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Top Ways to Celebrate Bonfire Night

With many councils cancelling public bonfires and firework displays due to rising coronavirus cases, you may be wondering how you will spend your bonfire night this year.

Fortunately, there are many ways you can celebrate bonfire night from the safety of your home. Here are some ideas of what you can do on November 5th.

Have A Bonfire

Gather a small group of your friends and family for a bonfire at home. Lighting a bonfire is relatively easy and can provide hours of entertainment and warmth. If you do not have the space and land to have a bonfire, why not use a garden firepit?

If you would prefer to remain indoors, you could always try your hand at creating a faux bonfire. You can do this using cardboard tubes for logs, fairy lights, and coloured paper to emulate flames. You could even use real rocks and sticks. This is a great project to get the kids involved in as well.

Light Some Sparklers

Getting the sparklers out is a cheap and fun thing to do on bonfire night. They also make for great photos.

Just make sure that you wear gloves whilst handling sparklers, dispose of them responsibly, supervise children with sparklers, and do not give them to children under the age of five.

Wrap Up Warm

Layer up in hats, scarves, gloves, and long sleeves to help prevent you from feeling the chill and getting distracted from your celebrations.

Indulge In Treats

Toasted marshmallows, s’mores, and toffee apples are a really popular treat on bonfire night, which can be easily made at home.

You could also get creative with making some firework-inspired treats using colourful icing, edible glitter, and sprinkles.

Have A Hot Drink

There is no denying that November is cold. It might be a good idea to warm up with a delicious hot drink, especially if you are going to be outside.

From hot chocolates with whipped cream and marshmallows, to a hot toddy or mulled wine for the adults, no bonfire night is complete without a hot drink.

Get Creative

Doing something crafty is bound to lift your spirits and craft activities can be great for kids. You could paint bonfires or fireworks, make a rocket, or even create a Guy Falkes scarecrow.

Learn The History

Do you know the reason why we celebrate bonfire night? If not, you might want to read up on the infamous Gunpowder Plot which led to the annual celebration of bonfire night.

Tidy Up

If you do not feel like celebrating, you could use the time to thoroughly tidy and clean your home, in preparation for the festive season which is rapidly approaching us.

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

Christmas Traditions from around the world

                                      

Whilst a lot of us have our own personal Christmas Traditions, others are celebrated nationwide. From drinking mulled wine, to having advent calendars and more, Christmas traditions are a great way to celebrate the festive season. However, have you thought of how other countries celebrate across the globe? Here, we discuss Christmas Traditions from around the world.

Sweden

Since 1966, a 13 metre tall Yule Goat was built in the Castle Square in Galve’s centre to mark the beginning of Advent. The Yule goat is a Swedish Christmas symbol that dates back to ancient pagan festivals. However, it was not until the 1960s when someone decided to make a giant straw goat. The goat is a staggering 42 feet high, more than 20 feet wide and weighs over 3 and a half tonnes. Each year the goat is constructed in the same spot and people can see the build take place through a livestream on the first Sunday of Advent. Unfortunately, a second unofficial “tradition” has stemmed from the original one. Since its inception, the Yule Goat has been burned down 29 times.

Philippines

The giant Lantern Festival (known as Ligligan Parul Sampernandu) is held the Saturday before Christmas in San Fernando. It is classed as the “Christmas Capital of the Philippines”. 11 villages take part in the festival which leads to fierce competition as everyone tries to build the most elaborate lantern. They are around six metres in size and are meant to be a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem.

Japan

Christmas is not widely celebrated in Japan and is not a national holiday, however, some of the citizens have found a delicious way to celebrate. By eating KFC! Over the past few years, people have had a Kentucky Fried Chicken Christmas Day feast. The tradition began in 1974 after an extremely successful KFC marketing campaign called “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakki” or “Kentucky for Christmas”. Now, on Christmas Day families head out together to enjoy some KFC with some ordering their boxes months in advance to make sure they don’t miss out.

Austria

Whilst some Christmas traditions are cosy and cute, others are just frightening. In Austria, a beast-like demon creature roams the streets, punishing bad children. This beast, known as Krampus, is St Nicholas’ evil companion. Whilst St Nicholas rewards the nicest children, Kampus’ job is said to capture the naughtiest children and take them away in his sack. You can imagine how the thought of Krampus will scare the children and make them behave in the build-up to Christmas.

Iceland

Next on our list of Christmas Traditions from around the world is Iceland. In the 13 days leading up to Christmas, 13 trolls called the Yule Lads visit children across the country each night during Yuletide. Different Yule Lads visit leaving gifts for nice boys and girls and rotting potatoes for the naughty kids.

The citizens of Iceland also take part in Jolabokflod translated as “Christmas Book Flood”. On Christmas Eve, people gift each other a book and spend the evening cosying up and reading their new gift. This tradition dates back to World War II. Paper was one of the only commodities that was not rationed at the time. Iceland is a nation of book lovers and in late September, a free catalogue of the newest books called the Bokatidindi is sent to each home and then people hit the bookshops.

Norway

In Norway on Christmas Eve, people hide their brooms. Dating back centuries when people believed that witches and evil spirits came out on Christmas Eve looking for brooms to ride. Many people still hide their brooms in the safest places in their house to stop them from being stolen.

Julebord, which is Norwegian for the Christmas season, begins on December 3rd and people flock to local restaurants and bars throughout the month. Families also celebrate a mini Christmas on 23rd December where they spend the day decorating the tree, making a gingerbread house and eating risengrynsgrot (hot rice pudding).

United States

Many US citizens take Christmas very seriously and get involved in many traditions in the build-up to Christmas. Sending holiday cards is one of these traditions. This involves creating a greeting card often with a family portrait on the front with all members of the family wearing matching Christmas jumpers or wearing outfits that complement each other. The photos are proudly displayed on the card and then sent to everyone in their address book.

Whilst this tradition is originally said to have come from Germany, many American households have adopted the tradition of hanging the Christmas pickle. A Christmas tree ornament in the shape of a pickle is hung discreetly on the tree. This usually becomes a game where children in the household have to try and find the pickle. The first one to spot it usually gets an extra present or gets to be the first one to open a gift on Christmas Day.

Venezuela

One of the stranger Christmas Traditions from around the world comes from Venezuela. Every Christmas Eve, the residents of the cities head to church in the morning, but on roller skates. This bizarre tradition is now so popular, some roads across the city are closed for cars between 16th and 24 December so that the skaters can travel to the church safely.

Poland

On Christmas Eve, many families share an unleavened religious wafer (also known as oplatek). Each person breaks off a piece as they wish each other Merry Christmas. Dinner is not allowed to start until the first star appears in the night sky. It is also another Polish tradition that an additional setting is placed at the table just in case someone uninvited arrives.

Switzerland

Many Swiss families make their own advent calendars. Parents often create calendars for their children or use it as a fun activity to do together. Each day’s bag reveals a new treat, with the biggest gift on Christmas Eve.

Whilst some of the Christmas Traditions from around the world seem cosy or fun, others are simply bizarre. There are so many great ways to celebrate. Are there traditions from another country that you are tempted to take part in?

Quick Ways to Tidy your Home

Love having a spotless house but hate tidying up and cleaning? It would be great if we could wave a magic wand or click our fingers and it all be done, but unfortunately, that is not possible. However, you do not have to spend hours a day labouring away to have a clean and tidy home. Here are some quick ways to tidy your home.

Assign Everything A Home

Ensure that everything you own has a place in your home. Knowing everything has a set place and knowing where that is will make it easier and quicker to tidy everything away. Anything new that comes into your home must also have a place.

Sort Your Belongings

Take time to go through everything you have and determine whether you should keep it, donate it, or get rid of it. This will help with decluttering. The less you have, the less there will be to tidy away so the quicker you will get it done.

Clear Away Clutter

Before cleaning, you should go through the house and clear away any clutter and remove any potential obstructions.

Keep Supplies Together

One way to speed things up is to store all of your cleaning solutions, tools, and equipment together. Gather them all together in a portable storage container such as a caddy or basket to easily carry things around your home.

Make A Plan

Plan out what you are going to do before you do it. Making a to-do list and working your way through it can be satisfying, help you to stay focussed, and ensure you do not forget to do anything.


Small Steps


Try not to do too much at once. Checking off one thing on the list is better than not doing anything at all.


Set A Timer


If you only have a limited amount of time, determine what tasks are most important and set a timer then work through tasks in order of priority without any distractions. You could set different timers for different tasks or rooms.


Do One Thing Everywhere


Instead of focusing on one room at a time, do one task, such as dusting and polishing or cleaning the floors, in every room throughout the house. It is easier to get stuck into one task and do that in every room than to do the whole cleaning process in one room to then do it in another room not long after. It will make it go much quicker as you get into the rhythm of it and you will not need to change tools and cleaning solutions several times.


Get Others Involved


Make tidying a team effort. If you can get other people involved it will make things go a lot quicker, plus it can make it more fun. You could delegate by room or by task, so one person could do all of the dusting and polishing, or all of the hoovering and mopping, for example.


Listen To Music

Having music on in the background can also help to make tidying up more enjoyable and to help take your mind off the task at hand.


Hire A Professional

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.
Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

 

Top tips for Ironing

Ironing may seem relatively straightforward but there are many commonly-made mistakes when it comes to ironing. Here are our top 10 ironing tips and hacks to ensure you iron correctly, quickly, and efficiently.

Boil Water for The Iron

Boiling water before you put it in the iron will help to stop it from getting blocked up over time, especially if you live in a hard-water area. A blocked iron is less efficient and more likely to cause stains so it is important to try and prevent this from happening.

Iron in Heat Order

Start by ironing the items that need the coolest temperature first, then move on to the items that need higher temperatures as your iron heats up. This will save you time as you are not wasting time just waiting for it to get hot or adjusting the temperature.

Protect Your Items

When ironing delicate clothing, such as silk garments, or items with printed graphics on, lay a protective piece of material over the top of the items before ironing to avoid damaging them with the heat from the iron.


Iron In The Bedroom

Many people iron in the kitchen or utility where the washing machine and dryer are, but if you iron upstairs where the clothes are stored so that you can put them away as soon as they are ironed to decrease the chances of them getting creased or dirty.

Set Up the Board Correctly

Make sure your ironing board is set up correctly and that it is secure and straight. Ensure that it is standing even and flat. Your cover should be clean and tight on the cover so it is not bumpy and does not create creases or transfer dirt onto your clothes.

Use Vinegar to Remove Marks

If you cause scorch marks when ironing, dip a clean cloth into white vinegar and wipe it across the stain. Go back in the white vinegar with a clean part of the cloth and repeat until the mark is removed, then wipe over where it was with clean, cold water.

Use The Right Technique

When ironing, you should not wiggle it around too much as this can stretch the fabric and cause creases which can be hard to iron out. Instead try to iron in long, straight strokes to prevent this from happening.

Spritz With Water

Before ironing, spritz the fabric with water to help remove stubborn wrinkles. Some irons have a spritz option - if yours does, then use that. If not, simply fill a spray bottle with water and use that. Once damp, iron as normal.

Clean Your Iron

Make sure you check the base plate before ironing to ensure that it is clean. Regularly cleaning your iron will help to ensure that it does not mark or stick to your clothes or snag the material. Use a cleaning solution or equal amounts of white vinegar and water to clean the base plate.

Hire A Professional

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning and ironing for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to

Tips to Decorate a Small Living Room

It can be difficult to decorate small spaces without making them look cluttered. Luckily, there are several ways to make your room appear and feel bigger than it is.

Just because your living room is small does not mean you have to compromise on style. Read on for tips to help you achieve a room that utilises space and is both cosy and contemporary.

Use Chairs with Legs


Having sofas and armchairs with legs elevates them from the floor, allowing the floor to be visible, thus making the room appear bigger.

Avoid Floor Lamps

You should avoid floor lamps to help save floor space and open up the room. Install wall or ceiling fitted lights, or use table lamps, instead.

Utilise Mirrors

It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but that means it has been tried and tested and is one of the best ways of creating the illusion of space.

Introducing mirrors to a small space can really help to open it up. As well as making a room appear much bigger, mirrors also reflect light, making the room brighter.

Use Neutral Colours

Opting for light, airy, and neutral colours in a small space will help to open and lift a room, whilst ensuring it remains fresh, cosy, and inviting.

Create A Feature Wall

If you are more of a maximalist, try putting bold wallpaper or a warm, dark colour on one wall or create a gallery wall on the wall where the sofa is.

This can help to create a focal point in the room and adds eccentricity without taking up space.

Let Light In

Embrace natural light and make the most of it by simplifying window furnishings. Instead of bulky curtains, try shutters or blinds to let as much natural light in as possible.

Paint The Skirting Boards

Paint the skirting boards in the same colour as the walls to give the appearance of elongated walls and a taller, bigger room.

Wall-Mount The TV

Secure your TV to the wall to free up space in small rooms. Utilize otherwise practically useless wall space by mounting your TV above the fireplace if you have one.

Avoid Clutter

Decluttering can make a room feel wider and create the illusion of more space. Keep your room tidy and organised with smart storage solutions.

Implement tall furniture and wall-mounted storage systems to maximize storage capacity without taking up a lot of floor space.

Hire A Cleaner

Keeping small rooms clean and tidy is a key factor in making a room appear and feel bigger, and ensuring they always look their best.

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

Top Tips to clean your car like a professional at home

There are two types of people out there. Those who enjoy cleaning their car, and those who enjoy finding ways to avoid cleaning theirs. If you fall into the latter category, then this blog might just be for you. We’re going to divulge some of the best tips and techniques to turn your car from unloved and unkempt, to spotless and sparkling. Here are some top tips to clean your car like a professional at home.

Step one: consider the weather


So you’re ready to clean your car, and for that we applaud you. However, before you dive into the job, it’s important to consider the weather. As we know, the UK climate is far from predictable, and if conditions aren’t quite right then you might make the job harder than it needs to be. High temperatures and strong sunshine might feel like the best time to wash your car but the heat can actually cause shampoo residue and wash to dry on your car. This residue can leave behind streaks, spots, and marks that undo your hard work. Rain is less of a problem. Besides looking a bit eccentric, the only issue with rain is that you won’t be able to give your car a final wipe down with a microfibre cloth. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a mid-temperature, overcast day. Alternatively, move your car into the garage or undercover and clean it there instead.

Step two: prepare your tools


To save yourself time, you must have all your necessary tools gathered in one place. You’ll need the following:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Bin bags or carrier bags
  • Hose/pressure washer
  • Sponge
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Car wash soap or specialist wax
  • Bonus tip: be sure to remove all jewellery to avoid scratches on your paintwork

Step three: begin with the interior

Once you’re all prepped and ready to go, you’ll want to start your journey to showroom cleanliness with the interior of your car. First, remove any car mats and give them a clean, use the hoover on carpet mats, or hose down and leave rubber mats to dry. Take a look through your car and remove any rubbish. Next, use your hoover and necessary attachments to dislodge grit and dirt, and suck up any dust. Dashboards can be easily cleaned with a cloth, warm water, and mild soap. Finally, pick out a good air freshener and once they’ve dried, replace your mats.

Step four: begin at the top


Once you’ve tackled the interior of your car, it’s time to take on the outward-facing elements. These parts will naturally pick up the most dirt and debris and so it can be quite a daunting task. However, by beginning at the top of your car and working down, gravity will assist in pulling grime downwards.

Now take your hose, or pressure washer and begin blasting away. This pressured approach will do the bulk of the work and help dislodge most dust, dirt, and grime. Next, you’ll need to use your shampoo or wax. Once again begin at the top of the car and work your way down, applying your chosen product. This avoids dirty water from dripping onto places you’ve already begun cleaning.

Step five: Rinse and wipe


If you want to avoid streaks and spots, then it’s important to rinse off shampoo and wipe your car down afterward. Leaving it to dry naturally will result in a messy finish. Use your sponge, or hose, and then give it a circular buffing wipe with a microfibre cloth.

Step six: finishing touches


You’ve done the bulk of the work now, but the real pros know that the devil is in the detail. Wheels can play a huge part in the overall look of your car, and you should neglect them at your peril. Use a separate damp cloth, brush, or sponge and clean both inside the wheel’s barrel and the wheel’s face. Finally, use a specialist polish or wax to give your car a lasting shine and cut down the number of future cleans you’ll have to endure!

How to reduce plastic in your beauty routine

With 12.7 million tonnes of plastic winding up in our oceans each year, according to Greenpeace, it has never been more important to reduce the amount of plastic we use. What better time to cut down your plastic use than during Plastic Free July? Plastic Free July is a movement that encourages people to reduce their plastic waste.

Small changes in your day-to-day life can have a big impact. Here, we explain how to reduce plastic in your beauty routine.

1. Use hair and body bars

Did you know that many of our bottled hair and body products also available in the form of solid bars? These include face wash, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, and body wash.

Commonly referred to as “naked” products due to the lack of packaging, these plastic-free bars are a great alternative to bottles of hair products and body washes.

Not only do these bars lack plastic packaging, but some can also actually last a lot longer than the average bottled alternative.

2. Make your own products

The use of plastic microbeads in cosmetic and personal care products was banned in the UK in September 2016. These were commonly used in face scrubs and masks, and toothpastes.

Although this is a great step in the right direction, these products unfortunately are typically still sold in single-use plastic packaging.

Cut down the plastic you use by making your own face scrubs and masks using natural products. Oats, almonds, and brown sugar are commonly used in place of plastic microbeads and are easy to source.

3. Switch your dental products

There are several sustainable alternatives to toothbrushes, dental floss, and toothpaste.

Swap your plastic manual toothbrush for one made of bamboo, or an electric toothbrush with replaceable brush heads.

Plastic-free toothpaste is also commonly available. You can get toothpaste in glass jars, or toothpaste tablets – just chew with water to activate then brush!

4. Use reusable cloths and pads

Ditch the wipes! Not only are these bad for the environment, but they are also not great for your skin either.

Instead, use reusable face cloths and pads which can be used, rinsed, washed, and reused. They are kinder to both your skin and the planet and can even save you money too.

5. Switch your deodorant

All it takes is a simple swap. There are now many options available for refillable deodrants. These usually come in a metal case and are a deodrant bar rather than a spray. Not only are they easy to refill, there are subscription options that send refills directly to your door, meaning you never have to worry about running out.

6. Get a metal razor

Plastic razors may be cheaper to buy initially but typically need to be replaced often, meaning they can be expensive over time.

Investing in a good-quality, reusable metal razor, known as a safety razor, will save you money in the long run, is more environmentally friendly, and is likely to give a better shave.

These simple yet effective changes can have a massive impact on creating a cleaner and safer world for all its present and future inhabitants.
It is important to remember not to overwhelm yourself by trying to make too many changes at once. Take a few small steps towards reducing your plastic use, to begin with, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.

If you try one alternative and it does not work for you, do not give up. There are so many environmentally friendly options out there, so keep trying until you find one that works for you.

Your free time is valuable, and you may not want to spend it organising your bathroom cabinets and dressing table. If you feel like you could do with some professional help in cleaning your home, you could hire a domestic cleaner.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

As the client, you determine what tasks are carried out, but typical cleaning duties include vacuuming, dusting, washing down paintwork, cleaning toilets and bathrooms, and ironing. Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you so that we can take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to.

 

Top Floor Cleaning Tips

Different floors require different cleaning methods and treatments, and you could do more harm than good if you get it wrong. Whatever type of floor you have, follow these top floor cleaning tips and tricks to help you get the flooring in your house spotless and sparkling, and keep it that way.

Choose the Right Cleaner

You should not use a carpet cleaner on a wood floor, or vice versa, as you are likely to do more damage than good.

For the best clean, and to ensure you do not cause any damage, always choose a cleaning detergent that is designed for your flooring type.

Mop Weekly

When it comes to vinyl or tile flooring, nothing beats traditional damp mopping. Mopping floors may seem pretty straightforward, but there are several things you should consider.

You should choose a mop based on your floor type. Traditional string mops and strip mops are great for textured floors such as ceramic tile flooring. However, for smooth flooring, opt for a sponge mop.

Many people often make the mistake of not having a second bucket of water for rinsing the mop. Using a rinse bucket helps to stop the cleaning solution from becoming dirty, ensuring a better clean.

Fill the Buckets Correctly

If you are mopping, be sure to fill the buckets correctly. Fill one with clean water for rinsing, and the other with water and detergent for cleaning. Unless otherwise specified, fill both buckets with hot water, as this will clean better and faster than warm or cold water. Add the detergent after the water. It may be tempting to use more detergent than advised in an attempt to try and speed up the cleaning process or get better results. However, this can have adverse effects. An over-concentrated solution will be harder to rinse, so it is best to just follow the instructions on the product.

Use A Damp Mop

If floors get too wet, they may become damaged and will take much longer to dry, so you should not use a sopping wet mop.
Make sure that after you dip your mop into the water, you wring it out with a wringer or by hand to ensure the mop is damp and not too wet.

Mop Methodically

Start at the end of the room that is furthest away from the door and then work backward towards the door so you do not walk over any area that you have mopped. Standing and walking on areas that have not been mopped will prevent tracking and minimise the risk of slipping.
If you are using a sponge mop, you should mop in straight lines, but if you use a rag mop, mop in a figure of eight motion, to get the most out of your mop.

Once you have finished cleaning an area, rinse your mop thoroughly in clean, hot water. Be sure to wring it out to remove as much dirty water as possible before rinsing the mopped area.

Regularly Sweep / Vacuum

While mopping and carpet cleaning is essential to getting floors clean, the key to keeping them clean is to sweep or vacuum every one to three days. Regularly sweeping and vacuuming your flooring will also help to prolong its life and maintain its finish. Sweeping or vacuuming just before mopping will make it quicker and easier to mop, and will help you to identify any stubborn spots.

Combat Stubborn Spots

When you do encounter particularly dirty or sticky areas, use a sponge to rub back and forth over the spot to remove the grime, before continuing with sweeping or mopping.

Let Everything Dry

Make sure you thoroughly rinse out your mop and mop buckets, then allow them to dry completely before you put them away.
You should also let your floor dry completely before you or anyone else walks on it.

Hire A Cleaner

If you are short on time, or would simply prefer to leave it to the professionals, you may want to consider hiring a cleaner to take care of your cleaning for you.

Time For You specialises in providing properly screened and vetted domestic cleaners to private households to provide you, our client, with more time for you.

Click here and simply enter your postcode to find a cleaner near you and let us take care of the cleaning, so you do not have to

 

Things you might be cleaning too often

We are always trying to find ways to cut down on how much time we spend on household tasks. Whilst some jobs cannot be avoided, there are some things that we tend to clean regularly that do not need to be cleaned as regularly. Here is a list of things you might be cleaning too often.

Clothes

Of course, if there are any stains on your clothes then these should be washed straight away. However, many people are washing their clothes too often. Unless they are dirty or you have been sweating, most clothes can be worn more than once. Underwear, socks, and workout clothes are obviously the exception, but most other items can be worn again. Many of us automatically place clothes in the clothes basket when they are perfectly good to wear on another occasion. Not only is this saving you time washing, drying, and ironing clothes, but it can also save you money on electricity, water, and laundry products.

Rinsing Dishes

Do you rinse dishes before placing them in the dishwasher? Well, stop. You don’t need to. Dishwasher products are designed to dissolve food particles. If you pre-rinse the dishes, this can stop the dishwasher detergent from clinging to the dishes. Rinsing dishes in advance not only takes extra time but also uses a lot of water.

Light Fixtures

Light fittings definitely need a good clean now and then as otherwise cobwebs and dust can build up and brighten the lights. However, you don’t have to clean them weekly. Once a month is more than often enough.

Curtains

Washing curtains can be a pain. The good news is they only need to be washed once a year (unless there are obvious stains). Whilst the majority of curtains are fine to only be cleaned annually, you may want to wash curtains in kitchens and bathrooms after every season instead.

Bedding

Whilst duvet covers and sheets should be washed regularly, you don’t need to worry as much with additional bedspreads and duvets. Instead, wash these at the end of each season instead to keep them fresh. Most of them can be washed in the machine as usual. However, always check the label before placing them in the wash. Some may need to be taken to a laundrette if they are too bulky and heavy for the machine.

Pillows

Similar to duvets, you do not need to wash your pillows regularly. Of course, wash the pillowcases often as they come into direct contact with your skin, however, the pillows themselves do not need to be washed as much. In fact, cleaning too often can cause them to start wearing down. Washing them every 3-6 months should suffice.

Carpets

Try not to overclean your carpets. It takes time and effort and if you do it too regularly it can end up causing damage. Steam or shampoo your floors as a deep clean once a year to keep them in tip-top condition. Just ensure you are vacuuming weekly to remove dirt. Consider getting a professional company into clean your floors each year. Whilst DIY options are available and cheaper, you can end up causing more damage. For example, if you over-shampoo your carpets and too much liquid is used, it can lead to carpet mould.

Kitchen Pantry and Cupboards

Your fridge should be cleaned on a weekly basis as it stored a lot of perishable items. The same is not the case for a kitchen pantry or cupboard food. Instead, do a big tidy a couple of times a year. Empty the pantry and cupboards completely, wipe all the shelves down, organise them neatly and check the expiry dates on all the food.

Oven

A deep oven clean is not needed often, as long as you ensure spills and stains are wiped down as soon as they happen. If you keep on top of this, an oven will only need to be cleaned deeply a couple of times a year. To ensure you get a thorough clean, you may also want to consider hiring a professional.

Wooden Furniture

Avoid using furniture spray too often. Whilst wood spray polishes leave the furniture with a lovely shine, they can actually trap dust, so use sparingly.

Mirrors

Mirrors are usually on people’s weekly cleaning lists, however, it doesn’t have to be. Spraying too regularly with glass cleaner can start to destroy the back of the mirror. Instead, remove smudges as and when they appear on the mirror.

We all want a tidy and hygienic home but we have to ask ourselves whether each cleaning job needs to be done as often as you are doing it. You may be surprised that you have been giving yourself extra work to do. So remove these from your cleaning list this week and enjoy the extra time to relax.

 

18 Surprising things you can clean in the washing machine

Most households depend on their washing machine. We rely on them to do our laundry and ensure that we always have clean clothes. However, most of us are not making the most out of them Yes, its primary function is to clean clothes. However, in reality, they can do so much more than that. Here, we share18 surprising things you can clean in the washing machine.

Outdoor furniture cushions

If you have patio furniture you can clean the cushions in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. It is not necessary to wash them regularly as they often don’t get used for the majority of the year, however, this is a great way to give them a freshen up. Do a pre-treat test on one of the cushions if you are nervous about how they will wash. Once you have washed them, simply leave them to air dry before you store them away.

Car Mats

As long as your car mat is not too big or too heavy for your machine, you should be able to place them in the washing machine to get clean. We use our cars on a daily basis and it is surprising how much grime and muck can build up. Being able to place the smaller mats in the washing machine can make a huge difference.

Headbands and hair ties

Many of us don’t even think about washing our hair ties and headbands. However, we should. Our hair accessories can over time get a build-up of oils from our hair and the products we use. Therefore, you should remember to wash them every now and then. As they are small, it is important you place them in a small mesh laundry bag and then add them to your normal wash.

Baseball caps

Similar to headbands, although they are in contact with our heads regularly, we do not always remember to wash them. Perhaps because we assume the washing machine will cause damage. However, as long as you place on a cold, delicate cycle this shouldn’t be a problem.

Curtains

It is surprising how dust and dirt can build up on your curtains. Whilst you don’t have to wash them regularly, the results can be amazing. If your curtains are standard fabric and not too heavy, simply place them on a delicate cold water cycle. Hang them back up whilst they are still slightly damp as this can help remove the creases. If you have thicker curtains that are heavy then avoid placing them in the washing machine. Your washing machine drum can only take a certain load and this may simply be too much for it to handle.

Mats

Rubber-backed mats should be occasionally washed and they can easily be placed in the washing machine (just ensure you have not overloaded). They will come out of the machine looking so much better. However, you should avoid washing rubber-backed mats too often as over time it means they lose their grip.

Other mats such as bathmats should also be washed but on a more regular basis. Place these on hot wash in order to sanitise them. You can put them in a tumble dryer after to help keep their fluffiness. Ensure you leave the bathmats to dry completely before you place them back in your bathroom.

Yoga Mats

Again, something we potentially don’t think about washing, however placing your yoga mat in your washing machine is completely fine. Just ensure you place on a delicate cold cycle. Once they are washed air dry them flat to avoid them getting out of shape. In between washes, sanitise them after workouts.

Sports Equipment

Similar to yoga mats, there are several pieces of sports equipment that can become sweaty and disgusting quickly but can also be cleaned easily too. Shin pads, knee pads, gloves, etc can all be placed in the washing machine safely. Add them to a laundry mesh bag first and then add to the machine. Depending on how regularly you do the sport, the equipment should be washed around once a month.

Rucksacks

If you’ve ever looked at the bottom of a rucksack you know how quickly they can build up dirt, especially if they belong to a child. The good news is that you can simply place them in the washing machine and have come out looking as good as new. If your bag has lots of straps, place them in a mesh laundry bag before placing them into the washing machine. If you don’t have one, ensure you flip the bag inside out so that the straps are on the inside and out of the way. Unzip all the pockets to ensure the most thorough clean and then leave the bag to air dry afterward.

Children’s toys

Our childrens' toys are potentially some of the grimiest items in our home and therefore you should ensure they are cleaned regularly, especially the kid’s favourite toys that they touch the most. Stuffed animals will be fine in the washing machine, however always check the label just in case. You can also wash plastic toys in the washing machine including Lego. If the toys are small, place them in a mesh laundry bag first.

Trainers

Trainers or canvas shoes can be placed in the washing machine and the results can be transforming. Place them in a mesh laundry bag (or pillowcase if you don’t have one) and place them into your washing machine. Place some towels or bedding in with them to help fill up the gaps. This not only stops the shoes from making a racket in the washing machine, but it will also protect the drum and avoid any damage.

Reusable shopping bags

It’s a great step in the right direction that we are making a conscious effort to cut down on our plastic bags and opt for reusable bags instead. However, many of us forget to wash them, and ideally, they should be cleaned every few weeks to keep them hygienic. Add them to a load of washing every now and then to keep on top of it.

Material Lunch Boxes

Similar to reusable shopping bags, lunch boxes can quickly become messy, especially once they have been taken to and from school several times. Simply place them in the washing machine regularly to avoid them smelling and keeping them at their freshest.

Pet Beds

All pet owners know how dirty pet beds can get. They can start to smell and can quickly get covered in hairs. Luckily most pet beds wash well in the washing machine if they have removable covers. Start by vacuuming the excess hair off before placing it in the washing machine. Leave to air dry before placing them back on. Some items can be added to the washing load which helps dissolve and remove stubborn pet hair.

Pet Accessories

From pet toys to their collars and leads, all of these should be washed every now and then as well. For smaller items and to avoid the leads getting caught on anything, place them in a laundry mesh bag first.

Oven Mitts

Oven Mitts are used a lot in the kitchen and they can quickly get dirty. Whether yours are fabric or silicone, you shouldn’t have any problems simply adding them to your next washload.

Pillows

We clean our pillowcases regularly but what about our actual pillows? It is recommended that they should be washed around twice a year. Handwash feather or down pillows. However, most synthetic pillows or foam-filled pillows should be fine in the washing machine as long as it's on a gentle cycle.

Cleaning tools

From rubber gloves to mop heads and sponges, we use these items almost every day to keep our house clean, but do we clean these tools enough? Potentially not. They are all able to be placed in the washing machine, so there is no excuse. Fill the load with some towels to avoid any damage to the machine or excessive noise. Also, place on high heat to sanitise the items and kill bacteria.

Not only can our washing machines provide us with clean clothes when we need them, but they can also clean so many more, potentially unexpected things that the majority of people are unaware of. If you make the most out of your washing machine it can help save you a lot of time and energy.