The Easter holidays in our house used to be manic – one of my sisters has her birthday in mid April and that’s when I recall most Easters fall. OK, many of course do land at the end of March, but on the whole, it’s Easter bunnies and April showers that come together for me. We used to have parties and as I recall, masses of easter eggs each. They were always wrapped in lovely shiny tin foil, in garish colours. There being several of us in the family, there were an awful lot of choccy eggs about. Always had to be kept on show in the sitting room. None of this sneaking them off upstairs to our special space. Trouble with all this easter fun was the mess that ended up on the floor! Chocolate trodden into a carpet of any colour is not a good look. Very special cleaning was employed – all of us with dust pan and brush followed by the 1001 treatment!
The luxury of soft wool carpet beneath one’s feet first thing in the morning is obviously a matter of personal taste. It is certainly my preference and I relish that moment of undiluted pleasure as soon as my alarm goes off. There is a movement however to get back to basics with wooden floors everywhere, and stone tiles in the washrooms and everywhere that would not benefit from soft carpet – for hygiene reasons as much as anything else. I have had flats and shres where the whole pad has been the cheapest cord carpet throughout and you would not believe the diablical state it can get into when sharing with a bunch of lads. The washrooms and toilets became unbearably smelly. Cleaning carpets is easy enough especially with a carpet cleaning machine – in fact it’s cathargic in a sense. But it is also time consuming and a lot more trouble than fetching a squeezy mop and bucket of hot suds!
When my family moved into our house in the early 2000s, it was brand new – all lovely and smart. We took photos on the day when we were allowed in to measure up for curtains etc. In fact my daughter mastering things much quicker than me, managed to make a pretty good video of us wandering from room to room. She did a good running commentary and I did the magician’s assistant trick of opening all the cupboard and room doors for her to make a grand entrance! The carpets had yet to be fitted. We had chosen a gorgeous pale honey colour. Probably a big mistake, especially as we had a complete petrol head living in, his greatest joy was mooching about in garage and then coming into the house via the integral door. . . It’s amazing how efficient a professional cleaning company can be when faced with half a engine of oil over the new honey carpet!
Golly gosh we’ve had some very strong windy weather of late. This used to be confined to March and November if I recall. March winds bring April showers goes the saying. Well in recent years we’ve had every kind of weather from January through to end of May. Then we’ve entered a period of seriously dry heat which has gone on to tremendous rains and flooding before going back to scorching heat from mid July through to October. I mention these titbits from recent history because they have a direct impact on how much cleaning we need to carry out in our homes. The frantic speed with which the rainy weather arrives and the consequences for householders – near constant flooding in some parts of the land – mean that cleaning companies have to adapt to be able to deal with more than just a spill of a bowl of water or someone’s dinner landing face down on the carpet. They need to invest in serious machinery and be able to reflect this in their charges.
There are some weeks when I am just too clumsy to be allowed to own a whole house of my own! It rarely happens that only one item falls over or trips me up. Its usually a complete sequence of events that start off slowly and gradually built up until we reach a crescendo . I’m guessing if the powers that be really want meto make a mess over the pale honey coloured wool carpet, nothing is going to stop that inevitability! The carpet comes in for such a pounding too – I usually have a poorly fit a day or so after I’ve completely scrubbed the carpet. I do this in a very nippy way too. Fi rstly I brush the area, vaccum up the loose stuff. Open the windows . . . with a small washing up bowl I use a solution of cleaner diluted 1:6 and with a stout nail brush and a mopping towel, I attack isolated spots first to remove the worse. Working from the outside of the circle to the inside helps to stop the circle getting bigger. Blotting with the towel helps to remove the dirty water and assist the drying.
My cleaning routine has changed over the years. I have to be honest – no one is going to put a notice up stating that my abode is the cleanest and shinest they’ve ever visited but they wouldn’t peg out here either. But as I spend more time at home, it’s became obvious that I needed to be more organised. I now ensure I rinse down my ensuite basin and surrounds before and after every use. Before retiring at night I always rinse with the hard water removing cleaner and plish it all off. It’s amazing how much nicer it is to get up to a brand new lookin basin and shiny taps . I also tackle the crockery and clean up after cooking much more promptly – by putting things away and washing down the work and sink areas more thoroughly. It’s amazing how it makes me more positive about the day. As I’m not exactly in the first flush of youth, one might well ask why I didn’t adopt these routines decades ago!
One of the joys of having grown up children is their ability to provide hours of fun by way of dog owning. The joy aspect comes in when you can look after any or all of these and then hand them back at the end of an exhausting day or week. The one minor drawback is the sheer amount of mess that accumulates during their stay. I really love having any of the three pooches here. I have a garden, and access to a very nearby dog friendly field. But the amount of debris and mud that comes back from both is quite staggering. I have quite a good strategy now though. I use one particular door only for all ins and outs. This leads onto a paved area rather than straight to the wet grass and mud. The utility room is narrow so the pooch has to remain on the door mat and towel combo to wipe paws and have body dried off. I also have a massive old bath sheet that I drape over the sofa in the family room for catching stray mud. Then regular sweeping up with a rubber broom collects as much dog hair and dust as possible.
I love my daily walks where I live in the country but as I have a bad habit of keeping my shoes on when I’m indoors, I’m always finding great clumps of dirt or muddy mess on the floor. I have a rapid action kit handy though – after brushing dry matter away completely, a small bowl is filled with hot water, a nail scrubbing brush and propretary carpet cleaning solution are promptly to the remaining mark. Working fast, from the outside inwards, containing the spread as much as possible, dabbing with a damp cloth to remove the dirty foam works best. Two or three applications, circling in opposite directions each time removing as much damage as possible. Because my carpets are honey coloured . . . I pop a tiny drop of bleach in the solution I do find this helps the cleaning action but wouldn’t on darker carpets. Pressing down with a clean e-cloth will mop up excess dampness and it can be left to dry naturally or with a hair dryer if speed is of the essence. Then vacuuming thoroughly will usually restore the carpet.
This ‘non stop weekend’ in endless lockdown’s got a bit tedious after the first heady couple of weeks; many folk having now run out of steam, and enthusiasm and with children home all day, every day, the house looks worse than a tip. So some ground rules for the hapless housekeeper… Getting a good schedule is no.1. Every day for example : Make your bed. Children should be taught from the crib to turn back the duvet to air for a while and then make their bed every morning without fail. Pick up one’s own dropped items, be they clothes, toys, books, phones etc. Do not leave for Mum or Dad. Wipe down all worktops in kitchen – disposable ‘j’ cloths are ideal here. This is especially important with us requiring constant hand washing. Sweep kitchen floor regularly through day especially when cooking or just after. Use the dishwasher more – every damp dishcloth & tea towel introduces more germs; clear away as you cook, before serving or pop in dishwasher and then clear crocks after every meal – teach children to clear the table and unload the dishwasher – after a few years they’ll know how to load it properly too.
How to keep your homes and offices clean when there’s been a pandemic generated panic buy of every conceivable cleaning material from the shops. Whilst we’re in lockdown and people are only allowed to go to work if they’re in a critical industry or cannot possibly do their job at home. There are key workers like all NHS staff and anciliaries, teachers and essential suppliers and their staff. Otherwise currently all businesses and offices remain closed. There was little time to prepare for this and so companies will have to get their cleaning work done in some sort of order. Firstly companies will have to check that no security breaches have occured; that litter in the bins is not going to compromise them. Then the whole place will need a thorough deep clean to rid stale air, possible germ retention and freshing up – carpets and flooring will need specialist clean too. Professional cleaners do this as a norm and it is advisable to contact a local company as soon as possible to book a really effective clean up before the collleagues trundle back in!