Much as we welcome warmer months, long sunny spells and summer holidays, jobs around the house shouldn’t be neglected.
As temperatures soar (today being a case in point), taking advantage of longer, lighter days can reward you tenfold in the cleaning stakes — and with Covid still kicking around, maintaining good hygiene in the home is still really important.
We asked the experts to share their top tips on how to keep things spick and span in the sunshine…
“As windows are often opened daily during the summer, it’s a good time to clean around the seals, mechanisms and sills,” says Sarah Dempsey, cleaning expert at MyJobQuote.
“Start by running your vacuum nozzle along the edges to remove loose dirt and insects. Then use a microfibre cloth and bucket of warm water with a few drops of washing-up liquid to wipe it over. Dry off with a fresh cloth and leave the windows open so the sun gets rid of any remaining moisture.”
Dempsey says summer is the perfect time to clean out kitchen cupboards and pantries: “With flies and other insects buzzing around during the summer months, it’s a good idea to make sure there are no open packets of old food festering at the back of shelves.”
She says to take everything out, wipe over the shelves and bin anything that isn’t edible. Then put everything else back, with the food that needs eating first at the front.
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“Take time to clean under and around the back of appliances at this time of year,” suggests Dempsey. “Fridges, freezers and washing machines stand on feet, so dust, dirt and food debris tends to find its way underneath.”
If you don’t fancy pulling heavy units out, she says to use a flat, long-reach duster. “The cloth type is ideal as you can use it dry to remove dust first, then dampen it with a sanitising cleaner to remove the remaining dirt.”
“Washing machines are often forgotten about,” says Laura Marsden, UK marketing manager at Marigold. “You should leave the door and drawer open after washes to let the machine air and dry out, to stop it from getting smelly.”
However, if you can’t do this, she suggests drying it down with a Marigold Let It Shine! Microfibre Cloth (£4.99, Amazon).
“These cloths are also great for cleaning the drum/outside of the machine, as they remove more than 99% of bacteria with just water,” adds Marsden.
“Moving bedroom furniture out so you can dust and vacuum thoroughly will keep on top of pollen and other allergens,” notes Dempsey. “Again, you can use a flat, long-reach duster to get under beds and down the backs of furniture to minimise heavy lifting and effort.”
“Summer is the perfect time to freshen up your bedding,” says Karen Innes, NPD manager at Slumberdown.
“The warmer months can activate allergies, so making sure your duvet and pillows are fresh and clean, and that you have a cool, calm and comfortable place to sleep, is key to getting the best night’s rest possible.”
Did you know you should wash your duvet and pillows, not just your duvet covers and pillowcases?
“Make sure you check the labels for washing instructions, but as a rule of thumb, most good quality pillows and duvets can simply be popped in the washing machine and then left to air dry,” says Innes. “The warmer weather means you can dry your bedding more efficiently — and have it clean and ready to cosy in come evening.”
“Due to the amount of dust that builds up over time, it should be imperative to do a thorough clean of your radiators during summer, when they’re used less,” says Jessica Steele, heating expert at designer radiator specialists BestHeating.
“You should focus on the worst affected areas, which will be the fins inside the radiator, as this will have a build-up of dirt, and hairs from pets.”
She says a few simple steps will do this. Firstly, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of as much dust around the radiator, then focus on the fins by using the attachments to fit inside — this will collect the majority.
“A small brush of some form should then be used to push out any remaining dirt inside and a hairdryer can also support this by blowing out and dislodging any bits that may have become stuck,” advises Steele.
Warm, soapy water and a sponge will work on the outside, leaving radiators looking in great condition afterwards.
“Another benefit is this will help save on heating bills when radiators are in use, as it will be easier for heat to spread around the room,” adds Steele.
Taking advantage of the warm weather means cleaning your rugs and runners is another good summer task.
“Check what type of rugs you have first, to ensure you’re using the right method to clean them,” notes Dempsey. “Small cotton rugs can usually be machine washed on a low temperature.
“If they’re too big for your washing machine, head to your local launderette, as their machines have bigger drums,” she suggests. “Hire a carpet cleaner to tackle wool and synthetic rugs.”
For many synthetic rugs, she notes you can simply hang them on the washing line and spray them clean with a pressure washer. “But never use this method on expensive or delicate rugs.”
“Deep clean bins to prevent a build-up of bacteria and stinky smells,” says Dempsey.
She says to use hot water and disinfectant to wash out your bin and pop it outside in the sun.
“The heat will ensure it’s dried out thoroughly and the UV rays should help kill off any remaining bacteria,” says Dempsey. “Once dry, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda in the bottom to absorb any further bad smells.”