Deep cleaning your home: Preventing the spread of germs

Giving your home a thorough clean isn’t just a job for spring - it’s something that’s worth doing at any time of the year. 

We’ve all probably spent more time at home over the past few years than we’d have liked. But now the threat of coronavirus appears to be receding, there’s never been a better time to give your home a thorough MOT. Here we explain how to make your home sparkle without breaking your back.

Person deep cleaning kitchen surface with spray

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What is deep cleaning?

Deep cleaning is much more than just flitting around the place with a feather duster and a vacuum cleaner. Like a good home insurance policy, it’s an important part of your home maintenance that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet. 

Deep cleaning comprises a systematic sweep of all surfaces with, wiping away all traces of dust, scuffs, dirt and, as much as possible, germs and bacteria. The focus of a deep clean should be on surfaces you’re likely to come into contact with, such as tables, chairs, carpets and cupboards. But it also includes areas where dust collects and germs lurk, such as bookshelves, nooks and crannies under furniture and behind toilet bowls.


What kit do you need to start your deep clean?

Ideally, you want to be able to deep clean your home in one go. Otherwise, it risks becoming an epic job – especially if you can’t get it all done before the kids get home from school. 

One way you can streamline the deep clean task is to ensure you’ve got  all the tools required for home cleaning. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that those who clean a house professionally don’t keep nipping out for a sponge or detergent. 

To avoid this, and ensure any breaks you take are for tea instead, follow our ‘checklist for cleaners’:

  • All-purpose (including bathroom and kitchen cleaners)
  • Rubber gloves (several pairs, including pairs for kitchen and for bathroom)
  • Detergent
  • Baking soda 
  • White vinegar (for greasy metal surfaces, such as inside microwaves and ovens)
  • Window and glass cleaner
  • Wood cleaner, polish, beeswax
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Mops, scrubbing brush, broom
  • Telescopic pole with squeegee
  • Cloths, J-cloths, dust cloths, sponges (both soft and hard – or combined), kitchen roll
  • Bucket 
  • Bin liners 

Here are some products you can use to get your home ship-shape and shiny:

dettol surface cleanser
Dettol surface cleanser
Ecover all purpose cleaner
Ecover all-purpose cleaner
Check prices on Amazon
Fairy liquid
Fairy liquid
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Micro fibre cloths
Microfibre cloths
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Biodegradable wipes
Biodegradable surface wipes
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Zooflora disinfectant
Zoflora multi-purpose disinfectant
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Persil bio detergent
Persil biological washing powder
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Soda crystals
Dri-Pak multi-purpose soda crystals
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Bicarbonate of soda
Dri-Pak bicarbonate of soda
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How to deep clean your house

Armed with your arsenal of cleaning goods, it’s essential to work through your home in an efficient way, so you don’t make more work later. It  doesn’t make sense to start with the toilets, bathroom or kitchen because you need to regularly wash your hands and rinse cloths. Instead, focus on bedrooms, living spaces and utility rooms first, and start up high. 

There’s nothing to be gained by vacuuming before you dust. Likewise, there’s no point in getting started with the cleaning until you’ve moved furniture (if possible) so you can clean under and behind it.

Clearing all surfaces is a must. This involves taking everything that can be easily removed out of the area you’re focusing on and placing it somewhere you’re yet to clean. Make sure you give it a wipe or clean before returning it as you don’t want to just shift dust and dirt around your home.

If you’re a Marie Kondo fan, now’s the time to ask yourself whether the things you’re moving ‘spark joy’. If not, get rid of them and you have less to clean. Win-win.


Deep cleaning a kitchen

When tackling your kitchen, start with cupboard surfaces and walls, particularly behind the hob and the sink as food tends to get splashed around here. Give these and other vertical surfaces, including the fridge door, a spray then wipe over with a clean cloth or kitchen roll. 

Don’t forget to wipe any hooks, shelves, cupboards and door knobs. Empty out drawers systematically, and place everything neatly on the worktop. 

Using sprays and a heavy-duty cleaning fluid if needed, scrub or wipe shelves and walls. Give the bottom of pots, pans and containers a wipe before putting them back. And don’t forget to empty the fridge-freezer and dishwasher and give them a wipe, too. 

The cooker is likely to require more elbow grease. Take all the trays out, apply a suitable cleaning solution or spray and leave to soak while you scrub away at the inside of the oven. 

Turning to the sink, spray in and around, then scrub or wipe clean. If you need to scrub behind the taps, but can’t reach, try with a toothbrush. 

Once everything is cleaned to your satisfaction, rinse down, dry and replace. The final tasks before you can celebrate with a cup of tea include:

  • Wiping clean the surfaces
  • Popping some bleach down the plug hole
  • Replacing all surface items
  • Vacuuming and mopping the floor 

Deep cleaning a bathroom

The bathroom is certainly one room that can do with a thorough, deep clean on a regular basis. Start off high, spraying mirrors and walls. Ensure the shower and bath is dry before spraying, scrubbing and wiping. 

If you have mould around the basin, make a note to replace the sealant. If you have specks of mould in the shower cubicle or bath, spray with a bleach (or a specialist product). While the bleach does its job, turn your attention to emptied drawers, shelves and cupboards, and remove any mats for washing. 

When cleaning the bathroom and kitchen in particular you should always wear rubber gloves. Spray and wipe every inch of the toilet, including under the seat and down at the back where the outlet pipe is found. Empty the toilet brush holder, disinfect and wipe clean with kitchen roll. If it’s in a bit of a state, bin it and treat yourself to a new one. Clean surfaces and the floor, and leave to dry.


Deep cleaning a bedroom

We spend more time in the bedroom than in any other part of our homes, and it’s here that  you can feel the immediate benefit of a deep clean. Dust is a great irritant, leading to a blocked nose, tickly, dry throat and an all-round bad night. As such, it makes a lot of sense to attack the bedroom with relish. Start by stripping the bed and washing:

  • All linen
  • Duvets and pillows
  • Any cushions and soft toys (particularly if your children take a teddy to bed)

While the drum is whirling away, sprinkle baking soda on the mattress, leave for a spell and vacuum clean. Empty all cabinets, wardrobes and drawers, spray and clean. Wipe picture frames, as well as picture rails and the tops of wardrobes.

Clean windows, mirrors and glass-fronted pictures. You should also take down the curtains (or wipe the blinds) and wash. 


Other areas to deep clean

The average home includes many more areas than those mentioned already. Here are a few to consider:

  • Utility rooms should be treated in the same way as the kitchen. Spray and wipe the washing machine and tumble dryer. Then if possible, shuffle them out to clean under and behind them. Shake out or clean all coats, boots and shoes before replacing.
  • WCs should be treated the same as bathrooms. Clean all surfaces with disinfectant or a bathroom spray, and don’t forget to use toilet cleaner.
  • Dining and living rooms should be thoroughly dusted. Use screen cleaners on the TV and other electricals, and wet wipes on remotes. Use baking soda or upholstery cleaner on soft furniture, removing cushions (to wash) and vacuuming all around. 
  • Halls, porches, stairs and landings can pick up a lot of dirt and even damage. Wipe walls and scrutinise for scuff marks on skirting boards. Vacuum floors and mats (clean or replace door mats if too dirty), and don’t forget to check ceiling lights for cobwebs and dust.

How long does deep cleaning take?

How long it takes to clean your home depends on its size. But if you’re organised you should be able to deep clean the lot in a day. 

That said, don’t rush. If you hit a tricky spot that really needs work, take your time. 

If possible, make use of a spare room to store items if you’ve not finished cleaning in one area or room. This is much better than going to the trouble of putting everything back only to remove it all again the next day.

Also, remember, it’s not a race, deep cleaning is a job and it can be tiring. Take regular tea breaks and don’t forego lunch.


How often should you clean your house?

The jury’s out on how often you should deep clean your home. But plenty of experts recommend 2 to 3 times a year, putting to shame those who swear by an annual spring clean. That said, you should keep up a regular cleaning regime. 

How often you clean depends on how many people live with you, and whether you have children or pets. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to

  • Clean kitchen surfaces every day
  • Dust surfaces at least once a week
  • Vacuum at least twice a week. 

But all this is flexible. If you spot a mess, deal with it there and then. Small but regular cleaning tasks soon become second nature, so you don’t find your home in need of the dreaded deep clean too often. 

Maintaining your home to a good standard has many benefits to your mental health. It also helps keep your home insurance policy valid.

If you were to make a home insurance claim for damage and it turned out that your house wasn’t well-maintained, the claim could be invalidated. So, to make sure you’re covered, the odd deep clean might be worthwhile.

If you've just moved, deep-cleaning your house should also be part of your moving house checklist.

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