Julies Blog

When was the last time you cleaned your toaster?

by Julie Finch-Scally

Several years ago I had a customer who made, as part of the cleaning regime of her property, the cleaner to always empty out the tray at the bottom of the toaster to remove all the crumbs, and wipe down the outside. Every time I clean out my toaster I think of this customer.

Some cleaners automatically clean out the toaster crumbs, most don’t. Not something they think necessary. Of course too many crumbs at the bottom can cause a fire, but that very rarely happens so cleaning toasters is not high on the cleaning agenda.

But the outside of a toaster, I have noticed, most cleaners will wipe over. That is possibly because the finger prints on the high gloss metal are noticeable and therefore if not given a wipe over regularly stand out when the rest of the kitchen has been cleaned.

If you have toast on a daily basis, then the tray should be emptied once a week, otherwise at least every two weeks. For those people who only have toast on a weekend, the crumb tray needs to be emptied once a month. And for those who didn’t realise there was a tray at the bottom, you will find it at the bottom long side usually to the left of the plunger arm. The tray easily slides out so not only can the crumbs be removed but also so it can be wiped over with a damp cloth. Make sure you dry the tray before replacing it back in position.

If you look down into the workings of the machine you will notice larger crumbs on the bottom. These need to be shaken out. Turn off the power and then you can safely turn the toaster up side down and give it a shake. Best to do it over the sink so the crumbs can be washed away.

As to wiping over the outside, I find it best to spray some glass cleanser on a micro-fibre cloth and rub all over the outside, including the metal at the top and the slide plunger until all the finger marks and any dirty areas are removed. Do not do this while the toaster is attached to the electricity.

Once the toaster is clean, the power should be turned on again: though many people prefer to only turn on the power as they are about to make toast. I also find it helpful to place the toaster in a plastic tray that is just a fraction larger than the machine itself. The tray helps to catch the crumbs that fall off some slices of bread as you place them in the machine. Of course a tray needs to be cleaned as often as the toaster, but you can wash the tray in hot soapy water.

Toasters are fantastic implements and makes toasting bread so much easier, but like everything else in a kitchen they do need regular cleaning.


Cleaning when it is hot

by Julie Finch-Scally

As the world experiences more heat wave conditions, the problems of cleaning a home in the heat become prominent.  Whereas cleaning doesn’t seem important when it is very hot, as the heat waves last longer; homes will still have to be cleaned and especially during the heat of the day.  Waiting until the weather cools down will only make the job more difficult.

The art of cleaning when it is hot is to do as little as possible.  Many homes have airconditioners which makes it easier, but to keep the direct heat out of the property blinds are generally drawn and the inside becomes quite dark.  Therefore a thorough clean is not really possible.

Most heat waves of extremely high temperatures are accompanied by dry air.  This removes all the moisture from the top of the soil and any wind blows that soil about, causing dust.  Everytime a door or window is opened, the dust infiltrates the home.  Fans and airconditioners blow the dust around, which causes the dust to settle in out of way areas where the breeze doesn’t penetrate.

If you don’t do much else when cleaning during the heat, you need to dust.  That is the main thing that becomes very obvious.  Every horizontal surface will be coated with fine dust and will need removing.  Wipe over all the surfaces with a duster-on-a-pole or a dusting cloth.  Both these items should be taken outside and shaken once the dusting is finished.

If you have a carpet sweeper then use that in preference to vacuuming.  The carpet sweeper is quicker to use and not as demanding as when cleaning with a vacuum.  The carpet sweeper can be used on both carpeted and non-carpeted floors.  When emptying out the collected dust, do so over a plastic bag that can be closed and thrown away.  This will stop any further dust being returned to the air.

No need to mop the non-carpeted floors.  Yes the water will dry out quickly, but save your energy and mop the floor when it is cooler.  As long as you have removed the dust from the floor that will be satisfactory.  It’s the dust that flies up into the air every time you walk across the floor that is the problem.  Keeping the dust down with the carpet sweeper is adequate.

When it comes to the bathrooms, you will need to thoroughly clean the sink or vanity and the toilets. Use a good cream cleanser, that way you can be sure all scum and tidemarks have been removed and will be clean for another week.  With the shower: just wipe over all the tiles and glass with a micro-fibre cloth and glass cleanser.  It might not be perfect, but it will be reasonably clean. 

And that is basically all you need to do to keep on top of the cleaning in your home when it is hot.  Dusting is the most important job, but the longer the heat wave the more important it is to clean enough around the home to make it look, neat, clean and tidy.  And remember to keep re-hydrating by drinking lots of fluids.  Cleaning is hot work.  

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