Cleaning household appliances
Image adapted from: @thebestduvalltimes
Unless any of us are like Monica Geller from iconic sitcom Friends, we’re probably not diligent in cleaning household appliances like washing machines as often as we should be. Or worse, some of us might not even know that they require cleaning at all.
Just like people have to shower every day, household appliances should also be cleaned periodically to get rid of any build-up dust, bacteria, and odours. Here’s a helpful list of 10 household appliances we use almost daily and how often they should be cleaned.
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1. Washing machines and dryers – once a month
Just because washing machines constantly have soap and water running through them, it doesn’t mean they’re exempted from cleaning. Over time, soap residue, fibres from clothes, and gunk from laundry build up inside the walls of washing machines, making it a great breeding ground for bacteria.
So if you notice a funky smell when you do your laundry, your washing machine is ready for a good scrub. Make sure to wipe it down with a dry cloth after every wash and to leave the door open to air it out.
And at least once a month, give the washing machine a good cleaning using washing machine cleaners that dissolve all the gunk in the drum. You can get a powdered version from Daiso at $2 per pack. For a more natural option, do an empty hot rinse cycle with 3 cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda thrown in.
Don’t forget about your dryers too! Wash its lint filter at least once a month and wipe down the inside of your dryer each week.
2. Kettles – every 3 months
You should also wash the insides of the kettle with soap after every use, being careful not to get any electrical parts wet.
Image credit: @shotbykirsten
Kettles are one of those appliances we never think twice about cleaning. Since they’re used to boil water, we assume that the insides will be free of bacteria. On the contrary, limescale, which is a solid white residue, will collect inside the kettle over time and can’t be banished by just scrubbing alone.
Limescale will reduce the cleanliness of your boiled water so if you haven’t already, it’s time to give your kettle a good descaling. Just combine a quarter cup of vinegar with 2 cups of water and boil before letting it sit for 20 minutes. Afterwards, scrub the insides with a soft sponge or cloth then rinse with plain water. This should be done at least once every 3 months.
3. Refrigerators – every 3 months
Our refrigerators are home to many different types of food from dairy to raw meat, produce, and all sorts of condiments and leftovers. The cold inside helps to slow down the growth of bacteria but they’re definitely still present. Plus, spills not cleaned properly over time lead to sticky surfaces and breeding grounds for germs and mould.
To avoid nasty odours and maintain the hygiene of your food, make sure to wipe up any messes completely as soon as they happen and do a thorough cleaning every 3 months. Remove everything from the fridge, throw away expired items, and wipe down the shelves, walls and drawers.
4. Toilet bowls – once a day
Image credit: @no58home
Toilet bowls are the only throne most of us will ever be acquainted with in our lives. So we should give them the royal treatment they deserve by wiping down the seats once a day. This is especially important for households with multiple people – just imagine how much shared germs are circulating.
Besides a quick wipe down every day, you should also give the toilet bowl a good scrub at least once a week to get rid of any bacteria build-up.
5. Showerheads and bidets – once a month
Most of us probably never think of replacing – much less cleaning – showerheads and bidets until they’re broken. But just like with kettles, limescale and even mould can build up here and cause clogging. None of us want to be washing ourselves with residue-filled water so it’s important not to miss out showerheads and bidets during our regular cleaning routines.
To clean these, do a monthly soak of the heads in a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water, scrub if necessary, then rinse.
6. Fans – every 3 months
Image credit: @starfansnyc
After many months of use, you’ll probably notice a coat of dust resting on your fans. If left uncleaned, this can lead to poorer air circulation, and even cause problems for those with respiratory issues.
Make sure to wipe off any dust on fans with a damp cloth every 3 months, or earlier if you notice the dust building up even before then. Rinse the cloth in a bucket of water between each wipe to avoid a storm of dust in your room. For standing and wall-mounted fans, go the extra mile by dismantling the head and giving the blades and cover a good wash.
7. Light fixtures – every 3 months
Image credit: @collective_homes
Many of us are guilty of neglecting to clean light fixtures. Being mounted on the ceiling means they’re out of our reach and therefore not a priority for us to address until the bulb needs to be replaced. But leaving dust, dirt and bugs to collect on light fixtures can dim lightbulbs as much as 30%.
This can cause light and energy inefficiency so if your light fixtures can be taken down, dismantle them every 3 months and give them a good wipe or wash. For fixtures that can’t be taken down like recessed lighting, a good dusting will do.
8. Hairdryers – once a week
Hairdryers are a staple appliance for every household. And while they’re dang useful to have around, we often never think about cleaning them. Over time, dust and debris collect in the filter and vents of the hairdryer which, if left to accumulate, will make your hairdryer a fire hazard.
Plus, all that dust blocking the vents will lead to less air being pushed out so your hair will take longer to dry. Make it a habit to clean your hair dryer every 1-3 weeks depending on your frequency of usage. If the filter at the back can be removed, detach it to give it a wash. If it can’t be removed, use a brush to manually remove dirt.
Tip: Check the manual or manufacturing company’s website for how to clean and maintain your specific hairdryer.
9. Remote controls – once a day
Our hands carry a lot of germs since we use them to touch everything from door handles, money, food and the toilet. All this bacteria transfers to your TV and aircon remotes every time you use it. Coupled with the fact that the remote is shared in most households, it’s a sure way for germs to easily spread between family members.
Make sure to give your remote a good wipe down with antibacterial wipes once a day. This, along with any high traffic items like door handles should also be cleaned whenever a family member falls sick to prevent the spread of germs.
10. Keyboard – once a week
Besides remote controls, keyboards are another item our hands touch often. It’s even considered dirtier than a toilet bowl! On top of that, many of us are also guilty of snacking while we’re using our computers so inevitably, crumbs get wedged under the keys.
Once a week, wipe your keyboard with a damp microfiber cloth. You can use a disinfectant as well, but to avoid short-circuiting the internal mechanism, never spray products directly on the keyboard. As for dirt, use a can of compressed air from Valore or Shopee to get them out.
Bonus: Mobile phones and tablets
Let’s not sugarcoat it, our phones could very well be surgically stitched into our hands because we can never seem to put them down for too long. But like every other item we handle with our hands, they’re a hot breeding ground for bacteria.
That’s why mobile phones should be disinfected daily with alcohol-based wipes. Check out our guide for a thorough cleaning.
When to clean household appliances
We may not know it, but many of our household appliances require much more frequent cleaning than we may assume. But the extra effort can go a long way in keeping your living space as hygienic as possible. So the next time you do your household chores, don’t miss these items out.
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