Spring has finally arrived and it’s time to throw open doors and windows, and cast off the damp and gloom of a Cape Town winter. With the coming of the warmer weather, this is the perfect time to freshen up your home. Everything appears cheerier when your house looks and smells fresh and clean.
Wash away the mildew
In winter, mildew and house mould thrive in Cape Town’s damp weather conditions. Especially in enclosed spaces like cupboards and bathrooms, it creates a musty, unpleasant smell. It’s unsightly on walls and curtains, and if left untreated, can cause permanent stains. It’s also a common allergen.
Accordingly, a good first step in any Cape Town spring cleaning regimen is to start by ridding all curtains and walls of mildew. This is a fairly big job, so it’s best to focus on one room or part of the house at a time.
First the curtains
Wait for a sunny day and then take down and wash the curtains. Read the tags to make sure that it’s safe to machine wash them; if not, contact us to have them professionally laundered and they’ll be clean and fresh smelling in no time.
Then the big job – ceilings and walls
Once the curtains are down and out of the way, give the walls a quick dust, using a broom or a dusting brush. Then equip yourself with two buckets. In one bucket, mix about a cup of bleach and a splash of dishwashing liquid in hot water. The bleach will kill mildew and remove stains, and the detergent will help the bleach adhere to surfaces.
Use the other bucket for plain warm water, for rinsing. Note that if you don’t rinse after using a bleach solution, the bleach residue left on the walls and ceiling will turn to salt. This then attracts moisture, potentially starting the whole mildew cycle again.
As you work, stand the buckets alongside you on one or two black garbage bags. This is to make sure you don’t accidentally drip bleach solution on the floor.
A great tip for washing walls is to use a sponge mop. This can save your back and make it easier to reach high places.
Floors and carpets
If you’ve already cleaned the walls, give yourself a day’s rest before hitting floors and carpets. Don’t leave this step out though – it’s amazing how shiny, clean floors and fresh-smelling carpets can brighten up your home.
A good tip is to sprinkle baking soda on carpets. Leave it for 15 minutes to absorb odours and then vacuum up. For deeper cleaning, have your carpets professionally cleaned.
For laminated or tiled floors, an excellent, environmentally friendly approach is to mop with a solution of about a cup of white vinegar in two litres of warm water.
Freshen up your sofa
Sofas tend to see a lot of use throughout winter, and sometimes it’s only in the brighter light of spring that you notice what an eyesore they’ve become. If you’re lucky and your sofa has removable covers, now’s the time to get them clean and give your living room a new lease on life.
If your sofa doesn’t have removable covers, don’t despair. You can have the upholstery treated for stains and then professionally steam cleaned. This process removes dirt, mildew and odours.
Introduce a gorgeous smell
Last but not least, get your home smelling great. There are a number of ways you can do this. For example, use a scented oil burner with your favourite, fresh-smelling essential oil or light some scented candles. Alternatively, put everyone in a good mood by baking a batch of cinnamon cookies.
Call the professionals
There’s no denying it – spring cleaning takes a lot of time and energy.