Start by making a list of all the tasks you wish to complete. Then make a list of all the things you will need to complete those tasks and stock up on sponges, cleaning cloths and your preferred cleaning agent. Replace old mops and tired broom heads and treat your vacuum cleaner to a new bag. If that isn’t possible, empty the bag and clean the insides of the vacuum cleaner thoroughly. Get a few storage boxes to help your de-cluttering.
Try not to plan too much action for one day. It is easy to unpack all your cupboards in a burst of enthusiasm then feel overwhelmed by the idea of sorting through it all – and ending up with more mess than you started with! So, pace yourself and resolve to complete one task a day until the house is in working order.
Make a list of all the rooms in your house and what tasks you wish to complete in each. That way you can cross off each task as you go along. If you decide to start with the bedrooms, your focus areas should be:
Sort through clothes and take out anything too warm, too small, soiled or damaged. Pack the warm clothes away if they won’t be needed. The same goes for clothes that your family has grown out of: either pack them away or give them to a family member, your local masjid or a clothing charity. Stained or soiled clothes should be washed or dry-cleaned and damaged garments should be mended or sent to a clothing recycle bin.
Beds and mattresses
Vacuum or wash your mattresses, let them air and then turn them over. Give your pillows and duvets a wash if you can fit them in your machine. If not, take them to the launderette. Replace any pillows that have no life left in them. You may want to replace heavier duvets with lighter ones if that is appropriate in your climate. Be sure to vacuum under the beds and other pieces of furniture.
Curtains and blinds
Vacuum any dust from your curtains and arrange to have them laundered or dry-cleaned. If you have blinds, dust them and wipe each slat with a damp cloth to get rid of dirt.
Carpets and rugs
If you have rugs or throws in your bedrooms, machine wash or dry clean them, depending on manufacturer’s instructions. Move furniture and vacuum wall-to-wall carpets.
Your Living Room
Give your carpet a make-over by mixing 2 cups of cornmeal and 1 cup of borax. Sprinkle the mixture onto the carpet. Blot stubborn stains with vinegar in soapy water. Vacuum thoroughly after an hour. If you do not have carpets, clean your floor by mixing equal parts water and vinegar. Rinse and mop dry. The water-vinegar mixture is a great all-purpose cleaner that can be used for coffee tables and other wooden furniture.
If you have a sofa instead of wooden or rattan furniture, remove stains from the fabrics by applying a paste of lemon juice mixed with cream of tartar. The same can be done for the curtains. You windows will benefit from a good wash. Mix 1 cup of vinegar in a pail of water and wipe down with a cotton rag. Use crumpled newspaper to scrub the glass for a surprisingly bright sheen.
Your Dining Area
Half a cup of borax mixed into a gallon of water will disinfect and deodorize your dining table, buffet tables and the floor under the table. Alternatively, if you need to scrub a little more into the area, use baking soda with water as baking soda is mildly abrasive and will scrub without scratching.
Baking soda on a damp cloth is perfect to clean bench tops, sinks, windows and your refrigerator or freezer surfaces.
Baking soda added to water will help you clean out the oven, microwave and stove. Apply the paste to all the required surfaces (avoid wires and heating elements) and use a scouring pad to scrub where grime has accumulated. Use a damp sponge for other places. Rinse thoroughly afterwards. If you are cleaning the oven daily and stains are still fresh, dampen them with a warm cloth. Sprinkle salt over the stains and scrape them off when your oven cools down.
To combat nasty smells from your garbage disposal, grind ice and lemon juice in the disposal. Similarly, sprinkling baking soda at the bottom of rubbish bins will do the trick.
Mirrors can be wiped down with warm water and a lint-free cotton rag. Adding 1⁄4 of white vinegar and water in a bottle spray will give your reflection that extra shine. Rinse well and squeeze dry. You can use the crumpled newspaper tip on mirrors as well as windows.
The bath tub, shower and sink can be scrubbed down after sprinkling baking soda onto the porcelain surfaces. After a good scrub, rub down the fixtures with a wet rag. Rinse well in order to avoid a hazy film.
The perfect toilet bowl cleaner would start with 1 cup of vinegar being poured down into the bowl. Add a handful of baking soda and watch the solution turn into a fizz. Scrub well after twenty minutes or so. Alternatively, use borax on stubborn stains.
The tried and tested vinegar plus water formula will help you mop up your bathroom floor.
See? Powerful fumes and toxic substances aren’t a prerequisite for a clean home. Try substituting a few of your regular cleaners with our natural alternatives and let us know how you get on.