Monday, 8 December 2014

Choosing the Right Cleaning Equipment

I can't emphasis enough just how important it is to have the right cleaning tools for the job. Storing the tools in the nearest location will keep cleaning time to a minimum. All our our commercial cleaning companies in Auckland are equipped for the job. There are several ways to organize your clean kit. You could have everything stored at a centralized spot of divided up and kept in different parts of the house. You could have different kits for different rooms, You might like to carry items in buckets or plastic toolboxes or you may even use a tray-mobile like they do in hotels. It depends on your storage situation and preferences. I like to be able to pick up my clean kit with one hand - and have found that a nappy bucket is the perfect size for me 

I attach a butcher's hook (available from hardware stores) to the edge of the bucket so I can hang a rag from it. Whatever you decide to use, just make sure the kit isn't too heavy.

Another suggestion is to store a cloth for cleaning timber in a zip-lock bag in the lounge room, for example. That way, when you've got a spare couple of minutes or when you're talking on the phone, you could quickly clean some furniture. The main thing is to have your kit ready to go for the quick clean.

If you don't have a broom cupboard, create a storage area by fixing hooks from the hardware store on the back of doors or in cupboards.

Brooms come in many varieties, including nylon, straw, copra, bristle and poly-carbonate. Select the broom according to the surface and amount of soil to remove. As a general rule, the heavier the soiling, the tougher the broom. They can be long-handles or short-handled. Nylon brooms have soft bristles and best used inside the house. If you wrap an old T-shirt around the head of a long-handled nylon broom, it can also be used as a mop. Straw broom are good for outside the house to sweep bulky dust and to collect cobwebs. Yard brooms have a wider head and are good for large areas such as driveways, paths, verandas, garage floors and patios. If you can, clean the broom every time you use it. Do this by wetting a cake of soap with water and then rub it over the broom bristles. Rinse the broom under warm water, shake the excess water off then stand the broom upwards to dry. Brooms and quite cheap these days so have several. You could even color code them!

Buckets come in many shapes and colors. Square, oblong and round are the most common shapes. Round buckets are either standard or nappy size Choose ones with a pouring spout and lid. Use buckets to soak clothes, store washing water and transport items.
Clothes' baskets aid the transport of clothes. They can be plastic, cane or wicker. Never have on bigger than you can lift when full. Plastic ones are light, come in a variety of colors and are easily cleaned with a little dish-washing liquid on a damp cloth. Cane baskets are popular but wear more quickly, take less weight and, because they're unsealed, collect mold. Wicker baskets are unfortunately not made any more. Wash them with salt water applied with a cloth every two months. When not in use, store all baskets upside down, so they don't collect dust!

Cloths come in many varieties, but the best cloth is an old cotton T-shirt or old cotton knickers with a gusset cut out. Both are lint-free and can be rewashed in a washing machine on a hot setting. You can use proprietary cloths but there's no need to be. 

Clutter bucket is any kind of handled bucket used to transport items from one room to another. Select whichever size suits you best. I find allocating a particular color for each family member is a good organisational approach. 

Dusters I think the best duster is an old cotton T-shirt because it picks up dirt really well, is easy to wash out and won't scratch surfaces. Fluffy dusters tend to spread the dirt around the house so it just settles elsewhere. The best way to dust is to wipe a damp cloth over a surface. When we say damp, this means the cloth has been wrung out so tightly that it feels cool against your skin. If it's wet, you can feel the moisture and the water will end up creating mud trails when you clean. When sorting a dusting cloth, wring it out in methylated spirits to make it antiseptic and sterile. Once it's dry, put it away with your clean kit ready to use next time. Never wipe surfaces with methylated spirits directly. 

Dustpan and brush collect dust, dirt, leaves and other items. 
Elastic bands are used to temporarily secure items. They need to be strong enough for the job. Here they are mainly used to secure T-Shirts over a broom head of vacuum cleaner.

Garbage bags come in a variety of sizes, strengths and thicknesses, Whether you have tie tops or drawstring bags is your choice. 

Gloves can be disposable, rubber, cotton, gardening, polyurethane or acid-resistant. They protect the skin from chemicals, abrasion and heat and can also help with grip.

Hairdryer is very useful for dusting, particularly delicate fine china. A hairdryer also helps to remove wax and can be used to apply heat to an area to speed up the drying process.

Mop can be made of rag or sponge, although newer ones combine the two and have spongy rags. I prefer to put an old T-shirt over a broom head and use that as a mop because it's easier to clean and clean with. 

Old stockings are great cleaners and great non-scratch scourers, especially when cutting through soap scum. They're also handy to wrap around the back of taps to clean. And they're cheap to buy if you don't have any old ones around the house.

Old toothbrushes - don't throw them away! Keep them to clean difficult-to-access areas, such as around taps and tight corners. 

Old T-shirts are great to use for mopping, dusting, polishing and wrapping over the vacuum cleaner had to protect surfaces. They're also very absorbent. If you don't have any old T-shirts, buy them cheaply at second-hand stores, which is cheaper than buying new sponges at the supermarket. 

Paper towels are great for mopping up spills and cleaning grease. 

Rag bags care used for storing old T-shirts, clothes, tea towels and towels to use as rags for cleaning. Old woolen jumpers are great furniture polishers. Just make sure you remove all buttons and recycle then in your button box. Make your own rag bag using an old pillowcase and simply attach it with hooks, tacks or screws to the inside of a cupboard or the back of a door.

Scrubbing brush has a wooden or plastic top, and tough bristles. A dish-washing brush, made of nylon or bristles, can be used as a scrubbing brush. Use a on stubborn stains and tight corners.

Sponges use different colored sponges so you don't contaminate your areas. I use green sponges on bench-tops, pink sponges on the floor and yellow and blue sponges in the bathroom. Wash sponges in a small bowl or white vinegar, leave overnight then rinse in the hot water.

Spray bottle either buy a the supermarket or reuse an old spray bottle - buy the cheapest product that comes in a refillable spray bottle, use the product, clean the bottle in a warm water then reuse. Check the bottle has a spray or mist option on the nozzle. Use removable labels and mark the bottle clearly. Spray bottles have many users, for example, fill with lavender oil and water to use an air-freshener in the toilet.

Squeegee is a short-handled rubber-bladed implement used to wipe water from a surface. It operates like a windscreen wiper on a car. Use it to clean windows, the shower screen in the bathroom or to pick up dropped eggs from the kitchen floor. A squeegee can be bought at the supermarket, petrol station or discount shop.

Storage box could be an old cardboard box, plastic box or timber box in a variety of shapes and sizes. Select one according to its use.

Vacuum cleaner - what a great invention! It sucks up dust and dirt from all manner of things using a variety of attachments. The main elements of the vacuum cleaner are:

  • Barrel: this is the body of the cleaner. It has an inlet and outlet connection. The inlet is where the hose goes and it sucks dirt into the barrel. The outlet is where the air blows out of the machine and it's generally covered. You can attach the house to the outlet to back-flush and clean the vacuum cleaner.
  • Bag: located inside the barrel. Modern vacuum cleaners have a window which shows when the bag is full. If you don't have this, check the bag each time you use the cleaner. It's a good idea to change the bag regularly. The vacuum cleaner won't work efficiently if the bag is more than half full.
  • Tube: hard part - the length may be varied to suit your height or according to what you're vacuuming. Make it shorter when vacuuming furnishings and longer when vacuuming floors. If you are tall, extra lengths are available from the vacuum cleaner shop and will save your back.
  • Soft part - the flexible hose connection.
  • Main head: this can be set to have bristles up or down. Vacuum with the bristles down for shiny and hard floors; put the bristles up for carpets and soft floors, unless you have pets. Clean any fur or dust our of the bristles with an old comb.
  • Brush head: a small round attachment with long bristles designed to clean cobwebs, cornices, window stills, etc.
  • Upholstery nozzle: a small flat attachment to be used to vacuum the surface of furnishings, curtains and pelmets.
  • Corner nozzle: use it to access tight spaces, such as the sides of chairs, or to clean around the buttons on padded furniture.