One cannot escape the task of cleaning his or her home—especially if you’re one of those who left their city homes when the quarantine was implemented in March last year to settle in the safety and comfort of the more spacious suburbs and provinces. So if you’re going back to your urban space just now, chances are, a massive cleanup awaits you.
I, for one, left Manila in March 2020—persuaded last minute that it would be best to head home to Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, some 12 hours away, until the COVID-19 pandemic was over (it isn’t, still). It took me nine months to travel back. I am finally back in the metro by my lonesome so the task of reclaiming our Sampaloc home from the grime fell squarely on my shoulders. The unit hadn’t been cleaned well since the Taal ashfall and I had belongings that had to go somewhere. Tidying the place up was just inescapable if I wanted to live sanely, sanitarily.
I will not pretend to be the perfect cleaner. But here are a few tips which, based on my recent experience, I think I did right; what I had realized was wrong; and what my mother told me I should have done.
Face your fears first
When you enter a room for the first time, there are some things you pray you don’t see. Outside of ghosts, you don’t want to see dead animals, their waste and, in some cases, human waste. They can stink and pose health risks so, however yucky and gut-wrenching they may be, you have to face them and clean them.
Do a quick clean
I had to settle business urgently when I got back, so the intense cleaning had to wait two days. In that time, I had to carve myself space to rest. You cannot expect to lie down on the bed or sit on the sofa expecting the dust to part for you. Dust the sofa, the foams, the pillows; sweep those quarters you cannot not use.
Clean the musts
Like the bed and living room, one will inevitably use the kitchen, dining space and bathroom. You must pre-clean them and prioritize them when you finally have time for a deep clean. Particularly for the kitchen and bathroom, check the plumbing, sanitize the sinks and wash containers.
Use gloves and face masks
Water wrinkles the hands but, if you overexert, you will end up with wounds and blisters, too. Dust can also irritate your eyes and throat. Hazards come with handling cleaning solutions and wastes, so it’s best to protect yourself. Some newbies also wear nice clothes and end up terminally staining them. If you have sensitive skin, cover up.
Make a checklist
A checklist saves time. I cleaned the kitchen for eight hours because I had to go back and forth. I repeated washing the dishes because I had forgotten cleaning the drying rack and then the shelves. Moving on, a checklist that I obtained online helped me work efficiently.
Clean high then low
This makes sense but some people cannot be relied on to get it. I had to mop the floor three times in some instances because I did not clean the ceiling, surfaces and items first. Clean from the top so that when you finally sweep and/or mop the floor, you know you are taking everything. If you clean the floor first and the fixtures later, you might end up doing the floor again.
Mop or wipe surfaces at least two times
Here, I combined what I learned from my mom and online. My mother said it was wiser to wipe surfaces with a wet mop when you haven’t cleaned them for a while. Water ain’t enough, though. First, clean with soap water then with a bleach solution to remove dust, stains and microbes. Cleaning repeatedly, with the mop water getting clearer each time, felt weirdly fulfilling that I wanted to clean the house again.
Photos by cottonbro, Karolina Grabowska, Pixabay, Monica Silvestre and ready made from Pexels
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