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Cleaning and Housework

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Those are two words most people hate to hear but living away from home means taking responsibility for the dreaded task of housework. We’ve put together a basic guide on cleaning tips and managing housework.

Kitchen Cleaning

You’ll be sharing your kitchen with plenty of other people, so mess and dirty dishes will build up faster than you think. Get into a habit of washing up as soon as possible, and don’t hoard dirty cups and plates in your room. If your housemates aren’t as quick at washing up as you, make it a rule that dirty dishes aren’t left in the sink, so those wanting to wash up are still able to.

Be sure to wipe down surfaces, including the stove, inside of the microwave, and fridge shelves, regularly to keep them clean and free of mould, grease, and other unpleasant things. Check your kettle for lime scale build up (it makes everything taste gritty and off) and use de-scaler as necessary. Empty those crumbs out of the toaster too – no one wants the fire alarm to be going off first thing in the morning!

Key items:

  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sponges and cleaning cloths

Bathroom Cleaning

Cleaning the bathroom is a job no one wants to do, but it’s an essential part of maintaining your house. Mould, mildew, lime scale and general grubby marks and dirt build up fast when it’s four (or more!) people to a bathroom.

No one ever wants to clean a toilet, but you’ve just got to face the fact that it’s something you have to do!

Use some disposable wet-wipes to handle the seat and rim of the loo, and blast the inside with toilet cleaner and the power of a scrubbing brush. Don’t forget to put bleach down the toilet too, it’ll help kill off all those nasty germs.

If you have a shower cubicle, scrub the tiles from top to bottom, as well as the door and shower head to keep them clean. If you’ve got a shower over a bath with a curtain, always pull the curtain back across after you finish, this will help it dry out properly and prevent mould growing on it.

Always be sure to open a window or switch on your extractor fan when you finish a shower or bath – letting out the steam will help reduce mould and mildew growing.

Don’t forget to regularly wash your bath mat and rubber mats too – they get dirty faster than you think!

Key Items:

  • Rubber gloves
  • Cleaning cloths and disposable wipes
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Toilet brush
  • Bathroom and toilet cleaner

Room Cleaning

It’s easy to fall into bad habits when it’s your own room, but having a clean and tidy space to sleep, work, and live in, can make all the difference.

Don’t let dirty laundry pile up! Have a set day of the week for washing your clothes. If you’re in halls and have a laundry room, be sure you’ve got enough change to use the machines. If you’re in a house, be aware of sharing your washing machine and having enough space to dry your clothes.

Hoover regularly. When you’re only in a student room, hoovering takes hardly any time at all. All houses and halls should provide a hoover to use – ask your landlord or the halls reception if there isn’t one.

Dust and wipe down surfaces. Your desk or chest of drawers can end up gathering dust quickly, especially if you use make up. Keep a dust cloth and a bottle of polish or disinfectant spray in your room for quick and easy cleaning.

Key Items:

  • Dust cloth and polish
  • Laundry detergent and bag
  • Small bin

Delegating roles

When you’re living in shared accommodation, especially shared housing, establishing jobs for cleaning is essential. It might be really awkward to talk to your new housemates about who takes the bins out, but in the long run it will save you a lot of hassle.

Within your first week, get everyone together and have a chat about cleaning. Have a small list of jobs that will need doing regularly (taking bins out, hoovering in communal areas, washing up etc.) and get people to take responsibility for them. Having a rotating schedule for buying communal items (toilet roll, washing up liquid, kitchen roll, milk, etc) is also a good idea, so one person doesn’t end up buying everything over and over.

If someone doesn’t know how to clean a bathroom or kitchen (you’d be surprised how many people don’t know) offer to show them so they know for the future. All you need is elbow grease, some cleaner, and a cloth most of the time!


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