 4-parts of warm water to create a thick foam. Use a soft bristled brush to scrub the foam on the spot. Then wipe with a damp white cloth
For tough stains, dab a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Let it rest for a few minutes and then gently wipe with a clean micro-fibre cloth. Finally, mix washing liquid with lukewarm water and rub it over the spot area.
Machine wash for the best outcome but check the label first.
Remove the laces and place the trainers and the laces into a mesh laundry bag. Wash with a towel to reduce the noise of the trainers in the drum
Wash on a cool temperature (30 degrees) as this will prevent colours fading
Air dry the trainers at room temperature
Hand washing is also effective.
Use a soft-bristled brush or an old toothbrush to remove excess dirt
Scrub the trainers with a soft-bristled brush and warm soapy water. Clean a second time with fresh, clean warm water
Use a microfibre cloth to remove remaining detergent or dirt
Air dry at room temperature
Deodorise your trainers with baking soda which also helps to kill bacteria.