Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Stopping Dirt at the Door

The best way to avoid cleaning up dirt is not allowing it into your house in the first place. As we wall know from the 'ounce of prevention' saying, it's easier to head off a problem than to fix it after the damage is done. So learn to stop dirt in its tracks. 
Auckland Cleaners
One our Auckland cleaners has pointed out that choosing the right doormats will cut down on the time you spend looking for and cleaning dirt. People coming into the house need to walk across the doormats and, in doing so, give the dirt on their shoes brush-off. The heavy-duty mats that retail stores, supermarkets and hospitals use to keep dirt at bay are a terrific choice here. Typically doormats can be purchased in hardware shops and home improvement shops.

Doormats for outside your door are usually made of a vegetable fibre, such as coir mattering, or matting, or rubber or vinyl-backed synthetic turf. Inside doormat choices come in different materials, such as nylon or olefin (polypropylene) with either vinyl or rubber backing. The indoor variety is available in several dark, dirt-defying colours to coordinate with your particular decor. A doormat should be long enough so that both a person's feet walk accross it before entering the house, and the width no wider than the door itself. That mat should never impede the door's movement, either. 

Floor mats are also a good idea near high-traffic or spill-prone areas such s the kitchen sink, the fridge, and bath and the toilet. Clean-ups are much easier when all you have to do is clean a mat instead of the entire floor. Just think of all the stuff that gets dripped on the floor in front of the sink or the fridge, for example.

Doormats need minimal maintenance. Just haul them outside occasionally and give them a good shake and also give them a once-over with the vacuum cleaner now and then.

When mats are really grimy, hose them down and scrub them with a squint of dish-washing liquid in warm water. Rinse and allow them to thoroughly air-dry before using again. Another method is a wet and dry vacuum or an upholstery shampoo to freshen them. Make sure your mats are completely dry before you put them back on the floor. Moisture caught underneath the mats could damage or warp your floors. When your mats get threadbare, replace them - worn mats don't do their job as well as new ones. 

To reduce the amount of dirt entering your house, limit the number of entrances that are used. This way, you'll cut down on the places where people and pets can bring dirt in. And if most people enter your house through an entrance of hall with an easy-wipe floor, a lot of grime can be quickly cleaned up and not distributed to the rest of the house.

An even better idea though is to make your house a shoe-less zone for everyone. Encourage family members, guests and friends to remove their shoes just inside the entrance. Provide a decorative basket or some other receptacle where people can place their shoes. Keep some stylish, fresh, 'house' slippers (ones that never go outside) on hand for guest if they are uncomfortable about being 'shoeless' inside your house.

Easy-care decorating choices around. For example, there are a number of wax-free, easy care floors to choose from. For benchtops in the kitchen or bathroom, you'll find that sold surfaces - those that have few or no seams, don't have indentations are are impervious to spills and marks - are remarkably easy to keep clean.

Over time, many blinds, curtains and other window coverings became magnets for dust and cobwebs. Instead of buying materials that catch dust, choose fabrics treated with a stain-and-dust-resistant finish, or treat the fabric yourself with a product such as Scotchgard fabric protector, following package instructions.

To childproof a child's bathroom, a playroom or the kitchen, use a good quality low-sheen or semi-gloss scrubbable paint (available from paint shops) on the walls. It may cost a bit more than other brands, but texta and crayon will wipe right off it.

Instead of making a mess of a family room wall by taping and tacking children's artwork to it, you can have a full-wall gallery in your home without the damage. Just cover the wall in magnetic paint (available from paint shops) and use magnets to post the work of your Michelangelos. 

Patters and designs camouflage dirt and grime, whereas sold colours hide very little. And it's also important not to forget your pets when you redecorate. If you have a black Labrador retriever or another dark-haired breed, for example, light-coloured surfaces may not be the wisest choice.

If concrete or mortar joints haven't been sealed, they can slough off bits of sand and concrete dust onto surrounding surfaces. To keep this grime at bay, look for a concrete sealer, available from hardware shops, paint shops and home improvement shops.

To keep airborne grease and such away from benchtops, turn on the exhaust fan when you're cooking on the stovetop. 

To cut down on spattering sauces and other messes, use big pots and pans, with their lids on. Wen you deep-fry, saute or cook foods that spit, line kitchen benches around your stove with newspapers or paper bags, cut open to extend them. (Always keep these papers away from any heat source).

For oven splatters from a pie or casserole bubbling over, sprinkle the stains with salt to keep the smoke down and to make your eventual clean-up job much easier.

To protect the fabric of kitchen chairs, which is always under assault, especially from children spilling porridge and ice-cream, have the fabric laminated for easy wiping. If you have removable cushions on your chairs, have just one side laminated. The easy-wipe side is for everyday use, and the other side is for special occasions. To find someone to laminate fabric for you, consult a fabric shop or go through an interior designer. 

Keep the air conditioning filer clean, so it functions effectively. Replace the filter at least twice a year to prevent airborne grime from spreading all over the house. Switch filters as often as once a month if the filter collects lots of dust during the heating and cooling seasons.

If your ducts are clogged with dust and debris, or if you can see mould building up in there, call in a professional duct cleaner, who will clear everything out with a high-powered vacuum. Your ducts may get particularly grimy if you've done work that throws around a lot of dust (such as sanding wooden floors or renovating), or if you frequently use a fireplace of wood stove.

Make sure your windows and doors are sealed tightly. Some utility companies will inspect your home without charge to determine whether you have any cracks where heat or air conditioned air could be seeping out - which also means that dirt could be creeping in through the same cracks.

Worn-out cleaning tools - sponges, mops, squeegees and such - are a waste of time. They make you work harder to get the job done. Dirty cleaning tools are worse, because they're actually counterproductive - they smear grime and germs all over the things you're trying to clean. Here's how to maintain your tools:

  • Throw out cleaning tools as soon as they look chewed-up and tired.
  • Regularly wash cleaning rags in your washing machine, using detergent, hot water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar or a scoop of an in-wash booster, such as Vanish Napisan Plus, to remove stains and freshen their scent.
  • Wash your cellulose sponges - which are great at soaking up germs and offending odours - in the washing machine or even in the top rack of your dishwasher.
  • Replace the bag in your vacuum cleaner at least once a mouth - more often if you have pets that shed. Vacuum bags need air inside to suck properly, so make sure you change them when they are two-thirds full. Remember to keep the vacuum brushes clean, too.
Dirt just likes to travel. It's happiest when it can roam freely all over your home, hiding in those nooks and crannies is where it's the most labour-intensive to find and remove. So stop dirt the borders. That is, habitually keep your doors, drawers, cabinets, wardrobes and other barriers closed. This will help keep dirt out and in the open, where your vacuum cleaners and cleaning cloths will be able to deal with it more readily.

If you're working on a messy, dust-producing project in the house, keep the doors to the room you're working in closed. Better yet, hang protective plastic across the door and any air vents to confine the dust to one room.

Periodically wash screens and other dirt-trapping windows coverings (plantation shutters, window coverings, venetian blinds and the like) to keep dirt at hand. Remember that dirt loves company and acts as a powerful magnet for more. 

Keeping your dogs and cats clean will definitely reduce the amount of dirt they can bring into your house. The following preventative maintenance tips will help:
  •  Station a clean rag by the door that your pet uses so that muddy, wet paws and claws can be wiped of before your beloved animal makes unsightly tracks through the house.
  • Once a week, take your dog outside and give it's fur a good going-over with the type of brush recommended fro its coat. Do this well away from the house, so that the tufts won't tumble inside.
  • The miracle way to lift pet hair from furniture and other surfaces is to wipe with a damp sponge or cloth - the hair will gather in clumps and is easy to pick up. An alternative is to use one of those special rubber brushes with nubs on that is intended for grooming cats (available from pet shops).
  • Nothing beats a vacuum cleaner or powerful handheld vacuum for pulling pet hair of your rugs and carpets.

Rules of the game

  • To reduce dirt coming into your home, keep your pets clean
  • Have a rag handy - near the door - to wipe muddy, wet paws and claws.
  • Brush down your cat and dog or cat once a week outside. 
  •  Lift hair from furniture and other surfaces with a damp sponge or cloth, or use a vacuum cleaner. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ten Golden Rules of Cleaning

Your primary goal of cleaning is to remove dirt, whether it be in your home (inside or outside) or on your garments. But you do need to determine at what cost. Surely you do't want to injure yourself. Surely you don't want to damage the very thing you're trying to clean. And surely you want to get it done so quickly and with as little effort as possible. Stick to the following ten golden rules, and you will achieves safe, effective cleaning that attacks the problem early and with the least amount of effort. On the other hand, you could always  get quotes for a cleaning service in Auckland from our database of trusted and approved local cleaners.

Cleaning service in Auckland
  1. Clean it up sooner rather than later: spills and stains are generally much easier to clean up when you attach them right away. When you treat that tomato sauce splatter on your dress shirt without delay, for example, if offers little resistance. If you wait until the next day, you'll have a permanent-looking red polka dot stain that you'll expend a lot more cleaning solution and time getting out. Similarly, clothing or carpet stains are easiest to remove when they're fresh. The longer you wait, the more chance the stain has to set and become more difficult to remove. 
  2. Clean from the top down: Don't fight gravity when you clean. You'll lose. Working from high to low almost always works better in cleaning situations. When you're cleaning the entire house, always start on the top floor and work your way down. This will avoid tracking through the rooms you have already cleaned. When you're cleaning a room, first remove the cobwebs from the ceiling and cornices. Then dust the ceiling fan and light fixtures, followed by window frames and wall hangings. Moving downwards, work on the furniture skirting boards and floors. This ensures that any dust shaken loose from high up does not settle on something you've already cleaned below, so you don't have to dust the room twice. Similarly, when you clean windows and mirrors, start up high and work your way down, because your cleaner, obeying gravity, will drip down. This saves you elbow grease and time. The rare exception to this rule is wall washing. If you start at the top wen you're washing a wall in your home, dirty water will drip onto the lower areas you haven't cleaned yet, making streaks that will be tough to remove.
  3. Think dry, then wet: When you're cleaning a room, start wit the cleaning jobs that require dry methods (dusting, sweeping and vacuuming, for example). Then move on to wet methods (using an all-purpose cleaner and glass cleaner, mopping and such like). This way, there will be less dirt floating around in the room to cling to we surfaces.
  4. Start with the least harmful approach: use your gentlest cleaning methods first and move up to more aggressive techniques only if necessary. And know your materials well enough so that you will stop your cleaning efforts before you do any damage. It is better to suffer the small spot on your stove-top, for example, then to ruin the surface with steel wool.
  5. Let time do the work for you: a little time management trick will make your cleaning easier and faster. When you organise your approach to a cleaning task, remember to spray on your cleaning chemicals first and then find another little job to do while the cleaner does its dirty work. If you're cleaning in the kitchen, for example, spray your cleaner on the bench-tops and appliances, then occupy yourself with removing old food from the fridge while the cleaner soaks in. When you come back to wipe the cleaner off, there will be little or no scrubbing to do. 
  6. Carry your supplies with you: carry your core cleaning products with you. This will save  you from making multiple trips around the house looking for the right tools and cleaners. Pick up one of these accessories at a home improvement shop or hardware shop, a cleaning caddy (a plastic or rubber carrier with a handle and compartments for holding your gear), a sturdy, large plastic bucket with a good handle, a small-cleaning trolley and an apron with roomy pockets. Put all your cleaning supplies into the receptacle you're chosen from above, including clean rags, paper towels and a rubbish bag for emptying wastebaskets, and cart it with you from room to room. If your house has more than one floor, keep a fully stocked caddy on each level. Don't overburden your carrier with specialty products that are needed for only one job around the house. Store toilet bowl cleaner, for example, under the bathroom sink. 
  7. When in doubt, test first: before you use a new cleaning technique or product, test the method of an inconspicuous area of the object you're cleaning. This rule also applies when you first clean and object that is delicate and might be damaged by a cleaning compound. Testing will show you whether the object is colour-fast and whether the cleaning method is likely to do damage.
  8. Use cleaning liquids sparingly: when you clean an item that could be harmed by a liquid cleaning product (electronics, computer screens, framed artwork or framed photographs, for example), first spray the cleaner on your cleaning cloth and then wipe. Don't spray cleaner directly on the object you're cleaning. Cleaner dripping into your electronics could do them damage, and cleaner dripping into a frame and soaking the mount could harm your artwork.
  9. Read the instructions: you would have heard this before, but the makers of all of those wonderful furnishings in your home do know best how to clean them. And the makers of your cleaning products know best how to use them. So when at all possible, follow the manufacturer's instructions when cleaning anything. This goes for everything from toasters to silk blouses and Doonas to blinds. File the instructions and cleaning tips that come with any new appliance, rug or other household item. Don't remove those care labels that come on clothes, linens and any other potentially washable objects. They are there for a purpose - to teach you how to properly clean the item.
  10. Protect yourself: least but not least, take care of yourself. Many of the cleaning products you use container acid, bleach, abrasives and other ingredients that you can damage your eyes, skin, nose and even your lungs. So make sure your cleaning kit includes a pair of rubber gloves and protective safety glasses. If it's not too hot, wear old long pants or tracksuit pants and an old long-sleeved shirt to cover your arms in case of spatters from cleaning products. Cover you hair with a scarf or baseball cap. To protect your nails, a good trick is to dab a line of petroleum jelly underneath your nails to keep the dirt out, roughening and splitting from the continual exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals. It is important that you don't let your cleaning products get mixed together. Some chemical combinations, chlorine beach and ammonia, for example, will produce poisonous gases. As an extra safety precaution when you're using cleaning chemicals, make sure the room you're in is properly ventilated.  
If you are looking for a cleaning service in Auckland contact us today to arrange your free cleaning quotes. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Is your pet making you sick?

Apart from leaving hair all over the house and adding to your dust problem, pets are also constantly shredding dander, the old skin scales which, like dead human skin cells, provide extra fodder for the festing mites. Dogs and cats are the most common sources of animal allergens, but almost any furry or feathered friend, from hamsters to budgies, can trigger allergies.

  1. If you are sensitive to animal dander, wear an allergy-proof face mask when grooming animals and while vacuuming. If possible delegate the task to some one else.
  2. If you have pets, keep bedroom doors closed. Don't let them wander into the bedroom. Definitely don't let pets share your bed. Inevitably they will shed hair and skin particles which will exacerbate allergic reactions.
  3. Thoroughly vacuum pet bedding daily and anywhere else your pet spends time. Allowing pets to sit on soft furnishings creates extra work.
  4. Keep litter trays, bedding and cages in a well-ventilated room or area.
  5. If possible, let your pet outside for part of the day. Take bird and hamster cages outdoors when the weather is fine. This will help keep the levels of animal dander, and the smell, down. Your pet will appreciate the change of scene too.
  6. After touching or playing with pets always wash your hands, and wash clothes in the hottest wash the care instructions will allow.