Cottage Cleaning with Alicia
It’s that time of year again when we pack our bags and start booking holidays to our summer cottages and homes. Whether you're firing up that BBQ or diving into the Hot Tub we have some cleaning tips to get your cottage ready for Summer!
1. CLEAN COTTAGE AIR
You might think as a cleaning company we'd jump straight into deep cleaning recommendations with our products. In actual fact, our top tip for this summer's cleaning is to use the very reason you’ve gone on your trip to your advantage.
The point of a summer getaway is to make the most of the fresh air and open spaces… so why not make the most of it in your home too! Your cottage has probably been closed all winter, making the air inside your home stale, which is not good for either your health or your home. So first thing's first, fling those windows open this summer and let the fresh air circulate.
I know it can be tempting to reach for the air freshener, a seemingly quick solution, but we recommend staying away from these temptations, as they do more harm than good.
Those of you who know me well, know how much I love researching healthy cleaning options. When I was researching air fresheners I came across some shocking statistics. In the Environmental Working Group's ‘Guide to Healthy Cleaning’, it was found that out of 21 air fresheners tested, over 450 chemicals were emitted into the air.
These chemicals posed a number of health risks such as asthma, reproductive harm, and even cancer, due to the synthetic fragrances commonly found in air fresheners. You may ask yourself why you don't want synthetic fragrances in your home and it is because they contain phthalates that are bad for our health and the environment.
So how do we disguise bad odors instead?
If fresh air alone doesn't do the trick of getting rid of bad odors, I have a little tip that I’ve been using for years and one that I highly recommend to clients.
If you need to deodorize, grab some empty bowls and simply put baking soda in them. Then place these bowls around the problem areas to neutralize any bad smells. If your carpeted rooms, rugs, mattresses, or upholstered furniture need deodorizing, instead of using bowls, I would just sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit for one hour to ‘soak’ up the odors, then vacuum it up.
It really works, trust me.
2. DUSTING SURFACES AND FURNITURE
Now all of the windows are open, what's next? I personally like to remove any dust that has settled over the time we’ve been away.
Our cleaning team has found that the most efficient way to do this is to work through your rooms from top to bottom, left to right so that you don’t miss any spots or spread dust and dirt to sections of the cottage that have already been cleaned. Simple enough, but very effective.
We then start working on high areas with a vacuum to remove dust from vents, light fixtures, etc. without spreading dust. Chris is a little taller than me so he is really great at getting to those hard-to-reach spots, but if you have a long vacuum extension with a brush attachment that will do just fine!
Aspen Tip 1:
To go over thick accumulations of dust you should use a damp cloth.
Aspen Tip 2:
If you don’t have a long vacuum extension or a tall helper, an extendable feather duster will work fine – just be sure to cover any furniture below.
Once you’ve done those high-up areas, work your way down and dust all remaining surfaces (furniture, lampshades, shelves – everything) until you get to the floor. We recommend using microfiber cloths to dust where possible as their fine fiber structure makes them excellent dust and dirt collectors. We’ve found they can still pick up dirt after a full clean using ordinary clothes.
3. HOW TO WASH COTTAGE WINDOWS LIKE A PRO
You’ve taken time out of your busy lives to escape to the country for those picture-perfect views. When you think about those views, do they have streaks and smudges on them? I’m guessing not! Here’s how to get your windows squeaky clean and keep those views breathtaking.
To clean the inside of your windows, use a natural glass cleaner. These cleaners will keep the air fresh and minimize the number of synthetic chemicals you release into your surrounding environment.
A pro tip for clean, streak-free glass (coming straight from our cleaning team) is to use a high-quality microfiber cloth and a squeegee in this order:
- Spray and wipe the glass with your cleaner.
- Then immediately dry each section with your squeegee.
- Use the squeegee before the cleaning solution dries to avoid watermarks.
- Work from top to bottom, left to right at each window to avoid the spray dripping onto parts that you’ve already cleaned.
We recommend leaving the outside cleaning of windows to the professionals.
4. CLEAN INDOOR AND OUTDOOR KITCHENS
Chris and I love to start the family holiday off with a good home-cooked meal with the kids. Before we start preparing the food we make sure the kitchen has been thoroughly cleaned to not only remove dirt and dust build-ups, but also any traces left behind by uninvited wild guests.
It’s good practice to check inside your cupboards for rodent droppings or nests and vacuum and disinfect them as soon as possible. Don’t forget to wear equipment such as rubber gloves and a mask to protect yourself and your family from bacteria and diseases that your uninvited guests can spread.
Next: the cutlery and crockery. If you’re like us, you’ll have to put this away clean before leaving the house, but time away can lead to dust build-ups just like any other part of your home. If you have a dishwasher, put it to good use by loading it with your cutlery and crockery, using natural dishwasher pods to remove the build-up in one go. If you don’t, a quick wash in a bath of soapy water will work wonders too.
Is the indoor kitchen done? Let’s move on to the main attraction. The BBQ. Chris loves to barbecue so when we’re getting to this stage of the cleaning I know he’s looking forward to it. Get your outdoor kitchen and barbecue ready for grilling by thoroughly cleaning leftover char or grease from the grill and degreasing surfaces with a stovetop and oven cleaner kit. For thick build-ups, we use scouring powder to help scrub away dirt without scratching the surfaces.
5. CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR COTTAGES
Another important cottage cleaning task is to “clean your cleaning supplies”. What do I mean by this? So many cleaning supplies are harmful to the environments we love so much. To ensure we can continue enjoying our rural and wilderness escapes, we should be doing our part to minimize our ecological footprint.
It’s easy to forget that the cleaners we use get released into our surroundings, so using natural cleaning products and eco-friendly laundry detergents that break down properly is key. This doesn’t just protect the areas around our cottages but it is also crucial for the function of septic systems.
Septic systems are privately owned water treatment systems designed to treat wastewater from properties. Most rural lots run on these septic systems as they do not have easy access to municipal sewage structures like you would in a city. In the septic tank, certain bacteria help break down the solid waste and kill pathogens before they are released into the environment.
Unfortunately, many conventional cleaning products such as disinfectants and chemical drain cleaners can harm the bacteria in these septic tanks. This means that the pathogens are not being destroyed before being released into the environment. To keep your septic system working properly all you have to do is make sure your cleaning products are septic safe and use ingredients that are natural and biodegradable to keep it functioning properly.
Chris and I have put a lot of research and time into ensuring that the AspenClean natural cleaning product range is septic safe and made with ingredients that biodegrade within 28 days.
We’ve also created a convenient All-in-One Concentrate that can be diluted to perform a multitude of tasks around your cottage or country home so that you can pack fewer products and pack more family fun items.
Fancy kick-starting the holiday in an already clean cottage? We have you covered. Our professional cleaning service also uses our septic safe product range.