The cleaning routine your home needs
Create an efficient schedule for cleaning tasks to keep your home sparkling.
Bunning magazine, August 2020
Finding it hard to summon the enthusiasm – or time – for a marathon clean? A better approach is to pace yourself and break up the job into achievable tasks you can tick off regularly, enjoying the results as you go. To help kickstart the process, we’ve compiled jobs you can tackle daily, weekly, monthly and annually, with expert tips to save time while still achieving a restorative deep clean.
Clear clutter with thought-out storage
The first step to a clean, organised house is to curb clutter with good storage and routines, says Satya Bourgeot, owner of Pristine Professional Cleaning. “When surfaces are clutter-free they’re easier to clean, so ensure everyday items can be effortlessly put back where they belong, instead of accumulating on the dining table or kitchen bench,” she says.
Keep up with the dishes
In a high-use area like the kitchen, don’t let the dishes pile up. “Food spills and scraps can attract flies and ants, so wash and put away dishes, empty the bin and give the benchtops and stovetop a wipe daily,” suggests Toby Schulz, CEO of Maid2Match.
Make the beds, every morning
Make the bed each day and keep the sofa neat with plumped cushions and folded throws. These jobs only take a few minutes, yet help to create an orderly feel.
Maintain laundry pileups
To stay on top of mountainous washing piles, follow every load through to the end and return clean clothes to cupboards. To speed up the process, consider investing in multiple hampers to pre-colour code loads. Ensure laundry areas are well ventilated and clean surfaces regularly to help keep mould and dryer fluff at bay.
Stay on top of bathroom scum
Give the bathroom sink and taps a quick wipe to remove any marks, splashed water and toothpaste traces.
Deep clean the cooking zone
Devote time each week to a deeper kitchen clean. “Wipe out the microwave and use an antibacterial spray on kitchen counters, appliances, stovetop and element dials,” suggests Satya. To extend the life of your cleaning sponge, soak it in water and microwave it for two minutes to kill off bacteria.
Don’t forget the stainless steel
For stainless-steel appliances Toby recommends using a soft microfibre cloth with a specialised stainless-steel cleaning product. “To avoid leaving streaks, wipe in the direction of the metal grain,” he says.
Mop the floor
A regular vacuum and sweep, followed by mopping, not only cleans but also reduces allergens around the home, says Toby. Try a microfibre mop with machine washable pads, and invest in a set of refills so you’re never without a clean pad when you need it. If using a string or strip mop, rinse it regularly.
Dust bust the extra bits
For weekly dusting along skirting boards, shelves and surfaces, Terry Stevens, owner of Sparkle and Shine, recommends arming yourself with an ostrich feather duster: “Ostrich feathers are naturally electrostatically charged, which means they attract dust, and the barbed fibres and natural oils trap the dust rather than simply pushing it around.”
Polish up the bathroom
In the bathroom, disinfect the toilet and surrounds, mop the floor and address any particularly grubby grout lines. “After cleaning the bathroom vanity and shower, use a dry microfibre glass cloth to polish off any streaks or fingerprints on chrome fixtures,” suggests Satya. “It’s a professional touch that creates long-lasting shine and helps prevent corrosion.” Tackle mould in grout and hard water build-up on shower screens quickly, as the damage can be irreversible if left too long. “Everything in the bathroom should be taken care of every few weeks at the least,” says Satya. “Regular maintenance will extend the life of your bathroom by many years.”
Wash the sheets
Change the sheets and put them through the machine at the hottest temperature on the care label, using an appropriate laundry powder, to help deal with nasties like dust mites and germs.
Fill the room with a refreshing scent
If it doesn’t smell clean, it won’t feel clean,” says Terry, who recommends spritzing room spray or your favourite natural oil to neutralise unwanted smells and infuse a wonderful aroma. “Use crisper smells like citrus for bathrooms, and warmer scents like sandalwood and vanilla in living spaces,” he advises.
Empty out the fridge
Dig deep into the fridge and freezer to discard forgotten food, wipe shelves and wash out crisper drawers. Also give the pantry a once over, quickly tidying the shelves and making a note of essentials that need restocking.
Squeegee the windows
A monthly window clean is less of a chore with an excellent squeegee, says Satya Bourgeot. “Using a squeegee properly can take a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it, it’s more efficient than any other method – and because squeegees don’t create a static charge that attracts dust particles, your windows will stay dust-free longer.”
Clean your cleaners
Run a cleaning cycle on the washing machine and dishwasher and remove the kitchen rangehood vents for a thorough soak and scrub in hot soapy water.
Furnishings require refreshing
Choose a sunny day to take floor rugs outside for a shake and a good airing, and pop living room cushion covers and throws in the wash.
Wipe away dust from every nook and cranny
In each room, work from the top down, using a slightly damp cloth to gently clean ceiling fan blades, light fixtures, shutters, door handles and light switches. Then use a track brush to loosen debris in window and door tracks and follow with a vacuum.
Sweep the yard
Charge up the blower to clear out leaves and debris from outdoor areas and give alfresco furniture a wipe.
Tackle the grout
Address grout grime with a brush designed for the task. “Rather than an old toothbrush, use a tile and grout brush,” says Terry Stevens. “They are great for many areas, not just tiles, as the bristles are stiffer and the narrow profile makes it incredibly effective in tackling stubborn marks in hard to reach areas, like around bathroom taps, that spot between the kitchen sink and wall, and even around stove hotplates,” he explains.
Annual deep clean
Those annual or biannual household jobs can be hard to keep track of, so Satya suggests keeping a chores calendar to maintain a record of when a seasonal task was done and when it’s due next.
Focus on pest control
An annual job to schedule is pest control, whether you call in a professional or use a DIY kit, like Hovex indoor and outdoor surface spray.
Deep clean the oven
If there’s an unpleasant smell or smoke coming from your oven when you turn it on, it’s a sign it’s overdue for a thorough clean, says Toby Schulz. “For a heavy-duty option, use a product like Selleys ‘Oven Clean’, or make your own all-natural solution with a combination of baking soda, water and vinegar you can spray on to help lift off grease and grime with a good scrub.”
Clear the gutters and remove grime build up
Devote a day or two outdoors to clear out gutters, pressure clean paths, driveways and exterior walls, and give outdoor furniture a wash with a bucket of hot water mixed with dishwashing detergent and two cups of vinegar to inhibit mould growth. Check out our step-by-step on how to clean gutters.
Give the carpets a steam clean
Set aside a weekend to hire a Britex carpet cleaning machine. “It’s an affordable and really effective way to steam clean carpets and upholstered furniture, and you can even get an attachment to clean tiles and grout,” explains Toby. “You’ll see and feel the difference.” For more, read our eight tips to cleaning your carpet or rug.
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Photo credit: Gap Interiors, Sue Stubbs, Brigid Arnott, Cath Muscat