Top Dusting and Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Have a glance over our tried and true top tips for cleaning and dusting to get your home spick and span in time for spring. Or – if you’d rather have someone else do it for you – hire a cleaner to get the job done faster!

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  • Don’t dust any surfaces that are taller than your tallest friend. Dust ceilings, of course, but try not to put yourself out!
  • Banish pet hair by popping on a wet rubber glove and brushing it lightly over the hair. It’ll lift right off.
  • If you’re prone to getting distracted when cleaning, set a timer for 30 minutes so that you can get more done more quickly – then get back to more interesting stuff, like watching TV, or cooking, or going out – or getting to the pub.
  • Keep cleaning products in a shoe holder hung over the back of the laundry closet door – they’ll be super easy to see and use.
  • Shaving foam can work wonders for lifting red wine out of carpets and upholstery, especially if you haven’t got any actual carpet foam or stain remover.
  • Washing the tub is actually really easy if you just hop in and do it nekkid. Be careful with the harsh chemical cleansers, as obviously, you don’t want your bits to get chemically burnt, but you can get into all of the nooks and crannies much easier without worrying about getting your sleeves soggy.  When you’re done, run the shower, then take a shower yourself.
  • Get someone to help! You help them clean their house, they help you clean your house – ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom, everyone’s house gets cleaned a little bit quicker.
  • Instead of running up and downstairs all the day taking stuff back up with you, keep an empty basket at the foot of the stairs and toss toys or any miscellanous bits that need to go back up – then just take the basket up at the end of the day. Saves running yourself off your feet all day!
  • Only got time to clean one room before guests arrive? Make it the bathroom – it’s the only room they spend any time in on their own and it’s the only room they’ll likely notice any mess in.  The rest of the place? Just a quick tidy round and a shove of things into the cupboards will do.
  • Remove food odours from plastic containers by washing with warm water and baking soda – it’ll lift heavy odours right out.
  • Speed through chores in the best possible way – by putting on your favourite music and enlisting the help of your children. Or, your friends. Offer them their drink of choice as a reward or a cartoon instead!

Source: Real Simple

Tricks for Keeping Your House Clean for Longer

Let’s face it, none of us like cleaning, right? Well, what if we told you there were a few clever tricks you could employ to keep your house cleaner for longer. It’d be brilliant, wouldn’t it? Follow these tips to keep your house spic and span and take a look at this link for cleaners, if you think you need a little extra help.

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  • Leave it all at the door: Have a mat both inside the door and outside the door and guests will brush their shoes off both inside and outside, which will reduce the amount of dirt trodden through the house and therefore how frequently you’ll need to mop and vacuum.
  • Keep teeny stashes of cleaning supplies throughout the house rather than in one spot, like under the kitchen sink. If you have cleaning supplies to hand, you’ll be far more likely to clean when you’re in that part of the house anyway, instead of doing just one deep clean every week or so. Keep sponges and bathroom cleaner, as well as a few clothes under the bathroom sink, for example, or a packet of cleaning wipes in the coffee table drawer.
  • Layer similar coloured rugs on top of your carpet if you hate having to shampoo it frequently as you can just throw ’em in the washing machine when dirty instead of having to get on your hands and knees for a scrub.
  • Don’t go upstairs without taking something up there that belongs up there, and don’t go downstairs without taking something that belongs downstairs – that way, you’ll always actively be doing something to tidy up, even if you’re not actually tidying anything up! Oh, and don’t leave anything on the stairs. Just take it up with you, or down with you.
  • Leave the dining table set at all tables. It sounds silly, but if you don’t, it can become a bit of a dumping ground for stuff – school bags, toys, stuff. Keeping it set gives the impression of a house that is done and all you need to do is dust it from time to time.
  • Run dryer sheets over areas of the house that get dusty – the coating in them that removes static from your clothes repels dust, so not only do they remove dust, but it’ll also help to repel dust which means that you’ll have to dust less often. Clever, eh?
  • Do a 10 minute power clean once a day. Focus on one area that’s bugging you, or just do a quick once over of the whole house, by switching on some funky music and having a boogie. Easy does it! It also means that you don’t have to stress about doing a big deep clean, either.

Source: Real Simple

12 Clever Cleaning Tips

Cleaning is a real bore, but these clever cleaning hacks will most definitely make your life that little bit easier. From the things that you don’t clean but should to the things that are much more difficult to clean than you might have thought, our 12 clever cleaning tips will do the job nicely. Click here if you’d rather someone else do the job for you.

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  • To clean computer keyboards and laptops, use a clean makeup brush. They’re small enough to get in between all of those little nooks and crannies, but they’re big enough and strong enough to catch all of the crumbs stuck between your keys.
  • To remove grease strains from walls, rub some cornstarch into a cloth and then rub over the stain until it disappears – easy peasy!
  • To clean the inside of a handbag, rub a lint roller around the lining. It’ll get rid of crumbs and all of those unknown particles that somehow find their way into the bottom of your bag!
  • How do you clean a ceiling fan? Either with a feather duster or a pillowcase – just stretch the pillowcase over each panel of the fan.
  • To clean your iron (if it’s a bit grimy or just because you’re a cleaning fan) or to clean ironware pieces, make a paste out of baking soda and water, then apply to the area you want to clean. Leave to soak for 45 minutes, then wipe off with a damp washcloth.
  • Use dryer sheets to clean skirting boards. Not only do they work well as dusters, but because they reduce static, rubbing them over your skirting boards will apply a dust-repelling coating that should reduce the number of times you need to get on your hands and knees to clean.
  • To get into those hard to reach corners, cover a broom with a dusting cloth and attach with a rubber band. Viola! A long-handled duster that you can use for ceilings and awkward spots alike.
  • Use a squeegee type tool for getting rid of pet hair – it sucks up a surprising amount of hair and works better than a vacuum cleaner in some areas of the home.
  • For sticky, icky baking trays and pans, use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub away the stains. If you’re cleaning non-stick sheets, leave to soak in extremely hot water and soap, then (unfortunately) you’ll have to scrub them repeatedly.
  • To clean old candles and to get rid of wax, just pour hot water into the candle and the wax should pour right out. Don’t pour it down the sink though – you’ll end up with a blockage.
  • The burners on your hob are a real pain in the neck to clean, but this trick should make the job a whole lot easier: put 1/4 cup ammonia and a burner into a large zip-loc freezer bag. Leave overnight, then rinse clean. Do NOT use bleach at the same time as using ammonia as this will cause toxic and potentially fatal fumes.
  • We’ve all heard of the old cheap cola down the loo trick, but it’s also a brilliant rust disolver!

Source: The Nest

How to Clean Green

Doing a bit of a spring (or autumn) clean? Maybe you’ve got a box for stuff you want to keep, a box for stuff you want to donate to charity and a box for stuff you want to throw away. Chances are, you can still recycle virtually everything that you want to throw away – which is better for the environment and for consumers, too. Lean how to clean green by following these tips and take a look at this link for housekeeping and cleaning supplies to get the job done.

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  • If you’re replacing your old mobile phone, TV, tablet or any other gadget, one of the first things you need to do is see if you can get a decent sum for it on an auction site – just check the make and model of your gadget to see what the going rate is. If it isn’t worth selling, there are plenty of charities who will sell them on for you. And if not? There are recycling facilities specifically for gadgets that can strip the parts down for re-use.
  • Chucking out a computer? Either take it to the shop where you buy your new laptop and they’ll recycle it for you, or donate it to a local charity, like a charity shop, nonprofit or animal home.
  • Consider donating to the armed forces. You can donate gadgets to armed forces charities to brighten up the lives of our servicemen and women.
  • If you’re cleaning out your closet, there are plenty of eco-friendly options. You could sell them through an auction site, or donate to a number of charities.  Nip into your local charity shop or search for specific charities online – there are plenty of them, including charities for women suffering from breast cancer. Alternatively, hold a swap shop with your friends and family – choose all the clothes that you want to bin, then take them to the swap shop with you. Everyone can then take home clothes that they covet and anything left over at the end of the evening can be donated.
  • The amount of furniture going into landfill has increased more than 400% since the 1960s, which means that there is an awful lot of really beautiful, really useful bits and pieces that are just sitting amongst piles of rubbish. Instead of putting them into landfill, donate them to charity or list them for free on a local listing website.
  • Books are super easy to recycle. Donate them to your local charity shop or to a books for soldiers program. If they’re rare tomes or vintage editions of popular books, you can sell them to your local bookstore or online.

Source: The Nest

10 Simple But Effective Laundry Care Tips

Laundry is laundry. It’s not very interesting, it’s not very fun, but it’s just something we have to do. But there are a few ways that you can make your washes even more effective – yay! Which means that you don’t have to spend as much money on washing liquids and conditioners – and less time ironing, too. Double yay! Take a this link for hiring cleaning supplies to help you on your way.

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  • Some washing liquid manufacturers claim that you can wash everything at 30C. You can wash a lot of stuff at 30C, but not everything, and you won’t get the clean feeling that you want if you just bung everything in at the same temperature. Cold is for fabrics that you’re worried will shrink or get damaged in a warmer wash, warmer washes will generally do for just about everything else, and hot washes should be used for linens, towels, tea towels and anything that could harbor bacteria.
  • If whites are turning grey, make sure that you’re only putting whites into the wash – and that they’re all the same kind of “dirty”. It might also be because the machine is dirty, so wash it once a fortnight with nothing in it, using either your regular cleaner or a dedicated washing machine cleaner.
  • Stop dark or coloured clothes from fading by turning ’em inside out before washing.
  • Prevent shrinkage by using a cool wash. Then, when drying, either hang it or dry it on the coolest setting in the tumble dryer.
  • Hate ironing? Of course you do! Lessen the need to iron either by using “ironing balls” in your tumble dryer, or by drying on a longer and cooler cycle so that wrinkles don’t get “tumbled” into your clothes. As soon as the clothes are dry, hang them or fold them so that wrinkles don’t get chance to join the party.
  • Keep your delicates, well, delicate, by popping them in a mesh bag and washing on the coolest possible cycle. Don’t just throw them in with everything else.
  • Using too much detergent will just result in a soapy mess. Those suds can trap dirt and actually embed them in the clothes. It’s not always a case of more soap = cleaner clothes. Just use the minimum amount and don’t fill the cap to the brim every time you wash.
  • Never, ever, ever use conditioner to wash your towels. It takes away all the softness, by, ironically, softening the fibres, which flattens them and means that the towels feel less fluffy.
  • As soon as a stain appears, whip off the offending item of clothing, pretreat it with a stain remover and pop it on a cool wash right away. The longer you leave it, the more embedded it’ll get. If the stain is still there, repeat the cycle.
  • When using sheets that catch running colours in your laundry, keep an eye and make sure that they don’t get stuck in any pipework – they easily slip down drains and into pipes which means that your washing machine won’t wash properly.

Source: The Nest

 

5 Cleaning Myths to Avoid for a Sparkling Home

Not many people enjoy cleaning – getting down on your hands and knees and scrubbing drops of tea off of the kitchen floor isn’t a particularly fun way to while away an afternoon. It might not be particularly enjoyable, but it’s just something that has to be done so that your home looks presentable. Right? Well, there are a few cleaning myths that could actually be making your home less than spick and span, or that are just plain useless. Learn what they are and how to avoid them by reading below – or, you could hire a cleaner to help you out instead.

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Bleach is the Best

Some people love bleach. After all, it makes everything white, and kills every conceivable germ. Well, no, not really. Bleach is good at disinfecting stuff, which is why we put it down loos, in the kitchen sink and anywhere else that nasty germies lie in wait. But it doesn’t really clean that well – as in, it can’t really lift grime. It’ll bleach it, but it won’t get rid. Instead, use regular cleaners or bleach-containing cleaners to lift grime and dirt, then bleach (if appropriate) to disinfect.

Vinegar Can Be Used to Clean Anything

White vinegar is a fab deodorizer and can clean lots of things, making mirrors shine and glass sparkle. But although it works well on a lot of surfaces, such as plastic, glass or ceramic, on others, it’s not so good. Keep vinegar away from your granite worktops and wooden floors/furniture, as it could cause quite a bit of damage.

Newspaper Makes Windows Super Shiny

Newspaper is a great alternative to paper towelling for cleaning windows – it doesn’t leave behind any fluff or lint, which means that they stay shiny and crystal clear. In principle, that’s entirely true and depending on the cleaning products you use, and how much they dilute the ink in the paper, newspaper might work a treat. But if the cleaning products dilute the ink, it’ll end up smearing all over your windows – and then you’ll have to use paper towels to clean. Test the cleaning product on the paper before you go to town on the windows.

Soft Furnishings Should Be Professionally Cleaned

Your mum or nan or cleaning-mad best pal might have told you that all soft furnishings, like your sofa or mattress, that you can’t chuck in the washing machine, should be professionally cleaned. Although a professional clean will result in a lovely finish, it’ll also put you out of pocket. Don’t use soap and water on your furniture as you have no way of knowing how it’ll affect the colours and the fabric. Instead, try steam cleaning.

You Need Furniture Polish to Clean Wood

Nope. Furniture polish contains oils, and these oils attract dust and voila – you have to clean more often. Dust frequently with lint-free cloths and if you spill something on wood, use a wood-specific cleaner, not polish, to get rid of it. Use polish every now and then simply to polish, but don’t use it to clean.

Source: The Nest

Reviews: Rug Doctor UK

By now, you must have heard of Rug Doctor UK. They’re one of the biggest carpet cleaning companies in the UK and they’ve sprouted up in supermarkets across the UK – there’s even a Rug Doctor department at the Morrisons just up the road from Hire Jungle HQ. So who is Rug Doctor and what can they do for you?

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History

There is a rather large number of Rug Doctor outlets throughout the UK – in fact, over 2,800 of ’em. Fun fact: 90% of the UK is no more than 10 minutes drive away from a Rug Doctor outlet, so if you have an emergency – perhaps a spot of red wine dropped onto a cream carpet or a roast dinner dropped onto your favourite rug, you’re never too far away to get the stain cleaned up – and quickly.

Founded in the 1970s in California by a professional carpet cleaner who wanted everyone to be able to have professional carpet cleaning services in their own home, without having to hire someone to come and do it for them. They’ve now grown into an international company with outlets all across America, Canada and Europe and are well on their way to becoming a household name recognised across the globe.

Making a Hire

If you’re close to a Rug Doctor outlet, lucky you – you can just nip in and arrange a hire there and then on the spot. If not, just search the website for outlets close to you, which include stores like B&Q and Homebase. You can choose to hire for a few hours, a day, a weekend, a week – pretty much any hire period you like as long as you pay for it. The day rate is typically £30 for a 24 hour hire period, including detergent – saving you on average around £160 (what a professional carpet cleaner would usually charge). Trade customers are also welcome and can open a trade account, and they’ll also be able to become distributors for the Rug Doctor products if they choose.

Using Rug Doctor

When cleaning carpets, you’d usually turn to a carpet shampoo or a vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners simply remove the top layer of dirt and debris from the carpet without getting deep down into the fibres, and although shampooing the carpet helps to lift out dirt, you’ll have to leave the shampoo to soak before vacuuming which is two jobs in one. With a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner, it does everything in one go, thoroughly washing the carpet fibres and the base of the carpet, which is where most of the dirt and bacteria actually lie. You’d be surprised, but your carpet is probably much dirtier than you think – so instead of buying new carpets, why not rent a carpet cleaner and just give yours a good thorough clean? They’ll look and feel as good as new.

DIY Tips: How to Clean and Maintain Pipes and Guttering

Clearing out your gutters isn’t a particularly enjoyable job, but unfortunately it’s a necessity. If your pipes and guttering aren’t cleaned or maintained regularly, the exterior as well as the walls, fascia and woodwork could become damaged – and if too much water runs down the walls, it could get into the foundations, leading to damp problems. Follow this guide to learn how to clean and maintain your pipes and guttering.

Things You’ll Need:

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Clearing Blocked Guttering

Work well away from the down pipe of the guttering so that you don’t end up accidentally pushing debris back down the pipe, getting it stuck. Instead, use a trowel to scoop up the debris and remove it. Just gently scrape it out, then pour a bucket of water into the guttering to make sure that the pipe is clear. It might flush out any debris stuck in the pipe, too.

Clearing a Blocked Drainpipe

Use drain rods to remove blockages from drainpipes. Gently ease the rods into the pipe, dislodging any debris as you go. Keep in mind though that if you dislodge the debris and it falls into the drain, you risk blocking the drain, so cover the drain with a bucket to retain any debris. If this doesn’t work, try to hook it out instead. Still stuck? Use the back of a hammer to gently tap along the drainpipe until you get a “solid” sound. That’ll be where the blockage is. You might have to remove that bit of pipe to remove the blockage, but luckily, this is fairly simple. Unscrew the two screws that are keeping the lowest clip of the pipe in place, remove, then remove the length of pipe. Use the drain rods to remove the blockage, then slip the pipe back into place, replace the clip and then replace the screws. Again, pour a bucket of water through the guttering just to make sure that everything is completely clear.

Cast Iron Pipework

It’s really important to clear blockages in cast iron pipework, as they’re far more likely to freeze which could lead to expansion and then cracks. This damage could be pretty costly, especially if you have to replace whole lengths of pipe. If you’re working with iron pipework, your best bet would be to get a professional in – iron guttering is very heavy and is particularly cumbersome to work with at heights so you do risk having an accident if you attempt it yourself.

Fixing a Sagging Pipe

If a pipe is sagging, it probably doesn’t have enough support – so you might need to add a few additional support brackets.

How to Prevent Blockages

There are a number of wire and mesh caps that are available for downpipes, which lets water through without any of the leaves or debris or junk. It’s also a good idea to trim back your trees each autumn – that way, there will be fewer leaves which means there’ll be fewer blockages.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: Top 10 Stain Removal Tips

Pesky red wine stain? Dropped curry on the floor? Learn how to get rid of these pesky stains and more by following our top ten tips to stain removal – and take a look at this link for cleaning services and products to help you get the job done.

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  • For red wine stains, white wine can often do the job, but only on fresh stains. Add a drop, blot well, then sponge them with a little bit of warm water. If that doesn’t do the trick, follow it up with an emergency carpet or upholstery cleaner. For stains on clothes, use an on-the-spot stain remover.
  • For mud stains, pre-treat clothes with a stain remover before washing as normal. If the mud still doesn’t come out, you can use methylated spirits, available from most chemists, to get them out. If the mud is on carpets or rugs, let it dry completely, give it a good scrub with a stiff brush to loosen the mud, then dig out your vacuum cleaner to vacuum it up.
  • For ballpoint pen stains, simply soak the fabric in a mixture of biological detergent and cold water overnight, then wash as normal the following day. If the stain is a bit stubborn, dab with nail varnish remover – but don’t use it on synthetic fabrics.
  • For blood stains, soak the fabric in cold, salted water for a good 15 minutes and then wash as normal with biological washing detergent. Soaking in a water/bleach solution should also do the trick. You could also use carpet shampoo.
  • For curry stains, the best way to get rid of them is to deal with them immediately – i.e. as soon as the spill occurs. For things that you can wash, use a stain removal spray as a pre-treater, leave to soak for 15 minutes, then throw straight in the washing machine and wash as normal with biological detergent. On carpets, try a little bit of diluted lemon juice.
  • For pollen stains, lift off the pollen as much as you can with a bit of sellotape – don’t rub it as it’ll get worse. Then wash as normal!
  • For grass stains, use a stain removing gel or spray. Apply according to directions, leave to soak, then wash as normal. Another more natural way to remove the stain is to mix egg white and glycerine together to use as a pre-treater before washing as normal.
  • For grease stains, you have to get creative. Put plain brown paper over the stain (if it’s on carpet or washable fabrics), then gently heat with an iron so that the paper can absorb some of the grease. On carpets, follow up with a shampoo. On upholstery, sprinkle a bit of talc onto the stain and then scrub with a stiff brush. If you can wash fabrics, just wash as normal with biological detergent.
  • For tea stains, use a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and water, or white vinegar and water will do the job nicely too for clothes, upholstery and stained teaspoons.
  • For sweat stains, use a powdered stain remover. Let it soak in, then brush off and if you can wash the fabric, pop it into the washing machine and wash as normal with biological detergent.

Source: UKTV Home

DIY Tips: How to Clean Paintwork

Learn how to clean up paintwork and painted walls without causing further damage by following these nifty little cleaning tips. Take a look at this link for cleaning supplies.

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You probably weren’t thinking about sticky fingerprints, scuff marks and juice stains when you were picking out your paints – but not to worry! You can easily clean small spots and marks without too much effort – but if not, it’s a good idea to keep a small amount of the paint back so that you can use it to cover up particularly stubborn marks and scuffs should you not be able to clean them.

Again, you can buy wipeable and washable paint – definitely a good idea for kitchens, bathrooms, playrooms and dining rooms. You can get it in a number of colours and finishes and if it gets marked, all you need to do is wipe it with a damp sponge.

If you haven’t got wipe-clean paint, you can still clean it – it just takes a little extra work. Here’s how to clean your painted walls and keep your home looking spick and span.

  • As soon as you notice small marks or spots on the walls, wipe them down with a damp cloth. That’ll usually be enough to do the trick, although it might not! If not, use a little bit of weak washing up liquid.
  • You can actually wash down large areas of wall, but it’s really important that you vacuum the walls first. If you don’t, dust and dirt will get mixed in with the cleaning solution and you’ll just end up smearing the dirt all over the walls.
  • Use warm water, a weak solution of washing up liquid, and a slightly damp cloth – too much water could result in some serious damp patches, so make sure that you use only as much water as you can get away with.
  • As you clean, dry the walls carefully using some paper towels. Drying as you go ensures that the paint won’t become overloaded with water. You should use paper towels, instead of dry cloth, as fibers will come off of the cloth and get stuck on the walls – so it’s important to use kitchen roll or something similar instead.
  • If you’re trying to remove particularly bothersome stains, try sugar soap or a weak solution of soda crystals. These methods could stain, however, so test them on an inconspicuous area first.
  • If you’re still struggling, paint over the mark. Stipple the colour on and be sure to fade it out into the clean paintwork, so that there isn’t an obvious line between new paint and old.

Source: 4Homes