- With spring on our doorstep, give your home a refresh with these easy tips from Aisha Pandor, CEO and co-founder of SweepSouth.
- With thousands of domestic workers on her on-demand home services booking platform, she shares a few smart ways to revive, restore and renew your home this season.
- Not only will your house feel more sparkly, but giving areas we often neglect a good spring clean can have health benefits too.
De-pong your fridge
Yes, the time has arrived to clear your fridge of all those half-empty bottles of sauce and other foodstuffs you’ve never managed to use up. Fridges can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, so clean up any spills, and be mercenary about getting rid of any food items past their sell-by date.
If your shelves are cluttered with packets of seeds or half-used boxes of couscous, create a sense of order by grouping similar items in an empty plastic container.
To clear your fridge of any odours, place a saucer containing a few tablespoons of ground coffee inside, advises Aisha. Keep the fridge door closed for as long as you can, preferably 24 hours, then throw the grounds away. Place a packet of cheap ground coffee in the fridge to serve as a deodoriser going forward.
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Coffee maker cleanse
Coffee machines’ water tanks or reservoirs usually have lids to stop dust, dirt and insects getting in. However a study by health organisation, NSF International, of where the highest concentration of germs can be found in the average household, showed that coffee machine water tanks are the fifth most germ-ridden place in the house.
A tank’s moist, dark, location is a prime place for germs and bacteria to grow. In fact, the study discovered that 50% of households had yeast and mould in their coffee maker water tanks, and one in 10 had traces of coliform, a bacteria found in animal and human faeces that can cause gastrointestinal upset and flu-like symptoms.
If you regularly make coffee, Aisha advises that you rinse the water reservoir regularly - if not daily, at least every week. Clean your coffee maker following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. For most machines you can also fill the water tank with equal parts water and white vinegar, letting it stand for half an hour before running it through the coffee machine. Follow this with a few cycles of fresh water until the vinegar smell is gone. Repeat monthly.
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Get gleaming surfaces
Give chrome surfaces and appliances a good shine by dabbing lemon juice onto a cloth and applying, then buffing the surface well. For stainless steel appliances and items like fridges, dishwashers, ovens and sinks, moisten a soft cloth with some baby oil or olive oil, and gently rub the surface for a gorgeous shine. Wipe off with a paper towel.
For areas in your home that don’t require heavy cleaning, a wonderful natural cleaner that you can make yourself is to mix half cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water and 30 drops of essential oil (combine 10 drops each of eucalyptus, peppermint and orange, or 15 drops each of lavender and lemon) in a spray bottle. Shake to combine and spray on desired surfaces and wipe clean.
Say goodbye to smelly drains, naturally
Drains are, by their very nature, prime dirt and germ traps. Deodorise your drains through non-toxic methods by pouring half a cup of bicarbonate of soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of hot white vinegar. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then run hot water down the drain.
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Safer pet toys
Keep Fido, and your family, safe from the bacteria, yeast and mould that pet toys can pick up if they’re not regularly cleaned. Wash hard toys in hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly to remove soap residue, advises Aisha. Pop soft toys into the wash with other laundry on a sanitising cycle, and wash at least once a month.
Shine a brighter light
Dusting light bulbs may be the last thing you think of cleaning in your home, but a surprising amount of dust accumulates on bulbs, dimming their glow over time. If you’re using long-lasting LED bulbs, they may not be changed for years, points out Aisha. Simply make sure the lights are off, then gently dust the bulb with a soft dry cloth.
While cleaning may not be your favourite chore, numerous studies show that its benefits go beyond just having an immaculate home. University College London researchers found that active cleaning for as little as 20 minutes can have a positive impact on your mental health and reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20%. Another study found that having a fresh-smelling, clean home has short-term and long-term benefits for mental health, including immediate improved mood.
Add to that the beneficial effect of using cleaning products with calming or soothing scents, like lavender, lemon and eucalyptus scents, and spring-cleaning your home can be a wonderfully positive and satisfactory way to welcome in the new season.
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