Many American homeowners are planning to host guests this summer, or to be guests themselves. Eight in ten Americans agree it’s important to keep a clean home. But cleaning up what is on the surface is only a fraction of what it takes to produce a truly tidy household.
For example, your bathroom counter tops might be spotless, but can you remember the last time you truly wiped down the knobs on your sink? Also, did you know you can deep clean a shower head without having to remove it? We have consulted a few experts out there in the field of cleaning to give you some tips and tricks for hosting healthy, happy house guests.
Clean These Spaces: Main Living Areas
A first impression nearly always starts as soon as they walk through the front door. The entryway – that tiny space that introdues your guests to your private world – should be in tip-top shape. Make sure to sweep and clean up the front door area. Clear out some space to hang coats or place shoes, dust, vacuum, and mop floors.
Moving on to the main living space, don’t forget to look up. Ceiling fans should be cleaned at least once a month. Especially if you live in a dustier environment or have pets. This will not only add an element of cleanliness but also immensely improve the stay of your guests by helping eliminate undesirable allergy attacks.
To clean, simply wet a microfiber cloth with a bit of dish soap and wipe down. Make sure to clean off the cloth after each blade. This can also be applied to any light fixtures, baseboards, and blinds. It’s important to pay attention to each individual surface not typically seen by the naked eye, like the tops of bookshelves.
Other seemingly innocent items, like curtains and various types of upholstery, are traps of pollen, dust mites, bacteria and even mold. Or, allergy-palooza. Take the vacuum to the upholstery. If the fabric is particularly dirty, check the labels to make sure washing or professional cleaning is a viable option.
An equally important task involves cleaning off doorknobs and handles. Consider how many times you touch the knobs and handles in your home. This can harbor all sorts of gross germs to make you sick. Not to mention the understated risk for bacterial infection. While the issue of getting a houseguest, or yourself, incredibly ill is minimal, the risk for a noticeable dirty knob is not. Nobody likes to touch a sticky handle.
This also goes for the remote control to your television. Think about it. When was the last time you wiped down this commonly used appliance? There’s nothing chill about the types of germs getting caught up in the crumbs left over from your Netflix binge-watching sessions. Not to mention the rotation of hands that have taken over the appliance regularly. Grab a wipe and get rid of the grime. Your guests will thank you.
Clean These Spaces: Guest Bedrooms
Just like the main living area, looking beyond the surface when it comes to tidying up is pertinent when hosting guests. This is especially true for areas with carpeting, upholstery or bedding that are naturally damp, such as basements and garages. This can worsen allergies and asthma. Dust mites, pet dander, and mold hide in these spaces. This decreases the air quality, and thus, a potential allergen or asthma attack.
And, the more belongings you have, such as a bounty of cute throw pillows, the more at risk you are for accumulating this type of mess. Pillows serve as a habitat for your head. This also means the dead skin, drool, and dust mites that like to hang around even when you’re sleeping. For those with an already lackluster immune system, this could be an additional irritant making for sleepless nights, rashes, and sinus issues.
While you’re cleaning off your pillows, go ahead and strip off that comforter and throw it in the wash. Make sure to vacuum off your mattress. Or, invest in a quality mattress protector that guards against bedbugs, liquids and dust mites. Most covers are machine washable and should be cleaned every three to four months at least.
Don’t forget to also remove any clutter, empty trash cans, dust, and vacuum or clean the floor.
Clean These Spaces: Bathrooms
From the crevices of your tile flooring to the tops of your toilet seat, your bathroom is a hotbed for bacteria. This is the spot where you’ll want to spend most of your time. Grab that disinfectant spray and get to scrubbing. Because it is the most time-consuming, experts recommend starting with the bathroom first. That way you have more investment in the many tasks at hand.
When it comes to your shower, don’t forget to wipe down the shower head. This should be done at least every two weeks, and a deep clean twice a year. Pro tip? You don’t have to remove the shower head to clean it. Simply mix half a cup of vinegar and water, then place it in a plastic bag. Wrap it around the shower head with a rubber band to hold it in place, and let it soak for 10 minutes. Remove the bag, rinse and wipe.
Not to state the obvious, but pay close attention to all facets of the toilet. This includes areas outside of the bowel, like the handle.
Also, since most households will have a washer and dryer hookup near a bathroom, make sure to clean these items out too. Mold, mildew, and lint can build up inside of these appliances. They should be sanitized and cleaned when needed. Use the sanitizer setting (if applicable) on an empty washer setting with a quarter-cup of bleach. Don’t forget to clean out the dryer’s lint trap after each use to prevent odors, as well as reduce the risk of fire.
Clean These Spaces: Kitchen Area
Although most people consider the bathroom to be the most obviously germ-ridden areas of the home, the kitchen doesn’t fall too far behind in the race.
The kitchen serves as a prime area of germs because of the many crevices holding water or food particles. The countertops should be scrubbed down with bleach. This is especially true for after any type of preparation of raw meats and fish. Gastrointestinal illness can be spread by contaminated food. It could even potentially lead to guests falling ill with food poisoning.
There are other surfaces that need deep cleaning, including specific appliances. If your morning cup of joe is starting to taste funky, it might be time to rinse out the coffee maker. Hard-water deposit and leftover residue can take over your machine if you don’t wash it every month. Run a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water through the brew cycle. Turn it off half-way and let it soak for about an hour. Then run a batch of fresh water through the maker until the vinegar smell dissipates.
Don’t forget to also scrub down the dishwasher. These get clogged with food debris, soap scum, and hard-water deposits. Use a scrub brush to scrape out the extra debris. Then fill a small dish with a cup of vinegar in the top rack and run an empty cycle with hot water. Let it air dry afterward.
You can also place oven racks in the dishwasher. Remove the racks from the oven and lay them on the counter. Use a scrubber or microfiber cloth to remove any cooked-on mess. Once the racks are clean in the wash, rinse and air-dry them before reinstalling.
Don’t just take out the trash, especially if there is a funky smell. Take out the trash can and hose out any leftover food causing odor-smelling bacteria. Use a disinfectant and give it a nice scrub down. Speaking of funky smells, go ahead and clean out your refrigerator. Toss out any old leftovers, and wipe down the shelves inside.
Clean These Spaces: Final Thoughts
A clean home is beneficial whether for yourself or guests.
The act itself has proven health benefits, both physically and mentally. You can accomplish it easily by setting aside a few hours a day. In fact, a study done at Indiana University found a correlation between a clean home and physical fitness.
It’s important to impress your guests with a home that not only sparkles but also shines. What do you do to make sure a clean home greets your guests? We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below!