Cleans and shines the first time, every time.
Now’s the time to get rid of “UFOs” (unidentified frozen objects) and give the freezer a good cleaning. It’s easy. Just follow these handy suggestions from Kate Mummaw, kitchen expert with Whirlpool Corporation Institute of Home Science, and Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance.
How often should I clean my freezer?
Unless there’s a lot of spillage, a prolonged power outage or you live in a high-humidity area, most freezers can get a thorough cleaning once a year, says Mummaw. Follow manufacturer’s suggestions, however, since recommendations vary from model to model.
How long should it take?
It should only take an hour or so to clean the freezer on average. Tack on more time if there are lots of spills.
Unplug it: Start by unplugging the freezer. Never clean a freezer while it is running or you could damage it.
Keep the food cold: Frozen food will usually remain frozen while you clean the freezer if you place it in an ice chest or a newspaper-lined container, like a laundry basket, sink or box. Ice cream and other products that defrost quickly should be placed in an ice chest with a piece of dry ice on top.
Wipe it: Using a microfiber cloth, wipe shelves and the inside of the freezer with either a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 quart of warm water or a mild soap-and-water solution. Do not use abrasive cleaners, cleaning waxes, concentrated detergents, bleaches or cleaners containing petroleum or plastic parts, as this can cause damage, cautions Mummaw.
Dust the coils: For a refrigerator/freezer combo, vacuum coils every six months, advises Rogers. Dirty coils are inefficient, cost more to run and can wear out the compressor more quickly. Clean coils with a long-handled bristle brush, then vacuum the dust that falls off. If you have pets that shed or if the freezer is in a dusty area, the coils may need to be cleaned more frequently.
This same cleaning method can be used with stand-alone freezers where the coils are located at the front or bottom of the unit, says Rogers. However, if the coils are built into the outer cabinet of the freezer, you get a pass because they’re not accessible.
Check the gasket: Clean and inspect door gaskets yearly, or as needed. Clean the gasket with a mild soap-and-water solution, a microfiber cloth and a toothbrush. Check for tears or holes as you clean.
Pro tip: To test the seal of the gasket, Rogers suggests shutting the door on a dollar bill. If it offers resistance when you pull it out, the seal is good. If it pulls out easily, the gasket needs to be replaced. Test corners, top, bottom and sides of the gasket.
Most freezers are frost-free, so defrosting is not an issue. For freezers that need defrosting, Mummaw suggests that you follow instructions in your use and care guide.
How to properly load the freezer
As you reload the freezer, allow for proper airflow by leaving space between the walls and the items, as well as between the items themselves. This will help food freeze properly and can reduce freezer burn, says Mummaw. If you’re using bins to organize like-products, use open-work containers like wire bins. The open sides and bottom will allow air flow.
See, that wasn’t so bad!
The minds at Popular Science have found that the lifespan of germs can vary greatly – it just depends on the type of bacteria and the type of service.
All of this is pretty alarming (right?!). The good news is there are easy, simple ways to keep bacteria from living the high-life at your expense.
Here are the most common culprits and how often to clean them.
Even though most of us are pretty clean when we slide between the sheets, the dead skin cells that naturally leave our bodies as we sleep are food for a host of bacteria, fungi, and mites. These can all cause skin irritation and even lead to other health risks.
How: Machine-wash all bedding in hot water that comes in contact with the skin. (Comforters, duvets, and additional blankets that are clean can be tossed in a hot dryer once a month to kill any stragglers).
How often: Every 10 to 14 days.
Save a step: Taking showers before you go to bed can keep your sheets cleaner, longer.
No matter if they are in the kitchen, bath, or at the gym, towels are a magnet for microbes. Kitchen towels are exposed to raw meat, dirty hands, and food. Bathroom towels create the perfect, humid environment bacteria and fungus love. Gym towels … are gym towels.
How: All towels should be machine-washed in hot water. You can use vinegar or bleach on colorfast products.
How often: Kitchen towels that have traces of raw meat or other high-risk items should be washed immediately. Bath towels can be used two to three times before laundering; add your hand towels to the load at the same time. Gym towels should be burned. Just kidding. Toss those in with hot water too.
Save a step: Color code your kitchen towels to save you from washing every towel all of the time. Use one color for hands, one for clean dishes, and a dark-colored one for everything else.
Think your feet can’t track in germs? Not only can they bring them in from your daily travels, but they can also spread them around your house, into your beds, and, if you have crawlers, climbers, and cuddly creatures, there’s no telling where else. The more feet you have in your house, the more often you should consider cleaning them.
How: Carpets and rugs should be vacuumed slowly and steadily to capture everything. Hard surface floors should be swept and scrubbed as needed. Don’t forget crevices and corners!
How Often: The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends vacuuming all rooms at least once per week, hitting high traffic areas once a day to keep dust, allergens, and pet hair at bay. Hardwood, tile, and vinyl floors need a good wash every one to two weeks depending on the foot traffic and use; kitchens and baths may need more attention (and more disinfectant).
Save a Step: Check dirt, grime, and germs at the door by making everyone take their shoes off when they enter your house.
The constant moisture and food particles make your kitchen sink ground zero for pathogens, microbes, and bacteria – oh my!
How: A one-to-one mixture of rubbing alcohol and water sprayed into the sink daily will disinfect it, giving you a nice shine and peace of mind. And don’t wait for your sponge to remind you it needs a bath: Extend its lifespan by dropping it into boiling water for two minutes (or throw it in the microwave on high for three).
How often: Sinks, after each use. Sponges, as needed (at least every 5 to 7 days)
Save a step: Other than eating out all the time, this kitchen hygiene practice can’t be avoided. Get in the habit and stay healthy!
Since these items get touched almost anytime someone enters or leaves a room, they can easily become germ factories.
How: Wipe all surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with water and a mild soap. This is a perfect job for kids–just give them each a prepped cloth, assign them a task, and let them go!
How often: At least once a week or anytime your child says he’s bored.
Save a step: Clean hands make for light work. The more often you wash, the less dirt you’ll spread.
While not exactly a germ magnet, your refrigerator’s health depends on keeping its coils clean. Everyone forgets to do this five-minute task until they have to call for repairs–and then it’s just embarrassing (and expensive).
How: Pull out your fridge and vacuum your coils with a brush attachment. (Can’t find them? Some coils are under your appliance.)
How Often: Every three to four months
Save a Step: Add this task to your calendar, along with changing your air filter on your HVAC unit, checking batteries in your smoke detector and washing the filter on your stove vent.
Is it time for you to clean like your health depended on it? The answer is probably yes. And if you don’t have time, don’t worry. We know a great team who can help.
It’s a new year, and that means it’s time to refresh (AKA deep clean) your home. Before you go into panic mode when you see smudges on the walls, dust on the shelves, and fingerprints on your stainless steel refrigerator, check out this list of quick and easy cleaning products to stockpile in your closet so your home can be spic-and-span in no time at all. Seriously, a tidy home in mere minutes. Scroll through to see which products will help make you look like a happy homemaker without all that old-fashioned elbow grease.
1. Bamboo Towels ($8): Talk about going the distance! These thick and sturdy paper towels are reusable and machine washable (just don’t use fabric softener). So not only can you clean efficiently, but you’re doing something good for the earth too.
2. Method All-Purpose Cleaner, Lime + Sea Salt ($3): If you only have time to use one product, this is it. Not only is it an effective all-purpose cleaner, but it’s chemical free, which means it’s safe to use around children and pets. Plus it smells like a margarita, which makes it a must-have in our book.
3. Swiffer Sweeper Starter Kit ($13): Swiffer — the classic, easy-to-use floor cleaner — gets an upgrade in this kit. With one simple change of the pad, you can go from dry sweeping to a quick mop.
4. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes ($6): These hardcore wipes are essential when you want to sanitize anything and everything quickly and efficiently. The best part? You can use ’em on multiple surfaces.
5. Method Antibacterial Bathroom Cleaner, Spearmint ($4): Store this spray under the bathroom sink and use it on surfaces where germs might be lurking, like toilets, sinks, and tubs.
6. Clorox Toilet Wand ($22): Got a few seconds to spare? With this magical wand, you can kill toilet germs and dispose of the pads in one fell swoop.
7. Windex Glass and Surface Wipes ($3): Everyone knows that Windex is the go-to cleaner for windows and mirrors, but now it’s conveniently packaged as wipes so you can clean those smudges in just one step.
8. Bar Keepers Friend Multipurpose Cleaner ($2): Know someone who will comment on the cleanliness of your kitchen sink? Use this, and it’ll sparkle like a diamond right before their eyes.
9. Method Squirt + Mop, Spearmint Sage ($5): No bucket needed for this handy floor-cleaning solution. Simply squirt it straight from the bottle onto the floor and run your mop over it.
10. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser ($7): Run this white sponge under a little water and then set your sights on what you need to clean. We love using it to erase rogue marks on walls and doors, but you can use this handy scrubber on pretty much every surface.
11. Clorox Urine Remover for Stains and Odors ($6): If you have pets, then you need this spray. It removes pesky stains and smells in less than five minutes!
12. Pledge Multi Surface Wipes ($4): While Pledge may be known for their wood cleaners, these wipes can be used to clean televisions and computers as well.
13. Black + Decker Compact Hand Vacuum ($32): If you need to give your carpet a touch-up cleaning or get between the cushions of the couch, this hand-held vacuum is clutch. It only weighs two pounds, and the cyclonic action keeps the suctioning power strong.
14. Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes ($4): These wipes remove fingerprints, water residue, and grease from stainless steel appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves.
15. Swiffer Dusters ($13): These “trap and lock” dusters are a must for ceiling fan blades, tops of bookshelves and cabinets, and any other hard-to-reach places where dust likes to gather.
Having a carpeted staircase can add texture, colour and an extra boost of safety precautions to your house. You can definitely opt for plastic runners for protecting the carpeted staircase from gathering dirt. But this again will bring on just temporary relief. Thus, if you want to keep the flight of stairs squeaky clean then you need to follow the tips of Bestazy experts as mentioned below:
Your staircase carpet also requires regular vacuuming similar to the carpet sprawling across your house. Vacuuming is imperative for removing tiny bits of gravel, dirt and debris which, when left UN catered to for long can lead to disastrous results. The standard vacuum cleaner is not designated for staircase cleaning given its bulky nature which becomes difficult to move it around the stairs. Thus, it’s best to invest in handheld, lightweight options which come with various attachment options. While vacuuming, the stairs make sure to start from the top and slowly work your way down.
You can make use of a hose for sucking up both surface dirt and the filthy particles laying loose in the pile. Using a brush, roller attachment can lead to improved results. These attachments look like the beater brush found in your standard vacuum. This ensures longevity of your carpet by loosening up the impacted dirt.
Many people stick to stiff brooms for cleaning their carpeted staircase. Such brooms are much lightweight in comparison to the traditional vacuum cleaner. Your carpet shall surely get a makeover post stiff broom cleaning. But for deep-down cleaning it is highly recommended to opt for vacuuming. Start from the top of the staircase and slowly move down while sweeping the carpeted staircase. Sweep every step meticulously until all the debris gets accumulated on the bottom floor, which can be swept or vacuumed away.
Just like any normal carpet, you can also steam clean the staircase carpet. However, you will require a steam cleaner having a handheld hose attachment for doing the same. We do not clean our stair carpets on a regular basis. Thus, it is unnecessary to purchase a steam cleaner for sporadic use. You can readily rent the same from a local store.
If you are one of those perfectionists who is simply not satisfied with the automatic working of machines, then you can shampoo the carpet using hand. This is regarded as one of the very best spot cleaning methods. Certain stains such as those cropping from an oil base might require the administration of a pre-treatment solution for loosening the dirt from the carpet fibres. You can mix water with a specially formulated carpet shampoo until to stir up a light lather. Use a scrub brush for applying the same over your carpet. Use a vacuum cleaner to soak out as much liquid as possible out of the carpet. In case if you do not have a vacuum cleaner handy, opt for a soft and absorbent cloth or towel to pat dry the carpet by soaking out the water content.
Wall-to-wall carpets have been in vogue for quite some time. It’s all the more popular in colder countries wherein the carpets aid in insulating the house from extreme weather conditions. These carpets are an absolute must in houses having children as they prevent slipping and cushions the fall.
More people are becoming conscious about the products they use in their home.
What chemicals are used in the ingredients? Will it harm my family in the long run? These are all questions that parents are starting to take seriously when doing their shopping.
Sadly, a lot of home cleaners have hidden toxins that are not even listed on product labels.
For example, a toxin like phthalate, which is used in scented household products like air freshener, has been proven to have endocrine disrupting properties. A 2003 study found a link between the toxin and poor human semen quality.
But in some countries, companies are not required to list all the phthalates used to create scents in products, and instead use words like “fragrance”.
When it comes to products that are 100% natural and chemical-free, South Africa does not have a lot of choice.
But the good news is we are seeing a lot more natural companies popping up in the country.
If you are having trouble finding non-toxic products at your local grocery store, why not try making your own – minus bucket loads of toxins.
Like this all-purpose homemade cleaner that is great for cleaning kitchen surfaces!
Check out our video for the details.
Vinegar isn’t just useful for fish and chips! Oh no, that humble bottle of vinegar that’s sitting in your kitchen cupboard is actually one of life’s secret weapons.
So next time you’re stuck with a tough stain or find yourself wondering how you can clean without your trusty bleach, simply turn to your pantry.
Here are five cheap and cheerful ways a bottle of vinegar can be used for cleaning in the home:
If the rugs in your house are starting to get that dull and faded look from too much foot-traffic, vinegar can help you out. Rather than taking the rug outside and scrubbing it down, simply dilute a cup of white wine vinegar in 3.5 litres of water. You can then use a clean brush or broom to brush them down, and the colours will brighten right up. The best part about this is that you don’t even have to wash the mixture off! So no heavy, soaking wet rugs for you to have to deal with. If you want to prevent your rug from getting that musty smell, you can also use neat white vinegar in a spray bottle to mist the underside of the rug and prevent mildew from forming.
Glasses that have been stored for a while or which are frequently used can get a cloudy look about them. Once this happens, no amount of ordinary washing seems to clear it, and you might be resigning yourself to throwing away your beautiful wine glasses. Hold your horses! To restore your glasses to their sparkly selves, all you need to do is soak a cloth in vinegar and use it to wipe the inside and outside of your glasses. Let them sit for ten minutes or so, and then rinse them all off with clean water. Any cloudiness should be gone, and your glasses and glass bowls will be bright and clean again.
Kids getting grass stains on their freshly washed clothes? Or did you spill red wine on the couch? Vinegar can help lift a tough stain – though as with all stain removal tips, it works best when the stain is fresh. Simply cover a tough stain in white vinegar, and then add some liquid washing powder. Rub it in, then wash the dirty item on a hot setting and the stain should disappear. White vinegar is particularly good for red and purple stains as it neutralises the pigments. You can also add a capful of vinegar alongside the washing powder to your washing cycle for stubborn stains.
Many people are wary of using harsh chemicals on their fridge. After all, the food you eat comes directly from there and you might not want to eat your fresh fruit off a shelf that’s been cleaned with bleach. A solution of one part vinegar to one part water can be used to wipe down the shelves and drawers in your fridge to kill bacteria. Any particularly dirty areas can be cleaned with neat vinegar and then rinsed down. This doesn’t just apply to fridges – you can also use vinegar to clean cutting boards or counter tops!
If your kitchen scissors are getting sticky, you don’t want to wash them in water because you run the risk of them rusting. If some of your kitchen (or even garden) tools are looking worse for wear thanks to rust, soak them in vinegar for a couple of hours. The vinegar will help dissolve the rust, and you can then scrub it off. Magic!
“A piece on the upper rack may have a pool of water,” says Mott. “If you unload the top rack first, the water can spill onto dry dishes below.“
You’ve just cooked a full meal and sat down to eat it after a long and tiring day. Once you’re done, all you want to do is relax, but the dishes are sitting there and you just know you have to clean them and wipe down the counters.
Kitchen chores are some of the worst, but there are ways to keep on top of the mess and save time – so that you spend your precious free time doing the things you want to instead of being up to your elbows in Handy Andy every night as you clean!
Overnight oven clean
Everybody dreads cleaning the oven. It’s hard work, it’s really time consuming and the things that come off are enough to make you shudder. Even the fancy ‘self-clean’ ovens leave a lot to be desired. This cleaning trick will make it far easier and quicker to get your oven looking brand new again, though. Warm your oven up to about 70 degrees (generally the lowest option available), then turn it off again. Put a bowl containing half a cup of ammonia on the top rack of your oven, and a pan of boiling water on the bottom, then close the oven and forget about it for the night! The next day, all you have to do is open the oven door for five minutes or so to let the air out and then wipe everything clean with a slightly damp cloth and a tiny bit of sunlight. All of the mess inside your oven and over your racks will wipe off with no problems and all you have left to do is wash the cloth properly!
Deal with smelly or blocked drains
Blocked drains make doing the dishes nearly impossible, and can start to smell pretty bad if there are bits of food creating the blockage. Rather than getting out the plunger, try this super quick and easy method first. Boil the kettle and pour it down the drain. Meanwhile, put half a cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for a minute or two. Follow up by pouring an equal amount of white vinegar down the drain and pop on the plug. The reaction means it will foam quite intensely, but let it bubble away for a couple of minutes. Then boil the kettle once again and pour it directly down the drain. It will loosen up the grim and help clear the blockage and get rid of any smells.
Salvage your burnt pans
e your once-shiny pan was. There’s no need to throw away your favourite pot though, or at least not until you’ve tried this hack – which doesn’t involve scrubbing away for hours and hours!
Trusty baking soda comes to the rescue again here, and all you need to do is add a few tablespoons of it to your pot and then enough water to cover the baking soda. Turn on the heat and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes, then take it off the heat and the scorched mess should come off easily.
Soak your dishes
Sure, you probably know that this is common sense, but soaking your dishes in warm water really does make the cleaning process so much easier. Use boiling hot water and dishwashing liquid while you’re cooking to fill the sink, and simply put any boards, pots or plates you’ve used into the sink as you go. Do the same after you’ve eaten. By the time it comes to actually washing the dishes, the water will have cooled down and there’ll be no dried-out food stuck to the plates, so your job is made loads easier!
Fight oil with oil
Greasy, oily stains can be a nightmare to get clean. Before you break out the bleach, try using a bit of sunflower or coconut oil dabbed on a paper towel to wipe over any greasy or oily spots – you’ll be amazed to see all the greasy mess coming right off.