Sometimes we make our lives harder when we do certain things. We think we are being more efficient or moving more quickly, but often we end up making a cleaning job not very clean at all. Or worse yet, we make things unsanitary.
Start with your cutting board. Washing with hot soap and water is the way to go but go a step further. After you’re done with all the dishes, put the board in clean tepid water and add a couple teaspoons of bleach. Soak for 3 minutes, rinse, and air dry.
When washing clothes, more is not better. Too much laundry detergent doesn’t clean any better and will not rinse out completely. Too much fabric softener doesn’t make fabrics softer but will make them greasy feeling and make towels non-absorbent. Too many clothes in the load means nothing gets very clean. Do use your washer to clean reusable grocery bags- they can grow bacteria from food contact. Turn inside out to wash then air dry completely.
Speaking of overloading, don’t do it in the dishwasher either. Criss cross utensils to prevent nesting. Hand wash utensils (like garlic presses) that tend to have bits that stick. Always wash fine glassware by hand. Cloudy glasses can be cleaned but ones etched by detergent are a lost cause.
Choose a cloudy day to clean windows. The sun will warm the window and dry your cleaner before you have a chance causing streaks. Wash sills and frame first with oil soap for wood.
Furniture polish is another example where more is not better. Never spray directly on the wood. Polish can build up and will attract even more dust and dirt. Spray a small amount on a microfiber cloth. Speaking of cloths, keep a dozen or so microfiber ones on hand. Wash frequently; use certain colors for kitchen and others for bath. Keep your sponges clean and disinfected too. Wet and microwave on high for one minute; replace monthly.
When you use cleaners, please give them time to work. This is especially true for bath and tile cleaner. I spray everything down and leave it for at least 5 minutes. Give it another light spray before wiping. Same goes for things you use bleach cleaning spray on- like garbage cans.
KATHLEEN WEAVER-ZECH & DEAN’S TEAM CHICAGO