If you’re about to head off for a well-earned break, probably the last thing on your mind is household cleaning. However, it’s crucial to the overall quality of your holiday. Leaving a home dirty and untidy can not only weigh heavily on your mind, it can create problems for you on your return.
You might not think that a little spilt juice on your kitchen floor is a big deal the day before you travel, but it could be hosting a host of bugs and nastiness when you get back. Fortunately, avoid such situations is relatively easy — all you need is a pre-holiday cleaning checklist.
1. Declutter at speed
Zoom from room to room with two bags. One bag should contain clutter for the bin or recycling, and the other should be used for possessions you can sort out later. This is essential, as it will speed up the cleaning process — and get you away on your break as quickly as possible.
2. Embrace steam
Steam is great for sanitising and removing stubborn dirt in a hurry. Use a Shark steam mop or the Shark Handheld Steamer to clean worktops, appliances and floors. You won’t need to worry about cleaning agents, as the superheated steam alone will do the trick.
3. Cull the out-of-dates in the fridge
The last thing you want to return to after a relaxing break is a fridge full of rotting food. Use or give away any perishable food before you leave. This is also a great time to defrost your freezer. Make a list of the food left in it a week before you travel, and plan your meals accordingly to minimise waste. Finish by giving all the shelves, doors and seals a good clean.
4. Enlist help
Cleaning doesn’t feel like work just before you jet off on your holidays. So get everyone involved in a pre-holiday cleaning party. Assign tasks evenly, and finish off with a take-away — to save the washing up!
5. Use makeshift cleaning agents where possible
If you don’t have the necessary cleaning agents the night before you travel, look around your home for natural products you can use. As well as steam, lemon juice, white vinegar and baking soda all make potent cleaners when the need arises.
6. Take care of the essentials
Minutes before you lock up, it’s vital that you take one last tour of your home — in search of any dirty problems that remain. Wash, dry and store dishes. Wipe down all of your kitchen counters, and vacuum your entire home from top to bottom; leaving crumbs and general food waste around could act as an open invitation for pests. Also, make sure every last piece of rubbish has been put into your main bins outside.
7. Do the laundry
It’s great to come back to a clean, fresh bed, so change your sheets and bedding on the morning you leave if possible. If you’re leaving early, change them just before you go to bed the night before — this should give you a chance to clean the dirty sheets and covers before you set off. Leave as little dirty laundry as you can, as you’ll have plenty to deal with when you return.
8. Bathroom and toilet – just before you go
Minutes before you lock up, check every bathroom and toilet in your home. Any standing water or general nastiness can create very nasty and stubborn smells if left for several days. Give everything a final wipe-down, and squirt some bleach-based cleaner into all of your toilet basins. Try to leave time for ventilating your bathrooms after everyone has used them, as leaving them damp and warm could lead to mould growth.
By taking the time to clean and tidy your home before you go on holiday, you’ll be able to fully relax during your break. And let’s face it: coming home to a clean, welcoming home after a long journey is always a great feeling.