The what’s and how’s of home disinfecting

By | Cleaning

Our homes are a safe haven where we can relax and recover from the outside world. Unfortunately, we wind up bringing home the world and all its germs too through dirty hands, shoes, clothing, and phones.

Good household hygiene means cleaning and disinfecting the same areas you tackle in normal times, but now at this time of heightened awareness of one’s hygiene – we have to level up our cleaning a bit more frequently or with industrial-strength type products. 

First up: cleaning vs disinfecting

Cleaning shouldn’t be confused with disinfecting. The former means you’re removing germs but not killing, while the latter means you’re actually killing them. This difference is important because you might clean surfaces effectively but you might not be disinfecting, leaving germs and bacteria to fester and grow. 

The where’s:

For a more comprehensive ‘where to clean’, check out our article on “Cleaning the forgotten areas of your home” here

But generally, pay attention to food preparation surfaces and other high-touch surfaces, including light switches, remote controls, doorknobs, refrigerator door, and microwave handles, and your computer keyboard. You don’t need to panic-clean. Smart, targeted hygiene throughout the day and week is the best way to go.

The tried and trusted disinfectants:

  • Before disinfecting, remove any visible dirt and grime; this will help the disinfectant do its job. 
  • The tried-and-trusted disinfectants such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide expires six months after opening but can last up to three years unopened), chloroxylenol (the active ingredient in Dettol) and rubbing alcohol. Look for any product that has an alcohol content of 60 percent or higher.
  • Also, any soap is good soap – for hands, body and, clothes washing – but for deep household cleaning, we recommend chemicals a bit stronger. 

The method:

  • When using any type of disinfectant, emphasize the importance of waiting 30 seconds to a couple minutes for the product to effectively kill a germ or virus. 
  • Bleach is one of the most economical disinfecting agents. Create a bleach/water solution using the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended recipe of a quarter-cup bleach per 2L of water. 
  • Safety tip when using bleach: Never mix bleach and ammonia together, as it creates a dangerous and potentially deadly chlorine gas. Generally, don’t mix chemical products. 

Let’s get disinfecting!


How to clean your oven with ease 

By | Cleaning

Honestly, it’s the thought of cleaning your oven that’s worse than the cleaning itself. Trust us, we know – which is why we’re here to help. 

With some good information and (very) basic tools (yay!), oven cleaning no longer has to be an overwhelming chore—mentally, or in reality. 

Here are some fool-proof solutions for getting it done today:

First: how often should you clean your oven?

There are three signs to look out for if it may be time to give your oven a scrub:

  1. General appearance. Is there crust or residue on the bottom? Is the door splattered with grease or grime? 
  2. Odour. When you turn on your oven, does a distinct smell arise? A whiff before or after you’ve cooked anything means there’s lingering grease, dirt or food inside. 
  3. Smoke. A clean oven shouldn’t smoulder, so this can also signify build-up (and is a general health hazard).

How often you use your oven will affect how often you should clean it. For enthusiastic kitchen users who, a general rule of thumb is to scrub it once every three months.

The importance of a clean oven:

It may be an appliance one uses every day, but somehow we tend to overlook our oven and treat it as an “out of sight, out of mind” thing. Regularly cleaning your oven improves the quality of the food you cook in it. Build up and old food aromas could influence the dish you’re cooking – enough said. 

What materials do you need?

First things first, source a quality cleaner: 

  1. Store-bought oven cleaner: This is the easiest, fastest process and will remove serious amounts of grease and grime. A warning: oven cleaner can be quite powerful and acidic, so if you’re sensitive to harsh chemicals or prefer an all-natural approach, read below.
  2. Baking soda, water, vinegar and a spray bottle: This homemade, DIY method is good if you have lots of build-up. You’ll make a paste with baking soda and water that will need to sit for 10 – 12 hours (or overnight), so make sure you leave enough time for this process.
  3. Lemons (2) and water. Another DIY option that takes about 1 -2 hours; this option is good if your oven is only mildly dirty and your racks don’t need a cleaning.
  4.  Damp cloth rag(s): To wipe off the grime once the cleaner has been applied.
  5. Scouring pad or microfiber sponge: Helpful if you’re tackling lots of build-up.

Finally; how to clean your oven – a step by step:

With the store bought goods – industrial strength for the win:

  1. First, remove everything from your oven—racks, thermometer, etc.
  2. Spray the oven cleaner around the inside of your oven, covering the back, sides, bottom, top, door, corners and crevices. If you have an electric oven, don’t spray on the heating elements; instead, lift them up and spray underneath. If you have a gas oven, don’t spray where the gas comes through. Close the oven when you’re done.
  3. Let the spray sit for the time listed on the label (most will need about 20 – 30 minutes).
  4. In the meantime, take your oven racks outside, spray them with the cleaner and place aside.
  5. Once the time has passed, take a damp cloth rag, open the oven and wipe down all surfaces. This is the time to break out the scouring tools to get deep into the grimy places. 
  6. Repeat the process with your racks. 

With baking soda and vinegar – your ultimate DIY powerhouse:

  1. Remove everything from your oven.
  2. Grab a small bowl and mix a 1/2 cup of baking soda with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio until you have a spreadable paste.
  3. Spread the paste around the inside of your oven, covering all surfaces. (Again, if you have an electric oven, don’t put paste on the heating elements. If you have a gas oven, don’t put the paste where the gas comes through. Close the oven when you’re done.
  4. Allow paste to sit for 10 – 12 hours, or overnight.
  5. In the meantime, place racks in your kitchen sink/bathtub if your sink is too small. Sprinkle baking soda on your racks and then pour vinegar on top. This combination will foam. When the foaming stops – plug your sink or tub and run hot water until the racks are fully covered. Allow racks to sit, same as your oven. 
  6. After 10 – 12 hours, taking a damp cloth rag, open the oven and wipe down all surfaces. If there are extra sticky spots, use your scouring tools to remove all grime.
  7. If there are chunks of paste that won’t come off easily, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray it on the chunks. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and foam. Take your damp cloth again and wipe off all foam.
  8. Remove racks from the water and scrub with a cloth rag until all grease and grime is gone. Use the pumice or microfiber sponge on any tough spots.
  9. Dry racks and place them back in the oven.

The lemon hack; quick, and for the not-so-dirty-or-in-between-cleans:

  1. Fill a medium-sized, oven-proof mixing bowl with water. Cut two lemons in half and place them in the bowl.
  2. Heat your oven to 120 degrees C.
  3. Once heated, place the mixing bowl inside on one of the racks. Leave for one hour.
  4. After an hour, turn off the oven, open the door and let it cool slightly.
  5. While the oven is still warm (but cool enough that you can safely touch the inside), take a damp cloth and wipe down all surfaces. Be sure to wipe thoroughly so that you remove all grease and grime.

It’s time to get down to business and get that oven clean once and for all – we hope this has made it a little less intimidating. Happy cleaning!

– TOD 

Cleaning those forgotten areas of your home

By | Cleaning

So you’ve got the basics covered by now, right? Hands, cell phone, remote controls, keyboards – touch heavy goods – cleaning these daily, or even double/triple daily for your health should really play a major role in staying healthy during the age of a rampant virus. 

In that case, at TOD we have compiled some useful and generally overlooked items that need a good scrub every now and then (read: NOW). A general cleaning tip before we get started can be to clean from top to bottom; let gravity do a bit of the work for you. 


Dishwasher: it may leave your dishes sparkling, but your dishwasher isn’t self-cleaning. If it’s been a while since you cleaned your dishwasher, you may need to dedicate some time to scouring the filters and loosening up old food and grime. 

Dish rack: this needs a clean every couple of days to prevent mould from the stagnant water.

Coffee maker: different machines have different cleaning mechanics, but stay safe and DO clean it every week or so, hot water and general washing soap will be best. 

Sink: you should actually be doing a daily scrub of this after you’ve finished up with the dishes – potential leftover food particles can become a danger zone if left for too long.

Can opener: stop putting it back in the drawer after each use! 

Garbage can: a strangely overlooked no-brainer. This should be done with some industrial strength anti-bacterial as well as hot water, a couple times before letting it dry. An incredibly useful hack for odour control is sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of the can before you insert the trash bag. 

Fridge drawers:  They may look clean and transparent, but there could be any number of bacterial strains lurking in the corners. Because e. Coli often covers the surface of fresh fruit and vegetables, it’s important to wash out your refrigerator drawers often.


Toothbrush holder: surprisingly dirty – this should be cleaned as frequently as you do your toilet/bathroom. 

Toothbrushes: surprise, surprise! These get real dirty real quick and need to be replaced every month. 

Shower curtain: Ideally done once per month because shower curtain liners harbour mould, especially at the bottom of the curtain, where it absorbs a lot of moisture. To clean the liner, remove it from the rings and put it in your washing machine with a half-cup of baking soda and a couple of towels. Run it through a normal cycle with warm water. The baking soda and towels work together, scrubbing the liner to get rid of the grime and soap build-up. Hang dry.  

There you have it! Stay safe, stay clean and stay tuned for more useful and efficient household tips. 


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