Image: Sebnem Ragiboglu / 123rf

So you’ve been planning your well-deserved holiday, and have your bags all packed. Before you leave your house for that three-week long vacation, make sure you do this one last task. You don’t want to come home to a smelly house that has been taken over by an army of ants or discover decomposed food in the fridge, do you?

Helpling, a marketplace for household services in Singapore, shares with us their to-do list.

1. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink


Forgetting to do the dishes before your holiday can lead to an unsightly mess when you return. Food gets crusty and seamlessly attaches itself to the dishes, making it twice as hard to scrub them off. Worst still, the smell of leftover food attracts ants. Also, you may want to consider throwing away the sponge after doing the dishes – they can harbour a disgustingly large amount of bacteria over time.


2. Clean out the trash


Don’t come home to a horrible smell, simply because you forgot to throw something out. The Singapore heat is an incubator for bacteria found in the trash, so be sure to remove the plastic bag from the trash can and make sure the bin itself is free from moisture and waste. Do not neglect the trash in the bathrooms and bedrooms, and always do a tour around the house to ensure no nasty surprises upon your arrival.


3. Review your fridge


Clean out perishables from the fridge. Mold spores from the decomposed food can build up and affect fresh food, so be sure to do a quick check and throw any food that could potentially rot.


4. Disinfect your drains


When you leave for holiday, insects can start leaving their homes and invading yours. You may want to consider disinfecting your drains with natural products. Start by running hot water through the drains for about 15 seconds. Once the drain is heated, pour a teaspoon of baking soda in and continue to run hot water for a further 15 seconds. This should kill off most of the odour. Another option is to pour a cup of vinegar or lemon juice down the drain and let it set for 30 minutes before flushing it down with hot water.


5. Do your sheets and laundry


The longer your clothes stay unwashed, the harder it is to get rid of the odour. Bacteria thrives when it is exposed to three things: organic material, warmth and moisture. This makes your dirty clothes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so don’t forget to wash dirty clothes, bedsheets and towels, before you leave. There’s nothing more inviting than a fresh bed after we get back from a long trip.


6. Unplug electrical appliances


Most appliances generally consume some electricity when left plugged in. Furthermore, some appliances consume a lot of energy even when on standby mode. The cumulative effect of leaving them on and plugged in whilst away will add up. Hence, unplug your computers and TVs, along with DVD players, TV boxes and all your kitchen appliances before you leave.


This story was originally published in Home & Decor.