Window Cleaning

Window Cleaning

One thing every room has, (just about) is windows. Clean windows should be considered part and parcel of a clean house. Imagine how unpleasant it looks to visitors or passers-by from the outside.

Though often ignored, windows are the part of our homes that are most prone to dirt because they comes in direct contact with the outdoors. Maybe that’s why we don’t think too hard about them – because we feel the dirt is on the outside, but take a closer look; you’ll find plenty on the inside too!

Cleaning windows may seem like a pain but it’s a lot easier than you might think. Here’s an easy guide for window cleaning.

You’ll need to get hold of:

  • Bucket
  • Squeegee (with removal blades is best)
  • Sponge
  • Chamois or microfibre cloth
  • Cleaning solution (see below)
  • Rags

Doing:

  1. Use a clean dry rag to wipe your windows, inside and outside, work top to bottom. Don’t forget windowsills & frames too.
  2. Make up your cleaning solution. Strength will depend on how grubby your windows are, bird poo or mud splashes, make it a little stronger.

Cleaning solution options:

  • Window wash from your DIY store
  • ½ a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in 4 litres of warm water.
  • 1 cup surgical spirit, 1 cup white vinegar, 3 drops dishwashing liquid (this is the serious mix).
  • And I’m sure there are plenty more!
  1. Sponge in, squeeze out the excess and start washing. You don’t need to scrub away stains; that’s what the squeegee is for, you’re just wiping off surface dirt and getting the windows wet and soapy for the next stage.
  1. Squeegee time! Move it across the window in an S-pattern to clean. For little panes, vertical or horizontal strokes work and are required all in corners.
  2. Use the dampened sponge again and repeat with your squeegee.
  3. Now and again use your clean rag to wipe the squeegee blade clean. (Removable blades means if they get damaged you can change it out and not buy a whole new squeegee).
  4. Get you chamois/microfibre cloth, dunk it in the cleaning solution (unless it’s gone brown by now – time for fresh!), and wring it out until just damp. Now wipe the window dry, including corners and edges and lastly windowsills.

Some tips:

  • A warm cloudy day is a good day to show up the true state of your windows and dry them while cleaning.
  • Greasy windows, try 2 tablespoons of household ammonia per 5 litres of water and sponge-wash the windows before wiping them off with a vinegar and water solution.
  • Newspaper is a cheap window pane buffer but not all newspapers are created equal, you may be better off with a microfibre cloth – more robust.

And Finally:

There may come a time when you’ll need to call for a professional, how much free time do you have and how do you feel about shinning up a ladder and using special equipment to reach above a single story.

When you consider the cost of buying ladders and other equipment you may just decide to have someone else doing it.

Repeat Business

Repeat Business

Last year we provided a quote for our Christmas VIP client, we were very disappointed that it wasn’t accepted and we didn’t get the work.  Apparently, another cleaning company had offered a fully automated service utilising a high tech robotic based solution at a cheaper price.

However, we were, to our surprise, asked to quote again this year and were successful!  Given that we had had little contact with the client over the previous 2 years we thought it prudent to have a pre-contract meeting to discuss the way forward and any performance expectations.

The meeting didn’t go quite how we expected, our client spent the whole time talking about the disaster that was last year’s robotic solution.  He had a lot to say and certainly wasn’t very merry about it, not a single Yo! Ho! Ho!

Here’s some stuff he mentioned:

The robot pooper scoopers in the stable were trying to put the poop back where it originated from, the stable inhabitants were very red nosed about it!!

In the packaging department someone had attempted to flush 3 tons of wrapping paper offcuts down the loo, causing a flood which made 13,000 toy boats sail out the main doors. Cleaning machines diverted to mopping up from vacuuming candy cane crumbs resulted in 124 Elf and Safety incidents.

Whilst all this was going on, up on the 14th floor in the letters department; [sub-department PO (Pink envelopes – Opening)], a spillage of fairy dust collected from sub-department BR (Blue envelopes – Replies) resulted in inter-departmental fairy dust cross contamination. This impacted Grade C,D & E staff culminating in a 2 hour stoppage and threats from the shop steward of possible work to rule action.  Industrial action was only avoided when the big man himself went in to mediate and gave each worker a cuddle, soft toy and a new pointy hat  – all 4200 of them!!

The final straw came when the ‘scrub-a-dub-dub-all-go-gobots’ got into the Lady of the house’s kitchen!  Not only did they pick up all the cookies meant for the staff end of year party (4.7 tons) and put them out with the rubbish (apparently the bots thought the chocolate chips were flies), they scrubbed the skins off of a pile of carrots destined for the sleigh engine crew, who have a serious preference for carrots skin on!!

So, it just goes to show, there’s a time and place for mechanised cleaners (like a car wash maybe) but you’ll only get care, consideration and attention to detail from real people.

I think we could persuade Mr S to sign up for a long term contract.

Looking after Hardwood Floors

Looking after Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors add a beautiful touch to a room but they’re not a cheap alternative to carpet. Typically, you can expect to pay three times the cost of carpet for wood flooring. So, once you’ve spent the kid’s inheritance on your new wooden floor, you’re going to want to protect it.

First off, take your shoes off, especially the kids!  When you walk on a wooden floor with dirty shoes, you are leaving grit and dirt, this will ruin your floors, so put mats either side of external doors to help keep abrasive particles off your pride and joy. Rubbing dirt into your floors is never a good idea, it’s like using a scourer on it, use a vacuum or dust mop way before you think about floor washing. You can dust the floor with a mop that has been treated with a dusting agent (or use a microfiber duster) to pick up dust, dirt, and pet hair. 

A regular going over with a brush or dust mop will do loads for cleaning hardwood flooring, frequency depends on through traffic. Microfiber cloths are designed to trap dust and grime. For weekly or biweekly cleaning, vacuum with a floor-brush attachment. Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar attachment, which can scratch a wood floor’s finish.

There are many different mixtures to use for hardwood floors, and you’ll want to be sure to try any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area first, a pretty fail-safe way is to use good old soap and water. Some hardwood floor manufacturers recommend using a mop dampened with water only and may even void a warranty on new floors that have been cleaned with any other cleaning solution.

Water is wood’s worst enemy, so use a just damp mop rather than a wet one.  You don’t want to let any water sit, so be sure to work in one small area at a time.

If you’re not using a floor cleaning product (check floor manufacturers guidance), try a cleaning mixture using 4 cups warm water and a few drops of castile soap or dish soap. Gently mix this, then mop or scrub small sections at a time, drying them with a clean cloth or dry mop after.

Allow floors to dry while you clean another area, always clean top to bottom in a room, which means that you should clean the floor last.

Do/Do Not

Do use a cleaning product recommended by the flooring manufacturer or opt for plain soap and water.

Do not use oils, waxes or furniture sprays. Oil leaves a residue; furniture spray creates a slippery surface and wax takes time to apply and makes re-coating tricky.

Stay away from straight ammonia, alkaline products or abrasive cleaners, these dull or scratch the finish.

Do not rely on lemon juice or a vinegar/water solution, at least not in large quantities. Vinegar can dull certain hardwood finishes, so test your solution (in an inconspicuous spot) before using it.

Mop the floor in the direction of the boards, so if it dries with a bit of a streak, it will not be as visible.  After mopping, use a soft, clean towel to dry it or let it air dry.

How much?

How much?

I occasionally see posts on social media lambasting the cost of residential cleaning.  It’s funny as I don’t think I have ever seen such posts criticising how much plumbers, electricians or builders charge – and they often have a charge just for turning up – the dreaded ‘Call Out’ charge.

When I see posts about how much is reasonable to pay someone to clean someone else’s home my thoughts are twofold, firstly I’m thinking; why don’t you do it yourself if you feel you are being asked to pay too much, and also why is a cleaner worth so, so, so much less than a plumber – do you do your own plumbing?

I, like you, know that plumbers, electricians and builders go through significant years of apprenticeship and on the job training to master the skills to become ‘qualified’ tradesmen and ‘Masters’, and the rates they charge are an accepted consequence of that – you don’t want any old Tom, Dick or Harry wiring up you house or plumbing in your toilet do you!

But all these businesses offer a service, one that you are free to accept or decline, if you think the plumber charges too much why not have a go at doing that burst pipe or blocked toilet yourself?

When you get your builders bill for the roof repair you couldn’t do yourself do you take to social media to bemoan how much you got charged for something you either cannot do yourself or you didn’t want to do yourself?

Whilst cleaners don’t do apprenticeships or long years of training, they do clean your toilet, and lots of other toilets, cleaning is hard graft because you expect your home to sparkle far better than if you were doing it yourself.

A cleaning business like any other business has overheads that contribute to the price you are charged, here are those I could think of in 15 minutes: –

  • Recruitment – (advertising/staff checks).
  • Staff uniform.
  • Staff pay – (plus provision for holidays/sickness/bereavement/absence cover).
  • Staff incentives/bonuses.
  • Training time & cost.
  • Cleaning equipment – (Vacuums/Mops/buckets/caddies/brushes/etc.).
  • Electrical equipment repairs.
  • Electrical equipment safety checks – (6 monthly).
  • Consumables – (scrubbers/latex gloves/dusters/cloths/etc.).
  • Product – (toilet cleaner/window cleaner/scale remover/disinfectant/etc.).
  • Computer operating system.
  • Accounting software.
  • Scheduling software.
  • Website management & hosting.
  • Accountant.
  • Insurances – (Public liability/Statutory liability/Commercial vehicle cover).
  • Office Equipment – (Computing/printer/telephone/filing cabinet/etc.).
  • Stationary – (Print toner/print paper/folders/labelling/pens/files/etc.)
  • Externally sourced printing – (Advertising material/business cards/etc.)
  • Vehicles – (Fuel/maintenance/vehicle replacement/WOF/Rego/AA cover).
  • Laundry.
  • Overdraft – (to allow for those long/late client payments).
  • Bank fees.
  • Advertising – (Facebook/Google/Neighbourly/Discount Cards).
  • Rework.
  • Waste disposal.
  • Workshop/business set up – (tools/desks/workbenches/storage/etc.).
  • GST, Tax (PAYE & Corporate), ACC.

End of Tenancy Clean

End of Tenancy Clean

The time has finally come for you to move out of your rental, maybe you’ve found the permanent home you’ve been looking for, or has your work contract or secondment come to an end? Either way handing back those keys may not be as simple as you’d anticipated!

Leaving may be the last thing on your mind when you’re moving into your rental but most leases stipulate that, before handing back the keys, you need to clean up (or risk kissing your deposit bye bye).

The last thing you probably feel like doing come time to move out is cleaning it. Like it or not you’re expected to leave it sparkling, just like it was when you moved in!

Long before you do move out (and preferably when you’re moving in) speak to your landlord to clarify the move out cleaning requirements. Check your rental agreement or lease to see what you signed up for.

Just mopping the floor and vacuuming the carpet will not do, the landlord expects you to do a thorough job of getting their rental back into shape.

Whether or not it was sparkling when you moved in, if you leave a dirty place for your landlord, they can take the cost to clean up from your deposit. You want as much of your deposit back as possible, right?

Even minor damage should addressed before handing back the keys. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Picture mount holes.
  • Scuff marks on walls and floors.
  • Scratches in wood floors.
  • Duff light bulbs.
  • Dinked appliances.

Inform the landlord of any items you can’t fix on your own, they may want to see the damage and assess whether they can repair it easily. If so, you may be off the hook. If not, expect a repair bill.

Communicating with your landlord, whether it’s about damage and repairs or vacate cleaning, it’s always better than just skipping out. Landlords are running a business and are highly unlikely to just let things go.

Cleaning not your thing? That’s why we are here!

If you can’t face cleaning, don’t have the time or you just don’t do cleaning – there’s still hope. A professional cleaning company will take your landlords cleaning checklist, do your cleaning for you, keeping your landlord happy and helping you get more of your deposit back.

Move out cleaning requirements can vary dramatically between landlords, the age of the property and on how you the renter have maintained their property.

A cleaning service should be tailored to suit your landlord’s requirements whether it’s a small CBD apartment or an idyllic country retreat.

Why Does Your Business Need a Cleaning Service?

Why Does Your Business Need a Cleaning Service?

Most Kiwi’s spend 40 hours or more each week in their office environment, so keeping it clean and ensuring it’s a healthy and safe place to be is important to both staff and employer.
Some businesses may choose to rely on its employees to keep the work place clean and tidy, however, hiring professional cleaners can make a real difference and could save a business time and money, and don’t forget those intangibles!

Professional cleaners provide experience and expertise, hiring a reputable cleaning service means you can expect the highest standards of cleaning. Here’s why contracting your cleaning out could be one of the best business decisions you make.

Healthy Environment

Without professional cleaners, it can be so easy to let grime and bacteria build up. With lots of people using facilities, eating at their desks, touching surfaces and office equipment it is very easy for germs and bacteria to spread. Especially if you’re hot desking!

Did you know, for example, that the start button of the printer carries 4 times more bacteria than your pet’s food bowl at home? The amount of bacteria and germs found in an office environment can make it very easy for illnesses to spread, resulting in increased sick days taken by your team.

Get Productive

A clean and organised environment gives you freedom to concentrate on other things, if your staff aren’t spending time distracted by non-core work, they are going to be more productive – that’s what they are there for right!

Office workers will feel more productive in a clean environment, and they are also more likely to take care to keep their own personal space organised, desk clear, and documents neatly filed away.

Improved Morale

Showing your employees that you are willing to invest time and resources into hiring a professional cleaning service demonstrates a commitment to providing them with the best possible working environment. Staff who feel well cared for are more positive about coming to work and are more likely to work harder and feel a greater commitment and loyalty to their job and your business.

First Impressions Count

You can quickly tell the difference between a clean and well-kept business and one that isn’t.  You want your visitors and customers to get a great first impression. An office that has been professionally cleaned looks notably different to one that hasn’t. You want to reflect a professional organisation, and a clean, safe and healthy office will help you do that.

Twas the Clean Before Christmas………

Twas the Clean Before Christmas….

Last year around this time we did a very special clean for a very special client. We love repeat business because that means we’ve done a good job and the customer has come back for more, customer satisfaction is our middle name, well urm, actually its’ Cleaners, but you know what I mean!

So our VIP client wanted us to pop in and give their business premises a bit of a spruce up ahead of their busiest night of the year. To be honest when Gina went and did the quote (she was gone for ages!) it was a bit of a shock and the resulting job sheet would mean we would have quite a task on our hands and would need all our lovely ladies on hand to work some magic and get the job done before the big night…..I would be there too….in a supervisory role of course, Ho! Ho! Ho!

So this is what the Job sheet ended up looking like:

Whole of Premises clean (to be completed on or before midnight 24th December).

Stables

  1. Sweep out stables, apply fresh straw to hard surfaces.
  2. Clean out food bowls, replenish with fresh carrots and magic corn (to be supplied by client).
  3. Pick up droppings where appropriate.

Office

  1. Empty recycling bins (mostly envelopes – should be less than 4.5 Million).
  2. Gather up and stack (neatly) letters for filing and archive (see 1 above for Qty).
  3. Vacuum throughout, wet mop hard floor areas where identifiable/accessible.

Production Area

  1. Dust all surfaces (client helpers to clear precious items/parcels prior to start of clean).
  2. Sweep floors, mop hard surfaces – pick up small parts/widgets/thingamabobs where identified.
  3. Collect and place left over wrapping paper in sorting bins (recycle / reuse) – advised by Client less than 2.5 Tonnes.

Rest Area

  1. Make all beds: approx. 600 but very small.
  2. Vacuum throughout, focus on cookie and candy crumbs.
  3. Refill cookie jars and restock candy canes (stock held in large storage area marked ‘Goodies’).
  4. Pick up hats – place on pegs, straighten shoes – identify any with missing bells.

Wow!, let’s hope we can get it all done in time, keeping clients happy and their premises clean is important to them and us.

We wouldn’t want this chap going out business would we!!!

 

What Makes a Great Cleaner?

What Make a Great Cleaner?

Clients of cleaning companies expect great results each and every time, clients should be thrilled with the results and hopefully tell you so, along with all their family, friends, and colleagues!! Keeping those high standards up every time is crucial to maintaining repeat business.

So, what make a great cleaner?

Consistent

A great cleaner makes it their mission to be consistently brilliant at each and every clean. After a while it can be tempting to get complacent and start cutting corners but your client will expect you to leave their home predictably spotless every time and a great cleaner will live up to their expectations.

Attentive

Attention to detail is vital, as everybody knows there is a vast difference between something that looks clean and something that is clean. Attention to detail matters. A great cleaner is able to see things that others don’t and will always go above and beyond.

Honest

Accidents happen (apparently!), however careful you are, if you do a lot of cleaning at some point there may be an accident. it’s essential to be upfront and honest with your client so you can resolve the situation with minimum hassle and get back to what you’re great at. Open and honest communication is key.

Prideful

A great cleaner should have pride, if a cleaner doesn’t take pride in their work how can they possibly do a good job?

Punctual

Being punctual reflects your being organised so you work effectively and efficiently. If cleaners don’t feel they can complete their list of jobs to the required standard then be honest and discuss the time needs of the job with the client. Discerning client will value quality over cost.

Discrete

As a cleaner, you’re mostly alone in someone’s home. Your clients trust you to do your job without snooping. If you do come across something sensitive, it goes without saying that the information doesn’t leave that home. A client’s privacy and the privacy of their home is to be respected.

Cheery

A sense of humour helps, clients don’t want to run into a grumpy, sour faced ogre cleaning their home, so chin up, cheery smiles help give your clients the feel-good factor that will add to their appreciation of you and your work.

Fortitude

While you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete, cleaning is hard graft, it’s a great way to burn calories!

 

Q. So, are you a great cleaner, or if you’re a client of a cleaning company, what’s your cleaner like?

 

 

Stay on Top!

Stay on Top of  Your Cleaning

If you can keep on top of your regular home cleaning you will be way more up for tackling a big one! Here’s a few pointers to make it all a little less painful.

 

Grid your house

Visualise the space broken up into a grid, that way you don’t miss anything and won’t go over an area again unnecessarily.

In your cleaning kit

Old towels or even those old fashioned baby nappies are great as buffing rags; shining things like granite bench tops, mirrors, and windows.

Microfiber cloths are a cleaner’s best friend but prices vary widely, you may find they’re cheaper in the automotive department than the ones in the cleaning department.

Top to bottom

Do your floors last, start at the highest point and work down, that way dust and dirt isn’t landing onto anything you’ve already cleaned.

Squeegee your shower

Keep the bathroom as dry as possible to fight mildew and soap scum build-up.

Treat stains right away

Don’t leave spills until later, the longer it sits the harder it is to sort out. Treat spills as soon as.

Cooking? – start cleaning up

Don’t waste time watching that pot boil, start wiping down the bench, rinsing prep tools, and putting ingredients away.

Keep it tidy ‘til you toss it

Even doing the little things can help, like straightening a pile of magazines, fixing a stack of mail, or putting those cushions straight. It will make your space feel clean even if you don’t have time right now to de-clutter.

Home shoes

Take off shoes at the door, keep outside dirt outside. Have inside shoes or wear slippers, in the summer you can get your jandals on.

Every day

Find 15 minutes every day to tidy up, doing quick cleaning tasks will improve your mental well-being and makes big cleans much easier to tackle later.

And while you’re cleaning!

If you’re going to spend some time cleaning, get your ear phones in, find some tunes to vacuum to, or crank up the stereo – no one will mind you singing your heart out if you’re the one doing the vacuuming!!

You’ll find some good tunes to work to on our Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/whitbycleaners/

 

 

Smelly Cat! Smelly Cat!

Cleaning Up With Cats

We have two cats, Denver and Winston. Denver is the mature aloof one, Winston is the young one who likes being sick on the floor….not nice.

Well maybe he’s not being sick as such he’s just coughing up a fur ball that happens to contain his breakfast or dinner. Sometimes he’s a good boy and does it on the kitchen lino, sometimes he does it on the lounge carpet…..not nice.

So what can we do about doing what we need to do when our pets don’t have the same hygiene concerns as we do?

Cat Sick on Carpets

Try a biological laundry soap mixed 50/50 with hot water. Leave on the stain for a minimum of 30 minutes, a couple of hours if it’s an old stain (with a warm, damp towel over the top), rinse and blot dry with dry towels.

Pet Poo Stains

Vinegar & Baking Soda

Method 1

If you really want to do DIY, mix a paste of warm water and baking soda. Work it into the carpet a bit then leave to absorb and neutralise.  Pour white vinegar over. Scrape up any residue and rinse with warm water. If using this approach, finish off with a misting of the vinegar to kill bacteria, it will dry without leaving a smell.

Method 2

Pour enough white vinegar to soak the stain and then add a small amount of baking soda. Let the spot dry for a day or two before vacuuming.

Cat Pee Odour Removal – Going Green

Cat urine odor can keep coming back; this is because it penetrates deep into the carpet fibres, into the strand ends and the base mat. As it dries it releases gasses, (like ammonia), creating that nasty wiff. As the urine evaporates, salts form that bind with the carpet materials and on the next humid day the salts gain moisture and the smell is back.

The first step is to get up as much of the stain as possible, blot up as much of the moisture as you can before washing the carpet with a solution of cool water and white vinegar. Start with a ratio of eight to one water to vinegar, half the amount of water if the first mix doesn’t do the trick.

Get moisture out of the carpet as soon as possible after using the vinegar/water mix. Once the carpet has dried completely, treat it with baking soda. Two cups of baking soda for a 10 ft. by 10 ft. carpet will be plenty. Leave it on the carpet for 1/2 hour to an hour and then vacuum. For an old carpet that hasn’t been cleaned in a while, leave the baking soda in place overnight – avoid walking on the carpet until you’re done.

Once you’ve treated the stain, wait three days before reintroducing your cat to the room. They are often drawn to locations they’ve marked before and may repeat.

Pet Clean Tips
  1. When it comes to removing pet hair from soft furnishings try a latex glove, wet or dry instead of your vacuum, pet hair will cling to the glove.
  2. Put a plastic bag at the bottom of your pets litter tray before covering it with litter. Scoop out the poo as required, when it’s time to change the litter, grab the bag, keeping the contents on the inside and bin it.
  3. Damp wipe walls and woodwork to remove sticky animal allergens.
  4. Pop a table mat under pet food bowls.
  5. If your pet is allowed on the bed, all your bedding must get a high temperature wash at least every two weeks.
  6. In addition to vacuuming, pet owners should consider periodic steam cleaning of carpets and upholstery.
  7. Change your filters regularly on forced-air heating and air-conditioning units (Heat Pumps) as these items will spread allergens through the house.

What to do about smelly drains

It wasn’t me – honest, it’s the drains!!

Smelly bathrooms aren’t always caused by your nearest and dearest, sinks, showers and baths can become smelly and is often caused by stuff like hair, nail clippings, and other assorted bodily debris getting stuck in soap and shampoo scum that’s lining the waste pipe.

So when you notice a whiff coming out of a drain, be it bathroom or kitchen here are a few tips on what you can do about it. As per our environmental policy we try to not use chemicals wherever possible and sorting a smelly drain is an ideal opportunity to show your green credentials.

 

Bathroom
Flushing – Start by pouring a couple of jugs worth of boiling water down the drain. Wait five minutes and follow with cold water, this will help congeal remaining gunk. Repeat the boiling water flush to remove that last bit of congealed stuff.
Deodorise – Boil four mugs worth of white vinegar. Pour half down the drain, rinse with cold water, follow with the rest of the vinegar. This method is often enough to get through small clogs – often the source of the pong.
Scour – Run hot water for a couple of minutes, turn the water off and then dump a mug of baking soda down the drain, this works to absorb and neutralise odours. Follow up with two cups of hot white vinegar, (Yes, it will FIZZ) Wait ½ hr, and then flush the drain with a jug of boiling water.
Use the above technique every couple of weeks or so and it will help keep your drain from residue build up that can lead to small clogs.
NOTE: A possible cause is a lack of water in the p-trap (that wiggly bit of pipe under the sink) allowing smells to come back up the drain. A p-trap is designed to hold a small amount of water that blocks sewer gases from rising. If it isn’t holding water properly, this may be allowing rising pong. In less commonly used drains try running the water occasionally to refill the p-trap.
Kitchen
Here are a couple of things you can do for your kitchen to help minimize pong.
Ice Cubes – Drop some into the waste disposal they are hard so they will scour the blades when it runs (makes quite a racket!) and the cold temperature helps collect any excess grease.
Citrus Peel – When you’ve finished with that orange/lemon/lime peel shove it down the disposal and let it whizz around until gone. It does give off a nice smell and the citric acid helps remove grease buildup.
Soda & Vinegar – Pour ¼ mug of soda down the kitchen sink and then ¼ mug of white vinegar, let it all sit for 10 minutes. Rinse with a jug of boiling water. This mix works well to break up gunk, improve the smell and flushes away the loose bits and pieces in the pipe.

 

How often do you clean your…………?

Everyone has varying ideas about how often cleaning jobs should be done. I thought it would be interesting to scour (no pun intended) the internet to see what views there are on this topic, here are some thoughts on the ‘how often should I clean……’ question.

Cleaning Frequency Variables

This link may provide some food for thought about the things that may alter the frequency of your home cleaning regime, have a quick look…….

Cleaning Frequency

So…………

Q. How often should you clean your bathroom?

Keeping moisture down will help avoid mould and mildew; use your extractor fan and let it run for a bit when you’ve finished in there. Keep your shower curtains or doors open after use to let it air and hang up bath and shower mats. Giving the shower walls a squeegee down afterward helps minimise moisture. Wipe over that mirror covered in toothpaste flicks (yes, that’s me doing that!).

Wipe down surfaces frequently to minimise dust build up, sweep or vacuum and then mop floors. Talking of dust, have you looked up recently? Have a look at the dust build up on your bathroom extractor fan; you know dust mites love dust yeah?

TIP. To clean your extractor fan isn’t as easy as you might think. It’s are up there in the ceiling and often above the shower, and getting those grilled covers off can be a flipping nightmare (believe me I know, been there, done that….argghhhh!)

The tip is this, you may want to think twice about what you use to get up there with, those plastic shower floors aren’t always designed to have a kitchen stool put in them, the loading of you climbing up there transferred down a stool leg to a small point of contact may (may) be enough to crack the plastic – beware! Not only might you damage your shower floor but you may also end up on your behind…or worse.

Wipe around the bath and shower using warm water and a bathroom cleanser, keeps dirt build up at bay. If you spot the start of mildew, give it some bleach or a mildew remover (bleach is a lot cheaper but not very greenL).

Do sinks and taps and then take a long hard look at your toilet bowl………..urmmm nice….not!! Get your toilet brush out and start scrubbing, use toilet cleaner, I like to finish with some bleach (not green againL).

TIP. When I have finished using the toilet brush to clean the bowl I like to flush and then pour some bleach into the bowl and sit the toilet brush head in the water for 15 minutes – helps kill off any nasties lurking on the working end of your new best pal.

Don’t forget the waste bin – empty and disinfect.

Bathrooms: Weekly – minimum.

Q. How often should you clean your floors?

Regular vacuuming is great but it doesn’t cut the mustard when you’re talking proper clean. Floors (hard and carpet) that are neglected could be harming your health. Remember, 90% of dust circulating around your house is most likely to land on your floor, plus any dirt you bring in from outside is going straight on your……, you get the idea here!

Vacuuming is the place to start but this needs to be followed up with mopping (or steam mopping and carpet cleaning with a carpet cleaning….device? These can be hired and are pretty simple to operate, or if you’re feeling flush or it all sounds too much like hard work, you could hire in the professionals (good option).

Keeping floors dust and dirt free will (especially if you have pets) significantly improve the quality of the air in your home (good for those of you with allergies). A study has suggested your carpet could contain up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch, check out this link…

200,000…really!!

Opt for a professional steam clean every six to 12 months, maybe a little more if your home is particularly pet friendly!

Floors: Vacuum/mop 1-2 times per week minimum, deep clean carpets every 6–12 months.

Q. How often should you clean your kitchen?

It all goes on in the kitchen, we cook, eat, hang out and it tends to be the first place we go to when we enter the home. It’s a busy place so cleaning as you go is the way to go. Got dishes, get them sorted and they won’t pile up, a collection of rubbish bags or a full bin, get the kids to sort it, cat food bowls a mess, get it sorted (that’s just my house, lol.)

Clear up food spills and dribbles when they happen, to avoid harder work later.

Keep the floor clear, vacuumed and mopped.

Bench top?

Bench tops and oven top, wipe them down after each use, use a dishwashing liquid or kitchen spray, for the hard stuff get a scrub pad out and mix with some elbow grease.

Focus around the sink, this is where you keep those sponges, clothes etc with all the bits of food stuck in them……nice! Surfaces daily please, and swop out the sponges regularly too, then invite me your friends over for dinner.

Bench top: Daily

 Oven?

A well used oven will need a good seeing to every 2 – 12 weeks. If it’s a self-cleaner, run the programme and wipe away any ash deposits afterwards. If it is not, use a brush and oven cleaner and more of that elbow grease.

TIP. Whenever you are using powerful chemicals around your home remember VENTILATION, open a window, windows, door or doors – nobody wants to find you slumped on the kitchen floor with you head in the oven!

Oven: 2 -12 weeks depending on usage.

Fridge?

Apparently that plastic draw at the bottom of your fridge (the one that used to be see through but now looks like its lined with lace) is likely to contain 750 times what is considered (by some scientist) to be the safe level of bacteria. This is the place to focus your fridge clean, short on time – do the veggies draw, don’t want to be sick off work – do the veggie draw, want to be fit and healthy – eat the veggies before all those bacteria get to them!!

Fridge: At least monthly, more is better.

Microwave?

Wisdom was that a microwave oven was a bacteria killer, and made food safe to eat. If you’re zapped ancient takeaway in the microwave, research suggests otherwise, have a read of …….

It’s not dead Jim!

Keep your microwave splash-free, wipe it down, and do a deep clean twice a month. Try a half cup of water with a half cup of white vinegar in a micro proof dish, pop it in the MW and run on high until the microwave window steams up (keep an eye on it!), remove dish and wipe around inside, sweet!

Micro wave: Weekly – minimum.

Kitchen: Cleaning………Frequently!!

Hiring a Home Cleaning Service

Thinking about getting a cleaner for your home?

Having a clean and sanitary home is important to you and your family; many busy families will have or will be considering hiring a cleaner. Getting help with home chores is becoming less of a luxury and more of a necessity; our lives just get so full these days!

You will find copious adverts for home cleaning service providers in your area ranging from professional companies to local individuals. You’ll have to choose the one that’s right for you. Some companies are franchises and some will be local, you will also find family-owned-and-operated businesses, or individuals who may be a sole trader or a local person looking to earn a little extra cash (that hopefully the tax man never finds out about!)

The first step is to decide which type of provider; an individual or a company. Hiring individuals is more cost effective; however, that single person may be less responsive, and less able to turn up week in week out. A cleaning company can be more expensive, but offers flexibility, a back-up team and a host of other benefits.

Before someone arrives on your doorstep you may want to consider the following:
Quotes

Whilst you may be looking for the cheapest option, the provider with the lowest price doesn’t necessarily provide you with the best value for money. Balancing cost and quality means taking your time to get it right.

Get quotes from providers that look after your area, expect them to come to you; if they don’t think they need to come to your home to meet you and view your home, how can they quote accurately?

Be sure that the quote you receive covers exactly what you asked for, if it isn’t quite right or you want clarification go back to the provider and talk over the service being offered. Expect to get what you agreed to and if you’re don’t – complain!

Insurance

Ask about insurance, this will provide you with security and peace of mind.  You’ll want a cleaner that has insurance so that you can be sure that you will not be held liable should someone (including you) get hurt, or if they damage your personal property or worse still set fire to your kitchen.

You’ll want to know they have sufficient Public Liability insurance (PL). PL isn’t cheap, so it’s quite likely a one man/woman outfit doing some cleaning on the side is unlikely to have it – this means you’re exposed.

Tip. A cleaning company insurance policy should be sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding your home – just like your own buildings insurance.

http://publicliabilityquotes.co.nz/cleaners-public-liability-insurance/

Contracts

If you’re being asked to sign up to a contract, read it very carefully, take your time, ask for advice if needs be, remember your circumstances may change over time (reduced income, family illness, holidays, travel for work, moving home) do you really want to be locked into a long term contract?

References

Often people are understandably wary about having someone they don’t know in their home. Reputable providers will be more than happy to provide you with references; don’t feel you can’t ask for these, a quality provider will be more than happy to offer referees. Make contact and ask how happy they are with the services they are being provided.

One of the best ways to hire a cleaning service is through the referrals of friends, family and neighbours. You could even ask to meet the prospective cleaner in person if it’s a company but remember you may not always get the same cleaner – but you should expect the same cleaning experience.

Tip. It is common practice now for recruitment consultancies and recruiting organisations to review potential employees via social media, you can find out quite a lot about people using this approach.

http://business.time.com/2012/07/09/how-recruiters-use-social-networks-to-make-hiring-decisions-now/

 Security

Reputable providers will perform background checks on all of their potential employees. When you hire an independent cleaner, you act as their employer; therefore making you responsible for doing, or not doing screening. A background check conducted by the cleaning provider is done to provide it’s customers with the reassurance that their staff are deemed to be trustworthy and do not present a security risk to your family or your home.

You need to consider how the physical security of your home is going to be managed, what systems the cleaning provider has for this. You may want to leave a key under a plant pot, have the cleaning done when you are at home or give the provider a copy of your house key or entry code. Whatever arrangements are agreed you need to feel comfortable that your home is being looked after – it’s your home, you are the customer and you are in charge of security decisions.

Accountability & Complaints

Find out how the provider will manage quality control, and what they will do if you don’t think their delivery is good enough. What satisfaction guarantees do they have in place? You should be able to openly communicate with them to ensure your cleaning needs are being met. A good service organisation loves getting feedback, it means their customers feel empowered enough to say something in the knowledge that something will change. Un-empowered customers who don’t think a company will listen just go look elsewhere, good companies do not want that.

Tip. Apparently, it is six times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to keep an existing one – remember your power.

http://www.parature.com/customer-retention/

Feedback doesn’t have to be negative; companies also like to be told when they’re doing something right, so they can keep doing it or improve on it to make what they provide to their customers even better!

Products and Equipment

Ask about product and equipment provision, are you required to source these? The last thing you want is to come home to find your clean hasn’t been done or hasn’t been done well. If your cleaner requires you to provide cleaning products or equipment then you’re taking some of the responsibility for the quality of your clean – this isn’t what you should be paying for.

If you are unhappy with the products or equipment being used, you should be able to either; substitute them for your own (and get a discount), or negotiate the use of alternatives.

Environmentally Friendly

These days, cleaning service providers, just like homeowners, want to be able to choose green options wherever possible. Cleaners will use both conventional and environmentally friendly products, why? -because sometimes you do need to get the big guns out!

If you have a particular environmental expectation or requirement make sure to know what is being offered and ensure your preferences are communicated.  The use of green products is here to stay and their use is generally accepted as being comparable to all those toxic chemicals we’ve all been used to in the past.

Tender Loving Care for Towels

TLC for Towels

Egyptian cotton is considered to give the highest quality towels. These are more expensive but have longer, more-fibrous threads and therefore a much better moisture grabbing ability than standard cotton towels.

Our three girls go through a mountain of towels and these can often be found left damp on the bathroom floor – it’s infuriating! Damp towels get smelly, old towels lose their ability to grab water, so how can we look after our towels?

Washing

Towel manufacturers often coat new towels in a fabric softener to fluff them up so they feel nice and fluffy when we go shopping. Unfortunately, as softeners often contain some form of oil (so fabrics feel soft) they won’t absorb very well. Wash new towels before you use them and try adding one/two cups of vinegar (White) to the wash cycle.

Once you start using them, wash towels at the hottest temperature that is safe for the material. Adding a cup of that vinegar will help them smell fresh and is a great fabric softener and anti-static. Make sure you’re not using huge amounts of detergent and manufactured fabric softener, it leaves a residue, which affects the absorbency.

When they’re done, tumble dry quickly in the dryer or on the line. Be mindful not to overheat towels, this may damage the fibers and this means a loss of water grab, use low heat settings.

Be sure to check that your towels are 100 percent dry before putting them away. Even a small amount of moisture can make towels smell sour.

Using

Mold and mildew love towels left in a puddle on the bathroom floor, encourage the family to hang them up to air-dry after each use. Bathmats, too, should be hung to dry. Hang towels on towel rails or spread over two hooks until they’re completely dry, try to make sure towels are drying quickly after use.

Bath towels should be changed every few days, and keep an eye on the hand towels in the bathroom, they’re used by every person who stops by for a tinkle!

When it comes to hygiene, hand towels in the bathroom and the kitchen may be the hardest working members of the home.

Have a system in the kitchen to identify hand towels versus dish towels, this will help stop germs spreading, hand towels for hands and tea towels for dishes, especially important to make the difference identifiable if you have grubby little hands in your house – like us! Remember to change kitchen towels regularly.

And lastly, if you’re expecting guests tonight put out fresh hand towels in the bathroom and put them in the wash when your guests have gone home.

Recharging

Over time towels lose their absorbency and this comes from over use of detergent and softener. This not only attracts mildew, which will smell, it can also begin to waterproof the fabric. If washing water can’t get into the fabric to clean it, the towel will neither be clean or smell clean.

To recharge your towels, try this simple solution, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • cup of white vinegar
  • HOT water
The How:

Put dead/dying/stinky towels in the washing machine and do a hot water fill or set on a 95-degree wash. If you tub doesn’t have its own heating element get a boiled kettle of water in!

Add the cup of vinegar and run through a wash cycle.

Start another cycle again (HOT) and add the 1/2 cup of soda.

When done, dry towels in your dryer or on the clothesline.

For you boffins: Vinegar contains acetic acid, this breaks up water mineral deposits and dissolves buildup, the baking soda contains alkali (sodium bicarbonate) this neutralizes odors, whilst dissolving dirt and grease. 

 

You don’t need to do this each time you wash towels, only when you think they are getting a bit ’Wiffy” or when towels aren’t absorbing moisture the way they used to.

Special Christmas Clean for a VIP Client

Christmas One Off Special

Here at Whitby Cleaners we’re happy to do your regular cleaning for you and to take on one off deep cleans when asked. We were recently approached by a very special friend of our kids to do a special one off clean. We don’t get asked to do this sort of job very often but we were more than happy to oblige, here are the instructions we were given:

Main Equipment
  • Crane lift onto heavy gauge saw horses.
  • Hose down – pressure wash poop from front foot plate.
  • Remove tree tops from belly pan.
  • Check all fasteners secure – bolts and lashings, flashings and bunting.
  • Check tension on stanchions to runner brackets.
  • Check stanchions and runners for bends and cracks, dead fly’s, moths, etc.…
  • Lube brake bars and other pivot points, inspect brake claws.
  • Check the condition of the wood and finish – polish and buff to a mirror shine.
  • Where required reapply oil (boiled linseed).
  • Inspect for mold, rot, and dry rot – apply slight bleach solution where identified (remove excess).
  • Angled cross support straps – tighten to square position.
  • Stone grind runners – follow with base coat of soft wax, then ski or beeswax.
Ancillary Equipment
  • Inspect harnesses for unapproved parts.
  • Bridles and reins – inspect for wear and buckle conformity, check for wear along the entire length, especially at any animal touch point.
  • Check, wipe out and wash sled bag – check for rips and tears – repair as needed (red thread only).
  • Check all loops and buckles – leather polish to high sheen.
  • Review tassels and bells (check tinkle, tinkle).

Suffice to say we think we’ve done an exceptional job, this client, like all our clients, expects and deserves only the best and we stand by our 100% guarantee!

We hope he thinks we’ve been nice and not naughty and that he comes again next year – otherwise the kids are going to be very disappointed!!!!!!

 

All you Ever wanted to Know About Cockroach Poo!

Cleaning Cockroach Poo!

If you’ve been wondering what those little black flecks are on your walls or ceiling – well I can tell you it’s probably cockroach poo!

Cockroaches are unwanted and uninvited guests that can wreak havoc on your home. Before we get to talking about cockroach poo, did you know:

Entry: Cockroaches enter the home in many different ways, from the outside through cracks and crevices, vents, the sewer and drain pipes. They can even get in on the things we take into our homes like boxes, and on us!

Ideal environment: Your home is an ideal breeding ground for cockroaches. With plenty of food, warmth, water and nesting sites, they can be active all year.

Reproduction: Cockroaches reproduce quickly. For every one you see there will be many more hiding and multiplying behind your walls.

Evasiveness: Cockroaches are typically nocturnal, if you’ve seen one, you probably haven’t seen them all. The few you do see by day could mean they were likely forced out by overcrowding!

About that Poo

The feces (poo’s) of small to medium cockroaches are black and resemble black pepper or ground coffee. Larger cockroaches leave brown or black droppings which are cylindrical in shape and have ridges down the sides of them.

Not only are these insects messy but the poo leaves a nasty mess of black specks on your walls and ceilings. Dead roaches and roach poo not only cause allergies in people but can also lead to diarrhea, asthma attacks and salmonella. Roach poo contains certain proteins (allergens) that trigger an allergic response. These allergens are remarkably durable and long-lasting. When roaches move, they often leave a trail of droppings which contain chemicals that ‘pass messages’ to other cockroaches, such as designating the route that the insect is taking to find food or water.

Another essential reason to get rid of roaches is microbes and bacteria. Roaches can transport a huge number of microbes – potentially dangerous to humans – on their body surfaces.
They are implicated in the spread of:
a) 33 kinds of bacteria;
b) 7 types of human pathogens;
c) E.coli and Salmonella species;
d) 6 parasitic worms.

If cleaning and sanitation in your house are lacking, allergens from roach poo can persist in the home for up to 5 years after you’ve had them exterminated. There are only 2 efficient methods to mitigate a roach problem, these are:

Cleanliness – prevent them from entering the home. Remember, the cleaner and more sanitary your home, the less inviting it will be to cockroaches.

Extermination – using pest control products for effective roach elimination.

We’re not a pest control company, so here’s some guidance about cleaning……

Step 1. Vacuum to remove all traces of roach poo. Start at the highest areas; on top of appliances, cabinets and work your way down. Vacuum in cracks and crevices, especially in those places likely to be roach hideaways.

Step 2. Clean the walls in the house with baking soda and soapy water to remove roach poo. Rinse dirty walls with clear water, change the water often to remove the proteins causing allergies.

Step 3. Wash down all surfaces with disinfectant cleaner. This helps to remove allergens.

It is important to clean flooring, appliances, and the inside and outside of worktops and cabinets.

Want to Sell Your Home – Make it Sparkle!

Clean Homes Sell

I found this site page

www.localagentfinder.com.au/…/top-ten-tips-to-increase-your…

that talked about increasing your home’s value when the time comes to sell up and move on. It gave a top ten list of things to do to increase your home’s value when selling and not surprisingly one of the top ten – the one you do after all the rest are sorted – was Cleaning and Organising.

Top ten list:

1. External Wall Repair and Painting
2. Upgrade Doors and Windows
3. Landscaping and Yard Lighting
4. Interior Flooring
5. Kitchen Upgrades
6. Bathroom and Toilet Repairs
7. Internal Lighting Fixtures
8. Painting Interior Walls
9. Roof and Foundations
10. Heavy Cleaning and Organising

If you want to read the detail, follow the link above.

Whilst we don’t do house renovations we do, do cleaning. A clean home makes a house look like it’s loved and will give prospective buyers the right impression. A thorough cleaning can make a big difference, getting it right will take time and effort but with a clear objective ‘Sell my House’ your efforts will be rewarded.

Keeping Your Carpet Looking Great!

Be a Friend to Your Vacuum!

You picked out a beautiful new carpet, had it fitted and now the family want to walk all over it! How can you keep it looking great, what’s the best way to care for it?

Regular vacuuming is the answer, ideally every day – but who has the time – so when you do have the time, here are a few tips.

Too Quick

Take it slow, give the vacuum enough time to clean down deep, focus on well-trodden areas: the stairs, hallways and in front of chairs.

Direction

To remove all of the dirt and dust don’t just vacuum in one direction. The muck in your carpet can hide out under the fibers. Vacuuming in both directions; forward and back and left and right will help get every last crumb out of your carpet.

The Bag

If your vacuum uses a bag, emptying when half full is best, anymore and they’re losing efficiency. And, don’t reuse your disposable vacuum bags; otherwise expect another 50% reduction in efficiency.

Tools

Make a habit (try twice a month to start), of using the vacuum’s crevice tool (the thin pointy one) around the edges of the room. If you allow dust and dirt to accumulate here it can make it just about impossible to get the edges of your carpet looking clean.

Height

Adjust the height to suit different carpets/rugs as you move around your home, take the time to make the appropriate adjustments. It will make a huge difference to the cleanliness of the various surfaces.

Dusting

Yes, it sounds obvious but do remember to dust before you vacuum.

Dirty Looks!

Don’t wait until you can see the dirt to start cleaning. Dirt can pile up underneath the fibre’s at the bottom of your carpet or rug way before you start to notice. Set a regular vacuuming schedule and keep to it—even if you don’t think it’s necessary.

A Clean Home is a Healthy Home

A Clean Home is a Healthy Home

Some dirt will be brought into your home, it’s unavoidable. However, other dirt like dust, grease, mould and insect droppings originate inside your home. A grimy or cluttered house encourages pests and the build-up of dirt. A clean home is important for your family’s health and well being, giving the whole family an enjoyable relaxing place to live.

Let’s consider these three important rooms and how best to keep them clean and healthy.

Bathroom

Bacteria love moist environments, keep the bathroom well ventilated and dry to prevent bacteria from multiplying.
Close the lid of the toilet before flushing, reducing splashes and keeping germs from spreading to adjacent surfaces.
Leave your shower door open after use, this will aid drying and help prevent mould. If mould does appear try an environmentally friendly mould remover before you reach for the bleach!
Change towels and face clothes regularly to ensure freshness.
Encourage children to follow your example and wash their hands after using the toilet.

Laundry

On front loading washing machines leave the dispenser drawer and door open to dry when not in use.
Take your clean laundry out of the machine as soon as possible and dry it. Many people are using cold washes to keep power bills down but bacteria can easily survive at low temperature levels. This will also help keep unpleasant odors from developing.
Don’t overload your washing machine, give detergents the opportunity to penetrate your wash and do its job.
A primary source of fecal bacteria in washing machines comes from underwear! Think about doing underwear in a separate wash, using hot water. Try adding a colour safe eco-friendly bleach.
Once a week run a short empty cycle with a dose of eco bleach to prevent bacteria hanging about in the drum.

Kitchen

Keep your refrigerator clean and uncluttered. Separate cooked and fresh produce; keep meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separate from all other foods in the fridge. Maintain the fridge and freezer at the correct temperatures. Check seals are not damaged and the doors close fully.
When hand washing dishes start with glasses and end with the dirtiest dishes; like pots and pans.
Change sponges and cleaning cloths regularly. Prevent the build-up of bacteria by disinfecting, keep dry when not in use.
Surfaces and chopping boards should be cleaned immediately after use.
Clean the cooker and microwave regularly.
Wipe kitchen door/draw knobs, light switches and power points regularly.

Eco Home – Helping to Keep Pets Healthy

Eco Home – Healthy Pets

We all love our pets, I have two cats; Denver and Winston, Denver is the grown up mature one and Winston is his younger less streetwise partner in crime!  They do spend plenty of time exploring outside but like all pussy cats spend a goodly amount of time in our house.

Just like small children, pets are closer to the floor where you are most likely to apply chemical cleaning products. Like us, animals inhale the vapors of these products and absorb them through their skin. A lot of animal illness can be linked to indoor pollution relating to chemicals in household cleaners. Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers or formaldehyde can put pets at risk from cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage. Even when the toxic cleaners are back under the sink the vapors left behind can continue to harm.

Ammonia, found in oven cleaners and window cleaners, is an irritant to the mucous membranes. Chlorine is a toxic respiratory irritant that can damage pets’ skin, eyes or other membranes. It can be found in all-purpose cleaners, tile scrubs, disinfecting wipes, toilet cleaners and mildew removers.

Cats are especially sensitive to phenol, a common disinfectant and wood treatment. They have no way to eliminate the chemical from their body after they ingest it. If you’re using any kind of phenol-containing products in your home, you may be exposing your pet to harmful vapors. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) listed household cleaners as one of the top ten pet poisons in 2009. Many common chemicals can irritate animals’ respiratory tracts and cause serious gastrointestinal distress.

Most pet owners are unaware of the danger to their pets associated with toxic household products. Instead of harsh chemical cleaners, consider natural alternatives.

 

If you suspect your pet has consumed a large quantity of any chemical (more than would be left on surfaces for normal cleaning), contact your vet immediately.

For further information of pets and cleaning products:

Pet Health & Cleaning Products