Do you clean regularly enough? Check our handy guide to what should be ‘normal’

Comedian Joan Rivers once said: “I hate housework. You make the bed, you wash the dishes and six months later, you do it all over again.”

We think she was probably joking. But even if she wasn’t, she probably would have had very little interest in what we’re about to tell you.

Here is a schedule of sorts for when items in your house should be cleaned. We’re not going to tell you how to clean them because different products have different manufacturers’ recommendations. Rather, it is a guide to when different parts of your home would benefit from a bit more attention.

Several times a day
Kitchen bench.
You prepare food on it regularly and it will attract germs, and possibly flies, as a result. Wipe down benches thoroughly after use – and make sure you regularly change that cleaning cloth. 

Use a long-handled brush and cleaner of your choice every day. And give the entire bowl a thorough clean from top to bottom every week.

Mobile phone. Get in the habit of wiping it clean at least once a day. Alcohol is generally best to kill bacteria, but check with the manufacturer to see what is recommended. And clean the case as well.

Kitchen floor.
Adults, kids and animals and leave a lot of dirt, hair and sticky marks over the period of a week. You may want to vacuum or sweep daily but also mop at least once a week. What you mop with will depend on the surface. Carpets and rugs should be cleaned at least weekly to cut back on allergy triggers.

Television remote. Yes, really – and more often, if you give it a good workout.

Sheets and pillowcases. These should be washed weekly. And hang them out in the sun, if you can. 

The dishwasher.
Again, yes, really. It’s doing all the washing but over time, the interior and especially the filter may get greasy and stop it doing what it’s meant to do. WebMD recommends that we toss a cup of baking soda on the bottom and set a half-cup of white vinegar in the top rack. Then run a regular cycle.

Shower curtain. Stop any mould from setting up shop by washing monthly.

Upholstery. If you eat in front of the TV, there may be the remains of many meals between and under the sofa cushions. Vacuum or clean behind and under the cushions, and in the cracks and crannies where food may have collected. 

The fridge.
Empty your refrigerator every three to four months and clean the shelves and walls with a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a litre of water. Rinse and let dry before replacing food. While you’re there, check the use-by dates on those jars and bottles.

Toothbrush. Dentists recommend you toss out the old and get a new one at least every three months.

Washing machine. Give your machine a deep clean every three to four months by adding one cup of bleach and running a hot cycle (without clothes).

Ceiling fans. Dust builds up amazingly quickly, so use a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner to wipe the blades. If climbing a ladder is not for you, then get someone else to do this job.

Window coverings. Take down curtains once each season, and run them through the washing machine. Clean blinds with warm slightly soapy water.

Pillows and blanket/doona.
Air these items annually and if you can, also take them to a laundromat for a thorough clean. Consider replacing the pillows annually if they don’t clean well. 

Mattress. It’s probably home to millions of dust mites, so an annual or twice-yearly vacuum is recommended.

Fireplace. It’s wise to have the chimney inspected annually to prevent problems with fumes and soot.

Kitchen drawers and cupboards. You may want to do this twice a year, but clean out drawers, cupboards and the pantry at least annually to get rid of grease, crumbs and dirt.

Bath towels and tea towels.
Every three or four uses.

Knick knacks. Clean items that collect dust with a damp cloth or microfibre cloth as often as required.

Windows. Clean just after the grandkids have been. A bucket of vinegar and water applied and rubbed down with newspaper really works well.

Do you have any additions to this list? Any cleaning tips you can share in the comments section below?

Also read: Are your cleaning products toxic?

Janelle Ward
Janelle Ward
Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.
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