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Make a clean sweep of celebrations

Expert tips on how to banish dust and grime from your home

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Regular dusting and cleaning can keep the house as shiny as a hotel room

A day before Diwali is Naraka Chaturdashi or Kali Chaudas, a day to abolish laziness and evil from your home and life, before the illuminations of Diwali light it up. Traditionally, the day involved a thorough cleaning of the house, including the darker corners, such as attics and stores. On the occasion of the festival of lights, Mercy Fernandez, director of housekeeping at The Ritz Carlton DIFC, shares her expertise on how to get your home as shiny as a hotel room.

“In a hotel there are occupied and unoccupied rooms. In an occupied room, we need to maintain our standards just as much as in a new room when the guest moves in. One should hold the same standards of cleanliness at home as they expect from a hotel,” says Fernandez. “You need to use the right equipment and chemicals for different surfaces and items, and cleaning should be done on a daily basis with periodical thorough cleaning”.



Keeping it nice is making sure when you wake up in the morning you just have to stretch the linen for the day. Like in the hotel, even if the guest says he doesn’t want the linen changed, we make sure it’s stretched to keep it presentable. Just as you expect the bed to be made when checking in to a hotel, we need to keep the same at home. Always have a sheet 20cm longer than your bed. This will help keep it tucked in at all times and the secret to have it in is on the corner. Before tucking in, fold it at a 45 degrees angle. This will keep it tight.

A fitted sheet is a good alternative.



The chef in a hotel always has a towel or a dish cloth on his side. This is not just for show. When we cook, we are bound to have spills. And a professional chef will wipe a stain as soon as possible. Keep separate ones for the oven, stove top and counter top.

It’s easier to clean the oven when it’s warm rather than cold, when you need to put in a lot more effort even if you use a chemical. Use a cream cleanser or an all purpose cleaner on the sponge to clean it.

When washing glass and china, dry them at the same time to avoid streaks. Use different cleaning sponges for china and glass, and cooking pots. When we cook, the pot will be greasy. If you use the same sponge on glass, it will leave not just streaks but the food smell in them.



Toilet should be kept clean at all times. I recommend to have separate equipment such as a toilet brush, sponges and dusters, etc for each. For cleaning the bathroom you can use discarded towels but make sure you have separate cloths for the basin and the toilet so you don’t transfer any germs from one area to another. Always do one area at a time. First wash then dry the whole area.

Set your cosmetics with the taller bottles behind, then smaller ones.



When dusting with a feather duster, dust will eventually settle back somewhere close to the surface being dusted. Always use a damp cloth instead because it pulls the dust away from the surface and doesn’t allow it to resettle.



Clean your carpet daily so dust doesn’t accumulate. Carpet stains are toughest to remove, especially if it’s a coloured beverage such as coffee or orange juice. Clean it the moment you drop it. This allows the possibility that the colour may not seep in so deep. Hot water works great on coffee stains. Wipe it dry immediately. Next clean with an all-purpose cleaner, which is like a soap, and rinse it again.



Remove stains first with water. Then use a polish according to the surface. But remember not to put the polish directly on the surface. Always apply it to the sponge and then wipe it on the surface or it’ll leave a mark.



Always use two mops. Make sure it’s not wet but damp and then wipe with the dry mop. Spray the chemical on the mop rather than dunk it in the bucket.



Wipe the leaves to keep them shiny. Spray them only with water. Dust it a bit once a week.


Cleaning cupboard

A hotel cleaning bucket mostly includes a toilet brush, an all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, furniture polish, a stain cleanser and different sponges. The home cleaning cupboard shouldn’t look much different. Always keep an all purpose cleaner and different dusters for different areas such as bathroom, kitchen and other areas.



Always keep extra dusters in case you are unable to wash the ones you’ve used in your last cleaning.

Any chemical you use shouldn’t be sprayed directly on the surface. Use it on the duster. When you spray on the surface, the chemical will evaporate so the stain you are removing will not come off easily. Remember to test the chemical before using it on the surface.

Always use a clean cloth to wipe any surface or it’ll leave streaks and stains which maybe more difficult to remove.

There are a lot of good products in the supermarket, but read the label before buying them to check whether it suits your purpose.

For wooden surfaces use cotton wipes as they will not leave streaks.

For mirrors use a white duster rather than a coloured one for the lint that could be left behind is not so visible as a coloured one.


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