News & Articles

Gardening Tips for Beginners

Getting green fingered and spending time in your garden is a great past-time. Not only is it relaxing, but you can also benefit from beautiful flowers and even provide your own food. Here we discuss some gardening tips for beginners to help you get started. 

Choose plants carefully  

Even if you have a strong idea of what plants you want in your garden, always check if they are suitable for your soil type. Certain plants suit light and sandy soils whilst others prefer heavy and clay-based. If you still don’t know what to do, have a look at your neighbours garden for inspiration. If they look good in their garden, they will probably be suitable for your garden as well.

Space out your plants 

Although you want to ensure the flowers and plants grow as groups to look better, you must ensure you plant them with sufficient room to grow. If you don’t they will be forced to fight for the available space which will lead to some of them dying. They will also need watering more regularly and more fertilisation to aid growth. The plant labels let you know how much space they require when planting. If you do not stick to the advice, you are also making them more susceptible to diseases. 

Plan Ahead 

It's tempting to buy lots of nice plants when you see them online or at garden centres however before buying anything, ensure you have a plan in mind. Measure the space you are planting so that you can buy plants in the correct quantity. Having a plan also allows you to visualise your garden and will help you decide which plants will look nice next to each other. 

Label  

One of the most common mistakes new gardeners make is not to label what they have planted where. This makes it very difficult to plant new items as you will be unsure where you have already planted.  Write labels yourself. Alternatively use the labels that come with the plants that you can stick into the soil.  

Don’t overwater 

Plants outside do not need watering as much as indoor plants. Although you should keep on top of the task, don’t overwater as it can do more harm than good. Check the weather forecast each day. If its meant to rain that day, avoid watering the plants in the morning. Plants in the soil will maintain some moisture anyway which they can access easily. However, plants in flower beds will maintain more moisture than containers. Therefore water potted plants a bit more liberally.  

Keep on top of weeds  

Weeds are a gardener’s enemy. You will need to weed regularly to keep them under control. When removing them, ensure you remove their roots as well, otherwise  

Be Creative 

Gardening is meant to be fun. It is a great way to express yourself so enjoy picking your plants. When creating floral displays think about the following 

The colour of the plant- do you have specific colour schemes in mind  

Mix it up with evergreens- try and think about your garden all year round. Try and plant things that will still look nice in the winter months  

Height- plant height is also important. Check the estimated height of the flowers before your plant. For example, alliums can grow tall so ensure they are placed near the back of your flower displays so it doesn’t obstruct the smaller plants. 

Decorations- Don’t just think about the plants themselves, have fun choosing the containers, and other decorations like solar lights, water features, bird feeders and much more. 

Gardening is not an exact science and it takes some practice. Even experienced gardeners will make mistakes so the best thing is to start and learn more as you go. Over time you will understand which plants are best for your garden and what gardening methods work best for you.  

STAYSAFE In Homes

STAYSAFE In Homes – Guidance For Continuing Services (ENGLAND & NORTHERN IRELAND ONLY)

 

In line with the Governments advice, we have put together some practical steps to help ensure the safety of our clients and cleaners and highly recommend these are implemented when work is being carried out.

 

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should work be carried out in a home where any of the householders are showing even mild symptoms. No work should be carried out by a cleaner who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or when someone in their own household has symptoms No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded.

 

  • CLEANING REQUIREMENTS: These should be discussed over the phone or via SMS prior to the visit, this is to ensure that upon entry to a property people can remain a safe distance from each other.

 

  • ENTRY TO THE PROPERTY: We recommend that ENTRY to the property is arranged for a specific time and that arrangements are made to ensure people do not come into contact with each other and by maintaining a minimum 2m distance apart.

 

  • STAY IN SEPARATE ROOMS: When work is being carried out, people must remain in different rooms or at least 2m apart as a minimum.

 

  • WASHING HANDS: All persons in the household and people carrying out work should wash their hands before, during and after work being carried out. Particularly on high-touch areas. This is also applicable when moving from room to room while working. Hand-Sanitiser is an acceptable alternative if hands washing facilities are not easily available.

 

  • EQUIPMENT/PRODUCTS: Adequate equipment should be available/provided/used when work is being carried out in homes. Disinfectant and Anti-Bacterial products should be used as much as possible and where applicable and all equipment should be cleaned and dis-infected prior to use.

 

  • RUBBISH: Any rubbish/disposable items should be put into leak proof bags and disposed of by the person handling the bag in the bin with little/no contact from any other person.

 

  • RE-USABLE ITEMS: Any items that are re-usable should be washed at 90.c where appropriate and handled as little as possible prior to storage ready for use.

 

  • VENTILATION: It is advised that windows and doors are left open to ensure that properties are well ventilated should work be carried out.

 

  • POST CLEAN: The client and cleaner should discuss (over the phone or via) the work that was carried out, what were high-touch areas that may need further disinfecting and also proceed with cashless payment methods.

How to Paint a Room in 8 Simple Steps

Painting a room is a DIY project that can be extremely rewarding. However, it can also seem overwhelming. Here, we share how to paint a room in 8 simple steps to help you get started and paint a room like a pro

Step 1: Have a plan  

Before doing anything, you MUST have a plan. If you don’t, you may change your mind halfway through or end up with something that looks a mess. Start by deciding how you want to paint the room. Not all the walls have to be the same colour. You don’t have to have a white ceiling and you can really make spectacular focus points by having an accent wall painted a different colour to the rest. Unless you are getting completely new furniture, always take into account your furnishing when making a decision on how you want to decorate. 

Although you don’t need to know exact colours at this stage, have a shortlist in mind. Decide what tone of colour you want. Will the room suit a warm tone, cool tone or neutral? The answer to this question can help a lot.

Step 2: Choose your colours

Now is the fun part. You get to look through colour wheels and narrow down your choices. Try and make this as fun as possible and don’t get overwhelmed by the choices. Try and create a shortlist of options and go from there. Don’t have too many choices available as you may end up never making a decision you are happy with. 

Always buy tester pots before investing in larger tins of paint as it is surprising how different the colours can look once they are applied to the wall. 

Also, decide on the finish of the paint. Choose whether you want satin or matt finish at the start so that you know exactly what paint to buy at the shop.

Step 3: Get all the painting materials ready  

You don’t want to be halfway through the project when you realise you don’t have the correct materials. Ensure you have everything before you get started. Each DIY project is different, however some key things you will need include:

  • The paint
  • Paint rollers, and paint brushes of assorted sizes
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Filler
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Furniture Covers

Step 4: Buy the paint  

Once you’ve chosen the colour, ensure you buy enough paint. You can use paint calculators that estimate how much you will need to finish the project. Always overestimate. You don’t want to be partway through the project and need to go to the shop. Although that isn't the end of the world, you have no guarantee the paint will be in stock and colours regularly get discontinued. You don’t want it to be obvious that you have changed shades partway through. 

To get the best estimate, measure the room carefully. If you have textured walls, always buy more to accommodate this. Also, bear in mind that some paints may require a second or even third coat. If this is the case, increase how much you buy. For example, painting a pale colour over a dark wall may take several coats.

Step 5:  Prepare

Although it is tempting to start painting straight away, don’t. Ensure you prepare everything first. Remove the furniture from the room. Any bulkier items such as beds or wardrobes may have to be pushed into the middle of the room instead. Cover any furniture in the room with sheets to protect it from the paint. Also, cover the floors so that you don’t stain the carpet or flooring.

It’s important to ensure your room remains well ventilated throughout the decorating. So, open windows wherever you can. It's healthier for you and will aid the drying process.

If you are changing any decorations on the wall once it's been painted, then fill in the gaps with filler and allow sufficient time to dry. Once this is finished, use sandpaper to smooth the filler.

Step 6: Get the tape out

Tape around light switches, windows and skirting boards to ensure you don’t accidentally paint them. 

Step 7: Get painting

Allow yourself enough time. Painting can take a lot longer than you first think it will, and it is something you do not want to rush. Take one wall at a time. When using a roller, paint in a “W” pattern for the best coverage. It also helps avoid any visible roller marks at the end. Once the wall is dry to touch, you need can apply another coat. 

Once the walls are done, remove the painter's tape. Paint the trim of the room and then move onto the windowsills and skirting boards.

Step 8: Clean Up  

An equally important task is the clear up. Once you have put the desired number of paint coats on, you will probably be exhausted and just want to finish. However, you must take time the time to clean your brushes properly, otherwise you won't be able to use them again. If the paint you have used is water based, washing the brushes with soap and water will be fine. Oil based paints makes it slightly trickier. You will need to clean your brushes with mineral spirits.

Painting can transform a room instantly and although the steps discussed above are simple, they are all important to ensure a great finish. Once you master how to paint one room, you can tackle the rest of the house and have fun being creative!

Hiring A Cleaner Is One Of The Best Things I Ever Did!

Testimonial: Hiring A Cleaner is One of The Best Things I Ever Did!

I’m the first to admit that cleaning and ‘keeping house’ is not my greatest skill-set. I’m an experienced journalist/editor and I worked on national newspapers for many years. I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m not so great at! While I love a clean and orderly house, doing housework does NOT spark joy within me, thank you very much Marie Kondo!

 

As a busy, working single-parent to two tweenaged girls (have you seen the mess they make in the bathroom?!), time - along with motivation for cleaning - is in rather short supply. Having spent a while trying to juggle it all (because that’s what us ‘superwomen’ are meant to do, right?!), I threw in the towel and decided to look for a cleaner. I felt that I was spending too much time and effort with the housework and not actually getting very far. It felt like a loss of energy and resources. Better to free up some time by hiring a cleaner and utilise this time for generating income, right? Right!

 

Initially, finding a decent cleaner was HARD! I put a call out to local friends asking if they could assist and point me in the direction of a cleaner… I got just one referral and gave her a whirl. After her first visit, I was disappointed and dismayed. I felt I could have done a better job myself (and that’s really saying something!). I felt annoyed at having had to pay for a service I was less than happy with. I politely asked her not to return and having to deal with that was a little awkward and not very pleasant. So, back to square one.

 

A business associate then suggested I try Time For You. I got the phone number off the website and gave them a call. Having discussed my requirements, and fixed a time and date, Kate became my new cleaner. On her first visit, we ran through my expectations and she explained clearly (and kindly) what would be possible to achieve in the timescale. This was perfect because we both started our working agreement in total harmony - there were no nasty surprises. And I’ve not been disappointed or dismayed once.

 

Once a fortnight, I prep the house for Kate’s visit, in as much as I clear the decks and tidy life clutter away - but I’m not the type to clean before the cleaner! I believe that the tidier the house, the better Kate can clean. And clean she does! I love how my house looks, and smells, once she’s been. I can often be found standing in the kitchen, just sighing with pleasure, looking at all the sparkly clean things!

 

For us, as a family, Kate has made such a huge difference. Not having to spend all Saturday morning cleaning (badly!) means that we can do other fun stuff and, when time is precious and in short supply, this is golden.

 

Thank-you to Time For You and for Kate. You’ve saved my sanity (and worktops!).

 

30 Easy Cleaning Hacks

Cleaning the house can sometimes be overwhelming. However, there are some easy cleaning hacks that can be used to tackle the toughest of jobs around the house to make cleaning a lot quicker and easier.

We share some of our favourite cleaning hacks here.

1. Use olive oil to help make them shine
2. Remove carpet stains with vodka
3. Bicarbonate of Soda and vinegar can make cleaning the bath really easy
4. Use the same Bicarb solution to clean toilets
5. Add essential oils to your toilet to make them smell amazing
6. Steam the microwave with lemon
7. Blast a damp sponge in the microwave for two minutes to kill germs
8. Create a DIY glass cleaner with white vinegar, distilled water and drops of essential oil for a nice scent
9. Lemon oil is a natural de-greaser for the oven
10. Bicarbonate of soda can be used for an easy oven and hob scrub– pour on, sprinkle with water, let sit for an hour then wipe away
11. Use a squeegee on the stairs to remove dust and pet hair
12. Sprinkle bicarbonate of soda on to the mattress. Sit for a few hours then vacuum away. This helps remove dead skin cells, bed bugs and more.
13. Clean ceiling fans with a pillowcase
14. Dust window blinds with old socks
15. Use the dishwasher to wash hairbrushes, plastic toys and more
16. Use salt and lemons to clean your chopping board without using any chemicals
17. Clean skirting boards with tumble dryer sheets. They are great for picking up dust
18. Use an old but washed toothbrush to clean your keyboard
19. Play-dough can be used to clean up glitter
20. Wash makeup brushes with baby shampoo
21. Fill a saucepan with water and vinegar. Bring to the boil, take off heat and add two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda This will help remove burnt marks
22. Use lint rollers to clean curtains and lamps
23. Soak up odours with bicarbonate of soda (fridge, microwave, bin, shoes, litter tray etc)
24. Clean your bin with lemons
25. Clean blender by adding warm water and a small amount of washing up liquid. Switch the blender on them rinse out with more warm water
26. Clean your kitchen sponge each day by placing it wet in the microwave for 30 seconds
27. Remove hard watermarks on your taps with vinegar
28. Clean drains by placing vinegar bicarbonate of soda or soda crystals and boiling water
29. Place a dry towel in your tumble dryer to help speed up the drying process as it soaks up excess liquid
30. If you get paint on your clothes, remove carefully with a razor.


The best thing about these hacks is that the majority use simple everyday ingredients that you will probably have already. These hacks not only help us save time, but they can also help save money.

Household chores can feel like they never end. However, using these hacks little and often can help you keep on top of household dirt in between deeper cleans.

 

The Dirtiest Places in Your Home

Think about the dirtiest places in your home. You might think of the toilet, bins and other obvious choices. Although these are all culprits, there are other places in the home which are a breeding ground for germs. It is these, sometimes overlooked places that are easy to forget to clean but should definitely become staple cleaning jobs.

Surprisingly, it is actually some of the items that are handled on a daily basis that are in fact the dirtiest in the home, even if they don’t look at all filthy.

Here we discuss the dirtiest places in your home which you probably do not clean regularly- but you should!

Door Handles & Light Switches
Germs are easily transferred from hands to surfaces. Door handles and light switches are often places people forget to clean. However, when you consider how many people touch these places on a regular basis, it’s definitely something that should be cleaned regularly. Simply wipe down the door handles with disinfecting wipes. This also includes the fridge and freezer door handles as these can regularly be overlooked.

Carpets & Rugs
With people and pets walking on rugs and carpets daily, these are definitely some of the dirtiest places in your home. When you come home from dog walks, for example, consider the grime that can be brought into the home.

On a regular basis, wash your rugs to avoid grime building up. Grime, dust, hair, food and even skin particles can easily build up in the fibres of the carpet. Vacuum at least on a weekly basis and follow with a carpet sanitising product. Try to have the carpet steam cleaned annually as well for a deeper clean.

KITCHEN
Fridge / Freezer
Crumbs and remnants of food are left in the fridge and freezer, so it's necessary to clean these on a regular basis. Remove everything from the fridge every month and wipe it down using a mixture of warm water and vinegar. Always remember to clean the fruit and veg drawers and the shelves as well.

Cutlery Drawers
Crumbs can often be found in the corners of a cutlery drawer. Soak in warm soapy water or you can place it in the dishwasher.

Kitchen Sink
It is not surprising that the kitchen sink is often one of the dirtiest places in the home. It is where we wash dirty dishes and also where we prep raw chicken, so it is vital that it is cleaned regularly to avoid it becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.
If you neglect to clean the sink regularly, it can even lead to food poisoning.

Kitchen Sponge
Linking to the kitchen sink, it is the kitchen sponge that is the dirtiest single item in many people’s homes. Each day place the kitchen sponge in the dishwasher. Alternatively, place the sponge into the microwave for two minutes. Replace the sponge every two weeks maximum. Try not to use the sponge to clean your countertops. Instead, use different cloths to avoid spreading bacteria. Also, ensure you clean any kitchen towels regularly.

Oven Hood
The oven hood is regularly forgotten about but can build up grime quickly. Over time, you will find a greasy layer of dust which many people do not clean regularly even though cleaning an oven hood is relatively easy. Wipe the hood often and remove the filters, then leave to soak in warm soapy water before air-drying and placing back.

BATHROOM
Bathtubs
Despite bathtubs being a place you go to get clean, it can be one of the dirtiest places in the house. This is mainly because of the humidity of bathrooms providing a breeding ground for bacteria. Use bleach spray to wash the bath regularly to keep on top of this.

Toothbrush Holder
Regularly disinfectant your toothbrush holder and other bathroom items by using a disinfectant wipe or washing with warm soapy water or warm water and vinegar. Toothbrush holders and soap dispensers are dishwasher safe.

Towels
Change your bath towels weekly and avoid leaving them damp for more than twenty-minutes. It is better to hang a towel on a wall-mounted towel rail as opposed to a hook on the back of the door as it aids the drying process. Place them on a hot wash after you have used the same towel three or four times.

Makeup Bag
The inside of a makeup bag can gather a lot of germs. It is best to change your makeup (especially eye makeup) every six-months and clean makeup brushes regularly to reduce the risk of skin or eye infection. Always keep your makeup and brushes in a clean dry space and at room temperature. Therefore, it is a good idea to avoid leaving makeup brushes in the bathroom where the humidity is higher.

Wash the makeup brushes every week if possible simply by using a mixture of warm water and a drop of shampoo or soap.

Remote Controls and other electrical items
Like remote controls, computer keyboards, game controllers and mobile phones get used on a regular if not daily basis, they are definitely high on the list of dirtiest places in the home. Use disinfectant wipes regularly to clean these items, ensuring the wipes are suitable for electronic items.

Pet Food Bowls
You need to wash pet food bowls daily by using warm soapy water. You can also place them in the dishwasher.

Pet Toys
Your pet’s toys also need to be washed regularly as they can carry potentially harmful bacteria that can lead to your pet getting ill. Clean hard pet toys with hot soapy water. You can place the soft toys in the washing machine and this should be done about once a month.

Pet Bedding
People change their own bedding on a regular basis and pet’s bedding should be no difference. Remove the pet bed cover and place in the washing machine regularly. If the cover cannot be removed, use a disinfectant spray, checking that it is safe to use on pet products before applying.

When was the last time you cleaned the items we have discussed? If the answer is not often, then maybe you should start including them on your regular cleaning list. A lot of these items are easy to clean and can help keep your house as clean as possible. Obviously, it is important to remember that some germs are good and that it is unrealistic to keep homes spotless. However, ensuring you are aware of the dirtiest places in your home means that you can start prioritizing them so you don’t forget in the future.

No matter how well or how much we clean, our homes are always full of bacteria and germs. Many of these particles are invisible so it is difficult to know where in your home is dirtiest. Most germs are harmless to us, however, if we continue to neglect the cleaning of some of these places, you could end up with bacteria and germs spreading that can lead to illness.

 

Information For Cleaners

The government has announced strict new measures and restrictions on the UK due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

We contacted all clients and unfortunately there has to be a full suspension of services.

We urge you to adhere to the guidelines and want to provide you with some information in regards to the support you can receive.

We really appreciate everything you have done and your safety is the number 1 concern for us.

 

STAYING SAFE

In line with Government & NHS advice and in order to stop the spread of Covid-19. It is not recommended that you attend clients houses until the restrictions are lifted.

GOVERNMENT: Please see the official Government Advice page for information on the restrictions:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

NHS: If you feel unwell or are showing symptoms of Covid-19 or need any advice see the NHS website:
nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Assistance

We have collated some of the help & advice that is available at the moment. There are a number of assistance packages and support available to individuals during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. You may be able to get it if you’re on a low income.

ESA

You may be able to claim the ‘New Style’ Employment & Support allowance with, or instead of Universal Credit

Tax Deferral

Any self-assessment tax due in July 2020 has been deferred to January 2021 automatically

Money Advice

The Money Advice Service website has a comprehensive list of all your rights and assistance available.

Citizens Advice

The Citizens Advice Bureau website also contains lot’s of information about help and support you can receive.

 

Clients Through Time For You

We are keeping in regular contact with clients during this time.

We will also work to ensure as many cleans are restarted as soon as the Government restrictions are lifted

We hope you find this information helpful, please let us know if there is anything we can do to help

 

SELF-EMPLOYMENT SUPPORT

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on their previous earnings over the last three years, worth up to 80% of earnings, and capped at £2,500 a month. This should cover up to 95% of the five million self-employed people in the UK, earning an average of £781 a month.

There is criteria to be eligible:

  • Must have submitted a tax return for 2018/19 (if you missed the January deadline you now have 4 weeks to get it in)
  • Self employed trading profits of up to £50,000
  • The majority (at least half) of your income must come through self employment.

The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.

 

Questions you may have...
 

I’ve recently become self employed, am I eligible?

The scheme does not cover people who only became self-employed very recently (do not have self employment income for the tax year 2018/19) you will have to look to the benefits system for support.
 

How do I claim the help?

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use existing information to identify those eligible and will invite those that are to apply to confirm that they meet the eligibility requirements. Once approved, the money will be paid directly into your bank account as provided on the application form.

You do not need to contact HMRC, and be aware that some people may try to impersonate HMRC to obtain your personal details.
 

When I will receive my grant?

The government are trying to set this up as quickly as possible, but expect payments will be made no later than the beginning of June, backdated to March.
 

How long can I access the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme?

Initially, this support will be available for three months, but will be reviewed and extended if necessary.
 

Can I still work whilst receiving the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support scheme?

Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support.

 

 

Covid-19 | Client & Cleaner Notice

Regarding the Coronavirus Outbreak and official government advice;

 

Like everyone, we’ve been busily gathering as much information as possible about the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19). We have taken advice from Head Office and are working out how we best protect our clients.

Please contact the branch of Time For You that you use soon as possible if you are suffering from even mild cold and flu like symptoms, have travelled to an affected area or have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with the disease.

For more information regarding the nature of the Coronavirus please see the official Government and NHS advice pages.

GOV: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

In the interests of helping to stop the spread of Coronavirus;

  1. If you do contact us to inform us that you have been advised to self-isolate or are taking precautionary measures from even mild symptoms. We will temporarily suspend the services and issue you with a credit for any cleaning hours missed until it is safe to re-start said services.
  2. We will also be notifying our database of cleaners with the same advice and also NHS guidelines on How To Prevent Germs From Spreading.
  3. Currently we will be acting on request and we will be following the Government’s advice. Should the situation change we will inform you but for the time being we will be acting on a case by case basis and for most clients it will continue unaffected.

 

 

 

The Best Way to Clean Jewellery at Home

Cleaning our jewellery is a task many of us can easily overlook. However, cleaning your jewellery should be something you do every now and then to ensure your collection remains in the best possible condition. Even without realising it, your jewellery could be getting grimy and dull as daily life takes its toll on the metals. Soap and lotions, for example, can start building up in the jewellery. The good news is that you do not need to buy specific jewellery cleaning solutions in order to do it.

But what are the best ways to clean jewellery at home?

Here we discuss how best to clean your jewellery depending on the type of metal or stone.

Cleaning Silver
Place some washing up liquid (just a couple of drops) into warm water. Use a soft cloth to rub the solution onto the silver. Once you have done this, rinse with cold water and buff it try with a separate, dry cloth.

If you have some pieces that are heavily tarnished using washing up liquid may not be enough. Mix three parts baking soda to one part water to form a paste. Apply the paste onto the jewellery with a soft cloth, ensuring it fills the crevices as this will be where the tarnishing is worse. Rinse well with cold water and buff dry with a separate cloth.

Alternatively, you can use toothpaste in the same way as the baking soda solution. Add a tiny bit of warm water to the toothpaste in order to loosen the mixture slightly before applying. Just make sure you only use traditional toothpaste rather than the gel varieties.

Do not use the baking soda or toothpaste method if the silver contains gemstones.

Cleaning Gold

Bathe your gold jewellery pieces in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of washing up liquid. Use a sieve to place smaller items in before submerging so you do not lose anything. After they have soaked, lay them on a soft cloth and use a soft toothbrush to rub into the crevices where the tarnishing will be worse. Buff dry with a separate cloth afterwards.

Cleaning Gemstones

You can bathe the gemstones in the same solution as you use when cleaning gold. Brush the stones gently before buffering them dry.

Cleaning Pearls

Always treat pearls differently to other gemstones as they are porous and this means that they can lose their lustre and shine quickly.
Dip a soft brush (makeup brushes work well) into a mixture of warm water and a little bit of shampoo and gently rub each pearl. Rinse quickly with a damp cloth and then leave to dry. Ensure you lay the pearls down flat as they are drying to avoid the shape-changing and never leave your pearls soaking as it can soften the string and cause it to snap. 

Treat other porous gemstones, such as opals and turquoise, like pearls as well.

Cleaning Costume Jewellery

You can still clean costume jewellery, just ensure you do not clean them too vigorously as it could remove the plating
Place a cloth in the mixture of washing up liquid and warm water and gently rub on to the costume jewellery.

Do not place the costume jewellery to soak in the mixture as a lot of the stones are glued on and the solution can loosen the gems.

Some general tips

One of the best ways to avoid tarnishing is by wearing the jewellery. They are more likely to become tarnished if they are left sitting in your jewellery box for long periods of time.

If you have highly valuable pieces of jewellery or pieces that are sentimental to you, see your local jeweller and ask them to clean the pieces for you and at the same time, check that all the fittings of gemstones are secure.

Avoid swimming with jewellery on as the chlorine can cause damage.

Remove rings before washing up, washing your hands or applying makeup to help avoid a build-up of grime from makeup products, soaps and lotions.

Do not apply perfume directly onto the jewellery.
 
Jewellery is precious and by ensuring you keep them in good quality, you can enjoy the sparkle of your jewellery pieces for years and even decades to come.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher

We sometimes depend on our dishwashers to provide us with clean dishes and they can be a real-life saver when we have extremely busy lives. It can be deemed as an almost pointless task to clean your dishwasher as surely it is cleaning itself at the same time as it cleans the dishes. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Your dishwasher needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid a build-up of food, grease, undissolved detergent and water minerals. Overtime an unclean dishwasher will leave spots and streaks on your dishes and can lead to a bad odour or even faults that will cost a lot to repair.

Here we discuss the best way to clean your dishwasher and keep it in the best possible condition.

Step 1- Remove bits of food

Frequency: Every Day
Get in a habit of removing any leftover bits of food from the dishwasher after every cycle. Pull the bottom drawer out so you can easily see the food.

Step 2- Wipe the Dishwasher Door

Frequency: Weekly
Once a week, wipe the inside of your dishwasher door with a damp cloth to remove any residue. Make sure you get into the door seal as this is a popular place the grime can build up without you noticing and will lead to a bad odour.

Step 3- Rinse Filter

Frequency: Once a week
The filter is an important part of your dishwasher to ensure a good clean. If the filter is not kept clean, your dishes will suffer as a result. Each week if possible, remove the filter, rinse in the sink and scrub with a soft brush. Clean around the filter in the machine as well.

Step 4 - Wipe down the exterior of the washing machine

Frequency: Weekly
Don’t forget about cleaning the outside of the dishwasher as well. Regularly wipe down the exterior to keep it fingerprint and smudge-free. Only use soft clothes as anything harsher like an abrasive cleaning pad can end up scratching it.

Step 5- Deep clean

Frequency: Monthly
Once a month, try and deep clean your dishwasher. You can purchase specific dishwasher cleaners from all the top brands which are simple to use. Merely take the sticker off the lid and place upside down on the bottom shelf before putting it through a wash cycle.

Alternatively, you can save money and achieve the same results but using common household items. Place a glass measuring jug or bowl of white vinegar on the top rack and run on a normal cycle. Both of these methods will help tackle any residue grime and dirt.

You can follow this up by sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher and putting on a hot short cycle. This will leave your washing machine gleaming. Avoid using bleach as although it will clean your dishwasher it can actually lead to the seals and other parts of the dishwasher becoming damaged.

Step 6- Keep rinse aid and dishwasher salt topped up

Frequency: Monthly
Rinse Aid is necessary to help dishes dry and avoid streaking, whereas dishwasher salt helps prevent a build-up of limescale and softens the water, which leads to a better clean. Luckily, most dishwashers will indicate to you when these need refilling to help you remember.

Step 7- Clean Spray Arms

Frequency: Up to every 6 months
Remove the spray arms, clean them and poke through the holes to ensure they are not blocked as this will affect the quality of the cleaning. Rinse the arms under the tap and then place back in the machine.

Step 8- Combat odour by running a hot cycle

Frequency: Every 6 months
Every now and then, just a couple of times a year, run your dishwasher on a hot wash with nothing in it. This is to help stop your machine from smelling. This is important if the majority of the time you use the eco-friendly settings on your machine as the water will not get as hot and as a result, the build-up can increase.

At the end of the day, if your dishwasher is not clean, then your dishes will not be clean either. Banish food and grime build-up with these 8 simple steps.