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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

The best way to clean your bath – International Bath Day

How to ensure that your tub stays spotless.

Believe it or not, there is actually an International Bath Day, and it’s today! To properly commemorate the day, we’re giving you our top tips on cleaning your tub.

Naturally, if you’re getting into a bath, the goal is to come out clean. Unfortunately, a bathtub is one of the dirtiest places in the home. Studies have even found that an average bath or shower is 100 times dirtier than a garbage bin!

Don’t let that put you off too much though, as the experts can all agree that due to the high dilution of all the harmful microbiomes from the hot water, you’re very, very unlikely to see negative health effects from taking a bath. But with all that in mind, it’s still important to make sure that your bath is as clean as possible before a soak.

Luckily, sanitising and cleaning your bath doesn’t have to be a difficult chore. Here’s how to clean your bath the Merry Maids way.

Know the biggest culprits

If your bathtub isn’t very clean, it’s likely a result of one or more of these common nuisances: hair and soap scum. Hair is pretty self-explanatory, but what about soap scum? Often confused with limescale, soap scum is a chalky white substance that collects in tubs, sinks, shower curtains & heads. Soap scum is simply a build-up of both calcium and magnesium stearate and all the other residue from your body and products like dead skin cells, oils, chemicals, and soap remnants. According to The Spruce, soap scum is formed when soap is used in hard water and combines with calcium and magnesium particles in the water and soap to create soap scum. This formation then frequently spreads when minerals in tap water combine with soap and dirt to create a layer of scaly residue on your surfaces. Thankfully, although it isn’t particularly pleasant, soap scum isn’t a form of bacteria, so isn’t harmful to you in any way.

We’ll deal with the soap scum in a moment, but it’s also worth noting that you’re going to have an easier job cleaning your bathtub if you remove any hair from the surfaces and drains now by using a duster or getting in there by hand to remove any that has clumped together.

Make up your cleaning solution

As with a lot of our other at-home recipes for home cleaning solutions like urine or wine stains, the key ingredient here is some bicarbonate of soda. Mix some bicarb with equal parts washing-up liquid (roughly a ¼ of a cup of each works best here). Here is where you may opt to add in some essential oil to create a nicer smell in your bathroom for when you’re done. If you do choose to use a couple of drops, limit yourself to only about this much, and if you can, try and choose one that contains citrus like lemon or grapefruit as the acid will give you some extra help in breaking down that nasty soap scum.

Grab your cleaning utensils and mix the solution

Now that you’ve made up your solution, it’s time to mix it well. The easiest thing to do here is simply to use whatever cleaning utensil you’re going to use to stir it all together in a bowl or a cup. But be advised that what you use to clean your tub should depend on what it is made from, as different surface materials will need different cleaning utensils. For example, cast iron, acrylic or fibreglass bathtubs all have a more delicate finish to them so you want to avoid anything that might scratch and damage this. For a more standard enamel bathtub, a sponge will do the job nicely. Make sure you mix well and remember that this recipe doesn’t keep so you can be liberal with how much you apply. And, because it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals, you don’t even have to wear rubber gloves if you don’t want to – which will come in handy later.

Get scrubbing

Note: If you’re taking this opportunity to clean your bathroom tiles as well, do those beforehand, as you want to make sure that the tub stays dry until it’s time to rinse.

If not, or when you’re done, start applying your solution to the bathtub by wiping it down with your dampened sponge or cloth. Once your tub is suitably coated in the mixture, let it sit for about 10 minutes as it works its magic, breaking down all the soap scum and germs. Then, wet your sponge to get it nice and clean once more and start scrubbing the mixture away to clean the tub. It’s best to start at the back and work your way towards the drain and the taps for the easiest clean.

As you’re not wearing gloves, you can easily check if the scum has been removed by simply wiping your finger over the surface. If it’s nice and smooth, the scum has gone. If you can still feel it there, you may have to reapply some more mixture.

Clear the mixture away and clear out the drain

Using a container of hot water, or a removable shower head (if you have one), start to wash away the bicarb solution. You can then clean and polish off the taps. If your drain is full of grime, you can also use bicarbonate of soda to clear it out. Just sprinkle four tbsp of bicarb into the drain along with some vinegar and watch this solution bubble your drain grime away. Once it’s finished bubbling, pour some boiling hot water done the drain to flush the mixture out.

And if you want more than just your tub cleaned this International Bath Day, find your nearest Merry Maids now to book a one-off, or regular spring or deep clean 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

Home organisation solutions: Unique Amazon finds

Unique de-cluttering solutions that you can have delivered to your front door.

Whichever way you slice it – clutter is not great for you. It’s unsightly, irritating, and has been proven to make it harder to focus. Not only that, but clutter can also have real and detrimental effects on your health, as proven by this study from Nicole R. Keith from the Indiana University in the United States that found that people who kept their homes clean were healthier and more active.

But keeping your home free of clutter is easier said than done and it can be hard to stay on top of it all on your own, especially in a busy home with kids and pets running around. At Merry Maids, we know that a little helping hand never goes amiss. That’s why we’ve put together a list of items that you can buy from Amazon UK to help you organise and de-clutter your home.  

1. Over-the-door pantry organiser

Is your pantry overcrowded with unused cereal boxes, expired pasta, bags, and spices galore? Maximise your pantry by utilising the space behind the door with this handy Smart Design over-the-door organiser. Retailing at £63.94, this handy tool can help minimise the amount of disorder in your pantry with fewer things stuck at the back or not in an easily accessible place.

2. Container lid organisers

An “out of sight, out of mind” approach is typical for Tupperware organisation (or lack thereof) in most homes. If you’re like us and are tired of looking at mountains of bowls and lids that don’t match, we recommend investing in a container lid organiser from YouCopia. For £52.05, this item will free up space and eliminate the threat of a container lid avalanche every time you open the cupboard!

3. Pot and lid rack

Speaking of necessary kitchenware disarray: your pots, pans, and lids are likely overdue for a significant organisation overhaul. Luckily, the cookware you use daily will be easily accessible and organised with this heavy-duty pan rack from CAXXA. For £55.42, you can make your cabinets much more manageable. And by maximising space with this vertical storage solution, you’ll also be protecting your delicate cookware long-term.

4. Cleaning supplies holder

If you’ve been looking for a way to organise your home and keep your essential cleaning supplies off the floor and out of the way, we’ve got just the home storage solution for you. For £44.17, Commandä Brand broom grippers are perfect for securing brooms, mops, dusters, and dustpans to the wall for easy access and ideal vertical storage.

5. Cereal containers

Parents, this home storage solution is for you! For cereal-loving parents tired of having to come behind children to close cereal boxes constantly, you’ll want to get your hands onsome plastic canister organisers from Chef’s Path. At £59.97, these airtight containers keep cereal and other snacks fresh for consumption. You can finally stop worrying if your next morning bowl of cereal will be ready to eat or for a bin bag.

6. Stackable water bottle holder

No matter what you use your water bottles for, with a stackable water bottle holder from MetroDécor for £65.64, your fitness and organisation goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Simply keep this home organisation product on your counter or conceal it in a cabinet or pantry and voila: no more water bottle clutter.

7. Carrier bag dispenser

Do you have that one piece of kitchen space that should be used for chopping boards and bakeware but instead houses months of plastic carrier bags? We get it. To recycle and protect the planet, you’ve accumulated a hefty collection of plastic bags that are now overflowing. Our home organisation remedy is the Simplehuman carrier bag dispenser. Costing just £13.95, and with a modern, stainless-steel face, you can mount this dispenser on your wall to get it out of the way but still have easy access to it.

8. Space-saving hanger

A sometimes time consuming but necessary job to do when organising is taking stock of the clothes in your wardrobe. But one sure-fire way to help streamline the process is to rid your wardrobe of unused items before you start organising. Not only that, but IEOKE’s space-saving hanger is a clever answer to the vertical storage problem. These hangers make multifunctional magic inside your wardrobe, allowing you to save up to 80% of your space.

9. Merry Maids

For a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering service straight to your door, find your nearest Merry Maids today to book a free quote for a one-off or regular cleaning service from our cleaning and organisation experts.

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

Earth Day | Eco friendly washing tips

Today is Earth Day, so we thought we put together a few useful and eco-friendly washing tips for you to implement in your home.

1. Wash at 30°

Of course, you always need to check the care labels before loading up the washing machine. But, high temperatures aren’t always necessary and can waste a lot of energy, and considering the world we’re living in at the moment, this isn’t such a bad thing! Choosing to wash at 30 degrees instead of a higher setting can save you a whopping 40% of energy and will still leave your clothes looking clean and smelling fresh!

 

2. Use plant-based products

You can help the environment in many ways by using biodegradable plant-based products for your washing.

If you can, use plant-based products that favour biodegradable ingredients to reduce the impact of your wastewater on aquatic life. There’s a chance that on your washing up liquid or cleaning spray, you might have a warning that says “harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects”, if this is the case, look for plant-based products that are better for the environment

 

3. Shorter cycles where possible

Just as colder cycles can save you energy, washing laundry that’s not stained or completely covered in dirt on a shorter cycle saves energy too and it will clean them just as well! Trust us, change to a quicker cycle for your general clothing and you’ll see absolutely no change in the quality of wash, but certainly save on energy!

 

4. Avoid chlorine bleach

Chlorine may have plenty of benefits when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, however, once it’s released into the environment and reaches water, it reacts with other elements to form toxins that are harmful to wildlife.

 

5. Don’t do half loads

Quite a simple tip this one… Always have a full drum before you start any washing cycle on your machine. This is more beneficial as you’ll still be using the same amount of water and energy as you would if you were to only half fill your machine.

 

6. Use concentrated detergent

Water is the most valuable resource on Earth, yet every day all over the world it’s wasted by the bucket load! Try and use detergents that are concentrated, meaning they’ve used less water in the production process and a bonus they’ll last you even longer. Concentrated detergents can lead to huge energy and water savings!

 

7. Wash clothes inside-out

This quick trick will help your clothes to look new, meaning you’ll have to replace them less often. If fewer clothes are purchased then less water and fossil fuels will be used as fewer clothes will be mass-produced.

 

We hope these tips can in use, if you need your home cleaning then contact your local Merry Maids today.

 

Written by Tim Marshall, Digital Content Writer

How to get chocolate stains out of your clothing and more

It’s the Easter weekend, which means lots of chocolate!

However, chocolate has the tendency to melt all over your hands, and you don’t usually realise it’s melted until it’s on your clothes, upholstery and carpets!

Chocolate soaks into the fabric a bit more slowly than other liquids, so clean it up as quickly as possible and you’ll have more success of getting rid of it.

Clothing

It always seems to get on clothing, especially when you’re wearing a white top!

Here’s how to remove chocolate stains from your clothing:

  • Scrape off excess chocolate
  • Pretreat with a prewash stain remover
  • Put in the washing machine as normal
  • If the stain remains, wash again

Upholstery

Accidents happen, they are inevitable, and getting chocolate on your upholstery is a very common one!

Here’s how to remove chocolate stains from your upholstery:

  • Scrape off excess chocolate
  • Mix one tablespoon of washing up liquid with two cups of cool water
  • Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the above solution
  • Blot until the liquid is absorbed (Always blot the stain because if you rub it you’ll work the stain into the fabric more), repeat until the stain disappears
  • Sponge the area with cold water and blot dry.
  • If that doesn’t work, use a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent and blot until the solvent is absorbed, repeat until the stain disappears.

Carpeting

With kids around you’re bound to get chocolate everywhere not just on the carpet, but here’s how to remove chocolate stains from your carpet:

For all of your house cleaning needs find your nearest Merry Maids today.

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.

Testing 5 Popular Homemade Cleaning Hacks

Popular cleaning myths, busted

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk online about so-called cleaning ‘hacks. Earlier this year, consumer experts Which? asked the British public to submit their favourites. Here are the results:

  1. Using dishwasher tablets instead of washing machine cleaner

A popular tactic is to use dishwasher tablets in your washer instead of a specialist cleaner. It is true that tablets and cleaners have similarities and contain some of the same ingredients. But, dishwasher tablets lack the proper ingredients and are not as suited to cleaning a washing machine. In this case, you are better off using a machine cleaner for a better result. This one is: FALSE

  1. Using bicarbonate of soda as a stain remover

If you’ve read any previous Merry Maids blogs, you know that we recommend using bicarb as a stain remover. The science behind this is quite simple. Sodium bicarbonate can form a mild alkaline solution in water – which has a pH of around 8-8.5. This acts as a buffer that increases the pH of water. This affects the charge of stains, causing them to dissolve faster. As a result, you will find that bicarb is actually a common ingredient in many cleaning products. In this case, the popular myth is TRUE!

  1. Using peanut butter to get chewing gum out of the carpet

Now bear with us, because this one sounds bizarre, but, there is actually some simple science behind it. As ‘Which?’ explains, chewing gum contains three parts: a resin, a wax, and an elastomer. The resin is the chewy part, and the wax and elastomer act as a softener, and a flexibility producer. What this means is that chewing gum isn’t soluble in water, so you need something oil-based. That’s where the peanut butter comes in. Peanut Butter contains reserves of natural oils within its main ingredient: ground peanuts. On top of this, some brands have even more and add oils like palm oil to make it smoother. So, this one is actually true, as the oils may soften the gum and make it easy to remove from the carpet. Unfortunately, the main drawback is that you end up covering your carpet in peanut butter. So, we recommend you use a colourless, neutral smelling alternative, like mineral oil. TRUE!

  1. Using laundry detergent to get rid of burn marks

This next hack is about removing grime and burn marks from the grill, oven, and the bottom of pans. In theory, you mix some laundry detergent with water to make the stubborn grime easier to clean. And in practice, this does actually work. Laundry detergent contains enzymes, along with a combination of bleaches, surfactants, and hard-water softeners. It is the enzymes that make it useful in cleaning away grime. Burnt on food will more often than not contain a combination of fats, carbs, and proteins. Enzymes can help degrade these, making them easier to get rid of. So, this myth is also true. Please note, it’s recommended that you wash your pans again as normal afterwards. You’ll want to make sure is no residue left when you’re later preparing food. TRUE!

  1. Using lemon juice and olive oil as a wood cleaner

According to this popular myth, you can use a combination of lemon juice and olive oil to create wood polish. And there is science in favour of this. Lemon juice is citric acid, meaning it can act in a similar way to the bicarbonate of soda on certain types of stains. The olive oil then acts as a varnish and aids in the removal of fat-based stains due to its hydrophobic nature. So, this one is also true. Yet, due to the corrosive nature of lemon juice – it is not advised. At the very least, use it rarely. Over time, lemon juice and similar acidic products like vinegar can corrode wood if you use it too much. So, you’re better sticking to a proper cleaner long term.

That’s where we come in. Our maids can deal with any matter of domestic cleaning tasks: from regular upkeep to a full deep clean. And instead of using harmful remedies on your wood, rely on ServiceMaster Clean. The professional carpet, floor, and upholstery cleaners from our ServiceMaster brand family.  Forget about herbal remedies and potential cleaning disinformation. Find your nearest Merry Maids business here, and book a clean with our maids today.

Loving your home

Show your home some love this Valentine’s Day by booking a professional clean from Merry Maids.

Is your home feeling a little unloved? With many of us returning to work, be it at home or in person, it can be easy to neglect your cleaning in the rush of the regular 9 to 5. Before you know it, you may look around to see that your home is looking a little worse for wear. Maintaining a clean home is a difficult and labour intensive job. Especially when added to an already extensive list of things to stay on top of, cleaning your home regularly can leave even the most organised of us feeling a little frazzled.

Let us take care of the cleaning for you. Just one weekly visit from our Merry Maids cleaning operatives will leave your home looking and feeling fresh and squeaky clean. It’s one less thing to worry about, and you can relax without feeling worried or guilty for not getting round to it. At Merry Maids, our job is to look after the cleaning, so you don’t have to. With 42 years of experience as a leading domestic cleaning brand, Merry Maids is trusted nationwide for our expert domestic cleaning services. This includes one-off, weekly, fortnightly, or monthly visits where we will:

Dust picture frames, ornaments, lamps, furniture, woodwork, shelves & skirting boards
Vacuum – both rooms and furniture, including under-seat cushions
Empty bins
Clean kitchen and bathroom appliances, mirrors
Sanitise countertops, tiles, toilets
Polish chrome
Deodorise
And more!

Our Merry Maids cleans can be scheduled and adjusted to suit you and any particular requirements you may have. For example, we are dementia and pet friendly, and all of our maids have been thoroughly trained to work safely and effectively during COVID19.

So, whether you are looking for a one-off or regular clean, Merry Maids are committed to keeping your home at its best, so you can relax, and keep your free time well… free! Show yourself, and your home some love this Valentine’s Day by leaving the cleaning to us. Book a regular or one-off clean today by finding your nearest Merry Maids business here.

Introducing Merry Maids Spot Hero

Do you want a professional stain cleaning product? Try Merry Maids Spot Hero today!

From our ServiceMaster family of brands, introducing Merry Maids Spot Hero cleaner. The cleaner is tried and trusted by each and every one of our maids across the UK. And now available to you! Safe to use on all water washable carpets, fabrics and upholstery, our Spot Hero cleaner has been developed by cleaning experts at ServiceMaster to give you a professional stain removal for you to use.

Using a spritz of this flash cleaner will have your carpets and upholstery looking as good as new in no time. Spot Hero cleaner works fast and effectively to eliminate all of the most common household stains, including:

•     Tea
•     Red Wine
•     Cola
•     Coffee
•     Mud
•     Fruit
•     Berries
•     Grease
•     Dirt
•     Grass
•     Vegetable Oil
•     Jam
•     Tomato Sauce
•    & MORE

ServiceMaster has been a trusted hero in the cleaning industry for over 55 years, and now we’ve distilled the magic of our professional cleans into a spray for you to take home. Whether you’re one of our valued Merry Maids customers, or simply looking to brighten up your home, you can call on Merry Maids Spot Hero to save your carpets and upholstery from stains for as little as £7.99!

Simply, click here to take home that ServiceMaster shine today, or find your nearest Merry Maids branch to find out more about our services.

How to eliminate window condensation

Have you found yourself waking up to windows covered in condensation? Here’s an easy way to get rid of this pesky winter window pest.

Condensation can be a nightmare at this time of year. For home renters and buyers alike, water collecting on your windows can be a real hindrance to your property.

The build-up of water left from condensing air can lead to a number of household issues, such as black mould, damp, and draughts. Not only can these be bad for your home, but also can have a real negative impact on your own personal health.

Luckily, our Merry Maids cleaning experts are here with a quick and easy fix for window condensation, and it comes from a German method called ‘Stosslüften’.

Stosslüften is an alternative to a more well-known method of condensation reduction, which is essentially to open the windows with condensation on. However, this is often not cost or energy effective as it can take almost all day for the condensation to evaporate. Instead, the Stosslüften method suggests creating a strong draft throughout the house by opening windows all over your property for three minutes. This will exchange all of the hot air inside for cold air outside, which holds less moisture. It will also eliminate condensation quickly by ridding your house of the humidity that allows it to thrive.

So next time you wake up to windows covered in water – give Stosslüften a go. And as an extra preventative method against condensation and its unpleasant effects, give Merry Maids a call.

Our cleaning experts can undertake a number of tasks to help keep your home in its best possible condition, including cleaning tiles, mirrors and deodorising in bathrooms and suites – a common place for condensation to wreak havoc. One study found 44% of British renters live in properties with no extractor fan in the bathroom, and 31% live in a property with no window in the bathroom – meaning humid air has nowhere to go after a hot shower.

And if unfortunately, you do find your house has developed mould due to condensation, you can call on one of the ServiceMaster family of brands, ServiceMaster Restore to eliminate mould growths in your home.

If you think it’s time to make sure your home is at its best, find your nearest Merry Maidsbranch to schedule a clean or find out more about our services today.

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.

How to clean up your home office in a flash

With many people in the UK returning to working at home, we’ve put together a list of quick tips to help keep your at-home office workspace clean.

With the current Coronavirus guidelines encouraging UK residents to work from home where possible, many of us have returned to working remotely. Whether you’re commuting to a home office, kitchen table, or bedroom, keeping your workspace clean and tidy can help your productivity and mood, as well as reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the cleaning experts at Merry Maids have put together a list of simple things you can do to tidy up your at-home workspace.

Cleaning your Desk

Your desk, whether at home or in the office, is probably where you spend most of your working day. As a result, it likely sees a lot of traffic from your hands, papers and stationary, keyboards, phones, laptops and computers, and even lunch. And with the average desk containing more germs than a toilet seat, knowing how to properly clean them is imperative. You should be:

  • Cleaning your desk frequently – We’ve all become a little more accustomed to carrying out proper sanitisation and cleaning procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and you should be doing this as regularly as you can by using antibacterial spray and a damp cloth. Most shop-bought cleaners will do, or you could also use a combination of 1:1 water and vinegar to get rid of germs on your desk.
  • Ridding your desk of marks – Though less important from a sanitation standpoint, if you have a hardwood desk that has been marked and damaged, you can actually clean them up with some household items. Returning to the kitchen cupboard, you can use some bicarbonate of soda and a damp cloth to scrub marks from your hardwood. If this doesn’t work, you can also try using a clean tennis ball. Yes, a tennis ball. Simply rub it on marks like an eraser and watch the marks disappear! Similarly, you can…
  • Remove watermarks – Water rings from cups of tea and other beverages can be an eyesore and foster germs. You can remove them by turning a hairdryer onto a high setting and pointing it directly at the mark and voila, water rings vanished!

Don’t eat at your desk

Working from home or in the office, it can be easy to get into the swing of things and forget to take time away from your desk to eat. But as much as eating at your desk can be an easy trap to fall into – especially when working from home – for the sake of cleanliness, as well as your own general health, we wouldn’t advise it. Studies have found that you should be leaving your desk/screen for at least five minutes every hour, to benefit both your productivity and overall health. As well as this, food can easily fall into your keyboard and foster germs and odour.

Cleaning your Keyboard

Speaking of your keyboard, how do you clean it to avoid germs and smells?

  • Turn everything off – First things first, you’re going to want to disconnect your keyboard from your computer or monitor. If you’re using a laptop, then make sure it’s turned off before you start.
  • Flip it – Start by turning your keyboard or laptop upside down to get any initial crumbs, hair, and other debris out of the nooks and crannies.
  • Hoover up debris – Use the duster appliance on your vacuum cleaner or a can of compressed air to get rid of any remaining debris that’s still lingering in between the keys.
  • Sanitise the keys – Take an antibacterial wipe, or a cotton bud/piece of kitchen roll and dip it into some antiseptic disinfectant (which you can purchase at most supermarkets) and rub it between and along the keys of your keyboard. Make sure to use a light touch, as getting your electronics too damp is an obvious no-no.
  • Wipe up – Use a microfiber cloth to clean up the remaining disinfectant and give the keys a little polish.

Cleaning your Computer Screen

Your computer screen will also likely be home to a surprising amount of dirt and grime as a potentially high touchpoint area. Luckily, cleaning your computer screen follows the same process as cleaning a TV screen, which you can find a step-by-step guide to from our Merry Maids cleaning experts here.

Cleaning your Office Chair

Your office chair follows the same principle as your desk, but when upholstered can be even more stained and more difficult to clean. To give it a proper clean, your best option is normally to start by vacuuming it to get rid of dust and hair etc. and then follow up with a damp cloth or an antibacterial wipe to disinfect it. You should be aiming to do this regularly, at a minimum of once a fortnight.

And if your chair’s upholstery is looking tired or too difficult to clean, you can call on the ServiceMaster family of brands. Our furniture repair business Furniture Medic offers services to repair damaged upholstery, and ServiceMaster Clean offers bespoke upholstery cleaning services.

If you want to leave your home cleaning to the professionals whilst you work from home, why not get in touch with us? Our cleaning operatives are well-prepared to continue working safely and professionally in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and can get your home looking shiny and new in a flash. Find your nearest Merry Maids business today to book a clean or to find out more about our services.

 

Written by Tom Page

Top tips on cleaning your fridge

We’ve put together some top tips on cleaning your fridge.

The humble refrigerator plays an often understated yet important role and gets a lot of use all year round. The holidays are now so last year, however, they can create a lot of mess, and quite the daunting task once all of the leftovers have finally all been eaten. That’s why it’s important to know the proper way to effectively and efficiently clean your fridge.

Luckily, we’ve made a list of steps to help you out:

Preparing for the clean

Cleaning your fridge doesn’t actually require many speciality products.

Here are some things you’ll need to clean out your fridge:

  • Bin bags
  • Rubber or disposable gloves
  • A cooler box
  • A cleaning product
  • Sponges, old rags or kitchen roll
  • Microfiber cloths

Clear it out

The first thing to do when cleaning out your fridge is to make sure its empty. This might be quite the undertaking if you’ve stocked up for Christmas, so planning ahead is essential. Really, your fridge needs cleaning every 3-6 months, so choosing a time in-between shops might be a good idea.

During the cleaning process, you’ll need to use cool bags as a substitute for the fridge. This is because products like meat and dairy need to be refrigerated to stop the rapid growth of bacteria that happens at room temperature.

Wipe down shelves and drawers

Now that your fridge is empty and you can properly get to them, it’s time to clean out all of its shelves and drawers. A lot of fridges have removable shelves so you don’t have to hunch over inside of it to clean them. In the case you do have removable shelves, it might be a good call to check the manual if you’re not sure about taking them out or putting them back. The good news is, once removed, you can wash them up in the sink with hot water and some washing-up liquid. However, it’s probably best to leave them to warm up to room temperature if they’re made of glass as they might crack or shatter when they come into contact with hot water.

Once this is done you can move onto the drawers, which you may also be able to wash in the sink depending on size. In the case of bigger drawers like salad crisper drawers the best thing to do is still to give them a good wipe down with hot water and dish soap.

Next, you’ll want to clean the areas around the shelves too. Food residue can easily build up in the joins between the shelves so make sure you scrape all of this away. Give the shelves and drawers a rinse with clean water to get rid of soap suds and then allow to dry naturally on the drainer or a tea towel and move on to…

Cleaning the inside

To clean the inside of the fridge, you can use diluted bleach, white vinegar or a commercial all-purpose cleaner. Remember to always make sure you’re always wearing rubber gloves when cleaning with these products. If you use any solution that uses water as a base, or just want to use water and soap, remember to only use cold water as hot water can actually raise the temperature of your fridge; meaning that it takes longer before you can return perishable foods to it.

When it comes to utensils, we would recommend using a scouring pad, or a sponge that has one attached, as these are excellent for removing any stuck-on food and spills from surfaces without scratching the area. Perhaps surprisingly, a cotton bud or toothbrush can be very useful here to remove old food. They’re also great for fiddly and hard to reach places, like the drip hole at the back of the fridge. This is a key area when cleaning the inside as it can very easily become clogged and dirty. Furthermore, as with the shelve joiners, be sure to be particularly thorough when scrubbing the grooves where the shelves rest, as they can be hotspots for dirt. When you’ve finished you can dry the inside with paper towels or a dry clean tea towel.

And the outside

Particularly when paying attention to disinfecting due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, remember to give the outside of the fridge similar focus and attention by wiping down doors and handles. For the exterior of the fridge, we recommend using a microfiber cloth, as these are best at removing streaks and fingerprints on surfaces.

Put everything back

The first thing you should do when you’ve finished cleaning is to put the shelves, drawers and door inserts back into their slots. Check your condiments for mould, give them a wipe down to ensure any residue is removed, and then place them back into the fridge.

Next, you’ll then want to return everything else to its proper place. For tips on food storage hygiene and the proper way to keep your fridge click here.

We can help

If this all feels like a little too much work, why not leave it to the professionals? We offer a refrigerator clean as an extra service when a home clean is purchased. To book a clean or find out more, contact your local Merry Maids today.

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 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.

5 Top tips for cleaning in winter

When you think about cleaning, your mind might immediately jump to the spring. But the warmer months aren’t the only time you should be focused on cleaning. Winter is fast approaching, and with it are a host of season-specific cleaning considerations.

If this seems a little daunting, don’t worry. We’ve compiled a list of five things that you can do to get a head start on the housework this winter.

  1. Give your radiators a good seeing to

One of the most important things in the home during the winter is, of course, the radiators. We depend on them for warmth when the temperature starts to drop. So why not make sure you’re giving them the best treatment possible? During the year, dust will have accumulated around, and possibly even in your radiators, which will mean that they won’t be working to their full potential.

To combat this, there are a few things you can do:

  • Use your everyday cotton cleaning cloth and give the radiators a good wipe down. Make sure you get all around the radiator, including the top and bottom areas.
  • Take a long-distance brush, like a duster (if it’s extendable, that’s even better). Then move it in and out of the top vent to be sure that you’re getting as much of that pesky dust as you can. 
  1. Clean off that computer

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, something we are all more aware of is the process of cleaning and disinfecting our personal items like laptops and computers. With many still working from home, they have become more crucial in our day to day lives than ever before. But even when not working over the festive period, it’s important to remember to keep up the practice of thoroughly cleaning your devices – even if all you’re doing is snuggling up with a hot drink and a Netflix series.

Beyond wiping down your screen and keyboard, here are a couple of other things you can do to give your laptop/computer a good clear out:

  • Vacuum all of the visible air vents.
  • Spray a can of compressed air into your keyboard slots and vents to get rid of any dust and grime. As well as keeping it clean, this may also alleviate the stress on your computer’s fan and help stop the system from overheating.
  1. Shield your floors from mud

We’re all familiar with the fickle winter weather in the UK. The last thing you want is to get caught out by a surprise turn and end up trekking mud, or even snow, throughout the house. If you don’t already have them, we recommend investing in a few doormats in order to avoid bringing any germs, mud, and other debris into the home and onto your floors.

If you already have some, great! Another thing you can do is make sure you have somewhere off of the floor to store your shoes like a box or shoe rack. Or you could put down an old bit of carpet, some sheeting, or a shoe rug, and place them on there to create a barrier between any muddy soles and the floor.

  1. Clean out that ‘Chim Cher-ee’

When you think of a festive scene, one of the first things that comes to mind might be chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Whilst keeping your home nice and cosy this winter is a top priority for most, if you plan on doing this with an open fire, we recommend clearing your chimney – if you have one. This is because the dirt and chemicals that will have built up over the past year could turn into a fire hazard and potentially cause an influx of smoke into your home.

And no, don’t worry, it won’t be Dick Van Dyke coming round with his peaked cap and long brush to do it. The methods have improved since the Victorian era! Nowadays, technology and equipment are far more efficient.

  1. Keep your supplies clean

After all your winter cleaning, your house is likely looking spotless. But remember, to keep getting the same results every time, it’s important to make sure that you’re keeping your cleaning supplies in good nick too.

To do this, here are a few things you can do:

  • Fill your sink with hot, soapy water and put any sponges and cloths you might have used in for a good soak. Be sure to properly disinfect them too!
  • Vacuum any debris from your brooms or sweeping brushes, and disinfect your mop.
  • When this is done, give your vacuum a wipe down and empty it out or change the bag if you need to.
  • If your duster is detachable, you might want to pop it in the wash along with your cleaning cloths.

And if this all seems like a lot of work, but you still want to keep your home looking clean and pristine this Christmas, why not get in touch with us? Find your local Merry Maids UK here and get that same spotless shine every single time!