By Amanda Addey-Jibb
Let’s be honest here, who spends 15 mins a day tidying up?
How about 30 mins a week?
That’s what I thought. Me neither though, no one’s judging.
If you’re like me, then you really only clean once you notice that things need to be cleaned. Well, you noticed the dirt—that’s a good start! But when spring rolls around, everyone starts talking about this “spring cleaning” thing, and you’re just thinking “Huh?? There’s more stuff I need to clean? But I already do my own laundry twice a month…”. I get it, I really do. So I’m here to help you figure out what you’re actually meant to be washing and how to do it (hopefully with the least amount of effort).
This issue’s subject is all about laundry, so it should be easy to do while watching TV and/or eating chips.
Let’s start with the basics! I’m sure you already know that you should be washing your sheets and futon covers every 1-2 weeks (right? right??). But did you know you should also clean your futons, comforters, blankets, and pillows every 4-6 months? This was news to me. But sheets don’t stop bacteria from building up over time. Luckily, depending on the quality of your bedding, it’s pretty simple to wash your linens. Most items—blankets, pillows, and comforters—can go straight in the washing machine.
It might be a little tight for big comforters in a small machine, so you may prefer to go to a laundromat with your bigger items. Obviously futons will not fit in your washing machine, but many laundromats will have bigger equipment for cleaning these, and dry-cleaners will also do it if you’re a big spender. It’s always good to check the labels first to be sure it’s machine wash or dry clean safe, and make sure you don’t overpack your machine!
Overall, washing your blankets and pillows twice a year is the ideal, but if you only get around to it in the spring, no one will know. And considering winter is wrapping up, now is the perfect time to wash that kotatsu blanket so it’s fresh and clean for next year!
Remember that once your sheets and pillowcases start developing holes and irremovable stains, it might just be time to replace them entirely. If you only use one set of sheets, this typically means every couple of years. You can expect your pillows to last between 1-3 years as well, usually.
After you’ve washed everything, it’s time to wash the washing machine.
“Wash the washing machine? But doesn’t it wash itself when I, ya know, wash stuff?”
No, not really. Where do you think all the dirt goes?
Mold and mildew builds up in the basket and underneath where you can’t reach, so regular soap just won’t quite cut it in most cases. It’s important to wash your washing machine at least once a year in order to remove any built up gunk and sludge (very scientific terms) so that it doesn’t stain your clothes down the line. You can adjust this time frame depending how much you use your washing machine, but once a year is a safe bet.
You have a couple options for cleaning. The simple option is to buy washing machine cleaner from Daiso or your local supermarket or home supply store. It’ll run you about 200-500 yen for such a product, and it looks like this:
Just run your machine on the longest and hottest setting with the cleaner, and you’re good to go! See how easy that was?
If you want a more natural option, all you need is some vinegar (the magical cleaning product):
- Set washing machine to hottest setting, and start the longest cycle.
- As the water is filling, add 4 cups of white vinegar.
- Allow the cycle to run for about ten minutes, then pause the cycle and let the water sit for one hour.
- Continue the cycle until complete. If there are any remaining mildew stains, they should be very easy to scrub away with a sponge.
You may want to run another regular empty cycle to make sure you have rinsed away all the vinegar.
In particular, cleaning your washing machine should have a serious impact if you sometimes find your clean clothes come out smelling a little funky. A build up of mildew and mold in your machine is the culprit, and this is a pretty common occurrence, especially in Japanese washing machines.
I’ll leave you with that mission for now, and it should help you sleep soundly at least. Good luck, and get ready for Part 2 in our next issue!