Keeping a clean home is really all about timing. While you can (and should) do a seasonal deep clean and you already have habits for daily no-brainer tasks like doing the dishes or making the bed, there are many places in your home that need to be cleaned on a different schedule for best results. To help get your cleaning routine in order, here are some of the most common items that you may be cleaning too often — or not enough.
You may be asking yourself: “But why do I need to clean the dishwasher? Isn’t the dishwasher supposed to do the cleaning?” While it’s true that the dishwasher is the real workhorse of the kitchen, one of the most common mistakes people make with the dishwasher is to assume that it’s self-cleaning. Once a month, wipe down the seal and then use a dishwasher cleaning product (or run an empty dishwasher with a solution of vinegar and baking soda) to clean the interior. It’s also wise to remove debris from the filter when you do your monthly clean (and perhaps even more often if you find it’s frequently stopped up): clear away any food particles and give it a wash in soapy water.
It’s the appliance that gifts us with some of the most mouth-watering scents in the world (freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or warm bread, anyone?) — so we better treat it right. Whether you use your oven on the daily or only on occasion, it’s still important to give it a thorough clean once a season (and even more often if you have a lot of spills). Not sure of exactly how to keep your oven clean and ready?
Coffee Maker: Monthly
If your morning cup of coffee is a daily habit, don’t forget to a make cleaning your coffee maker a monthly routine. There are multiple ways to keep your coffee maker clean, ranging from appliance-specific cleaning products to baking soda to a mixture of water and vinegar — just choose the solution that works best for you.
Stainless Steel: Weekly
Stainless steel appliances are endlessly popular (and a good return on investment), but they’re also one of the most dreaded things to clean in the home, thanks to their propensity for highlighting smudges and fingerprints. Keep stainless steel in tip-top shape with a weekly clean using a non-abrasive or microfiber cloth and cleaner. Looking for a natural cleaning product for your stainless steel appliances and cookware? Olive oil may be a good solution.
Cleaning the microwave doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult (unless, of course, there’s been a messy spaghetti-related mishap), but it’s often all-too easy to forget to clean what’s behind the door. Make “microwave-cleaning Monday” a thing and tackle the task once a week.
Glass Stove Top: Weekly
A sleek, gleaming glass stove top is the centre piece of many kitchens — when it’s clean. However, one of the drawbacks to a glass cooktop is that its smooth finish really highlights burned-on bits, smudges and spills (and can hold on to potentially harmful kitchen bacteria and microbes). Wipe down the stove top after each use (make it a step in your dish-washing routine to help you remember) and do a thorough clean with a glass cooktop-cleaner or baking soda and soft cloth once a week.
Hardwood Floors: Weekly
When it comes to cleaning your floors, it’s important to take the right steps. Be sure to use the best cleaning products for your specific type of flooring and try to do a thorough clean of all hardwood flooring once a week — though you may want to bump that up to twice a week in high-traffic areas (particularly areas where kids or pets spend a lot of time). A time-saving tip? Keeping a broom handy and getting in the habit of a quick daily sweep goes a long way towards keeping floors clean (and making them easier and faster to wash weekly).
Silver: Every Other Month
Don’t let dust, fingerprints or dirt dull your view of your favourite HGTV shows — keep your television screen clear with a quick clean every week (or as needed). With LCD or plasma-screen televisions, it’s important to treat the screen with care. Wipe the screen (turned off) gently with a soft cloth so you don’t damage or scratch it.
Mattress: Twice a Year
You sleep on it every single night, but how often do you clean it? Mattresses are a commonly under-cleaned item that should get more attention, considering how often we use them. While a machine-washable mattress cover goes a long way in helping keep your mattress clean, you should still clean and flip your mattress twice a year — try flipping it at the beginning and end of daylight savings time to make it easy to remember.
Speaking of sleep, your bedroom is your oasis, so keeping your sheets clean with a weekly wash (or change) is key to creating a clean, zen sleep environment. Of course, if circumstances (like dust allergies, illness or excessive sweating) warrant it, you may want to change your sheets more often.
Your humidifier is great for adding moisture to the air in your home (which could help with things like dry skin or even dry houseplants), but if you want it to work its best, you need to clean it regularly — depending on how often you use it, once a week should do the trick. If you only use your humidifier seasonally, give it a thorough clean before you pack it up and again before you start using it again. One caveat: Not all humidifiers are made the same, so follow the cleaning and care guidelines for the specific model of humidifier you own.
Washing Machine: Monthly
The washing machine is another appliance that people often overlook cleaning — because it cleans other things. However, the washing machine can build up dirt, bacteria and musty odors, so give it a clean once a month. Bonus tip: when it comes to the dryer, there’s no real washing involved, but it’s still important to remember to clear out the lint filter after every use.
Shower Head: Weekly
Is your shower flowing more like a sprinkle than a spray? While weekly or bi-weekly cleaning may seem excessive when it comes to your shower head, a little maintenance goes a long way towards keeping water flow strong. Depending on what type of shower head you have, there are different ways to clean it.
If you want to maintain a clear view, wash your interior windows once a week with window cleaner or a mix of vinegar and water. You can make the process faster, easier (and perhaps, more fun?) by using a tool to help things along: a window squeegee gives a high-shine clean in less time. Outside, window exteriors should be cleaned twice a year. Every six months, clean accessible window exteriors or hire professionals to help you with hard-to-reach areas.
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