Dirtiest places in our homes

Wednesday July 22 2020

A home owner shares kitchen cleaning tips. The

A home owner shares kitchen cleaning tips. The kitchen is one of the surprisingly dirtiest places in the house, when cleaning, one needs to focus on every single spot in this area. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA  

By Joan Salmon

We do lots of cleaning within and around our homes, or so we think. However, there are several areas that need our attention yet, unfortunately, never get much of it.
Kitchen
To imagine that the place where we keep and prepare food and drinks can have untended corners is deplorable. However, Rachel Bate, a mother, says they exist. Here are some spots to cater to:
Dish drying racks
These collect water in the trays. “While it would be ideal to empty them of the water, many of us do not and before we know it, they get a slimy layer.,” Bate says. To keep them clean, she says, we need to wash them at least every three days with liquid soap and a dish sponge. “Also, allow the trays to dry. The racks must also be dismantled, the grooves cleaned, then left to dry. They gather dust that is not easily noticed.
Sink
While we wash dishes and utensils from it, many of us do not think about cleaning it. No wonder, you will find some stained while others are greasy. ”However, the sink surface ought to be cleaned thoroughly after every use. If you washed some oily utensils, then using hot water to get rid of the oily layer is ideal. To get rid of the stains, use a scouring pad. In the absence of it, a dish pad and vim will help,” Bate shares
Ernest Mayanja, a plumber, advises pouring hot water in the water outlet at least once every week to get rid of any buildup in the drain. “When this is not done, chances of having a stench envelope your kitchen are high.”

Trash can
Granted, it carries rather unpleasant stuff from the house but that is not reason to allow germs to make a habitation out of it. “For starters, rather than put the food leftovers, crumbs, and the like directly into the trash can, put a rubbish bag. That way, it will be easier to empty. But there are times when you have a spill from the bag. So rather than just pour some water to clear the mess, get soapy water and a brush to clean it up,” Bate shares. If there is a build up, she says, using hot water with liquid soap will help to break it up. “Even without a spill over, mix some vinegar in water and with a brush, clean your trash can.”

Refrigerator
You would think that this bank of food would be cleaned often but it will surprise you that many do not clean it at all save when there is a spill. ”Even then, only the area where the spill has affected is addressed not the whole bank. However, with such a practice, chances of having food rot because it was forgotten are high. This makes the refrigerator have a foul smell which will affect the whole kitchen environment,” Bate says. She advises that it will be ideal to clean it at least every fortnight while also getting rid of any overstayed leftovers. “Apart from using liquid soap, water and a clean cloth to remove any stains and spills, clean with vinegar to ensure you get rid of any foul smell.”

Microwave
While we are quick to run to it to warm up a meal, we care less about its cleanliness. “As such, food particles that fall off food are found filling it up. It ought to be cleaned and the glass ‘plate’ washed every after use. To clean the interior, use a wiping cloth with soap. Do not to pour water to prevent it from sipping into the device and causing an electric disaster,” Bate shares.

Cooker tops, area near cooker
With food droppings, sauce smudges, cooker tops ought to be cleaned every after one has cooked. However, many of us do not see to that. As such, there is buildup of dirt which makes a nasty sight.
The other place is the area around the cooker that is usually awash with grime from soups and sauces. Cleaning this place every after cooking will ease one’s work because with time it sticks to the wall making it hard to clean off. If you have not cleaned that area in a long time, you may start by passing a wet cloth to soak up the buildup before coming back after five minutes armed with soapy water to complete the job.

Sitting /living /dining room
This meeting place with strangers, visitors and family alike tends to get a lot of attention. However, Aloysius Nangosha, an interior designer, says there are several areas that may be left unattended to. Here are some components to give more attention:

Fans
While they cool the air within the house, when not in use, their blades easily accumulate dust which they will circulate whenever it is turned on. “The issue is that they are not usually taken apart as some people do not know how. However, disassembling is necessary so that the accumulated dust is removed as it affects the quality of air in the room. If your fun is complicated, asking a professional to help will avoid damaging it,” Nangosha advises.
To avoid accumulation of dirt and dust, he says one ought to cover the fun when not in use, with a plastic bag as cloth will not prevent fine dust from entering.

Remotes
Just like a smartphone, remote controls for sound systems, DVD players, and game consoles are frequently touched whether one has washed their hands or not. “However, owing to their electronic components, cleaning them might be a trick. But when you are cleaning them, remove the batteries first, then with a cotton cloth that has been dipped in rubbing alcohol, wipe them. If you can access Lysol wipes, they can also serve the purpose. In case of particles or grime between the buttons, you may use a toothpick to get it all out,” Nangosha shares.

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Dining and sitting room chairs
Usually, these chairs only receive attention when they are worn out or broken. Mainly coming as wooden or upholstered, Nangosha says they carry a fair share of grime and dirt. “If they are wooden, then use a slightly damp light non-lint cloth to clean them. But if what must be done is dusting, a dry cloth will do. For any upholstered portion, such as the sitting areas, add a little amount of soap in the water to clean off the grime. Ensure that you do not soak up the upholstered portion so that it is not out in the sun for long. If you have a vacuum cleaner, then using the upholstery attachment will relieve you from putting the chairs under the sun because it causes the fabric to fade,” he shares.

In case you also have stains, Nangosha says using some hydrogen peroxide will help you get rid of them. “Spray this on the stained bit and leave it to sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping it off.” As you clean, avoid soaking the wood as that may rid it of the wood varnish.

Bathroom
While we scrub the bathing area, many of us do not give thought to the other components that make up the bathroom. That gives room for them to gather dirt. Here are some places to consider:

Toothbrush holder
While we happily remove and replace our toothbrush to the holder but have never, since purchase, looked at the bottom of it. ”Chances are that it is such a disgusting sight with grime and a possibility of mould owing to toothpaste residue and leftover water. The numbing bit is that as you pick your toothbrush, you are fast at sliding it into your mouth,” Mayanja shares. Unmount it from the wall and dismantle it to give it that much needed wash using a brush with soapy water.

Shower curtains
Swish, swash, the curtains go as one steps in and out of the bathroom. But these, despite affording you privacy as you take a bath might have never been washed at all. As such, mildew and dirt from the splashes as you bath have built up on it. “Unhook it from its rail and give it a warm wash,” he says.
Tiles
While many of us will scrub the walls and floors of our bathroom, we never pay attention to the space between the tiles. In the long run, you will find them getting brown and later black owning to dirt buildup. Using a brush with liquid soap, scrub these areas on a weekly basis and on a yearly basis, re-grout in between these tiles to cater for the wearing of the grout.

Toilets and toilet seats
With all the urine that splashes on the sides of the toilet and sometimes to the cover, it is alarming that apart from flushing after use, many homeowners never give these a thorough scrub. To avoid dirt build up on the seat, using a scouring cloth and detergent, clean it at least twice a week. Also remember to scrub around, within and at the bottom of the toilet to avoid build up that usually stains the
toilet.

Soap holders
In most bathrooms, these are caked with layers of soap to the point that it becomes it new skin. However, on a weekly basis, these need to be scrubbed to rid them of any soap build up.
Bedroom
Mattress
On a hot night, these will soak up all the sweat. That is not forgetting the dirt, hair strands, dust and so much more. No wonder some have dust mites. Let us start by putting it out in the open for some aeration. More to that, get into the habit of airing the bedroom, more so those days when you have removed the bedsheets from the mattress.

To get rid of stains owing to body fluids, Bate says, add some liquid soap to water and with a cloth or sponge gently rub the mattress. “Remember not to soak the mattress with water as it will absorb water yet total drying may not be possible. In case of any other stains, mix some baking soda in water and with a cloth rub the spot. Let it sit for 30-40 minutes before using another cloth with clean water to clean up the spot,” she says.
You also ought to wash your bedsheets regularly, at least on a weekly basis to eliminate build up of body oils, dead skin, not forgetting odours.
Seeing that you cannot easily wash a mattress, Bate says buying a mattress protector will do you good. “With this, you can wash it hence keeping your mattress clean and giving it longevity.”

Pillows
These are a hub of all sorts of smells, more so for women who use various hair products, not forgetting the hair strands that sometimes get stuck in them. Bate advises that for starters, pillow cases should be changed and washed at least twice a week. “It will also be great to aerate the pillows for a fresher smell. To the women, wearing a satin head wrap will do you good because apart from helping your hair not lose the moisture and oils you have applied, it will also save the pillow from sucking them up,” she shares.

Top of wardrobe
Usually, people never bother about cleaning this place hence accumulating dust. ”The reason for the neglect could be the height of the wardrobe. Therefore, investing in a ladder will help sort this out,” Nangosha says. With a bucket of water, liquid soap and a cloth, wipe the place.

Faucet, shower heads, drain covers
Faucets, shower heads and drain covers. It is not imaginable that a shower head can have algae in it but it is so true. With water settling in it between baths, chances for its growth are high. The same goes for faucets while drain covers have scum clog them compromising their functionality. Mayanja says some of the things that cause buildup are hair strands which also cause drainage problems.b“For shower heads and faucets, fill a big ziplock bag with vinegar and with electrical or duct tape, tape the bag around either of them. Wait for 15-20 minutes before removing the bag and wiping the faucet or shower head,” he advises.

Mayanja also advises homeowners to make it a habit to pour hot water into the drain traps. “If these are removable, drop them in a bowl of water with vinegar and scrub the buildup off.”
One other place you should not forget is the area around the switch, everyone in the house touches the switch and area around it, ensure you clean it on a daily basis.

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