News & Articles

Join Our Free Time Liberation Movement!

Our free time is precious but do we really know how precious? Do we really know its worth? So many of us spread ourselves so thinly, trying to juggle our professional and personal lives - often wishing that there was something we could do to make it easier, or less stressful. We all value our free time - but how can we make the most if it? If only there was a free time liberation movement to join! ;)

 

Outsource the outsourceable 

Many business books and gurus offer a very simple piece of advice: outsource the stuff that is easy to pass to somebody else (which they’re, possibly, better at too) and concentrate on the things that you’re good at/bring in the money. Or the things that give you satisfaction, if money isn’t the main motivator! How many of us actually do this? It’s pretty common to speak to a business owner, or professional person, and to hear how they’re spending way too much time on admin tasks and not enough time drumming up trade or selling their unique skill set. There’s an imbalance. Is a similar scenario playing out at home? 

If you’re spending your precious Saturday mornings miserably scrubbing the bath, or resentfully scraping Wednesday night’s spaghetti off the hob, you might need to rethink your strategy. (Note: Obviously, if these domestic tasks spark your joy, this possibly isn’t the blog post for you!)

 

No more loo scrubbing

 So many of us work hard all week and then feel dread at having to get the house into shape over the weekend, in order to start all over again. But what if you didn’t have to? What if you outsourced these tasks and hired a cleaner: a professional to knock our homes into shape because, well, that’s their skill set (and they’re so much better at it than us)?! Image the possibilities! A lovely clean house on a Friday night… No porcelain scrubbing of a Saturday morning… A shiny kitchen sink… It would be a dream come true, right? All that free time to enjoy doing the stuff you actually like doing.

 

Down with dusting!

But is this dream attainable? ABSOLUTELY!  And, the best bit, it’s not going to break the bank. If you value your free time, hiring a cleaner for £14 per hour is a steal! Having a cleaner is a liberation from domestic drudgery and offers you a chance to take back your precious free time - without the need to write it on a placard, storm the streets in protest, chanting: ‘DOWN WITH DUSTING!

 

It all depends on what value YOU place on your precious free time. For us here at Time For You, it’s a no-brainer! It’s the premise behind our whole enterprise: we’re in the business of creating time for you so you can enjoy your life.

 

If you’d like to join our free time liberation movement, and discover more about the cleaning service we offer, contact us here :)

A Woman’s Work… But is it?

A woman’s work is never done. There’s something horribly outdated about this expression but it still resonates with a lot of women - both those who work out of the home, and those who don’t. Often it feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all done and the constant juggling is nothing short of exhausting. 

During recent months, when the nation was in total lockdown, several reports by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) were published demonstrating how the bulk of domestic responsibilities fell into the laps of women. Women, on the whole, undertook the majority of child-care, stocking the fridge and keeping the house in a liveable state… As well as doing their paid jobs from home.

 

“During lockdown women spent a far greater proportion of their time looking after children compared to men, with the difference amounting to over an hour and a quarter a day,” the ONS said in its analysis. “Although we found there was an equal division of time when it came to activities like home-schooling, and playing or reading with children, the difference came from women spending much more time on activities like feeding, washing and dressing children.”

 

As old-fashioned as it may sound or feel, and as much as we wish it weren’t the case, this old adage still has some life in it, it seems! Many women find it incredibly difficult to ask for help - or even struggle with how to phrase a request for assistance. Many of us suffer from ‘superwoman syndrome’, where we put ourselves under incredible pressure to be great at our jobs, be the best partner/parent, have a perfectly spotless home… But it’s really hard to maintain. Asking for help is not a weakness - it often a sign of strength.

 

How to go about it?

Opening the narrative about domestic duties with partners and other family members can often be hard - treading the line between requesting assistance and, what can be considered, nagging (hate that word!) can be tricky. But, the bottom line is, that it’s not solely the responsibility of the ‘woman of the household’ to keep everything ticking over. It’s all of the family’s responsibility and each person should chip in.

 

How could this look?

Start by providing all family members with a clear view of what’s expected of them. In my house, for example, we have the following expectations:

  1. The Bare Minimum. This really is the basics: not simply kicking your shoes off in the hall, making sure you hang up your coat and not leave it in a heap, keeping the loo clean, not stuffing empty crisp packets down the side of the sofa…
  2. The Middle Ground. This includes emptying the dishwasher, putting used plates/glasses in the dishwasher, wiping the kitchen tops, giving the bath a wipe, putting dirty clothes into the dark/colour hampers…
  3. The Extras (that will make Mum reeeaaallly happy!). This would include vacuuming the stairs, taking the laundry out of the tumbler dryer and then folding/putting away, cleaning the windows (OK, maybe this last one falls into the realms of fantasy!).

 

If everybody knows what’s expected of them, it becomes their responsibility. These expectations also need to be delivered in a calm way; I’ve found, from bitter experience, that the louder my voice, the less my children seem to hear me. Strange, isn't it?! ;)

Also, something else that works a treat in my house is ‘reinforcing positive actions’ or, as others might say, good old-fashioned bribery! I made a deal with my people that if the house was tidy (no random shoes/knickers/crisp packets knocking around), we’d get a cleaner in. And in doing this it would free up our weekends so we could focus on the fun stuff. It worked! The house is (mostly!) in a tidy enough state for our cleaner to do her job effectively, thus freeing up the weekend for us.

Feeling weighed down with domestic responsibility is not a joy - but there is a solution. Here at Time For You, we’ve got your back! Contact us for more details on how we can help to spread the chore workload and prove that it’s NOT only women’s work but is everybody’s work!

Making The Most Of Lockdown And Beyond

Does anybody else feel as if these restrictions are NEVER going to end? For many of us, isolation-fatigue has set in and, while we know it’s for the best, and the greater good, it is hard. Happily, evidence is showing that all of the restrictions are having a positive effect and the numbers are coming down… But instead of huddling under the duvet and eating endless packets of biscuits for the duration (as tempting as it is!), we can turn this moment of adversity into one of opportunity.

 

Seeking the silver lining 

The current cloud is pretty dark but there is a tiny slither of a silver lining, in as much as many of us have more time on our hands. The restrictions imposed are intended to still life and stop movement - so what to do with ourselves? 

Our homes have taken a pounding this year, with the vast majority of us spending a lot more time in them. They’ve also been our sanctuary, and a place to cocoon and feel safe. Now is the perfect time to show our homes some love.

 

Pay it forward 

During the first lockdown, there was a lot of talk of using the time for ‘transformation’ and, despite being well-intentioned, this is an awful lot of pressure. Big change is scary - and there’s enough scary happening in the world right now!  Smaller bit-sized projects are a much better, and less stressful, option. Instead of giving your home a total Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen makeover, make a list of easily achievable tasks, such as: 

  • Cleaning out the cutlery/utensil drawers in the kitchen. Seriously, have you seen the crumbs in there?!
  • Taking the books off the bookshelves and wiping with a nicely-scented anti-bac spray.
  • Moving big furniture, and the sofa, and cleaning underneath.
  • Organising the understairs cupboard/loft. Honestly, have you ever done this since you moved in?!
  • Having a wardrobe cull. Despite the happy memories it evokes, will you ever wear that neon pink ra-ra skirt from 1987 ever again?!
  • Organising the bedding cupboard by separating the single, double, king sets and even using a Sharpie to write a ‘S’, ‘D’ or ‘K’ on the labels of the fitted sheets. Come on, you’ve got time to kill, right?!
  • Get the Christmas decorations out and GET THEM UP! As we’re desperate for some festive cheer, many of us are decorating early this year and why not? There’s nothing like it to boost spirits and make us think of happier times.

 

During lockdown, keeping busy is vital and these are just some suggestions of how to give your home some special treatment. It deserves it! Obviously, it’s also super important to get out into the fresh air - so once the organisational tasks above have been done, why not get a cleaner in to help give your home some extra sparkly love? We can help you find a cleaner, even during lockdown, as our cleaners are still permitted to work inside people’s homes during this time, as long as the government guidelines on social distancing and staying safe are followed (which we ensure they will be).

 

Give your home the gift of extra loving care this festive season! A home isn’t just for Christmas ;)

Hands up, Happy Hinchers!

Do you love Mrs Hinch, the cleaning influencer and best-selling author? We do! The former hairdresser from Essex, also known as Sophie Hinchliffe, has gathered a huge fan base - the ‘Hinch Army’ - and she does make housework appealing. Affectionately calling her cleaning cloths and vacuum cleaner by their pet names, Mrs Hinch tackles her daily cleaning tasks with such warmth and sparkle, it’s hard not to be drawn in.

 

Kitchen sink shining 

Despite her cheery openness and easy-to-follow cleaning tips, it’s a fact that shining the kitchen sink might not soothe everybody’s soul! In her fabulous best-selling book, Hinch Yourself Happy, Mrs Hinch talks frankly about how cleaning is a way of calming her own anxiety. But this might not be a solution for all. It could be that the thought of cleaning the kitchen sink will only add to your stress levels! While this is not the intention of the book, as it is packed full of useful cleaning tips and guidance, it can leave those whose natural skills might not be cleaning/housework feeling a little inadequate…

 

Domestic Goddess Syndrome

Following Mrs Hinch and other domestic goddesses, such as Nigella Lawson, can make us feel not quite up to scratch on the old house and kitchen front! What if you feel that you’re not as good as these women or, more importantly, doing these tasks doesn’t spark your joy, like it does for Marie Kondo?! Or what if you’re just too busy juggling work and life? 

Not having the time to keep your house fully Hinched, or Kondoed, can make us feel sad because it’s true what these ‘queens of clean’ say: a clean and organised home does make us feel happier and calmer, somehow. It can just be a lot of pressure to have to do it ourselves.

 

Soul soothers 

Housework and cleaning might not be the way in which you wish to soothe your soul. After working hard all week and juggling the family, picking up a Minky cloth and the Zoflora is not for all of us! While we can all benefit from Mrs Hinch’s fantastic tips and guidance, in terms of getting organised, putting it into practice might be another matter!

 

What to do? 

So, you’ve read the book and are a signed-up member of the ‘Hinch Army’. You know that you want a lovely clean and organised home, which is a sanctuary after a hard week. You just don’t want to don the camo fatigues and grease the weapons yourself! Our advice? Get a cleaner! Use the knowledge gleaned from these cleaning bibles (they’re lovely and relaxing reads to have on your bedside table) and use it as a ‘manifesto’ on how you want your house to be. This will allow you to give clear direction to your cleaner for the sparkling home you want.

21 Homemade Gift Ideas

Although buying gifts can be fun, there is something special about homemade gifts. They show that thought has gone into the present as well as precious hours of your time. Yes, there are now many places online that you can purchase personalised presents, however, nothing is ever as personal as a DIY gift. Not only are they great presents to receive, but they can also be amazing fun to make as well.   

Whether your crafting skills are brilliant or extremely lacking, there are still ways you can create amazing presents that your family and friends will love. Here are some of our best homemade gift ideas.  

Homemade Christmas Cards 

These are a great place to start if you are nervous about your crafting skills. There are so many kits to help you get started online. The best thing about Christmas cards is that the options are endless and they are simple to do. 

Reed Diffuser 

Place essential oils and reed differs in a small vase, or even an old bottle, to add beautiful scents to your loved ones home. Play around with the essential oils to create a personalised aroma.   

Christmas Scene Candle 

Cut out a Winter wonderland scene and place around the base of a candle holder to instantly bring a festive feel. You can also turn empty jars into candle holders and decorate them with holly, glitter or more. The possibilities are virtually endless.  

Gift card holder 

Maybe ask for gift cards at Christmas. Although they make great gifts as they provide the recipient freedom to buy what they want, the gift cards themselves can be boring. Why not make them more personal by creating your own gift card holder out of cardboard. You can design it however you want and means you can put a festive stamp on an otherwise dull-looking gift.  

Calendars 

From wall calendars to desk calendars, they are a great homemade present. You can use family photos for each month and fill in all the important birthdays and anniversary dates already to save your loved one time. It will be lovely for them to go through all the amazing memories each month.  

Homemade glass baubles 

Make one of a kind Christmas tree decorations by filling empty glass baubles with glitter, coloured features, fake snow, mini Christmas trees, bells or any other pretty filling you have.   

Lavender sachets 

These make the perfect self-care present. Known to help relax and promote sleep, lavender is a calming scent. Made from whichever material you like, you can finish them off with buttons and fragrance.  

Hot chocolate sets 

These are perfect as a small gift to go with a mug or stocking filler. Place a few scoops of hot chocolate into a plastic disposable piping bag. Top with some chocolate buttons, mini marshmallows and perhaps even a small candy cane and seal with an elastic band and bow. All the person has to do is add to a mug of hot water or milk.   

Blanket or scarf 

Although some struggle to learn how to knit, many find crocheting easier or even hand knitting. There are many tutorials online to help you get started and blankets and scarfs are some of the easiest projects to start with. The best news is that they are practical and look great too. You can make them whichever colour you want and are perfect for the colder months. Why not go for a chunky knit blanket? They are usually expensive in the shop, so you can make one yourself at the fraction of the cost. Due to the size of the yarn, they also don’t take long to make.   

Sugar scrub 

Made with sugar, essential oils and fragrances, this is a low-cost way to produce a bath product they will love. Customise it to suit their favourite scents.  

BBQ kits 

If your loved one loves a good BBQ, create them a kit. Include BBQ tools, spice rubs and condiments like ketchup and BBQ. Place them all in a hamper for the ultimate BBQ gift. Make it even more special by making the sauces and rubs yourself.   

Homemade jams 

Sticking to the food theme, why not make homemade jam? They look sweet, taste amazing and are easy to make in large quantities.   

Ultimate night-in box 

Fill an old shoebox that you have wrapped in wrapping paper, fill with shredded paper and add everything they need for a cosy night in. Snacks, a candle, hot chocolate, wine, chocolate, face mask and comfy socks and PJs. They are all simple things but combined can make an amazing present.   

Hot chocolate stirrers 

Use an ice cube tray to melt chocolate in along with whatever other decoration or flavouring you want. Add a skewer or ice cream stick into each one and let them set. Finish off by adding any other decoration, then wrap the chocolate block with a cellophane wrap and a bow. Simply stir into a mug of hot milk for the perfect luxury hot chocolate.  

Recipe box 

If you have an avid cook in your family, they can sometimes be bombarded with new cookbooks. Try something different and make them a homemade recipe box. Fill it with empty cards ready for your loved one to add their favourite recipes.  

Herb planter 

Fill a wooden planter with their favourite herbs and personalise it with their name. Perfect to sit on the windowsill in the kitchen and have instant access to fresh ingredients whilst they cook.  

Homemade keyrings or jewellery 

Grab some wool and easily create pom poms (there are many video tutorials to explain how to do this - it is surprisingly easy). They can then be used to make keyrings, jewellery and more.  

Candles 

Candles are such a popular gift but why buy one when you can make one? All you need is a holder, some wicks, soy wax and whichever essential oils or colouring you want to add.  

Homemade fudge and chocolates  

Make these mouth-watering treats in a range of fun flavours. They make a great alternative to shop-bought versions.  

Christmas crackers 

You don’t even have to focus on the main gifts, there are many things on Christmas Day that you can make yourself, for example, crackers. There are many kits available that let you add your jokes and gifts inside. They are a perfect extra treat when people sit around the table and it means everyone gets something they like, not a plastic toy or bottle opener that lays unused.   

Personalised voucher book 

Some people are notoriously difficult to buy for. Not sure what to get someone? Why not make them a book of vouchers that they can redeem throughout the year. From mowing their lawn to cooking them a meal, babysitting, taking them to the cinema or a coffee shop, the options are endless and can be tailored to the person.   

As the list above suggests, there is a myriad of presents that can easily be homemade, from luxury gifts to simple stocking fillers. Whilst some will involve purchasing special equipment, others can be created using items you probably already have in your home. This not only makes the present economical, but it can also help reduce waste. Some projects are more challenging than others but they all show that thought and love have gone into the present. Crafting has also been shown to help lower stress levels. So whatever project you decide to go with this festive season, you can impress your loved ones with a one of a kind gift made especially by you! The most important thing is to have fun. 

Autumn Deep Clean Guide

We have all heard of the term "Spring Clean", but why should we limit it to one season a year? Studies have suggested that deep cleans should take place twice a year. Once in Spring and once in Autumn. Doing so is meant to help provide a healthier Winter. Here is our guide to an Autumn deep clean and some tips to help you get started.

Autumn is a great time to give your home a deep clean as temperatures are about to drop, windows will stay closed and the heating will start to be switched on. All of these factors combined mean your home will soon have the perfect conditions for carpets to harbour dirt and germs. Therefore, it is important to reduce the number of germs in advance by ensuring you start the season with a clean home.

Declutter cupboards

It can be surprising how quickly clutter can build up in your cupboards. This task can be labour intensive and is something many people put off until Spring but try and do this in Autumn as well. Although we are almost all guilty of storing items we no longer need, you will feel much better once this task is completed.

Decluttering your cupboards can help save valuable storage space and also help find new homes for your unwanted items. Start by removing all the items first and then go through the items individually. Do you really need them? When was the last time you used them? Are they just sat there gathering dust?

When tidying your clothes use this opportunity to switch from your Spring Summer wardrobe to your Autumn Winter clothing. Separate any items that are old or no longer fit and donate what you can.

Once you have decided what you want to get rid of, organise them to be donated or rehomed to friends and family. Only throw away items as a last resort to reduce waste.

Clean furniture

We tend to vacuum regularly, however, how often do you vacuum behind and underneath the furniture? Probably not as often as you should. Use this deep clean as an opportunity to do this. Move the sofa, wardrobes, and drawers away from the wall and vacuum up. You will probably be shocked at how much grime can build up in these places.

Removing all the dust can significantly reduce the number of allergens and leave you with cleaner air.

Remove cobwebs

Although cobwebs are inevitable during the Autumn months themselves, remove as many as you can as and when you see them. If the Summer has been warm and damp, this provides the perfect environment for spiders to breed. Removing them can help you keep these unwelcome guests to a minimum. Buying an extendable duster can help make this task a lot simpler.

Defrost the freezer

To help keep your freezer working at its best you need to maintain it. Defrosting your freezer is one task that you should not forget to do. Over time, if ignored the freezer will build up with ice, leaving you less room to actually store items.

Clean curtains and bedding

Although we change our bedding regularly, we don’t clean it often. However, your mattress and the bedding itself should not be ignored. A steam cleaner is a great tool to use as it kills 99% of germs and dirt. The steam cleaning is also perfect for giving your upholstery and curtains a refresh too. Although you will have to buy a steam cleaner it is a worthwhile investment.

Test alarms

With temperatures about to plummet, our fire, log burners, and central heating will be in full swing. Before the fires are lit ensure your chimney is clear and both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are tested to give you peace of mind.

If you have a chimney it must be checked for excess dirt, debris, or even bird nests.

Clean your light fittings

As the evenings get darker earlier and we need the lights on during the day, the beginning of Autumn is the perfect time to give your lights a clean. This also includes any lamps you may have. They can quickly get covered with dust which can end up making your lights dull. Having strong, bright lights are vital for the dark cold months so ensure they are dirt-free before Autumn arrives.

Consider switching to LED lights if you have rooms that could do with brightening up. This can make a huge difference during Autumn and Winter. They can also save you money in the long term and can be more environmentally friendly. During the deep clean is the perfect time to make changes like this.

Stock up on food and supplies

Whilst cleaning your kitchen make a note of any key ingredients you think you will need regularly during Autumn and Winter. We tend to prefer comforting warm meals such as casseroles and desserts during these seasons. Therefore check to see if you need any spices, herbs, pasta, rice, baking ingredients, etc so that you have everything at hand when you need it. Throw away any food items that are out of date as well.
Whilst you are doing a stock take, also ensure your medical kit is fully stocked in case of emergencies. It's always a good idea to check this regularly but it is often forgotten.

Put away patio furniture

Unfortunately, the long sunny evenings spent in the garden will soon be over so it is time to put away your garden furniture. If you don’t have anywhere to store them like a garage, buy special waterproof covers. Also, ensure your BBQ and any exposed gardening equipment are placed in a safe, dry place as well.

Check ventilation

Homes can become humid quickly which can cause mould and mildew growth. Before the cold weather kicks in check your ventilation is sufficient. The bathroom and kitchen are the areas to focus on as they are the most humid spots of your home.

Clean the inside of your car

Don’t just think about your house. Consider your car as well. Whilst the weather is still warm and dry, use this as your last chance to do a deep clean of your car’s interior before winter. Once you’ve done it, it will last you through the cold months. Ensure you use this as an opportunity to check you have de-icing equipment in the car ready for when the frost arrives.

Why is an Autumn deep clean important?

• Because of the lack of ventilation and warm moist air mainly caused by washing and drying your clothes indoors, your house can soon become the ideal environment for germs to spread. Having your central heating on and windows closed is great for keeping the heat in but also can cause dust, bacteria, and mould to duplicate. When the days are not as cold try and open your windows as much as possible during Autumn and even Winter if possible. Any ventilation is better than none.

• With cold and flu season happening during these months, it is great to use your deep clean to start the season as germ-free as possible. Then keep on top of the germs with regular cleans where antibacterial cleaners are used. Prioritise areas that people come into contact with regularly, especially children.

• Can help allergy sufferers - people who suffer from allergies will immediately reap the benefits of an Autumn deep clean. Focusing on cleaning items you normal neglect such as your bedding and upholstery will help avoid allergy flare-ups as regularly.

Although deep cleans can take some time and can be a daunting task you will definitely see the benefits and know that your house will be cleaner and healthier during the winter months. Breaking the task up into smaller chunks will make the task more manageable. However, once it has been completed you can sit back and relax until Spring rolls around.

Clothes Stain Removal Guide

Life can be messy and stains are a common occurrence and something that you need to deal with as soon as possible. Here we discuss some key actions and how to remove some of the most popular but stubborn stains from our clothes in our stain removal guide:

Top Tips

• Deal with the stain as soon as possible. Having less time for the stain to soak in will make it a lot easier to remove
• Pre-treat the clothes with the stain remover first and then let it soak into the clothes
• Follow up with a normal wash but make sure you are following the fabric care instructions carefully. Use the warmest setting possible for that item of clothing
• Avoid placing in the dryer until the stain is completely removed

Adhesives

Glue and other adhesives are a common stain that many people do not know how to remove. This can cause irreparable damage and can lead to you throwing out your clothes. However, here is how you can treat these stains:
• Apply ice cold water on the clothes to harden the surface
• Once the surface is hard, use a dull knife to scrape off the adhesive
• Use a pre-wash stain remover, rinse and then place in the wash

BBQ Sauce

Especially during the summer season, BBQ sauce can regularly end up on your clothes by accident. If this does happen, do the following
• Working from the back of the stain, flush with cold water
• Add liquid laundry detergent in some water and clean the stain with a soft brush. This action will help break the stain up
• Rinse
• Get a sponge with white wine vinegar and place on the stain
• Rinse again
• Repeat the laundry detergent and white white vinegar steps until the stain is removed as much as possible
• Pre-treat with a stain remover and then place in the wash. If the stain is still visible, add a bleach that is safe to use on clothes.

Chocolate

• As soon as possible, scrape the excess chocolate off
• Soak in cool water when possible
• Use stain remover to pre-treat the clothes
• Place in the wash on the warmest water setting possible for that piece of clothing

Crayon

If you have young children, crayon stains are going to be extremely likely. Here’s how you can tackle them:
• Wash on the hottest water setting possible for that item.
• Add 200g of bicarbonate of soda into your wash along with the detergent.

Grease or Oil

• Place paper towels on the stain to soak up any excess liquid
• Pre-treat with stain remover or liquid laundry detergent
• Place on the hottest setting possible for the clothes

Ink

• Sponge the stained area with rubbing alcohol (place the stain over the top of an open jar or glass and then drop the alcohol onto it
• Rinse thoroughly
• Place in the wash
• This method will only work for some inks. If it's felt tip or ballpoint ink, the stains can sometimes be impossible to remove

Nail Polish

• Place nail polish removal on the stain. Only try a small amount at first and ensure the product does not contain acetate.
• Repeat the process until the stain disappears.
• Rinse
• Place in the wash
• Depending on the type of nail polish, some stains may be impossible to remove

Paint (Water Based)
• Rinse the clothing in warm water whilst the stains are still wet
• Wash on a warm setting
• Do not wait until the paint has dried before removing the stain. If the paint is dry, it cannot be removed.

Wine
• Sponge the stain with cool water for about half an hour
• Pre-treat the stain using a stain remover
• Place on a wash, adding a clothes safe bleach

These are just some of the most common stains you may come across. Treat each stain separately as the best method to tackle the stain can vary significantly. If you have any other tips to include in our stain removal guide then please let us know.

Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Regularly cleaning your home is always beneficial. However, it can be even more important for those that suffer from allergies. Cleaning your home on a regular basis can help get rid of many things that can trigger allergies and can help relieve people’s symptoms. Here we share some top cleaning tips for allergy sufferers.

Vacuum at least once a week
Ensure your vacuum has a HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air) filter. These filters are designed to force air through a fine mesh. In doing this, harmful particles such as pollen, dust mites etc. Without these special filters, the particles will get sucked up from the floor and will shoot into the air, where you will simply breathe them in.

Dust weekly
Dust regularly and with a microfibre cloth. These cloths are designed to trap the allergen and dirt particles into the cloth rather than just spreading them.

Avoid clutter
Clutter such as piles of clothes or boxes everywhere are the perfect place for dust to build up which will make allergy suffers feel worse
Wash sheets weekly

Change your bedding on a weekly basis.
It can be surprising how quickly dirt and allergens can build up in our sheets. When you wash them, ensure they are cleaned on a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria.

Wash stuffed animals
If your child suffers from allergies, wash their stuffed toys on a regular basis. Again, they are places where allergens can hide and are often overlooked when cleaning. Wash on a high enough temperature, just like the bedding.

Avoid mould
Mould can quickly build up in rooms such as the bathroom, especially if these rooms are not deep cleaned on a regular basis. Scrub all the tiles regularly and if you have a shower curtain, ensure you wash it regularly as this is a common area that attracts mould quickly.

Go for unscented cleaners
Be careful when choosing your cleaning products as these can hinder your allergies even more without your realising. If you suffer from allergies badly, try and choose unscented options which are available for the majority of cleaning products that you need. This is especially the case for washing detergent and fabric softener. As these products clean the bedding and clothes that come into direct contact with your skin, you need to ensure you are not sensitive to the ingredients.

Use clothes dryers
Although drying your clothes outside when the weather is nice quickly dries your clothes, it also promotes pollen. To avoid this, use clothes dryers indoors instead

Use a damp cloth
When cleaning the house, ensure your clothes are damp. This will help trap the allergens rather than merely spreading them around and releasing them into the air

Don’t forget to clean outside
It is not just inside your house that you need to consider. Clean your patio and front entrance to the house as well. Doing so will help reduce the amount of dust and pollen that enters your house.

Avoid carpet shampoos
The leftover moisture from a carpet shampoo can actually cause mould and can sometimes increase dust mites. 

Change your flooring
This option is an investment but if possible, it is worth the money. Having a vinyl, tiled or hardwood floors do not carry as many allergens as carpets. Because of the fibres, these allergens can easily get trapped.

Remove shoes before you go into the house
By having a no shoes indoors rule, you will reduce the number of pollen and other allergens that are transporting in from outside.

Keep pets away from bedrooms
If possible keep your pets out of your bedroom. If they sleep on your bed, they can bring a lot of allergens with them, causing you to suffer at night.

Avoid scented candles
Just like the detergent and cleaning products, the strong scents of candles and air fresheners can cause havoc for allergy suffers. If you are needing to banish odours, try using bicarbonate of soda and other natural remedies that are unscented.

Keep windows closed
If it’s a sunny, warm day, it is natural to want the windows open. However, if the forecast says that pollen is high, try and keep your windows closed during the day to avoid unnecessary pollen entering your home.

These are just some quick changes that you can make that should help reduce the effects you are suffering from if you have allergies. Do you have any other allergy reducing cleaning tips that you use? If so, please share them with us!

 

8 Cleaning Myths

There are many cleaning tips mentioned by others to help people clean their homes in a quick and efficient way. Although some of these are great tips to follow, some may not be as effective as we first thing. In fact, some cleaning hacks that we are told can, in fact, cause us more work in the long run or can even cause damage. Here, we discuss some cleaning myths that we are debunking.

Vinegar is a great cleaner for all surfaces

Although vinegar is indeed a great ingredient for many cleaners, it is not a miracle product that can work on everything. Vinegar’s active ingredient is Acetic acid which has a low PH and a high acidity level. This makes vinegar potentially damaging to certain surfaces as it can cause corrosion. Therefore, try avoiding using vinegar on hard surfaces such as metal, grouting and ceramic or stone tiles. Some also believe that vinegar is an effective antibacterial. This is not the case, so you will need to apply a separate antibacterial product on your surfaces to keep germs at bay.

Bicarbonate of soda is the best way to remove odours from carpets

We have previously mentioned that you can use bicarbonate of soda in a variety of ways around the house. Using it to remove odours is one of those uses. However, it is not necessarily the best way to banish smells, especially tough odours. Although bicarbonate of soda can help mask odours for a short period of time by absorbing some of it, it is important to have your carpet cleaned on a regular/annual basis to remove the smells completely.

You don’t need to clean a self-cleaning oven

It’s in its name, so surely it is true? Not necessarily, unfortunately. Even if you have a self-cleaning oven, it is best to clean it yourself from time to time and not rely on the self-cleaning function. Keeping on top of the cleaning yourself in addition to the self-clean can keep your appliance in the best condition for much longer.

Using more laundry detergent in your washing machine will make your clothes cleaner

It is often believed that the more laundry detergent or powder you use in your machine, the cleaner the results will be. However, this is not how it works. Using more than is recommended can, in fact, create excessive suds which can lead to damaging your washing machine’s pump and drain. Over time this build-up can even lead to mould if you do not clean it regularly. Using the recommended dosage is all you need and also means you get more washes out of your product before you need to replace it.

Disinfectant and cleaning sprays work straight away

When you spray counters and surfaces with cleaning solutions, many people wipe them off straight away because they think the results of the cleaner are instant. Unfortunately, they are not. For the best results, spray your surface and leave the solution to settle for a while. This gives it longer to work its magic and leave you with a cleaner surface.

Bleach can clean anything

Bleach is thought to be something that can be used all around your home but you should be careful which surfaces you use it on. Bleach is a great stain remover and disinfectant however it does not cope well with grease. Use bleach on its own to remove bathroom mildew and disinfecting surfaces however it has to be paired with other cleaning ingredients if you want to use it to clean your oven or counters.

Washing machines and dishwashers clean themselves

As they are washing items and keeping them clean, it is a fair assumption to think the washing machine and dishwasher are cleaning themselves at the same time, but this is not completely true. Although this clean the machine slightly, they both need regular cleans to ensure the whole machine is kept clean. If this task is regularly put off and dismissed, it could shorten the life of the machine and make them less efficient at cleaning your clothes or dishes.

You should vacuum first

Many start tackling a room clean by hoovering first and leaving the dusting until last. This should be avoided as although older models of vacuum can cause some dust, newer models are much more efficient. Therefore, by dusting first and hoovering last, you can ensure you are picking up any dust that may have fallen on the floor.

Although some of the cleaning hacks mentioned above can work, they may not be as effective as you think. This can leave your home dirtier and lead you to have to do more cleaning in the long run which is the opposite desired result.

Do you have any cleaning myths of your own and cleaning tips that just don’t work? Please share them with us.

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.