How to Keep Your Apartment in Great Condition and Not Lose Your Deposit
Most people are not at their happiest when cleaning their apartments, but it is one of our responsibilities when renting an apartment, both to the landlord and also ourselves, if we want to get our deposits back. Here are some tips and tricks for keeping your home clean. Photo Credit: Freepik.
Brno, Sep 21 (BD) – There’s often a lot of confusion surrounding this topic: sometimes cleaning is not the easiest, and on top of that, expats need to pick out detergents in the Czech Republic, where all the names can easily be overwhelming. Nevertheless, don’t worry, we will help you through the entire process with some tips and tricks, straight from someone who just moved out of a rented apartment!
When it comes to the kitchen there are two options when doing your dishes – liquid or sand-based dish soap (e.g. JAR or Cif). Liquid dish soap is commonly known as “jar” in Czech Republic and there are a lot of different brands under that name (e.g. JAR, Pur, Frosh and Jelen). Sand-based dish soap (e.g. Cif) is good for tougher stains (e.g. from curry/turmeric, red wine or beetroot). Cif is also useful for washing kitchen counters, tables, and other kitchen appliances if you come across tougher stains. However, if all you need to deal with are some smudges that you can’t get rid of, here’s a pro-tip: use a bit of coconut oil on your metal fittings, it will make them clean and shiny!
Limescale remover is also important, so remember to use it from time to time. However, if the limescale gets really bad, this may not be enough, so you can also use some homemade mixture like baking soda with a bit of water (caution: baking soda has a strong whitening effect so be careful in what kind of places you use it). Just make a thick paste, place it directly on the limescale and leave it for some time, or soak a small towel in white vinegar and place it on the limescale for a couple of minutes.
Also, don’t forget to wipe up the water around your sink after you use it, since the kitchen counter could swell up and decay. If you have a ceramic hob as your stovetop, you need to clean it after every time you cook, or the food will get “baked into the surface”; here again, as well as special detergents for ceramic hobs you can also use white vinegar with soda.
When it comes to microwaves and stoves, you should also clean them after every use, and in especially tough cases I swear white vinegar is your best friend to get rid of those burn stains! The other important thing is to clean the fridge regularly and defrost the freezer at least once a year (remove all the food and turn off the fridge completely when you do this, and properly wipe everything).
Any food remains should go in the garbage, NOT in the sink drain or the dishwasher, as that would clog up the pipes – we typically do not have garbage disposals in the Czech Republic.
When it comes to bathroom you should make sure that you clean your shower/bathtub of limescale at least once per week – to get rid of limescale, you can use Cillit Bang, Pulirapid, vinegar-based liquid cleaners (e.g. Frosch with raspberry vinegar), a special version of Cif made for bathrooms, or the homemade solutions mentioned in the kitchen section. In order to avoid molding after every shower, air out the bathroom and keep the exhaust fan on for at least 15 minutes. Again, all taps and the shower hose and other steel elements should be de-limescaled on a regular basis.
The other thing is to clean your toilet regularly so it’s not dirty with sediments – for this, use those “duck neck-shaped” cleaners to get under the toilet fold. Examples of cleaners you can use include WC NET and DUCK. Homemade solutions are also possible here – baking soda + citric acid should do the job to double up the effect! Also remember to get a toilet plunger and toilet brush.
If you see tiny black dots in the white silicone in your bathroom, look out – that’s mold! You will need to get rid of it as soon as possible by spraying it with an appropriate cleaner that will disinfect the surface and kill all the bacteria, e.g. SAVO for molds (“SAVO proti plísním” in Czech). Some homemade alternatives include baking powder: sprinkle it over the mold, leave for around 30 minutes and then scrub the molded surface and rinse it off. Another option is to mix white vinegar, citric acid, and a bit of water and place it on the mold for 10 minutes – then scrub and rinse off.
Other parts of your apartment
Remember to clean your windows regularly (depending on the weather and how dirty they are – about once every 6 months) – use the correct cleaner, meant for glass (e.g. Clin) and make sure to use a squeegee to avoid stains. Also watch out for the mold that can appear on the silicone areas! For homemade solutions, use a bit of white vinegar mixed with water. If you want to save some money and have some old newspapers, you can use them to clean your windows – they should leave no smudges on the glass at all! You can use the same cleaner or homemade methods to polish your mirrors.
Don’t forget to regularly sweep/vacuum and mop your floors using an appropriate cleaner (e.g. SAVO for floors or AJAX). If you have wooden floors, make sure not to use too much water! And ensure that they dry fast by opening a window! (If you let your wooden floors get too wet, they will swell up and decay) You should also use a proper wood cleaner, e.g. ALEX. Here again, coconut oil can be your best friend!
If you want to keep your wooden floors shiny and hide little scratches, after you wash them, put a small amount of coconut oil on a towel and then just polish your floor with it. You might be surprised how good and fresh it will look after! Remember that when drying your laundry you should place the rack on tiles to avoid getting the wooden floors wet.
Make sure to air out your apartment regularly (by opening the window fully) to avoid molding, but also in order to feel and sleep better – trust me, staying in an enclosed space for too long can cause headaches. If you do find any mold, don’t panic and make sure to disinfect the spot using an appropriate bleach-based cleaner (e.g. SAVO for paint) or spray some white vinegar on it and wipe it off with a wet, warm towel after a couple of minutes – then repeat. Don’t forget to dust all surfaces regularly for your own health, including the window blinds. Dust can be really hard to get rid of if it sticks to the surface!
If you have pets
Pay attention to them and don’t let them pee on wooden floors – not even on a pee pad placed on the wooden floor. Only put pee pads on tiles or make sure your pet pees outside or in a pet toilet. Also, don’t forget to vacuum and sweep up pet hair regularly.
Where to get all these cleaning products
The majority of the products we recommend here are available in most stores all over the Czech Republic, including big supermarkets. You can also go to a drug store to get cleaning supplies, e.g. DM or Rossmann. If you prefer more “green” cleaners, Ecover is a brand that offers a range of environmentally-friendly cleaners for various surfaces.
Really hate cleaning? Get a cleaning service!
We all know that some people hate cleaning so much that they would clean once in a blue moon if they could, or even not at all.
That’s completely understandable! We all have things that we despise. However, you still need to keep your apartment in good condition if you don’t want to lose your deposit when moving out. In that case, we recommend you get a cleaning service. This way your apartment will be kept clean and you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Check out Foreigners – they will be happy to help you, not only with finding a cleaning service but also with everything else related to finding an apartment, signing the lease, moving in, and much more!
This text was prepared by Foreigners relocation agency.