With December now upon us, we’ve put together a list of twelve things around the house that you probably aren’t cleaning regularly, that you should be ahead of the festive season.
You might not have a partridge and pear tree or five gold rings, but there are still quite a number of things around the house that need a good clean this Christmas. Several of which, most of us don’t actually ever really touch.
We’re going to share the first six of twelve items that you should be cleaning (but aren’t), so you can get ahead before company descends on you for Christmas:
- The Dishwasher
Dishwashers can have strainers that can become blocked by being clogged with food and other debris which can create a smell, spread bacteria and fungus, or end up on your dishes. You can clean out your dishwasher quickly and regularly with a dishcloth on the interior, and use a dishwasher cleaner on a self-clean setting. Or if you want to do it yourself, scrub with baking soda or use a cup of distilled vinegar in a cycle. This can dispel the odour and break down any mineral deposits from hard water.
- Washing Machine
In the washing machine, you need to be careful of mould and mildew deposits forming in the door and leftover detergent etc. becoming stuck in the filters, which can leave behind marks and stains on your clothes. Deep cleaning your machine once a month can avoid this. Similar to a dishwasher, many washing machines now come with settings that allow you to run a self-cleaning cycle with added bleach.
If you don’t have this option, you can add half a cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the dispenser and run a cycle with hot water. However, bleach alone won’t dissolve some residues in the machine so a machine cleaner is probably your best option. When your cleaning cycle is done, rinse and add another spin to ensure that any bleach has washed away, then clean the dispenser drawer by running them under hot water and scrubbing it down with a toothbrush.
Emptying the lint tray of your dryer will also use it more efficiently, but cleaning the venting duct is also a good idea. Dryer vent fires are very common and if the outside vent is clogged, this means that any moist air can’t escape and cause mould or odours. This can be avoided by making sure to remove lint deposits from the dryer duct outside the vent with a long-handled brush. If the worst does happen, and a dryer fire causes damage to your home, one of the other ServiceMaster brands offer disaster restoration services, ServiceMaster Restore.
- Reusable Shopping Bags
Reusable shopping bags are great for the environment by keeping plastic out of landfill sites. However, because you’re reusing them they can become a hotspot for bacteria from food, meat, and other raw produce. If you’re repeatedly using the same bags for all of your shopping, you might also have cross-contamination between food and cleaning products. The good news is that most of these bags can be machine washed provided you put it on a gentle cycle and remove the bottoms and turn them inside out. Then just let them dry and they should be good to go again in no time.
- Toothbrushes and Toothbrush Holders
Considering we put them in our mouths multiple times a day, giving your toothbrush clean is surprisingly not a very common practice. Researchers at the University of Manchester found that toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for staphylococci bacteria and E. coli.
Reports also show that toothbrushes contain at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch. All this simply means is that, instead of making your pearly whites whiter, you could be contaminating your body with life-threatening bacteria. Now that your dishwasher is nice and clean, you can pop it in there once a week (just the head if it’s electric), or rinse it in antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of germs and other bacteria. Your toothbrush can also be easily cleaned by hand by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide into a small cup and letting it soak for about 15 minutes.
Be sure not to let it sit any longer than this as it could damage the bristles. Then rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with warm water before use.
The holders we use for them can also be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria from the water and toothbrush running down the handles. It’s likely that if you’ve ever looked in the bottom of a toothbrush holder after some frequent use, you’ve not been greeted with a pretty sight. The best thing to do is to put the cup or holder in the dishwasher once a week, or soak it in boiling water and soap and give it a good rinse.
- Vacuums, Mops, Brooms & Toilet Brushes
Similarly, washing your cleaning utensils is another good habit to get into.
You should wash or replace any vacuum filters, then check hoses and rollers for blockages from dust or tangled hair. You can wash mop heads with hot water and detergent and the broom in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Then with the broom, be sure to rinse and air dry it. Cleaning a toilet brush may be a little off-putting, but doing so will avoid spreading germs from the toilet around your bathroom.
To clean the holder, we recommend disinfectant spray or soaking it in a bleach solution. To clean the brush, fill a bucket with hot water and bleach, and leave it to soak for an hour. Then, rinse it and put it back in your lovely clean holder.
For some extra top tips on cleaning this winter, check out our blog from last week here, then be sure to come back next week for the final six items. And if you want to leave your winter cleaning to the professionals, why not get in touch with us? You can give us a call and speak to our cleaning experts on 0800 021 3072, or find your local Merry Maids UK here.