While they do all the heavy lifting for us when it comes to keeping our homes neat, tidy, dust, and dirt free, our cleaning equipment becomes pretty grubby and chock full of nasties, unsurprisingly. Here's a quick guide to cleaning your washing machine, dishwasher, and other cleaning equipment to keep them well maintained and germ-free.
How to Clean a Dishwasher
An icky dishwasher smell is one we could do without (especially when it gets into the crockery). Always rinse your dishes before loading them so food waste can't clog up the machine.
White vinegar is an efficient cleaner for dishwashers. Once a month, pour it into the bottom of the machine and into the dispensers, then run the machine through a full cleaning cycle on the hottest setting. Wipe the exterior clean using a soft cloth soaked in vinegar.
To add a lemony scent to your dishwasher (or to help it work through an especially greasy load), cut a juicy lemon in half, remove the seeds, and skewer the cut side of each portion onto the spikes of the upper plate rack. Once the cycle is finished, remove the lemon halves and admire the miracle of citric acid at work.
How to Clean Washing Machines
One of the more essential household items, washing machines are also an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can mean smelly and unhygienic clothing. To keep your washing machine in tip top shape and cleaning effectively, a regular clean every four to eight weeks is essential.
For a deep clean: fill your laundry detergent drawer with one cup of bleach or two cups of vinegar (depending on your preferences) and run on the hottest cycle. Put the dispenser drawer in a sink of hot water and bleach to soak, then wipe out (or scrub with a tooth brush if things have gotten dire), then dry thoroughly before replacing. Those with a front loader need to check thoroughly in the rubber seal around the door as it's a great collection point for grime and mold. You can spray it with a mold killer if it is especially bad, or with vinegar and water if it all looks relatively normal. Take the time to explore the nooks and crannies of the seal as it has a lot of hiding places. Take out the filter and give that a thorough wash before drying and replacing.
Regular maintenance: Use bicarbonate soda in the washing liquid drawer and vinegar for the rinse cycle and put onto the hottest wash setting. Give the dispensers a wipe out with vinegar, and use a cloth and spray bottle of vinegar to clean out the seal thoroughly if you have a front loader (the more regularly you do this, the easier it will become.) Always open the washer lid or door between loads — closed lids allow damp to fester and mold to flourish.
Mops, Brooms, and Scrubbing Brushes
Step one is to ensure you get all the debris out. A good bang on the ground will dislodge a lot, then remove any remaining hair and other "sticky" bits by hand. Now soak your mops, brooms, and scrubbing brushes in a solution of water and bleach and leave to dry thoroughly. If you use microfiber cloths to dust, they can go through a hot washing cycle — but be careful not to use fabric softener as it destroys their ability to attract dust.
Emptying the bags will need to be done regularly, or those with a bagless should follow the manufactures directions (to the letter, it is electrical after all)! The filter should be changed at least every three months, and the heads and attachments every month — an easy job of soaking them in a dishwashing liquid and water solution — drying thoroughly.
While some swear by a quick microwaving (be careful to ensure they are very wet, or you risk a fire), a safer method is to soak them in bleach and allow to thoroughly dry. Don't be shy about replacing sponges regularly — they do get up close and personal with a range of nasties.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.