The Essential Cleaning Guide for your House or Apartment
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The Essential Cleaning Guide for your House or Apartment

Having a clean house or a clean apartment is a wonderful feeling. Although cleaning might be a bit of a chore, we have prepared for you a checklist of cleaning products and supplies plus some great tips on how to make cleaning more fun efficient.

Why should you clean your house?

Before we get into checklists and “how-to’s” it’s best to understand why we need to clean our homes and keep them clean.

  • You can prevent dust and allergens
    • You can stop people with allergens and hay fever from having sneezing attacks.
    • You can reduce the changes of dust-related asthma.
  • The better you clean NOW the less you have to clean THEN.
    • A good clean now means less work in the future.
    • The cleaner and tidier you keep your home, the less you have to do to maintain the clean.
  • Reduce stress
    • Coming home to a clean house, or waking up and entering a clean kitchen gives a sense of ease.
    • Walking into a kitchen with dirty dishes and food scraps is upsetting and stressful
  • Find what you need when you need it.
    • One thing about cleaning your home is putting things in their right place.
    • When you need it, there it is, right where you put it when you cleaned up.

Before choosing your toolkit of cleaning products, it’s important to note that different products are made from different chemicals. Some people may have allergies to certain chemicals, whilst some products are better for the environment

The smaller size of your living space might bring up its own particular problems with odour and exposure. Can you open windows? If you can open the sliding doors to your balcony and have a fan blowing the fumes out, this may help prevent neighbours knocking on your door.

Our Essential List of Cleaning Products

Essential Cleaning Products

Here is a list of products we recommend for your house or apartment clean. All these essentials can be found in-store at The Reject Shop. We recommend them for their cleaning power or reliability, and for the low cost of each item. You will be able to successfully clean your home on a tight budget.

Carpeted Areas v Non-Carpeted Areas

In general, there are two main areas of cleaning in your home. The tiled areas and the carpeted areas.

The tiled areas would be your Bathroom and Kitchen. Easy to spray and wipe down the hard surfaces, and to mop the floors. Food mess and water based grime such as mould and mildew are the tiled areas worst criminals.

The carpeted areas would include bedrooms, dining rooms and lounge rooms. Crumbs from snacking and dirt from shoes are often discovered in carpeted area. Foot traffic can flatten a carpet as well, making them look dull.

Carpeted areas include furniture where food and other rubbish can be trapped and disappear. Ever find loose change down the side of a couch?

Carpet Cleaning

This generally would be hallways, lounge rooms and bedrooms. The big concern with carpeted areas is cleaning the floor at the end. We recommend a good carpet deodoriser and a thorough vacuum.

Carpet deodorising is important because carpets are very good at trapping dirt and odour. We underestimate how much traffic a carpet handles. If you spill food on the carpet, even though you clean it up, the smell from that food, and traces are still trapped in the carpet. If you track dirt or mud, even dog poop, in on your shoes, that sticks around in the carpet. Cigarette smoke as well, that can seep into everything. We clean couches a lot, but sometimes not the carpets.

A good carpet deodoriser, in combination with vacuuming, is a powerful cleaning combination for your carpets, and can keep them in better conditions for longer.

The biggest tips we have for cleaning carpeted areas is to do the vacuuming last. When cleaning and dusting, start from the top and work your way down. This way, any dirt and dust falls to the ground, or falls to a place you have yet to clean. Then it is all on the carpet, waiting to be cleaned up by you when you’re done.

We also recommend a good carpet deodoriser. Depending on the material your carpet is made from, they can hold onto odours quite tightly. So a chance to deodorise should be taken.

Tile Cleaning

This would be the bathroom-toilet-laundry trifecta, and the kitchen. Generally they are tiled and need a different method of cleaning. You can vacuum to rid the floor of dirt before finally mopping with a cleaning agent.

Special tile and grout cleaners can also be used here in combination with toothbrushes or even hard-bristled nail brushes. Getting the cleaning agent right into the gaps between the tiles is the important thing.

One of the good things about tiled areas is being able to use an all-purpose spray cleaner and cloths. It means a quick and easy clean which takes very little time to bring up the shine in your bathroom.

Hardwood Floors

Floor Cleaning

A note here regarding non-carpeted areas. Some homes and apartments have hardwood floors. These are, of course, not carpeted areas. You would do a final mop on these surfaces, even a steam mop and or polish

To get a really good shine from your hardwood floors, may we suggest our Supreme Pine Disinfectant in the hefty 1 litre bottle? We also recommend the Geelong Brush branded Spray Mop. It is a quick and easy way to clean with no chance of accidentally spilling liquids over your floor and furniture.

Upholstery Cleaning

We recommend cleaning your lounge and other upholstery before you vacuum the room. This way if any dirt or dust falls from the furniture to the floor, you’ll pick it up with the vacuum.

  • Vacuum your furniture
    • Some upholstery has a ‘grain’ to it, in that the fabric sits a certain way.
    • Vacuum in a left to right motion, overlapping your vacuum strokes to get the best coverage.
  • Identify the type of fabric your furniture is upholstered in. Check the label of your couch:
    • W = you can use water to clean your couch.
    • X = Vacuum only, do not user water.
    • S = dry cleaner detergent only.
    • WS = you can use a mild detergent with a steam cleaner or dry vacuum
  • Find the appropriate upholstery cleaner for your type of couch.
  • Clean the wooden parts of the couch. We have some wood polishing wipes which can help with this.

Cleaning your Backyard or Balcony

Outdoor Cleaning

Houses can have a grassy backyard, an outside dining area, a shed, garage. More to clean, and potentially different kinds of cleaning chemicals. If you’re cleaning outdoor picnic furniture you need to be aware of rain-proofing and other weathering. For an apartment, the balcony is usually a tiled surface, so the same cleaning principles used for the bathroom and laundry can be used here.

However, being an outdoor area you may need to consider a tougher tile cleaning agent, and something which will help protect against the elements.

Cleaning Checklist

WAIT! Before you start cleaning you need to get the tunes happening! Cleaning while listening to upbeat music can turn it into something more fun to do.

Music

Curate a playlist. Get your music players fired up and play upbeat and happy tunes, big beats per minute, or some air guitar epics. Play songs everyone knows and can sing along to.

There is also the one-song-cleaning challenge. This is where you have a group of people, and you chose one song, preferably a fast paced song. And while that song is playing, everyone has to pick up stuff, put away things, and tidy up. ONLY for the length of that song. Winner gets a cookie!

Put on some old clothes

Now that we have the music ready to go, what are you wearing? You don’t want to be wearing your Sunday Best. If you accidentally spill a small amount of chemicals onto your clothes, you don’t want your best getting dirty. You want that t-shirt from ten years ago you never wear to get dirty instead.

Keep your hair out of your face if you can and wear comfortable clothes which are okay to get a little bit trashed.

Bathroom Toilet & Laundry

Bathroom cleaning

Bathroom

  • Remove any towels, face towels, rugs and so on.
  • Remove all shampoo and conditioner, body wash and soaps into a container.
    • We have stack-able baskets for just $1.
  • Apply the tile cleaner to the tiles as per the instructions on the bottle. Let it sit.
  • Clean all surfaces with the multi-purpose cleaner
  • Clean shower screens with multi-purpose cleaner.
    • Wipe down with microfiber cloth
  • Clean bath and sink with soap and scrub
    • Rinse and wipe with microfiber cloths
  • Use glass cleaner for mirrors
  • Wipe down taps with multi-purpose cleaner and microfiber cloths.
  • Rinse tiles and wash down.
    • Final wipe with microfiber cloth
  • Mop the floor with mop, bucket and bleach.
  • When dry, replace shower items and place clean towels.

Laundry

  • Do a general tidy
  • Sort all bottles into containers to keep tidy
  • Clean sides of washing machine and dryer with multi-purpose cleaner
  • Check lint trap on dryer
  • Mop floor

Toilet

  • Use toilet cleaner for the inside of the bowl
  • Scrub with toilet brush
  • Let it sit for a while, then flush
  • Add toilet cleaning block to inside of toilet
  • Use antiseptic wipes to wipe down the seat, lid and the sides of the toilet.
  • Use the same to wipe down the toilet roll holder and door knob.

Cleaning the Kitchen

  • Clean off the bench tops
  • Wipe down the bench tops. Work in a clockwise direction around the kitchen
  • Use universal cleaner for bench tops
  • Wipe down appliances with universal cleaner
    • Fridge, microwave, dishwasher etc.
    • Clean inside the microwave as well.
  • Remove stove and grill parts and soak in the sink
  • Clean stove top with degreaser
  • Clean oven with oven cleaner
  • Clean the oven and grill components and return
  • Clean inside and around the sink
  • Sweep then mop the floor.

Living Room

  • Clear out things which don’t belong in the living rooms.
  • Dust all surfaces, left to right, and top to bottom
    • This way, dust falls down, so you don’t keep having to repeat dusting on lower shelves
  • Use glass cleaner on windows.
  • Vacuum furniture
  • Vacuum floor
    • Optional – use carpet shampoo prior to vacuuming

Bedrooms

  • Clear clothes from floor
  • Wipe down and dust any side tables, vanities etc.
  • Use glass cleaner for any mirrors.
  • Vacuum floor
    • Optional – use carpet shampoo prior to vacuuming
  • Make the bed

Air Fresheners and Deodorisers

Woman smelling her orchids on kitchen. Housewife taking care of home plants and flowers.

Once you have cleaned your house or your apartment, the final touch can be the lingering scent you add. You can spray air fresheners throughout your house or apartment. You can place some gel air fresheners, or even some fancy looking reed diffusers, to give your home a lasting sweet scent of cleanliness.

Reed Diffusers

These are stylish looking interior design accessories. Scented oil soaks into the reeds, and then the scent is released slowly into the air.

We have flavours such as Coconut & Lime or Mango & Guava, plus more traditional scents for you in store.

Scented Candles.

Another option for deodorising your home is scented candles. Not only do they bring some exotic, aromatic scents to your home, they also bring a romantic and relaxing mood, especially when the lights go down.

The Reject Shop has French Vanilla Scented Tea Light Candles, Tulip and Magnolia scented candles in glass, and so many more.

Gel Air Fresheners

If you want long lasting and enduring scents, try our Gel Beads, in scents such as French Vanilla, Jasmin, or Fresh Linen.

Final Tips

When you break down the rooms, and write out an action list, the job of keeping your home or apartment clean doesn’t seem that huge. All big jobs, if broken down into parts, are easier to visualise and complete.

A clean home is a nice place to be, a healthy place to be. And it doesn’t have to be as huge a job as you think it might be.

Print off the shopping list, bring it into your nearest Reject Shop where our friendly staff members will help you grab the cleaning essentials.

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