Posts

How to: Organise your kitchen

A helpful guide to de-cluttering your kitchen.

Have you ever found yourself jumping back to avoid a rogue jar, container or bag of flour when you open your kitchen cupboards? Or have you ever wondered how much time you’ve wasted searching for measuring cups or food storage lids? If so, you’re probably in need of some kitchen organisation.

Organising your kitchen not only saves you time and bumps on the head from Tupperware avalanches. It also helps you keep your kitchen clean, as it’s much easier to wipe down and tidy an uncluttered space. Our home cleaning and organisation experts at Merry Maids can help. In fact, we’ve put our heads together to give you our four favourite kitchen organisation tips, all in one place.

1. Free up space with hooks and racks

Overall, the best way to maintain a clutter-free kitchen is to clear out cabinets and drawers and keep countertops clean. And hanging items to keep them off of counters is an excellent means of doing this. Here are several ways you can organise your kitchen by hanging cookware and other kitchen necessities:

Install a magnetic knife strip above your countertops to keep them free of bulky knife racks.
Use small hooks to hang coffee mugs and measuring cups under cabinets and shelves or on the inside of cabinet doors.
Hang a pot and pan rack from the ceiling so you have easy access to cookware and don’t clutter your cabinets.
Invest in a wall-mounted kitchen storage rack that can be used to hold everything from spoons and whisks to sponges and dishwashing soap.

This is a great method if you’re organising a small kitchen, as hanging items can help you maximize every square inch of the room.

2. Organise your kitchen with shelves

It may seem obvious, but shelves can work wonders when it comes to kitchen organisation, they can open up the valuable cabinet and counter space. One means of organising your kitchen using shelves is to install them to hold frequently used items. For example, you could hang a shelf with olive oil, spices, and even cookbooks over your stove so they’re handy when you’re preparing meals.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of shelving and kitchen organisation. What’s less obvious is where you can put, or even hide shelves. For example, you can add them to the inside of your cabinets as a quick way of increasing your storage space – which is especially helpful when organising a small kitchen. You can even purchase tiered shelves that make it easy to spot ingredients, eliminating the time-consuming emptying of cupboards to search for what you need.

3. Keep the kitchen tidy using containers

Never underestimate the tidying effect that containers and bins have when organising your kitchen. For starters, baking ingredients such as different flours and sugars can be poured into containers and stacked, freeing up precious space on your cabinets and counters. To take your kitchen organisation one step further you can label each container so you know what’s inside. Another great use for containers is to store items that tend to spill as a result of their original packaging, like dry beans, pasta and rice.

In addition, there are many different types of bins and containers that can be used to declutter your fridge, which can help keep it clean. These can be found online by searching for unique organisational finds from places like Amazon, or locally through a department store. You can expect to find numerous space-saving storage items including bins that dispense cans, thin water pitchers and organisers for your fridge.

4. Keep the kitchen tidy using containers

When organising a small kitchen, one thing that can really help is dividers. With that being said, they’re incredibly useful in any size kitchen.

How do they help? Well, picture the inside of your drawers. Aside from the silverware drawer, things are probably pretty chaotic in there. Measuring spoons tangled with whisks and mixer attachments. Silicone spatulas hiding under the cheese grater. Dividers can help keep all of these items separated. That way, when you open a drawer looking for something, you don’t have to rummage around to find it. It’ll be right there with similar items.

Vertical dividers can also be used to organise kitchen cabinets. They’re a great way to keep chopping boards, pan lids and baking sheets orderly.

If you’d like a little extra help with the cleaning and organisation of your home, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your nearest Merry Maids business to schedule a free quote from our of our teams of friendly cleaning professionals.  

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

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 clean urine out of a mattress

A quick and easy method to remove urine from your mattress.

Mattresses are important… and expensive! This makes it all the worse when you wake up from sharing your bed with your pet or child to find… they’ve wet your bed.

Panic sets in. You understand that accidents happen. But equally, you don’t want it to seep into the mattress and stain it forever.

So, what do you do? It’s the first thing in the morning (or worse, the middle of the night), you need to deal with this quickly, and the longer you spend standing in indecision, the closer you inch to a mattress that is permanently stained with urine.

We’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know to clean a urine-stained mattress in five easy steps.

1. Strip the bed

First things first, clear the area. This means removing any bedding: sheets, duvet, blankets etc, and putting them in the wash immediately.

2. Start to soak up the stain yourself

Begin to bring up as much of the liquid as you can by using a large towel. Much like the stain from a bottle of wine, the key here is to blot the stain, not scrub it.

As much as you may not want to get wee on one of your towels, using paper towels on bedding is likely to get bits of paper all over the sheet. So, you’re far better off grinning and bearing it with a towel and washing it afterwards.

You also want to avoid creating heat through friction from scrubbing or with any other heat source as this will cause the stain to set in and become permanent.

Instead, be sure to add as much pressure as you can to soak up with liquid, rather than letting the towel just sit on top.

3. Create your own solution

Next, create your own cleaning solution of 50:50 distilled white vinegar and water. The best method is to give the stain a light coating here. If you have one, a good way to

apply your solution is by taking a spray bottle and using this to spray the urine-stained area of the mattress. Let this sit for a while – anywhere between five and ten minutes is preferable and then apply the next magic ingredient.

4. Cover the stain with bicarbonate of soda

Applying sodium bicarbonate to the affected area works in tandem with the solution that you’d already put down to help lift the stain from the mattress. How this works is that the acidic vinegar breaks down the bicarb, and in turn, releases carbon dioxide which lifts stains.

But to do this effectively, you need time. The process yields the best results when left to work for a while – between 8 to 10 hours to be precise. The good thing is, once this has been done, the nature of the bicarbonate of soda means that all you have to do is…

5. Hoover up the bicarb

Now all that’s left to do is vacuum up the remaining bicarbonate of soda and viola – you should be facing a clean mattress that is free of odour. If not, you may have to repeat the process and you may still be left with a very faint outline or stain where the mixture did not reach or not enough was blotted up. However, the smell should be gone and the stain will fade the more you repeat the process.

Alternatively, if you are unhappy leaving a faint stain, or would rather trust the stain removal experts, get in touch with ServiceMaster Clean from our ServiceMaster brand family. With all the latest tools and the know-how for the job, these expert technicians are equipped to deal with any stain on any surface and clean your carpet and upholstery. To see how the professionals do it, check out this video of some ServiceMaster Clean experts deep cleaning a dirty mattress.

Or, for a regular deep clean of your whole home, get in touch with us. If it’s a deep clean, spring clean, tidy up, regular or one-off visit, our maids are here to take the hassle of cleaning your home off your hands. Book now, or get in touch with your nearest Merry Maids business by using our branch locator 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

 

10 items you can machine wash

Here is our list of 10 household items you might not know you were machine washable.

Let’s face it, if you had to hand wash every single thing you knew needed a good clean, there’d never be enough time for anything else! Fortunately, there are a variety of items, besides clothes that you can throw into the washing machine. But where to start? Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids have your guide to surprising items around your home you didn’t know your washing machine could take care of for you.

1. Small Rugs

With the amount of foot traffic in and out of your home, your small rugs are probably in need of some attention. Some rugs in your home will have varied cleaning specifications depending on the material and textures. However, generally, it’s safe to include a machine-washable throw rug or runner with a load of laundry once a month. However, you may still want to…

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Shake out the rug to remove small pebbles, clumps of dirt, etc.
  • Vacuum the rug to remove any remaining dirt and debris.
  • Spot-treat any hard-to-remove stains.

Remember to wash with similar colours (as much as possible) in cold water, and air dry. For rugs with a rubber backing, please try to avoid excessive washing, as it can cause damage to the material.

2. Pillows from your bed

Have you been throwing out pillows with stains, convinced there’s no way to salvage them, and then purchasing new ones? Well, we’ve got a money saver for you! You don’t have to get rid of dirty pillows. You can throw them in the wash (unless the label specifies “dry clean only”). Ideally, this should be done at least every six months.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove the pillowcase (if possible) and wash it separately.
  • Use baking soda for stains that are harder to remove.

Pillows are not created equally, and neither is the stuffing. Depending on the type of material inside the pillow, you may have to tailor your washing routine.

  • For down or feather: Avoid using a liquid detergent, as it can create a residue if not rinsed thoroughly. It’s best to use a little bit of powder detergent and wash in warm water on a delicate cycle.
  • Polyester: Pillows made of polyester should be washed in warm water on a delicate cycle. Liquid detergent is okay but use it sparingly. 1 tablespoon of liquid soap should do the trick.
  • Buckwheat hulls: Before washing, start by pouring the buckwheat filling into a large container or bowl. Find a sunny spot and let the buckwheat sit to help eliminate any odours. The shell casing is ready to wash in cold water using a mild detergent.
  • Memory foam or latex: Unfortunately, memory foam or latex pillows can’t be safely washed or steamed. The best way to clean this pillow is to spot treat stains and purchase a pillowcase (that can be machine washed).

Larger washing machines can accommodate two or more pillows at a time to speed up the cleaning process. Keep in mind, that if you’re trying to remove a wet stain from your pillow, spot-treat it (and the pillowcase) first before washing it.

3. Lunch Bag

We’re sure you’ve experienced accidentally leaving a lunch bag sitting on the kitchen counter for days, not realizing there’s still food in it until a strange odour catches your attention. Before you chuck that lunch bag in the bin for its offensive smell, wash it!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Check any pockets or hidden compartments for leftover food.
  • Unzip the lunch bag and leave it unzipped (this is important before and after washing).
  • Try to stick to a bi-weekly cleaning schedule.

Most soft-sided lunch bags and other insulated bags are machine-washable. However, it’s always a good rule of thumb to check your care label to ensure the type of lunch bag you own can be laundered at home. To help knock out this laundry load fast, wash it with towels in cold water, and use regular detergent. Once it’s nice and clean, hang it upside-down (with the zipper still unzipped) to dry thoroughly.

4. Oven Gloves & Potholders

Just by their function, oven gloves and potholders tend to collect food particles and can get pretty dingy if left unwashed. To help keep these essential kitchen tools looking and smelling fresh, wash them when you do a weekly load.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove any caked-on food or dirt.
  • Spot-treat any hard-to-remove stains or residue.
  • Check the stitching to ensure it’s still intact.

We recommend washing oven gloves and potholders with towels in cold water. Avoid putting them in the tumble dryer. Instead, air drying is an effective option that will keep these items from shrinking.

5. Canvas Shoes

Shoes (like your household rugs) see a lot of foot traffic—literally. Canvas shoes are created from a coarse material made of hemp. Because these fashion-forward shoes can be expensive, it’s essential to take care of them and keep them looking pristine. Washing your canvas shoes is easy and safe, provided you remove any excess mud or dirt first.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove the shoelaces and insoles.
  • Avoid using bleach in your laundry load.

To wash your canvas shoes without damaging them, wash on a delicate cycle in cool water with a non-bio detergent. Then, as you did with the oven gloves, leave them outside (or in a secure place) to let them air dry.

6. Stuffed Toys

Your child’s first friend was probably a stuffed toy of some description, which meant they went everywhere and did everything together—eating, sleeping, and playing outside. While this toy received a lot of love, we’re guessing it also collected a lot of dirt and grime over the years. But luckily, washing your child’s favourite furry friend is as simple as popping them in the wash!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove any internal machinery or noisemaker (if possible).
  • Remove clothing items or accessories to avoid loss or damage.
  • Ensure there are no rips or tears in the seams or stitching.

Use a small amount of regular detergent on a gentle cycle with cold water. We don’t recommend washing plush stuffed animals, ones with embellishments on the outside, or stuffed toys that have musical machinery or battery packs sewn inside them. To avoid damage, it’s best to hand wash these types of stuffed toys.

7. Reusable Shopping Bags

We’re sure that reusable or recyclable shopping bags are a staple in your shopping routine. Because these fabric bags are high-touch items and may experience many food spills (leaving them with stains and unpleasant odours), we recommend throwing them in the wash every so often.

Consider These Tips Before Washing

  • Remove the bottom insert and use a disinfectant spray to clean it.
  • Turn the bag inside out.

When washing reusable shopping bags of different materials, follow these instructions:

  • Canvas and fabric bags: Many canvas bags come with washing instructions. However, if yours doesn’t, wash it in hot water with regular detergent and thoroughly air dry.
  • Nylon bags: Reusable nylon bags (without insulation) can be machine washed with warm water, regular detergent, and then air-dried.
  • Plastic (polypropylene) bags: For bags developed from man-made materials like polypropylene, use warm water, regular detergent, and a gentle cycle setting on your washer for thorough cleaning. Remember to air dry this type of bag to avoid damage.

8. Leather Handbags

Leather tends to be one of those materials many people have come to believe can’t be salvaged once it gets dirty. But you can wash your leather handbag safely and enjoy it for years to come.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Empty your bag by checking all pockets.
  • Take out any removable liners or inserts.
  • Use castile soap instead of detergent.

Remember, when washing any leather material, be gentle. So, set your washing machine to a delicate cycle, and use 1/4 cup of castile soap with cold water. Finally, be amazed at how brand new your leather handbag looks!

9. Mop Heads

Many cleaning tools don’t get sanitised regularly, which can render them useless. Many people would rather throw away a mop head and get a new one than go through the tedious task of cleaning it by hand. However, you don’t have to waste unnecessary energy or time hand washing—throw it in the washing machine!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Replace your mop head after 15 to 30 uses (500 uses for microfiber mop heads).
  • Make sure there are no food particles trapped between the mop fibres.

We recommend washing a mop head by placing it in a mesh laundry bag. Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and use hot water. Once it’s thoroughly clean, remove it from the mesh bag and hang it to dry. Allow the mop to completely dry before its next use to avoid the growth of mildew and bacteria.

10. Outdoor Cushions

Your patio chair cushions have probably seen better days. With what is probably a good few summers’ worths of soaking up the sun (and being exposed to the other elements), it’s time for a good wash.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Vacuum cushions to remove debris from crevasses.
  • Add a cup of white vinegar to the load for added bacteria-killing power.
  • Double-check tags to ensure the fabric will hold up in the wash.

As an added timesaver, you can wash multiple cushions at a time, so long as your machine is large enough to accommodate them. Frontload washers are usually ideal for such a load; however, top-load washers work great, too. Use a small amount of regular detergent (with a cup of white vinegar) and run cushions and chair pads through a normal wash cycle. Set out your cushions or hang them on a line to dry in direct sunlight for a day or until completely dry.

Though we recommend that you wash each of these items fairly regularly, we also recognise that staying on top of all of your domestic chores can be incredibly time-consuming and use up a huge amount of energy.

This isn’t ideal if you have a jam-packed schedule as it is. Luckily, Merry Maids is here to help with your home cleaning needs. Whether you just need a little extra help around the house, or a more comprehensive deep clean, our cleaning experts would love to assist you.

Contact us to find out how we can help you by finding your nearest Merry Maids business or scheduling a clean online 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.

The Women of Merry Maids UK

Celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month 2022.

It was International Women’s Day this week, which centres the discussion of women’s issues as part of Women’s History Month. The theme of Women’s History Month changes annually. Though the goal is always to provide education on how women helped shape the nation, and the world at large.

The Merry Maids network includes many brilliant women who manage professional domestic cleaning businesses across the UK. Each one of them brings something different. Be that previous experiences that have led them to where they are now or a unique outlook that helps them run a successful business.

Sue Smith – Owner of Merry Maids Tyneside: 

Sue Smith has owned Merry Maids Tyneside for 28 years now. Before this, she worked in payroll for Safeway’s. But with a young son aged three, Sue wanted to have her own business to manage her own time and childcare. Merry Maids “was the perfect solution”, as Sue liked to clean and was able to incorporate this into her job.

Though she found Merry Maids and thought it was just right for her, Sue still had her reservations. She was concerned that she was not the right sort of person to run a hands-on business, as she felt as though she lacked the confidence. “I remember when I had to do the first callout it was terrifying.”

But Sue found that she could do it, and has become confident running her business “I think the more you do it, the more you get used to it. If you push yourself, you can do these things, even when you think you can’t,” she says.

Sue has found also herself becoming more and more involved with the local community and developing long-lasting relationships with clients. “We’ve had some customers for years. I like dealing with it. Especially the older people that have always kept a nice house, and are now finding it difficult to do. I think you get more satisfaction out of that kind of clean – when they’re so grateful for the difference you can make to their home.”    

 

Nicola Morris – Owner of Merry Maids Fylde and Blackpool:

Nicky Morris also started her Merry Maids business around 20 years ago when looking for a fresh start. This coincided with her husband changing careers, having been in the military, and with the two of them moving to a completely different part of the country with a young child. Having spent most of her career “in the corporate world”, Nicky wanted something new, for herself. So, she did a lot of research into franchises, and having spoken to previous Merry Maids franchise owners, found that she was happiest with the brand and company. There was also the question of timing around her move, but ServiceMaster (Merry Maid’s parent company) were happy to hold the business until Nicky was ready. This meant that when her move was completed Nicky was able to undertake her Merry Maids training academy and “hit the ground running after that.”

Though she’s had to put in lots of hard work, Nicky has found running her own business to be worth the challenge:

“It’s very rewarding to see what I’ve built up from nothing. When you initially start, like any business, you have to give it your all 24/7. Especially for the first couple of years. And moving to a new area with a young child was pretty difficult. On the other hand, being my own boss gave me a bit of flexibility. It is your baby, really having a business and building it up. It is blood, sweat and tears that you’ve put into it. So, it is different to a normal job. However much you might like the company you work for, it is very different. When it’s your business, you do have an emotional attachment to it as well. But it’s worth it.”

Helen Bielby & Becky Hewitt – Owners Merry Maids Sutton Coldfield:

Helen Bielby has a personal history with ServiceMaster and Merry Maids. Back in the early 80s, both of Helen’s parents worked in engineering and were made redundant around the same time. So, they decided to pool their redundancy money and buy a ServiceMaster franchise – which used to involve our disaster restoration and clean brands under one umbrella. The business stayed a family affair, with Helen and her nan helping out doing the cleaning. Her dad ran to the physical side of the business, whilst her mum handled the running and operation. Then, in 1999, Helen’s mum decided that she wanted to buy a Merry Maids franchise as well. At the time, Helen was at university and would still help out with the cleaning on her break days, and after university, she would help with the books alongside her job. When Helen’s mum passed away suddenly in 2010, Helen had to handle both businesses:

“There was a point where we didn’t have any of the passwords to get into the ServiceMaster system. And ServiceMaster were great, and they sent people down from head office to help us get it all because we had to keep going. And we had staff that we employed, we couldn’t close. So, you know, it was a nightmare, to be honest. I couldn’t run both businesses and have a foot my own full-time job. I could do Merry Maids because I’d done it for such a long time. But we realised we needed a secretary to help my dad do the admin on Service Master.”

They found Becky, “who was working part-time as in conveyancing at a solicitor’s office. She had just had her hours reduced, and she was looking for something to make them up. We met, and we hit it off from the start, we became best friends very, very quickly. It let me get on with concentrating on Merry Maids, but because they were run from the same office in the same room, she would help me out with Merry Maids as well, which was huge for me.”

When Helen’s dad then decided he wanted to sell the Merry Maids, business, he suggested that Helen and Becky take it over together. They have now been running it for the last 12 years alongside working other jobs and both having young children. Though this has been difficult to manage, especially during COVID-19, the pair have been able to lean on each other and be at the forefront of making changes within the business to tackle whatever problems come their way. Helen and Becky have needed to be adaptable and able to work under enormous pressure, but have been able to manage it together.

Beccy Pope – Owner of Merry Maids North Sussex:

Beccy Pope’s journey into the world of franchising was completely unplanned. She began her working life as a student with the goal of teaching. But, whilst working three jobs Beccy realised she preferred to earn money. So, she made a leap of faith, taking a job in the forensics industry doing finance and admin. After building this business from the ground up along with the owner, she was headhunted as an Operations Director selling military software. These two roles gave Beccy a good sense of the processes involved in running a company, and she found she loved building a business and running it how she wanted.

In 2017, Beccy had her daughter Isabelle and was faced with a choice as she was worried she was missing out on too much of her daughter’s early life due to the job she was in.

“I could be the mum that I wanted to be or the career person that I wanted to be, and nothing in-between. It wasn’t doable for me to do my job, and to be a good mum.”

So, in August 2019, Beccy purchased Merry Maid’s North Sussex. Though she faced some difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside the birth of her son Finley, Beccy is now be both the businesswoman and mum she wants.

“I can be the mum I want to be, and I have the work that I enjoy. I love going and meeting people. I met a mum a little while ago who just wanted us to go and hoover her floors and mop them because she couldn’t find the time. And that’s real life, isn’t it? My team leader Alex, she’s also got two little boys, and between us: We’re sailing this ship.”

As the newest of these women to the Merry Maids franchise, Beccy says she has received invaluable help and support from the other women in the network like Nicky and Helen. Who have helped Beccy with various things during the setup of her business, even though online during the pandemic:

“Helen talked me through how she runs her online shop and was really friendly and positive. She was happy for me to use some of her work if I chose and to call her if I had any problems during or after set up. Nicky has sent me a few letter templates which have saved me a lot of time too. Considering I haven’t even met these ladies, they have been very supportive!”

Beccy is soon to be starting a new YouTube channel called Beccy Cleans, which will concentrate on Beccy running her business, looking after her family and lots of useful cleaning tips.

As a leading British franchise, people are at the heart of what we do. The women of Merry Maids have each brought unique contributions to our franchise network. This month is all about celebrating them and shedding light on what they do. So, we hope you have enjoyed learning a little more about the women that make up the Merry Maid’s network.

To learn more about a professional domestic cleaning service near you, find your nearest Merry Maids today. And if the stories of these women inspired you to make a fresh start, get in touch with our franchise recruitment team to learn more about Merry Maids business opportunities near you.

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.

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

An Introduction to new Merry Maids UK Brand Leader, Vikki Donnachie

Merry Maids UK has recently appointed a new Brand Leader, experienced franchise professional, Vikki Donnachie. Vikki, who has just completed her second week at ServiceMaster, will be officially taking over the reins from Steve Morris in January of 2022. Vikki joins Merry Maids with over twelve years’ experience in recruitment and thirteen years’ experience in healthcare franchising as Head of Kare Plus Franchising. What attracted Vikki to Merry Maids was the opportunity to use her years of franchising experience, but in a different environment, which will allow her to put her own stamp on the franchise network. Vikki added, “The fact that [Merry Maids is] a big organisation, but with a family feel, and the fact that there is scope for network development–” Furthermore, having spoken to other Brand Leaders within ServiceMaster, Vikki says that she has been assured of the career journey that a Brand Leader position offers and that this is in line with the path she sees herself on.

Having now completed her two-week training academy with Merry Maids, to get acquainted with the brand and its processes, Vikki feels well-prepared to tackle her new role. Speaking of her experience settling in at ServiceMaster over the past fortnight, she says, “It’s been really, really good! Everyone has made me feel really welcome. I feel like I’m fitting in, the processes are very similar, and certainly, what I would expect, I feel like I’ve been here for ages – which is always a good sign. And the days fly! There are not enough hours in the day, so that’s another good thing.” Vikki is now itching to get out and interface with the Merry Maids network and is looking forward to “Building a relationship with the franchise partners and getting them to buy into and trust [her], and then helping and supporting them to develop as much as they can.” With her experience in franchising, Vikki is aware that it is all about the people. Therefore, it is the network that is at the forefront of her mind going into her first month at ServiceMaster and the New Year. “What motivates me is seeing other people succeed. I love being a mentor, I’m not one for ‘it’s all about me’, I love to give people ideas and for them to roll with it, to be successful and for them to take the credit for it. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning: seeing people I work with and support doing well.”

Speaking of her plans for her first month at ServiceMaster she said, “Obviously the last two weeks I’ve been getting my head around the systems and so on and so forth, plus getting to meet the internal team. I think in January, the first thing is going to be to have verbal conversations and hopefully interactive conversations on Teams with all the franchise partners, just getting to know them, find out why they joined Merry Maids in the first place; what their motivators are; will they need my help and support? Ultimately, what their goals and aspirations are, because I think everybody is going to have different goals and plans. I want to try and find out what floats their boat and what motivates them, to build business plans to make sure that is what we are achieving. After that, hopefully in quick succession, to go out and meet them all face to face in their offices. But I know that is potentially going to be hampered at this moment in time.”

But Vikki is also thinking long term. She says there are two sides to how she sees herself progressing Merry Maids and the strategy she will use to realise this progress. She says “The first is to work closely with the existing network. Step 1 will be to work with the existing franchisees and try to explore new opportunities, alternative ways and ideas –fresh initiatives – to help boost the business.  Her goal – to enable the network to get the best out of their investment and to build a really good relationship with us, because for me it is a partnership. It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a partnership. It’s all about making sure [franchisees] get as much out of the support that we give as well, whilst exploring other services and other offerings down the line.” Vikki says “The second part is to work very closely with franchise recruitment, to bring in some new franchise partners and some fresh energy.” Vikki feels well equipped to support the Merry Maids Franchise Recruitment team, drawing on her experience in franchising. She says “I think the Merry Maids network are poised for some great investors in 2022. Following on from recent investment from two new franchise partners, we plan to build on this success. Even during challenging times, Merry Maids has remained an attractive opportunity for those looking to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves. I like to think outside of the box, and think of different initiatives and different ideas.” As a result, Vikki has already been in conversation with the franchise recruitment team at ServiceMaster. She says “I’ve been working closely with Emma Chappell, Franchise Sales Manager already and sharing a few ideas and how I’ve done things previously. We’re both really excited about where we can take the Merry Maids network by working closely together and sharing our expertise. So, developing the existing network but bringing fresh investment in as well, is really, really important because we need people to bring in different ideas and initiatives. That’s what makes a successful network to me.”

Outside of work, Vikki keeps busy  within her very own network and as a Mum. She says, “I live in a little country village so I love walking. I’ve got my dog – a cockapoo – I love getting out and about. I’m a horsey person as well and love just ‘the countryside’ shall we say? I’ve got a lot friends dotted around the country as well, so I love the social element of that; love a good night out; love a good party. Whether it’s a party in a kitchen or a party in a pub, I don’t mind. Aside from that, I’ve got an eleven, soon to be twelve, year-old daughter, who keeps me busy with netball, and dance, and gymnastics, and everything else. So it is ‘Mum’s Taxi, all aboard!’ most weekends. We like to be busy!” Ultimately, Vikki says she feels confident in her career journey and to be taking a new step with ServiceMaster, and is now eager to roll up her sleeves and get to work. She says, “I’d like to be here for the long-haul. I’d like this to be my last job now and I really want to make the most of it, and to grow and develop together.”

Though COVID-19 has provided challenges for us all, the importance and demand for cleaning services has never been more pronounced. Merry Maids is well placed to capitalise on this demand, and we are very excited to welcome Vikki on board to spearhead this. Therefore, on behalf of the ServiceMaster family of brands, we would like to once again heartily welcome Vikki and wish her the best for what promises to be a bright future with Merry Maids.

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.