Right now, we’re struggling to overcome a pandemic, but our hygiene standards are at an all-time high. A diligence for hand washing has spilled over into the household, and for once we’ve got the time to deal with domestic tasks frequently neglected.
Bored with tidying the living room, scrubbing the bathroom and disinfecting kitchen surfaces? Step up to the challenge of ticking off jobs you probably never even imagined needed doing.
1. Blitz oven grime
Choose a non-caustic cleaning product to avoid damage to both kitchen surfaces and your health – any stubborn stains can be cleared by soaking them with bicarbonate of soda overnight. Non-toxic products shouldn’t leave lingering odours, but to be safe fill a tray with water and lemon juice and heat to 120C for 20 minutes beforehand.
2. Remove dust from radiators
Allowing it to fester is not only unhygienic but can also impair heating performance, so it’s worth making the effort to delve in.
For tight spots impossible to vacuum, collect fluff by dangling a damp cloth, or wrap it around a wire coat hanger for greater control.
3. Moth-bomb wardrobes
If you want to rid pantries, carpets and wardrobes of infestations, now is the time to strike before warm weather causes dormant eggs to hatch. Lavender pouches and cedar blocks are all deterrents, but sticky paper traps and moth bombs are the most effective weapons.
Any clothes with telltale webbed cases should be put in the freezer for 48 hours.
4. Empty kitchen cupboards
And how long have strands of saffron been drifting around the bottom of a spice jar? According to the NHS, it’s best to eat frozen meat within three to six months; after that, taste deteriorates although it’s still safe. Most spices have a shelf life of three to four years.
5. Sort sock drawers
6. Detangle electrical cables
Hair scrunchies can be used to create manageable bundles, or thread stray wires through empty toilet rolls to avoid any tangles.
7. Descale the showerhead
White vinegar is the simple, cost-effective solution: clean a removable spout by immersing it in a bucket of the acidic liquid; if the shower is fixed, fill a plastic bag instead and use a rubber band to tie it to the head.
8. Steam clean a mattress
A vacuum cleaner will remove most of the detritus from a mattress, while baking soda can be used to help soak up stains and deodorise bad smells. Steam cleaners get the best results and should be used every few months.
9. Clean windows crystal clear
It’s tempting to choose a sunny day to get glass gleaming, but if cleaner dries too quickly it will form streaks.
While squeegees are a window cleaner’s favourite tool, it’s easier – and less messy – to use a microfibre cloth for smaller panes.
10. Deodorise the washing machine
Use an old toothbrush to scrub the detergent drawer, clear the debris filter (it’s usually on the bottom of the machine, behind a hinged cover) and clean the drum with dishwasher tablets on a hot wash.