Housekeeping in the Heat

Summer brings lots of great things—vacation, festivals and tasty cold foods come to mind—but Ishikawa’s humid heat also brings a number of less exciting things, namely mold, smells and bugs. Here are some quick, cheap tips for keeping your home fresh, relatively dry and bug-free this summer.

Stay Dry, Avoid Mold

Keeping your apartment dry as possible will save you a lot of potential mold-cleaning hassle, and fortunately, Japan has an easy answer to keeping your closets, toilet room and other spaces moisture-free. Head down to your local home goods or grocery store and pick up some desiccant boxes (湿気とり, shikketori). Buy a three-pack for under ¥200, and put them anywhere you want to keep dry. Once you peel off the top, the crystals in the box will soak up moisture and trap it in the bottom. Keep an eye on these, though; you’ll have to replace them relatively often.

If you do find yourself facing a mold infestation despite your best efforts, bleach (漂白剤, hyouhakuzai) is a surefire cleaner. It’s stronger and more effective than other products targeted towards cleaning mold, but make sure you wear gloves and ventilate the area you’re cleaning as well as possible.

Say No to Smells

Even the most diligent cleaner may find that bad smells are difficult to control, especially in summer. No matter how many times you clean the toilet/bathroom/kitchen sink, mysterious odors can permeate the home. In many cases, your garbage can is the culprit. Japanese apartments and homes are difficult to keep cool, which means that your garbage can is likely to be a festering hotbed of things you really don’t want to think about, even if you take your garbage out on a regular basis.

My favorite way to reduce the smell is to freeze my raw garbage (scraps and peels from cooking and leftovers) in a small plastic bag until garbage day. You can also find deodorant (防臭, boushuu) for your garbage can at home goods and grocery stores. They’ll typically be located near the sponges, dish soap and other kitchen cleaning items, and will have a picture of a garbage can on the packaging.

Don’t forget to keep a box of baking soda—if you can’t find it anywhere else, it’s definitely available at Kaldi Coffee in Kahoku AEON—in your fridge and freezer!

Exterminate Bugs

Check out these posts about dealing with bugs in the home:

Happy summer housekeeping!
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