10 Things to Clean in Your Home this Winter

Cup of steaming black coffee held in woollen mits

Winter is officially here (for those of us living is Australia and the southern hemisphere). The pandemic emergency this year has shown that we must be super vigilant to ensure that we do not bring the virus into our homes. 

Here are 10 things you must clean this winter:

1. Steam clean your carpet and upholstery

The carpet in our home has seen quite a lot of use since schools closed and parents started working from home. After so much wear and tear, it’s time we give them some TLC to restore their freshness in time for more winter hibernation. 

According to Calibre Cleaning, the best way to clean your carpets this winter is to professional steam clean them. Don’t bother with the DIY steam cleaners – you won’t have the time this year. For quality cleaners in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or Brisbane check here.

The couch in the living room was our best companion for nearly three months. Our favourite ‘bug in a rug’ moments during coronavirus were the ones we spent on our couch – bingeing on Netflix. Our kids have also been overusing the couch – for video games or Tik Tok. The couch should be steam cleaned the same time you are getting the carpet done. It’s one of the most effective ways to reinvigorate your living room on a budget.

This year, a professional steam cleaning of the carpet and upholstery is even more important because of the flu and COVID-19. Bacteria and germs are killed by heat. Steam cleaning the carpets will not only restore the fibres to their original freshness, it will also kill all the harmful allergens inside the carpet fibres. It’s one of the most effective ways to keep the family safe. 

2. Clean your oven

Most people coped with quarantine by cooking. The internet is flooded with images of people’s attempt to bake and cook.

If the oven in your home was one of the appliances you used regularly during shutdown, now is the time to get the oven cleaned. Here are some tips from Calibre Cleaning:

  • Do the oven cleaning on a day with good weather.
  • Don’t plan any other activities for at least several hours.
  • Use a commercially bought oven cleaner or a homemade green product
  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Use an old bed sheet to cover the floors and surrounding areas.
  • Wear PPE. 
  • Open the window to air the area near the oven.
  • If you don’t have a window near the oven, turn on a fan.
  • Clean and dry the oven completely before use. 

Oven cleaning is not easy. If you prefer a simpler solution, we can find you a professional domestic cleaner who will come and clean the oven for you. 

3. Clean and sanitise your mattresses

Everyone is guilty of sleep-ins since the coronavirus. Our bed is our security blanket. We go to bed when we don’t feel well. We snuggle up in bed when we’re sad. If you are like us, you won’t even need an excuse to stay in bed! We just love it. 

Cold and wet winters are perfect for snuggling up in bed with hot cocoa and a good book. Before you snuggle up, get the mattresses in your home professionally steam-cleaned first. 

This year don’t bother with the DIY efforts. Everyone has a lot on their plates with the virus still floating around, schools closing and opening, and WFH nightmares. A professional carpet cleaner also cleans mattresses as well. You only need to get them cleaned once a year and usually the time to do this is winter. You don’t need further convincing, right?

4. Clean the windows and glass doors

You may ask, why clean the windows? The weather’s going to be bad and it will ruin it again. Fortunately, not all cities in Australia experience the rain and cold that Melbourne has in winter. If you live in Brisbane, Adelaide or Sydney, winters are drier. 

But that’s not the reason we are suggesting windows. If you have some time this weekend, take a good look at the windows and glass doors in your home. With kids at home 24/7, there will be more smudges and marks on the windows and glass doors. 

Cleaning windows and glass is easy. All you need is a step ladder, a good commercially bought window cleaner (like Windex), plenty of kitchen paper towels and a lot of patience. If you don’t like using synthetic cleaning agents, white vinegar and water are equally effective but you will be left with a slight vinegary odour in the air so make sure you open windows and doors to let fresh air flow in. Hong’s Asisn Kitchen, an Asian Takeaway in Carrum Downs says, ‘The odour does not last very long, and it is not lingering i.e. you are not going to be smelling vinegar everywhere.’ 

5. Clean and disinfect all hard surfaces

One way to prevent infection (whether it’s the flu or COVID-19) is to regularly clean and sanitise all hard surfaces in the home.

These surfaces can include:

  • Kitchen benchtops
  • Dining room tabletops
  • Workstations
  • Light switches
  • Power points
  • Fridge doors
  • Microwave doors
  • Coffee maker
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Sinks
  • Bathtub 
  • Shower doors
  • Sliding door and handles
  • Computers, mousepad, printers
  • TV remote control, game consoles and joystick

To disinfect, use a store-bought All-Purpose Spray that says it can kill 99.9% bacteria. There is no need to go overboard and buy sprays for different things, for example, Kitchen Spray, Bathroom Spray, Fridge and Microwave wipes and so forth. The products all work the same way. 

6. Clean and disinfect the kids’ toys

This winter do not forget to clean and disinfect all the kids’ toys. To clean toys, buy rubbing alcohol from your local chemist. You can get them in bottles or as individual alcohol swabs and wipes. All you do to disinfect the toys is to give it a quick wipe with the alcohol. 

Put large plastic toys into the top drawer of the dishwasher and give it a good wash and disinfecting with the dinner plates. Smaller objects can be placed in a laundry net. 

Kids' toys laid out for a birds-eye picture

7. Declutter the home

Marie Kondo is back! The home is looking messy because of quarantine. Schedule some weekends to declutter your home. 

Here are some handy decluttering tips for the home: 

  • Start by scanning the problem. Do a walkabout around the home and identify the problem areas – kids’ bedroom, family living room, kitchen, fridge, bathroom.
  • Make a list of items you may have to buy to put things away for example boxes, crates, jars and bottles. Two-dollar shops and second-hand stores are brilliant places to go rummaging for storage boxes that won’t blow the budget. 
  • Plan how you want to declutter. Always declutter in stages i.e. room-by-room. Start from the top first. Dust and wipe away any smudges or cobweb you find. 
  • Don’t try and declutter in one day! This is a long-term project and is a continuous work in progress. 

8. Clean the fireplace

If you have an open fireplace, you will need to have it cleaned. Start by removing all the soot and ash from the fireplace. Use a small hard brush and a dustpan. Cover the surrounding areas with an old bedsheet or tablecloth. Put a wastepaper basket lined with a rubbish bag next to you before you start. Wear old clothes and a pair of gloves. 

If you have a central heating system, now is a good time to call the maintenance man in for a quick check. Split unit air conditioning that has been serviced will only require a dusting with a long handle duster. Individual heaters like coil heaters or fan heaters must be dusted before they can be used. To dust, use a slightly damp microfibre cloth. Clean between the slats to remove any dust and cobweb.

9. Remove leaves around the home

Winter is the worse time in the year for leaves. They are everywhere. Unfortunately, you will have some outdoor home maintenance. If you don’t like to do these chores, hire a gardener or handyman to look after some of the essential outdoor maintenance for the home.

Here are some of our suggestions for keen DIY gardeners: 

  • A good rake can get rid of most leaves. Look for ‘no-clog’ rakes – the tines that don’t skewer leaves so you don’t have to stop to remove the leaves from the rake.
  • Blowers are great but don’t forget that twigs, landscape rocks and mulch can damage the impeller. Wear gloves to minimise vibration, a mask to protect your eyes and noise-cancelling headphones to block out the sound. 
  • Instead of raking and hauling bags of leaves, rake them into a tarpaulin. It’s easy to grab and go. And you only do it once.
  • Gutter guards will keep leaves and debris from clogging your gutters.
  • The plumber’s snake is a great device for pulling leaves out of clogged downspouts.

10. Clean mould from tile and grout

Humid conditions attract mould. In winter, we leave our heaters on and close our windows to keep out the draught. 

Commercially bought products use bleach as their main compound so if you don’t want to apply bleach to your home, a homemade solution of white vinegar and water (the ratio is 20:80) will work just as well. 

To kill the mould, spray the vinegar solution on the affected area. Leave for a few minutes then use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub away the mould. Be careful not to damage the sealant. Rinse with a clean microfibre cloth and repeat.

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