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Cleaning your student accommodation

How to guarantee you get your end-of-tenancy deposit back.

Keeping your student accommodation clean and tidy is vital, especially at the end of your tenancy. Not only is maintaining a clean living space better for your overall health and wellbeing, but it also means you’ll be able to get your deposit back from your letting agent.

Why should I clean my student accommodation?

Most student letting agents put the tenants in charge of cleaning their property upon leaving, hence why a deposit is usually taken. If you’re not careful and you don’t keep the property clean, you can be held liable for the spread of health hazards, pest infestation and mould within the property. And this isn’t cheap. The cost of removal of these health hazards can stack up, as letting agents have to call an external provider to remove any issues, all of which you will be charged for.

A step-by-step guide to cleaning your student accommodation

First things first, make sure you give yourself and whomever you’ve enlisted to h.   elp enough time to clean the property, and don’t make it a last-minute job. The reason we mention other people is that this is going to be a much easier job if you have help. That way you can divide and conquer, and take the property one room at a time. We’ve followed the same approach here and divided this blog up into key tips for each of the main rooms and areas that a landlord or agency will expect to be clean.

Kitchen

Starting with the communal space that probably sees the most traffic, the kitchen, Kitchens are like a magnet for stains, dirt and overall unpleasantness – especially in communal halls with a large number of residents.

  • To get started, remove everything in the cupboards from top to bottom and clean inside and outside with a dry cloth. If you run into stubborn stains you will need to use a wet cloth and an applied cleaning agent to lift them out.
  • Make sure you pull out the kitchen appliances (if you can) and clean the back of those as well, including the washing machine, microwave and dishwasher etc.
  • Clear your fridge of any food, as you don’t want this to sit a fester after you’ve left. Then clean it thoroughly: inside the drawers, in the ridges, every bit of shelving and then turn the fridge off and leave the door open. For a full guide, check out our top tips on cleaning your fridge.
  • Making sure the oven is clean can be a bit of a disgusting job, especially if it’s a shared kitchen and the other tenants have left without cleaning. Unfortunately, to ensure you get that deposit back, you’ll need to be thorough. Deep clean everything inside the oven; trays, shelving and the oven door (inside and out) switches, knobs etc. For that grimy oven door, check out our blogpost on DIY home cleaning hacks, including how to clean an oven door with nothing but a dishwasher tablet!
  • You’ll need to be just as thorough with the hob. Make sure the racks are removed and soaked in the sink, then thoroughly scrubbed and that the top of the cooker is efficiently cleaned.

Living Room

Moving on to the second of our communal spaces, the living room. With modern accommodation, a lot of kitchens and living spaces are often combined into the same room, but it’s simpler to treat them separately in this instance. Especially as with the kitchen, you’re mainly focused on key areas and appliances. But when it comes to the living room the best advice is to clean everything. And we mean everything! The coffee table, the TV, the bookshelves, any shelving and even the modern art paintings on the wall if you were feeling fancy. Get rid of everything you don’t want to take with you. Bin that chunder chart and say goodbye to that stack of empty cans and bottles of alcohol on the windowsill that you kept for ‘decoration’. Then, once the space is clear, make sure you vacuum the carpet and upholstery until there is not a speck of dust left on them! And if you run into a stain or spillage on your carpet that you can’t shift, try Merry Maids Spot Hero cleaner or get in touch with stain removal experts ServiceMaster Clean.

Bathroom

Usually, one of the most daunting tasks when cleaning your accommodation is the bathroom, because it can often take the longest time to clean.

  • Scrub everything from the toilet to the mirror. It’s a lot to clean, and clean well, so make sure you have an order of how you’re going to clean everything so that you don’t miss anything. With the bathroom, it’s best to work top-down and clean dust off of the higher surfaces before you vacuum and get any product out.
  • Clean the tiles and all of the surfaces, making sure you use a cleaner that can help you remove any limescale that may have built up over time. · Use our bath cleaning solution that can clean your tub in as little time as 15 minutes!
  • Clean the plug holes of both the sink and bath/shower, ensuring the water is draining away properly so that you don’t get pulled up and charged for damage to the plumbing.
  • If you encounter a growth of black mould in your bathroom after weeks and weeks without cleaning, get in touch with the mould removal experts at ServiceMaster Restore.

Walls

As you go around your accommodation and do your final checks, make a note of any areas where there are any scuffs or marks on the walls. If you can, wash them off. You may need a specialist wall cleaner for this. After that, if there are problems left over that you can’t tackle…

Call in the professionals

Cleaning your student accommodation can be a long and arduous process, only added to by the stress of needing to make sure the place is spotless to get your deposit back. At Merry Maids, we do the cleaning, so you don’t have to.

With over 30 years as one of the UK’s leading domestic cleaning specialists, we have to tools, experience and know-how to keep your landlord happy by carrying out an end-of-tenancy deep clean of your student accommodation, that ensures you will see your deposit returned.

Our promise

We GUARANTEE that you won’t lose your security deposit as a result of the property being left unclean.

  • All our cleaners are insured and bring their own cleaning products and equipment.
  • We’re the UK’s largest, trusted cleaning company and regularly clean for our customers whilst they’re at work.
  • If you sign up for a regular clean for the duration of your tenancy agreement, we’ll carry out an end-of-tenancy deep clean for FREE*

*We promise that you won’t lose your security deposit on the grounds of your property being left in an unclean state when you book a Merry Maids end-of-tenancy deep clean. We must be able to gain access to the property at the end of the tenancy to carry out the deep clean. Terms and conditions apply, please ask for more details.

To book a weekly, fortnightly, or one-off end-of-tenancy deep clean of your student or rented accommodation, find your nearest Merry Maids business for a free quote today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

How to get rid of wine stains

Our foolproof method for removing wine stains from just about anything.

It’s a tale as old as time: a glass of red wine meets a white shirt or a patch of carpet, and they don’t get along well.

Whether you were gesturing absent-mindedly or got a little too carried away while talking, it’s an easy mistake to make. But it doesn’t have to be a disastrous one. Believe it or not, there are some very effective methods of removing red wine for a variety of surfaces, be it carpet, fabric, or bedding.

Read on to learn our top tips for getting wine stains of just about anything you can imagine.

General Tips for Wine Stains

Before you get deep into any of our methodologies for removing wine stains, there are some things you should know.

Time is of the essence – Quite possibly the most important thing you need to know about how to deal with a wine stain is that the success rate of almost all of the advice we are about to give you directly correlates with how fast you act.

There are many reasons for this, primarily because red wine will settle if allowed to sit for too long, making it much harder to remove from fabrics. This is especially bad with red wine, as it contains both chromogens and tannins. The first of these is a component found in many plants that are used to create dyes, and the second is used in the production of ink. Together these make a powerful cocktail that means red wine is essential a dye in its own right.

Don’t scrub or apply dry heat – After a red wine spillage, your intuition may tell you to do the first thing that feels natural and try to dry up the stain by scrubbing at it or using a dry heat source. However, these are both very much NOT advised. Heat will cause the stain to dry onto the fabrics and become permanent, hence why acting fast whilst the stain is fresh is your best bet. This will of course be exacerbated by adding friction through scrubbing. Not only that but scrubbing at the stain will cause it to spread – so despite any immediate damage you reduce, you will ultimately only make the situation worse. Instead, you should focus on blotting the stain instead of applying friction.

Do NOT pour white wine on a red wine stain – You may have heard the common myth that pouring white wine on a red wine stain will counteract it and get rid of the stain. However, this is not the case. It’s unclear where this idea came from, but it isn’t based in reality. Pouring white wine over your carpet or other fabrics serves no practical purpose besides wasting more wine!

How to remove wine stains from carpets

So how should you get rid of a red wine stain on a carpet?

First, add a dry material to lift out the wine. Your best bet is to use a generous sprinkling of table salt, but red wine will become absorbed by any dry material it comes into contact with. So, you want to use a dry and powdery material that you can easily hoover back up. Therefore, you could also opt for:

  • Baking Soda
  • Talcum Powder
  • Cat litter
  • Sodium percarbonate – if you have it

Then, using a blotting method instead of scrubbing, absorb as much of the wine as possible with some kitchen towels.

You could also try applying boiling water to a red wine stain. This can help lift the stain substantially, especially when used in combination with another cleaning agent. Whilst hot water may cause the molecules in the red wine to spread out across the carpet a little more, it also unbinds them from the carpet fibres, making them easy to blot up.

For the best results, cover the stain with more kitchen paper, and a bit of cling film and leave for around 12 hours. Then, once the dry powdered solid of your choice has absorbed the red wine, all you need to do is vacuum it away.

How to remove wine stains from sheets

If you’ve ever unwound in bed with a glass of wine and a book or some Netflix, you may very well know the terrible feeling that overtakes your body when you accidentally slosh red wine onto your sheets. Well, try not to panic and remember to act fast by taking the following steps:

  • Strip any bedding that you’ve spilt wine on.
  • Mix one-part dishwashing liquid with three-part hydrogen peroxide and apply the mixture to the stain. This will work as a pre-soak. Some common household items containing hydrogen peroxide are hair dyes & bleaches, toothpaste & mouthwash, and stain removers & cleaners.
  • Let that cleaning solution sit for a few minutes. You should be able to see the stain fading. If you don’t, add more solutions. Keep an eye on your sheets, as so the solution works so it doesn’t bleach your bedding.
  • After the stain has faded, wash your sheets and mattress pad just like you would on laundry day. When you pull the bedding out of the dryer, the stain should be gone.

How to Remove Wine Stains from Clothes

Almost everyone has a DIY remedy they swear by for how to remove wine stains from clothes. The home remedy that we described above for sheets will work on clothes. Here’s another you can try on sturdy fabrics like cotton:

  • Start by blotting the stain
  • Stretch the wine-soaked area over a bowl
  • Pour boiling water through the bowl and onto the stain
  • Hang clothes to air dry or wash your clothes normally

How to Remove Old Wine Stains

Now that you know how to remove wine stains from clothes, carpet and bedding, you might be wondering if there’s any way to get rid of stains leftover from spills that happened before you knew about these tips.

For those vintage clothing and bedding stains, you can use the same method we described in our section about how to remove wine stains from sheets. As with the sheets, you’ll want to keep an eye on the clothing as the solution works so the fabric doesn’t get bleached out.

If the older stains are in your carpeting, you can try the steps above, aside from the initial blotting, of course. If that doesn’t work, you may want to contact a cleaning professional like ServiceMaster Clean.

And for your other home cleaning needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your nearest Merry Maids business to book a free quotation today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

How to clean your electronics

Tips on cleaning those all-important electronic items in your home.

Let’s face it, your electronics get a lot of use. Not only that, but they are very sensitive to the spread of germs and bacteria due to being ‘high touch point’ items.

Even though COVID-19 restrictions and sanitisation requirements have relaxed in recent months, to minimise the spread of various types of germs and other harmful bacteria, you should be cleaning items like phones, remote controls, and keyboards once a fortnight at the minimum.

But how? Cleaning electronics can be fiddly, with lots of cracks, and crevices and they are sensitive to too much liquid – knowing the right way to clean your electronics continues to bemuse people across the UK.

Until now.

Our Merry Maids cleaning experts have put together this guide on how to clean your electronic items to minimise germs and keep your home looking and feeling spotless.

Mobile Phones

Nowadays we pretty much all have them. No matter how much you use it, the simple fact remains that these high touch point items are unique in that they spend time pressed against your face after being touched.

Therefore, ensuring that you clean it thoroughly and often is of the utmost importance. To do so, you’ll first need to remove any cases that you have on. Underneath and on the inside of your case you’ll often likely find bits of dirt and a fairly substantial build-up of grimy bits. Give the case a brush down with a microfibre cloth and then spray the cloth with a cleaning solution and wipe down the phone itself and the case. At Merry Maids, we use SaniMaster 6 from ServiceMaster to fully disinfect this and other high touchpoint items. Remember, you only need one light squirt of spray, as you want to avoid getting your phone too wet.

Laptops and Computers

Whether it’s a personal or work laptop or computer, these items get frequent use and have many high touchpoint areas such as the keyboard – or even a touchscreen. As a result, you want to ensure that you are giving these items a clean and wipe down as frequently as you clean your mobile phone.

For laptops and keyboards, the first thing to do is flip them upside down get shake any bits and dust from the keys, and wipe it with a cleaning cloth or a cotton bud to get into the nooks and crannies of the keys. Then use a cleaning solution like SaniMaster to sanitise the entire device and your mouse or mousepad, just as you have with your phone. To avoid streaking the screen, we recommend using a dry cloth for this part or using a small amount of distilled water on the cloth.

Remote Controls

We may be watching a little less telly than at the height of lockdowns, but remote controls remain high priority electronics to clean as high touch point items. Like keyboards, these can have lots of little nooks and crevices for grubby bits and dust to get into so we recommend using a fine brush or a cotton bud to get into these corners. Then you can go back in with your cleaning solution to make sure it is properly sanitised.

For a full and comprehensive clean of your home and all of your high touch point electronics, get in touch with one of our friendly and professional Merry Maids teams today. Find your nearest Merry Maids business now to schedule a free quote, or book online for a one-off, regular, or deep clean service.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

How to remove dog urine from carpet and hardwood

With the weather getting warmer and the days growing longer, it’s becoming possible to take your furry companion out for a long walk in the sunshine. Or to let them out into the garden without the worry of them trekking muddy pawprints back into the house. But as any dog owner is aware, just because they can go outside, it doesn’t always mean that they will. But not to worry, accidents happen, and there are ways of dealing with the mess. That’s why we’ve put together a blog on the best ways to clean up after your dog.

How to Clean Urine from Carpet

Fresh Urine:

If the urine is fresh, your first instinct might be to cover the area of the stain with paper towels, and you’d be right. In the case of a fresh urine stain, the best thing to do is cover the affected area with paper towels. But, make sure you apply a significant amount of pressure rather than letting them sit on top. Applying more pressure will allow you to soak up the urine as much as possible.

If the stain is set:

If, unfortunately, you didn’t catch the stain in time and the urine is now set into the carpet, there are still ways to help. Simply sprinkle some baking soda onto the stain and let it sit for a moment. Then, decant some distilled white wine vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it onto the affected area. After that, you need to wipe it with a wet dishcloth. If the stain is still set in the carpet following this, you might need to repeat the process.

How to Clean Urine from Hardwood Floor

It is easier to deal with dog urine on a hardwood or tiled floor. Simply wipe away the urine with a paper towel and spray the area with a cleaning solution.

When buying a cleaner:

When choosing a store-bought cleaner to get rid of dog urine, be sure to use an enzymatic cleaner that is specifically designed to remove pet urine. These can include well-known brands like Vanish®, which have their own pet stain and odour removers. Be sure to steer clear of cleaners that contain ammonia such as many Flash® or Dettol® products dog urines also contain ammonia, so this may encourage your dog to mark the same spot.

If the odour from dog urine is still present after cleaning, then it may be time to enlist the help of a professional carpet and hardwood cleaning business like ServiceMaster Clean or use a carpet cleaning device. However, if you do try and deal with the smell yourself, make sure you avoid using a steam cleaner as the steam will set the odours into the carpet fibres.

For more advice and cleaning tips, or to enlist the help of our professional domestic cleaning services, stay tuned to our blog or find your nearest Merry Maids business to book a free consultation today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

Top tips for organising your garage

When was the last time you looked at organising your garage?

Often, we use our garages for storing more than cars. Whether you use it to store the lawnmower, Christmas decorations, or tools, your garage can become a black hole for bits and bobs. And it’s rarely organised chaos. Studies have found that the UK stores over 5 times as much clutter as the rest of Europe! 1 in 2 of us admit to holding on to things for longer than we should, and 1 in 3 say don’t like the idea of getting rid of our possessions.

One thing is clear – the UK could use a good de-cluttering. In the past, we’ve discussed some tips for de-cluttering your home. But it’s time to get specific and flesh out some of our previous advice so your garage can become more than a utility catch-all. No matter the state of your garage, Merry Maids is here to help you start making some impactful changes to your garage today.

Start with Cleaning

Before you can organise your garage, you need to clean and declutter so that you can determine what can stay and what needs to go. This part might seem overwhelming, which is why we have some ideas to help the process go faster.

Setting aside an allotted day or (even a whole weekend) will allow you the optimal time to sort through your items and better understand your situation. After all, it took you more than a day to accumulate everything, so it’s going to take some time to clean and organise it all. It will also help you to get help from others. We love to use the phrase, “teamwork makes the dream work,” and in this case – it applies well. When it comes to a major undertaking like cleaning your garage, recruiting friends and family to help will make all the difference.

Items to Avoid Storing in Your Garage

Garages don’t usually come with instructions or dos and don’ts for garage maintenance. Most of us just emulate the habits we picked up as children once we have a garage of our own. However, several hazardous items are not suitable for storing inside your garage. Such as:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Alcohol or wine
  • Vintage photos
  • Paintings
  • Irreplaceable documents
  • Delicate clothing

A good rule of thumb is to avoid storing materials that temperature fluctuations could damage, solutions that could be flammable, and belongings that moisture and humidity might destroy.

Organising your garage on a budget

If you want your garage to be more efficient and useful for your lifestyle, we have a few organisational ideas that are easy to do and won’t break the bank.

  1. Incorporate Open Shelving – Knowing what’s in your garage is one of the first things to help maintain your garage organisation. Items on open shelving will keep you from storing things without a designated home inside a cabinet and hoping it doesn’t all spill out later. Some open shelving options you can incorporate into your garage could include:
  • An overhead storage rack to utilize ceiling space
  • 3- to 4-shelf plastic units to get items off the ground
  • Wall-mounted ball storage to house sporting equipment
  1. Keep Items off the Floor – Your garage floors are never a good place to store things. There’s always the potential that valuable equipment could be damaged or broken. When you start planning out your garage layout (after the tedious cleaning is done), pick up items previously kept on the floor and put them somewhere safe and out of the way.
  2. Use Pegboards for Vertical Storage – Many homeowners have already jumped on this versatile wall organising hack. When you have oddly shaped items that won’t fit in a draw or storage bin, mounting them to the wall keeps them off the floor and easily accessible. You can use pegboards for various things, including power tools, sporting equipment, bikes, lawn care equipment, and more.
  3. Add Labels to Plastic Bins – While clear plastic bins are an ideal storage option for things you don’t use daily, sometimes, being able to see what’s inside a bin isn’t enough. Labelling boxes, bins, or buckets is a sure-fire way to help your entire family prevent cluttering up the garage again. Before you start, make sure to label containers with items you or your family use often. For instance, sports equipment or tools are great for labelled storage containers because they’re used often and have a designated spot in your garage that everyone is privy to.
  4. Purchase a Small Drawer System for Loose Items – Your garage tends to be the space for large tools and tiny objects like nails, washers, and screws. Home improvement and craft stores sell mini drawer units to store these small yet easily misplaced objects. When you invest time in organising these loose items, you make finding them easier and losing them virtually impossible.

Organising your garage will take some planning, but when it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy your newly organised space. For the rest of your home, your nearest Merry Maids business is here to help you clean up and declutter to make your home the pristine and well-kept sanctuary you deserve.

At home DIY cleaning hacks

We’ve put together some DIY Cleaning Hacks that are sure to get your house looking squeaky clean without shelling out for some expensive & potentially ineffective cleaning products.

Stubborn stains, grimy appliances, and no solution in sight? Here are some cleaning hacks that you can do at home to get your house looking ship-shape in no time.

Cleaning a Dirty Oven Door

Let’s face it, our ovens see a lot of traffic, especially with the holiday period just gone. This can leave your oven door looking less than desirable due to grime building upon the glass. Not only is this quite an eyesore, but it also might make it difficult to even see what you’re cooking!

Luckily, there is an easy solution that only needs a little help from something that you probably already have in your home: Dishwasher Tablets. That’s right, the little pods that we use to clean our dishwashers can also come in handy elsewhere. To do this trick, you need to be sure that the glass in your oven door is removable so that you can get at it yourself. Now, you may not know the ins and outs of your oven’s design specification, but, in most cases, there is an easy way to remove the glass from your oven door.

Usually, if you lower your oven door, you can look for a clip at each top corner that will slide off quite easily if you press it firmly and slide it towards you with one finger – we also recommend wearing some sort of hygienic gloves whilst doing this hack. Once you’ve done this, you can actually lift the entire glass panel of your oven door out! Now, you can place it down and make it much easier to clean. This is where the dishwasher tablets come in as you can apply them directly to the glass, and along with a little hot water, use them as a sort of rubber and completely erase all that nasty dirt and grime.

Cleaning your Shower Head

Our shower heads get a lot of use, and as a result, over time can develop a build-up of limescale and grime which can affect the hygiene and overall performance of your shower. If your shower head is detachable, we have a strange, yet cheap and effective solution for you: Cola. That’s right, simply buy some cheap non-branded cola from your local supermarket, and then place your showerhead into a deep plastic bag. Then, fill the bag with cola until the showerhead is completely submerged. Seal the bag with a clip or string and leave it hanging somewhere safe where it will be untouched. Leave it for a few hours and the acidic cola will actually gradually dissolve the limescale build-up!

Bicarb is a Cleaner’s Best Friend

You might not think it, but the humble bicarbonate of soda has a multitude of uses within the home for keeping things clean. You can make bicarb a part of your cleaning routine in a number of ways, including:

  • Remove tannin stains – You can use a DIY paste of bicarbonate of soda and water to get rid of tannin stains on teaspoons and the inside of your cups. Just be sure to rinse them thoroughly when you’re done.
  • Absorbing food odours – Keeping a ramekin with powdered bicarbonate of soda in your fridge, on top of your salad drawer can help to keep it fresh.
  • General Cleaning – You can use it to clean countertops, sinks, microwaves, and even cooking utensils. Similar to removing tannin stains, just make a paste using water and bicarb, scrub, then rinse.
  • Remove Odours – Use it to deodorise carpets, pet beds, and upholstered furniture. Simply sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda onto a surface, then leave it to sit for 15 mins, and vacuum it up thoroughly. This also works on clothes. Just fill the sink with cool water and 5-6 tablespoons of bicarb and soak the offending garment for thirty minutes. Then wash it again, and dry it off naturally.
  • Restore shine to sterling silver – Simply make up a paste of three parts bicarb to one part water, and apply it to silverware with a lint-free cloth, then rinse it off.

If all this DIY seems like a lot of effort and you would rather leave your home cleaning to the professionals, why not get in touch with us? Find your nearest Merry Maids business today to book a clean or to find out more about our services.

The 12 Cleans of Christmas (Part Two)

Twelve things around the house that you probably aren’t cleaning regularly, but you should be.

Following Part One of our 12 Cleans of Christmas last week, we’re bringing you the final six items to be cleaning regularly this Christmas and New Year. If you missed the first six items, you can find last week’s blog detailing them here.

  1. Sink P Traps

‘A what?’ I hear you exclaim. Fear not, it’s actually rather simple. A p trap is that curved portion of pipe that sits beneath the drain of your kitchen or bathroom sink – named for its ‘P’-shaped curve. If you’ve ever noticed an unpleasant smell coming from a sink in your home – this is probably the cause.

To clean it, clear some space under or around the sink to work with, and then all you’re going to need is a wrench, and a bucket to catch any runoff trapped water and mess inside the trap. Loosen the bolts connecting the trap to the main pipe and then remove it. Flush and/or clean out the trap with some water, a brush or wire and viola – a clean sink p trap. After you’ve reattached the trap, you’ll want to make sure you’ve screwed it back on tightly and then run some water through it for about 30 seconds to check it for leaks.

  1. Bathroom fans and Shower Holders

Staying in the bathroom for this one, another thing on your Christmas cleaning checklist should be the bathroom fan. This can have a number of benefits, such as ridding your bathroom of smells and odours, removes airborne contaminants from cleaning products, and reducing moisture in the air. As well as this, a clogged up and dirty fan is less efficient and not as effective at protecting your bathroom from the build-up and mould and damp.

To clean it, first remove the vent cover by gently pulling it down and exposing the fan. Some fans may have screws or spring clips that you’ll need to undo first. To clean the cover, fill your sink with warm, soapy water and let it soak for a bit – then give it a good scrubbing down. You can then let it air dry whilst you get on with cleaning the exhaust fan. To be safe, unplug the fan or turn of the power to the bathroom at the mains. Once this is done, you can give it a good vacuum or dusting and wipe it down with warm soapy water or anti-bacterial wipes. When you’re done and everything is dry, replace the cover and you’re all done!

If your shower has been humid because of an ineffective fan, you are likely more susceptible to a dirty shower storage container/caddy. You should be cleaning any containers in your shower, at a minimum, once a month. For a DIY solution to a dirty caddy, you can soak them in water and 1½ cups of vinegar for 20 minutes, then scrub and rinse it with fresh water. Mix some baking soda with water to form a paste and scrub the container with this and pour on another cup of vinegar. The reaction from the baking soda and vinegar will bubble and fizz – but this is good, it means the solution is breaking down any dirt and scum. Then rinse with clean water and dry with a clean towel to stop any spots developing.

  1. Lampshades, Lightbulbs and Light Switches

Lampshades are another thing in the home that we all have, but don’t necessarily clean that often, as it’s often easy to forget they’re up there. Well, consider this your reminder. Lampshades can accumulate quite large amounts of cobwebs and dust throughout the year, so cleaning them is important. For fabric lampshades, you can easily clean them with duster or brush attachment on your vacuum – just use a gentle touch and make sure the lights are off. For glass lampshades, you can use the dishwasher; simply unscrew the shade, put it on the top rack and pop a cycle on.

 

You probably haven’t ever given much thought to cleaning your lightbulbs either – we don’t blame you. But these can also attract dust, making them potentially hazardous when hot, and also dimmer! Just give them a wipe down with a cloth when they’re switched off to make sure they’re dust and grime free.

 

Something you may have considered more recently is, however, light switches. These are definitely considered high touch point areas, and can be a hotbed of germs and other bacteria transferred from hands – so it’s good to get into the habit of disinfecting them regularly (if you’re not already doing so). You can easily do this by giving them a quick wipe down with some anti-bacterial wipes.

 

  1. Pillows, Duvets and Mattresses

If you have company coming to stay for Christmas, children returning from university, whatever it is: you might want to give some thought to cleaning your bedding. And we don’t just mean the sheets either – we mean what’s underneath. Now, it’s worth checking the specifics of your bedding, as most of it can be machine washed, but some of it may need dry cleaning due to size or product specific specifications. You obviously can’t machine wash a mattress – but it is still worth giving it a hoover and spot-cleaning it with stain remover regularly to rid it of any bed bugs, dust, and grime. You can also try bringing out the baking soda again to absorb and break down odours and moisture – though this will need a light sprinkling left overnight and hoovered up again. Be sure to also flip the mattress and clean both sides thoroughly.

  1. TV remotes

Whether you call it by its name, or whatever amalgamation of random syllables comes to mind when you ask someone to pass it to you, you can’t have Christmas telly without the remote. Research performed to study the cleanliness of a hotel room found that remote controls were the most germ-infested item in the room. And they get a lot of use over the holidays – making them another high touch point item to disinfect regularly this Christmas. Fortunately, rubbing alcohol can sanitise your remote quickly and easily. Pour a bit on a paper towel, or use an antibacterial wipe, and scrub every inch of the remote to ensure it is thoroughly disinfected.

  1. Houseplants

You might not think it, but houseplants need cleaning too. A surprising amount of dust can settle and accumulate on the leaves of houseplants – real or fake. You can also place smaller ones in the sink before watering and give the leaves a rinse to get rid of pests. Then let them drip-dry out of any sunlight.

Well, that’s all folks! With that, we have reached the end of our 12 Cleans of Christmas. Be sure to stay on top of cleaning these 12 items over Christmas and into the New Year, for a lovely clean home. But that’s not all, keep your eyes on the Merry Maids blog throughout the holiday season for more festive cleaning content, including some top tips on cleaning in winter.

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.

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.

Tips on washing your bed sheets

From duvet covers to flat sheets, many people wash these necessary bedding items whenever the mood strikes, but is that enough? Unfortunately, you may be sleeping on more than you bargained for.

Our experts at Merry Maids have put together a guide to washing your bedsheets to help create a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?

In 2020 Hammonds Furniture conducted a poll and found that a third of Brits only wash their bed sheets once a year, no that’s not wrong, ONCE A YEAR!!!

We recommend washing your bed sheets weekly to eliminate harmful bacteria. Because of the general nature of your sheets, they tend to attract thousands of dead skin cells and odours. These factors warrant more frequent washing and changing of your bedding to keep you and your family healthy.

You should wash your sheets more often if you:

  • Have allergies or asthma

  • Have an infection or skin condition

  • Sweat excessively at night

  • Have pets that like to sleep in your bed

  • Enjoy a midnight snack or breakfast in bed

  • Go to bed without showering (after vigorous activity)

When you don’t wash your sheets and other bedding regularly, you run the risk of exposure to harmful fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that can get trapped in the fibres of your sheets. It’s not the most pleasant thought to consider you’re lying in all that. Other things such as bodily secretions can also be found on your fabric, though they don’t necessarily pose a health risk like the above. However, these fluids and organisms left on the surface of your bedding could trigger skin irritation, eczema flares (in people already living with the condition), and dermatitis.

What’s the Best Way to Wash Sheets?

Hot water is always the best way to wash and sanitize your sheets and other bedding. Although, more delicate fabrics and textures may require different cycles or water temperatures. For clarification, read the care label on your sheets and follow the instructions carefully to prevent ruining the material. Remember, the hotter the water, the best chance you have of removing more bacteria and allergens.

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

You should change your sheets every week or two to avoid the buildup of bacteria. If sleeping in your own sweat, oils, and skin cells weren’t enough to make you want to wash your sheets a bit more often, a colony of dust mites could be lurking in the fibres and these can have a dramatic impact on your health.

Dust mites are unpleasant eight-legged creatures not visible to the naked eye, so it won’t do any good trying to locate them on your sheets. By chance, if you do happen to see some creepy crawlers in your bed, they may be bed bugs. A bed bug situation requires abatement from a pest control company that specializes in these types of insects.

Keeping Your Bed Sheets Clean For Longer

It’s always a good idea to follow through with our recommended one to two-week washing routine. However, if life gets in the way (as it’s prone to do sometimes), you can make some changes in your lifestyle to keep your sheets and bedding cleaner longer, so washing frequently isn’t as necessary.

Keep your sheets clean between washing and help preserve them by:

  • Showering before you go to bed

  • Avoiding napping after a vigorous gym session

  • Removing makeup before you go to sleep

  • Avoiding lotions, creams, or oils right before bed

  • Not eating or drinking in bed

  • Keeping your pets off your bedding

  • Removing debris and dirt from your feet and socks before getting into bed

To keep your sheets looking don’t use fabric softeners with every wash, instead, replace the fabric softener with a quarter-cup of baking soda or a half-cup of white vinegar in the wash during the rinse cycle. Your sheets will feel softer and look brighter without any irritating chemicals or overpowering smells.

It’s important to note, if you’re using bleach to launder your sheets, don’t mix in the white vinegar. This can create poisonous fumes that are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Also, avoid using vinegar in a washing machine as the acid in the vinegar can destroy the door seal.

If you’re wanting any help with cleaning in your home find your nearest Merry Maids business here.

Moving home cleaning tips

Moving home is exciting, but it’s also one of life’s major stress triggers due to all the work that has to be done in a short timeframe.

While it’s likely impossible that you’ll never enjoy moving home, there are several ways in which you can make the process easier on yourself and those you live with.

1. Create a Schedule

Packing up and cleaning your home is a big task, so it’s important to plan properly. That means mapping out your time well in advance. In addition to your actual move-out date, set deadlines for specific tasks, such as packing up the spare bedroom or cleaning out your fridge. Be certain to leave yourself as much wiggle room as is feasible: The goal is to get as much move-out cleaning done ahead of time while still having access to the comforts and necessities you need until you move to your new home.

2. Pack and Clean in Zones

Make sure you concentrate on one space at a time by setting cleaning and packing zones in your house. Make a list or draw a map of your home and number the rooms or areas in the order you want to tackle them. For example, list spare rooms or guest bathrooms first as these spots can be packed without changing your daily routines. Remember to clean as you go, taking the time to wipe down books, lamps and other items before putting them away. If you won’t be using a move-out cleaning service, you’ll want to work from the top (cleaning cobwebs, ceiling fans and light fixtures) to the bottom (vacuuming, washing floors and wiping skirting boards) in each room.

3. Embrace the Opportunity to De-clutter

As you’ll literally be going through every room in your home, a move-out cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of anything you don’t want or need anymore, be ruthless as it leaves you with fewer boxes to move! Place a few empty boxes around your house and fill them with those items you haven’t used in months or the clothes that you forgot you owned until you started packing up your closet. Once they’re full, donate them or sell them at a local car boot sale. Additionally, go through paperwork and the ‘man drawer’ (you know the one we mean) and toss out any anything that may be lying around you don’t need anymore.

4. Enlist Some Help

Packing is a much less daunting task if you have some extra hands and pleasant conversation, sticking to social distancing guidelines of course. Clearly, you might not want their help packing some of your more personal belongings, but a little assistance boxing up books, baking utensils or seasonal items in your garage can make a huge difference in your move-out cleaning.

5. Bring in the Professionals

Your time will likely be limited, especially if you’re a renter, and you can’t unload your moving truck and clean your house at the same time. Take the stress away and contact your local Merry Maids to see what home or apartment move-out cleaning services they offer. That way, you can focus on carrying those boxes, while housekeeping professionals take care of cleaning your former home, saving you time and — if you’re a renter — ensuring you don’t have to pay any clean-up fees from your security deposit.

Where there’s a move-out, there’s usually a move-in. If you need your new place spruced up a bit, you can always contact your local Merry Maids in regards to that as well.

The recommended way to wash your hands

Proper hand hygiene is the number one way to reduce the risk of infection and it’s important to wash your hands frequently and properly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Here is the proper way to wash your hands as recommended by NHS:

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

  1. Wash your hands under warm running water
  2. Apply soap and rub palms together to ensure complete coverage
  3. Spread the soap over the back of your hands
  4. Make sure the soap gets in between each of your fingers
  5. Grip the fingers on each hand, ensuring you cover each finger with soap
  6. Rub both thumbs into a clenched fist
  7. Press fingertips into the palm of each hand
  8. Rub your knuckles on the opposite palm
  9. Dry thoroughly with a disposable paper towel

Other Tips on Hand Washing

Your hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, of which you can keep track of by singing Happy Birthday twice.

An acceptable alternative to hand washing is to use an alcohol-based sanitiser, with at least 60%. When possible, use wash your hands using the above method as this is more effective against viruses.

Here is a graphic we put together to show you the different stages of the above method:

Download Handwashing Graphic Here