If you haven’t noticed, I really, really like rhythm. I love knowing that there is a rotation, schedule, or system in place that is doing the planning and thinking for me, especially when it comes to cleaning & home maintenance.
I think a lot of people do this for weekly cleaning- you know, bathrooms, laundry, etc. But there are a few things you can rotate monthly– in just 20 to 30 minutes- to keep things extra tidy, germ-free, and at tip-top capacity. 🙂 My typical routine includes:
- Wash bath, kitchen, & drying mats
- Check fire extinguisher
- Clean range hood filter
- Clean microwave
- Disinfect dish tools & sink
- Wipe door knobs & light switches
- Sharpen knives
- Clean garbage disposal
- Spray pesticide
- Check water softener.*
I want to give you a glimpse into what this looks like in my home and how you can do it well. So let’s break it down! I apologize in advance if any of this insults your intelligence 🙂
Wash bath, kitchen, & drying mats.
Gather any mats you may have around the house- in the bathrooms or any in the kitchen. If you use a drying mat* instead of a drying rack, also include this. I wash & dry these with my usual detergent, but check any labels on yours before doing this. I like to start with this, so it can be washing while I take care of the other items. It’s so important to make sure these often-wet items are cleaned regularly!
Check fire extinguisher.
First, if you don’t have one of these in your kitchen- no matter how great of a cook you are- you need to get one. We paid about $40 for ours (you can get it here*) and fortunately, we haven’t had to use it. Store it somewhere that is easy to reach in your kitchen. From there, this is the easiest monthly item! Just glance at the gauge to make sure the indicator is over the green spot that says “full”. It should look like this:
It’s better to check regularly and know it’s ready to go, than be surprised to find it empty if you ever need it!
Clean range hood filter.
Something I would have never thought to clean is what’s called the “range hood filter”. It’ll look similar to this, if you have a dedicated range hood or if it’s built in under your microwave.
Gently pull the tab toward the middle and take it out. I typically wash mine with Dawn soap* (or a mixture of Dawn, vinegar & water I keep on hand) to break down any grease that has collected. If you’re cleaning it monthly, it will prevent any build-up, but if you haven’t ever done it, it may be a little messy 🙂 Let dry on a towel, then replace when completely dry.
My favorite, favorite trick for cleaning my microwave is using a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of cleaning vinegar. Fill this in a 2-cup microwave-safe measuring cup*. Microwave for 5 minutes. This releases moisture, which loosens up any baked-on messes and disinfects the surfaces.
Once done, set aside the vinegar (to use later… the suspense!). Either use a Clorox wipe or paper towel to wipe out the inside, including the plate and inside of the door. Don’t forget to disinfect the outside, handle, and button area, too!
★ BONUS tip– if your microwave is stainless steel like mine, the BEST way I’ve found to clean the surface is using oil on a paper towel. I wipe the surfaces down with the Clorox wipe or cleaner, then follow it up with a lightly-oiled paper towel and kind of “buff” the surface. If needed, you can come behind again with a dry paper towel.
I use this for my fridge too, and it is the only thing that has worked.
Disinfect dish tools & sink.
Wondering what to do with that vinegar? This isn’t a very scientific process, but I just add my dish brush, sponge, & any other tools to the cup, and add enough water to cover it. I typically leave it for at least 15 minutes. It makes me feel better knowing that these are getting disinfected regularly, and vinegar is a great natural way to do it.
Wipe door knobs & light switches.
This is where the “insulting your intelligence” risk comes in. Whether you want to use disinfecting wipes or another cleaner, just take a few minutes to wipe down any door knobs, handles, light switches, etc. These are some of the highest-traffic items in our home, and it’s good to clean up germs & any gunk regularly- especially if kiddos are involved!
A good knife block does not come cheap, so you better take care of them! This is a classic example of how preventative & proactive maintenance can really save you money in the long run. Many knife blocks come with their own sharpening tool & instructions. If you don’t have a set, you can buy something like this to use. (Even though it’s marketed toward sports use, it’s been easy to use and great for us. If you prefer a kitchen set, there are lots of options on Amazon, as well.)
Clean garbage disposal.
I’ll admit- my method for cleaning my garbage disposal is probably not very typical, but it works so well for us. It all started when I bought a bad batch of oranges. I didn’t want to throw them away, so it occurred to me to slice & freeze them as disposal “cleaners”.
In addition to the oranges, you can mix it up several ways:
- Add coarse salt to sharpen the blades.
- Add leftover herbs like mint to freshen the scent. (I often have lots of “leftover” herbs because I can’t keep anything alive 😉 )
- Chop up the oranges and freeze them in ice trays with cleaning vinegar.
Whatever you do, follow it with lots of warm water and let it run for 1-2 minutes.
Last but not least, we spray pesticide around the perimeter of our house. (Seriously, cockroaches make me angrier than almost anything.) We use a product called Talstar, which has never let us down and is very cost effective. Make sure to read the mixing instructions, and get an appropriate spray bottle!
Check water softener.
If you live in an area with prevalent hard water, you may have a water softening system. You want to regularly check to make sure it’s doing a good job! We personally don’t have one in our area, but consult your manual on how to check it.
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And there you have it! Honestly, you can accomplish the whole list in the time it took to read this. Isn’t it so great for at least something to be easy?