Posts

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.

The 12 cleans of Christmas Part 1

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

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

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

  1. The Dishwasher

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

  1. Washing Machine

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

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

  1. Dryer

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

  1. Reusable Shopping Bags

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

  1. Toothbrushes and Toothbrush Holders

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

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

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

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

  1. Vacuums, Mops, Brooms & Toilet Brushes

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

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

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

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

5 Top tips for cleaning in winter

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

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

  1. Give your radiators a good seeing to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Clean out that ‘Chim Cher-ee’

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

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

  1. Keep your supplies clean

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

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

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

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

Merry Maids Croydon wins Business Resiliences award

A Croydon based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting a business award following the COVID pandemic.  

Merry Maids of Croydon scooped the Merry Maids Business Resilience award following the COVID pandemic. The award is designed to recognise and celebrate achievements in showing resilience throughout the pandemic to a business that responded in an above and beyond manner.

Covid19 presented a multitude of challenges to Merry Maids businesses and employees across the UK, who all responded magnificently in the highest traditions of delivering excellent customer service.

However, it was one business that stood out. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Croydon responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner by employing exceptional safety protocols, maintaining excellent standards of customer service and actively exploring new opportunities to ensure the future of the business.

Merry Maids of Croydon, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Debbie Walker and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2003.

Debbie commented: “Myself and the team are delighted to have won the award. It was an immensely challenging time and to know we did as much as possible to help our community and our fellow franchisees across the UK is a great feeling.” Said Debbie

“I was so pleased to be able to return back to work on 1st June 2021 and bring my team back together again. We set ourselves a target to have all our staff back within the business by September 2020 and this was achieved.” Added Debbie

“In the last year we have helped so many families, elderly clients and those that are vulnerable in our community to bring their lives back to some form of normality after what has been a hideous time for all. Nothing rewards us more than making a client comfortable in their home and making them smile when often they are facing difficult times.” Finished Debbie

Brand Leader for Merry Maids, Steve Morris said: “As the Brand Manager for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Croydon responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner.

“Of particular note, regular contact was maintained between the business and myself, the Merry Maids Brand Leader, for our mutual benefit for which I was extremely grateful. Proof of the excellent business management and customer service skills utilised during this challenging period are now being rewarded by a strong business recovery.” Added Steve

Merry Maids of Croydon are deserved winners of the 2020, and hopefully the only, Merry Maids Resilience Award!” Finished Steve

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the yearly awards allows this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“As a family business working for families, we are thrilled to have won, but it simply wouldn’t be possible without our staff. I feel they all need a special thank you. Merry Maids of Croydon constantly strives hard to offer great customer service and a community friendly approach.

“Of course, our goals over the next 12 months are to grow but also to continue to offer an excellent service to our clients especially continuing to develop in certain sectors – working with clients with dementia and the elderly that wish to stay living at home. Additionally, we want to maintain an excellent customer experience and continue to serve our local community”

“Let’s hope we never have to go through a situation with so much sadness and challenge again.” Finished Debbie

Gina from Merry Maids Wakefield wins Franchisee of the Year

A Wakefield based cleaning company is celebrating after collecting a business award following the COVID pandemic.  

 Merry Maids of Wakefield scooped the epitome of awards, the Merry Maids Franchisee of the Year award following the COVID pandemic. The award is designed to recognise and celebrate achievements in being a model franchisee and additionally in the following year, showing resilience throughout the pandemic and reacting in an above and beyond manner.

Covid19 presented a multitude of challenges to Merry Maids businesses and employees across the UK, who all responded magnificently in the highest traditions of delivering excellent customer service.

However, it was one business that stood out. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Wakefield responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner by employing exceptional safety protocols, maintaining excellent standards of customer service and actively exploring new opportunities to ensure the future of the business.

Merry Maids of Wakefield, is a franchise of ServiceMaster, owned and managed by Gina Glendinning and has been successfully cleaning homes in the area since 2018.

Gina said: “Firstly, I can’t quite believe I won such a prestigious award having only just completed my 3 year as a Franchisee! What a huge sense of pride both in my achievements but also in my team and how hard we have all worked to keep going in such unprecedented times.”

“2020 as we all know had been a challenging time for everyone and although I knew the business would be impacted I also knew that I had the drive and the team around me to steer the business through.”

“I took the bold and immediate decision, to close the business immediately when needed but also to contact my lovely customers letting them know we’d be back. I believe my calm approach to the situation help others see that it was not a time to panic but to act.” Added Gina

Brand Leader for Merry Maids, Steve Morris said: “As the Brand Leader for Merry Maids it is one of the great privileges of my role to reward businesses that have achieved great things in the past year. Throughout the pandemic, Merry Maids of Wakefield responded to the challenges in an exemplary manner.

“Of particular note, regular contact was maintained between the business and myself, the Merry Maids Brand Leader, for our mutual benefit for which I was extremely grateful. Proof of the excellent business management and customer service skills utilised during this challenging period are now being rewarded by a strong business recovery.” Added Steve

Recognising some of the less obvious, but nonetheless culturally vital parts of franchising is imperative to ServiceMaster and the yearly awards allows this to happen.

Awards were given for not only growth, but also to those that have given back to their community, or employees of franchisees that have demonstrated their commitment to the brand attributes engaging in initiatives and actions with colleagues and customers well beyond their job description, very often in their own time at their own expense.

“Re-opening on 1 June 2020 was great, I had meticulously planned which members of the team should come back and how we would approach each job. I brought back 8 full time ladies with each working on an individual basis. I ensured I constantly contacted both customers and staff, remaining positive and calm even when some felt a little uncertain.” Added Gina

“The business steadily grew and eventually we got back to somewhat normal times. During this strange and demanding year, I strove to look for opportunities to grow the business via different avenues working with Estate Agents and Property Developers to ensure that any voids during our working days were filled.” Said Gina

“My year ended on a high as during Q4 my husband and I took the decision to expand and we purchased two new additional franchise areas. An excellent adventure awaited in 2021 when we took the reins just before Christmas.” Finished Gina

Merry Maids of Kingston is crowned a winner in the Great British Franchisee Awards

Owned and operated by Gary Rolfe, Merry Maids of Kingston scooped a prestigious award this week which recognises excellence in franchising.

After setting up his business in 2017, Gary has taken Merry Maids of Kingston from strength to strength as well as shown resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many domestic cleaning companies to close their doors for a short while.

Offering services from regular house cleaning, to end of tenancy, builders and one-off cleans, plus more; Merry Maids of Kingston boasts an array of services to suit all requirements. Not only that, they are Dementia Friends trained, and with 12 staff members, are regarded as a great place to work.

Hosted by Which Franchise, the Great British Franchisee Awards focuses on the people who have made the UK franchising a success.  They recognise the outstanding performance of franchisees, regardless of the size of their business or the sector they work in.

With tough criteria to fill, Merry Maids of Kingston clearly demonstrated what it takes to be a Great British Franchisee. From proof of Franchisee Stability and Business Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Inspired Leadership and to Driving Business Growth and Community involvement – this prestigious award is no easy gain, especially following a challenging year following COVID-19.

Gary Rolfe said: “I am extremely honoured and delighted to have won this prestigious award, I am extremely grateful for the fantastic support I receive from Servicemaster, and the award would not have been possible without my amazing staff.”

The awards judging panel consisted of Suki Dehal – Lloyds Bank, Head of Franchising, Aman Nirwal – BDO, Senior Key Account Manager Franchising, Euan Fraser – AMO Consulting, and Derrick Simpson, Companion of the British Franchise Association.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed reviewing all the applications and it has been so refreshing to see how all sizes of businesses from various sectors have coped and adapted their business in response to not only Covid-19 but looking at sustainable growth and business resilience for many years to come. It was great to see so many applications and from a cross-section of franchisees too,” Aman Nirwal, BDO.

Learn more about the Which Franchise Great British Franchisee Awards at: http://www.whichfranchise.com/awards/

10 things you should clean every day

Things can get really dirty very quickly if you’re not careful. In fact, you’ll find yourself needing to clean regularly because of kids, pets, family gatherings, and more. It’s essential to periodically clean to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria, especially amid the global pandemic that had us running to the nearest store for every disinfectant product imaginable.

As your go-to place on everything cleaning, we know a few things about how and what you should be cleaning routinely to protect yourself and your family. Check out these 10 household items you should be cleaning every day—without question.

1. Sponges

If you clean with a sponge does the sponge then become dirty? Yes is the answer to this, you use your sponges daily to wipe, absorb, and eliminate spills on all hard surfaces, therefore, ensure you give them some daily TLC of their own. As an essential cleaning tool in your home, we recommend you clean your sponges every day with some water and baking soda to ensure these handy items stay clean and fresh for longer.

2. Dishes

Leaving the dishes in the sink overnight is something many people are guilty of doing, but it isn’t something you should make a habit of doing. Food particles and water are the perfect ingredients for a bacteria smorgasbord. According to research kitchen sinks were reported to have the highest concentration of bacteria in an entire home.

The best way to clean your dishes frequently, safely, and easily is to put them in the dishwasher, if you don’t have one ensure you’re using a sufficient amount of dish soap in the sink.

3. Kitchen Counters

Speaking of items in your kitchen that need daily attention, your kitchen counters are likely the most-used surfaces in your home, and they attract dirt easily. Your kitchen counters see a lot of action, which means they collect microscopic organisms that could be harmful to your health. Use a disinfected sponge and a tried-and-true germ-killing product to blast away the caked-on food, dirt, and dust for good.

4. Dining Room Table

The dining room table sees its fair share of family dinners, and food debris can get left behind, start to grow dangerous bacteria, mould, and a host of other things. Depending on the type of kitchen table you have, you’ll want to start by dusting it off first so you can give it a good cleaning.

For specific types of dining tables, follow these simple cleaning instructions:

  • Wood – Use warm water and a microfibre cloth to wipe down your dining table after every meal. Make sure to clean off any excess dampness with a clean towel to avoid watermarks and damage
  • Glass – A disinfected sponge, warm water, and baking powder can work wonders on a glass table. A glass cleaning solution is always a great way to get your table to shine after it’s washed
  • Metal – You can use a cloth or sponge to wipe a metal table but avoid using the sponge’s abrasive side for caked-on foods, so you don’t cause any damage

5. Bathroom Counters

Like kitchen counters, bathroom counters can harbour thousands of germs and bacteria that could be detrimental to your health. But because faecal matter could be involved, there’s more cause for concern when bathroom counters are left untouched. Some of the most common types of bacteria found on bathroom counters include E. coli, streptococcus, and salmonella. According to research, a bathroom countertop is made up of 452 bacteria per square inch.

To thoroughly and naturally sanitise your bathroom counters, mix a cup of hot water and a cup of white vinegar, place the mixture in a spray bottle and clean until your heart’s content.

6. Computer Keyboard

With most of the UK working from home full time amid the pandemic, computer keyboards are getting daily workouts. This means they also need to get daily wipe downs, just imagine the number of germs sitting on your keyboard right now. The average desktop keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat. That’s a pretty unpleasant picture that you can erase by using alcohol wipes or an electronic-safe cleaning product to give your keyboard a good scrub.

7. Keys

Surprisingly, car and house keys are not as dirty as a toilet seat (like some items on this list). One reason could be because they’re likely handled solely by you or your spouse. Another theory is that keys are made of certain metals that don’t lend themselves to bacteria build-up. And while they don’t harbour as much bacteria as other household items, they are riddled with germs you don’t want attacking your immune system.

Safely clean your car and house keys using warm water, a drop of dish soap, and an old toothbrush to get in all the nooks and crannies. For a quicker alternative, throw them in the dishwasher and use the “sanitize” setting for thorough disinfection.

8. Remote controls

The remote control… you can’t live without it, especially because of lockdown and the amount of tv series and films we’ve all been watching! Make sure you disinfect this handy item daily, as research performed to study the cleanliness of a hotel room found that remote controls were the most germ-infested item in the room.

Fortunately, rubbing alcohol can sanitise your remote quickly and easily. Pour a bit on a paper towel and wipe every inch of the remote to ensure it is thoroughly disinfected.

9. Phone Screen

Think of how much face time your phone screen gets daily. According to a survey Brits touch their phones at least 28 times per day, which gives bacteria ample time to latch on and set up shop. A study in 2011 found that one in six mobiles in Britain are contaminated with faecal matter! Ew! This is definitely an eye-opener to ensure you’re cleaning your phones daily!

Like cleaning your remote control, mobile devices can be safely disinfected using an alcohol wipe to kill bacteria and keep them from multiplying or spreading.

10. Toothbrush

Because most people house their toothbrushes in their bathrooms (and we’ve already gotten into how bacteria-ridden the bathroom countertops are), it shouldn’t be surprising to find that your toothbrush should be cleaned daily. In fact, researchers at the University of Manchester found that toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for staphylococci bacteria and E. coli. Reports also show that toothbrushes contain at least 200,000 bacteria per square inch. All this simply means is that, instead of making your pearly whites whiter, you could be contaminating your body with life-threatening bacteria.

Your toothbrush can be easily cleaned by pouring 3% hydrogen peroxide into a small cup and letting it soak for about 15 minutes. Letting it sit longer could damage the bristles. Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with warm water before use.

 

If you want/need help with cleaning your home you can find your nearest Merry Maids UK business here and contact them for more information on our services.

Tips on washing your bed sheets

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

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

How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?

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

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

You should wash your sheets more often if you:

  • Have allergies or asthma

  • Have an infection or skin condition

  • Sweat excessively at night

  • Have pets that like to sleep in your bed

  • Enjoy a midnight snack or breakfast in bed

  • Go to bed without showering (after vigorous activity)

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

What’s the Best Way to Wash Sheets?

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

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

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

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

Keeping Your Bed Sheets Clean For Longer

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

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

  • Showering before you go to bed

  • Avoiding napping after a vigorous gym session

  • Removing makeup before you go to sleep

  • Avoiding lotions, creams, or oils right before bed

  • Not eating or drinking in bed

  • Keeping your pets off your bedding

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

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

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

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

Cleaning up muddy and wet mess in your home

Here in Britain, we see a lot of rain throughout the year. In fact, on average, it rains on 156 days of the year! Well, this kind of weather can also bring a muddy mess into your home.

If you’re facing water stains on your wood floor from a wet umbrella or a trail of soggy paw prints across your living room carpet from your four-legged family member, the cleaning experts at Merry Maids can help. Below, we share our tips for removing water and muddy stains from carpet, clothes, and wood floors.

Erasing water stains from wood floors

When you can’t mop up water or other spills from wood floors right away, you may see a white ring or watermark left behind. Don’t panic! Try this trick to get rid of water stains on wood floors.

  • Pour mineral oil onto a soft cloth

  • Rub the mineral oil into the water stain and let it sit several hours or overnight

  • If the stain remains, rub mineral spirits into the stain using a soft cloth (Always make sure you’re wearing gloves as this is a chemical)

  • If the stain still persists, try applying a coat of furniture polish in a colour that matches your wood floor

For deeper, more set-in stains, you may want to call in a professional, like Furniture Medic, to restore your wood floors.

Cleaning our muddy carpets

Dry dirt is a problem on its own, but adding water to the mix makes it more difficult to clean. The liquid component in mud helps it settle deeper into carpet fibres, and the organic matter in soil means mud needs to be treated like a protein stain (eg. blood, sweat, etc.). What does that mean? Most importantly – no heat!

To clean mud from your carpet, follow these steps:

  • Let the mud dry, don’t try to clean it up while still wet, or you may end up pushing it further into the fibres

  • Once it’s dry, vacuum up as much of the dried mud as possible and make several slow passes with the vacuum, more than you would normally do.

  • When you’re satisfied you’ve vacuumed up as much as you can, add a teaspoon of mild dishwashing detergent to one cup of cool or lukewarm (not hot!) water, and use a clean white rag or cloth to blot the mixture onto the stain

  • Continue to blot to remove excess moisture while keeping an eye on the cloth to see that the stain is coming up. Switch to a clean rag or paper towels as necessary

  • Once the mud is gone, blot with clean water to remove any leftover residue.

You can use these steps to remove mud stains from upholstery, as well. Just be sure to minimise the amount of water you use, since moisture can sink further into upholstery, get trapped, and cause mould or mildew issues.

For professional carpet cleaning and more information head to ServiceMaster Clean

Removing muddy marks from clothing

Mud stains on clothing may combine with sweat or other proteins, making them even more persistent than when found on the carpet

  • Begin by removing any solid matter with the dull edge of a knife or spoon
  • Be careful not to rub, as this can push stains further into the fibres and make it harder to remove
  • Rinse the stain under cold running water, preferably from the opposite side of the fabric to help loosen the mud from the fibres
  • If you can’t wash it right away, soak the garment in cold water until you can
  • Wash in cold water using a detergent, and before putting the garment in the dryer, check to make sure the stain is gone

Don’t forget: Heat will set the stain if it’s not completely removed.

  • If the stain persists or has changed colour, use an oxygen-based stain treatment and soak the garment, then wash again
  • Once you’re sure you’ve gotten out the stain, dry the clothing as usual

Let Merry Maids Clean Up after Rain, Snow, or Sleet!

When you schedule regular housekeeping services from our cleaning professionals at Merry Maids, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’re never far from a thorough clean. Spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying the season; contact your local Merry Maids today.

Tips on cleaning out your fridge

Your fridge should be cleaned out every 3-4 months and during the current pandemic, it should be cleaned more often.

There may come a time when you need to bulk buy because of having to isolate due to you or one of your family members getting a positive result for COVID-19. Therefore, having a clean and somewhat empty fridge may be a good thing.

Also, with it being ‘Clean Out Your Fridge Day’ on November 15th there isn’t a better time to do it!

Preparing for the clean

Cleaning out your refrigerator, even though it can be a bit of a grotty task doesn’t require many speciality products.

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

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

Remove everything

When we say everything, we mean everything!

Don’t be tempted to leave anything in there, remove it all and treat it like you’ve just got a new fridge!

  • Remove all fridge items, like milk, cheese, yoghurts, tonight’s meals, everything!
  • Remove any shelving and drawers as well so you can wash those separately later on.

Do an inventory

Transfer any perishable items like milk and raw chicken into a cooler or into the freezer for the duration of your fridge clean (ensure you’re checking those items expiry dates and for any spoiling).

Set aside any bottles or jars, like the table sauces, pasta sauces and jam jars, all while checking the food to get rid of any items that might have become mouldy or out of date.

Throw away any unused items and any leftovers that maybe have been in the fridge for a little too long. The fridge can be a smelly place, so hold your breath if needed when dealing with spoiled products.

Get scrubbing

Scrub a dub didge let’s clean that fridge!

Start by scrubbing all of the shelves, drawers and door inserts you removed. Wash them the same way you would wash your dishes, by using a sponge and washing up liquid. Once these have been washed, dry them and set them aside.

To clean the inside of the fridge you can use diluted bleach or white vinegar, alternatively, a commercial all-purpose cleaner will do the job just as well. Always make sure you’re always wearing rubber gloves when cleaning with these products.

We would recommend using a scouring pad, or a sponge that has one attached, as these are excellent for removing any stuck-on food and spills from surfaces without scratching the area. An old toothbrush may come in useful as well to clean the hard to reach/smaller areas within your fridge.

For the exterior of the fridge use a microfibre cloth, as these are best at removing streaks and fingerprints on surfaces.

Putting everything back

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

Next, you’ll then want to put your produce, meat, dairy products, drinks and any other food items to the fridge.

We can help!

We can do a refrigerator clean as an extra service when a home clean is purchased, contact your local Merry Maids to find out more.

 

Tips on using your time wisely

Do you use your time wisely or have you found that running around like a headless chicken, feeling rushed and crazed has become the norm?

Life can seem overwhelming on occasions, but knowing how to balance time between family, friends, work, housekeeping and yourself can decrease your stress levels, keep you organised and make life more enjoyable.

Work out how to manage your time, so that you can maintain a clean house while still doing the things you love. Check out the following tips on using time wisely.

Stick to a Cleaning Schedule

When thinking about how to organise your time and keep a tidy home, you need to start off by outlining a daily cleaning routine. This will help you add structure to your housekeeping, so that you can stay on track and also enable you to set small, manageable goals, so that you don’t get overwhelmed and abandon tasks.

Make a To-Do List

Get your week started off right by having a to-do list ready to go.

Include anything from items on your cleaning schedule and trips to the grocery store to your daily workout and reading for an hour at night. Batching tasks together — such as prepping lunch for the next day and cleaning kitchen counters — can help you be more efficient, so that you have a chance to do the things you enjoy.

In addition, being organised will allow yourself plenty of buffer time in between errands and chores, which will reduce any worries about getting behind.

Try Bullet Journaling

Bullet journals are all the rage these days, as they allow you a creative means to track your accomplishments. These notebooks can start out as simple logs in which you record tasks you need to take care of, such as drinking enough water, working out, cleaning, organising and so forth. Whatever you want to keep an eye on goes in your bullet journal.

Though they can be very plain, many people make them fun by using them as a means of artistic expression. Check out bullet journal ideas on Pinterest for some inspiration on making your own journal a time-saving masterpiece.

Practice Mindfulness

Being “mindful” allows you to use time wisely, as you’re focusing all of your attention and energy on a single task at hand.

For example, if you’re organising the fridge and/or freezer, you might get distracted when taking items off the shelves. The next thing you know, you’re unpacking the cabinets and your kitchen drawers to rearrange those, and your initial task has been forgotten.

If you were practising mindfulness, however, you’d complete the fridge/freezer organisation before moving on to another part of the kitchen. This not only makes you more likely to finish household chores, it keeps your mind tuned into one thing, so you do the best job possible and don’t get overwhelmed.

Take Some Time for You

There’s no point in using time wisely if there’s none left over for you at the end of the day. Don’t be afraid to turn down the occasional requests to have lunch with friends or even an invite to join your video chat catch-up with friends. When you bite off more than you can chew, you end up stressed out and wondering when you’ll ever get a chance to tidy up and have a moment to yourself.

Even when you know how to manage your time, there will still be occasions when you may need some backup.

For instance, you might find you’re too busy to stick to a cleaning schedule during the school year or around the holidays. If that’s the case, don’t waste a minute worrying: let the professionals at your local Merry Maids take care of the housekeeping for you, so you can spend time doing the things you truly enjoy.

Fall Back into a great autumn cleaning routine

As we get closer to the end of Daylight Savings Time, it’s important to set a new autumn routine so you can stay on top of everything in your house. The days may get a little shorter, but don’t let that stop you! After all, spring cleaning is already a thing: Why not add autumn cleaning to your list?

Creating good cleaning habits is all about consistency – and here at Merry Maids, we can help you keep a consistent cleaning schedule all year round. Using our time-tested methods, we’ll ensure that both the high-traffic and low-traffic areas of your house stay sparkling clean, by performing regular weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly cleaning services.

Committed to re-booting your autumn schedule? Here are a few other ways you can perfect your cleaning routine and develop better habits this autumn.

Sort all cleaning tasks in your household

To reset your cleaning habits and create a more effective household schedule, you should start with documenting all the crucial cleaning tasks in your house, then sort them into distinct categories based on how often they should recur. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a few monthly, weekly, and daily tasks that you could easily do yourself or assign to another household member.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

· Monthly tasks: Window cleaning, clearing out cupboards, appliance cleaning, fixture scrubbing, organising and decluttering

· Weekly tasks: Vacuuming carpets, mopping the hardwood floors, cleaning bathrooms and mirrors, doing the laundry

· Daily tasks: Dusting, sorting out the bins, picking up laundry and clutter, loading the dishwasher, cleaning down countertops, sorting the post

Once you have your list, simply write up a rotating chore list and get everyone on board with your new autumn routine!

Create a 15-minute ritual every day

It’s difficult to enjoy your weekend when you’re still thinking about all the cleaning chores on your list. To reclaim that time as your own, commit to a simple 15-minute cleaning ritual at the end of every work or school day. This ritual should consist of a few essential cleaning tasks, as well as one larger “weekly” task that you rotate every day.

When building your ritual, the most important thing is to keep it simple and to stick to roughly the same time every weekday. Although it may sound exhausting to pick up a duster or mop after a long day, you’ll be surprised at how much more free time you’ll have on the weekends!

Prioritise the rooms that matter most

When you’re busy managing day-to-day messes, you may feel like it’s impossible to get the perfect clean, even when you diligently observe a cleaning schedule. In some cases, that can be fixed by sitting down and thinking about your true cleaning priorities. Do you love to take long, luxurious baths in a clean bathroom oasis at the end of the day? Or do you need the longe to be spic-and-span when you sit down with your kids to surf through Netflix?

No matter what your particular cleaning needs may be, pick the top two or three rooms where you spend the most time and energy in the evenings. By maintaining those rooms throughout the week and rotating other rooms on the weekend, you might not feel as stressed about the state of your entire house.

Upgrade Your Cleaning Routine with Merry Maids

While all of these tips can help you preserve your sanity and manage the daily tide of clutter, a professional cleaning expert can save you even more time and energy for the weekend! At Merry Maids we thrive on keeping your homes clean and making it easier for you to rest and relax. Because we can customise our services to meet your exact standards and needs, you’ll feel like you have a trusted partner in the war against grime – and you just might find that your autumn routine gets a little easier.

Find your nearest Merry Maids and contact us today to get your home looking lovely for autumn!

The psychological benefits of a clean home

A clean and well-organised house can bring you more happiness and internal stability throughout the week.

While cleaning and organising will never be considered a reliable solution for mental health issues, the latest research does indicate that having a clean and organised home can bring some serious psychological benefits.

By removing extra clutter, dust, dirt, and debris from your home, you may be able to experience more than just physical health benefits like improved indoor air quality. At Merry Maids, our cleaning experts can ensure that you’ll always enjoy the psychological benefits of a clean home – even with a large household and pets etc.

What Are the Benefits of Organisation?

As human beings, we strongly identify with our environments, and when our interior living spaces are cluttered with unwashed dishes, misplaced items, and garbage, it will have a negative effect on your mood. While we’ve all observed this truth in action, a 2013 study published in Psychological Science has confirmed that order and disorder each have a measurable effect on our preferences, choices, and behaviour.

According to the research, people in clean and well-organised rooms were far more likely to choose healthy snacks, donate money to charity, and select options labelled as “classic” or “traditional.” By contrast, those in disorderly rooms experienced boosts in creativity and unconventional thinking but did not tend to choose more healthy or conscientious options for themselves.

Understanding the Psychology of House Cleaning

Even if you prefer to have a little chaos in your living environment, cleaning the house is still an essential part of homeownership and the daily upkeep.

Why is it so important for our wellbeing to have a clean house? While the explanations vary, some promising new research shows that having a clean house encourages us to seek new experiences, become more adventurous and go out more often, all of which can be helpful in managing negative feelings.

According to research, they’ve found that interior cleanliness was one of the primary predictors for physical activity, even when all other factors were taken into consideration.

Living in a clean environment can also boost your concentration and focus! This is because the brain processes clutter and debris as a distraction in an attempt to force you to correct the situation. Whether you realize it or not, your subconscious is using up mental resources to process the clutter in your home or work environment – and taking up valuable space for other tasks.

Live More, Let Merry Maids Clean

As home cleaning experts with more than 40 years of experience, our team at Merry Maids can give you a well-deserved break from the household chores, while also giving your brain a break from the negative effects of clutter. By creating a customised regular cleaning plan that covers all of your needs, we can ensure that your home remains spotless, allowing you to focus on the more important things and make memories.

Reap the positive benefits of a clean and organised home today! Find your nearest Merry Maids and get in contact today.

Moving home cleaning tips

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

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

1. Create a Schedule

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

2. Pack and Clean in Zones

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

3. Embrace the Opportunity to De-clutter

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

4. Enlist Some Help

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

5. Bring in the Professionals

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

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

5 ways your family can enjoy summer while social distancing

Summer activities may look a little different than usual this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the warmer weather with your family a little closer to home. We’ve put together a few tips for you, which means you won’t even have to leave your home!

Wish you had more time to spend with your family? Take back your time and leave the house cleaning to Merry Maids! Contact us today for a free quote, then start planning your summer fun.

Get the BBQ Out

Nothing says summer like getting out the barbecue and grilling for the family. First, make sure your outdoor space is barbecue ready by cleaning the patio, lawn and any patio furniture (while observing social distancing guidance)

Set up a spread of sides, like salads, coleslaw, crisps, dips and condiments on your outdoor table, and take care of the main dishes barbecue-style. Your family can enjoy a hot meal al-fresco while keeping the heat out of the kitchen, and hopefully, there will be some kind of breeze to keep you cool outside as well.

Take Your Kids Garden Camping

Whether you’re a family of seasoned campers or you’ve never been camping, setting up camp in the back garden can feel like a special event. Commit to sleeping outside and only going inside for bathroom breaks.

Use a tent if you have one or create your own. Start with a waterproof layer on the ground, like a tarpaulin, then pile on blankets, pillows, and sleeping bags until it’s comfy. Hang sheets, blankets, or tarpaulins from nearby trees or clotheslines to make the walls and ceiling.

Start the evening with a family cookout and roast marshmallows for s’mores as the coals cool or before turning off the gas. Or, if you have a garden fire pit, roast hotdogs and marshmallows and take turns telling your best ghost stories around the campfire.

You can even do a bit of stargazing if the sky is clear, why not have a competition to see how many constellations you can see!

Now Showing: Outdoor Movie Night

Bring the fun of an old-fashioned drive-in movie theatre to your back garden. String up a solid white (or light) bed sheet or blanket or use the surface of the house or garage, then switch on a projector to show a movie once darkness falls.

Clean up your outdoor furniture for seating or simply cosy up on the ground with blankets and pillows, and make sure that you’re passing around a big bowl of popcorn whist enjoying a movie under the stars.

No projector? You can find rentable projectors only, or if you’re looking to invest in one of your own, newer mini projectors offer affordability and are easy to connect to streaming devices. You can even project on the ceiling if your outdoor movie night has to become an indoor one because of the weather.

Enjoy an Indoor Floor Picnic

A rainy day doesn’t have to put a stop the family fun. Bring the picnic inside to one of the larger areas of your home, like the kitchen floor or the living room.

Keep things simple with just a picnic blanket or plan ahead and decorate your indoor space to look like the great outdoors with string lights, paper trees, and faux flowers—bonus points for a large mat of artificial turf. You could even embrace the indoor setting and set up a blanket fort to dine in, check out how to build a fort by IKEA (Via Good News Network). Prepare finger food for easy, minimally messy eating and enjoy a bug-free picnic—just be sure to vacuum up any crumbs to keep those bugs away.

Plan a Garden Beach Trip

If you can’t make it to the beach, bring the beach to you, make your garden Playa del Jardin!

Think about what your family enjoys about the destination. Is it building sandcastles and dipping their feet in the sea? Set up a sandbox and a paddling pool.

Parents, you can put your feet up and read your book under an umbrella whilst the kids splash around!

You could even pack a cooler full of drinks and snacks to enhance the beach vibe.

 

If after all of your outdoor activities the house starts to become a bit messy, especially from the sand, remember you can contact your local Merry Maids to get the cleaning done for you.

 

Earth Day 2020

Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22nd and was created to flood the world with hope, optimism and action, all around our beautiful planet Earth.

The first Earth Day was introduced back in 1970, therefore, celebrating its 50th Birthday this year, and now has over 75,000 partners working together to drive positive action.

Why does Earth day matter?

Our planet is currently facing two crises, one is the current COVID-19 pandemic and the other is climate change.

There is some good that has come out of a lot of countries being put on lockdown, here are a few of those good news stories:

  • People in India can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades, as air pollution reduces
  • China’s carbon emissions during February dropped by an estimated 25%
  • Venice’s canal water is cleaner than it has been for a long time
  • Global Carbon Dioxide output is forecast to fall by around 5%, which is the largest amount in over 70 years.

You can do your bit for Earth Day to ensure we come out of the current pandemic better than before by continuing to reduce your carbon emissions and recycling.

“Remember, this is our planet, this is our future.”

How can you help save our planet?

Going green and doing your bit to save our planet is easier than you may think. There are lots of little things you can do every day to help save our precious planet.

Save water to save the world

Conserving water is important because according to theworldcounts.com, if we continue the way we are, freshwater will run out by 2040!

Here are a few ways that you can help save water:

  • Turn the tap off while you’re brushing your teeth and shaving
  • Have shorter showers, also turn off your shower while lathering yourself in soap
  • Take baths when possible, however, only partially fill your tub, this will use less water than even those short showers
  • Only boil the amount of water you need for your cups of tea and coffee
  • Collect rainwater for your garden by using a water butt, or another rainwater collection system (this can save up to 5,000 litres of water a year)
  • Use a watering can or regulated sprinkler system where you can, instead of a hosepipe

There are plenty more ways you can help save water, you can find a few here at Volusia.org.

Plant trees to plant happiness

You can give a little gift to mother nature by planting a tree in your garden, this will increase happiness as well as helping the environment.

Trees and other plants are vital to Earth’s survival, so do your bit and plant trees in your garden.

Here is what your trees will do for the planet:

  • Absorb carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen
  • Improve air quality
  • Help conserve water
  • Preserves soil
  • Helps support wildlife

“The little things that we can do to help save the environment, are the ones that make the biggest difference.”

Buy local or grow your own

Buying local produce like fruit, vegetables and meat from your local farm shop instead of your local supermarket will have a positive impact on the environment:

  • Will help reduce air pollution because of the decrease of goods being transported across long distances
  • Many local food producers grow their food organically, meaning they’ll use natural pest repellents and no chemically produced pesticides
  • Buying locally will help preserve farmland and reduce the amount of space for industrial and commercial development

Growing your own vegetables and fruit where possible will decrease air pollution even more. As you will only be walking into your garden or allotment to pick the produce. It’s as easy as pie, maybe an apple one!

Check out the RHS website for tips on growing your own vegetables.

 

You can learn more about Earth Day and how you can help on the Earth Day website.

“If we stand together, we can make the world a better place for all today and for those to come”

7 tips for a dog friendly home

If you’re a dog owner, you already know that having a fluffy four-legged friend around can bring an incredible spirit of joy and companionship into your home.

Unfortunately, for pet owners, dogs are known to be mischievous and mess is usually their middle name, especially those adorable puppies.

If you didn’t know already, April is National Pet Month, so our cleaning experts have decided to help and share 7 of the best tips for puppy-proofing your home, helping you keep it clean in the midst of all of the chaos.

Tip #1: Think like a dog

It may sound slightly odd, but experts recommend that you start the dog-proofing process by imagining how your dog sees his or her surroundings.

Get down to your dog’s level and look for anything that could be in reach and potentially catch your dog’s eye, like unattended food sources, uncovered rubbish bins, or enticing “human toys” like the remote control.

Then, make sure there are no easy routes for your pup to paw these treasures, or install shelving too high for them to reach.

Tip #2: The use of a lint roller

Lint rollers are one incredible invention for all dog owners! Consider keeping a few within reach of your front doorway so that you can dust off before leaving the house.

It may also be worth purchasing a heavy-duty fur remover broom for your hardwood flooring, and medium-sized lint rollers to trap hair on your sofas, chairs and beds etc.

Tip #3: Choose the right doggy bed.

Your fluffy friend spends a lot of time in their doggy bed, so it’s best to choose one that won’t trap unwanted odours and hair!

Whether you’ve got one dog or a whole pack, thinking ahead on pet beds will save you a lot of time and money down the line. There are dog beds you can purchase that have removable covers made from bacteria-fighting fabric, with one of those you can simply throw it in the washing machine every week or so.

Tip #4: Towels and blankets are useful

Wherever your furry friend likes to play, there’s sure to be plenty of fur and dirt.

Luckily, you can stop the dirt in its tracks by keeping an old towel near your door, along with some cleaning supplies and a shallow container of water, this will allow you to clean their messy paws after their daily walk.

If your puppy has some favourite spots to sit throughout the house, you may want to throw down a few machine-washable blankets in those places.

Tip #5: Add an air purifier to your shopping list.

Dog dander can cause severe allergies and invite unpleasant odours into your home.

Aside from observing a regular dog grooming schedule, you can also invest in a high-quality air purifier to combat your pup’s shedding habit and keep your house smelling fresh. Try to find a purifier that has a HEPA filter, as this means it’s certified to remove 99.97% of airborne allergens.

Tip #6: Perform a full “plant audit.”

Every home needs a little bit of greenery around the house and in the garden.

Before you let your dog strut around the garden, you’ll need to double and triple-check that your plants are safe for dogs.

Common flower varieties like tulips, daffodils, and lilies are actually poisonous to dogs, and even safe plants can cause gastrointestinal distress when ingested.

Once you’ve identified any potential hazards, either replace the offending plants or find a way to block your dog’s access to that area.

Tip #7: Invest in a few dog deterrents.

No matter how old your dogs are, they love to chew on almost anything they can reach.

To protect your home—and your canine’s teeth— from damage, you should think about investing in a few easy dog deterrents.

One solution you could use is bitter apple spray, which uses all-natural ingredients to keep dogs from chewing on table legs and furniture.

You can also install baby gates throughout the house to limit access to certain rooms.

Want More Pet-Related Cleaning Tips? We’ve Got You Covered!

Even if you dog-proof your entire home completely, it’s pretty much inevitable:

Your pet will eventually make a mess, and when that does happen, there’s no need to worry. With the help of our regular cleaning services, you’ll be well on your way to managing a beautifully dog-proof home.

Find your local Merry Maids here and we’ll be able to organise a visit to see your home in the future.