The Worst Advice You Could Get About Cleaning in Dubai

Cities like Dubai are known for their social life – school mums’ lunches, coffee dates, villa pool parties, Christmas dos, theme birthday parties, playdates, festival celebrations and what have you. Having household help is an accepted part of life here, and many women count it as a boon.

However, when it comes to opinions on how the house must be run, it is, often, no holds barred. You may have an army of maids, or you may do it all yourself, but someone is sure to tell you how you can do it better. Oscar Wilde once wisecracked, “The only good thing to do with advice is pass it on; it is never of any use to oneself.”

Of course, no one can deny how valuable advice sometimes can be. Parenting, health and housekeeping are sensitive topics, and you’ll find that everyone has a different opinion on how to do it best. Taking in good advice can often be of great benefit.

However, what if the advice is less than useful, or even wrong? Here’s a look at some of the worst advice we’ve had to deal with on cleaning.

Clutter is not filth: You may comfort yourself by saying the two are very different, but clutter does attract more dust and grime. It’s harder to keep multiple surfaces clean, and cluttered areas provide plenty of dark and unsanitary corners for pests to hide and flourish in. Make sure you always stay on top of clutter and avoid hoarding.

The dishes can wait: It’s tempting to store dirty dishes below the sink, and it’s okay to do it once in a while, but it is better not to make a habit of it. Wash dishes as and when you use them, while cooking or after eating so that pests and germs don’t settle in. The task also seems less daunting when you have less to deal with. If you use a dishwasher, run it on a regular schedule.

The AC keeps out dust: A large part of our life in Dubai is spent indoors, with windows firmly shut and the AC on in full blast. We tend to think that this keeps out the dust too. Sadly, dust and dust mites accumulate and within the home, and the quality of indoor air deteriorates. If there are carpets, the problem is compounded. Do read this account by the wonderful Dubai based blogger, Mrs. Dubai, on cleaning AC ducts.

Organize your laundry once a week: The day starts at 5 AM here for most mothers doing the school run, and sometimes it’s hard to find the time to fit in every single chore. However, it’s better to spend a few minutes every day to put things back in their place. The house will be less cluttered, you’ll find what you need in a jiffy (like your kid’s uniform tie!) and you’ll have free space where you usually dump your unsorted laundry!

Use lots of product: Less is certainly more when it comes to cleaning products. Read the instructions carefully and see if the product needs to be diluted and how much is recommended. If you use too much product, it can be hard to wash away the residue. Similarly using multiple products for multiple things could expose you to greater toxicity.

Spray room freshener to get rid of odours: An odour is a sign of something not right. With our windows firmly closed for most of the year in Dubai, it’s not as easy as just throwing open a window to let the stink out. You’ll have to be a lot more resourceful and look for the source of the smell and treat it. Air freshener cannot fully mask smells and moreover are known to contain ingredients linked to allergies, respiratory issues and cancer.

The exhaust fan is not necessary: The exhaust fan is there for a reason. It prevents your house from getting sooty, and from your AC vent from getting clogged by kitchen smoke, which is very important in places like Dubai where the AC is almost always on. It is also the best way to prevent mould from growing in bathrooms which are kept closed at all times.

Organic products are always better: Our awareness of toxic ingredients in the products we use has gone up manifold, and switching to organic products is a good solution. However, do your research correctly and pick products that can clean well, and are actually as green as they claim. Using home remedies is good, but again exercise caution – lemon can be harmful as it bleaches, and vinegar is not suited to everything.

Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect: Our mania for sanitizing our surroundings means that we have increased our own susceptibility to disease and illness. As far as possible our surfaces must be clean but disinfecting every part of the home is not entirely necessary. Also many disinfectants contain chemicals which can harm you, and not just the bacteria it is intended to destroy.

Your house must always look like an interior design mag: Appearances matter a lot in Dubai, a city of large malls, where people wear designer wear on the streets and in the metro. We’re all under a lot of pressure to keep our homes looking sparkling clean. In the process, we forget that homes are meant to be lived in and some amount of mess is acceptable.

You must do it all yourself: You may think that household chores such as cleaning are your territory, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed at any point, don’t hesitate to get help. A maid who comes in at your convenience can ease your burden if needed. As any seasoned homemaker in Dubai will tell you, cleaning companies in Dubai can offer you good value for money and a much needed break from the routine.

What is the worst advice you ever heard about cleaning?

Annisa Rizka

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