Aggie's Blog, July 2015
Aggie MacKenzie is the former head of the Good Housekeeping Institute (the consumer and cookery departments of the magazine) and presenter of Channel 4’s “How Clean is your House?”.
Each month, as our Beko Ambassador Aggie will bring us tips and advice on how to make your life easier in the home.
“Going On Holiday”
Everyone loves a holiday, but there’s lots to sort before you’re off!
My sister, who lives alone, always cleans her home thoroughly before she goes away, because she loves the feeling of coming back to a pristine house. I envy her – I have two hulking sons living with me, so each time I go away, even for a weekend, on my return I have to spend a good two hours on the downstairs rooms before I feel I am back to go. It never looks very bad at first glance, but a closer inspection reveals sticky floors, dull sinks, out-of-date fridge contents, beer bottles to be recycled, and so on.
Truth to tell, I don’t really mind the clean-up – I feel as if it’s my way of bedding myself back in.
In any case, if your house is empty while you’re away, I’m guessing you’ll want to return to a clean place, so it’s worth getting it in order before you leave.
Important, and obvious, is to clear the fridge of anything that’s not going to last until you’re back. Jars of pickles and the like will probably be fine, but those last few rashers of bacon in the pack won’t be. For anything like this, note how many days’ ‘life’ are remaining, transfer to a freezer bag and write the number of days on the outside so that when you return you can remove those items from the freezer and carry on using. (It’s a good idea too to keep a carton of milk in the freezer so that if you get back very late you know you’ll be able to make yourself a cuppa in the morning!)
Don’t leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher, as a fair old stink will have developed by the time you come back home! Similarly, don’t switch on the dishwasher and leave the house. Many homes have gone up in flames because of an electrical connection that just happens to become faulty as you vacate the house. (This has happened to two of my friends.)
Again, thinking of bad odours, empty the bins and make sure no bits of food are left on the floor or elsewhere (you don’t want to come back to a houseful of uninvited rodent guests!). Also, dispose of (or give away to a neighbour) any fruit as this is the time of year that fruit flies make their presence known.
Remember to cancel your newspaper and milk, and leave keys with a trusted neighbour in case your intruder alarm decides to go off. Put a few lights on a timer and unplug electric appliances.
Check the heating and hot water are deactivated and all windows and doors are locked.
Holidays are meant to be relaxing, so make sure you’re not tied to the cooker or sink too much. If you’re not in a hotel, the less you are in the house/caravan/tent, the less mess there will be to clear up. Once a day, have a tidy-up and get everyone to keep their belongings neat. And have lots of outdoor picnics to reduce the amount of washing-up!
In hot weather, a washing-up cloth gets smelly quickly. The rule is: if it smells, it’s heaving with bacteria. Maybe treat yourself to disposable cloths if you’re camping?
As soon as you get back, reactivate the water (and heating if appropriate), retrieve that milk from the freezer and you’ll quickly be back to normal!
Have a great time!