Tag Archive for: Daily Cleaning Services

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

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

Christmas Dinner Party

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

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

Define your menu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Put down the cocktail shaker

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

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

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

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

Pre dinner party cleaning

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

Get the right ambience

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

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

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

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

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

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

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

Fun Cleaning Games For Kids

Entertaining kids in the evenings and weekends is a difficult task, but have you thought about making cleaning fun for the kids?

We’ve put our heads together and come up with a list of fun cleaning games that your kids will enjoy!

fun cleaning kids

 

Fill Up Fun

Fill Up Fun is all about recycling, although the first part of this game may be boring for the kids so you might want to do this!

  • Wash and dry the plastic and other recyclable items ready for recycling (Do this beforehand for the kids)
  • Split all the recycling into two equal piles
  • Place the recycling bin a short distance away from the piles
  • See who can get their recycling into the bin quick enough
  • Alternatively, see who can throw the plastic items into the bin from the greatest distance

This would be fun for adults, let alone the kids! Haha!

Spot The Recycling

Another bit of recycling fun for the kids is to firstly give them two bin bags each; one for recycling and the other for general waste.

Get your children to walk around the house and put in their bags what rubbish they think should be recycled and what should be thrown into general waste.

This can help with a bit of family exercise as well, especially if you do a timed race and see who has the most amount of items in the correct bags in the allotted time period.

Fold It Fast

This one is quite an easy one, but yet fun for the kids, as it doesn’t involve much setting up.

You will need:

  • A pile of clean, dry washing
  • Two or more enthusiastic children
  • A parent to supervise

All this game involves is for you to show the kids how to fold the laundry and then time them to see who can fold the most amount of items in the chosen time.

Kids Clear Out

A good clear out of old items needs to be done completed on a regular basis, especially with growing kids in the house.

As kids grow up they go off certain toys, books or games etc, and also as adults, we love to keep things we don’t need!

  • Go through the whole house putting items in three piles
    – Keep Pile
    – Charity Pile
    – Throw Pile
  • Get your kids to go through their old items and get rid of anything they don’t want anymore (if it’s broken throw it and if it’s still intact give it to charity)
  • While they’re doing this, you can go through some of your own things that you may not want to clutter the house with
  • Once all of the items have been put into piles, check to see if the kids have put things in the correct piles
  • Let your children bag the items and anything going to the local charity store, take them with you so they can hand over the bag

We’re sure there are plenty more cleaning games that can get kids liking cleaning, so if you know of any, let us know by sharing this post on social with your game idea!

If you’ve exhausted yourself and your kids playing all these games, then give your local Merry Maids a call to help with the housework so you can live life’s moments.

Making Your Bed Is Important For Your Health

There are a million and one excuses for not making your bed in the morning, here are a few common ones:

  • “I got up late and I didn’t have time to make my bed.”
  • “What’s the point? I’m getting back in it as soon as I get home.”
  • “My pet is curled up on the sheets and I didn’t want to wake them up”.

making your bed

Make bed making a morning habit

We all hate making our beds, but it’s scientifically proven that making your bed is overall better for your health and your sleeping habits.

Think of making your bed as your first successful task of the day, apart from trying to get up of course.

Your bed is the focal point in your bedroom and having that clean and tidy creates a sense of accomplishment and puts you in a better mood for the day to come.

Make it a part of your morning routine like brushing your teeth or combing your hair.

The science of making your bed

A study completed by the National Sleep Foundation proved that those who made their bed every day had a better night’s sleep to those that didn’t.

This study also states figures that people with clean sheets get a much more comfortable sleep. So, clean your sheets more often than you already do, simple!

“53% of respondents rated sleeping on sheets with a fresh scent an important contributor to their sleep experience” – Bedroom Poll by National Sleep Foundation.

The myth of letting your sheets breathe

Many people are convinced that they need to let their bed “breathe” during the day, and the reasons being that we are told that airing your bed out can prevent dust mites, mould and bedbugs etc.

However, the best way to get rid of dust mites and prevent mould is to keep your mattress clean, wash your sheets and your mattress protector frequently.

You can still have that little bit of air flow through your sheets if you really want, by slightly folding the top of your duvet cover over.

All in all, making your bed can help with your actual sleeping and make you feel accomplished before starting your day, so get bed making!

 

If you really don’t like making your bed, your local Merry Maids can always do this for you while making the rest of your house spick and span! Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

The Ugly Truths About Dust

Dust contains hair, pollen, soil, mould spores, textile fibres and dust mite faeces, amongst other matter.

vacuum dust

Fatty Dust

Who remembers Marjorie from Little Britain saying, “Dust, anybody, dust? It’s actually very low in fat and you can eat as much as you like”?

Marjorie is actually incorrect when it comes to dust being low in fat.

Research has shown that certain types of matter within household dust can turn on a protein called PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptor gamma).

This protein may be involved in obesity, because of the protein triggering fat cells to grow in our bodies.

More research is currently being completed in regards to the correlation between PPAR-gamma and obesity.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny little arachnids that are usually between 0.2-0.3 mm in length.

They are smaller than a grain of sand and not visible to the human eye!

  • A 2013 study found that household dust mites have actually evolved from parasites.
  • Dust mites feed mainly on dead skin that we shed.
  • One of the most common triggers of allergies in the home is the decomposing bodies and faecal matter of dust mites. Yuck!
  • Half a teaspoon of dust can contain up to 1,000 dust mites and around 250,000 faecal pellets!
  • The average mattress contains anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.

The Dustiest Places

There are some places in your home where dust will accumulate more often than others.

  • Window blinds– Wipe your blinds with a duster and vacuum them regularly.
  • Electronic devices– Collect dust because of static electricity, so make sure you frequently wipe with a duster.
  • Fixtures and fittings– Light fittings, lampshades, light switches and ceiling fans attract dust, so clean these in your weekly routine.
  • Upholstery– Dust mites love upholstery because of the warm environment between the textile fibres. Make sure hoovering your upholstery is in your weekly cleaning schedule.
  • Carpets– Like upholstery, dust mites thrive in the carpet fibres, so again make sure you’re regularly hoovering.

 

Our friends over at ServiceMaster Clean can help you with professional carpet cleaning.

If you’re not a fan of dust after reading some of these horrible facts, find your local office here and contact us today.

 

How to remove mould in your home

The build-up of mould in your home is a certainty, but you can get rid of it with the right products and a little bit of elbow grease.

mould

The main two areas you’ll find mould are on the grout in between tiles, in your bathroom and kitchen and on your window sills.

Why you get mould in your home

According to experts, mould has existed for millions of years, meaning it has had the opportunity to evolve and affect new areas in different ways.

Our teams across the UK see mould in bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other rooms on a regular basis.

Mould is essentially a type of fungus, and it accumulates in damp and poorly ventilated buildings or generally moist and warm areas.

Why you need to remove mould

Prolonged exposure to mould within your home can cause inflammation of your airways and nasal congestion. These symptoms are caused by the inhalation of air bound spores from the mould.

Removing mould safely and efficiently is important for your health and those in your household, so we have accumulated some tips to help you get rid of mould altogether.

How to remove mould in your home

First things first, make sure the cleaning products you’re using won’t cause any damage to the area. (You may need to use different products on different areas).

  • Make sure the room you’re working in is well ventilated, by opening a window or leaving a door ajar.
  • Wear non-porous gloves to stop irritation.
  • Protect your eyes with safety goggles from any kind of splash back.
  • Put on a mask to avoid inhalation of certain cleaning products and mould spores.

Fortunately for all of us, there are several cleaning products you can use to remove it in your home.

Bleach 

Bleach works well to remove mould from areas, such as white grout, tiles and window sills.

  • Mix one part bleach with 3 parts warm water
  • Scrub the affected area with a non-abrasive brush that has been dipped in the bleach mixture
  • Repeat the previous step until a sufficient amount of mould has been removed
  • Use a clean rag to wipe away the loosened mould

Distilled white vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is best to use for the areas that bleach would affect, such as coloured areas.

  • Ideally, use a spray bottle to saturate the area with white vinegar
  • Allow the vinegar to do its magic and let it sit for 30 minutes
  • Scrub with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Spray affected area again and let it sit for another 30 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

Baking soda paste

Baking soda paste is usually ok to use on most areas, however, still, check beforehand just in case.

  • Stir ½ cup of baking soda and two or three teaspoons of water, adjust the mixture until you have a spreadable consistency
  • Spread the affected area with the baking soda paste
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  • Scrub the area with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

 

Some mould problems cannot be tackled with homemade remedies or commercial cleaning products that can be found in your local supermarket. If you’re having trouble, you can always contact your local Merry Maids here.

5 Top Tips to Cut Your Cleaning Time

Nowadays, we all seem to be leading very busy lives and not having enough home time!

This also means, that trying to keep your home clean and tidy in the short time you have, can end up being quite difficult.

Try these 5 tips to cut your cleaning time:

Cleaning Time

Freshen up in a flash

You can keep your rooms smelling fresher by sprinkling the carpets with baking soda, just before you go to bed.

When you wake up in the morning all you need to do is give the carpets a quick hoover and this will leave you with nice fresh smelling rooms.

Overnight Oven Cleaner

Get some oven cleaner applied to your oven and the end of the day and leave overnight, this way you will cut down all that scrubbing time!

We would recommend using a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda as a quick and easy oven cleaning solution.

  • Moisten the inside of the oven with a sprinkling of water
  • Apply a thick layer of baking soda and let it sit for 2-3 hours
  • Spray vinegar on the baking soda and watch it fizz into action right before your eyes
  • Then, just leave overnight and wipe clean with a cloth, sponge or kitchen roll in the morning

Scrub a dub dub

The bath and/or shower is one of those things that we use every single morning and evening, so keeping it clean is very important.

There is one quick tip that can save you a large amount of time when it comes to giving your house a weekend clean.

  • Buy a mini squeegee and micro fibre cloth, and keep them on the side in the bathroom
  • When finished in the shower, use the squeegee to remove the excess water on the shower door
  • Also, give the bath a quick rinse with the cloth, wring it out and leave to dry

Multi-tasking while chatting

I’m sure this one will only be for the ladies, because being a male myself, multi-tasking is quite difficult for me!

If you have that one friend or family member that insists on chatting on the phone for an hour every night, pop the phone on loudspeaker or connect it to Alexa and arm yourself with a cleaning cloth.

Go around the room dusting all of the surfaces and getting rid of cobwebs with a feather duster.

Kids can clean too

Teaching your kids responsibility at a young age is important for growing up, and cleaning the house is one of those things that needs to be taught.

Give them small chores at first, like dusting the surfaces or hoovering the lounge, and then eventually move them over to bigger chores once they are older.

 

With these 5 tips in your pocket, you will have a lot more time in your life to spend with the family or even get 5 minutes more to yourself!

If you want even more time and don’t want to clean at all, then pick up the phone and call your local Merry Maids to organise a weekly or fortnightly clean.

Find your local Merry Maids here.

5 Tips On Keeping Your House Clean With Kids

5 Tips on keeping your house clean with kids

Most parents sit down after a long day and remember how easy it was keeping your house clean before you had those precious little pains in the backside. However much you love your kids, cleaning up after them really is a chore in itself!

Child Playing

There are a few quick little tips that you can teach your kids to do that will really cut down the workload of picking up all of their toys yourself. Now I’ve got your attention! Here goes:

Make a daily chore checklist

This is one for you all to take away and implement straight away. You may not think so, but children like structure just as much as us adults do and implementing a daily chore checklist can really help.

Implementing a daily store checklist needs to have quick and easy jobs at the start and then more jobs can be added once your child gets older and used to the current chores.

For example:

Chores for young kids:

  • Put toys back in the toybox
  • Place dirty clothes in the washing basket
  • Get shoes on the shoe rack

Chores for older kids:

  • Make bed
  • Set the table for dinner
  • Get lunchbox and homework out of school bag

These small chores will make your lives that little bit easier and give you more time for a snuggle with your little one, and of course, that bit of time to yourself when the kids have been put to bed.

Reward your kids

One of the best ways for your children to get used the idea of doing their daily chores is to implement some kind of reward scheme.

For example:

Rewards for young kids:

  • A sticker chart with stars or smiley faces
  • Make them promises to take them to the park (always keep those promises)

Rewards for older kids:

  • Give them 15 minutes of time on their technology
  • Play with them in the garden for half an hour

The best reward for the older kids in the world we live in today is to change the password for the Wi-Fi every day, once their chores have been completed, give them the password to have a small amount of time on the internet.

Make cleaning fun

Yes, cleaning can be fun! Here are a quick few ways of making cleaning fun for your children:

For the younger children:

  • Put on a song like the Tidy Up Rhumba which your kids really will love and dance along to while cleaning!
  • If you have more than one child, let them compete to see who can tidy up first!
  • Let them organise their toys by colour or type

For the older children:

  • Put on their favourite songs, like a Little Mix track or something along those lines. (The Tidy Up Rhumba does work on older kids sometimes as well)!
  • Let the older ones compete as well, it may be a bit more competitive, but it will eventually get done!

Don’t let chores be a punishment

If you tell your child to do a chore as a punishment, this will turn a chore into a negative and not a positive. Instead of making them do a chore, put them on the naughty step and then encourage them to do their chores after you have let them play for a bit and take their mind off being naughty.

Make it a habit

Make sure your children get used to doing your selected chores every single day to ensure they stick in their minds. They will eventually do this on their own, without you having to tell them and also not expect a reward every time as well.

 

After all of this you don’t have time to keep the other parts of your house clean, then give your local Merry Maids a call. Find your local Merry Maids here.

If you have a quick 2 minutes – One of our franchises, Kingston Merry Maids has just celebrated receiving an award for their staff, read the full story here.

Tag Archive for: Daily Cleaning Services

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