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Skills Development – Home Management

As the tasks of maintaining a home are very demanding, equipment have been designed to simplify the homemaker’s work. Equipment involved in the cleaning of a house are:

1. Mechanical equipment and

2. Electrical equipment.

Mechanical Equipment/Devices or Implements

Mechanical equipment are those hand-operated devices or equipment used at home. They include brooms, brushes, mops, dust pans, buckets and carpet sweepers. These are discussed below:

a. Brooms and brushes:

Brooms are traditional implements for keeping our surroundings clean. They are made from palm fronds, while brushes are made from vegetable fibre and horse hair. There are two types of brooms:

i. Short broom and

ii. Long broom

Use of brooms and brushes:

1. Long brooms are used to remove cobwebs from roofs and walls.

2. Short brooms are used to sweep the floor.

Brushes are used for:

1. polishing surfaces.

2. scrubbing the floor.

3. brushing upholstery (especially hand brushes).


Care of brooms and brushes

1. Clean brooms and brushes after each use.

2. On a weekly basis, wash the brooms and brushes.

3. Rinse in clean water.

4. Rinse brush in salty water to stiffen the bristles.

5. Dry them in the open.

6. Store on hooks in a dry place.


b. Mop

Mops are twisted cotton yarn head tied to a stick and used at home for the purpose of cleaning.


Uses of mops

1. They are used to mop up water from the floor.

2. They are used to pick up fine dirt from surfaces.

3. Some mops are used for polishing surfaces.

4. Special mops are used to clean smooth surfaces such as chinaware.

Care of mops

1. Wash mops in warm soapy water to remove grease.

2. Rinse in clean water.

3. Place upright to dry in the sun.

4. Wash mop bucket and dry in the sun.

c. Dust Pan

Dust pans are used to collect litter and dust swept with the broom. They are made either of enamel or plastic.

A dust pan

Care of dust pans

1. Wipe after every use.

2. Wipe or put in the sun to dry.

3. Store away in a dry place.

d. Buckets

Buckets are used in storing water while washing or cleaning surfaces.

A bucket

Care of buckets

1. Wash thoroughly after each use.

2. Dry outside in the sun.

3. Store in a dry place.

e. Carpet Sweepers

This consists of a rotary brush and two dust pans mounted in a case or a box to which a long handle is attached. They are used for removing surface dust and dirt from carpets.

Care of Carpet Sweepers

1. Empty the dust pan after each use and dust with a damp cloth.

2. Clean the brush.

3. Occasionally remove the brush and wash.

4. Occasionally oil the wheels while the brush is drying.

Electrical Equipment

These equipment are operated by the aid of electricity. They include vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, dish washers, washing machines, refrigerators and cookers.

a. Vacuum Cleaners

These are electric (labour saving) equipment used to clean carpets and rugs. They consist of a motor which drives a fan, and a filter. There is a suction which draw in dust and small particles of dirt from the rug. The dust is collected in a dust proof bag of cotton or thick paper.

Vacuum cleaners

Care of vacuum cleaners

1. Keep the filter clean by emptying the container or bag after each use.

2. Do not overload the bag or container with dirt.

3. Put the vacuum cleaner away on its rack after use.

4. Check the flex and plug regularly for any defects.

5. Check out for any unusual noise.

6. Service the cleaner regularly.

b. Electrical Floor Polish

This equipment is used to scrub the floor, polish it and remove any dirt. It may have one, two, or three brushes which are driven by electric motor. Polishing attachments may attached to the outlets of certain models of vacuum cleaners, and used on floors and top surfaces.

Floor Polish

Care of electric floor polish

1. Clean the brushes and pads regularly.

2. Soak the brushes in turpentine to remove wax.

3. Wash them occasionally in warm, soapy water.

4. Store in a dry place.

c. Dishwashers

These are machines used in washing dishes at home. Their cleaning actions depend on;

1. The type and force of water spraying the dishes;

2. The temperature of the water;

3. The quality of the detergent being used.

Advantages of dish washers

1. The use of hot water for washing plates improves sanitation of the dishes.

2. It relieves the homemaker.

3. Dishes can be stored in the machine until they are required.

Care of dishwashers

1. Follow the instructions on the manual carefully.

2. Empty the strainer after each use.

3. Follow the directions for occasional cleaning.

d. Washing machines

These machines are used for washing dirty clothes and they save time and remove stress on the homemaker. There are three types of washing machines:

1. Non-automatic washing machines.

2. Semi-automatic washing machines.

3. Automatic washing machines.

Care of washing machines

1. Switch off the machine and wipe the inside and outside with a dish cloth.

2. Remove any scum with the use of a warm wet cloth.

3. Leave the machine open to dry.

4. Clean the outer surface of the machine with a dry duster.

5. Check the plugs frequently for any defect.

6. Service the machine regularly.

e. The Refrigerator

This is the appliance that removes heat from foods and keeps them cold. The process of keeping food cold is called “refrigeration”.


Uses of a refrigerator

1. It is used for food preservation.

2. It is used for prevention of food spoilage.

3. It reduces stress for the homemaker by making it possible for him or her to cook and store.

4. It is used to chill water and drinks.

Care of the refrigerator

Proper care of the refrigerator prolongs the life of the equipment and equally improves quality and flavour of the food stored in it.

1. Place the refrigerator where there is circulation of air.

2. Wipe the inside of the refrigerator at least once in a week.

3. Wipe out any spilled food.

4. Defrost the refrigerator when the ice in the freezer compartment becomes thick.

5. Avoid using sharp objects to chip ice from the freezer.

6. Clean the outside with a dish cloth.

7. Don’t put any stale food in the refrigerator.

f. Cooker

This equipment is used to apply heat to food to make it tasteful and fit for consumption. Some cookers have oven for baking, grill for grilling and surface burners for cooking, while others have only surface burners. The choice of cooker depends on an individual. A cooker uses gas/electricity.

Gas cooker with a surface burner

Points to consider when choosing cookers

1. Choose a cooker that is durable and fits the family needs.

2. Check for the one that the burner will provide a good flame.

3. Buy one that is easy to operate.

4. Buy the one that has appropriate insulator.

5. Test the oven to make sure that it has even distribution of heat.

6. Choose one that its fuel will be available easily.

Care of cookers

1. Wash cooker after cooking, as this will prevent cracking of the enamel.

2. Don’t clean a cooker with scouring powder.

3. Wipe away all spilled food from the cooker with a kitchen cloth.

Care of kerosene stove

1. Turn off the stove after cooking.

2. Wipe the stove with warm, soapy water to remove spilled dirt during cooking.

3. Use good and unadulterated kerosene in the stove.

4. Occasionally, dismantle the stove to do the following:

i. Clean the burners

ii. Replace the wick

iii. Wash the kerosene container and dry it outside

iv. Reassemble the stove.