I wrote before about my horror at discovering how little my boyfriend and his roommate knew about cleaning (and the instructions I gave them regarding how to remedy these issues). When I visited him in his new apartment, I had high hopes that I would see some of my advice being utilized. And yes, he was proud to tell me that he had recently washed his dish towels, and he showed off the sponge he had gotten solely for cleaning up greasy surfaces. However, I discovered during my visit that there were still several things he and his new roommate had no idea how to wash.
The drying rack and mat
It’s super convenient to keep a drying rack or mat next to your sink so you don’t have to dry your cleaned dishes by hand or put them into the cabinet while they’re still wet, and I was pleased to discover that my boyfriend and his roommate were tidy enough to make good use out of their drying mat. I was less pleased to discover, however, the layer of mold growing beneath the drying mat. It had apparently never occurred to them that this drying mat, kept constantly damp by (what used to be) freshly washed dishes in their nice, warm kitchen might become a horrifying breeding ground. Needless to say, we cleaned that immediately. Do yourself a favor and figure out how to clean your drying mat or rack the next time you pass your kitchen. This may mean tossing it in the wash with your next load of laundry (but probably not in the dryer as well–just air dry it), or just giving it a good soapy scrub, but either way, make sure it’s clean before putting it in contact with the things you eat off.
The bath mat
If you read my previous post on this topic, you may have realized by now that there’s a pretty simple pattern when it comes to figuring out whether something will grow mildew: If it’s damp more often than it’s dry, it’s going to start growing things if you don’t wash it frequently (especially if it’s cloth). This is why it’s important to wash your drying mat frequently, and why you have to spread your shower curtain to let it dry. It’s also why I insisted that my boyfriend include the bath mat in his next load of laundry. While I was happy that he finally owned a bath mat at all, no one had ever taught him how to clean it. Like most other things, the bath mat can only benefit from a trip through the washing machine. (Once again, though, wash only, no dryer, otherwise it will get beat up very quickly).
For the first couple days I spent at my boyfriend’s place, I couldn’t figure out why I was sneezing so much. Had I caught a cold? Was I allergic to something? Well, I would eventually discover that the real culprit was the fan sitting on the dresser. It was one of those little $20 fans that work really well, and there was at least a quarter inch of dust coating the back of this thing. Now, most fans (including this one) can actually be easily disassembled for exactly this reason, but we didn’t know this at the time. Instead, we sat there with with some paper towels, a vacuum, and a pair of chopsticks trying to pry the filth from this fan. Eventually, we got it clean enough that it wasn’t spraying a constant mist of dust on us, and lo and behold, my sneezing stopped! Next time you purchase a fan, make sure you keep the instruction pamphlet long enough to figure out how to best clean it. I am not exaggerating, the layer of dust was half a centimeter thick!