Ah, the bathroom. The place where we go to get clean can, rather ironically, be the grubbiest room in the house! Here are our tips for tackling even the most neglected of washrooms:
• Clear surfaces. First things first: remove all items from the bath or shower (if you have a shower caddy, this is a good time to take it out and give it a clean), and from on top of your sink(s). Spray all de-cluttered surfaces with a multi-purpose cleaner so that this can soak while you focus on other areas (don’t forget the inside of the toilet bowl and even the base of the toilet – this area often collects dust). Leave for half an hour and then wipe away.
Top tip: most of your surfaces will sparkle with minimal effort, but if you need to tackle more stubborn stains, apply more cleaner and scrub with a sponge or a bristle brush - an old toothbrush is great for hard-to-reach areas!
• Wipe down neglected areas. Look at all the corners; skirting boards; light fixtures; and even the edges of windows and mirrors. Remove any grime that has accumulated with a damp rag.
• Give your grout a going-over. Dirt can build up in the gaps between tiles, staining your grout and leading to discolouration. It can be best to scrub these narrow spaces with an old toothbrush before rinsing with warm water.
Top tip: if you're dealing with any stubborn stains (water spots on glass shower doors, for example), apply some warm distilled white vinegar to any ingrained marks. Let it sit for about thirty minutes before sprinkling bicarbonate of soda on top. After a minute or two, you should be able to gently wipe the stain away.
• Disinfect handles and knobs. It’s easy to forget about these important bits of hardware, but a clean door handle not only looks great, it’s also vital for hygiene. Get some disinfectant wipes or multi-purpose cleaner and give every handle – from door knobs to cabinet handles – a good clean.
• Use your washing machine. Now is an ideal time to give bath mats and shower curtains a spruce – throw them into the washing machine and get ready to enjoy their sparkling appearance!
For many families, the kitchen is the heart of the home – which means that it’s easy to accumulate clutter and mess! Our handy hints will have your kitchen looking calm and chaos-free in no time.
• Organise. Much like in the bathroom, the first – and perhaps most important – job is to de-clutter and organise your space. Start by laying newspaper on your floor and removing every item from every surface. From there, sort into piles: things to keep, things to move to another room, and things to discard. Organise everything you want to keep according to purpose, with space-saving measures in mind; for example, it can be helpful to group all your herbs and spices into a container, rather than having them spread out on a shelf.
Top tip: if you’re short on room, take time now to consider how you might make the most of any empty wall space: can you install hooks to hang pots and pans from, or a dish rack to hold crockery?
• Clean out your fridge/freezer. Whilst you’re in the organising mood, take everything out of your fridge and freezer and give every nook and cranny a good clean. Start from the top and work your way down. When it’s time to reinstate food items, check the condition of each product and the use-before dates, binning anything that looks past its best. Be sure to wipe down the outside of your fridge/freezer, too, taking particular care over the door handles.
• Assess your cleaning materials. Do you have grotty dishcloths or sponges that have seen a better day? If in doubt, discard. These everyday items are real germ magnets. If you have a sponge that you think can be salvaged, soak it in mixture of bleach and water for ten minutes – but really such items should only be used for cleaning for a few weeks. Alternatively, you can look into reusable items, like silicone sponges.
• Disinfect sinks and countertops. These tend to be among the dirtiest places in the kitchen, particularly if you cook with raw meat in your house. Use a disinfectant solution and give the basin and counters a good scrub. Don’t forget to get right into the corners and edges, and wipe down all walls and splashbacks, too.
• Clean oven. Sauce-spattered oven interiors are something most of us are familiar with, but over time these spaces can be a real breeding ground for germs (as well as looking unsightly). When it comes to cleaning your oven, if you are lucky enough to have a ‘self-clean’ function, make use of it! If not, you can buy a reputable oven cleaner or attack the surfaces yourself with a homemade, well-diluted solution of bicarbonate of soda, Fairy liquid and vinegar.
Top tip: here's a really easy way to clean your microwave interiors! Simply mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a mug of water and microwave on a high setting for five minutes. The vapour will coat the surfaces, loosening any grime, and making it easy to wipe clean.
• Wipe and protect cabinets. Using a damp cloth, give the insides and outsides of cabinet doors – including top and bottom edges – a good going over. For any more permanent splatters or stains, dab with vinegar and then wipe gently with warm water. Too much moisture can cause certain cabinet materials – like wood - to swell, so be careful not to use too much water when cleaning, and dry the surfaces with a towel soon after.
Top tip: when you are satisfied that the cabinets are perfectly clean, line all surfaces with paper (newspaper will do). Over time, any debris or dirt will collect on the paper, which can then be discarded easily.
If you’ve got any tried-and-tested tips that you’d like to share with us, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to connect with us on Facebook or Twitter. Happy cleaning!