The New Zealand hot weather that we look forward to all year has finally arrived.
If you've got a family, this probably comes as great news. The kids are on school holidays and looking for things to do, so the option to pack up for the day and head to the beach or send the little ones out into the back yard is a bit of a godsend - after all, there's nothing worse as a child than being stuck inside and bored!
With all of the dirt, dust and sand that goes hand in hand with a hot summer's day out exploring, it's a good idea to get ahead of the problem and put some summer-proofing measures into action.
We've put together our five suggestions to make your home summer-ready and minimise the mess. Let us know if you've got any tips we've not come across yet!
1. Install an Outdoor 'Wet-Stuff' Bucket
This one's an oldie but a goodie. If you're sick of clothing, wetsuits, and towels coming into your home covered in sand, we'd suggest locating your outdoor tap, installing a hosepipe and buying a large (about 90L) bucket or tub.
This way, when the kids get home from their day out, they can give all of their toys and togs and good wash down with the hose and leave to soak in the bucket.
The benefits are pretty simple. Nothing comes inside unless it's clean and rinsed off which removes the problem of sand in the carpet and throughout your washing machine completely.
Plus, with many materials, leaving saltwater to dry is a quick way to damage the fabric. So by having a good rinse and soak system in place you'll be able to keep your favourite summer items in good condition for a lot longer.
2. Clean your BBQ (and keep it spotless!)
One of the best parts of summer (especially if you've got a big family or entertain often) is being able to prepare a meal outdoors and make the most of the barbecue. Getting the BBQ out and moving cooking duties outside saves all the hassle of cookware dishes, wiping down bench-tops and using your oven - what's not to love?!
However, when it comes to food safety and maintenance of your outdoor kitchen, we'd recommend keeping your BBQ well looked after and clean so that the next time you want to cook your sausages, it's all ready to go.
How to clean a BBQ
- Turn off the BBQ and disconnect the gas.
- Pull out any trays and clean with dish-washing liquid and hot water to cut through all of the grease and fat (you could use your aforementioned 'wet bucket' for this) .
- Scrape away excess fat from the grills using a BBQ cleaning tool, be sure to clean both sides.
- Using a scouring pad, hot water and detergent, clean down the rest of your BBQ before reattaching trays and grills.
- Apply a light layer of oil to your grill to protect the plates.
- Wipe down the outside of your BBQ with a damp cloth.
- If you have one, place your BBQ cover back on top to protect it from the weather.
3. Clean all of your Air Filters and Ventilation
While they're meant to be cleaned once a month, your air filters are often an overlooked part of a home that frequently gets missed while cleaning. Yet, if they're maintained well you can save a lot of money and encourage a healthier home with less allergens.
If you're not sure what we're talking about, we're referring to the filters that you might find on the floor in the corner of a room, or along the side of a hallway wall. They're a huge trap for dust and dirt, and while the weather is hot and dry, it's a great time to put on the rubber gloves and give them a good clean out.
How to Clean an Air Filter
- Turn off your heating or cooling system.
- Rotate the fasteners at the top of the grate and pull out of your wall or floor.
- Remove the old filter and throw it away immediately - you don't want to inhale the dust in this one!
- Use a damp cloth to wipe down the grate as well as the general area and remove all dust and dirt. A duster can help with the hard to reach spots.
- Position the clean, replacement filter. HOT TIP: Make sure to write the date that you replaced the filter in permanent marker on the top, so you know for reference.
If you're having issues with allergies during the summer months, as well as clean out your air filter there are a few other things you can do. Check them out in our 'Cleaning for Allergies' blog.
4. Clean out Food-Storage and Food-Waste Areas
With hot weather, unfortunately your food is more likely to expire quickly. If you're not on top of food expiry dates you might end up with a bit of a foul smelling kitchen. The same goes for any rubbish bins or indoor compost bins you might be keeping in rotation.
To make sure that you're not battling with off-food or constantly spraying air freshener and explaining to guests where the smell is coming from (yuck!) we'd recommend doing two things.
- Take absolutely everything out of your pantry, and double check the dates on all of your food. If it's past its use-by date, throw it out. This includes all of your herbs and spices, and food items stored in tupperware containers. Next, wipe down the shelves and remove any remnants of crumbs and stains. Once you're ready, place the fresh food back in the pantry or fridge, and make sure to store it in a well-organised manner so you know what to look out for and can easily check in on things that are soon to expire.
- Give your food-disposal systems a clean with a strong disinfectant. Take any rubbish bins you might be using (even if you line them with a bin-bag) and give them a good, thorough clean out with a disinfectant spray or even better - a bleach. This will get rid of any bacteria that's lurking and remove any lingering smells in your kitchen. From then on out, make sure to increase the frequency that you take your bins out over the summer months.
5. How to Remove Sand from your Carpet
Last but not least, if inevitably some sand does make its way into your home and onto the carpet, you're best to remove it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, sand does wear down your carpet when left, as the particles slice through carpet fibres and absorb spills - leading to staining and odours.
Luckily, getting the small grains of sand out of your carpet (while tricky) isn't impossible. Here are our tips.
How to get Sand out of your Carpet
- First of all, if the problem area is on a rug or mat, make sure to take it outside and beat something hard against it while upside down. You'll be surprised at just how much you can get out from this simple technique.
- Vacuum the carpet using the very lowest setting on your brush fitting, so that the brush creates as much friction as possible causing the sand particles to bounce up and be pulled into the vacuum.
- Repeat step number two, three times. It's going to take a few attempts to get the majority out.
- Once you've gotten the majority of the offending sand out of the carpet, we'd recommend doing a deep clean to ensure the preservation of your carpet fibres and to get rid of any lurking dust for a healthier home.