As the November days pass, you’ll notice it in most Maltese households: Curtains and drapes are pulled down and sent to the washing machine or dry cleaner, kitchen cabinets are cleaned out and reorganised, scratches on furniture are hunted down and hidden, worn down walls are given a fresh coating of paint – it is a staple end-of-year tradition for Maltese homeowners to cleanse their house from rooftop to doorstep before Christmas.
It’s not necessarily about expecting guests either; yes, friends, friends-of-friends, and never-seen-before relatives will inevitably chime in during the festive season for dinner, an afternoon chat or a drink in the evening, but for a Maltese matriarch, it’s more about starting the new year with the home in the best shape possible.
Another good reason why we pick this time of the year to revamp the house? Christmas decorations. We might not be too sure about halloween and you will certainly find many parents who are not fans of carnival, but when it comes to Christmas, we like to dive into the deep end and pull out all the stops.
In this article, we’re going to outline a step-by-step method to cleaning tips to a ‘kunjata’ worthy home this Christmas!
You have two options here, either ask them to help you with the house cleaning procedure (with Christmas gifts knocking on the door, now’s the time to use presents as your leverage). If they’re too young, absolutely destroy anything in their path, or you’re a control freak and you must do this alone, it’s time to ring nanna and test her love and loyalty towards her grandkids. If nanna fails, remember that your neighbours or parents you’re friends with are in the same position. Organise a kids-swap!
Make your own detergents
A clean house doesn’t necessarily mean it is a healthy one. In fact, cleaning your house with detergents may be doing more damage than good to your health. Check out our article on cleaning the kitchen without using chemicals and start making your own concoctions. It’s cheaper & healthier than buying detergents at a store.
Get two cardboard boxes, line one with a black bag, and use the other for storage, then go around your house and clear out everything in your rooms that doesn’t need to be there. Grab paperwork, clothes, toys, books, random kids stuff and any other junk that is taking up space.
Test and tidy out all the Christmas decorations
Don’t wait until after you wrap the fairy lights carefully around your Christmas tree or bannister to check if all of the LEDs are working. There’s no point getting your home spick and span for the festive season and then hanging up dirty and dusty decorations, so make sure you tidy up decorations: ornaments, string lights, figurines, and tree toppers.
Clean All Surfaces
This is where your homemade detergents will come in: countertops are first priority because they’re where your food and drinks will be placed on, then the dining table, shelves, chairs, and furnishings. Surfaces in your living room or lounging area are the spaces that will see most people, so focus your energies here.
While you’re on a cleaning spree, remember to give your reflective surfaces and decorations, like mirrors and candlesticks, a good polish too. Don’t forget about furniture with a glossy finish!
Tackle the kitchen
We’ve written an in-depth guide at how to tackle different parts of the kitchen in this article. If what you’re going for is a complete revamp, clear out cabinets, drawers, and shelves, wash utensils and plates (particularly plates you will be using when hosting). You may want to get help moving the table, fridge, and oven.
We’ve all got that nice set of cutlery or dining set that only makes an appearance on special occasions. Now is their time to shine – literally. Set the time aside to clean and polish your lovely kitchenware and make your Christmas meal even more memorable.
Wash the floors
Sweep and then vacuum. If you have a rag mop, mopping in a tight horizontal figure of eight will work best, as this doesn’t leave any bits behind that you might have missed when sweeping or vacuuming.
For a cleaning solution, you can easily look at our how-to-clean-your-kitchen article and use the same mixtures on the floors.
Treat your carpets, sofas, and sitting areas
It may be that time of the year to hire a carpet & upholstery cleaning professionals to restore and groom your carpet back to its full health. To find out more about keeping your carpets in top-notch condition, take a look at our article on how to clean carpets.
With regards to your sofa, remember that the combination of baking soda, vinegar, and water, is useful for cleaning everything from electric stove burners to sneakers, and your natural-fibre couch is no exception. Harness the power of baking soda to remove the grime in just a few minutes. If you have a hand-held vacuum, it will make things easier.
Organise your wardrobe
Remember that the centrepiece of any house is its members! Plan your outfits for occasions during the festive period and make sure they’re clean, fit well, and accessible. It might seem a little over the top, but you’ll thank yourself after your friends or family convince you to take photos.
If you want to go the extra mile, take a look at our article on how to tidy up, organise your wardrobe, and maximise closet space.
Finish with the bathroom
Squirt toilet cleaner into the toilet and give the shower and bath a spray. Leave the cleaner and spray to settle for a while. In the meantime, move onto other parts of the house. After all other steps are done, head to the bathroom and give the toilet a good scrub. Rinse off the bath and wipe down the mirror and sink.
Now that you’re done, treat yourself to a warm, long shower and imagine different ways you can motivate the rest of your family to keep the house tidy.