A can of cola isn’t what you would normally reach for first when looking to clean your home, but it is among the household items recommended by Alice Beer. In a segment for This Morning, the cleaning expert explained how items you already have could save you a fortune on specialist products and even dry cleaning bills. Savvy cleaners have turned to hairspray in the past to remove pen stains from fabrics, such as soft furnishings or clothes. This is no longer the hero product it used to be, as manufacturers of the styling staple have changed the recipes to avoid drying out a user’s hair. This means it contains less alcohol, which was the magic ingredient to shift stains.
Beer recommends hand sanitiser instead, which famously contains alcohol and there’s a good chance that most people will have a small bottle of it in the house already. She says that even the darkest of pen stains can be removed by rubbing in a small amount of the sanitiser and then putting it in the washing machine. When it comes to grease stains, Beer suggests using a can of cola. Even white items, such as a school shirt, can be returned to their former glory by being soaked in the fizzy drink. Simply leave the item submerged in the cola for 45 minutes before washing it as normal and the grease will disappear.
Even Beer has been amazed by how well the techniques have worked, as she picked them up from other cleaning experts. She said: “That was a really surprising one; I didn’t think that one would work,” when commenting on the cola hack. Dirty trainers are a common problem and even after washing them, they can often retain marks for the rest of their useful life. Adding half a cup of vinegar to the drum of the machine can be the difference between tired looking shoes and a pair of trainers that have been returned to their former state.
Once they come out of the washing machine, Beer added that it is a good idea to fill them with scrunched-up newspaper. Not only will this help to absorb the excess water and therefore facilitate quicker drying, but the shoes will retain their shape. Other shoes can benefit from life hacks too, but Beer could not tell hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield anything they didn’t already know about combatting scuffs on black shoes. Both of the presenters admitted they have used a marker pen to colour in areas that have become worn on smart shoes.
While it’s worth giving some of these solutions a try, sometimes one or two hacks won’t do and you need to call in the professionals. If that sounds like your situation, then FastKlean and its team of cleaners are on hand to ensure that those stubborn stains are shifted and your house is left nice and clean again.
Do you have any tried and tested life hacks that use unexpected household items to clean your home? Let us know in the comments.
You’ve swept and mopped the floor, wiped down the worktops, cleaned out the fridge and even given the sink a good scrub after you’ve finished with it so that everything in your kitchen is gleaming. You put the cloths you’ve used under the sink for next time and breathe a sigh of relief that that’s it for another week and your kitchen is now free from germs.
Or is it? Not according to the results of a recent investigation carried out for the BBC’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor series.
Dishcloths: The dirtiest thing in your kitchen?
Working alongside scientists from Northumbria University, the programme team conducted an experiment that saw three families given a removable worktop to use in their kitchens and keep clean with antibacterial wipes, taking regular swabs from the surface. These were then tested in the lab. Microbial physiologist Lynn Dover explained: “The first samples we looked at were taken one hour after the worktop had been wiped, and there was already evidence of bacteria and fungal growth.”
This, therefore, indicates that wipes intended for cleaning surfaces like kitchen worktops barely kill germs. If signs of reappearance are there within an hour, what’s it going to be like several days after you’ve done the housework? Dr Dover then looked at samples taken 12 hours after cleaning and found “quite dramatic growth” of “lots of different types of fungi”.
The dangers of reusing dishcloths
People often reuse the wipes and cloths that they clean their kitchen with, storing them under the sink from week to week. As a result, this suggests that these storage areas could be being turned into a potentially dangerous breeding ground for bacteria too, while germs could be getting spread across the home each time the housework is done. In fact, additional research carried out at the University of Arizona found that there are around ten million bacteria on each square inch of sponge and approximately one million germs on every square inch of dishcloth.
Therefore, this means that kitchen sponges are on average 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat – you don’t want to be spreading all those germs across your kitchen now, do you? But can you really be expected to be wiping down surfaces every couple of hours, using a new cloth each time? That would be a lot of work, but is it the only answer to keeping germs and bacteria at bay? Luckily, it’s not.
What’s the solution?
Using natural disinfectants that have not been diluted with anything can be a much more effective tactic for killing germs than using shop-bought products. For example, vinegar naturally contains acetic acid, which can help to keep bacteria at bay. Of course, you’ll still have to use a cloth to apply the vinegar with though, so the best thing to do is to keep your dishcloth as dry as possible – germs love moisture – and bleach it at least once a week. If you’re especially worried about germs and aren’t sure you’re going to do the best job at removing them from your kitchen work surfaces or cloths, our team of experienced professional cleaners at FastKlean are always here to help thoroughly clean your home. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
The bathroom is typically most people’s least favourite room of the house to clean. With stubborn limescale in the bath, a shower door that’s impossible to get streak-free, hair stuck in plug holes and shaving remnants in the sink, it’s a fairly grim task. And that’s without even mentioning the toilet. But we all know how important it is to keep the bathroom as clean and hygienic as possible; after all, we can’t exactly feel clean if we’re washing in a dirty room. If you despise this chore though, you can find yourself putting it of for weeks on end, fuelling the spread of germs.
Calling in a professional cleaning service like the one that we provide at FK Domestics can take this much-hated household task off your hands. We’ll leave your bath, shower, sink, loo and bathroom floor looking sparkling, but it’ll still be up to you to look after other bits in the room. Surely that’s everything though, right? Wrong – you need to remember the little things too, or you could be putting your and your family’s health at serious risk.
How clean is your rubber duck?
Rubber ducks might look cute and simply seem like a bit of bathtime fun, but they could contain enough bacteria to make you seriously ill, according to a recent study. Research carried out by scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, ETH Zurich and the University of Illinois has found that rubber ducks can contain enough harmful microbes to make a person very ill.
These toys can sit in a bathroom for months or years without ever being cleaned, picking up various germs along the way, meaning that when they are immersed in bathwater and then squeezed, they can expel water that’s horribly dirty and packed with potentially harmful bacteria. Speaking to the Guardian, lead author of the research Lisa Neu explained: “One of the reasons was the material because it releases carbon that can serve as food for the bacteria.” This is a pretty alarming finding, especially if you’ve never given the cleanliness of your children’s bath toys a second thought before now. Keeping rubber ducks clean or replacing them regularly can help to combat the problem though.
Danger: Hidden bathroom bacteria
Following the publication of the rubber duck study, BBC News published an article looking at the other unexpected areas of a bathroom that can harbour large volumes of bacteria.Professor John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology at Queen Mary University in London, commented: “The bathroom is quite a tricky spot from a hygiene point of view. “People spend a lot of time on cleaning the toilet, but it would be good if everyone spent more attention on the bathroom and using disinfectant sprays to clean it.”
So which other spots do you need to make sure you remember when cleaning your bathroom? One is your bar of soap. While you might use it to keep yourself clean, it’s a little like your rubber duck in that it can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, meaning you might not be keeping yourself as clean as you think – especially if you share the bar with someone else. It’s a similar story with towels – never share one with another person, and consider putting a supply of paper towels instead of a hand towel for people to dry their hands on. Keeping towels next to a radiator for warmth can encourage bacteria to grow and spread, so it’s best avoided.
Gender inequality is still a major issue when it comes to who does the chores at home, a new report has revealed. Even when a woman has just had a baby or is juggling work and family commitments at the same time, she will still typically do significantly more housework than her male partner. This was even found to be the case when the man had more free time, the study carried out by researchers from Ohio State University in the US found.
How much housework do both men and women do?
The study concentrated on how much housework both men and women did in the first three months after the birth of their first child, analysing their activities minute by minute – the first piece of research to take this approach. At times when one partner took charge of the baby, leaving the other to enjoy some ‘me time’, it was found that women spent an average of 46 to 49 minutes relaxing while their partner did chores. In contrast, when men were given time to themselves, they spent 101 minutes chilling out while their female partners did the housework, highlighting a significant gender disparity when it comes to domestic tasks.
But is this because men are simply more efficient and can complete the cleaning quicker? Is it because women believe they will conform to unfair ‘useless’ stereotypes so want to spend more time on chores themselves? Or is there an underlying problem surrounding outdated gender expectations?
How is this disparity affecting households?
Commenting on the findings of the research, lead author Claire Kamp Dush stated: “It’s frustrating. Household tasks and childcare are still not being shared equally, even among couples who we expected would have more egalitarian views of how to share parenting duties.” However, she acknowledged that further studies are needed to look at this issue in more depth, as every household’s circumstances and reasons for chore inequality will be different. In some homes, work commitments or other factors will simply make more sense for the woman to do the majority of the cleaning, cooking and childcare, but in some, it will not and there could be resentment building. “It is a small sample,” Ms Kamp Dush added. “It is not the definitive answer and is mostly relevant to similar couples. But we need to look into this further and understand how dual-earner couples are sharing housework and childcare.”
Ms Kamp Dush suggests that couples have a discussion early on about how they are going to split chores once their baby arrives to prevent these issues from arising in the first place. However, in households where chore inequality continues to be an issue, hiring a professional cleaning company could help to shelve this resentment. Asking for help from a cleaner as a baby shower gift or after a new arrival has been born could also be a good idea to prevent arguments in those first few months with a newborn, allowing everyone time to get settled.
Contact the FK Domestics team today to find out more about our household cleaning services.
Keeping a house clean and tidy isn’t just a positive step from an aesthetic perspective: it can also make your home a happier, healthier place to live, while keeping you fit and full of energy. Clearing up the dust, the clutter and the grime can make a house more hygienic, in addition to improving your mental wellbeing by making your living environment less chaotic. It can also be quite a workout, as anyone who’s spent hours scrubbing a floor or moving furniture around can attest! However, it’s also worth remembering that everyday cleaning activities can carry a risk of causing injuries or ailments if you’re not careful enough. Fortunately, these are easily avoided, but it’s still important to bear these risks in mind when thinking about the best way to tackle a large-scale spring clean.
Pay attention to the cleaning supplies you’re using
When you’re trying to shift stubborn grime, it’s a good idea to have a good stock of cleaning supplies on hand – but it’s also vital to educate yourself on the ingredients and use them in a safe and responsible way. Products such as bleach and disinfectants can cause damage or irritation to the skin and eyes, or can give off fumes that can become dangerous with prolonged exposure – such as when you’re spending hours in the same room, using products like these to clean surfaces. As such, you’ll need to pay attention to the best methods of using each of these substances and take care not to overdo it. It may also be worth thinking about whether there might be safer options, such as steam-cleaning, or natural ingredients like baking soda and vinegar.
Remember the importance of good ventilation
Making sure the area you’re cleaning is well-ventilated can play a big part in reducing your exposure to chemical fumes while working, but it’s also advisable for those with a sensitivity to dust. After all, any thorough cleaning process is bound to kick up a lot of dust, which can reduce you to a coughing, spluttering mess in no time at all – especially if you happen to have an easily-aggravated allergy. Besides, having a pleasant breeze blowing through your home isn’t just the safe thing to do: it can make the entire environment feel that bit fresher and cleaner.
Look after your posture
Cleaning a house can be a lot more physically taxing than many people realise, especially if you’re spending long periods of time hunched over or reaching into distant, dusty corners. The last thing you want after a long cleaning session is a sprain or a backache, so make sure you don’t spend too much time in a contorted position, and take regular breaks to reduce the strain on your body. When trying to reach a high-up area, meanwhile, you should take the time to find a stepping stool, rather than stretching uncomfortably. It is also worth remembering to try and use both your hands while working, as using only one side of your body can exacerbate the risk of a repetitive strain injury.
Do it regularly
One of the best ways to make sure that your cleaning efforts are as risk-free as possible is to stay on top of things; after all, when you clean regularly, you’ll have less to do each time, and less need to really throw yourself into an all-day session.
For those who don’t have the time to keep up with a consistent cleaning schedule, it may also be worth considering hiring a professional cleaner – which is, of course, the most risk-free option of all! Contact our team today to find out more about how our household cleaning services can help you.
Many recipes out there promise to give you the perfect cleaning mix, comprised of using together two or more cleaning products. The battle against dirt, stains and other spoils is never-ending, and so are the home cleaning solutions people use.
It is, however, necessary to understand that some cleaning products are never meant to be mixed. What is more, using them together could produce catastrophic results for your health and the environment in your home.
Be aware of these combinations and never mix the following products:
Bleach and ammonia – this combination is hazardous because it creates toxic chloramine vapours. Inhaling that could lead to serious health problems, including throat burns and respiratory trouble. To avoid this, you must carefully read the labels on the products. If they contain ammonia and bleach, you must never mix them. Keep in mind that many pipe cleaners contain bleach, so do not use ammonia-based products with them.
Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide – by combining vinegar with hydrogen peroxide you create peracetic/corrosive acid. The resulting irritant ingredient can harm your eyes, throat, nose, skin and lungs. Now, you know well that the two of these make for indispensable cleaning products. Using them one after the other is okay, i.e. applying one on a surface, waiting some time for it dry and then applying the other. Mixing them in a single container is a no-go option.
Bleach and vinegar – you should know that mixing any acidic product with bleach is going to release toxic gases in the form of chloramine and chlorine. These cause a chemical burn in your eyes and lungs and are considered quite dangerous.
Toilet bowl cleaner and bleach – usually, when you mix a toilet bowl cleaner with an acidic formula-based product, you get a product that releases toxic fumes. These can cause watery eyes and various breathing problems, which you will surely want to avoid.
Bleach and rubbing alcohol – this combination is probably the most dangerous one exposed so far. When mixed, bleach and rubbing alcohol (isopropyl- or ethanol-based liquid) create chloroform. Small doses of it can make you quite dizzy and nauseous. Substantial levels of it are even more dangerous, as it targets the nervous system, lungs, liver, skin and eyes. It is not farfetched to say that the risk of death due to chloroform is real and it is there. Under no circumstances should you ever mix rubbing alcohol with bleach. Don’t even use them separately on the same spot, just to be safe.
Two different brands of drain cleaners – if your drain is severely clogged, you may think that it is okay to use two different brands of drain cleaners. It is a mistake. Not only can this produce chlorine gas, but there is also a chance of explosion. The formulas drain cleaners utilise are quite different, and many of them don’t work well together. Never mix them in the same bottle or even use one right after the other.
Now that you know what combination of cleaning products to avoid, you can focus on recipes that help home cleaning efforts. Stay safe.
Cleaning your bathroom is probably one of your least favorite chores, especially if you think you have to rely on harsh chemical cleaners to get the job done. Toss out those old cleaners and do yourself a favor. These all-natural, completely healthy cleaning options will make cleaning your bathroom a lot more pleasant. They won’t guarantee that the men in your house put the toilet seat down, but with these cleaners, you can guarantee that you won’t be exposing yourself and your family to toxic chemicals.
All-natural tub cleaner
If you have a spray bottle and some everyday household items, you could whip up a spray cleaner that tackles even the dirtiest, grimiest tubs. Combine 1 ⅔ cup of baking soda with ½ cup liquid castile soap and ½ cup of distilled water in a spray bottle. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar, replace the lid, and shake well. If you want a fresh scent, add 10-15 drops of essential oils like tea tree or lavender before you shake it.
Spray your solution on your tub, shower, and tiles. It should cut through the grime to make for an easier cleanup. Of course, if you’re in a hurry and don’t mind the smell of vinegar, you can sprinkle baking soda on the surface of the tub and spritz the vinegar on for a quick, but thorough, scrubbing.
If you have a drop in tub with a stone surround you should not use this particular cleaner on the stone. While perfectly safe for an enamel tub, the vinegar and essential oils can slowly do damage to stones like granite and marble. Try this stone safe alternative from Architypes instead.
Grout cleaner sans ‘the bad stuff’
If you’ve ever read the label on most commercial grout cleaners, you probably had a headache afterwards. And that’s before you’ve even opened the bottle and smelled the fumes! Skip the bleach and harsh chemicals and use harmless substances like baking soda, vinegar, salt, and water to bring your grout back to its full glory.
Baking soda–Simply sprinkle the baking soda onto the grout and work in using a damp brush. If the grout is vertical, make a paste of baking soda and water or even baking soda and white vinegar to clean those hard to reach places.
Vinegar–Spray a mixture of one part white vinegar to one part distilled water directly onto your tiles and grout. Let it sit for several minutes, then scrub with a sponge and rinse.
Salt and water–Salt kills simple microorganisms, like the ones that grow on your grout and cause discoloration. This works best on flat surfaces, but you can try it on your walls, too. Just dampen the area you want to clean, then sprinkle any coarse salt, like Epsom salts, onto the area. Rub the salt into the grout, then leave it overnight. When you clean the salt up the next day, the stains should be gone.
Natural tile cleaner
Tiles can get grungy over time, especially if they’re in the shower or on the backsplash of your sink. All that moisture can lead to some icky buildup, but you can wash that ick right off with the right ingredients.
The castile soap and water cleaner you used on your tub can also work wonders on your tiles. If your bathtub area is tiled, just use the multipurpose cleaner on both areas. That will save you lugging around twice the cleaning supplies!
If your bathroom floor is ceramic tile, you have several great options. For stains, try using fresh lemon juice and baking soda. Just sprinkle baking soda on the stained tile, then add the lemon juice and scrub gently. Lemon juice is a great stain fighter and it makes the whole room smell fresh, too.
Borax is a naturally occurring mineral that is useful for far more than just making slime (though if you have kids, that’s probably what they use it for). It can clean your tiles while disinfecting and deodorizing them. It can irritate your skin if it comes into prolonged contact, so you might want to wear gloves for this one. Just sprinkle it onto the area you need to clean, then scrub with a damp sponge until your tiles are clean.
If you want to use borax to sanitize your entire floor, mix ½ cup of borax into 2 gallons of hot water. Mop the floor with the solution–there’s no need to rinse it away when you finish. Borax is very versatile and you can use it to clean all sorts of areas around the home.
Natural cleaning solutions aren’t difficult to use. In fact, they’re almost easier to use than regular commercial cleaning solutions. Once you try these natural cleaning options, you may never use harsh chemicals to clean again.
Scott Jenkins has a degree in Architectural Engineering and 10+ years working as an architects field representative. When he isn’t busy maintaining the Architypes website he’s driving his kids to and from their daily activities or making another attempt at solving today’s crossword puzzle.
It’s easy to overlook certain parts of your premises when you’re giving it a spring clean? After all, there’s only so much time in the day and we don’t want to spend every free second dusting and scrubbing.
But ultimately, this means that some parts of the property end up pretty neglected, and who’s to know what kind of bugs and germs that is inviting into these areas.
As much as you might not like to think about this too deeply, a study by web-blinds.com has lifted the lid on exactly where these places are. Some 42 per cent of people admitted they don’t clean underneath their sofa, a worrying statistic given how often their lounge will be used for everything from relaxing to eating meals.
Behind the toilet was also found to be a highly neglected area, with 37 per cent not cleaning up here. This was followed by 34 per cent admitting they don’t clean inside the fridge and 32 per cent saying they don’t clean inside the oven. Given that hygiene is critical in a food preparation and storage environment, this is another particularly worrying statistic.
Other commonly overlooked areas include behind the TV cabinet or stand (26 per cent) and underneath the bed (23 per cent), along with on top of shelves and wardrobes (22 per cent) and stairs and bannisters (17 per cent).
Next, 14 per cent revealed they never clean their skirting boards and 11 per cent overlook their windows and window sills. So if people don’t feel they have the time or the inclination to clean these corners of the home even on a semi-regular basis, what options are open to them?
Well, they could bring in a professional cleaning service rather than do it themselves, as experienced specialists will have the knowledge and resources to really do a great job of cleaning these overlooked areas. It will mean those parts of the house that are ignored all too often will get the attention they deserve and that you’ll avoid any nasty surprises further down the line.
If your weekly schedule is packed, it is likely that the only time you got left to clean is on the weekend. As such, you need to ensure you make the most of it. Effective home cleaning comes with proper preparation.
While it can get small tasks done, cleaning without a plan and proper preparation process is not the best way to take on this challenge. Investing the time and effort to acquire all of the needed tools is the best case scenario.
Here is what you need to do to clean properly:
Get in the right headspace – efficiently cleaning has a lot to do with how you view the task and how motivated you feel. Cleaning just to get things done is not the right approach. You must remind yourself of all the benefits of cleaning and more willingly engage in the various chores that constitute home cleaning. While it is true that cleaning is no fun, you can at least achieve something productive while at it: sanitising your home and making it a better place to live. Consider these advantages and stay on top of your cleaning chores.
Acquire enough free time – if you are hard pressed by time, you can hardly hope to achieve anything. You will rush through your chores and deal with large part of them in a rather ineffective manner. It is best to set aside a few hours on your weekend and know that during this time you will do cleaning and nothing else. It will help you get stuff done without distractions and without rushing through.
Make a cleaning schedule – a cleaning schedule allows you to determine what chores there are left and how long it will take you to deal with them. It also makes it possible to plan accordingly for the task at hand and get help if you need it.
Prepare your cleaning tools – often you may lose cleaning motivation before you even begin to clean. If your cleaning tools are scattered all over the place, you may even not be able to find what to clean with. To make your efforts as effective as possible, you can collect your cleaning equipment in a caddy beforehand. This will save you time and effort during your cleaning session.
Do a quick declutter – excessive clutter will significantly hinder your cleaning efforts. It will get in the way and turn what is often a simple task into a problematic and annoying chore. It is best to invest a few minutes in picking up things that do not belong in their rightful place to clear the way for some serious cleaning next. It can ease your cleaning efforts a lot.
Take these preparation steps to ensure that your cleaning efforts are well rewarded. Remember: each of them can make your home cleaning tasks a little easier.
The bathroom is a part of the house that is guaranteed to be used several times a day. And since it’s a place where the environmental conditions are going to be different to those in the rest of your house, it’s a special case when it comes to keeping it clean. After all, it gets hot and steamy every time you have a shower or run a bath, and this has an effect on the fixtures and fittings in the room. You, need to do everything you can to keep it clean and hygienic day after day. So we thought we would put together a few bathroom cleaning tips to help you keep your bathroom looking and feeling great.
Simply follow the routine:
Wipe your bathroom sink once a week
This essential part of the bathroom gets regular use, from everyone washing their hands after going to the loo, splashing your face after shaving or when you’re brushing your teeth. So don’t let dirt and grime build up here if you want to stay clean and healthy and wipe down your sink at least once a week. It only takes a minute so it’s no major drain on your time, which means there’s really no excuse for not doing it.
Use an extractor fan
An extractor fan is crucial if you want to stop mould and mildew building up in your bathroom, as it sucks out all the steam from your bath or shower unit and helps to keep moisture at a minimum. Many extractor fans automatically stay on for a few minutes after you’ve turned it off to make sure the moisture doesn’t linger, but if yours doesn’t, then make a point of leaving it switched on for a short time.
Wipe down surfaces after a bath or shower
Again, to stop moisture seeping into awkward areas, it really helps to make sure all the hard surfaces, from tiles to shower screens, are properly wiped down after the bath or shower has been used.
Give the bathroom a once-over every week
We’d recommend that a bathroom needs a fairly thorough clean about once a week, so get out the bathroom cleaner and spray your bathtub and tiled walls and give it a good spray and wipe. The bathroom cleaner will really help to get rid of any dirt that has built up in certain areas over the last few days.
Use bleach when necessary
Don’t be afraid of using a tougher cleaning agent if you really need to. For instance, if mildew builds up on the shower head, then use a proper mildew remover or some bleach so you can get rid of it properly.
Bring in a professional cleaning service
If cleaning the bathroom on a regular basis is too much for you, there’s always the option of hiring professional cleaners to do the job instead. Since they will be applying their specialist knowledge and experience, as well as using professional equipment, you can be confident they will do a more thorough job than you could ever manage on your own.