Valentine’s Day is coming up fast - quick reminder, it’s on 14 February! It’s the best-selling day for flowers, romantic gift cards, chocolates, jewellery and perfumes, and restaurants are usually booked weeks in advance. A quick trip to your nearest grocery store or supermarket is an easy way to purchase one of these standard, run-of-the-mill Valentine's gifts for your loved one. But is that what you (and they) really want?
TRADITIONAL VALENTINE’S GIFTS ARE OUT
Flowers will wilt, gift cards will be stowed away or even thrown out, and chocolates (well, chocolates are always a good idea) but those can also feel too temporary as a standalone gift!
And anyway, do such traditional Valentine’s gifts really show our very special someone how much they mean to us? Wouldn’t it be better to go above and beyond? Why not take things a step further and get them something truly unique. Something they'll get to experience, not just consume.
HOW ABOUT A CLEAN HOUSE?
And I don’t mean just emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming the floor or running through a regular cleaning checklist. I mean, deep-cleaning the whole house so it's left feeling brand new and smelling heavenly.
A clean home is easier to maintain, which frees up time and reduces stress. It’s also better for your health, with better indoor air quality and fewer allergens in the house. And most importantly: it’s a gift for you and your partner. It means that you can spend Valentine’s Day together not worrying about cleaning, giving your family the opportunity to enjoy the time together.
VALENTINE'S DAY CLEANING CHECKLIST
We’ve compiled a checklist to follow on top of the regular dusting and cleaning of all surfaces and floors which will help you get your home romance-ready for Valentine’s Day:
1. TUNE-UP THE VACUUM
Did you know that it’s recommended to have your vacuum professionally cleaned once a year? Do your partner and yourself a favour and bring it in for a check-up to keep it running smooth and powerful.
If you want to do everything yourself, open your vacuum cleaner. Change the vacuum bag and/or filter, and if you have a bagless vacuum cleaner, empty the dust collector. Take out all other parts that are removable, and wash them all with warm water and some all-natural, mild dish soap. Wipe the inside and outside of the machine with a microfiber cloth. Dry everything carefully before putting it back together.
And voila! Your vacuum cleaner is nice and clean, and will be able to collect dirt, dust and other allergens from your home for the next year. After vacuuming the whole house (make sure to vacuum underneath the beds, couch and wardrobes as well!), give the floors a damp-mop with a natural Floor Cleaner and Microfiber Mop.
2. CLEAR YOUR DRAINS
If your kitchen or bathroom sink, bathtub or toilet filling up with water, it’s too late - your drain is blocked. This can hopefully be fixed with a plunger or a drain snake, but sometimes only a professional plumber can help, and it’s always a hassle we would rather avoid.
So keep your drains in top shape! If you notice that water starts draining slower than usual, it pays off to act fast in order to avoid a mess. A plunger might help dislodge any blockages. If after plunging the drain is still slow, you can create your own drain cleaner: put half a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by half a cup of white vinegar. Cover the drain with a plug or duct tape to avoid resulting gas from escaping. After an hour, unplug the drain and pour a pot of boiling water down the drain.
In order to avoid such blockages, use stainless steel or silicone strainers to keep all drains free of hair, food left-overs and other debris. If you already use drain strainers, empty them into your garbage and clean them. If you don’t use them yet - why are you not using them yet?
3. WASH EVERYTHING
You know that toothbrush holder that you never want to touch? Or the dish washing rack that has definitely seen better days? How about that soap dish? Pop them in the dishwasher and let it run with an eco-friendly dishwasher detergent. As long as they’re metal, glass, hard plastic or ceramic they are safe to go in the machine.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you’ll have to wash them by hand. Make sure to use an eco-friendly, non-toxic dish soap as not to put yourself and your family at unnecessary risk.
While you are at it, throw all dish towels, hand towels, face towels and all other towels into the wash and wash them on the highest setting. Afterwards, give your bath mats and all other washable floor mats and rugs a proper wash.
Check your kitchen sponges and rags and replace them if necessary. If it’s been a while since you’ve changed your toothbrush (it’s recommended to change it four times a year!), now would be a good time. Remove the loose hair from your hairbrush, and soak it in some warm soapy water to remove lint, dead skin cells and greasy build-up. Clean your make-up brushes and sponges with soapy water as well.
4. CLEAN YOUR APPLIANCES
For a lot of families (mine included), the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home, and it sees a lot of action. Unfortunately, that leads to a lot of mess as well.
Maybe that’s why I love nothing better than a deep-cleaned kitchen, including all the appliances - inside and out! For example, when is the last time you cleaned the inside of the fridge? Take out all items and wipe down all shelves and walls. Put everything back inside when dry - checking the expiry date and making sure to remove all products gone off.
To clean your microwave, soften the dirt by placing a bowl of water with some slices of lemon on high for a minute, then leaving it standing for another. Then, wiping the inside of the microwave shouldn’t be any problem at all!
We have a handy article for you about cleaning your oven and stove top naturally. While you are at it, you can also decalcify your water kettle and coffee machine, following manufacturer’s recommendations. Once all appliances are clean on the inside, tackle the outside: wipe them with a microfiber cloth. To make stainless steel appliances shiny, use Glass Cleaner and a Glass Microfiber Cloth - it will remove all greasy fingerprints and leave the appliances clean and streak-free.
5. MAKE IT SPARKLE
The Glass Cleaner and Glass Microfiber Cloths are also perfect for the next step: clean all your windows, if possible inside and outside, to let as much sunshine and natural light into your home as possible. Sunshine not only improves the mood, it’s also very important for our bodies to produce vitamin D.
Tackle all mirrors in the house as well. The Glass Cleaner will leave them clean and streak-free, without any harmful chemicals. Next are all glass surfaces such as glass tables and desks, glass sliding doors and others. The Glass Cleaner will also work best on glass or plastic shower doors.
If you have stainless steel surfaces other than your appliances, Glass Cleaner is your go-to to make them sparkling clean. If you have tough stains that the Glass Cleaner can’t budge, go for the SuperScrub - sprinkle a damp Glass Microfiber Cloth with some SuperScrub scouring powder and attack the stains. Don’t worry, SuperScrub is non-abrasive and won’t scratch your shiny surfaces!
With these steps on top of the normal cleaning checklist, your house will be so deeply cleaned that Valentine’s Day can be spent thinking about everything but. If you don’t have that much time to tackle the house in the week leading up to the 14th, you can always call in some helping hands. AspenClean has been awarded “Best in Vancouver" house cleaning service by the Georgia Straight four years in a row!
You could always skip the cleaning marathon before Valentine’s Day, and give your partner the gift of time with an AspenClean gift certificate instead. This way, they can decide themselves when it would suit them best to have the home professionally deep-cleaned. Either way, we are here to give you a helping hand, and more time for the important things this Valentine’s Day: time and love!