A women cleaning her kitchen basin

Season’s cleanings: Get your home ready for the holidays

In homes across the country, many South Africans are preparing for the traditional spruce-up ahead of the festive season. Our teens may roll their eyes as we cajole them to take down the curtains, but we just like to start the new year with a clean slate.

It’s as much in preparation of welcoming family and friends home for the holidays and, for some, a necessary part of getting their properties ready for short festive-season rentals such as Airbnb bookings.

Maintenance made easy

Home+ CEO Vinolan Pillay reminds homeowners that it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for leaks as you buff your bathroom and scrub your kitchen. “Don’t forget to check that ovens, fridges and other appliances are in good working order. You don’t want a faulty appliance to ruin your year-end celebrations.”

If you find any problems, download the Home+ app and book a Hero to get the job done. The Home+ app is a quick and easy solution linking homeowners to a trusted network of more than 2 000 meticulously vetted and qualified tradespeople (Home+ Heroes) – from plumbers and electricians to handymen – in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.

Better yet, you’re able to track and manage maintenance jobs on your phone, from wherever you are. Which means that when home hassles happen, you won’t have to cancel any of your plans. If there’s an Internet connection, you could even do it from your spot on the beach!

But back to the annual cleaning blitz. It can be a mammoth undertaking, and Home+ has prepared a list of tips to make festive cleaning much easier.

Tips for a stress-free festive clean-up

First, declutter. Then put together a checklist. Better still, use the one devised by world-famous decluttering expert Marie Kondo, who says: “If it helps to break the process down into more manageable projects, create a detailed spring-cleaning schedule for when to address each room in your home – and stick to it!”

This is her list of to-do tasks (Home+ has added notes from experts at home and abroad):

Bedroom

• Wash linens and flip your mattress if needed.

• Vacuum or mop bedroom floors.

• Swap seasonal apparel and linens out.

NOTES: Sealy South Africa says that to clean your mattress, first vacuum it to remove dust and mites. Use cold water and upholstery cleaner or a mild liquid detergent to remove any stains. To neutralise odours, sprinkle bicarbonate of soda over the mattress then rub in gently, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum again. It’s a good idea to air your mattress too, preferably outside.

American home and hospitality expert Martha Stewart offers this advice in her cleaning tips: “Whether made of natural fibres (such as down) or synthetic (often polyester), most pillows can be machine-washed. This rids them of mould, bacteria and odours”.

Bathroom

• Clean shower, tub, and drain.

• Wipe down bathroom counters, mirror and sink.

• Clean toilet – both inside and out.

NOTE: To remove limescale, Kärcher South Africa recommends taking the tap apart and soaking the parts in vinegar or a solution of 1 tablespoon citric acid powder dissolved in 100ml of warm water for around 15 minutes. For heavy calcification, use an acidic sanitary cleaner with a pH value between 0 and 4, but be careful, as scouring agents may scratch your aluminium or chrome surfaces.

Living areas

• Launder curtains and wash or dry clean rugs.

• Dust electronics, light fixtures, fans, furniture and decor.

• Clean window sills, blinds, and windows – both inside and out.

NOTE: When dusting, “always work from the top of the room down, vacuuming the dust that settles on the floor”, says Martha Stewart.

Kitchen

• Clean the refrigerator, freezer, microwave, stove and any other appliances.

• Wipe down kitchen counters, cabinet doors and handles.

• Wash any dishes, then clean the kitchen sink and its drain.

NOTES: Beloved South African TikTokker and owner of Sisters@work, Mbali Nhlapo, demonstrates the best way to deep-clean an oven here, using her DIY solution (juice of half a lemon, 2 cups of warm water, half a cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon of salt) and to remove oil from inside the glass of the oven door using lemon juice and bicarbonate of soda.

According to Good Housekeeping, more than 15 000 fires start in American home laundry rooms every year. “Beyond removing the fuzz from your dryer’s filter after every load, pull out hard-to-reach lint with the crevice tool on your vacuum to suck up debris,” it advises. “Unplug the dryer and use your vacuum’s hose to clean as far into the dryer vent as possible.”

Heroes to the rescue

Remember, if your geyser bursts on the night before Christmas, a Home+ plumbing Hero can save the day.

If your Airbnb guests lock themselves out of your property, a Home+ locksmith can help.

If your festive lights trip the whole neighbourhood, a Home+ electrical Hero will be there faster than you can say, “compliments of the season”. Well, almost!

And if the holidays seem the perfect opportunity to get your solar system or new kitchen cupboards installed, there’s a Home+ Hero for that, too.

Home+ also offers a mobile panic button to keep you and your family safe and sound, now and after the festive season.

Be prepared. Have a stress-free holiday. Download the Home+ app from Google Play or the App Store.

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