Posts

Cleaning your TV Screen for Christmas telly

Ever tried to clean your TV screen and been left with more streaks and marks than when you started? This is for you.

It’s not long now until Christmas, and one thing we can look forward to with the holidays drawing closer, is of course: Christmas telly. But it’s no good if your festive viewing is ruined by a streaky flatscreen. So how do you clean your TV screen without leaving streaks and pesky marks?

Turn the TV off at the mains

This part speaks for its self a little, as you need to see what you’re doing and don’t want to damage yourself or the TV. But beyond that, using any sort of liquid to clean the screen will leave streaks if the TV is turned on as LCD TVs produce heat when they’re on which makes them more susceptible to marking easily.

Use a dry, clean, and lint-free cloth

Be sure that any cloths you’re using to clean your screen are dry. Perhaps rather obviously, your electronics don’t mix well with water, and the screen will benefit from a lighter toucher – so preferably use a lint free cloth. You could even use a feather duster or a microfiber cloth if you have one – but definitely give the kitchen roll a miss at the dusting stage as this will only scratch up the screen. At this stage, use as light a touch as you can, and clean in a slow and circular motion to remove the dust on the screen without leaving a mark.

Get rid of existing marks

If lightly dusting your TV screen still leaves you with a lot of marks, then you probably have existing ones that you need to get rid of. These stubborn markings will likely be too strong for a microfiber cloth, so your best course of action is to get a new cloth and use some distilled water. HelloTech.com recommends that you moisten your cloth with distilled water and never apply any kind of cleaning solution directly onto the screen. This is because this can cause moisture to get into the seal around the screen and will damage the electronics. Simply dampen the cloth very slightly so you can wipe away any stubborn streaks – and then follow up with a dry cloth to get rid of excess moisture.

Worst case scenario: You’ve done everything up until now and the markings are still persisting. But remember, whatever your gut instinct might be, this is not the time to be reaching for cleaning chemicals as they, particularly those with an ammonia base (commonly found in popular brands like Dettol, Flash, and Cif) can break down the protective layers on LCD flat-screen TVs and severely damage the screen.

So what can you do instead?

Use antibacterial wipes

Something we’ve all become more accustomed to having around and using in the COVID-19 pandemic is alcohol-based cleaning wipes. These now might even be the first port of call for cleaning a grubby flat-screen – however, we recommend using a little bit of distilled water alongside it to decrease the strength of the alcohol and avoid damaging the screen with it. Do this, and use a very light touch and it should do the job nicely and safely.

Note: As you are still using water, all of our previous advice about turning off electronics and drying the screen afterwards still applies.

Try some DIY Remedies

And no, these aren’t urban myths like your Gran might’ve recommended back in the day. Our cleaning experts can recommend some effective DIY home solutions to this decidedly modern problem.

The first one you might want to try involves using the materials you should’ve already attempted, along with another food product that most will already have at home. Combine a mix of 50% white wine vinegar with 50% distilled water. The Kitchn recommends combining DIY remedies like this in a spray bottle and then spraying it onto a lint-free cloth. Again, wipe in a circular motion to avoid any more streaks, then wipe excess mixture with a dry cloth to stop the vinegar sticking on the screen or seeping behind it.

You could also try using a very small amount of dish soap – but at a very very small ratio as the bubbles could easily get out of hand. Simply follow the same process of combining distilled water in a spray bottle and spraying on a lint-free cloth and rubbing in circles, before drying off with a dry cloth.

Call in the Experts

If you would rather leave all of your domestic cleaning needs to the professionals, get in touch with us. To find your nearest Merry Maids, click here.

The 12 cleans of Christmas Part 1

With December now upon us, we’ve put together a list of twelve things around the house that you probably aren’t cleaning regularly, that you should be ahead of the festive season.

You might not have a partridge and pear tree or five gold rings, but there are still quite a number of things around the house that need a good clean this Christmas. Several of which, most of us don’t actually ever really touch.

We’re going to share the first six of twelve items that you should be cleaning (but aren’t), so you can get ahead before company descends on you for Christmas:

  1. The Dishwasher

Dishwashers can have strainers that can become blocked by being clogged with food and other debris which can create a smell, spread bacteria and fungus, or end up on your dishes. You can clean out your dishwasher quickly and regularly with a dishcloth on the interior, and use a dishwasher cleaner on a self-clean setting. Or if you want to do it yourself, scrub with baking soda or use a cup of distilled vinegar in a cycle. This can dispel the odour and break down any mineral deposits from hard water.

  1. Washing Machine

In the washing machine, you need to be careful of mould and mildew deposits forming in the door and leftover detergent etc. becoming stuck in the filters, which can leave behind marks and stains on your clothes. Deep cleaning your machine once a month can avoid this. Similar to a dishwasher, many washing machines now come with settings that allow you to run a self-cleaning cycle with added bleach.

If you don’t have this option, you can add half a cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the dispenser and run a cycle with hot water. However, bleach alone won’t dissolve some residues in the machine so a machine cleaner is probably your best option. When your cleaning cycle is done, rinse and add another spin to ensure that any bleach has washed away, then clean the dispenser drawer by running them under hot water and scrubbing it down with a toothbrush.

  1. Dryer

Emptying the lint tray of your dryer will also use it more efficiently, but cleaning the venting duct is also a good idea. Dryer vent fires are very common and if the outside vent is clogged, this means that any moist air can’t escape and cause mould or odours. This can be avoided by making sure to remove lint deposits from the dryer duct outside the vent with a long-handled brush. If the worst does happen, and a dryer fire causes damage to your home, one of the other ServiceMaster brands offer disaster restoration services, ServiceMaster Restore.

  1. Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping bags are great for the environment by keeping plastic out of landfill sites. However, because you’re reusing them they can become a hotspot for bacteria from food, meat, and other raw produce. If you’re repeatedly using the same bags for all of your shopping, you might also have cross-contamination between food and cleaning products. The good news is that most of these bags can be machine washed provided you put it on a gentle cycle and remove the bottoms and turn them inside out. Then just let them dry and they should be good to go again in no time.

  1. Toothbrushes and Toothbrush Holders

Considering we put them in our mouths multiple times a day, giving your toothbrush clean is surprisingly not a very common practice. Researchers at the University of Manchester found that toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for staphylococci bacteria and E. coli.

Reports also show that toothbrushes contain at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch. All this simply means is that, instead of making your pearly whites whiter, you could be contaminating your body with life-threatening bacteria. Now that your dishwasher is nice and clean, you can pop it in there once a week (just the head if it’s electric), or rinse it in antibacterial mouthwash to get rid of germs and other bacteria. Your toothbrush can also be easily cleaned by hand by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide into a small cup and letting it soak for about 15 minutes.

Be sure not to let it sit any longer than this as it could damage the bristles. Then rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with warm water before use.

The holders we use for them can also be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria from the water and toothbrush running down the handles. It’s likely that if you’ve ever looked in the bottom of a toothbrush holder after some frequent use, you’ve not been greeted with a pretty sight. The best thing to do is to put the cup or holder in the dishwasher once a week, or soak it in boiling water and soap and give it a good rinse.

  1. Vacuums, Mops, Brooms & Toilet Brushes

Similarly, washing your cleaning utensils is another good habit to get into.

You should wash or replace any vacuum filters, then check hoses and rollers for blockages from dust or tangled hair. You can wash mop heads with hot water and detergent and the broom in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Then with the broom, be sure to rinse and air dry it. Cleaning a toilet brush may be a little off-putting, but doing so will avoid spreading germs from the toilet around your bathroom.

To clean the holder, we recommend disinfectant spray or soaking it in a bleach solution. To clean the brush, fill a bucket with hot water and bleach, and leave it to soak for an hour. Then, rinse it and put it back in your lovely clean holder.

For some extra top tips on cleaning this winter, check out our blog from last week here, then be sure to come back next week for the final six items. And if you want to leave your winter cleaning to the professionals, why not get in touch with us? You can give us a call and speak to our cleaning experts on 0800 021 3072, or find your local Merry Maids UK here.

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

Whether you’re hosting a large group of friends and family at your house or cooking up a feast for your immediate family, it can be stressful to plan for a holiday dinner party – especially if you’re acting as head-chef, sous-chef and server throughout the event. After all, these meals most probably involve multiple courses, your best silverware and china you only get out for Christmas, and a whole lot of decorations: It’s enough to make anyone go mad!

Christmas Dinner Party

With the right planning, however, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free and satisfying Christmas. In some cases, your planning process may even include delegating out the cleaning chores and kitchen tasks to the rest of the family or housemates, so that you can focus on being the perfect party host for your guests.

Below, we’ve put together a few Christmas party ideas to make your planning and Christmas dinner easier.

Define your menu

Christmas dinners are always based around one thing – you guessed it – lots and lots of delicious food, it’s important to start here before you plan anything else, and see if you can cut back in any area.

If you’re cooking all the food yourself, you should first consider enlisting a few elves to help, or if you can’t find any elves, friends or family to help in the kitchen.

While it can be fun to go all out for this kind of event, make sure that your menu doesn’t put too much stress on your own plate and is simple enough to produce.

After you put together a holiday dinner menu, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many guests will I have, and what are their dietary needs and restrictions?
  • What recipes do I plan to use?
  • What’s the timescale to make this meal from beginning to end?
  • Can I make any dishes ahead of time?
  • Am I comfortable using these recipes?
  • Do I want it to be a potluck dinner and have guests bring unique side dishes? – This can give you more time for you to be the perfect host, as you won’t be in the kitchen as much.
  • Will there be young children there, and if so, will they have a separate menu?

Once you have the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and eliminate anything that will add unnecessary time to your meal preparations. Pretty soon, you’ll find that your menu accurately reflects the needs of your group and plays to your individual strengths as a cook, making it easier to get ready.

It’s also a good idea to create your ingredient shopping list early on, so you won’t be running to the shops to grab anything later.

Put down the cocktail shaker

For a lot of us, a seasonal cocktail is just as important as the Christmas dinner itself. However, you don’t have to practice your bartending skills all year round and play bartender to give your guests an amazing time. It’s much easier to make cocktail batches in advance, which you can include on a decorated bar cart with ice, napkins, garnishes, and other essentials. Don’t drink? There’s always some alcohol-free punches that taste heavenly as well!

Some of the best holiday cocktail recipes to make in a batch include:

  • A delicious apple mocktail, like a Caramel Apple Mocktail
  • One for the bah humbugs to get them in the Christmas mood, a Grinch Punch
  • Classic hot drinks, like Martha Stewart’s mulled wine
  • One for all the lovers out there, a Mistletoe Margarita
  • A festive winter sangria, like this one from Joyful Healthy Eats

Whatever you make, be sure you and your guests drink responsibly.

Pre dinner party cleaning

Whether you’re picking up the duster yourself or delegating the cleaning to someone else, it’s critical to include pre-party cleaning time in your schedule. Unless guests will be wandering throughout the house, focus on high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. In general, the cleaning should be completed no more than two days before the guests arrive.

Get the right ambience

You don’t need to go mad with decorations to make your home feel cosy and welcoming. After all, a dinner party is primarily about one thing: food!

As long as your house is clean and your tables are ready to go, you’ll be well on your way to holiday bliss.

That being said, we’ve got a few easy tricks you can use to boost the ambience in your space:

  • Set the mood with the right holiday playlist. Just use Alexa or Google Home to put on some Christmas favourites and your home will instantly feel Christmas party-ready.
  • Make space for shoes and coats. Don’t have a coat or shoe rack? No problem: Pick out a designated closet and be sure there are enough hangers for coats. Then lay down a mat or a rug for guests to place their shoes. Alternatively, if no one is staying in the spare room, put the coats neatly labelled on the bed.
  • Open the windows before your guests show up. It may be a bit chilly outside, but it’s a good idea to give your dining area a blast of fresh air right before guests arrive. You’ll eliminate any lingering odours from all of the festive cooking, and the room will warm up again in no time.
  • Light up a few scented candles. Candles are a great way to communicate warmth and comfort to your guests. They may even think you’ve been baking for hours if you choose the right one!

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

At Merry Maids, we provide top-notch cleaning services so that you can rest a little easier before your dinner party. By delivering a detailed clean we can guarantee, our cleaning experts will let your home’s natural beauty shine through. From entryways to bathrooms to staircases, your guests will be wowed by your home!

We’re wishing you a very happy and stress-free holiday season! Find your nearest Merry Maids to get your home sparkling for your dinner party.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Christmas is on its way, in fact, it’s less than a month away now!

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Are you planning on hosting a Christmas party or Christmas day itself with the family?

If you are then this pre-Christmas cleaning checklist is exactly what you need.

Guest Bedroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Make sure your guest bedroom/s are cleaned for your guests or any unexpected guests, like a friend who may have had a few too many and cannot drive home.

  • Change the sheets/bedding & duvets so they are clean and fresh for your guests. A quick tip to make them even fresher smelling is to wash them separately to any clothes
  • Vacuum and polish the guest room to ensure the room has a welcoming scent

If your guest room isn’t used that often, it may not be as welcoming as some other rooms in the house.

  • You can potentially get a few paintings or photos up in the room, maybe a houseplant or anything else you may feel is welcoming

Your guests are quite likely to be staying more than one night, therefore, they’ll need a bit of space to put their clothes and other belongings.

  • Empty the wardrobe and drawers of usually, all of your summer clothes or, “I’ll take these to a charity shop one-day” clothes
  • This will ensure your guest has sufficient space and will feel more at home, instead of living out of their suitcase

Kitchen Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The kitchen is usually the mingling hub in the house, especially with the mulled wine brewing on the stove, it makes it feel warm and Christmassy!

Your oven needs to be clean to ensure it’s ready for the juicy turkey or tasty nut roast!

  • Buy a good oven cleaning product and follow the instructions on the label, as there are lots of different products you can use
  • A clean oven will one make your food taste better, and two it won’t produce smoke that would float around the house making it smell nasty. Although, if you burn the turkey, for starters you wouldn’t be very popular and it would be your fault if the house smells bad!

You’ll most probably have to put a lot of food in your fridge and freezer so it’s time for a clear out!

  • Have a clean fridge for all of your Christmas food
    – Remove all food, drawers and shelves
    – Soak drawers and shelves in washing up liquid
    – Use warm water and washing up liquid to wipe the interior
    – Wipe outer surfaces, dry inside with kitchen roll
    – Dry and return the drawers/shelves
    – Wait until the temperature has returned to 5°C

Having a clean and less cluttered fridge will allow space for all of the pigs in blankets, wine and trifle etc!

Bathroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The wintertime is the main time of year when people get those horrid colds that they just can’t get rid of.

That’s why pre-cleaning the bathroom and maintaining the cleanliness throughout the time your guests are here is important.

  • Clean the bathroom from top to bottom, including; bath, shower, sink, toilet, carpet, cupboards and anything else you may have in there
  • Tidy up your bathroom to leave some space for your guest’s toiletries, or  if you have two bathrooms then move all of your toiletries to the bathroom your guests won’t be using. This will again make them feel at home

Living Room Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Your living room is the main social and board gaming hub in the house, with the fire roaring in the background and the smell of Christmas all around.

  • Vacuum your living room carpet before your guests arrive and during their stay depending on how long they’re there for
  • Vacuum all of your upholstery and cushions prior to guests arriving
  • Have a general tidy up and if you have time a bit of a declutter of things you don’t need during the winter period

Home Exterior Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Ensure the outside of your house looks welcoming for your guests and any neighbours that might pop round to wish you a Merry Christmas.

  • Clean your outside decorations just by wiping them with a dry cloth
  • Clean your windows on the inside and outside
  • Make sure, if you have a drive that you’ve left enough space for your guest’s car/s or if it’s on-street parking there is enough space for them. If you live in a city remember to sort out their on-street parking permits

 

If you don’t feel like you have any time to clean your home remember you can give us a call to do it all for you! You can find your nearest Merry Maids business here.