The rise of decluttering expert Marie Kondo and YouTube cleaning star Mrs Hinch has given housework a 21st century makeover, but here on Lanzarote the climate and lifestyle means that some tidying and cleaning activities are more important than others.
Living on Lanzarote offers real advantages for the houseproud. This is a place where you can get sunlight and ventilation into your home all year round; where no one will ever tramp mud into your carpets, and where home hygiene has always been important.
But just because you’re floor is covered with gleaming tiles rather than a fusty carpet doesn’t mean you won’t need to clean and tidy. Here are some tips to how to get to grips with Lanza cleaning.
Dust is the curse of Lanzarote cleaners – almost always in the atmosphere and becoming a real nuisance when calimas occur. The open air lifestyle here means it’s difficult to keep it out of your house at the best of times, so you’ll need the right tools to get rid of it.
Despite the lack of carpets, a vacuum, cleaner is still vital here – it will suck up the dust rather than just push it around to other places. The other technique is sweeping, using a dust mop rather than a nylon-bristled brush. Afterwards, use a wet mop to pick up every speck of dust. Half a capful of your favourite scented fabric conditioner in the hot water will disinfect.
The vast majority of walls on Lanzarote are white, and white tends to pick up scuffs and marks. If a cloth, a sponge or a pencil rubber doesn’t work, then it’s probably going to be easier to paint over the stain rather than get rid of it. Always plan to have extra paint left over from when your interior walls have been painted, and it’s a good idea to decant quantities into watertight smaller containers such as a plastic bottles, rather than crack open that crusty old tin every time you need it. Use a small brush or dab paint on with a sponge.
Spanish housewives have always known the importance of vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. They can be used separately – vinegar is great for getting rid of stubborn kitchen stains and odours, while bicarbonate of soda is brilliant for cleaning sweat stains off sheets.
However, together they form a bubbling, foaming compound that can bring the worst stains of suacepans and oven interiors.
Other useful chemical products you’ll find in any Spanish supermarket are alcohol and agua oxigenada (hydrogen peroxide), which are sold in the first aid section.
Storage is another thing Spaniards tend to take seriously, and several apartments have a trastero (a store room) that comes along with the main property. If you’ve ever poked around a few trasteros you’ll know that this is, basically, as much of an Aladdin’s Cave/Junkyard as the average attic.
It’s easy to chuck everything into the trastero, or whatever equivalent cupboard space you have, but remember that you’ll also have to clean and tidy it up one terrible day. Try and stick to good habits from the start.