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

6 Simple Fixes for Everyday Kitchen Spills

Kitchen spills can be some of the most annoying messes to clean up – especially if you can’t get to them right away. A dried-on stain is a permanent stain, and a smudge of chocolate fudge icing can become that annoying piece of dirt that just won’t budge whatever you do. Follow these nifty simple fixes for everyday kitchen spills and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll be able to get your kitchen spic and span – so clean, it’ll sparkle.

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  • Combine 2 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 cup water in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Heat until boiling, microwave for another three minutes, then leave to stand with the door shut for five minutes and then wipe down the insides of the microwave with a cloth. The steam will loosen all the debris and the lemon juice will deodorise any lingering odours.
  • For spills that seep under surfaces like the couch, wrap a cloth around a ruler and push it under the surface you’re trying to mop. For wooden floors, dip the ruler in a little wooden floor cleaner and for stone floors, dip in a mix of water and vinegar – especially if you’re trying to clean up spilled milk!
  • For burnt food in the oven, let cool, then scrape out big chunks with a spatula. Sprinkle baking soda over the rest, spritz with water, leave to sit overnight and then scrub clean. The baking soda will lift all of the burnt bits from the surface of the oven and everything will come off super easily. To get rid of the burnt smell, add a couple of drops of lemon juice in with the water you use to spritz the oven.
  • If you have a big frozen chunk in the freezer and need to defrost it, unplug, then dip a cloth into a mixture of hot water and a tiny bit of baking powder – then use it to melt the frozen ice. Use clean dry cloths to mop up the spill.  Avoid salt, if possible, as it’ll clog up the freezer and could get into your food, which is definitely not what you want – plus, it could prevent it from freezing properly in the future.
  • If a glass has broken in the dishwasher, clean it up by turning off the machine a shining a torch into the dishwasher. Any broken glass will sparkle. Halve a potato and dab it onto any glass you see, then run an empty cycle to get rid of any bits of glass that you can’t see.
  • For a dried spill of something on the counter, scrub the area with a microfibre cloth to get rid of any bits and then rinse with a damp cloth – it’ll prevent that chasing-crumbs-around-the-counter-top thing that can often happen when you clean.

Source: Real Simple

8 Cleaning Mistakes You’re Probably Making

It might not be spring (we know, it’s freezing!) but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time for a clean! Take a look at these 8 cleaning mistakes you’re probably making to find out how to give your home a lovely clean this winter.

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  • Putting all of your spoons (and forks) in one basket in the dishwasher. Although they can all go in the same pot, they shouldn’t face the same way. Forks can face up, as that prevents the prongs from getting bent out of shape, but spoons should mix and match – so that they don’t end up “spooning”.
  • Cleaning windows on a sunny day. Glass dries more quickly, which results in more streaks, which results in windows that look more dirty more quickly.
  • Spritzing cleaning spray directly onto surfaces – this might work for really dirty surfaces, but it leaves a buildup on walls and countertops if you do it too often and it’ll also make your bottle of cleaner run out more quickly. Spritz onto your cleaning cloth instead.
  • Cleaning without gloves on! Your skin is really absorbent! Although you might just be wiping the sink down really quickly, your skin will still absorb potentially harmful chemicals, which’ll cause dryness, damage and in the winter months (depending on how much cleaning you do), even bleeding. Always look after your hands with plenty of hand lotion and scrubs, too, and always wear gloves when its cold out.
  • Treating stains at the surface won’t do a lot – although it might get rid of the stain at the surface, in time, the stain may well come back – especially if any dirt or dust gets trodden or worn into the stain. Mop up liquids with kitchen towel first, then douse with club soda, blot, and repeat until no more colour transfers to the towel.
  • Popping the loo brush right back into the holder after use. Bacteria is icky, and it needs moisture to multiply – a loo roll holder is the perfect environment for that. Once you’ve used it, sandwich the end of it between the loo seat and the loo, letting the brush hang over the bowl, then leave to dry completely for 10-15 minutes before popping back into the holder. Just tell people not to go into the loo whilst its drying!
  • Cleaning sponges with water isn’t really enough. Wash ’em with washing-up liquid or sponge sanitizer, or throw them into the dishwasher. Or – pick up a cheap pack of sponges every time you go to the grocery store and just replace them when they get too dirty. Wash, clean or replace every day over the holidays when cooking and food prep activity ramps up.
  • Vacuuming pet fur without the right attachment. This works, but it also blows away a lot of the hair – which gives you more work to do later. Use the right tool and you’ll have less to do later and less fur to pick off your clothes.

Source: Real Simple

Super Speedy Cleaning Tips

Is the thought of keeping your home clean and tidy more than a little bit overwhelming? Well, starting from just 30 seconds here and there, you can keep your home super duper tidy without breaking a sweat. Good, eh? If that still sounds like too much work, or if you’d rather have someone help you out, you can always hire a cleaner instead!

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If You Have 30 Seconds

  • Cleaning the bathroom: grab a cleaning wipe and give the sink and taps a good ol’ scrub
  • Cleaning the bedroom: chuck dirty clothes in the washing basket, tidy up the top of your chest of drawers, dresser or dressing table or do a spot of dusting
  • Cleaning the living room: if anything is in the wrong place or where it doesn’t belong, take them back to where they live: i.e. kicked off shoes in the cupboard, piles of magazines into the rack or stacked neatly on the coffee table or pop any dirty dishes into the kitchen
  • Cleaning the kitchen: wash dishes in hot soapy water as soon as you use them or pop them in the dishwasher so they’re out of the way

If You Have 5 Minutes

  • Cleaning the bathroom: wipe down the shower by switching on the water and using a bathroom spray and if you still have time, give the loo a quick clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: make the bed and plump the pillows and cushions
  • Cleaning the living room: pass a duster over tables and lamps, then vacuum the carpet or rug
  • Cleaning the kitchen: spray down the work surfaces, give them a wipe over with a sponge, then wipe down the hob

If You Have 15 Minutes

  • Cleaning the hallway: neatly hang up coats and jackets, move anything that’s sitting about on the stairs and line up shoes and boots. If you have an umbrella/coat stand, make use of it! Organise the post (if any) and give the doormat a good vacuum or shake it out (outside, otherwise you’ll make more work for yourself)
  • Cleaning tiled floors/wooden floors: get the mop bucket out and give the floors a really good clean
  • Cleaning the bedroom: strip the bed and pop the bedding in the washing machine, then make the bed with fresh linens and finish off with some decorative cushions
  • Cleaning the bathroom: bleach the loo, give the sink a proper scrub and wipe down the tank/skirting boards. If you have time, clean the floors by either mopping or vacuuming

Source: The Nest

How to Do Laundry

It’s a little bit like not knowing how to cook fish and chips. You stick ’em in the oven at whatever temperature it says on the box, on a non-stick baking tray. Easy, eh? You’d be amazed at the amount of people who cook everything at 180C, from meringues to macaroni cheese yet are surprised that their meals never turn out quite right. The same goes for laundry – many people throw everything in the “easy care” cycle and are then surprised when their whites are grey and their blacks dull. If you’re one of those people, listen up – we’re here to tell you how to do laundry. Or, if you’d rather, you could hire someone else to do it for you.

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Take the Temperatures

Have you ever looked at any of the care labels on your clothes? If you haven’t, that’s probably why they don’t really look their best. Wash everything with similar colours, and make sure that everything is washed with clothes that need to be washed at the same temperature. It sounds very simple, but it does take a little more time than just chucking everything into the bowl in one go.

Whites Whiter

To make whites whiter, wash them at a higher temperature – they end up a little bit grey if washed at a cool temperature. You might also be using the wrong type of detergent, or not enough of it. Wash only lightly soiled clothes together instead of lumping everything together – if you do, you’ll end up contaminating the lightly dirty clothes which just means that you’ll have to wash everything again anyway.

Do a Dry Run

Doing a dry run or a dry wash means running the washing machine at least once a month, or more frequently, with detergent in it as though you were going to wash your clothes – but just without the clothes. It cleans all of the inner workings of the washing machine and can really improve the effectiveness of the washes. It’s also a good idea to use water softener tablets in each wash if you’re in a hard-water area, as limescale can get into all of the pipes and nooks and crannies of the machine, reducing its efficiency and potentially soiling your clothes even further.

Stop Shrinking

When clothes shrink, it’s either because you’re washing on a too-high or too-hot setting, or because the dryer is too hot. To prevent shrinking, either run the clothes through a cool wash and hang to dry, or dry them on the very lowest setting that you can get away with.

Stop Colour Run

Colour run is a pain in the bum, but it can be avoided. Wash the item that you’re worried about on its own and see if the colour runs or if the water changes colour. If it does, unfortunately, you’re not going to be able to wash it with other clothes and will just have to bite the bullet and do an extra wash every now and then. If not, you’ll be fine (generally) if you turn the item inside out and then pop it in with similar colours at the temperature specified on the label.

Sources: The Nest

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

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

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