Fortnightly Cleaning Guidelines Meant to Help Home-Owners
Contrary to what most people think, fortnightly cleaning is not an outcome of procrastination. Its purpose is the same as every other cleaning schedule, namely to ensure that the living environment is free of pathogens and dirt and echoes health and hygiene in all respects.
In an era when people lead hectic lifestyles and busy schedules are a common scenario, dedicating a major part of the day to cleaning is virtually impossible. There are some household chores, like washing dishes and operating the washing machine, which cannot be ignored and need to be carried out on a daily basis. Likewise, chores like replenishing toilet papers and dusting should also not be left pending beyond a couple of days. Beyond that chores like sorting out drawers and closets take time and hence often remain neglected for several days on end. It is tasks like these that are the focus of fortnightly cleaning.
So which are the tasks that need to be carried out daily and which are the ones that should be attended to once in a while? A viable solution under the circumstances would be to segregate cleaning tasks into a check-list of daily, weekly and monthly chores. So rather than feeling overwhelmed about the cleanliness of your house, all you need to do is to check every two weeks whether or not the schedule is being maintained.
One-off Cleaning vs Fortnightly Cleaning
Given the fact that most people hardly have the time and energy to look after their homes, the choice is between one-off cleaning or regular cleaning. One-off cleaning occurs once in a blue moon and takes place either when you are moving in or moving out, thus leaving the house dirty, cluttered and unhygienic for most part. Comparatively, fortnightly cleaning occurs once in two weeks and is beneficial because it is more effective in preventing the build-up of grime and clutter.
Must-have Supplies for Fortnightly Cleaning
To keep your home clean, not only is it imperative to have appropriate cleaning supplies in adequate quantities but also in places wherein they can be easily accessed.
Having opted for fortnightly cleaning implies that any inadvertent spills or debris would need to be cleared immediately. This becomes easy when the cleaning cloth or wipe is within your reach – all you need to do is reach out for it and wipe the area quickly before it is absorbed by the fibres. Later during fortnightly cleaning when you deep clean the carpet, paying attention to that particular spot would ensure the extraction of any remnant particles.
Compiled as follows is a list of supplies that you must stock up on in order to maintain an effective two-week cleaning plan –
Brooms – Usually one broom is sufficient for the house but since you are scheduled to clean thoroughly once in two weeks, positioning multiple brooms around the house – say one in each room – would be a good idea.
Factors that could influence your choice of broom are types of bristles, like soft, stiff and so on, and material wherein broomcorn is regarded as being the most long-lasting. Decision should be made bearing in mind the nature of surfaces that the broom is meant to sweep like soft bristles being suitable for tiles and linoleum and stiff bristles being ideally suited for rough surfaces.
Dust-pans – Where there is a broom, there should be a dust-pan since without this tool the objective of using the broom, namely sweeping out the dirt, remains unaccomplished. Dust-pan is positioned at the far end of the broom wherein all the dirt is swept on to it from the floor by the bristles of the broom.
Preference should be given to dust-pans that have long handles and thin edges so that you can shift the dirt from the floor on to the pan in minimal movements without having to bend too much, thus preserving your back muscles.
Bucket – Cleaning without a bucket close at hand is akin to creating a painting without a palette to mix colours. A bucket forms an integral part of cleaning projects wherein use of water is a must and ideally it should be medium-sized. While a big-size bucket is difficult to move around, a small bucket falls short in terms of its water-holding capacity and hence you must pay close attention to the size while choosing a bucket for your home cleaning projects.
Another aspect that you could pay attention to pertains to the shape – at times a square bucket is a better option in terms of accommodating a mop than the conventional round one.
Vacuum cleaner – One of the most universal cleaning equipment is the vacuum cleaner and primary among its many advantages is the fact that it renders the task much easier and efficient. Investing in a powerful vacuum cleaner would render the task less labour-intensive for you and a variety of attachments would enable you to clean every nook and corner no matter how inaccessible it might seem.
Cleaning cloth – Including a wad of cleaning cloths in your arsenal is a must owing to their universally known ability to wipe many different surfaces. Nowadays cleaning cloths are available in many different materials so much so that the sheer number of options could leave you overwhelmed while shopping for these. The situation is best dealt with by conducting research on the subject and then deciding beforehand the kind of cleaning cloths that would best suit your purpose.
Do make it a point to choose cloths of different colours so that you can colour-code them as per the different cleaning requirements of your home, like red for wiping dishes, green for absorbing spills, blue for dusting and so on.
Gloves – Often detergents and cleaning agents are harsh on hands owing to their strong nature and that is why it is imperative to protect the skin of your hands by wearing rubber/latex gloves. Having a pair of gloves handy in the kitchen and the bathroom would ensure that your hands remain safe while cleaning and washing them with soap after use is all the maintenance that they require.
Different Aspects of Fortnightly Cleaning
Whatever is your reason to justify underlying fortnightly cleaning, it is important to understand that the chores would be more intensive in nature and the scope would need to be a lot broader as compared to daily or weekly cleaning.
Some aspects that should feature on your two-week cleaning list are –
Carpet maintenance – Gone are the days when having a carpet at home was a luxury because nowadays it is a necessity in addition to being a valuable part of aesthetics. Considering that your carpet is valuable as an expensive masterpiece by a world-renowned painter, it should be preserved and maintained in a systematic and effective manner.
As a part of fortnightly cleaning, your efforts towards carpet maintenance should focus on four aspects, namely prevention, interim cleaning and restoration. While prevention entails immediate cleaning and wiping of stains by using an absorbent cloth, interim maintenance techniques entail spot cleaning and operating the vacuum cleaner frequently to remove the layer of dust. Carpets are best restored through deep cleaning, so needs to be carried out during one of the two-week sessions at least twice a year.
Focusing your attention on the carpet once in two weeks also implies that you must change its position so that it does not receive direct rays of the sun and get faded in the process. Placing a pad beneath your carpet also helps to minimize damage as it would act as a cushion against the foot traffic and also prevent the carpet from being dragged across the floor.
Equally important it is to have the right equipment for the job and the inventory includes a commercial grade vacuum cleaner that comes of hoses and brushes, cleaning agents for spot cleaning, cloth for wiping spills and a brush for sweeping the fibres.
Protecting Your Mattress from Bed Bugs
To protect your mattress from bed bugs, you must –
- Use an environment friendly bug repellent
- Prepare home-made bug repellent by mixing lemon juice and warm water in equal parts
- Keep your mattress covered with a protector
- Change your linen during every two-week cleaning exercise
- Mix bed-bug repellent with your laundry cleaner
Mattresses – On an average, every individual spends at least eight hours sleeping on the mattress and this is reason enough why these should be included in the fortnightly cleaning jaunt. Owing to their position as also the fact that these are perpetually covered with sheets and pillows, mattresses are not just prone to collecting dirt and grime but are also liable to become thriving centres for bed bugs.
All pests require a damp, cool and dark habitat to thrive and bed bugs are no exception to this rule. To this effect, mattresses offer an ideal scenario wherein these pests can easily remain hidden during daytime, proliferate unnoticed and acquire plenty of nutrition. You would realize their presence only when they emerge at night to bite, thus putting you and your family at risk of bad bites and a host of diseases.
Picking up your mattresses as a part of fortnightly cleaning exercise would enhance your chances of discovering the presence of bed bugs or even preventing them from invading your sleeping arena. In case you might have detected bed bugs, it is time to put pest control into effect and repeat it during every session of subsequent fortnightly cleaning for at least the next couple of months. Because these parasites have a tendency to lay eggs along the rim of your mattress, subjecting the mattresses to thorough deep cleaning is a must.
Prevention is definitely better than cure as far as bed bugs are concerned and you can achieve this by overturning your mattresses once in two weeks during the cleaning exercise and even sunbathing them every once in a while. Sunlight is one of the most effective and natural weapons for neutralizing bugs and preventing their growth.
How About Hiring a Professional Service?
Assuming that you are in a stressful job and do not have the energy to clean your home even once in two weeks, the next best option entails hiring a professional service. While this option has its advantages, the most obvious being convenience and efficient cleaning, much depends on the cleaning service that you choose for handling the task.
To enable you to identify the best possible service for undertaking fortnightly cleaning, listed as follows are some of the pitfalls that you must avoid –
Refusal to provide a written contract – If a cleaning service refuses to provide a written agreement then chances are high that it is either a fake or totally unreliable in terms of handling the task. Such services are best avoided even if they offer cheap and lucrative deals because owing to lack of a written agreement you would not be able to hold them responsible in case things go wrong, thus leading to an unpleasant situation.
Lack of accreditation – A professional service that has received accreditation from relevant authorities is far more preferable as compared to one that does not hold any certificate of accreditation. Accreditation is indicative of the fact that the service is recognized by the relevant authorities in the field and holds the professional expertise that is required to operate.
Unaware of staff and personnel – Avoid hiring a cleaning service that is not aware of its own personnel and vice versa. This is reflective of negligence and ignorance and hiring such a service could put you and your family in grave danger.
Untrained staff – Not all cleaning services are born equal and one of the parameters on which there is marked variation is the level of training acquired by the staff. Before hiring, you must ensure that the staff is sufficiently trained to handle the rigours of fortnightly cleaning and is good value for your money.
Overall, the check-list for fortnightly cleaning should be comprehensive enough to include every aspect of the house including carpets and mattresses. Tasks performed under this cleaning routine should be such that there should not be an impact on the cleanliness of the house even if they are repeated every two weeks. Cleaning of refrigerator, wiping of light fixtures, operating the vacuum cleaner and cleaning pet premises are some of the tasks that must feature on your fortnightly cleaning list.
Since the purpose of this form of cleaning is to ensure that your home is healthy and hygienic, it needs to include chores that complement your daily chores and enable you to meet annual cleaning objectives.