Sunday, 21 December 2014

Strategies to Make Cleaning Faster

Light switches are often forgotten about when cleaning. Given the amount of contact they have with dirty fingers, it's a good idea to get into the habit of wiping over them. Whatever you do, never spray cleaning product directly onto them or you could short-circuit the electricity. I dampen a cloth with white vinegar and wipe it over the light switch. Add bicarb to the vinegar cloth it it's particularly dirty.


I like to have a rug or mat inside the front door. If you have carpet, you may have it made from a matching carpet square; just make sure it doesn't have a thick edge that people can trip over. I'd also suggest attaching rubber mesh underneath so it doesn't slip or curl.

You may want to create a space for damp shoes either outside the front door or on the hall stand, if you have one. Use a wooden box or basket and line it with a plastic bag so that water doesn't soak through to the floor and leave puddle marks. Some hall stands have a metal drip tray built into them which is perfect for muddy shoes and umbrellas. Clean them with bicarb and vinegar on a cloth, but if they container lead, be very careful and always wear rubber gloves when cleaning. Lead, a cumulative poison absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin's pores, can kill.

It's also a good idea to have some storage at the back of the house for dirty shoes and sports gear. A large basket or small cupboard or even a bucket with a lid should do the trick. It depends on how much sports gear you have. If you can, use cupboards with good ventilation. And store some bicarb here so that you sports stars can dust inside their shoes before putting them away. Bicarb will absorb those sweaty smells. Just remember to remove the bicarb before wearing the shoes again. Shake it out the same way you would if you had sand in your shoes. If the smell from trainers is really overpowering, you may have to do what I did in share house one time and insist the offending shoes were stored in a plastic garbage bin at the back of the garage!

Some people like to keep their sunglasses, scarves, bags and coats on the table or hall stand so they're quickly accessible. But be careful leaving bags and keys here, particularly if you live in the city. Rather than just dumping things on the hall stand or table, have a wooden storage box with a lid or small cupboard. It's just as easy to use, it prevents clutter and everything is hidden away and tidy. Make dividers in the box for each family member and clean out the compartments each week as part of the quick clean.

You could also install some hooks in the box or on the inside of the cupboard for keys. Colour code the keys so you don't confuse them.

If you tend to dump your post and other stuff near the door, keep a wastepaper basket here as well. That way, unwanted bits and pieces can be thrown out immediately. Because it's at the entrance to your house, make sure it's a stylish bin. Having one here will increase your speed when cleaning.

The entrance to each house will be different and the lifestyle of the people using the house will vary. Shape it to suit your needs, being careful not to over-clutter this area. Consider shifting rarely used items to the study or to the back of the house.

Flowers and Ornaments

I know many people like to keep flowers at the entrance to heir home, but did you know they die more quickly here because of the draft coming through the door? Potted plants are a much better idea, particularly daisies, because they contain pyrethrum, which deters insects. Select plants with low water needs, such as succulents, although I avoid spiky ones after snagging my stockings several times! Scented herbs are also good because they keep the house smelling fresh when you brush past them, and they come in handy when cooking. Have deep saucers under your pots so water doesn't spill and create more cleaning!

Quick tip: What to do if you get lily stamens or pollen on the carpet
If the stain has set, damp it with kerosene applied with a cotton ball. Then damp the stain the methylated spirits applied with a cotton ball.Dry with a paper towel before repeating. Do this until the colour is removed. Some pollen's will be easy to remove, others will need several attempts. To avoid the problem, remove the stamens before putting the flowers on display. Put a plastic bag over your hand and pull the stamens out into your palm, then wrap the bag over itself and the stamens and throw it in the bin. This way, your hands won't come in contact with the stamens. 

Quick tip: instead of flowers, create an impression at the entrance to your home with a covered potpouri bowl, rock art,water art, paintings behind glass (to protect them from dust and allow easy cleaning, washable hangings, wind chimes, beautiful shells or pot plants.

The entrance is also a popular area to display ornaments but I don't recommend it because there are higher dust volumes in this part of the house. There's also the danger they could be knocked over in the wind. If you do keep ornaments here, clean them with a hairdryer on the lowest setting and secure them by putting some Blu-tak on the bottom. But only use Blu-tak on non-absorbent surfaces as it will an oil stain. 

Quick tip: This is an area where dog poo can hit.
Remove as much of the solids as possible then blot with a paper towel until the carpet is touch dry. Sprinkle bicarb over the area. Then wring out a cloth in vinegar and sponge off the bicarb. If your dog eats commercial food, it will have a high caramel content to colour the food so you'll need to wipe the area with glycerine first. Just apply a small amount of glycerine to a cloth and wipe over the area. Fill a bucket with cold water and enough detergent to create a sudsy mix. Use just the detergent suds, not the water, from the bucket and work them into a the stain with a soft nylon brush. Dry it with a Surplex or use a paper towel to absorb the moisture. When dry, vacuum. If there's any unpleasant odour, repeat this process. An alternative method is to apply cold water and detergent suds with an old toothbrush, using a little water as possible. Then fill the bucket with warm water and detergent and again apply  the suds to the stain with an old toothbrush. The reason you use both cold and warm water is because faeces container proteins and fats. Cold water removes proteins and warm water removes fats. You must clean in this order or the warm water will set the protein stain! Dry with a paper towel or Surplex by standing on it. 

You could always get free quotes form our local Auckland office cleaners to assist with your cleaning requirements.