How to clean a mattress and how often to do it
When you snuggle into your bed at night, you’re sleeping on more than a comfy mattress. We’re talking sweat, dust, dust mites and allergens all sharing the bed with you. That’s why it’s important to clean your mattress at least twice a year or, better yet, with the change of the seasons
How to clean a mattress:
Step 1: Vacuum
First strip the mattress of all bedding. Using the appliance attachment, vacuum the mattress, paying close attention to the seam line. That’s where most buildup settles. Vila recommends using a HEPA-rated vacuum because it has the most powerful suction abilities.
Step 2: Spot clean
If you’re fond of snacking in bed, there will likely be oily stains from food spills. Remove them using a paste of baking soda, salt and water. Cover the stain with the paste, let it set for 30 minutes then brush it away. Wipe with a cloth dampened in cool water and dry with a hair dryer or a fan. For stains created by crayons, beverages, blood or urine, dab with a 50-50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Work into the stain using a soft toothbrush. Allow to dry for five minutes. Repeat as needed.
Step 3: Deodorize
Sprinkle mattress top with baking soda. Let it sit for an hour, then vacuum up the baking soda.
Step 4: Rotate or flip it
For one-sided mattresses, rotate the top of the mattress to the foot of the bed. For a two-sided mattress, get some help to flip the mattress entirely. Once flipped, sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum it up after an hour.
How to wash a duvet — and how often to do it
Washing your duvet can seem like a monumental chore. Will that beast even fit in your washer and, if it does, will it take a month for it to actually dry? Here’s the good news: A duvet cover should be washed once a month, but duvets themselves can go an impressive five to 10 years without needing to be cleaned.
“There have been a couple situations where we definitely needed to launder our duvets, but for the most part, if you have a cover on it, you can easily freshen up your duvet before you need to all-out wash it,” “If you need to freshen up your duvet or comforter, simply put it in the dryer on low heat with three wool dryer balls or three clean tennis balls. I will stop it every 10 minutes or so to redistribute the duvet or comforter and then repeat for a total of 30-40 minutes. This fluffs up the duvet or comforter and redistributes the filling for a freshened-up bed. If you want to kill germs but not wash it, put the dryer on high heat and keep an eye on it, rotating every 5-10 minutes and dry for 30 minutes.”
“There have been times when I have disregarded the directions because it was more expensive to have something professionally laundered then it was to replace it,” she said. “I took the chance and laundered it myself and saved the duvet for the cost of the water and detergent. Of course, launder at your own risk.”
While professional cleaning is usually recommended to clean the entire duvet, alternative cleaning instructions may also be listed on the care label. If DIY options are offered, it’s important to understand it is a time-consuming process and you’ll need an oversize/commercial washer and dryer to do the job.
How to wash a duvet
Stitch together any loose or open seams and holes to prevent a washer full of feathers later on.
Pre-treat stains or use a gentle, stain-removing detergent.
Wash in an oversize/commercial capacity washer, using a gentle setting, warm water and mild detergent.
Because the filling is dense, rinse twice to remove excess detergent.
Dry in an extra-large capacity dryer according to recommendations on care label, usually on low or air/fluff cycle. This is the time-consuming part because it’s difficult to dry the fillings inside the duvet. You’ll need to periodically stop the dryer and hand fluff feathers/down/fiberfill to help it dry move evenly. The duvet may take hours to dry completely.
To ensure that the down/feathers/fiberfill are completely dry, hang the duvet to air dry for an additional 24 hours. (Drying the duvet outside takes even more time and could result in mold/mildew forming on the damp feathers/down.)
How to clean lunch boxes, thermoses and coffee mugs
According to research from e-cloth, 73 percent of fabric lunch boxes tested contained mold and 20 percent had bacteria (staph and enterococci) that could contaminate food and cause food poisoning. Yikes!
How to clean lunch boxes and food-storage containers
Start by getting rid of all smashed grapes, smeared peanut butter and other obvious crumbs and smears your child left behind — as well as whatever “treasures” he or she picked up that day.
To remove the most bacteria and mold, wash fabric lunch boxes and reusable food containers after every use with soap and water. A microfiber towel, rather than a regular wash cloth, will help fight bacteria.
Most hard plastic, metal lunch boxes and reusable containers are safe for the dishwasher, but check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to make sure.
If the lunch box still doesn’t smell fresh after a good wash, sprinkle it with baking soda and let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse and dry. It should be fresh and ready to use!
…use baby wipes on lunch boxes. Like plain cloth, these just move dirt around and do nothing to remove bacteria. …use chemical cleaning sprays on lunchboxes. These leave behind a chemical residue and odor that could get into your child’s lunch.
…wash your hands before preparing your child’s lunch and remind him or her to wash hands before eating at school. (It can’t hurt to pack a few sanitizing hand wipes for good measure.)
How to clean reusable beverage containers
A simple soap-and-water wash is the way to go here, using a microfiber towel and a bottle brush. Since moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, leave the lid off so it can dry thoroughly. Thermoses should never go in the dishwasher or be submerged in hot water. Be sure to follow care instructions for these items.
- Screw-top containers
Separate the top from the container and run both pieces through the dishwasher every day (top rack only, of course). Make sure the drying cycle is on since the container needs to be completely dry. If not, it will become a breeding ground for germs. Another option is to hand wash the container in warm water and dish detergent after every use. Use a microfiber cloth and a brush to remove any slimy build-up that may have formed. Rinse well and dry thoroughly before using.
- Containers with spouts or pop-up straws
Wash in soap and water, using a small bottle brush to clean those hard-to-reach nooks and crevices in the drinking spouts. Rinse well and be sure to dry completely — either by air-drying overnight or hand drying with a clean cloth.
To remove odors:
If a container does not smell fresh after washing with soap and water, fill with hot water and add a tablespoon of baking soda. Allow it to sit overnight. In the morning, rinse and dry. By then, it should be fresh and odor-free!
How to clean a freezer and how often to do it
If you’re like most people, the exact contents of your freezer are something of a mystery. Once items enter that frigid “black hole,” it’s out of sight, out of mind. Now’s the time to get rid of “UFOs” (unidentified frozen objects) and give the freezer a good cleaning. It’s easy
How often should you clean your freezer?
Unless there’s a lot of spillage, a prolonged power outage or you live in a high-humidity area, most freezers can get a thorough cleaning once a year Follow manufacturer’s suggestions, however, since recommendations vary from model to model.
How long should it take?
It should only take an hour or so to clean the freezer on average. Tack on more time if there are lots of spills.
How to clean a freezer:
Mild dish soap
Long-handled bristle brush
Unplug it: Start by unplugging the freezer. Never clean a freezer while it is running or you could damage it.
Keep the food cold: Frozen food will usually remain frozen while you clean the freezer if you place it in an ice chest or a newspaper-lined container, like a laundry basket, sink or box. Ice cream and other products that defrost quickly should be placed in an ice chest with a piece of dry ice on top.
Wipe it: Using a microfiber cloth, wipe shelves and the inside of the freezer with either a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 quart of warm water or a mild soap-and-water solution. Do not use abrasive cleaners, cleaning waxes, concentrated detergents, bleaches or cleaners containing petroleum or plastic parts, as this can cause damage,
Dust the coils: For a refrigerator/freezer combo, vacuum coils every six months. Dirty coils are inefficient, cost more to run and can wear out the compressor more quickly. Clean coils with a long-handled bristle brush, then vacuum the dust that falls off. If you have pets that shed or if the freezer is in a dusty area, the coils may need to be cleaned more frequently. This same cleaning method can be used with stand-alone freezers where the coils are located at the front or bottom of the unit. However, if the coils are built into the outer cabinet of the freezer, you get a pass because they’re not accessible.
Check the gasket (the rubber that seals the door): Clean and inspect door gaskets yearly, or as needed. Clean the gasket with a mild soap-and-water solution, a microfiber cloth and a toothbrush. Check for tears or holes as you clean.
How to wash pillows
Spring cleaning your bedroom? Remember to clean your pillows, too! After all, while you’re snoozing peacefully, your pillow’s collecting drool, sweat and other bodily fluids, not to mention dead skin cells, dust mites and their excrement. Yuck! That’s why cleaning coach recommends cleaning pillows every three months. Just follow the easy steps below and you’ll sleep cleaner tonight.
“Most solid/memory foam pillows are dense and cannot be machine washed,” cautions.
Freshen them by vacuuming (use a setting that has less suction) or place them in the dryer on an “air only” setting for 15-20 minutes.
To remove stains, spot-clean using a cloth lightly moistened with mild soap and water. Rinse with a damp cloth. Blot with a towel and allow the pillow to air-dry before covering it with a pillowcase or protector.
If the pillow comes with a removable cover that is washable, clean it according to directions on the care label.
If your solid/memory foam pillow is hand-washable, be careful. “Solid foam, when wet, is fragile and can tear easily,” says. “Proceed gently.”
Submerge the pillow in lukewarm water mixed with a small amount of mild detergent. Carefully squeeze water through the pillow to clean.
Using cool water, rinse until water runs clear.
Gently squeeze to remove excess water.
Place on a flat surface to air-dry. If possible, dry outdoors on a sunny day.”
How to wash down or synthetic pillows
“Not all down/synthetic pillows are washable,” says. “First and foremost, follow the manufacturer’s directions for cleaning the pillow and the cover, too.”
Repair torn or loose seams before laundering so you don’t end up with a machine full of feathers.
For down pillows, wash only in a front-loading washer. Top-loading washers with agitators in the center could damage the down.
Wash two pillows at one time to keep machine balanced during the spin cycle. If you don’t have two pillows, add extra towels to balance the load.
Set the washer for an extra-large load. Prefill with warm water, add a small amount of low-suds detergent (enough for a small load), then allow the water to agitate for a couple minutes to make sure the detergent is dissolved and evenly dispersed in the water.
Place pillows in the washer.
Wash on gentle cycle.
Rinse twice in cold water.