There is a saying that a good craftsman looks after his tools in order to get the most from them and this is not much different for cleaning. We tend to pile cleaning tools and equipment into cupboards to be forgotten until we next need them and rarely take the time to clean the tools themselves or maintain them so that they remain in good, functional condition. This results in unnecessarily early replacement of cleaning equipment, which is not only costly but also generates unnecessary waste and harm to the environment – or, of the tools are not replaced, then this results in sub-standard cleaning and frustration as we spend a lot of time and effort but get poor results in return. Conversely, with a bit of regular care and attention, we can ensure that our cleaning tools perform well for us and last longer.
One of the first things to look at is how you store your cleaning equipment when you are not using it. Brushes and brooms which are stored poorly can have bristles bent out of shape and therefore will not be as effective when you next use them. In some cases, it may be better to stand them up with the brush head at the top, like paint brushes.
Anything that has been wet should have excess water wrung out or shaken out completely and then placed in a well-ventilated area so that it will dry thoroughly, otherwise you will simply be encouraging the growth of mould, mildew and bacteria. Mops; for example, should be stood up with the mop head at the top to encourage drying, rather than down and wedged against the floor. Be careful, also, of any drips which may continue to leak from equipment after you have stored things away as this can pool around other items and damage them or even damage the lining of the cupboard.
Appliances like vacuum cleaners should be unplugged, with all wires carefully recoiled or retracted into the specially-designed housing. Make sure also that there are no kinks in the hose as prolonged stress can cause cracks or affect the mobility of certain parts.
Cleaning solutions and other cleaning products should always be safely stored and locked out of reach of children and pets. Make sure all tops are tightly screwed on and anything that is likely to leak should be placed inside a sealed plastic bag for added protection.
It is surprising how many people attempt to clean their house with dirty equipment then wonder why they get poor results! All mops, cloths, sponges and scrubbers should be thoroughly rinsed clean and excess water shaken out or wrung out before being stored away. Look at brushes and brooms and check for any hairs or other debris which may be caught in the bristles – the same goes for vacuum cleaners. Any washable cloths should be washed regularly on a hot wash and if you are using microfiber cloths, follow the manufacturer’s instructions as keeping them clean can make a big difference to how efficiently they function.
Check the caps of bottles before you put them away – make sure that they are wiped clean so that the solution does not dry around the caps and cause them to stick. Similarly for any spray bottles. For appliances, such as vacuum cleaners and dehumidifiers, make sure that you check the filters regularly and remove any build-up of dust and debris. Most special filters will come with instructions on how to clean and replace them – make sure you follow these carefully as the wrong cleaning method can damage their functionality.
Lastly, don’t forget to replace any damaged or irreversibly soiled items and keep an eye on any parts of appliances which may need maintenance and repair.