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Step-By-Step Diwali Cleaning Guide

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

Diwali conjures up images of diyas, lights, crackers and sweets. But before the mother of all Indian festivals injects the air with festivities, happy vibes and all things sweet comes the grime, the dust and the body ache.

If you've grown up in an Indian household, the memories of your whole family pulling out all stops to turn the house upside down to do the 'Diwali Cleaning' are not unknown to you.

Old stuff was given out, new stuff bought, cobwebs blown off, that year-old rusty machine given a thorough scrub, the works.

For the busy professional, setting a whole day or two aside for cleaning can be difficult. But doing a deep house cleanse on Diwali pays off. If nothing else, it's an excuse to finally have a shining clean, fragrant and healthy home to yourself for the rest of the year.

So as someone who spends a good amount of my time cleaning every day and treats Diwali like the annual exam, here's a step-by-step guide on how to clean your home this Diwali.

What you need:

1) A few cleaning rags that you're willing to discard post-use

2) A cleaning solution consisting of hot water, detergent, vinegar and a couple of drops of essential oil.

3) A broom

4) A cobweb sweeper

5) Newspapers

6) Trash bags

7) Storage cartons

1) Get yourself ready for the job

Get yourself into old comfortable clothes that you're willing to get dusty, torn and stained, tie your hair up, optionally get a face pack on, put on some nice music or a podcast in the background. This makes for a comfortable setting for an operation that could take hours, and puts you in the right mood. Having a podcast in the background keeps you from feeling bored, and keeps your mind engaged while you engage in an admittedly numb activity.

2) Attack top down: Start with fans, tubelights, bulbs and lofts

Diwali cleaning
Before you call 'Child labour', this is my nephew who was happy to partake in the cleaning only too keenly!

Start cleaning all the areas from top-down so that any spills and falls on the floor can be cleaned later. Give the floor of the storage lofts or the "chajjas" a good sweep with a cobweb blower and sweep the dust into a newspaper. Then comes the fan. First give the fan a sweep with a broom to get the big chunks of cobwebs off. Then run a rag in the warm, soapy solution. Then do a final wipe with a clean cloth. Take an old wet sock or a rag and run it through the window grills and mesh. That's where most of the dirt and dust from outside sticks to. Do not forget the wall art. The backs and sides of painting frames serve as a good hiding spot for cobwebs, dust bunnies and yikes even lizards!

3) Attack the platforms and waist level tables and desks

Now's the time to run the cleaning cloth through platforms like the kitchen platform, study tables, credenzas, the bookshelves, entertainment units and the like. Do the first cleanse with a wet cloth with the soap solution, and another with a cloth with plain water.

4) Organize the storage shelves and the wardrobes

Diwali cleaning: organizing wardrobe

An oft-overlooked section in the house is the cluttered cupboard. Unfolded clothes, knick-knacks, boxes, random cosmetics, jewelry tossed together like sardines just spells MESS. This would take an hour, but so worth it. Fold all the clothes, and stack them according to a theme or functionality--for eg. all pants together. This is also a good opportunity to spot the clothes to give away and keep them aside. Organize the cosmetics and jewelery into boxes, stack them up and throw away the junk or expired cosmetics.

5) Wash the cushions, upholstery, curtains, and bedsheets

Do this a couple of days before the D-Day. Time to take off all the curtains, chair covers, upholstery, cushion covers, rugs and the like that have been quietly absorbing dust and gunk in their pores. Soak them in a hot water-detergent solution overnight, and the next day, either run them through the washing machine or manually rinse them out. Give them a day in the sun to dry before putting them back on.

6) Floors

The everyday mopping by your house-help is enough to maintain a decent level of cleanliness but it doesn't help get rid of a year's worth of build-up consisting of spilled liquids, food, dust, dog hair and more. Here's how to make your floors shining clean. Make a solution of boiling hot water, two spoons of detergent, a cup of vinegar. Now spray or spread this liquid on the floor with a sponge. Let it remain for an hour or so as it loosens up the gunk.

Then run a clean mop over the solution. Give a final mop with plain water. Run a cloth manually through the corners as the hand mop tends to miss corners.

7) Give the bathroom and toilets a thorough clean

Don't miss out on cleaning one of the gunkiest part of the house - the loo. (Here's why cleaning the bathroom is the most crucial step in house cleaning.)

Ideally do this, when you're having a bath so you can feel clean immediately after a yucky job. Start with pouring out Harpic or another toilet bowl cleaner and let it sit for 30 minutes while you do other tasks. Time to declutter - throw out empty bottles, cans and soap tidbits that give the bathroom a cluttered look. Now might be a good time to also replace the old buckets and plasticware with a new, uniform color one. Empty out the laundry basket, dry it out in the sun. Give the floors a good rub with a special bathroom cleaner or a solution of cleaning acid, detergent, phenol and vinegar. You can use a plastic or wet broom for the job. Clean out the taps, shower hose, and the health faucet hose with a solution of vinegar to loosen up buildup and clean to a shine. End with cleaning the toilet bowl, the toilets eat and top of the water cabinet.

8) Deck up with lights, flowers, and incense

Now that your house is clean inside out, up and down, time to doll it up with lights and flowers. Hang string lights on your curtain rod, doorframe, and balconies. Use electric diyas and flowers. Candles and earthen diyas on Diwali day adds a beautiful traditional touch to the decor.

Remember, there's no such things as too many lights or flowers on Diwali.

Enjoy your Diwali, munch on some laddoos, after all you've earned them.


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 I (Monica) am a lifelong traveler, (40 countries), sustainability and veganism advocate, and a marketer by profession. I'm old school in that I still like to blog and document rather than shoot and post.

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