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.
Spring cleaning has been traced all the way back to 3000 years b.c. when it was an integral part of traditions to do with renewal. There are several cleaning traditions around this time of year that can traced back to different countries and cultures all around the world.
Traces of this cleaning ritual can be observed in the Iranian Festival of Nowruz, also known as the Persian New Year. This festivity begins on the first day of spring (March 21st). To prepare for Norouz, the Iranian population practices "khooneh tekouni", which translates as “shaking the house”. This ritual includes thorough cleaning of all rooms and surfaces in the household and is believed to be the predecessor of modern spring cleaning.
For some, this rigorous form of cleaning originated from an ancient Jewish custom that involved a thorough cleaning of the house. This was done in order to prepare for Passover – a springtime feast generally held at the beginning of April. For the duration of this holiday, it is strictly forbidden to eat any sort of leavened food, “chametz” crumbs included. Spring cleaning is therefore done to eliminate all traces of this food from the home.
Ninyabaat is a holiday that the Chinese celebrate just before the Chinese New Year arrives. Usually, the festivities take the country by storm on the 28th day of the 12th month of the Lunar calendar.
The point of this festivity is to cleanse the Chinese home from any bad luck or misfortune. It also involves throwing rubbish and broken household items away. Sweeping, however, is strictly forbidden as you may accidentally “sweep away” your good fortune. When everything is sparkling clean, the Chinese hang paper couplets that are said to attract fortune and good luck.
So we've decluttered and dusted and we've washed, wiped, and waved goodbye to our surplus stuff during National Spring Cleaning Week. If you’re now eager to see how you can keep your home clean and tidy, then take a look at APDO member Chrissy Halton of Innerspace ID's 3 favourite tips to help you see long lasting results after your deep clean. After all – you’ve put in all the hard work to really tackle your home from start to finish, it would be a shame to waste your efforts by not making it last as long as possible. Let's get going, shall we....
So you've heard it's National Spring Cleaning Week this week and somehow it’s Friday already. If you haven’t lifted your little finger (let alone an entire marigold glove) to start your spring clean, then APDO member Jules Langford (Clutter to Cleared) gives us a light-hearted look at making the task more palatable this weekend. It's a real sweet treat! Tuck in!
Jules is based in Croydon but you can find APDO Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers throughout the UK using the Find An Organiser search tool.
So you've been working your way through the house this week for National Spring Cleaning Week but have you remembered everything? APDO member Mona Kay (The Organising Ninja) gives us a quick reminder on some of the most easily overlooked parts in our homes and how to tackle them most effectively. Watch out! She leaves no stone unturned!
Mona is based in Nottingham covering the East Midlands but you can find APDO Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers throughout the UK using the Find An Organiser search tool.
Inspiring the UK to Spring Clean their homes and lives.