Spic n Span

Cleaning up a house, however small or big, is a difficult task. Systematic planning and effective execution will make things easy

House cleaningEveryday we have to struggle with dust, grime, clutter and stains to achieve complete cleanliness in our homes. The harder we try, the more they seem to creep in from all sides. However, we can make this uphill task a bit easier by dividing it into daily, weekly and monthly chores. Here are a few tips that will help make our homes spic and span, one room at a time.

Kitchen

Daily: Fumes, purees, spices and syrups may add up to one yummy dinner but they can make the kitchen extremely messy too. The daily clean-up routine should include doing the dishes, wiping the kitchen counter and appliances with a damp cloth and mopping the floor.

Weekly: Once a week, clean all the kitchen appliances such as refrigerator, toaster, blender and microwave using a cloth soaked in a mixture of vinegar and water. You can remove the odour in the microwave by placing some lemon slices in a bowl of water and turning it on for two minutes. Move the appliances and clean the floor or counter but be careful not to scratch the surface. To clean stainless steel appliances and surfaces, use a paste of soda and water. Clean the dishwasher by putting some vinegar or baking soda in it and running it. Apart from these tasks, the checklist should include dusting and wiping the ceiling and walls, cleaning and organising the drawers, washing the sink and sweeping the floor.

Monthly: Every month, take down the draperies, curtains and blinds to clean them according to the manufacturer's directions [this is applicable to all rooms]. Secondly, servicing the gas stove and chimney is essential. Take some time to organise the kitchen cabinets. Begin by resetting the crockery, remove the junk and wash the cabinets. It is always good to hang a few pictures or have a potted plants in the kitchen window for a pleasant feel.

Washroom

Daily: The first requirement is a clean toilet bowl and washbasin. To clean them, sprinkle soda on a damp cloth and wipe it. Apart from this, you can use the regular toilet-cleaners and brushes. Always wipe the washroom dry after use. Keep a decorative bowl containing a few spoons of baking soda and essential oils on the washbasin. It is a natural air freshener and gives a look of elegance.

Weekly: Wash the shower curtains at least once a week. Keep a liberal supply of dry and clean hand towels, soap bars, shampoos, oils, conditioners, toilet paper and other toiletries. Clean the toilet cabinet once a week and re-organise the bottles and tubes. Clean the showers with some solution. To clear clogs in drains, apply a thick paste made of two parts soda and one part vinegar or lemon juice. Apply the paste with a damp cloth, then leave for 10 minutes, and then rub with a brush or sponge. We can use the same paste on shower doors, sinks and tiles to make them shiny and bright.

Monthly: Have a monthly examination of your washroom by a plumber to check the drains and leaking pipes. Dripping taps and inappropriate drainage are a major cause of dirty and smelly washrooms.

Bedroom

Daily: Make the beds, remove the clutter and throw the garbage in the bin. Keep two laundry baskets, one to stock dirty laundry and one to keep washed ones. You can thus sort clothes at your leisure even as you avoid clutter.

Weekly: Change the bed sheets and bedcovers. Remove the cobwebs infesting the walls and ceilings.

Monthly: With use, dust mites build up in your mattress; therefore, the mattresses need to be vacuumed using the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. To clean the mattresses further, apply upholstery shampoo on its surface with a sponge, wipe the area with a sponge soaked in hot water and allow it to dry. Secondly, children's toys require your attention once a month. To wash stuffed toys, put them inside a pillowcase, tie it from the top and pop the bundles for a gentle wash in the washing machine. To hand-wash toys made of rubber or plastic, liquid soaps are the best. Schedule a monthly organisation of the wardrobes and drawers and remove all surplus clothing and accessories.

Sitting room

Daily: To keep the sitting room or drawing room clean, we need to beat the dust. Apart from the daily wipe with a duster, you can try wearing a cotton glove and use it to wipe the dust from smooth surfaces and use a blow dryer to remove dust from uneven surfaces.

Monthly: Furniture maintenance is the key in drawing rooms. Use a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice to clean wooden furniture. Wash the sofa covers, cushion covers, curtains, rugs, doormats and vacuum the carpets regularly. Every month, you should go the extra mile, move all furniture, and clear the area underneath.

Last but not the least, make a pest-control arrangement for your house to avoid those creepy, crawly visitors. All said and done, to have an uncluttered house, the family must do its bit. One must inculcate the habit of replacing things after use and all members of the family should divide the chores between them systematically.

Tips for Home Management

  • Soda at the bottom of ashtrays absorbs smoke smells and helps in stubbing out cigarettes without staining the ashtray.
  • Essential oils can be dabbed on a light bulb and when the bulb is switched on, the heat will diffuse the fragrance.
  • To remove black spots caused by mould on bathroom surfaces and fabrics, apply a mixn of one part vinegar or lemon juice and one part baking powder. Leave for one or two hours, then rinse.
  • If there are stains on the tablecloth and tablemats, sprinkle a little hydrogen peroxide on the stains and rub it after 15 minutes with vinegar and water solution.
  • Wear thick gloves when drying crystal pieces to eliminate fingerprints.
  • To remove spots on glass doors and shower walls caused by alkaline deposits in the water, apply car wax to the surface. Car wax seals the pores, making cleaning easier and keeps water spots away.
  • Add a piece of chalk to your jewellery box to prevent jewellery from tarnishing.
  • Smoke of neem leaves, used tea leaves or pieces of sugarcane dipped in mustard oil with ajwain keeps mosquitoes and flies away.

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