In the interior design world, so much focus is put on lights, materials, colors, focal points, etc. which makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is how much cleanliness and maintenance are overlooked. People can spend hundreds of hours getting the right design pieces to get the perfect aesthetic for their home but all of that effort means nothing if their elements are degraded by improper cleaning techniques or if they have to be replaced because they weren’t properly maintained. This post should shed some light on this issue for all of your home elements. So without further adieu, here is the complete science-backed guide to home maintenance.
Windows are so, so, so, important in design. I can’t emphasize this enough. Most people know that it’s important to clean windows but what most people don’t know is that window glass is softer than cup and wine glass. For this reason, people everywhere are making mistakes with their window maintenance. Improper chemicals are used that cloud glass, harm window surroundings, and can damage the treated glass. This can interfere with lighting in the room, and give ugly markings on the windows. A proper cleaner for glass is one without solvents, alkali or ammonia. I would also recommend one that is environmentally friendly. The right cleaner is really important, but hard stains and other grime can be especially tricky. For this reason, you should get a professional window cleaning service done once or twice a year depending on your weather conditions. You should also manually clean your windows twice a month. This combination will protect your windows and give them the life and look that they deserve.
Most likely, you already clean kitchen countertops on a daily basis, especially if you cook. Countertops aren’t incredibly complicated to clean. Most countertops are designed to have food on them. The main thing to remember with kitchen countertops is to not use cloths that have bits of food in them. If food is left on countertops, it can leave stains or harden which can erode down parts of the countertop and will fade the colors. If you clean countertops daily and swap out your cleaning cloths frequently you’ll be fine. Lastly, avoid kitchen cleaners because they contain dangerous chemicals that can be dangerous when they come in contact with food. Use dishwashing soap and water.
Your refrigerator is also designed to handle food spills and food buildup. The main danger to refrigerators is that bacteria buildup can be a huge issue. Salad drawers are known to have nearly 700 times the acceptable level of bacteria. Couple that with the fact that mold and mildew can easily build up and you have a triple threat. This is obviously not good and can make you really sick. For that reason, you need to deep clean your refrigerator once a month. Just like with kitchen countertops, use a dishwashing liquid and you will be fine.
A previously held myth was that microwaves destroy bacteria with heat waves. New research is proving this false, however. For that reason, it’s important that you get in manually and clean your microwave once a week with a dishwashing soap or even a mixture of water and vinegar.
As one of the most important elements to a good interior design look, carpet is key. It’s one of the most important things to clean. Although vacuuming might appear to “clean” carpet, all it really does is remove debris. Surprisingly, a poorly kept carpet will decrease air quality drastically. In addition to this, carpet is a perfect hotspot for bacteria and mold. For this reason, you should get a professional steam clean on your carpet once or twice a year.
Surprisingly, research shows that bathtubs are actually dirtier than trash cans. A study showed that 26% of all bathtubs have skin infecting bacteria compared to only 6% found in trash cans. Water and filth are a perfect living room for all sorts of nasty bacteria and molds. For that reason, you need to clean your bathtub (and toilet) on a weekly basis with strong cleaners that have ammonia.
Towels can harbor millions of dead skin cells. Disgusting right? Even if you only use a towel a few times, you need to wash it to get rid of these dead skin cells. If the thought of cleaning yourself with dead skin cells isn’t enough, then the distinct musky odor left behind by these skin cells should make you clean your towels every few days in the washing machine.
Fine Linens, Pillows, and Mattresses
Fine linens include pillowcases and bed sheets and how you wash them depends on a few things. If you go to bed after working out, sleep naked, or sweat when sleeping, then you need to wash your sheets and pillowcases more often. Fine linens are a prime spot for bacteria, skin cells, and dust mites. For that reason, you should clean your fine linens once every two weeks in the wash (or more if you do one of the things described above).
So many people are good at cleaning their linens but they don’t actually clean their pillows and mattresses themselves. Something that might help you, is to clean these things while your fine linens are in the wash. Pillows have all of the dirty culprits of fine linens such as dead skin cells, etc., but as an added bonus, pillows can make allergies worse because of their proximity to your sinuses. You should wash your pillow once every 3 months in the washing machine.
When people clean their sheets they don’t usually clean their mattress pad, or the mattress itself. Although I wouldn’t clean the mattress itself very often, maybe once every two years, I would highly recommend cleaning the mattress pad. A dirty mattress pad will make your sheets dirtier and mattress pads are the main culprits for having “bed bugs”. Cleaning it every two months with a treatment consisting of sprinkling baking soda onto the pad, vacuuming it, and then spraying the pad down with Lysol will do wonders.
Windows: Professionally 1-2 times a year, twice a month with a professional cleaner that doesn’t have solvent (don’t use Windex)
Kitchen Countertops: Daily with dishwasher fluid
Refrigerator: Deep cleaned once a month with dishwasher fluid
Microwave: Once a week with dishwashing soap or water/vinegar mix
Carpet: Professional steam clean 1-2 times a year, vacuumed weekly
Bathtub (and toilet): Weekly with an ammonia-based cleaner
Linens (towels, washcloths): Every few days (or after a few uses) in the washing machine
Fine Linens (bed sheets and pillowcase): Once every two weeks in the wash
Pillows: Once every 3 months in the washing machine
Mattress Pads: Every two months with a baking soda and Lysol treatment