As people grow older, it can become more and more difficult to complete spring cleaning chores. What were once simple cleaning activities become a challenge with decreased mobility. Too many older people are forced to let their environment fall into disrepair, and unfortunately, a chaotic home environment only serves to speed up mental and physical decline. Luckily, in today's age of modern technology and the Internet of Things, it's easier than ever for seniors to keep their home in order. New technology helps older adults to remain safe and healthy, allowing them to age in peace. Spring Cleaning Week takes a look at just some of the ways that technology is helping us:
Personal electronic assistants such as Siri and Alexa are quickly becoming a fixture in most homes. They can be especially handy for the elderly, as they eliminate the need to move around the house to do things such as turn on lights or adjust the thermostat. Electronic assistants can help older people to keep the house organised by setting alarms, giving reminders, recording shopping lists, and much more. Better yet, most can be voice activated from any room of the house. Those who want to hire weekly or monthly cleaning services to help out can even do so by talking to their electronic assistant.
This year, it is expected that more sophisticated versions of personal assistants will be out on the market. It has been suggested that people of all ages may soon be able to have real chats with home assistants. Moreover, while it’s now possible to conduct relationships via computers through social media, it’s possible that people will also have relationships with them. Just like pets, computers and AI may soon become part of families all over the world.
Most people are familiar with the Roomba, a handy little disk-shaped robot designed to sweep floors and vacuum carpets. The Roomba was one of the first futuristic cleaning tools to hit the market, giving homeowners a hands-free cleaning option. Instead of pushing around a heavy vacuum for several hours each week, older adults can simply turn on a small robot and kick their feet up for a bit.
Nowadays, robots can clean much more than just floors. The Braava is able to mop and disinfect hard surfaces, while The Looj is designed to clean gutters. This eliminates the need for seniors to climb a ladder and increase their risk of falling.
Older adults can even find more cuddly robotic companions designed to help out around the house. The SpotMini is a robotic dog that helps to pick up around the house, removing items from the floor that may increase the risk of slips and falls. It can also hand things to its owners so that they don’t have to crouch or bend.
Robotic walk assist systems
Older adults with mobility problems may be able to move more freely and regain their independence using robotic walk assist systems. Last year, Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it would be commercialising rehabilitation robots for rent. The technology was first made available to Japan’s elderly and it is expected that the system will be used all over the world in the next few years. By adding a high-tech element to mobility aids, it is likely that older adults will be able to stay independent longer and will be able to do everyday tasks with less difficulty.
Apart from enabling seniors to do their chores with ease, robotic walk assist systems can also help them to become more social. Imagine being able to go anywhere to visit friends and family members with the help of a robot. Staying social is part of a healthy lifestyle as it can improve mental health and also lessens the risk of social isolation and depression. As older adults become more mobile, they are also able to interact more and ask for help to do heavy chores that they may not be able to do anymore.
Modern technological marvels are making everyday cleaning tasks easier for seniors and older adult. Electronic assistants and cleaning robots are just some of the emerging technology designed to help us keep our houses clean and tidy.
When it comes to cleaning, we at National Spring Cleaning Week are always trying to find new and creative ways to speed up the process. Around 70% of leaf blowers are cordless, meaning they are versatile, mobile and can be used in many different parts of your home and garden. Rather than buying many different electrical tools, which can be dangerous for your children, you can keep your tools to a minimum by finding multiple uses for the same thing. Below a few ways you can use your leaf blower for other cleaning tasks.
Cleaning the Car
A leaf blower can be useful in two main ways for cleaning both the interior and exterior. For inside the car, a powerful blast with a leaf blower is a quick way to remove any dust. Open the doors and blow in one direction to get all of the dust off the seats. You can also dust down the dashboard much more quickly this way.
For the exterior, the leaf blower will help you to dry off the car. Once it has been completely cleaned, you need to get the car dry as quickly as possible to prevent dirt from sticking to it. If it is a cloudy day, a leaf blower can help speed up the drying process.
It is not just the inside of your car that needs dusting. There are areas of the house which can become completely clogged. Every month or so, check your air vents. Lint building up in the clothes dryer can be a fire hazard, so effective cleaning is a matter of safety as well as cleanliness.
Use the leaf blower to remove any dust that has gathered around the home. Blast it in one direction until the blockage is clear. However, be careful not to damage any tubing when using the leaf blower on ventilation systems.
If you use your leaf blower when there are no leaves, then you will be getting the most out of it. Winter is a perfect time for this. While there are no fallen leaves at this time of year, there will likely be snow which needs to be cleared. Whether it’s on your car, driveway or roof, the leaf blower could be a quicker method than the old fashioned shovel.
A great spring cleaner is able to be creative with their tools. Just because it is called a leaf blower, does not mean it should be limited to that function. The powerful blow is great for drying and clearing dust, snow or anything else that needs removing quickly.
Spring Cleaning Week is about tidying the whole house, that means the garden too. The garden is possibly your child’s favourite part of the house. Within its confines, they can escape the house, go on adventures, and play games. Your lawn is a football pitch, the tree a climbing frame, the pool a shark infested ocean.
This outdoor play is extremely important for their development, but how can you ensure their safety? In a large garden, you may not be able to keep an eye on them at all times. From storing away garden furniture, to life saving devices by the pool, here’s how you can ensure your child’s safety in the garden.
Storing Away Equipment
If you like to keep your garden neat and tidy, you probably have a number of dangerous items in your possession. Strimmers, mowers, hedge trimmers, chainsaws - to name just a few - can be potentially fatal if picked up by a curious child. Power tools and heavy furniture can also pose a risk.
The simplest solution is to have a shed, locked and bolted that your child does not have access to. Inside the shed, put dangerous equipment on a high up shelf where it cannot fall. Children learn by example. If you treat a tool as if it is extremely dangerous, your kids will view it as such and stay away.
If you are lucky enough to have a pool, then you have an added responsibility. Communal pools always have safety signs, with rules such as ‘no running’. They also have a lifeguard keeping a careful watch on excitable children.
Your home pool safety approach should be no different. Younger children should never use the pool unsupervised, especially if they are weak swimmers. For this reason, the pool should be in a clearly visible part of the garden. Common sense rules of no running, no diving in shallow water, and no electronics near the water should apply.
Securing the Perimeter
For when your child wants to explore the garden alone, it is important to make sure that they know where the boundaries are. If your garden is secured with a bush, check regularly for gaps. To keep your garden completely secure, run chicken wire around the boundaries. Ensure gates are strong, with robust locks. This stops your child escaping onto the street and also deters burglars.
Once your garden is made as safe as possible, your child will be able to run free.
You can rest easy in the knowledge that they cannot escape, while being safe from dangerous power tools. Safety comes first, but this allows them the space to play and develop both mentally and physically.
Knowing how to care for your garden furniture all year round is essential to keeping it looking its best.
If you have a patio, decking or terrace outside your home, there's a good chance that you have some garden furniture. Although it always looks great when you first buy it, after a few years of being exposed to the elements, it can start to look tired and worn.
Here are some helpful tips to make sure your garden furnishings look great both in winter and summer by caring for it properly and storing it appropriately.
Summer Garden Furniture Care
If you have wooden or metal outdoor furniture, it's important to protect it from exposure to bright sunlight and very warm temperatures. Although both materials look great, keeping them dry and clean during the summer and protected from excessive sunlight is vital. Although the majority of outdoor furniture items have been specially designed to be weather-resistant, putting the cushions away in a storage box when not being used will help to protect them from damage.
If your outdoor cushions become wet – perhaps from sweat, rain, or even if the children decide to sit on them after playing in the paddling pool – it's important to make sure that they have dried out thoroughly before storing them away to guard against mildew and mould.
Also during the summer months, you should make sure that twigs and leaves are brushed off table tops and seats on a regular basis to prevent staining, and occasionally, you should spray your furniture down with a hose and brush any grimy surfaces clean.
Preparing For Winter Storage
To protect outdoor furniture and ensure that it enjoys a long lifespan, it's important to keep it under cover during the winter months when it is not being used. Some outdoor furniture, for example if it is made from wicker, unprotected wood or metal, should be kept in a garage or shed out of the inclement weather conditions.
Other furniture, such as rattan tables and chairs, are resistant to poor weather, however to keep them looking their best and to preserve their lifespan, they should still be covered with a proper furniture cover during the colder months of the year. This will keep them safe from the wind, rain and snow and ensure that they look just as good when spring comes back around again.
If you are putting your outdoor furniture in a shed during the winter season, you should ensure that you have repaired any damage and cleaned it thoroughly before you store it away.
Caring For Metal Furniture
Metal chairs and tables should be washed down with detergent and water, scrubbed with a brush and then rinsed with a garden hose before storing away for the winter. Inspect its surfaces for oxidation and rust, and treat any affected areas with a primer which can neutralise rust before smoothing it with steel wool and then spray on a paint in a colour which closely matches its finish. Finally, apply a coat of protective car wax and then buff.
Caring For Wicker Items
If you have wicker outdoor furnishings, you should brush them down with a solution of bleach and water as this will remove any mould or mildew and then rinse off with a fine water spray and allow to dry. If needed, you can then spray paint it back to a clean finish and add a moisture repellent to the legs and feet. Store on blocks in a shed so that its feet are off the ground.
Wooden Furnishings Care Plan
If you had wooden furniture that is made from a material other than cedar or teak, you can wash it with a bleach and water solution and then rinse and allow to thoroughly dry. Restore its finish and then apply a water repellent and a coat of wax to protect it.
If your furniture is made of cedar or teak, apply a solution of bleach and allow to act for a couple of days. Sand down the surfaces, apply China wood oil and then it is fine to leave outdoors in all weathers.
Plastic Furniture Storage
Wash down plastic items using soap and water and then rinse off. Plastic chairs and tables should be stored in a dry place where the temperature will not go below freezing.
If you follow this advice, your furniture will look wonderful when the spring comes around.
Rattan Direct wrote this post for Spring Cleaning Week, visit their website for more advice on looking after homeware, or to buy some quality rattan furniture for both indoor and outdoor spaces.
We all know how important it is to engage in spring-cleaning to give a rejuvenated spirit to our homes after a long winter. But in addition to keeping your home clean in the spring, there are other seasons when your house may need some extra care. One of these seasons is winter—for wintertime brings with it an entirely new way of keeping your home looking spotless and inviting.
When you think about it, having a clean home in the winter is extremely necessary, as you will be spending a majority of your time during the colder months indoors to stay warm. After the summer has ended, there is likely a problematic buildup of bacteria, dust, and dirt from all of the breezy days you spent enjoying the days with the windows opened. This means that you should be taking certain steps to preparing your home for winter in order to meet the same standards of your spring-cleaning efforts.
Here are 3 tips that will help get your home into tip-top shape for winter:
Clean and examine your heat source
One of the most important factors in living out the winter months comfortably is having an efficient, clean source of heat. Purchasing an innovative tankless water heater may be a smart move this winter, as they are better for the environment and can be installed in virtually any location of the house. This makes them a more functional option than traditional water heaters, which are bulky and can breakdown after ten years. You should also know the importance of flushing your water heater regularly in order to prevent blockages and keep it clean from calcium buildup.
Get your entryways winter-ready
So much dirt and grime from the winter is often dragged into the house directly at the entrances. One way that you can keep your house cleaner in the winter is to make sure that your entryways are winter-friendly with the help of certain tools and décor. Spruce up your entry with a heavy-duty rug or welcome mat that’ll soak up wetness and dirt from winter boots. You can even buy a boot scraper to help you clean your boots, or clear off a chair or bench in the entryway that can act as a rack for wet clothing.
Clean those windows before the snow comes
Some estimates show that dirty window glass can cut daylight by 20%. When the winter months are already a little more dreary and dark than the rest of the year, you will want to make sure that your house is getting as much natural light as possible. Thus, you will want to pay extra attention to cleaning your windows—indoor and outdoor—before the winter hits. Be sure to also wipe clean and polish the windows for the best chance at beating the winter blues.
So, by completing these 3 easy cleaning steps, you can prepare your home for the winter and meet the same standards that you hold dear during spring-cleaning for the best results.
There tends to be a list of things to clean for every part of the house, except for the outdoors, and especially water fountains. Considering that one in four British households spend close to £3,000 on their outdoor spaces, it deserves a good cleanup. While it’s easy to clean out the shed and coat the deck with some varnish, the outdoor fountain can be a tricky one. Small ones that are easy to disassemble are quick work, but what about the bigger ones? They will need a bit more effort.
Clean At the Right Time
It saves a lot of time when owners clean their fountain at the right time. According to the experts, autumn is the best time of year to take on the mammoth task. This is because the weather is suitable and it removes all the spring and summer growth. It also happens to be the time of year where critters and creatures are less active, which means disturbance is minimal. The growth of algae and other invaders also slow down during this period which leaves the fountain or pond fresh for spring.
Make Use of the Right Tools
It’s no fun to get tasked with a project that will take a great deal of time and not have the right tools. Not only will this make the task seem much longer than it should be, it will also prevent owners from prioritizing it again for the future. Pressure cleaners and firm, high-quality scrubbing brushes go a long way. As far as cleaning detergents are concerned, simple solutions often work best. Vinegar is a safe bet to use, especially when the fountain is a source of water or splashing for the local wildlife. It is also advisable to use distilled water in the fountain for those who want to keep the algae away.
Many Forget to Clean This Important Part
Believe it or not, the fountain pump can be described as an assembly point for all dirt and bacteria in an outdoor fountain. It doesn’t matter how clean the fountain is; if the pump is dirty the fountain is bound to be filthy again in no time. Scrub the pump with a brush and run under water to get rid of any debris.
The outdoor fountain is often a strong focal point in a garden and can add a sense of tranquility to an outdoor space. Dirty and murky water is not only unattractive to humans, and to the local wildlife as well. The regular maintenance and cleaning of a water fountain will not only ensure the longevity of the fountain but will keep it a pleasant addition to an outdoor space.
When you are spring cleaning your kitchen, think carefully about some of the damaging things that are often put down the drain. It may be “out of sight, out of mind”, but we need to think more about what we are doing not only to the pipes and drains, but also to the sewer system. The chemicals that we put into the country’s water system are causing damage to the environment and to wildlife. Here are some things that you definitely shouldn’t put down the drain.
Oil and grease
Oils, fats and grease are one of the most common things we will frequently wash away down the kitchen sink plughole. It might be a quick and easy way to get rid of them, but grease builds up on the inside of not only your sewer pipes, but further along the line. They can then block the entire plumbing system. Even if it is a little olive oil left from cooking, or a bit of butter, dispose of it in the main rubbish collection rather than putting it down the sink.
It is surprising how many people will tip unused medicines down the toilet or into the sink. Flushing medicines can put the environment at risk. There are concentrations of Naproxen, Ibruprofen, Carbamazepine, and even cocaine in U.K. water supplies. This poses a significant threat not only to us, but also other species in the lakes and seas.
Baby wipes, moist wipes and disinfectant wipes should never go down the toilet. These wipes do not break down in the water like toilet paper. They clog up the sewers, causing blocking and flooding.
Never put eggshells down your kitchen sink. They may seem harmless, but eggshells have a tendency to collect in the pipes. Eggshells help to bind together any grease, fats and oils that have gone down the drain, quickly causing a blockage.
Women’s Sanitary Products
Just like baby wipes, women’s sanitary products shouldn’t be put down the toilet. They expand with the addition of water and don’t break down. Instead keep a small bin in your bathroom to dispose of these.
The drain isn’t the place to put food waste, chemicals, solvents and kitchen towels. We need to take care of the sewer system, it is doing a great job of taking away waste, that doesn’t mean that we can put any old rubbish down there. Add “look after the drains” to your next Spring Cleaning list and you will have a lovely, clean house.
If you are an allergy sufferer who is planning a big cleaning task, you are likely dreading the chores that are going to cause an allergic reaction. Whether you are sensitive to chemicals or air pollutants (or a combination of the two), spring cleaning can be a challenging time for allergy sufferers. While it can be difficult, it is not impossible to avoid allergens during spring cleaning. If you are concerned about how to safely make it through, here are a few tips to follow for the best results.
Use allergy-friendly cleaning supplies
Many common ingredients found in cleaning supplies can trigger allergic reactions. Ammonia, formaldehyde, and sodium lauryl sulphate are just a few chemicals that should be avoided if you suffer from allergies. When stocking up on cleaning products for your spring chores, choose cleaners made from all-natural ingredients. Prefer to make DIY cleaning supplies? Most surfaces can be cleaned effectively by using ingredients you can find at home, such as lemon, water, vinegar, and natural dish soap.
Ensure proper ventilation and filters
Do airborne allergens cause problems for you? If so, the dust and other allergens released into the air while cleaning can be too much for some individuals to handle. To ensure that these airborne allergens are reduced as much as possible, open windows to allow them to escape.
Outsource specific cleaning tasks
If your allergies make you feel miserable, it might be time to outsource parts of your cleaning. Ask a family member or friend to complete the cleaning tasks that most aggravate your allergies. While the cleaning project is being performed, leave the house for a few hours.
Since you won’t be able to avoid cleaning your home, it is best to create a plan of attack for battling your spring cleaning allergies. Depending on the type(s) of allergies you experience, follow the strategies that apply to your situation. And don't forget to take any allergy medication that has been recommended or prescribed either. With a bit of planning and preparation, it is possible to avoid allergens during your spring cleaning.
Houzz kitchen trends for the UK show that granite is still one of the most popular worktop upgrades. Your granite countertop is a stunning element in your kitchen design that can last for many decades to come, and add value to your home IF you look after it properly.
However, you can't simply clean it the way you do other surfaces. Granite requires a bit of extra TLC to look its best and remain hygienic. Here are ways to make it sparkle during Spring Cleaning Week and beyond.
Avoid Abrasive Products
Granite is vulnerable to damage from harsh chemicals and cleaning cloths that scratch, so you want to avoid them when cleaning your countertop. Stick to a simple microfiber cloth and gentle dish soap that won't stain. Granite is porous which means that it can soak up spills that will stain its beautiful appearance over time. When cleaning your granite countertop, even DIY methods that make use of vinegar or lemon juice need to be avoided as they can make the stone look dull instead of vibrant. You want to preserve that wonderful texture for as long as possible.
Bring Out Its Natural Shine
Your kitchen countertop is where you handle and prepare food on a daily basis, so you want it to be clean and disinfected properly. A study found that 32 percent of kitchen countertops were found to have coliform bacteria, of which E.coli is a subgroup.
To prevent germs, mix together equal parts of water and 91 percent isopropyl alcohol. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and use it on your granite countertop. Leave it for a few minutes before rinsing it with water, then dry it with a microfibre cloth to prevent streaks.
Seal It To Keep It Clean
Every six to 12 months you should get your granite countertop sealed by a professional, or you can do it yourself with products from reputable hardware stores. Sealing granite helps to keep it in top condition while also preventing bacteria from seeping into any minute cracks and holes. It goes a long way to maintaining a germ-free and beautiful surface, which is of course what we all want.
Never Let Water Settle
You might not think it's a big deal if a few drops or streaks of water remain after you've cleaned your granite countertop, but these can cause a problem. When water rests on granite, it can get absorbed and cause stains or damage. This is why you should always dry your countertop with a microfibre cloth after cleaning it so that the surface is bone dry.
Granite is a natural stone that’s always in style in the kitchen, but you need to protect its lustre by cleaning it the right way. When sprucing up your kitchen, be sure to give your granite countertop the care it deserves - it’ll repay you by looking shiny and beautiful for years to come.
If you will soon be moving house, you might find yourself wondering whether you are expected to clean the place before you vacate. There is a bit of an overhanging question mark atop this one. Some would ask, why bother? You don’t live there anymore and it was clean enough (probably.) You have your new home to clean. But removal experts at Compare My Move suggest that there is a certain level of courtesy that should be adhered to. There is no legal obligation to clean your home before moving out but there is perhaps a moral obligation to do so. Think about how keen you are to get settled into your new home, your old home is the ‘new home’ to someone else and they're looking forward to moving in just as much as you are, so why not make the effort to give it one last clean before you go?
There are cleaning standards when it comes to moving house. All that is really necessary is a general standard of cleaning that everyone could and should follow. Just do the basics, that way, you can focus on all the many other jobs involved in a house move. Let’s face it, it’s a very busy time. Some people go a little further and will complete, what we will call a ‘gold’ standard of cleaning, and then there are the house gods and goddesses among us that won’t leave the home without applying anything less than a platinum standard of cleaning and courtesy. Let’s run through these standards below:
We will say that the general standard is what is ‘expected’ from a moral/courteous point of view. Basically, if you want to sleep well on your first night in your new home without wincing at the thought of a stranger cleaning the soap splash marks from the shower you had that morning, then you will do the basic level of cleaning:
There are some among us (and you know who you are) that can’t bear the thought of anybody thinking that you didn’t keep your home spotless. You will feel compelled to do more than is really necessary. But you now what? That’s really nice of you so, go ahead. If you feel like the place should be left in a great condition then you can go as far as to tick off the ‘General Standard’ list and on top of that:
Ok, so this is reserved for the ‘Bree Van De Kamps’ of the world. If you are a desperate housewife or desperate house husband for that matter, then you might want to go all out and treat the new occupants of your home to the platinum standard. This would involve everything on the general and the gold list plus:
This may all be a little over the top. At the very least, the decent thing to do is a quick clean or clean as you go along when you’re packing or loading up the truck on moving day. We have all done the stunned gasp when a sofa or side unit is moved and we see the colony of dust bunnies that appear to reside there. Quickly sweep or vacuum and just give the place a swift once-over.
When you get to your new home, you will be relieved to find that the previous owner there has extended the same courtesy to you. Finding a nice clean home that you can put your furniture straight into will make for a positive and happy moving day, and that’s why you should clean before moving house.
For more information on how to move house, visit the good people over at CompareMyMove.com, who wrote this guest blog.
Inspiring the UK to Spring Clean their homes and lives.