Saturday, 3 January 2015

Cleaning the Lounge

For many people, there's not a lot of lounging going on the lounge room. In some homes, this area is converted into a playroom for children with toys such as racing car tracks and doll's houses placed smack bang in the middle of the room. Other houses combine all the communal areas of the home -the lounge, dining and family rooms - into a grand living space. And yet other houses have separate lounge and dining rooms, formal spaces that are reserved for special occasions, which may also be the show-off rooms - the places where guests are likely to spend their time. Whatever your arrangement, the cleaning process is similar. Tailor these general instructions to your needs!

Assemble the Cleaning Kit

Clutter bucket - to transport displaced items; bicarb - cleaning agent; white vinegar - cleaning agent; mehtylated spirits - to clean mirrors and entertainment systems; furniture polish - to polish furniture; beeswax, lavender oil, lemon oil - combined to make furniture polish; cloth - to wipe over surfaces; dusters - to clear dust; paper towel - to absorb water and polish; insecticide spray - to deter insects; spray bottle - to hold vinegar and water; hairdryer - to clean ornaments; small soft paintbrush - to clean ornaments. 

Lounge Room Quick Clean 

Begin with your clutter bucket, putting it in anything that doesn't belong in the lounge room. Place it outside the lounge room. Add a little lemon oil to a soft broom head or a long-handled duster and dust the ceiling and light fittings - the lemon oil will transfer to the dusted surface and inhibit spiders. Then dust the walls with a broom covered in an old T-shirt. Wipe down all paintings, picture frames or wall art, especially along the tops of frames. Wipe light switches and power points with vinegar on a cloth. Wipe door jambs with either vinegar or detergent and water on a cloth adding lavender oil for fragrance. Dust over windows sills.

Quick tip: there is a knack to cleaning window sills. Use the fine nozzle or brush head on the vacuum cleaner and vacuum all the dust. Wipe over with a cloth that's been wrung out in the water. If there's any build-up of grime in the corners, wrap a cloth that's been wrung out in water over a butter knife and reach into the corners. You can clean sashes in the same way. The window action will work better if it's kept clean.

Wipe all surfaces including the coffee table with the appropriate cleaner. I advise against using silicone-based cleaners because silicone builds up each time you use it and traps dirt between the layers - and because there's no solvent for it, you can't release that dirt! To clean laminate, use equal parts white vinegar and water on a cloth. 

Clean glass tabletops with methylated spirits and a cloth, then wipe the glass with a paper towel until it squeaks. Never use furniture polish on glass and see a restorer for scratches. Perspex tables can only be cleaned with dish-washing liquid and water. Never use abrasives on perspex or it will mark (proprietary window cleaners are abrasive).

Don't forget to wipe along shelves. Anything that's a dust magnet, such as knick knacks, brick-a-brack or emphera needs to be wiped wit ha cloth that has been tightly wrung out in water.

Quick Tip: Hints For Blokes - because most men think visually, if they can't see it, they won't clean it. If dust and dirt is out of sight, before you start cleaning, use a three-step ladder to see where things need to be cleaned.

Dust should be blown off fragile ornaments with a hairdryer. Loosen any tough spots with a small soft paintbrush then use the hairdryer. 

If your fireplace is operational, clean it after each use. To clean the surrounds, simply dust the area with a soft clean cloth. Clean the mantle piece according to what it's made of. Use diluted vinegar to clean marble, then rinse with clean water. Timber can be cleaned with a little dish-washing liquid, water and an old pair of stockings scrunched into a ball. If there is some or soot staining, try cleaning with vinegar and an old pair of pantyhose first. If that doesn't work, collect some of the ash from the fireplace, mix with water and make a slurry, then wipe over the area. Allow it to dry then rub off with an old pair of pantyhose. To clean the inside cavity of the fireplace, hire a chimney sweep when you do you spring clean.

Next, sprinkle a small amount of bicarb over the carpet, couches and soft furnishings.Roughly pat the bicarb through the soft furnishings with you hands to both deoderise and clean any light soil marks. Then vacuum the soft furnishings and the floor. Make sure you remove the cushions on the couch and vacuum underneath them.

If you spill something on the couch, work out what the stain is made of, then use its solvent. Remove protein stains with cold water and soap suds, remove fats with warm water and detergents suds, remove chemicals with their solvent. You can identify protein stains because they have a dark edging around the stain. Carbohydrate stains are evenly coloured across the stain. 

If there are any spider webs around the couch, remove the and wipe lemon oil on the underside of the couch. Spiders hate lemon oil and will stay away.

Don't forget to clean bookshelves with the brush head attachment on the vacuum cleaner. Vacuum curtains, pelmets and picture rails with the brush head attachment. Before using the brush head attachment. make sure it's clean. To clean it, wash in water and dry in the sunshine.

Vacuum floors and if it's a hard floor, wipe over with a cloth that's been wrung out in vinegar.

Replace items such as doilies and tissues and fluff cushions. Have a small bowl of bicarb and essential oil for fragrance. Empty the clutter bucket then put away your clean kit and top up your master list.