Some of us are cleaning nuts but most (myself included) do the bare minimum. Now we're all learning how to wash our hands the right way. Maybe it's also time to learn new house cleaning rules that will keep our home and families safe for many years.
Like many of my articles, one often leads to the next. This article started with a suggestion that cleaning garbage cans was a good homeowner project to stay busy during the Coronavirus quarantine. As I thought about cleaning garbage cans, I realized the messiest cans didn't need much cleaning because they're always lined with garbage bags.
But what about the other garbage cans in the house. Guess they need cleaning as I don't line them with plastic shopping bags. Wonder how many garbage cans you have in your house? Go around and count them … I found 7 in my house. Then consider the best way to keep them clean.
House Cleaning Rules for Groceries, Mail & More
Until the pandemic, we didn't have to think about the things we bring into our house. Now it's important to wipe everything down before putting them away. At first I tried to have my son leave groceries in the garage but that was awkward. Now I place anything potentially contaminated like groceries and mail, on the designated dirty countertop in the kitchen (between the stove and refrigerator above).
House Cleaning Rules: What's Different at My House
You've heard enough about hand washing so I won't say more. What I've learned is how tough this practice can be on your hands, so I finally understand why my mother wore rubber gloves when washing dishes. Please don't confuse disposable gloves which many people are using today to guard against Covid19 … with traditional rubber gloves. Love the gray silicon “scrubbing gloves” on the right because they might (sorry but I'm not a health expxert) be safer than sponges known to harbor germs.
Inevitably I started scratching my hands. Having just moved back into my flooded house, the only thing I had at home were Neosporin (first aid antibiotic ointment) and Vaseline used to deal with calluses on my feet. My best friend told me to put the Vaseline on at night, and wear gloves over my hands. OMG, this brought back memories of babies that need gloves at night to prevent scratches.
Finally discovered Aveeno skin relief hand cream. Using a tissue, I spread the cream over the backs of my hand and knuckles and it gets absorbed quickly so I can do this during the day.
What other house cleaning rules have I adopted because of Covid19?
- Running the dishwasher weekly which is probably a lot safer than hand washing dishes.
- Washing bed sheets weekly … with hot water which has always been recommended but rarely (never) done.
- Using paper towels to dry hands after I've returned home … from the mailbox, putting out trash or getting the mail.
- Disinfecting high-touch surfaces from countertops, light switches and handles (appliances, doors, sinks & toilets) to my desk … and need to get better about my keyboard, mouse and phone.
- … and I'll add to this list as I recognize what else I'm doing differently.
House Cleaning Rules to Stay Healthy at Home
Everyone has a different definition of clean. Sometimes it's based on the home you grew up in. More likely it's your personality as my cleaning rules are a lot different than my sisters. There are lots of great cleaning checklists on Pinterest, for daily – weekly – monthly cleaning. They tend to focus on the obvious “what you can see” cleaning.
The house cleaning rules here focus on cleaning to keep your family healthy, safe and extend the life of home fixtures like appliances, fans and more. They're tasks you're more likely to find on a whole house, deep cleaning checklist (sample here).
New Kitchen House Cleaning Rules
- Stove/oven – We clean what we see but don't forget to clean inside. Love this video with tips on things you never thought of like between the stove and countertop. Learned my trusty Bar Keeper's Friend, used for tile floors also works well on stove tops … yeah!
- Microwave – While I use the microwave for oatmeal every morning, cleaning only happens when food splatters everywhere. There are lots of suggestions for using a bowl of water and lemons to clean your microwave (this video show how).
- Coffee makers – There's a simple cleaning solution using vinegar (one part) and water (2 parts) in the water reservoir. With heavy use, weekly cleaning recommended – 2 cleaning cycles and 1 or 2 rinse cycles to get rid of the vinegar taste.
- Sink and drains – Clogged sinks are never fun so maybe it's time to learn how to clean out sink drains before there's an emergency. Here's a good video to show you how and all you need is a tongue and groove plier (10 inch good for most projects).
Bathroom Cleaning Worth Doing
When we clean bathrooms, we focus on the toilet bowl, sinks and countertops. However there's a lot more to cleaning a toilet …
- Toilet – Clean the toilet bowl but clean all exterior surfaces on the toilet which might contain germs.
- Toilet cleaning tools – Can't imagine life without a toilet brush and plunger. But when do these tools get cleaned? Place them between the toilet seat and toilet. Spray with a strong disinfectant, let stand for 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with hot water.
- Shower/bathtub drains – When you clean bathtubs, showers and sinks, remember to pull trapped hair out of the drains.
House Cleaning Rules Around the House
With more free time because you're sheltering in place, why not tackle some deep cleaning tasks. These are ones that often get forgotten when you don't have enough time. Starting from the ceiling:
- Ceiling and wall vents – Wipe down vents. More important look for soot around the openings, indicating dirty ductwork that needs to be cleaned.
- Ceiling fans and light fixtures – These ceiling fixtures need dusting. Because you need a ladder, these chores often get missed … and once you've got the ladder out, wipe down the tops of cabinets too.
- Curtains – Another home feature worth cleaning. Check out Consumer Reports article to make sure you use the best technique.
- Windows – This is challenging unless you live in a 1-story house. Here's a fun video that will make you feel like you can wash your windows like a pro. She recommended a microfiber scrubber and squeegee, so I've ordered this window tool to deal with my dirty windows.
- HVAC filters – These need to be changed periodically, depending on how much your system is running. Learn how the best home air filter can save you money.
- Dryer vent – Cleaning your dryer vent isn't optional if you want to keep your family safe. Learn how to clean a dryer vent and use a dryer vent cleaning system like this one.
When You Leave the House
Yes, these rules extend to what I'm doing when I leave my house. Sometimes I have to escape the four walls, take a ride in my car and drop things off at a friend's house. Now all we can do is leave things outside someone's house and maybe have a brief chat with at least 6 feet between us.
- Face masks – Most of the face masks (48 and counting) have been donated. So I only have one washable one and leave it in a bowl with my keys.
- Disinfectant wipes – Right next to the keys are disinfectant wipes. That's so I take them in the car to handle anything exchanged with another person. Yes, I've done McDonald's take-out a few times when running errands once or twice a week.