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8 spring cleaning jobs you shouldn’t avoid

Spring has officially sprung, which means it’s time to grab your apron and pull up those Marigolds for an annual deep clean

There’s no better time than the Easter bank holiday for a good old spring clean. But don’t stop at clearing out cupboards and hoovering under the sofa. It’s a great time to check on your appliances, too.

It’s easy to put these jobs to the bottom of your to-do list, but keeping up a little light maintenance will improve your products’ performance, help you to avoid costly repairs and increase their lifespan. Not only will it save you money, it also means you’ll send less stuff to landfill – better for your home and for the planet.

It might not be glamorous, but you’ll thank us in the long run.

Here are a few simple jobs to get you started:

  1. Clean your oven
  2. Remove dirt from your vacuum cleaner filter
  3. Flip your mattress
  4. Descale your iron
  5. Give your washing machine a once-over
  6. Freshen up your dishwasher
  7. Clean your tumble dryer
  8. Descale your coffee machine

Or, if it’s the best cleaning products you’re after, find out how the biggest UK brands fared in our lab tests in our guide to the best and worst household essentials.

1. Clean your oven

Are you struggling to see through the glass door in your oven? Is there a funny smell when you cook? If so, it’s time to get scrubbing.

You should be cleaning your oven regularly – we recommend at least once a month. That way, it won’t be such a big job each time. If it’s been a year since your last attempt, you’ll need a little more elbow grease.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Switch off your oven at the mains.
  2. Remove the racks and soak them in a large washing-up bowl.
  3. Use a dry brush to scrub off any initial bits of caked-on food.
  4. Spray the interior of the oven with a cleaning product and leave on for the required amount of time.
  5. Use your scrubbing brushes and scourers to remove the cleaning product and debris.
  6. Clean the glass door with a glass scraper or sponge (harsh scourers can scratch the glass and weaken it) and wash down the control panels with standard kitchen cleaner.
  7. Dry off the racks that have been soaking and put them back into the oven.

For more advice, head to our guide to how to clean your oven.

Some models have self-cleaning functions that will take away all the hard work. Jump straight over to our built-in oven reviews to find one.

2. Remove dirt from your vacuum cleaner filter

It might feel like you’ve entered a cleaning infinity loop, but taking the time to clean your vacuum cleaner will improve its performance and save you time in the long run.

Clogged-up filters stop the vacuum suction working at its best – or even at all – and could leave you forking out up to £80 to get it fixed.

Before pulling your vacuum apart, check your manual for advice on where the filters are and how to clean them, as it can vary by model. Common types include:

Self-cleaning filters: Usually you’ll just need to twist a dial to shake dirt free from these filters.

Washable filters: Remove and run the filters under a tap, or machine wash if that’s recommended by the manufacturer. Leave to dry naturally, ideally for 24 hours or until completely dry, before you put it back in the vacuum cleaner.

Replaceable filters: Some filters need to be replaced periodically to maintain your machine’s performance.

If the suction is still substandard, remember to remove any debris or tangled hair from the floor brush.

If that doesn’t do the trick, it’s time to take a look at our top 5 vacuum cleaners for 2019.

3. Flip your mattress

All mattresses will benefit from being rotated once in a while. Some need to be regularly flipped over completely, while others are only designed to be used on one side, so check what your manufacturer recommends.

The average person spends roughly a third of their life in bed. So keeping it fresh and free from germs should be a priority. But according to an ongoing poll on our website, a shocking 53% of readers say they never clean their mattress.

Here are just a few of the reasons why regular cleaning is a must:

We recommend giving your mattress a freshen up every six months or so. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Strip the bed.
  2. Gently vacuum the surface of the mattress. For this, you should use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum cleaner, making sure the attachment is clean before you begin.
  3. Rotate your mattress from head to toe if it’s one-sided, or flip it if it’s two-sided. If it’s the latter, make sure you vacuum both sides of the mattress.
  4. Air your mattress for a few hours to let the fabric breathe. Opening the bedroom window to let fresh air circulate around the room and pass through the fabric in your mattress should help.
  5. Remake the bed. Try using a mattress protector beneath your sheet to protect your mattress from dust and sweat. This means you won’t have to clean the mattress so often.

For more on really stubborn stains, head to our handy how to clean a mattress guide.

Or if it’s time for an upgrade, check out our mattress reviews.

4. Descale your iron

If your iron is spitting brown or white stains on to your clothes, then you know it’s time to descale.

Make sure you tackle it every few months, especially in hard-water areas, to stop it from building up and clogging your iron completely.

  1. Pour equal parts water and white vinegar into the water reservoir until it’s half full.
  2. Turn the iron up to a medium heat, and let it steam on to an old towel or into a pan for about five minutes so the vinegar evaporates.
  3. Turn off the iron, empty any remaining liquid and refill with fresh water.
  4. Turn on the iron and steam it again to flush out any remaining deposits.
  5. Wipe over the iron and steam vent and, when the soleplate has cooled to a warm temperature, wipe it over using a large damp cloth.

This also works for kettles. Just fill it up, soak for an hour, boil the kettle and rinse it out.

Is your iron beyond repair? Some models now have a self-cleaning system that should make descaling quick and easy. Check out our steam iron reviews to find the best one for you.

5. Give your washing machine a once-over

You spend so much time using your washing machine to clean clothes, you may well forget that it needs a wash itself from time to time.

Without a little love, a dirty washing machine can leave your clothes with a funny smell, cause drainage problems and even stop working altogether.

Here are four things you can do to keep it in tip-top condition:

  • Run a service wash

Spinning your machine without any clothes in it at a high temperature every month or so will get rid of any mould and bacteria. Most manufacturers now recommend using a certain cycle, or provide a drum-cleaning program to follow, so check your manual beforehand.

  • Rid the filter of blockages

Put towels on the floor to soak up any excess water and then pull out the filter (normally at the bottom of the machine). Remove any debris or tangled rubbish.

  • Flush out the detergent drawer

Remove the detergent drawer and clean it out using lukewarm water and washing-up liquid. Make sure you also clean the housing the drawer sits in, as the water passes through it on its way to the drum.

  • Scrub the seal

Germs can gather in the rubber seal just inside the door. Routinely check it, and give it a good scrub. If you leave bacteria and mould to build up, it can sink too far into the rubber and you’ll end up having to replace the seal completely.

If your washing machine is still playing up after a clean, head to our go-to guide to common washing machine problems.

6. Freshen up your dishwasher

Avoid bad smells and dishes streaked with old food by following these five simple steps:

  • Clean the filter.
  • Wipe the door seals clean.
  • Top up with dishwasher salt and rinse aid.
  • Remove and clean the spray arms.
  • Run the dishwasher empty and hot.

If your dishwasher is past the point of repair, head to our dishwasher reviews.

7. Clean your tumble dryer

To keep your tumble dryer running at peak efficiency, you should clean the lint filter every time you use the dryer. If there’s a lint filter in the door and/or rim, clear the entire rim at the same time.

If you don’t stay on top of this then the air won’t be able to flow easily, and the tumble dryer will take longer to dry your laundry.

Other maintenance jobs for your tumble dryer include:

  • cleaning the sensor – you’ll need to wipe the drum every few months with white vinegar or stainless-steel cleaner to keep the sensor working well
  • cleaning the heat exchanger, which turns the steam back into water – regularly remove and clean it by running it under a tap (condenser dryers only)
  • emptying the water reservoir (condenser dryers only).

It’s important to keep your tumble dryer clean and well maintained. Follow our simple tips to get the best results from your tumble dryer.

8. Descale your coffee machine

As with your kettle and iron, descaling your coffee machine is vital if you want to keep it in good working order. In fact, some manufacturers now include warnings on the box and in the instructions  that the guarantee will become invalid if the machine isn’t descaled regularly.

How often you need to do it will depend on how hard your water is and how regularly you use your coffee machine.

Some machines can be descaled with a vinegar solution, while other manufacturers suggest using a commercially available descaler.

Our in-depth coffee machine cleaning guide will run through how to clean different types of machines, but you’ll need to refer to your manual for full, individual instructions.

If your machine is past the point of cleaning, take a look at our round-up of the best coffee machines for 2019.

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