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.