Tradition with stripey glass splashback: classic Kitchen by Intoto Kitchens Salisbury

​Get these 7 scary cleaning tasks done in a jiffy

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Let’s be honest: some cleaning tasks are grosser than others. While not all of us relish the chance of spending an entire day cleaning, most of us would rather dust behind the sofa than wash the dishes. Yes, although some cleaning tasks are definitely more preferable, that doesn’t mean we can simply ignore those more difficult (and ickier) ones.

Fortunately, there exists these seven ways to make light work of some of the more dreaded cleaning jobs…

1. Deep-cleaning the oven

Remember that oven cleaner can be quite caustic and full of fumes, which is why most people turn to the classic baking soda and water paste option. The key to this technique, however, is letting the paste sit for an extended amount of time on the charred leftover bits and gunk in your oven, like applying it before bedtime and allowing it to soak overnight.

Come next morning, simply wipe the paste away with water.

2. Cleaning the entire toilet

Start with the bowl. Apply the bowl cleaner under the rim and allow it to flow down. With the toilet brush, scrub the bowl and focus on getting everything under the rim. 

Close the lid and let the cleaner do its thing in the bowl for about 15 minutes. While it’s soaking, spray down the outside of the toilet with your disinfectant, starting at the top of the tank and working your way down. Use your sponge, washing it out with hot water often.

Open up the lid and start working on the toilet rim. With the right amount of disinfectant and elbow grease, it should go quickly. 

Then give the well-soaked bowl one last scrub with your toilet brush.

3. Cleaning the cat’s litter box

Remember that the faeces and urine in your cat’s litter box can be harmful, which is another reason to get rid of it ASAP. Before cleaning, get a pair of rubber gloves and a mask. The mask is to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, a dangerous virus that can be contracted through cat faeces. 

And never do this job if you’re pregnant. 

Scooping faeces (or urine clumps) from your cat’s box should be done daily; a decent cleaning of the box must be a weekly chore.  

First, throw out the old litter, scrubbing the box clean and adding fresh, new litter. Remember to wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself. 

Never throw your cat’s business in your home’s trashcans – scoop it into a neat little bag and place it outside, waiting for garbage day. 

Now, you clean the box. Using your gloves, wash the litter box inside and out with a sponge, warm water and dish detergent. Include the lid too if it has one, as well as the scooper. Other harsher cleaning products can be harmful to your cat. Do this chore in your laundry sink or outside, never in your kitchen or bathroom sink.  

After you scrub, rinse all of the soap. The scrubbing can be repeated if necessary. 

It’s fine to leave the box outside to air dry, or dry it with a towel.

4. Unclogging drains

You will need: 

• 1/2 cup Baking soda 

• 1/2 cup Vinegar 

• Lemon juice (optional) 

• Measuring cups.

Step 1: Remove the drain cover.  

Step 2: Measure out a 1/2 cup of baking soda. 

Step 3: Dump as much of the baking soda as you can down the drain.  

Step 4: Measure out a 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and pour it down the drain over the baking soda.

This mixture is sure to eat away at anything clogging the drain. Any unpleasant smells can be treated by squeezing a little lemon juice down after you've rinsed any remaining baking soda and vinegar away. 

It’s recommended that you do this once a month.

5. Cleaning out your vacuum

You will need: 

• garbage bag 

• old scissors or seam ripper 

• cotton pads 

• rubbing alcohol 

• water source  

• cleaning cloth or paper towels.

Step 1: Empty the canister in a garbage bag or remove and dispose of vacuum cleaner bag. 

Step 2:  Take everything apart that can be taken apart to ensure you get everything cleaned properly. 

Step 3:  With scissors or a seam ripper, carefully cut whatever is tangled up in the beater bar of your vacuum cleaner. 

Step 4:  Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton pad and then rub that on the bottom of the vacuum cleaner to disinfect it. This will dry instantly and disinfect your vacuum.   

Step 5:  If possible, wash or wipe the canister.  Make sure it’s completely dry before you return it to the vacuum cleaner.   

Step 6:  Completely wipe down the entire vacuum cleaner with a damp microfiber cloth.   

Step 7:  Change or clean any filters following the manufacturer’s directions and ensure that it’s completely dry before returning it to your machine. Remember that mould can grow in the machine.

6. Cleaning your dishwasher

You will need:  

• Distilled white vinegar 

• Baking soda 

• Lemon juice 

• Cloths or soft rags 

• Toothbrush 

• Toothpicks

Step 1: Empty the dishwasher after its last cycle and remove all racks, the utensil trays and basket. 

Step 2: Check the spinning arms to make sure all the holes are open so water can run through them freely. Clear out any debris that has built up in the holes of the spinning arm using a toothpick or other small instrument (careful not to scratch the finish). 

Step 3: Clean under the bottom of the door, as debris can easily accumulate there. Check the floor of your dishwasher, around the drain where the wastewater exits. There will be a grate or grill around it, under the arm. Look for debris clogging up this area and remove any solid matter that has built up. If you have a filter, remove and disassemble the parts in your sink. Use a toothbrush to wash with a baking soda paste, or warm soapy water. Rinse well. 

Step 4: Use your toothbrush and baking soda paste to wash around the drain. Be sure to dislodge any food parts that can hang around and cause an unpleasant smell.  

Step 5: Wipe around the seal with a damp cloth soaked in white vinegar and a few squirts of lemon juice. A toothbrush can be used for smaller areas.  

Step 6: Check the utensil holders and racks for any stuck-on food pieces and then wipe down. Really dirty ones can be treated to a bath of warm, soapy water. Let them soak overnight in your sink and then rinse well.  

Step 7: Hard water deposits/scale can be removed by running one cycle of your dishwasher (empty) with distilled white vinegar. Add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom and turn the machine on to an energy saving or low wash. Stop the machine mid-wash, so the vinegar can set on the bottom and work. Let it stand for about 20 minutes, then turn on to finish cycle.

Repeating this once a month can only be good for both your dishwasher and you!

7. Rid your home of spiders (without pesticides)

Spiders like to hang out in dark corner behind things (books, clothes, you name it), so try vacuuming, dusting, and in general making your home less welcoming to them. The more frequently you keep the corners of your rooms and the elements collected together clean, dusted and vacuumed, the less spiders will want to hang around. 

Are there lots of leaves, bushes, wood piles, grass or other plant life and stuff piled up around the exterior perimeter of your house or apartment? That’s like catnip to spiders! Keeping the exterior space around your home a little cleaner might do wonders for the spider population in your neighbourhood. 

You may want to check out these 8 gleaming cleaning tips for meticulous homeowners.

Which household cleaning task do you hate the most?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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