Cleaning tips for the summer season in South Korea

During the summer season, when rain and hot weather bring the annoyance of mold and mosquitoes. In this article, Ziptoss will share some anti-mold and insect-proof cleaning methods you can do at home.

1. Air conditioner and refrigerator mold removal

If the air conditioner that brings cool air is not cleaned and managed for a long time, it may become a petri dish for mold and bacteria. Here are some ways to prevent these situations.      

Cleaning methods:

1. Hire a cleaning company

Contact a housekeeping company by consulting friends, homeowners, or you can search for hotel housekeeping jobs in Korea online to find a trusted housekeeping company. Today, the cleaning fee for the indoor unit of a one-room wall-mounted air conditioner is around 40,000 to 60,000 Won, while the standing air conditioner is around 60,000 to 150,000 Won. The cleaning of the external unit requires an additional fee. The staff of Korean house cleaning services will visit according to your scheduled appointment. After inspection, a plastic sheet will be spread across the room to prevent contamination of other furniture, then the steps of disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly will be carried out.

The entire cleaning time is at around 40-70 minutes. Since the price difference between each company may be large, to avoid overspending, compare the prices and services of several companies before making a decision. After the air conditioner has been used for 2-3 years, the problem of insufficient cooling may occur, and a condensing agent may need to be added. The additional cost will be around 20,000 Won, and this part of the cost will usually be approved by the homeowner.

Note that the homeowner must be informed in advance if there is a need to add a condensing agent, and the operation will be carried out after negotiation between the two parties. The certificates and receipts of the negotiation process should also be kept to avoid unnecessary conflicts.     

2. Simple cleaning by yourself 

If the price of the cleaning company is too pricey, you can’t dismantle and clean it by yourself (unless you’re a professional), otherwise, the air conditioner might break, not only will you lose money, but you will also have to talk with the homeowner. You can open the outer cover of the air conditioner and observe if there is no mold inside and there is no peculiar smell in the wind. Simple cleaning of some parts such as the filter is good for temporary cleaning. Depending on the model and brand, the cleaning method may be different, you can refer to the air conditioner’s user manual. 

Here is a more general cleaning method for wall-mounted air conditioners(without technicalities):

  • Unplug the power supply, find the grooves on both sides of the outer cover, gently open the outer cover, and take out the left and right filters.
  • Use cold water and/or a soft brush to remove dust on the filter screen. Be careful not to use a hard brush or too much pressure, and do not wash with large amounts of water to avoid damaging the filter screen.
  • Air-dry naturally, replace the filter, and close the outer cover.
  • Clean the exterior with a soft cloth and make sure to clean the corners.

Similarly, the refrigerator may become a petri dish for bacteria. Look at the refrigerator seal to check, which is the moldiest part of the refrigerator.

Anti-mildew cleaning method:

1. Don’t put everything in the refrigerator. Vegetables that are not suitable for storage in the refrigerator(such as potatoes and radishes) should be kept in a cool place for consumption in the near future.

2. Raw meat cleaning. The raw meat you bought should be washed with clean water first and left to dry for a while before putting it in the freezer.

3. Prevent cross-contamination of food. Put vegetables and fruits at the bottom, meat and dairy products on top, and put leftovers in the middle. After opening containers of dairy products and seasonings, be sure to cover them before putting them in the refrigerator.

4. Clean regularly.

  • The food in the fresh-keeping bag/box should not be stored in the refrigerator for a long time, and expired food should be cleaned regularly.
  • If there is any dirty place in the refrigerator, immediately wipe it off with a paper towel.
  • Don’t stack too many things, make sure there is a  gap for proper air-conditioning flow.

5. Eliminate odor     

  • Orange peels. After eating the orange flesh, place the orange peel in the refrigerator and it should eliminate unwanted scents for about 3 days.
  • Tea and coffee grounds. Dry the used tea/coffee grounds, put them in a gauze bag, and place them in the refrigerator.

6. Remove mildew 

  • Unplug the power, empty the food in the refrigerator, dispose of the expired and spoiled food, and remove the drawers and partitions.
  • Wipe the inside of the refrigerator with soda water. For more stubborn stains, you can apply a hot towel for a few minutes before wiping. The glass and ceramic accessories should be cleaned after they are at room temperature to avoid breakage.
  • The inside of the refrigerator door, hard-to-touch corners, and rubber seals often hide dirt and grime. You can clean them carefully with a toothbrush moistened with baking soda or toothpaste, then wipe them with a cloth after.
  • Wipe the refrigerator from top to bottom. You can clean it with water or a ratio of 3 parts white vinegar to 1 part water. It is recommended to use a softer cloth to avoid scratching the surfaces.
  • Open the refrigerator door to ventilate. After the components and the inside of the refrigerator are dry, put them back in the drawers and compartments and place the food inside as well.

2. Moisture-proof and mildew-proof of bedrooms and bathrooms

  • Dehumidifier

You can buy dehumidifiers in Daiso, supermarkets, or online. Dehumidifiers can be placed in closed wardrobes, shoe cabinets, etc.

  • Air conditioning dehumidification function

By finding the air conditioner remote control. There are different functions on the remote control, choose dehumidification(제습) function of the air conditioner.

  • Ventilation 

Always open the window after taking a shower to let steam and moisture out of the room. If the humidity is not very high, or when it’s raining, open windows regularly to prevent having molds in your apartment.

  • Fungicide

If there is a mold situation, you can find fungicides in Daiso(다이소). 홈스타 뿌리는곰팡이싹 and 홈스타 바르면곰팡이싹, these two cleaners carry out mold removal work well. (Do not use these on wallpapers, refer to the product description for the application method).

3. Deworming

1. Mosquito

  • Use an electric mosquito coil (리퀴드), this is a liquid, so pay attention to check the remaining amount, don’t boil it dry, and don’t add other contents by yourself.
  • Regularly use clean water in the house such as the ones being used in flower pots.
  • Insecticides. You can buy mosquito killer sprays with different scent options. When killing insects, close the windows and doors of your home and put away all kinds of sundries outside to avoid standing on the insecticide. Wear a mask, and spray a bottle in a small one-room (or you can refer to the product description for a specific dosage). After that, the person should immediately leave the room (if there is a pet, take the pet away in advance and spray the disinfectant, and store the pet’s supplies). After two hours, you can go back in for ventilation and cleaning.

2. Buy cockroach potion

Put them behind the refrigerator, inside the cabinet, or any place that’s dark and warm, and clean and replace them after a period of time. The trash and corners in the house should also be cleaned up frequently.

3. All kinds of small flying insects

  • Check whether there are holes in the screen windows and if there is an anti-insect net in the drainage hole under the window frame. If there are holes, you can buy an anti-insect net replacement to repair them.
  • Check if the drains in the kitchen and bathroom are leaking.
  • For small flying insects such as fruit flies, you can use attractors like fruit fly traps(초파리트랩). There are also a lot of posts about homemade attractors on the internet, you can refer to them as well. It can also be used together with insecticides, which can be doubled in effect, but the best way is to throw out rubbish and clean the apartment frequently.
  • Insecticides, such as Pest7(페스트 7), are used in places where insects frequently hide such as drains.