Erin Chan Ding
THE WASHINGTON POST – There’s not much that’s more satisfying than crossing a handful of tedious cleaning chores off your to-do list.
But before you give yourself a (well-deserved) mental high-five for scrubbing the tub, vacuuming the rugs or wiping the crumbs off the kitchen counters, there’s one more thing you need to do: Clean your cleaning tools.
It’s an oft-neglected task, said Zeynep Mehmetoglu, co-owner of Maid Bright in the DC area, because “you’re just like, ‘Oh, let me get this clean and just walk away.’ You just want to clean as fast as possible and move on to something else”.
But not cleaning your cleaning products can negate all the time you took to clean.
“If you are not cleaning your tools, you’re also kind of spreading the dirt,” said founder of Clean Mama Becky Rapinchuk. “There’s a reason to clean the cleaning tools, and that is so that we’re not spreading germs around.”
Ultimately, Rapinchuk said, “it’s really not that difficult to clean them. You just have to know what to do.”
Here’s how she and other cleaning experts suggest disinfecting and caring for some common cleaning tools.
A toilet brush, said Rapinchuk, who’s based in suburban Chicago, is “the grossest thing to clean”. After you’re done scrubbing your toilet with the brush, she said, don’t just return it to its holder.
Instead, flush the toilet a couple of times with the brush still in the bowl to ensure the brush is clean.
Suspend the brush over the bowl, with the toilet seat holding it in place, and use a spray bottle to squirt hydrogen peroxide on the bristles. Leave it there until it’s dry, then put the brush back in the holder. “It’s super easy,” Rapinchuk said. “You don’t have to touch anything.”
Vacuums are the power tools of cleaning, but they require a little attention to keep them running smoothly.
Jarelle Flibotte, owner of Jolly Maids and Cleaning By JMF in Barre, recommended that, after every use, you unplug your vacuum, examine the underside of the brush and cut along the indentation by the brush with a small razor or pair of scissors to remove accumulated hair that can slow the brush down.
You should also inspect the filters weekly, she said.
If they are made of foam, rinse and air-dry them.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters should be changed about once every six months.
James Rothstein, owner of the Maid Man in Chanhassen, said he sprays the tubing and attachments with a multi-surface cleaner, then wipes them down.
Mehmetoglu recommended emptying the dust bin on bagless models each time you vacuum.
To keep your vacuum functioning well, find a small air compressor, such as the type used to clean computer keyboards, and spray the inside of the bin and the vacuum’s surrounding parts and crevices to ensure dust does not accumulate.
“This has happened to me, where the vacuum will stop working if you don’t clean the parts, because there is no bag trapping all of that dust,” she said.
If your model has a bag, change it according to the manufacturer’s instructions – or before it becomes full. If your vacuum isn’t picking up dirt, there’s a good chance you need to change the bag.