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Home cleaning mistakes—7 great ideas

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Angel, Islington N1, London | Mansard roof house extension Modern bathroom by GOAStudio | London residential architecture Modern
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Welcoming guests to your home involves a little more than smiling and offering drinks. All the friendliness in the world won’t make up for a dirty home with foul smells and smudged surfaces.

Now, we understand that you may do your best to ensure your home is relatively spotless, but even with your best intentions, a little dirt and grime may still creep in on occasion. Have you ever considered that your cleaning technique may not be the best solution?

To help you through this trying time, homify has drawn up a list of seven household elements that require the occasional cleaning, yet may have been cleaned the wrong way all along!

1. The toilet

There can’t be anything yuckier than visiting a friend and discovering a dirty toilet during your bathroom break. But don’t grab the harshest, most toxic cleanser you can find just because you’re scared of embarrassing yourself the next time your friend drops over. 

Even though calcium deposits (a build-up of minerals from your water supply) are a typical sight in a toilet bowl, using a harsh cleaner full of chemicals is not always the best route to go, as it can emit toxic fumes that could be dangerous to you and your family’s health. 

Instead apply a mild, natural acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, to those calcium stains. Depending on the severity of the stain, the liquid might have to be reapplied and scrubbed several times with sandpaper or a rag. Doing this at the first sight of a new stain will ensure a cleaner toilet bowl for longer.

2. Your knives

On top of remaining clean, your knives should also stay sharp to ensure efficient slicing and dicing for your cooking. That is why the dishwasher is not always the best choice for cleaning your knives. 

Check your dishwasher’s manufacturer instructions to see which utensils can be used and which can’t. Some knives last longer when cleaned with soapy warm water and a good old-fashioned cleaning cloth—speaking of which, should be replaced often! As a cleaning sponge can soak up and accumulate quite an impressive amount of germs, it is better to opt for a washable cloth. 

Make sure to dry it properly after each use, wash the cloth once a week in hot water of about 60°, and separate different cloths for different household uses (i.e. doing dishes, wiping down countertops, cleaning toilet seat).

3. The bed linen

Sometimes dirt is invisible, and what seems like a spotless area can, in fact, be teeming with grime. 

Not to give you nightmares, but your bed could be one of those areas. How often do you change your linen? The standard recommendation is to put new, clean ones on your bed at least every two weeks. But that’s only in winter. 

In summertime we tend to sweat more, which ups your linen changing schedule to at least once a week if you want your slumber space to remain as clean as possible. Depending on your chosen fabrics, the linen needs to be washed with a decent detergent at a temperature between 40° and 60° (but be sure to double-check the instructions on your linen). 

In addition, be sure that your bedroom is properly ventilated by opening windows or switching on a ceiling fan.

4. Your windows

Even the tidiest of homes will look forgotten if the windows are filthy. But how do you clean those glass panes without leaving streaks?

Use a window-washing squeegee with a soft, smooth rubber edge. Crumpled up newspaper can also work, but avoid the colour sections. Leave a 2.5 cm dry strip at the top of each window and always start from there – starting on dry glass is one key to avoiding streaks.

Don’t wash your windows in direct sunlight, as quickly dried glass is more susceptible to streaks. Early mornings, evenings, or cloudy days are ideal for window-washing. 

homify hint: Black or grey mildew spots on wooden frames can be cleaned quite sufficiently with a solution of 60 ml household bleach mixed with 30 ml laundry detergent in about a litre of water. Sponge the solution on the spots, leave for 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with clean water. Remember your rubber gloves.

5. Wooden floors

There is nothing as inviting as a neat and clean wooden floor. So, how do we achieve it? 

A variety of floor detergents are available for wooden floors, which tend to get the job done, but remember that wood is a very sensitive material and should be approached with caution. If you’re unsure about a particular floor cleaner, rather opt for warm water without any soaps. 

When it comes to vinyl flooring, a tiny splash of white vinegar with your warm water can provide a very welcoming shine. But laminated or not, your floor should not be treated to a splashdown, so be sure that your cloth is damp and not soaked. Excess water will either cause the wood to swell or leave unsightly water spots. 

And avoid using microfibre cloths, as numerous minuscule scratches can cause the water to easily penetrate your floor.

6. The washing machine

Yes, the washing machine is a heaven-sent invention, but it, too, requires the occasional cleaning because of all the cleaning it completes. 

Fill the machine with hot water. If your front-loading model has a self-cleaning cycle, fill it with hot water on this setting. If the inside of your washer is stained, about 900 ml of bleach will do the trick. Add it through the dispenser so that it mixes with hot water, then let the machine finish a washing cycle. For a natural alternative, add white vinegar instead of bleach or cleaner.

Your front-loader’s rubber seal on the door is prone to mould growth, as water can get trapped between the seal and the machine. Opt for an all-purpose cleaner and sponge/paper towel to clean under and around the seal.

To clean the dispensers (top- and front-loader), use a vinegar and water solution and scrubber to clean the areas where you insert detergent. Keeping this area clean is important, as dirt, hair, and other debris tend to pile up here.

homify hint: Always leave the washing machine door open after a cycle to avoid damp smells.

7. Your taps

Like your toilet, your taps are prone to calcium deposits, which can result in a very unpleasant look for your bathroom. But no need to phone up a plumber

Spray the tap with a non-toxic bathroom cleaner. Then acquire a firm, unused toothbrush to remove grime around the joint (which would have been hard to reach with a normal sponge). Afterwards, use a scouring sponge to remove all dirt on the actual tap and knob. Be careful not to scratch your tap’s surface. 

Apply a limescale remover to the tap and leave on for the amount noted on the instructions. Finally, give your tap a thorough wash and use a clean microfibre cloth to give it that shined and polished look.  

For more great clean home ideas, don't miss these: 14 borderline genius tricks for a sparkling clean home!

Do you have any other good ideas to share?
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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