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Getting Ready For Christmas: The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your Home

Can you hear those jingle bells? Get your kitchen and bathroom ready for Christmas with our ultimate guide. 

There are two types of people in the world. People who love and appreciate Christmas for what it is supposed to be; quality time with loved ones, reconnecting with family members, and having one too many glasses of champagne at work Christmas parties. Then there’s the rest of us. Those who find Christmas stressful due to the amount of preparation needed. We haven’t done our shopping, we still don’t know how to cook a turkey, and we've yet to get those decorations down from the loft to add some Christmas sparkle to the home. 

Luckily, we’re here to help you and your home get ready for Christmas, with a serious focus on the two most often neglected rooms at this time of year - bathrooms and kitchens. 

Cleaning expert, Nancy Emery shares: “It’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of decorating for Christmas, but once the decorations are up they can make it a bit impractical to clean around the house, and almost impossible to get to those hard-to-reach places with the feather duster.

“Before putting up your Christmas tree or any other decorations, take the opportunity to have a deep clean of your home, focusing on those tasks you’re unlikely to touch for a few weeks such as the oven, bathroom mirror, and general decluttering.

“By deep cleaning these areas early on, it should make the post-Christmas clean easier to manage in the New Year.” 

So, settle down with a glass of mulled wine and take a look at our top tips for getting your home Christmas-ready.

Getting Ready for Christmas in Your Home:

Preparing the Bathroom for Guests

Preparing the Kitchen for Christmas Dinner

What to clean during Christmas

Preparing the Bathroom for Guests

Sharing a bathroom can often be uncomfortable, especially with those you don’t normally live with. In fact, only 15% of women feel comfortable about toilet issues in front of their partner within the first month of dating, compared to 32% of men.

Whether you’re spending your first Christmas as a couple or are inviting friends and family over for the festivities, there are easy steps you can take for guest-proofing the bathroom, making it a welcoming environment for all:

1. Deep clean the extractor fan

Lets face it, the bathroom extractor fan isn’t high on anybody’s Saturday morning cleaning ritual, but the holidays are a perfect time to ensure it's working efficiently before the heavy traffic of guests. Not only will a well-functioning bathroom extractor fan help to prevent mould with those extra showers, but it can also aid in disguising bad odours.

To clean the extractor fan, begin by turning off the power and removing the fan cover to soak in soapy water. Using a duster, clean behind the back of the fan blades before scrubbing the inside of the fan with soapy water. Wait for everything to dry before replacing the cover. Read on for a detailed step-by-step guide on how to clean an extractor fan.

2. Descale the shower head

The shower experience is a highly anticipated one when staying away from home, so it's important that your guests enjoy your bathroom’s water pressure at its maximum potential. To do this, give your shower head the VIP treatment by using just four everyday items to perform a descale: white vinegar, plastic or sandwich bag, string or elastic band, and an old toothbrush.

Begin by using the old toothbrush to remove any non-stubborn dirt or limescale from the shower head. Next, submerge the shower head in the plastic/sandwich bag filled with white vinegar, securing it tightly with the elastic band or string. Allow the shower head to rest for a minimum of an hour before removing the bag and rinsing well with hot water. Lastly, grab the toothbrush again to scrub off any excess dirt or limescale.

3. Get your guest towels fluffy again

Bathroom towels can lose their softness over time due to a build-up of soap and detergent, but it's not always feasible to replace them. Treat your guests to fluffy towels this Christmas without breaking the bank by introducing these six simple steps to your washing routine.

  1. Wash your towels at 30-40 degrees to help preserve their fibres 

  2. Allow enough room in the washing machine for a proper rinse cycle

  3. Swap fabric conditioner for white vinegar every few weeks

  4. And include a cup of baking soda in every load

  5. Skip the heat of the tumble dryer

  6. Store towels on heated towel rails as opposed to stacking them

4. Keep it clutter-free 

It’s always a good idea to declutter your bathroom ahead of expectant guests who plan to stay over. Clearing space on the countertops not only creates a more comforting environment but also allows your guests room to place their essentials like toothbrushes and creams. 

However, make sure to leave out shared essentials such as shampoo and conditioner to save your guests from rummaging through your cupboards or opening the bathroom mirror. We recommend leaving new and full bottles, especially for longer stays, to avoid guests worrying about finishing a product. Other products to consider include air freshener, cotton buds and keeping an eye that the toilet roll holder is never empty.

Getting your home ready for Christmas couldn't be simpler with our ultimate guide

Preparing the Kitchen for Christmas Dinner

It's no wonder that the kitchen is called the heart of the home. Especially at Christmas, it’s the place where family and friends gather and share the meal prepping, exchanging stories over a glass of bubbly. It’s also the room that receives the most traffic in the home, consequently needing the most upkeep in between the week. Make sure your kitchen is ready for Christmas by ticking off the below cleaning tasks:  

1. Deep clean the oven

We asked 1,000 Brits about their cleaning routines and ‘cleaning the oven’ was voted the second most hated chore, chosen by over a quarter (28%) of respondents. This task was only overtaken very closely by ironing and steam cleaning (29%).

With that said, it can be tempting to put off cleaning your oven until absolutely necessary, however not only will a dirty oven be less energy efficient, slowing down the cooking process, but built-up residue can also cause your food to taste unpleasant.

We’ve put together a simple guide on how to clean an oven ahead of Christmas dinner so it doesn’t have to be as daunting.

2. Clean the fridge before the big shop

Cleaning your fridge can be a tiring task but there’s no better time to do it than before bringing in the big Christmas food shop. Take advantage of your sparse fridge and give it a thorough clean, removing any out-of-date products, crumbs and spills that can later cause mould and odours. You can also take this time to check that you’re storing any products that you put back correctly

This is also a good time to clean the fridge coils which are often overlooked - yes, those metal things on the back of the fridge that have been sitting there collecting dust for years. Dirty fridge coils can actually shorten the life of your appliance. They overload the compressor which can result in a repair totalling hundreds of pounds.

A little hoover of the fridge coils just once a year, especially if you have pets, will go a long way to keeping your fridge functioning efficiently. Don’t forget to turn the appliance off first before cleaning!

3. Descale the kettle

Is there anything more British than serving bottomless cups of tea and coffee when in company? When you think about how much a kettle is used, cleaning it should be much higher up on the priority list, especially if you live in an area with hard water.

Thankfully, descaling the kettle is pretty simple to do - just throw a few sliced lemons into the kettle and boil. Then, let it sit for 10 minutes before boiling again. The natural acids from the lemon will break up the limescale in the kettle and can be rinsed away. 

If you have quite a significant build-up of limescale in your kettle, try filling it with a 50/50 mixture of white wine vinegar and water to around a third of the kettle. Boil it and let it soak for five minutes before draining the solution whilst scrubbing the inside. A few clean water boils afterwards should get rid of any remnants of vinegar and if not place a few lemons in to freshen everything up.

4. Polish the silverware

Make your dinner table that little bit more lavish this Christmas by providing cutlery shiny enough to fit a hotel. You don’t have to have a fancy set of dinnerware to do this, your everyday stainless steel cutlery will do just the trick. 

To make your cutlery and other serving utensils sparkle again, soak them in a solution of one part white vinegar and eight parts hot water for between 5-10 minutes. All that’s left to do next is rinse thoroughly and dry immediately with a lint-free cloth.

You can enjoy the process of getting your home ready for Christmas!

What to clean during Christmas

We’ve covered how to prepare your home for welcoming guests, but what about during the festive season? We’ve shared the essential cleaning tasks to carry out during the holidays to help maintain the Christmas magic of a clean and healthy home:

1. Dust the Christmas tree every week

Artificial Christmas trees are not only cost-effective but also require less maintenance than a real one. There’s no watering to be done, or needles to be hoovered on the daily, but did you know that your artificial tree still needs regular cleaning?

Before assembling your tree it's a good idea to shake away the dust it’s accumulated from being stored for the past 12 months. To do this, take your tree outside into the garden and lightly shake each section to loosen the dust. You can then set up the tree and move on to step two of vacuuming. When vacuuming your artificial tree make sure to use the lowest suction setting, and don’t spend too much time on any one area to avoid loosening the needles.

If your tree requires a deeper clean, you can gently wash it with a solution of washing up liquid and water. Simply soak a clean cloth in the soapy water, wring out any excess water, and gently wipe down the branches from top to bottom. Make sure your tree is unplugged if it has built-in lights!

Once the tree is fully dry you can begin decorating. For best results, aim to dust your tree every week to avoid any dirt from accumulating.

2. Disinfect the TV remote regularly 

After the kitchen, the living room is one of the most used rooms in the home, especially during the festive period. Families gather on the sofa night after night watching their favourite movies and those all-important Christmas spin-offs. In between channel surfing, we can be caught snacking on all the treats we can get our hands on and making occasional visits to the bathroom. This got us thinking, what germs are lurking on the TV remote?

A study by Tap Warehouse swabbed 30 everyday items from three different households and analysed the bacterial growth after 5 days to find out which needed the most attention in our daily cleaning routine.

Of all 30 items that were swabbed, the TV remote came out as the second dirtiest electronic item, beaten only by the laptop/computer keyboard. Dr Amanda Jones at Northumbria University, who analysed the petri dishes, found that the TV remote could be ladened with “staphylococci and streptococci”.

Nancy says, “It’s important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule to prevent the harbouring of germs, including E. coli and cold viruses. Everyday items such as a TV remote can easily slip our minds when focusing on larger items in the home, however, it's really important that we disinfect it at least once a week. 

“During periods where people are frequenting the house more often, such as Christmas, this should be increased. Aim to wipe the TV remote down with an alcoholic wipe at the end of every evening before heading to bed. You can even incorporate it into your night-time routine as you’re setting up Elf on the Shelf if you have young children.” 

3. Clean the bathroom more regularly  

Similar to the living room, the bathroom also welcomes more visitors than usual during Christmas, and those extra bums on the seat equates to increased cleaning. Nancy explains the importance of spending extra time deep cleaning the bathroom during the festive period if we want to avoid any nasty germs from ruining the big day:

“The damp and humid conditions of a bathroom are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria including escherichia coli (e. coli). What’s more, the bathroom tap is often the first thing people touch after they go to the toilet, so it’s essential that you clean this more often than usual with extra visitors to your home. 

“Avoid using abrasive cleaners that contain bleach as this could ruin your taps. Instead, use warm soapy water and rub the tap with a soft cloth. Then, to remove limescale, soak cotton wool or a cloth in white vinegar and place it on targeted areas.”

That’s a wrap on The Ultimate Christmas Cleaning Guide 2023. But remember, cleaning in early December doesn’t give you the green light to skip a post-Christmas deep clean! After the festivities have come to an end, it’s important to repeat the same actions as some areas of the home would have gone untouched for several weeks, building up dust and bacteria.

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