Cleaning Tips

If you have the time, here are some handy cleaning tips using mostly natural products. It also provides insight into how we clean people's homes.

From Top to Bottom cleaning:

Organisation
Dusting
Cobwebs
Picture Frames
Pet Hair
Floors
Vacuum
Carpets
Kitchen
Bathroom
Chrome
Windows
Computers
Cleaning Supplies

Organisation

  • Always tidy first. Collect newspapers and place in the recycle bin, pick up loose toys and place shoes in their rightful place.
  • To keep your dressing table tidy and easier to clean, place all small perfumes and personal care items in a decorative basket, in a stylish box or on a tray.
  • Picking up and putting things away can take a lot of time and detract from the task of actually cleaning. If this is the case, establish a house rule to encourage everyone in the household to always put things away after they have finished with them.
  • If you have children why not ask them to help with a basic cleaning routine. Regularly following a routine will develop good organised habits in your children and will reduce the stress caused by reminding your children to tidy their room or doing it all yourself.
  • A toy chest is an ideal place to store toys and games. Plastic bins, boxes or baskets that can be stored in a cupboard or underneath the bed are a perfect way to eliminate clutter.
  • Keep a separate bathroom cleaning kit to store all the cleaning liquids and equipment together in one place. Make sure it is kept out of reach of small children.
  • Items that have not been used in a long time may be taking up valuable space. If you will never use them, don’t keep them. Why not donate them to charity or sell them at a car boot sale.
  • To stop magazines and newspapers piling up re-evaluate your subscriptions and cancel those you no longer read. This is a quick way to save money and time by decluttering your home on a long-term basis. Use a magazine rack or designated area to keep the ones you do want.

Dusting

  • Always dust first and vacuum second. Bits of dust and dirt that fall to the floor will then be collected by the vacuum cleaner.
  • A damp microfiber cloth is the best sort for dusting. It must be clean and soft. Spray with a light mist of water from a spray bottle. The cloth should be just damp enough to pick up dust without leaving moisture streaks. This method is not only effective but it is very environmentally friendly as no polish or other cleaning liquids are required.
  • Make sure light bulbs are cold before dusting with a damp cloth, otherwise the bulb could shatter.
  • To remove dust from louvered doors, telephone buttons, carved furniture, etc, dampen a clean, soft paintbrush.
  • Clean blinds by closing the slants, dust, close the slants the opposite way and dust again. For heavier layers of dust, place a damp cloth over your hand and pinch each slat between you thumb and fingers and carefully run your hand across the length of each slat. For thin, metal blinds this is not recommended as they could get bent.
  • To avoid streaks on wood surfaces, always wipe with the grain.

Cobwebs

  • A clean lightly dampened cloth tied around the handle of your mop or broom will take care of cobwebs. This can be cleaned more easily and re-used, rather than using a feather or synthetic stick duster which collects dust and is harder to clean and store.

Picture Frames

  • When cleaning pictures, always spray glass cleaner on your cloth and never directly on the glass. This prevent seepage under the glass that could damage the picture. Wipe the top of the frame first, down the sides and across the bottom.
  • The same applies to mirrors.

Pet Hair

  • A damp cloth or rubber glove will remove pet hair from furniture upholstery. Make sure the cloth or gloves are clean first.
  • Using appropriate attachments on the vacuum cleaner hose will also remove hair effectively.

Floors

  • Sweep or vacuum floors thoroughly first to collect crumbs, dirt and dust before mopping. Start washing the floor in the farthest corner of the room and work your way towards the door or work around the sink area if you need to rinse your mop head or refill a bucket of water. If you have to walk over your clean floor to get to the sink and then leave the room, give the floor one quick once over to remove your foot prints. Then leave the mop at the door until the floor is dry.
  • Use a cloth on the end of a mop or broom handle to reach into narrow spaces.
  • Vacuum or sweep the bathroom floor to collect any loose hair, dust and dirt before washing the floor. Remove mats, wastebaskets and any other items sitting on the floor that may get in the way.
  • Ensure that the correct vacuum attachment is used for the specific floor surface you are cleaning. This is important as the wrong setting can damage hard floors and carpets.
  • Place a mat inside and outside each entrance to your home to reduce the dirt that is brought in on shoes and boots. Keep these mats clean to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Never leave wet cloths, bottles, buckets, or damp mops on furniture, hardwood floors, carpet or marble. Protect your floors and furniture by preventing surface damage.

Vacuum cleaning

  • To maintain maximum suction on your vacuum cleaner, change the vacuum bag as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • To check for a blockage, disconnect the hose and then drop a coin down the hose. If the coin falls out it is unlikely that your hose is the problem. Poor suction is often a sign that the hose is blocked.
  • Before vacuuming, look underneath furniture to prevent the vacuum cleaner picking up small items such as keys, toys, jewellery, coins, etc which could then block the hose.

Carpets

  • To remove red wine spills from carpets we recommend 2001 carpet cleaner and follow the instructions on the bottle. Alternatively for an eco-friendly option, douse with soda water then dab with layers of paper towel. Continue until no colour shows on the paper towel.
  • A good vacuum cleaner will get virtually all of the dirt out of your carpet, from the base upwards, whereas a full carpet cleaning system will remove the discolouring from the pile. It will not act in place of a vacuum cleaner and should not penetrate below the base - a soaking carpet goes mouldy very quickly.

Kitchen

  • To soften food stuck to the inside of the microwave, fill a cup with water and microwave on high for a few minutes. The steam will loosen any baked on food so you can easily wipe it away.
  • Regularly launder dish cloths, and microwave damp sponges in the microwave on high for several minutes to kill bacteria as dish cloths and sponges can be incubators for germs.
  • Appliances that hang under cabinets save both space and time, as cleaning under them is no longer an issue.
  • To tackle a heavy build-up of limescale around your taps, wrap paper towel around the base areas of the taps where the limescale usually gathers. Add hot vinegar onto the paper towel sheets until they are saturated. Leave for about an hour, then rinse thoroughly and buff to a shine. This should not be attempted on taps or showers that are plated as the vinegar will ruin the plating.
  • Soak burner rings and drip pans from the stove in a sink full of hot, soapy water. This will loosen the dirt and make them easier to clean. If your sink is not big enough, invest in a tray/ oven rack soaker from Lakeland.
  • Spray oven racks in a large tray soaker for easier cleaning.
  • Oven cleaning: A national household survey commissioned on behalf of the UK's leading household towel, Bounty revealed that cleaning the oven is officially the nation's worst task, with 40% of the vote. It even topped scrubbing the toilet, which surprisingly came second in the opinion poll with just 18%.
  • Leaving the hob to soak gets it quickly and efficiently free from grease. This will also reduce the temptation to use a scourer which will scratch the surface.
  • Steam can be used to clean ovens but will need mopping up as fast as the water appears. Steam softens but doesn't remove the grease. Clean your oven with a strong detergent in hot water after each use, not once a year. That way you can eliminate the use of harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals.
  • To clean solid silver cutlery (not plated silver) line a plastic bowl with aluminium foil, shiny side up. Put a mug full of soda crystals in the bowl and add sufficient hot water to immerse the cutlery. Put your rubber gloves on, drop in the cutlery and see the cutlery turn a beautiful bright shade in a couple of minutes. Rinse under a warm tap until no soda remains on them. Buff to a high shine with a cloth.

Bathroom

  • Use a toothbrush for hard to reach areas such as around the taps and the base of shower screens
  • To avoid odours in your wastebasket, add a fabric softener sheet.
  • Rub a small amount of glycerin into the surface of mirrors that are foggy. This is a quick and easy way to revive a mirror.
  • A window squeegee used on the shower screen and tile walls after each shower will slow the formation of water spots on the surface. It also keeps your shower looking cleaner for longer.
  • Shower heads can get blocked up by limescale. To unblock, remove and soak the head in boiling water and vinegar. If your shower head is not removable fill a bowl with hot white vinegar and immerse the shower head in the bowl. Tape the bowl in place using masking tape, this will not spoil the chrome. Leave it for no longer than one hour. Then use an old tooth brush and scrub the shower head. Remember to run the shower to rinse and remove any excess vinegar from the shower head and anywhere that the vinegar has dripped around the shower tray, bath or on the tiles. Wipe the outside of the shower head with a wet cloth and buff to a shine using a dry cloth.
  • To tackle a heavy build-up of limescale around your taps, wrap paper towel around the base areas of the taps where the limescale usually gathers. Add hot vinegar onto the paper towel sheets until they are saturated. Leave for about an hour, then rinse thoroughly and buff to a shine. This should not be attempted on taps or showers that are plated as the vinegar will ruin the plating.
  • Baths are easily scratched and the shine ruined no matter what they are made of. Avoid abrasive cleaning products and rough cloths. Use a cream cleaner, specially designed for use in the bath together with microfiber cloth.
  • Don’t be tempted to scrub the red or pink marks that often appear in the bath. They are stubborn but a little cream cleaner and a gentle rub will remove them. An abrasive scourer will not remove them and will scratch your bath. These marks are usually from painted toe and finger nails or children’s bath-time toys.

Chrome

  • A dry, clean microfiber cloth will dry and polish chrome to a shine.

Windows

  • When cleaning windows, wipe the inside horizontally and wipe the outside vertically. This is handy when checking for streaks as it will be easy to determine which side they are on.
  • Many environmentally friendly glass cleaners are very good. We recommend Ecover Window and Glass Cleaner. It smells lovely too. If there are any streaks left use a completely dry cloth to finish off.

Computers

  • Your computer can be cleaned regular using a damp microfiber cloth. On screens, a dry cloth will be required to ensure a steak-free finish and to ensure the screen surface does not get damaged.
  • To clean the casing use a damp cloth and wipe over any external parts of the computer, the cabling and the base of the keyboard. Do not use excess water and do not try to push water into the vents in the casings.
  • Do not use excess water on the keyboard keys. Many soft vacuum cleaner attachments can be used on keyboards. This will quickly remove dust without damaging the surface or functionality of the computer.
  • Ensure that the vents around the casing. By keeping dust out of the inside of the case and around the fans, you will prevent your computer from overheating and therefore damaging the components.

Cleaning Supplies

  • We recommend using ecologically friendly products to reduce the impact of harsh chemicals on the environment.
  • For your safety, never mix two cleaning products together.
  • Limit your cleaning products to a quality all-purpose cleaner, limescale remover, window and glass cleaner, cream cleaner and a toilet bowl cleaner.

If there is something specific you would like cleaning tips for, please email freya@shinecleanpristine.co.uk and we will do our best to help.