All houses, no matter how regular you are with your routine cleaning, need a thorough deep cleaning once in a while. It may be because you are expecting ‘important’ guests over the weekend, like the mother-in-law who never forgets to check behind the cupboards, or you are putting your house up for sale and want to impress potential buyers. Whatever the reason, here are some great tips to help you get started on the top items on your deep cleaning checklist.
For the mysterious stains on the living room couch and the carpet
Just think about what your living room has to deal with all the time. From stinky feet to oily food scraps, it has seen it all. As a first step, vacuum the couch thoroughly using a soft brush attachment. Take out the cushions and use the crevice tool to clean all the hidden nooks and crannies.
Though it might be hard to acknowledge, your mom-in-law’s got it right – “you have to deal with spills straightaway or they are going to leave a terrible stain”. But assuming you were not around when the spill happened, this is what you’ve got to do.
If you have a leather sofa, use a soft cloth to blot the area lightly with a mixture of lukewarm water and dish detergent. Of course, you should always do a small patch test on a hidden area of the sofa before you begin. To remove ink or pen stains, dab the affected area with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. If it is a food stain, sprinkle the spot with baking soda and let it sit for around 8 hours before you vacuum it off. For more tough stains, use a dedicated leather cleaner for furniture.
Popsugar has some great tips for deep cleaning a couch made of natural fabric.
Remove ordinary dirt and food stains on a carpet using this handy tip fromHomemakerchic. Don’t forget that professional steam cleaning, done twice every year, can keep your carpets looking fresh and new.
Degunking the bathroom
Gather all your cleaning supplies in a basket. Ideally, you would need a toilet bowl cleaner, a 1:1 mix of vinegar and water, a 1:1 mix of dish soap and vinegar, a few cleaning rags, a mop and a duster. If you are planning to descale your showerhead, you will also need some vinegar and a plastic bag. Fill the plastic bag with a cup of diluted vinegar and tie it around the showerhead. Ideally, you should do this step the night before so that the acid has enough time to break down the hard water deposits.
Put the toilet bowl cleaner in the bowl so that it goes to work while you clean the rest of the surfaces. Throw the window curtains, rugs and shower curtain in your washing machine for a quick wash. Clean the windows and window tracks. Dust light fixtures and cabinet shelves. Remove all items from the countertop, spray with the vinegar-water mix and wipe clean. Spray the bathtub and shower with the dish soap-vinegar mix and let it rest for a few minutes. Scrub clean and dry off. Clean the grout with an old toothbrush and mop the floor on your way out.
Hit all the spots you usually give a miss
When you are deep cleaning, make sure you cover all the spots you usually miss during your weekly cleaning. That would include the tops of all cupboards and cabinets, behind and under large furniture, light fixtures, and light switches. Use an old pillowcase to clean the top of your fan blades. Vacuum heat vents and clean grates with a damp cloth. Use an old sock to wipe your window blinds clean.
For a good night’s sleep
You change your sheets and pillowcases every week, but what about the mattresses and the pillows -a haven for thousands of dust mites that feast on the dead skin cells that you shed while you sleep every night? In addition to the gross factor, these microscopic organisms are apparently responsible for triggering allergies and asthma attacks in many people.
To get rid of dust mites, vacuum your entire mattress – top, bottom and sides – as part of your bimonthly deep cleaning. To deodorize your mattress or remove moisture(especially useful if your little one still has ‘accidents’), sprinkle baking soda liberally over it and let it sit for a few hours before you vacuum. You can also air out your mattress in direct sunlight(a natural bacterial-killer) to remove odors and destroy germs, but avoid this method if you have a foam mattress.
Down or fiberfill pillows can be washed in your washer. If you have a foam pillow, follow the care instructions on the tag. While some foam pillows can be hand washed, you may have to vacuum clean the others.
And finally, the hardest of them all — the kitchen
The kitchen is the most used room in the house – and the most difficult to keep clean. Disconnect the burners from your electric stovetop and rinse them gently to remove all food residues. Make sure that you don’t wet the electrical part. A paste of baking soda and water can help you remove any stubborn spots. Take the drip pans out and soak them in warm, soapy water while you clean the stovetop and the tray underneath.
Removing stubborn, dried-on food splatters from inside the microwave is not as difficult as it looks. All you need to do is place a bowl of water and vinegar in the microwave, and turn it on at full power for three minutes. Then just use a clean dishrag to wipe clean. For deep cleaning your oven and removing burnt-on stains, use a paste of baking soda, dish soap and vinegar and leave it for a few hours. Scrub with a sponge and wipe clean with a damp dishcloth.
To make your stainless steel appliances shine, apply a solution of cream of tartar and water. Use a sponge to scrub. Wipe clean with a damp paper towel…..and voila!
Did you know that your harmless-looking kitchen sink harbors a whole lot of germs and bacteria? Apartment therapy has one of the best online articles on how to clean your kitchen sink and garbage disposal without using harmful chemical cleaners. And while you are it, don’t forget to give your refrigerator, a very thorough deep clean, from top to bottom, back to front and inside out!