Prioritising your cleaning products

The effects of being shut in doors for prolonged periods of time are starting to show… and we don’t just mean that you’ve exhausted Netflix, and that all those little jobs you’ve been putting off are done.
Lots of people spending time indoors together means (amongst other things) heavy use of the bathroom, increased fridge and dishwasher action and a lot of dust (not created from mostly human skin but dirt brought in on your feet and airborne particles like dust and soot with a bit of carpet fluff, clothes fibre and pet hair for good measure) and, after a few weeks of quarantine its getting harder and harder to avoid the inevitable clean….
But if cleaning ‘isn’t your thing’ or you want to prioritise then where do you focus your energies and what should you use?

Washing your hands and WIPING DOWN SURFACES are probably the most important tasks you should be undertaking at the moment to prevent the virus lingering (and to also clear the other bacteria that cling to a surface)
Start by using a DETERGENT to wash surfaces; for example washing up liquid or laundry powder. Detergents don’t kill bacteria but they do clean things. They are an important first stage of a deeper cleaning process as the bacteria and virus killing products like bleach attack germs, they don’t clean dirt and grime; so detergents break down grease and dirt which can harbour bacteria.

To clean hard surfaces effectively you need a DISINFECTANT – A substance that kills germs on non-living things. The most common type of household disinfectant is bleach. BLEACH kills some of the most dangerous bacteria including staphylococcus, streptococcus, E. Coli and Salmonella – as well as many viruses including the flu and the common cold. (Bleach is also a corrosive and should be used with care).
BIOLOGICAL CLEANERS are eco-friendly alternatives to bleach. They contain ‘good bacteria’ that work by consuming ‘bad bacteria’. These cleaners penetrate deeper into a surface and they work for as long as the good bacteria has something to consume. This means they keep surfaces hygienic for longer, although they do take longer to work than bleach.

ANTIBACTERIAL products kill – or at least reduce – the number of harmful germs and bacteria lurking in homes. Common varieties often contain a combination of additional chemicals and natural oils that have also have antifungal and antiviral properties.

ANTISEPTICS are substances that kill germs on living things.
In other words, they do a similar job to disinfectants, but they are for people rather than floors, surfaces and other inanimate objects.

SANITISERS are products that both break down dirt AND attack bacteria.

HOW TO….
Use a disposable cloth to first wipe surfaces down with a detergent (washing up liquid) – apply your product following the manufacturers guidelines and leave for 5-10 minutes for most effective cleaning – wipe off and dispose of the cloth – wash your hands – repeat as often as possible….

And if you have any energy (or inclination left) after cleaning your homes hard surfaces then a quick dust and hoover will keep those respiratory problems at bay too.

How to make the most of your cleaner….

A large number of our customers haven’t used a cleaner before – or maybe those who did have seen their lives and needs change since they last employed someone.

When you book a regular cleaner you will usually have your allocated slot in which to make the most of their time and get the best results. So how can you ensure that this is money well spent?

1. BE REALISTIC
Think about what you want them to achieve in your home… If you are a family of six with five dogs and three cat’s then two hours every-other week is probably not going to be enough time for anyone to clean thoroughly. But if this is what your budget dictates then consider asking them to prioritise on the rooms that need the most attention; communal areas like the hallways and sitting room and family high-use areas like the bathroom and kitchen.

Consider booking additional hours ‘as and when’ to clean other rooms.

As a general rule a good home clean of a 3-bed family home can be achieved in 3hours each week. This means that the cleaner can keep on top of things and, develop a routine for ‘rotating’ rooms and concentrating extra time on different areas each week as needed.

2. COMMUNICATE
We always discuss the customers needs before we start (and when possible attend for a ‘meet and greet’ visit so that both client and team members can start the right way). But ongoing communication is key – whilst a professional cleaner will know which areas need the most attention (and those that will take the longest) they don’t know how you ‘live’ in your home and the things that are important to you. Maybe you rarely use the sitting room but spend lots of time in the kitchen. Would you like the dining room left but ‘freshened up’ at Christmas? If a ‘spare room’ is rarely used it won’t need a weekly clean. Let the cleaner know, then you can be sure that their time is better spent.

And that cobweb that you’ve noticed if you lay at a certain angle on the sofa with all the lights on…. At different times of the day and from different angles it may be missed – speak up!

3. CLEANING BEFORE THE CLEANER….
This is a ‘hot topic’ amongst customers, should you or shouldn’t you ‘clean’ before the cleaner comes? Maybe cleaning is unnecessary but anything you can do to allow them to concentrate on cleaning means their time (and your money) is better spent. If you can tidy items away or clear floor surfaces then valuable minutes wont be wasted clearing a path for the hoover.
The same applies to washing up – unless you’d rather not – but washing up last nights plates so that we can access a sink takes valuable minutes away from elsewhere.

4. BE FAIR
If you find a good cleaner then treat them well! The Sort and Sparkle girls are hardworking and diligent and will often go the extra mile; but expecting them to clean up human vomit or other bodily fluids is out of their remit! (And yes, they have been asked) Maybe in this instance you should ‘clean before the cleaner’……

Sort & Sparkle Blog

Why having a cleaner is unlikely to change your life!

I know, I know, that sounds really negative! And I’m sure that as the boss of a cleaning company I should be telling you how employing a cleaner will free up lots of your spare time and will therefore revolutionise your life…… but the truth is that most of our customers fall into one of two groups. On the one hand there are those who regularly and thoroughly clean their own home. They have a routine of their own and expectations, quite rightly, that a cleaner will step into their shoes and take over – thereby freeing up all the time that they are currently spending cleaning themselves. The only problem is that, exactly for all the aforementioned reasons, these customers often find themselves cleaning BEFORE the cleaner arrives and then continuing with their own cleaning routine in between visits (not a bad thing if you only have a clean every other week). But not exactly assigning the cleaning routine to the ‘completed’ pile!
The other type of customer can be found at the other end of the cleaning spectrum and has minimal time or inclination to clean their house themselves – so employing a regular cleaner isn’t going to impact greatly on their time constraints or change their routine.
So, you are probably wondering why anyone should actually employ a cleaning service and what are the additional benefits? (other than coming home to a clean house!)
A lot of our customers mention the psychological benefits of employing our services – and, as well as the obvious lifestyle and health perks of living in a clean home, the mental health benefits and peace of mind greatly outweigh the perception of additional free time.
So if you’re considering hiring a cleaner because you have dreams of freeing up lots of spare time the chances are you really won’t notice (and if you do then its an added bonus!) – but, if you can embrace the psychological benefits then, as the saying goes “tidy house, tidy mind”.

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