Opening Your Cottage for Summer? Clean These Things First
Planning a trip to cottage country this summer? Make the most of an outdoor summer in the sun in your home away from home by starting your stay right. Before you fire up the barbecue, make sure you clean these five things to ensure that you have a clean and healthy stay.
Clean Cottage Air
The point of a city escape is to make the most of the wide open spaces and fresh air. And you’d be wise to let that air into your cottage or country home. If it was closed for the cooler months, then chances are the air inside will be stuffy. Open all your windows for at least an hour to let fresh air circulate.
Don’t make the mistake of reaching for that air freshener. This is likely going to cause more harm than good. In the Environmental Working Group’s ‘Guide to Healthy Cleaning’, 87% of air fresheners assessed received a ‘D’ or ‘F’ rating. This is because synthetic fragrances are commonly used in air fresheners to mask odours. Synthetic fragrances are problematic for many reasons, one of which is that they contain phthalates that are harmful to human health and the environment.
If you need to deodorize, lay uncovered bowls of baking soda around problem areas to neutralize bad smells. If any of your carpeted rooms, rugs, mattresses or upholstered furniture needs deodorizing, sprinkle baking soda over the area. Let it sit for about an hour to ‘soak’ up the odours, then vacuum it up.
In the end, it’s best to make the most of the fresh air around your cottage by keeping your windows open as much as possible.
Dusting Surfaces and Furniture
Before you settle in, you will also want to remove any dust that has settled. 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 that have already been cleaned.
Before you start, remove linens for laundering. If you do this later, you might kick up more dust. Then start working on high areas with a vacuum. If you have a long vacuum extension with a brush attachment, use it to remove dust from vents, light fixtures, ceiling fans and cobwebs without spreading dust. You may need to go over thick accumulations with a damp cloth.
If you don’t have this attachment an extendable feather duster will work fine – just be sure to cover any furniture below. Then 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 superior dust and dirt collectors.
Washing Cottage Windows
Make the most of your summer cottage escape by clearing up your view. To clean the inside of your windows, use a natural glass cleaner to keep the air fresh and minimize the number of synthetic chemicals you release into the surrounding environment.
The key to clean, streak-free glass is to use a high-quality microfiber cloth and squeegee. Spray and wipe the glass with your cleaner, then immediately dry each section with your squeegee. The idea is to use the squeegee before the cleaning solution dries to avoid watermarks. Again, 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.
Clean Indoor and Outdoor Kitchens
Before you start cooking in your cottage kitchen you should give all surfaces a thorough wipe with kitchen cleaner. You will want to remove dust and dirt, but also any traces left behind by unwanted wild guests.
You should also check inside cupboards for rodent droppings or nests and vacuum and disinfect as soon as possible. It is important to wear equipment such as rubber gloves and a mask to protect yourself from bacteria and disease that rodents can spread.
If you have a dishwasher, put it to good use by loading it with your cutlery and crockery to remove dust build-up in one go. If you don’t, a quick wash in a bath of soapy water will work too.
Next, get your outdoor kitchen and barbecue ready for grilling by thoroughly cleaning leftover char or grease from the grill and degreasing surfaces. For thick build-ups, use scouring powder to help scrub without scratching.
Cleaning Supplies for Cottages
The most important cottage cleaning task is to clean your cleaning supplies. To best enjoy our rural and wilderness escapes now and into the future, we should be doing our part to minimize our ecological footprint.
Many people forget that the cleaners they use get released into the surrounding environment, so using natural cleaning products that break down is key. This is important for the preservation of nature that we enjoy, but is also crucial for the function of septic systems.
Most rural lots run on septic systems as they do not have access to municipal sewage structures. Septic systems are privately owned water treatment systems designed to treat wastewater from the property. In the septic tank, certain bacteria help to break down solid waste and kill pathogens before they can be released into the environment.
Unfortunately, many conventional cleaning products such as disinfectants and chemical drain cleaners can harm bacteria in septic tanks. Make sure your cleaning products are septic safe and use ingredients that are natural and biodegradable to keep your septic system functioning properly.
All AspenClean natural cleaning products are septic safe and made with ingredients that biodegrade within 28 days. The range also includes a convenient All-in-One Concentrate that can be diluted to perform a multitude of tasks around your cottage and country home which will reduce the number of products that you’ll need to pack. Our professional cleaning service also uses our septic safe product range.