3 Tips For Cleaning Your Japanese Apartment

  • HOW TO
  • Compared to Western accommodations, living in a Japanese apartment comes with its own little joys and obstacles. Whilst these “obstacles” may appear small at first, they can grow into giant, fungus sized issues. Luckily – these tips should help you keep your apartment sanitised and problem-free!

    1. The bathroom – unclogging the drains

    Most bathrooms come with a small drain by either the sink or bathtub (or in between the two) that should look something like that in the picture.
    The drain cover can be lifted to reveal a small water reservoir; this acts as a centre point between the sink and the bath taps/shower. Over time, the plugs accumulate dust, hair, and even soap gunk!

    Leaving the drain un-cleaned, or “un-flushed” can lead to blockages, a smelly bathroom, and very slow water drainage from your taps and shower. If you find that you’re experiencing any of those issues, follow these steps to remedy the situation, and prevent any further blockages!

    1. Firstly, prepare rubber gloves, a plunger, a small plastic bag, bleach, and freshly boiled water
    2. Open up the drain cover. If you do have any dust/hair accumulated, it should be floating on the surface.
    3. Then, lift out the small, hollow cup looking object (if your drain has one of these!)
    4. Using your rubber gloves and trusty plastic bag, fish out all of the muck, and dispose of appropriately. To be extra thorough, you may want to use your fingers (or an unwound hanger) to pick up any residual hair tangled in the holes found inside the water reservoir. There should be two or three little holes within the reservoir (where the water runs through from the sink/shower).
    5. Once you’re satisfied with your drains, take your trusty plunger, and place it over the shower/bathtub plug hole. Give it about ten firm plunges, you should be able to hear or see movement coming from the water reservoir you just cleaned. Any residual dirt in the pipes might just float up there too.
    6. Finally, flush out the pipes using a generous squirting of bleach down the bathtub/shower plug hole. Once you’ve poured in the bleach, follow up with the freshly boiled water. This will disinfect and add that final, clearing impact to your drains.

    Don’t forget to put your drain cover back where you found it! Aim to clean out the drains once a week if possible.

    2. The kitchen sink – the plastic waste collector beneath the plughole.

    Whilst having one of those waste collector “nets” is handy to have, the plastic ones are more susceptible to blockages than the metal wire nets. The little holes that allow water to flow through can be blocked by the smallest grain of rice, or strand of ginger. Here’s a handy tip to keep the water flowing smoothly.
    Invest in a toothbrush, and every week/two weeks, literally “brush” your plastic waste container. Pour cleaning liquid onto the brush, and as your dentist might advise, use circular motions.

    3. The futon – avoiding dust build up

    Regardless of how spotless your accommodation might seem when you leave the house each morning, your bed linen and futon will always be covered in a small film of dust/dead skin cells.
    The trick here is to clean your pillows, futon, and quilt when making up your bed with a tint roller. You’d be surprised at just how much the lint roller can pick up.
    If you suffer from sensitive skin or acne, you may wish to invest in a few soft facial cloths from a 100 yen store to wrap around your pillow each night.

    Related articles:
    Why do the Japanese always clean?

    1. Nidhi says:

      I want to share my experience of clogged bathtub drain in Japan having same drainage system as shown in above article. I had been experiencing the slow water flow while bathing so by the end of shower water stand by my ankle. I have tried vinegar and baking Soda many times but no results were seen. I have read on internet that about the Japanese drainage system so opened the drain cover as shown in article and tried to remove hairs. But there were only few. And it seemed that the drain is still clogged. I knew it was clogged by hairs and the clog is between shower tub pipe and this common drain area. So I tried to insert a wire to push the hairs. It did little. But then finally I put 2 vessels of boiling water directly in bathtub hole. And all hairs came to the common drain and thus I removed all by hands easily. And my problem was solved. I recommend everyone to try hot water rather buying chemicals or paying ¥8k to plumber in Japan.

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