How to Clean Your Cleaning Tools

This may sound strange, but when was the last time you cleaned your cleaning tools – your vacuum, washing machine, or dishwasher? Last month? Last year? Never? Before you tackle your next cleaning to-do list, make sure your cleaning tools are clean. Why? Tools that are clean work more efficiently. Also, a dirty dishwasher, for example, can harbor germs and bacteria – not a place you want to clean your dishes and utensils. Here’s how to get your cleaning tools clean.

Dishwasher

Dishwashers should regularly be cleaned – about once a month – to remove the bacteria, fungi, and mold that can build up inside over time. Sometimes even bits of food get stuck to the bottom or in crevices, causing a foul smell. To kill germs and clean your dishwasher, Goodhousekeeping.com suggests first picking up any food particles from the bottom of the drain with a rag. Pour white vinegar into a cup, and place it on the top rack of an empty dishwasher. Freshen-up a foul-smelling dishwasher by sprinkling the bottom of the dishwasher with baking soda; run a cycle on the hottest setting.

Washing Machine

Washing machines are notorious for developing a bad smell after a while. Where is that smell coming from? According to Goodhousekeeping.com, the odor culprit could be caused by many things: detergent or fabric softener buildup, bacteria from clothes, or leaving wet clothes sitting inside for long periods of time. Front-loader machines are more susceptible to growing mold and mildew around the rubber gasket that lines the door. Fortunately, a few steps can get your washer smelling fresh again. Keep the door to your washer open when not in use so the inside can dry out. Also, don’t overdo it on the soap; high-efficiency washers use less water. If you add too much soap, remaining soap residue inside the drum can develop an odor.

To get rid of the unpleasant odor, disinfect with white vinegar and baking soda. Run an empty cycle with hot water, adding 3 to 4 cups of vinegar to ½ cup of baking soda. cleaning essential

Vacuum Cleaner

A vacuum needs regular maintenance to make sure it’s doing its job properly. Dirty filters or overstuffed vacuum bags end up just pushing dirt around instead of collecting it. For bagless vacuums, Goodhousekeeping.com suggests emptying the canister after each use. For ones with bags, don’t wait until the bag is completely full; replace it when it’s two-thirds full. Clean the filter by shaking out dust or removing buildup with fingers; or, replace it every six months to a year. If there’s an odor coming from your vacuum, try cleaning the attachments with hot, soapy water. Be sure to completely dry the pieces before using them.

Brooms

Over time, your hardworking broom can get pretty grimy. After you’re done sweeping, be sure to remove any debris that’s stuck to the bristles. Once a month (or more often if you’re sweeping up food) gently wash the ends with warm water and a gentle detergent, Rinse well. Let it air dry outdoors, bristles up. To prevent the bristles from crimping and bending, always hang the broom from a hook or nail.

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