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Moving home cleaning tips

Moving home is exciting, but it’s also one of life’s major stress triggers due to all the work that has to be done in a short timeframe.

While it’s likely impossible that you’ll never enjoy moving home, there are several ways in which you can make the process easier on yourself and those you live with.

1. Create a Schedule

Packing up and cleaning your home is a big task, so it’s important to plan properly. That means mapping out your time well in advance. In addition to your actual move-out date, set deadlines for specific tasks, such as packing up the spare bedroom or cleaning out your fridge. Be certain to leave yourself as much wiggle room as is feasible: The goal is to get as much move-out cleaning done ahead of time while still having access to the comforts and necessities you need until you move to your new home.

2. Pack and Clean in Zones

Make sure you concentrate on one space at a time by setting cleaning and packing zones in your house. Make a list or draw a map of your home and number the rooms or areas in the order you want to tackle them. For example, list spare rooms or guest bathrooms first as these spots can be packed without changing your daily routines. Remember to clean as you go, taking the time to wipe down books, lamps and other items before putting them away. If you won’t be using a move-out cleaning service, you’ll want to work from the top (cleaning cobwebs, ceiling fans and light fixtures) to the bottom (vacuuming, washing floors and wiping skirting boards) in each room.

3. Embrace the Opportunity to De-clutter

As you’ll literally be going through every room in your home, a move-out cleaning is the perfect time to get rid of anything you don’t want or need anymore, be ruthless as it leaves you with fewer boxes to move! Place a few empty boxes around your house and fill them with those items you haven’t used in months or the clothes that you forgot you owned until you started packing up your closet. Once they’re full, donate them or sell them at a local car boot sale. Additionally, go through paperwork and the ‘man drawer’ (you know the one we mean) and toss out any anything that may be lying around you don’t need anymore.

4. Enlist Some Help

Packing is a much less daunting task if you have some extra hands and pleasant conversation, sticking to social distancing guidelines of course. Clearly, you might not want their help packing some of your more personal belongings, but a little assistance boxing up books, baking utensils or seasonal items in your garage can make a huge difference in your move-out cleaning.

5. Bring in the Professionals

Your time will likely be limited, especially if you’re a renter, and you can’t unload your moving truck and clean your house at the same time. Take the stress away and contact your local Merry Maids to see what home or apartment move-out cleaning services they offer. That way, you can focus on carrying those boxes, while housekeeping professionals take care of cleaning your former home, saving you time and — if you’re a renter — ensuring you don’t have to pay any clean-up fees from your security deposit.

Where there’s a move-out, there’s usually a move-in. If you need your new place spruced up a bit, you can always contact your local Merry Maids in regards to that as well.

7 tips for a dog friendly home

If you’re a dog owner, you already know that having a fluffy four-legged friend around can bring an incredible spirit of joy and companionship into your home.

Unfortunately, for pet owners, dogs are known to be mischievous and mess is usually their middle name, especially those adorable puppies.

If you didn’t know already, April is National Pet Month, so our cleaning experts have decided to help and share 7 of the best tips for puppy-proofing your home, helping you keep it clean in the midst of all of the chaos.

Tip #1: Think like a dog

It may sound slightly odd, but experts recommend that you start the dog-proofing process by imagining how your dog sees his or her surroundings.

Get down to your dog’s level and look for anything that could be in reach and potentially catch your dog’s eye, like unattended food sources, uncovered rubbish bins, or enticing “human toys” like the remote control.

Then, make sure there are no easy routes for your pup to paw these treasures, or install shelving too high for them to reach.

Tip #2: The use of a lint roller

Lint rollers are one incredible invention for all dog owners! Consider keeping a few within reach of your front doorway so that you can dust off before leaving the house.

It may also be worth purchasing a heavy-duty fur remover broom for your hardwood flooring, and medium-sized lint rollers to trap hair on your sofas, chairs and beds etc.

Tip #3: Choose the right doggy bed.

Your fluffy friend spends a lot of time in their doggy bed, so it’s best to choose one that won’t trap unwanted odours and hair!

Whether you’ve got one dog or a whole pack, thinking ahead on pet beds will save you a lot of time and money down the line. There are dog beds you can purchase that have removable covers made from bacteria-fighting fabric, with one of those you can simply throw it in the washing machine every week or so.

Tip #4: Towels and blankets are useful

Wherever your furry friend likes to play, there’s sure to be plenty of fur and dirt.

Luckily, you can stop the dirt in its tracks by keeping an old towel near your door, along with some cleaning supplies and a shallow container of water, this will allow you to clean their messy paws after their daily walk.

If your puppy has some favourite spots to sit throughout the house, you may want to throw down a few machine-washable blankets in those places.

Tip #5: Add an air purifier to your shopping list.

Dog dander can cause severe allergies and invite unpleasant odours into your home.

Aside from observing a regular dog grooming schedule, you can also invest in a high-quality air purifier to combat your pup’s shedding habit and keep your house smelling fresh. Try to find a purifier that has a HEPA filter, as this means it’s certified to remove 99.97% of airborne allergens.

Tip #6: Perform a full “plant audit.”

Every home needs a little bit of greenery around the house and in the garden.

Before you let your dog strut around the garden, you’ll need to double and triple-check that your plants are safe for dogs.

Common flower varieties like tulips, daffodils, and lilies are actually poisonous to dogs, and even safe plants can cause gastrointestinal distress when ingested.

Once you’ve identified any potential hazards, either replace the offending plants or find a way to block your dog’s access to that area.

Tip #7: Invest in a few dog deterrents.

No matter how old your dogs are, they love to chew on almost anything they can reach.

To protect your home—and your canine’s teeth— from damage, you should think about investing in a few easy dog deterrents.

One solution you could use is bitter apple spray, which uses all-natural ingredients to keep dogs from chewing on table legs and furniture.

You can also install baby gates throughout the house to limit access to certain rooms.

Want More Pet-Related Cleaning Tips? We’ve Got You Covered!

Even if you dog-proof your entire home completely, it’s pretty much inevitable:

Your pet will eventually make a mess, and when that does happen, there’s no need to worry. With the help of our regular cleaning services, you’ll be well on your way to managing a beautifully dog-proof home.

Find your local Merry Maids here and we’ll be able to organise a visit to see your home in the future.

De-clutter your wardrobe

With us currently having to stay at home now is the perfect time to clear out your wardrobe, and make space for your new-season buys.

If the thought of organising your wardrobe fills you with dread, fear not, we’ve put together some top tips to make sure it’s ready for the season ahead – a great excuse to get online and buy some more clothes!

Be ruthless

Bag any clothes you haven’t worn in over a year and take them to a charity shop when possible, if you’re finding some items too hard to part with, bundle them up and store them away.

If you haven’t missed them after two seasons, they’re already packaged for giving away.

‘Merchandise’ your wardrobe like a professional

Arrange your wardrobe so similar items hang together. When shorter items, like shirts, are grouped together you may have space underneath for a shoe rack or even a small chest of drawers.

Freshen up and economise

Reduce cleaning bills by airing an outfit for a few hours after wearing it instead of popping it right back in the wardrobe or washing.

Clothes will stay fresher for longer and you should notice a difference in your bills.

Maximise space

Check outa any space above the hanging rails in your wardrobe, as there may be room for an additional shelf for out of season shoes, bags or other items.

You can use the back of your wardrobe door for shelf supports. Extra hooks can hold robes, or you could use the space for a tie or belt rack.

Get the professionals in

If all else fails you can rely on us to get your home clutter-free and clean. Our maids are all professionally trained and have the knowledge and ability to make your house sparkle.

 

Cleaning myths busted

We’re bombarded with cleaning advice from the internet, magazines and more recently, social media, some of these are myths that aren’t necessarily always the best way to clean your home and sometimes, they can do far more harm than good.  

We’re here to uncover some of these cleaning myths so you don’t have to! 

myth, myths

Myth #1 – Using vinegar tclean anything 

This natural cleaning solution is said to be the answer to lots of cleaning problems, but sometimes it can actually do more harm than good.  

Although it can be useful to clean certain items, you should always carry out a spot test on an inconspicuous area first to check that it doesn’t damage the item you’re trying to clean. 

Vinegar can damage the finish on natural stone, such as tiles and marbles and it can damage your iron if you use it to clean it.

Myth #2 – Using window cleaner on screens 

You would assume that it’s okay to use a window cleaning spray to clean your computer screen or television, but the chemicals can damage your electricals.  

Instead, use a clean microfiber cloth or specialist cleaning wipe to wipe over your screen. If you need to, add a small amount of alcohol, such as vodka, to the cloth before wiping and buff away any dirt or grime. 

Myth #3 – Wetting  carpet stain 

It’s easy to panic if you spill a glass of red wine on your cream carpet or sofa, but don’t be tempted to apply a lot of water to the mark. This can damage the carpet fibres and the excess moisture can cause the wine to penetrate further, leaving a stain behind.  

Instead, use the effective ‘blot’ method to remove stains. Instead of drenching your carpet in water, lightly sprinkle it with a little water and blot again with a clean paper towel or cloth.  

If you can’t remove the stain, we recommend giving  ServiceMaster Clean a call! 

Myth #4 – Be cautious with nail polish remover 

It is said that nail polish remover can be used to remove sticky spots, such as marks left on surfaces from stickers.  

Unfortunately, this could leave a mark on the surface, especially if it is on a finished wooden surface. Instead, try using a sponge dampened in warm water to gently loosen the mark, allowing you to wipe it away.  

If the stain is too stubborn for water, we recommend contacting  Furniture Medic. 

Myth #5 – Using bleach to remove rusty stains 

Pouring bleach on to rusty marks can make the problem worse, so avoid this at all costs! It’s best leaving this to the experts!

To book your next clean give your local Merry Maids a call today to find out more.

Keep an eye on our page for regular blogs and news, feel free to share this and any of our other blogs on your social media. 

10 Positive things to do from home

We’ve put together a few ideas to keep your spirits up when you’re at home during the current virus outbreak:  

1. Plan or Re-decorate

Plan something for the future- create a mood board to re-decorate your home or research a trip for later in the year.

2. Get Cooking

Cook something delicious – there are some great apps out there to help you use what you have, rather than heading to the shops. Plus, subscription companies like Gousto and Hello Fresh are still delivering fresh food to your door.

3. Clean Your Home

Spring Clean – Whether it’s the whole house or the utensils drawer – being clutter-free and organised is a great feeling.

4. Phone or Video Chat

Call or video chat with someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while, maybe your uncle and/or auntie, or maybe an old friend.

5. Sort Out Your Finances

Get your finances in order – save money by switching utility providers or shopping around for a better credit card rate.

6. Have a Sort Out

Clear out your wardrobe– separate clothes into a throw-out pile, a charity pile and a keep pile.

7. Research Your Family Tree

Research your family tree – most ancestry websites offer free trials too.

8. Keep On Exercising

Exercise – join a yoga streaming group or dust off that exercise bike lurking in the shed. Joe Wicks, The Body Coach is doing daily videos for children and adults during the week – https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1.


9. Get a Book Out

Read – or if you prefer, listen to an audio book.

10. Learn a New Skill

Access to webinars/online resources is greater than ever. From languages courses to DIY, there’s something for everyone.

These are just a few ideas to keep yourself positive during the current situation, what ideas can you think of? Let us know what you’ll be doing.

How to maintain a clean home

Whilst many people are at home, now is the perfect time to give your home some TLC. Below are some hints and tips to make sure your home is clean and looking its best for you and your family. 

Decluttering

It’s quite amazing how much stuff we can collect over time and it’s equally amazing how reluctant we can be to give it up. We like to go by the one year rule… if you haven’t used, worn or looked at it for a year, it needs to go. We know there are some items that you simply can’t get rid of so why not look to put them into storage for safekeeping? 

Grab yourself a box or a bag and start loading your old and unwanted items into it. 

Dusting 

Next, take a microfibre cloth and work your way around the room, top to bottom, picking up as much dirt and dust as you can. Your microfibre cloth should do the hard work for you, even better when it’s a little damp, so move quickly and wipe over all your surfaces. 

Vacuuming 

When you’ve finished with the microfibre cloth, pick up your vacuum and work your way around the room again. If you couldn’t reach an area with your cloth, your vacuum should have a better reach. Use all the extra tools at your disposal to pick up the hidden and hard to reach dirt. 

Sofa Cleaning

Regular vacuuming of your sofas should make this job even easier but with the vacuum cleaner on full power, run the crevice tool all over your suite and remove the cushions and get right down into the hard to reach areas. 

With some help, lift the sofas up and run the vacuum cleaner or a microfibre cloth underneath to pick up the hidden dirt. It’s only a very quick job but cleaning underneath sofas really does help to make the room feel cleaner. 

Kitchen Cleaning

If you have a dishwasher, utilise its power and place everything you can inside to give them a really good clean. If you can’t wash certain items in the dishwasher, place into hot, soapy water whilst you tackle other jobs.  

To tackle the fridge and any nasty stains or odours that have collated in there, grab an old toothbrush and toothpaste and get scrubbing. The chemicals in toothpaste are great for cleaning stains and marks leftover time and the toothbrush allows you to reach those tricky areas. Rinse the fridge well and if odours remain, chop a lemon in half and place one half at the top and one at the bottom – they’ll soon clear up any nasty smells. 

Bathroom Cleaning

Tough limescale in the bathroom may take time to clean but with pre-planning, you can clean your bathroom overnight, whilst you sleep! For showerheads and taps that are turning green, fill a bag with white vinegar and tie it tightly around the showerhead or tap and leave it overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and take a toothbrush to the stain and it should just wipe off. 

These hits and tip will make sure your home is looking its best and smelling beautiful.

What’s the difference between social distancing, isolation and quarantine?

With all that’s going on in the world now, everyone needs to understand what the differences between Social Distancing, Isolation and Quarantine are.

There is a difference between each of these terms and we’ll explain the difference below.

What is Social Distancing?

Social distancing should be practised by everyone, whether or not they are exposed to the virus.

Social Distancing includes avoiding handshakes, crowds and staying at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from people.

Working from home/Remote Working has been recommended by the government when possible and if showing any symptoms, you should be self-isolating.

What is Isolation?

Isolation is for those who have been either diagnosed with COVID-19 or showing symptoms of the virus.

Isolation serves as a deterrent to keep the infected away from the healthy in order to stop the spread of the virus. This applies to anyone living with someone showing symptoms, anyone with an underlying health condition or anyone over the age of 70.

What is Quarantine?

Quarantine is the restriction on the movement of people, which is intended to prevent the spread of disease. Preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19, but do not have a confirmed case.

This is the current situation in countries like Italy & Spain to which they have issued a nationwide quarantine and restricted everyone from leaving their homes as much as they can.

Here are a few small graphics that we’ll be sharing on social media as well that you can share if you like:

Social Distancing Isolation Quarantine

The recommended way to wash your hands

Proper hand hygiene is the number one way to reduce the risk of infection and it’s important to wash your hands frequently and properly, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Here is the proper way to wash your hands as recommended by NHS:

How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

  1. Wash your hands under warm running water
  2. Apply soap and rub palms together to ensure complete coverage
  3. Spread the soap over the back of your hands
  4. Make sure the soap gets in between each of your fingers
  5. Grip the fingers on each hand, ensuring you cover each finger with soap
  6. Rub both thumbs into a clenched fist
  7. Press fingertips into the palm of each hand
  8. Rub your knuckles on the opposite palm
  9. Dry thoroughly with a disposable paper towel

Other Tips on Hand Washing

Your hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds, of which you can keep track of by singing Happy Birthday twice.

An acceptable alternative to hand washing is to use an alcohol-based sanitiser, with at least 60%. When possible, use wash your hands using the above method as this is more effective against viruses.

Here is a graphic we put together to show you the different stages of the above method:

Download Handwashing Graphic Here

Age appropriate chores for children

It’s important to teach children to pitch in and help with the housekeeping at an early age. After all, they have to start learning responsibility to succeed in life, but how do you know which chores young kids will be capable of handling? If only you had an age-appropriate chore list to check…

Waves a magic wand…abracadabra…

We’ve produced one just for you! Use the following chart to assign chores for kids by age, whether you’re a parent, grandparent, teacher or babysitter. We’ll also give you a few tips on how to keep your children motivated and chores fun.

Children Age 2 – 3

  • Pick up toys
  • Help set the table
  • Throw trash away when instructed
  • Place their clothes in a laundry basket
  • Wipe lower cabinet doors

Tip: Kids this age love to use their imagination, so think of ways to turn chores into fun imaginative games.

Children Age 4 – 5

  • Put toys and books away
  • Set and clear the table
  • Pick out clothes for the next day
  • Sweep small areas with a handheld broom
  • Fold towels

Tip: Children aged four to five can get overwhelmed with too many instructions. Be certain to only assign one task at a time and consider singing silly songs as you work.

Tip: With a tiled kitchen you can use a bit of masking tape to make a square, then get your child to sweep everything into this small square.

Children Age 6 – 7

  • Put away clean silverware
  • Help clean the bedroom
  • Wipe down bathroom surfaces
  • Unload the dishwasher
  • Load and unload the washing machine and tumble dryer

Tip: Give six- and seven-year-olds plenty of recognition for how well they’re doing, as their sense of confidence starts to develop around this time. You can make chores more enjoyable by turning them into games.

Children Age 8 – 9

  • Help prepare meals with supervision
  • Dust and vacuum
  • Feed, brush and walk pets
  • Empty trash cans
  • Fold towels and put clothes away

Tip: Consider buying kids this age their own brightly coloured child-friendly kitchen utensils and get them to wash these up after every meal. This will ramp up the fun factor and will also make them feel more independent.

Children Age 10 – 12

  • Laundry and ironing
  • Gardening jobs
  • Cook simple meals
  • Wash dishes by hand or load the dishwasher
  • Clean the kitchen

Tip: This is a good time to start incentivising kids. Set up a routine list of chores for kids by age, and reward them with weekly pocket money, extra screen time, a trip to get ice cream or see a movie.

Children Age 13 and up

  • Make full meals
  • Clean the shower, tub, sink, and toilet
  • Clean out the refrigerator
  • Babysit for younger siblings

Tip: Rewards and incentives still work well. Make sure you continue to recognise the additional responsibilities your children are able to take on, so they know they’re appreciated.

Keep in mind that there may be a little trial and error involved when it comes to different age groups. Every child’s development is different, so give kids a new task if they have difficulty completing the original assignment.

Also remember that when dealing with children and chores, there’s no such thing as too much praise. Let kids know you’re proud of their efforts. It will make them feel good and they’ll want to keep helping so they can get more positive feedback.

Looking for more insights on children and chores? Check out our post on fun cleaning games with kids. And if you’re finding that life has you too busy to even think about cleaning your home, contact your local Merry Maids! We’re happy to lend a hand so you can free up more time to do the things you love with the people you care for the most.

5 Ways To Upgrade Your Cleaning Routine

Now that the holidays are over and the New Year is upon us, it’s the perfect time to start upgrading your daily cleaning routine!

Whether you’re a queen or king of cleaning checklists or just looking to get more organised in 2020, our cleaning experts at Merry Maids can help you stay on track with your goals, by providing regular cleaning services to supplement your everyday efforts.

Here are 5 great ways you can upgrade your home cleaning habits for 2020 ­– and beyond!

#1: Introduce one simple daily cleaning habit

Nowadays the majority of us are always on-the-go, it can be hard to find time even for a 15-minute daily cleaning ritual, let alone a rigorous cleaning schedule. When you’re not sure where to begin, we would recommend starting small and master a single daily cleaning habit that will make a difference to you.

To get started, make a list of all your cleaning pet peeves – in other words, those tasks that drive you crazy when you can’t complete them.

Whether on your own or with a partner, pick out the top chore and complete it daily until it becomes a habit, which typically takes 21 days to form as a habit. From there, you can introduce new habits as and when needed!

#2: Create a defined house cleaning schedule

Again, the key here is to start small, build on your existing efforts and hold yourself accountable to whatever tasks you add onto the schedule.

Here are a few methods you might like:

  • Theme up your cleaning – If you hate repetition more than anything else, try giving each day a cleaning theme. Maybe Monday can be your washing day and Tuesdays can be for cleared for kitchen clean-up. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s something you can and will follow!
  • Set a specific time aside for your top 10 tasks – Instead of taking it one day at a time, create a list of the top 10 small cleaning chores that you would like to accomplish by the end of each night. Then give yourself a consistent time to accomplish them, whether in the morning or the evening.
  • Pick one day to be your cleaning day. Prefer to take care of everything all at once? Select a day to designate as your “cleaning day” and take care of key high-traffic areas at the same time. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to complete the task!

#3: Make an organisation checklist

No matter what cleaning schedule you prefer, it’s a good idea to build out an organisation checklist, which should include every cleaning and organising task that you’ll ever need to do. Keep this list somewhere handy, for example, stuck on the fridge and check it often to make sure you’re covering everything.

Just follow these simple steps to create your own checklist:

  1. Walk around your house and list all areas that need to be cleaned (usually everywhere, unfortunately!)
  2. Within each area, write down all the cleaning and organisational tasks that need to be completed during the year
  3. Assign each task to a sub-list, depending on whether the chore should be done daily, weekly, monthly, or seasonally
  4. Create an easy system to check these items off your list

#4: Find creative ways to remind yourself about cleaning tasks

Even when you have a clear direction for your daily cleaning rituals, you’ll need lots of reminders to stay focused on each task. By finding a creative and colourful way to remind yourself, you’ll be more likely to get everything done!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a DIY corkboard and tack up notes about your daily and weekly tasks, you could even add how many calories you’ll burn off for each task!
  • Keep an extra calendar on the wall just for your cleaning checklist

#5: Get the whole family involved

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one or three or four, depending on how many are in your household! Enlisting your spouse, your kids, or other live-at-home family members will make your life easier and give you more time to chill out and watch your favourite Netflix series. A chore chart is a time-honoured tradition for a reason – it allows everyone to participate in maintaining their own space.

Next Steps: Call in a Professional

Of course, the best way to elevate your cleaning routine this year is to bring in professionals, on whatever basis will work best for your needs. We offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly cleans, so you can choose the schedule that makes sense for you! Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

Planning a Stress-Free Christmas Dinner Party

Whether you’re hosting a large group of friends and family at your house or cooking up a feast for your immediate family, it can be stressful to plan for a holiday dinner party – especially if you’re acting as head-chef, sous-chef and server throughout the event. After all, these meals most probably involve multiple courses, your best silverware and china you only get out for Christmas, and a whole lot of decorations: It’s enough to make anyone go mad!

Christmas Dinner Party

With the right planning, however, you’ll be well on your way to a more stress-free and satisfying Christmas. In some cases, your planning process may even include delegating out the cleaning chores and kitchen tasks to the rest of the family or housemates, so that you can focus on being the perfect party host for your guests.

Below, we’ve put together a few Christmas party ideas to make your planning and Christmas dinner easier.

Define your menu

Christmas dinners are always based around one thing – you guessed it – lots and lots of delicious food, it’s important to start here before you plan anything else, and see if you can cut back in any area.

If you’re cooking all the food yourself, you should first consider enlisting a few elves to help, or if you can’t find any elves, friends or family to help in the kitchen.

While it can be fun to go all out for this kind of event, make sure that your menu doesn’t put too much stress on your own plate and is simple enough to produce.

After you put together a holiday dinner menu, ask yourself these questions:

  • How many guests will I have, and what are their dietary needs and restrictions?
  • What recipes do I plan to use?
  • What’s the timescale to make this meal from beginning to end?
  • Can I make any dishes ahead of time?
  • Am I comfortable using these recipes?
  • Do I want it to be a potluck dinner and have guests bring unique side dishes? – This can give you more time for you to be the perfect host, as you won’t be in the kitchen as much.
  • Will there be young children there, and if so, will they have a separate menu?

Once you have the answers to these questions, go back to the drawing board and eliminate anything that will add unnecessary time to your meal preparations. Pretty soon, you’ll find that your menu accurately reflects the needs of your group and plays to your individual strengths as a cook, making it easier to get ready.

It’s also a good idea to create your ingredient shopping list early on, so you won’t be running to the shops to grab anything later.

Put down the cocktail shaker

For a lot of us, a seasonal cocktail is just as important as the Christmas dinner itself. However, you don’t have to practice your bartending skills all year round and play bartender to give your guests an amazing time. It’s much easier to make cocktail batches in advance, which you can include on a decorated bar cart with ice, napkins, garnishes, and other essentials. Don’t drink? There’s always some alcohol-free punches that taste heavenly as well!

Some of the best holiday cocktail recipes to make in a batch include:

  • A delicious apple mocktail, like a Caramel Apple Mocktail
  • One for the bah humbugs to get them in the Christmas mood, a Grinch Punch
  • Classic hot drinks, like Martha Stewart’s mulled wine
  • One for all the lovers out there, a Mistletoe Margarita
  • A festive winter sangria, like this one from Joyful Healthy Eats

Whatever you make, be sure you and your guests drink responsibly.

Pre dinner party cleaning

Whether you’re picking up the duster yourself or delegating the cleaning to someone else, it’s critical to include pre-party cleaning time in your schedule. Unless guests will be wandering throughout the house, focus on high-traffic areas like the kitchen, living room, and dining room. In general, the cleaning should be completed no more than two days before the guests arrive.

Get the right ambience

You don’t need to go mad with decorations to make your home feel cosy and welcoming. After all, a dinner party is primarily about one thing: food!

As long as your house is clean and your tables are ready to go, you’ll be well on your way to holiday bliss.

That being said, we’ve got a few easy tricks you can use to boost the ambience in your space:

  • Set the mood with the right holiday playlist. Just use Alexa or Google Home to put on some Christmas favourites and your home will instantly feel Christmas party-ready.
  • Make space for shoes and coats. Don’t have a coat or shoe rack? No problem: Pick out a designated closet and be sure there are enough hangers for coats. Then lay down a mat or a rug for guests to place their shoes. Alternatively, if no one is staying in the spare room, put the coats neatly labelled on the bed.
  • Open the windows before your guests show up. It may be a bit chilly outside, but it’s a good idea to give your dining area a blast of fresh air right before guests arrive. You’ll eliminate any lingering odours from all of the festive cooking, and the room will warm up again in no time.
  • Light up a few scented candles. Candles are a great way to communicate warmth and comfort to your guests. They may even think you’ve been baking for hours if you choose the right one!

Need a Helping Hand This Year?

At Merry Maids, we provide top-notch cleaning services so that you can rest a little easier before your dinner party. By delivering a detailed clean we can guarantee, our cleaning experts will let your home’s natural beauty shine through. From entryways to bathrooms to staircases, your guests will be wowed by your home!

We’re wishing you a very happy and stress-free holiday season! Find your nearest Merry Maids to get your home sparkling for your dinner party.

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Christmas is on its way, in fact, it’s less than a month away now!

Pre-Christmas Cleaning Checklist

Are you planning on hosting a Christmas party or Christmas day itself with the family?

If you are then this pre-Christmas cleaning checklist is exactly what you need.

Guest Bedroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Make sure your guest bedroom/s are cleaned for your guests or any unexpected guests, like a friend who may have had a few too many and cannot drive home.

  • Change the sheets/bedding & duvets so they are clean and fresh for your guests. A quick tip to make them even fresher smelling is to wash them separately to any clothes
  • Vacuum and polish the guest room to ensure the room has a welcoming scent

If your guest room isn’t used that often, it may not be as welcoming as some other rooms in the house.

  • You can potentially get a few paintings or photos up in the room, maybe a houseplant or anything else you may feel is welcoming

Your guests are quite likely to be staying more than one night, therefore, they’ll need a bit of space to put their clothes and other belongings.

  • Empty the wardrobe and drawers of usually, all of your summer clothes or, “I’ll take these to a charity shop one-day” clothes
  • This will ensure your guest has sufficient space and will feel more at home, instead of living out of their suitcase

Kitchen Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The kitchen is usually the mingling hub in the house, especially with the mulled wine brewing on the stove, it makes it feel warm and Christmassy!

Your oven needs to be clean to ensure it’s ready for the juicy turkey or tasty nut roast!

  • Buy a good oven cleaning product and follow the instructions on the label, as there are lots of different products you can use
  • A clean oven will one make your food taste better, and two it won’t produce smoke that would float around the house making it smell nasty. Although, if you burn the turkey, for starters you wouldn’t be very popular and it would be your fault if the house smells bad!

You’ll most probably have to put a lot of food in your fridge and freezer so it’s time for a clear out!

  • Have a clean fridge for all of your Christmas food
    – Remove all food, drawers and shelves
    – Soak drawers and shelves in washing up liquid
    – Use warm water and washing up liquid to wipe the interior
    – Wipe outer surfaces, dry inside with kitchen roll
    – Dry and return the drawers/shelves
    – Wait until the temperature has returned to 5°C

Having a clean and less cluttered fridge will allow space for all of the pigs in blankets, wine and trifle etc!

Bathroom Pre-Christmas Cleaning

The wintertime is the main time of year when people get those horrid colds that they just can’t get rid of.

That’s why pre-cleaning the bathroom and maintaining the cleanliness throughout the time your guests are here is important.

  • Clean the bathroom from top to bottom, including; bath, shower, sink, toilet, carpet, cupboards and anything else you may have in there
  • Tidy up your bathroom to leave some space for your guest’s toiletries, or  if you have two bathrooms then move all of your toiletries to the bathroom your guests won’t be using. This will again make them feel at home

Living Room Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Your living room is the main social and board gaming hub in the house, with the fire roaring in the background and the smell of Christmas all around.

  • Vacuum your living room carpet before your guests arrive and during their stay depending on how long they’re there for
  • Vacuum all of your upholstery and cushions prior to guests arriving
  • Have a general tidy up and if you have time a bit of a declutter of things you don’t need during the winter period

Home Exterior Pre-Christmas Cleaning

Ensure the outside of your house looks welcoming for your guests and any neighbours that might pop round to wish you a Merry Christmas.

  • Clean your outside decorations just by wiping them with a dry cloth
  • Clean your windows on the inside and outside
  • Make sure, if you have a drive that you’ve left enough space for your guest’s car/s or if it’s on-street parking there is enough space for them. If you live in a city remember to sort out their on-street parking permits

 

If you don’t feel like you have any time to clean your home remember you can give us a call to do it all for you! You can find your nearest Merry Maids business here.

 

 

Fun Cleaning Games For Kids

Entertaining kids in the evenings and weekends is a difficult task, but have you thought about making cleaning fun for the kids?

We’ve put our heads together and come up with a list of fun cleaning games that your kids will enjoy!

fun cleaning kids

 

Fill Up Fun

Fill Up Fun is all about recycling, although the first part of this game may be boring for the kids so you might want to do this!

  • Wash and dry the plastic and other recyclable items ready for recycling (Do this beforehand for the kids)
  • Split all the recycling into two equal piles
  • Place the recycling bin a short distance away from the piles
  • See who can get their recycling into the bin quick enough
  • Alternatively, see who can throw the plastic items into the bin from the greatest distance

This would be fun for adults, let alone the kids! Haha!

Spot The Recycling

Another bit of recycling fun for the kids is to firstly give them two bin bags each; one for recycling and the other for general waste.

Get your children to walk around the house and put in their bags what rubbish they think should be recycled and what should be thrown into general waste.

This can help with a bit of family exercise as well, especially if you do a timed race and see who has the most amount of items in the correct bags in the allotted time period.

Fold It Fast

This one is quite an easy one, but yet fun for the kids, as it doesn’t involve much setting up.

You will need:

  • A pile of clean, dry washing
  • Two or more enthusiastic children
  • A parent to supervise

All this game involves is for you to show the kids how to fold the laundry and then time them to see who can fold the most amount of items in the chosen time.

Kids Clear Out

A good clear out of old items needs to be done completed on a regular basis, especially with growing kids in the house.

As kids grow up they go off certain toys, books or games etc, and also as adults, we love to keep things we don’t need!

  • Go through the whole house putting items in three piles
    – Keep Pile
    – Charity Pile
    – Throw Pile
  • Get your kids to go through their old items and get rid of anything they don’t want anymore (if it’s broken throw it and if it’s still intact give it to charity)
  • While they’re doing this, you can go through some of your own things that you may not want to clutter the house with
  • Once all of the items have been put into piles, check to see if the kids have put things in the correct piles
  • Let your children bag the items and anything going to the local charity store, take them with you so they can hand over the bag

We’re sure there are plenty more cleaning games that can get kids liking cleaning, so if you know of any, let us know by sharing this post on social with your game idea!

If you’ve exhausted yourself and your kids playing all these games, then give your local Merry Maids a call to help with the housework so you can live life’s moments.

Back to School Organisation

With Summer coming to a close and the new school term edging closer, getting back into a routine can be challenging.

The following tips can help you get your home ready for the upcoming days of homework, and other school activities within the next few months.

Create a Homework Station

It’s important for a small, quiet area, preferably with a desk, to be tidied and organised for your children to have their own space to do their homework.

You can organise all of the school/office supplies within this area, including pens, scissors, highlighters, pencils and anything else they may need.

Having everything in one place should discourage them from getting distracted and wander off to search for any items they may need.

Organise the School Bags

Always make sure that before and after school the kid’s bags are organised, as they will get out of hand if you’re not careful!

Our recommendation is to keep the backpacks hanging up near the front door, making sure homework and anything like permission slips are removed from the bag. Everything else, if not needed to stay within the bags.

Create a school bag checklist for you and your kids to go through every morning to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Have it All on a Checklist

We’ve all got out of routine by now after spending summer days out with the family, but now it’s time to get organised.

For younger school children have a point by point checklist, which should include things such as;

  • Make the bed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Clean dishes
  • Brush teeth
  • Organise bag etc.

The checklist should include after school chores as well, such as cleaning and packing lunchboxes, doing homework & taking care of chores.

Have Clothes Ready To Go

Laying out clothes for the next day is a huge time saver for you and your kids.

You could even be extremely organised and lay out clothes for the whole week, including clothes for the evening as well as school uniform.

Get your kids into a routine of doing this on a Sunday afternoon, and then check they’ve got everything they need for the whole week.

What to include;

  • School uniform for the week
  • Gym kit for gym day or any after school sports
  • Evening clothes to change into when they’re home

 

With the help of these back to school organisation tips, you’ll be back on a slick schedule in no time at all.

However, the increased amount of activities during school time can leave you begging for more time to complete your daily housekeeping schedule. That’s where we can help, get in contact with your local Merry Maids today.

Making Your Bed Is Important For Your Health

There are a million and one excuses for not making your bed in the morning, here are a few common ones:

  • “I got up late and I didn’t have time to make my bed.”
  • “What’s the point? I’m getting back in it as soon as I get home.”
  • “My pet is curled up on the sheets and I didn’t want to wake them up”.

making your bed

Make bed making a morning habit

We all hate making our beds, but it’s scientifically proven that making your bed is overall better for your health and your sleeping habits.

Think of making your bed as your first successful task of the day, apart from trying to get up of course.

Your bed is the focal point in your bedroom and having that clean and tidy creates a sense of accomplishment and puts you in a better mood for the day to come.

Make it a part of your morning routine like brushing your teeth or combing your hair.

The science of making your bed

A study completed by the National Sleep Foundation proved that those who made their bed every day had a better night’s sleep to those that didn’t.

This study also states figures that people with clean sheets get a much more comfortable sleep. So, clean your sheets more often than you already do, simple!

“53% of respondents rated sleeping on sheets with a fresh scent an important contributor to their sleep experience” – Bedroom Poll by National Sleep Foundation.

The myth of letting your sheets breathe

Many people are convinced that they need to let their bed “breathe” during the day, and the reasons being that we are told that airing your bed out can prevent dust mites, mould and bedbugs etc.

However, the best way to get rid of dust mites and prevent mould is to keep your mattress clean, wash your sheets and your mattress protector frequently.

You can still have that little bit of air flow through your sheets if you really want, by slightly folding the top of your duvet cover over.

All in all, making your bed can help with your actual sleeping and make you feel accomplished before starting your day, so get bed making!

 

If you really don’t like making your bed, your local Merry Maids can always do this for you while making the rest of your house spick and span! Find your nearest Merry Maids here.

The Ugly Truths About Dust

Dust contains hair, pollen, soil, mould spores, textile fibres and dust mite faeces, amongst other matter.

vacuum dust

Fatty Dust

Who remembers Marjorie from Little Britain saying, “Dust, anybody, dust? It’s actually very low in fat and you can eat as much as you like”?

Marjorie is actually incorrect when it comes to dust being low in fat.

Research has shown that certain types of matter within household dust can turn on a protein called PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated nuclear receptor gamma).

This protein may be involved in obesity, because of the protein triggering fat cells to grow in our bodies.

More research is currently being completed in regards to the correlation between PPAR-gamma and obesity.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are tiny little arachnids that are usually between 0.2-0.3 mm in length.

They are smaller than a grain of sand and not visible to the human eye!

  • A 2013 study found that household dust mites have actually evolved from parasites.
  • Dust mites feed mainly on dead skin that we shed.
  • One of the most common triggers of allergies in the home is the decomposing bodies and faecal matter of dust mites. Yuck!
  • Half a teaspoon of dust can contain up to 1,000 dust mites and around 250,000 faecal pellets!
  • The average mattress contains anywhere between 100,000 to 10 million dust mites.

The Dustiest Places

There are some places in your home where dust will accumulate more often than others.

  • Window blinds– Wipe your blinds with a duster and vacuum them regularly.
  • Electronic devices– Collect dust because of static electricity, so make sure you frequently wipe with a duster.
  • Fixtures and fittings– Light fittings, lampshades, light switches and ceiling fans attract dust, so clean these in your weekly routine.
  • Upholstery– Dust mites love upholstery because of the warm environment between the textile fibres. Make sure hoovering your upholstery is in your weekly cleaning schedule.
  • Carpets– Like upholstery, dust mites thrive in the carpet fibres, so again make sure you’re regularly hoovering.

 

Our friends over at ServiceMaster Clean can help you with professional carpet cleaning.

If you’re not a fan of dust after reading some of these horrible facts, find your local office here and contact us today.

 

How to remove mould in your home

The build-up of mould in your home is a certainty, but you can get rid of it with the right products and a little bit of elbow grease.

mould

The main two areas you’ll find mould are on the grout in between tiles, in your bathroom and kitchen and on your window sills.

Why you get mould in your home

According to experts, mould has existed for millions of years, meaning it has had the opportunity to evolve and affect new areas in different ways.

Our teams across the UK see mould in bathrooms, kitchens, basements and other rooms on a regular basis.

Mould is essentially a type of fungus, and it accumulates in damp and poorly ventilated buildings or generally moist and warm areas.

Why you need to remove mould

Prolonged exposure to mould within your home can cause inflammation of your airways and nasal congestion. These symptoms are caused by the inhalation of air bound spores from the mould.

Removing mould safely and efficiently is important for your health and those in your household, so we have accumulated some tips to help you get rid of mould altogether.

How to remove mould in your home

First things first, make sure the cleaning products you’re using won’t cause any damage to the area. (You may need to use different products on different areas).

  • Make sure the room you’re working in is well ventilated, by opening a window or leaving a door ajar.
  • Wear non-porous gloves to stop irritation.
  • Protect your eyes with safety goggles from any kind of splash back.
  • Put on a mask to avoid inhalation of certain cleaning products and mould spores.

Fortunately for all of us, there are several cleaning products you can use to remove it in your home.

Bleach 

Bleach works well to remove mould from areas, such as white grout, tiles and window sills.

  • Mix one part bleach with 3 parts warm water
  • Scrub the affected area with a non-abrasive brush that has been dipped in the bleach mixture
  • Repeat the previous step until a sufficient amount of mould has been removed
  • Use a clean rag to wipe away the loosened mould

Distilled white vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is best to use for the areas that bleach would affect, such as coloured areas.

  • Ideally, use a spray bottle to saturate the area with white vinegar
  • Allow the vinegar to do its magic and let it sit for 30 minutes
  • Scrub with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Spray affected area again and let it sit for another 30 minutes
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

Baking soda paste

Baking soda paste is usually ok to use on most areas, however, still, check beforehand just in case.

  • Stir ½ cup of baking soda and two or three teaspoons of water, adjust the mixture until you have a spreadable consistency
  • Spread the affected area with the baking soda paste
  • Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  • Scrub the area with a soft bristled brush/non-abrasive brush
  • Rinse with warm water and a clean cloth
  • Repeat the above steps, if necessary

 

Some mould problems cannot be tackled with homemade remedies or commercial cleaning products that can be found in your local supermarket. If you’re having trouble, you can always contact your local Merry Maids here.

How to declutter your clutter

We’ve all got those items in our home that we haven’t used for a while or never used at all, well, it’s time to get rid of them, declutter and have a spring clean!

Here a few tips on how to declutter all of that stored clutter!

Organise your time

When it comes to spring-cleaning organisation is key!

If you’re not organised, or have an idea of where you’re going to start, then you will make the whole spring-cleaning task a lot harder for yourself.

Make a list of your tasks, in order of how you’re going to do them and do a room at a time. However, cut it down into smaller tasks to show the illusion that it isn’t a big task after all!

The organisation focuses your efforts onto smaller tasks, which are more achievable and, in the end, more rewarding when the tasks are completed.

Imagine a clean home

Imagine your home the cleanest it’s ever been and try and set your goal to make your house look like that!

Don’t just imagine it though, as this defeats the point!

declutter the clutter

Ask yourself four simple questions for all of your items:

  • Should I throw it away?
  • Do I want to recycle it?
  • Do I want to give it to charity or to a friend?
  • Is there any need for me to keep it?

Get into the right mindset and be brutal with what you throw away and don’t keep everything!

You never know…..

There is that one trap that a lot of us fall into and it’s the “You never know when you might need it” trap.

If you put in a pound for every time this was said in your household, you would probably be a millionaire by now!

If you haven’t used an item regularly or at all for the past year, pick it up and throw it or give it away! YOU DON’T NEED IT!

Here are some items that are usually the “you never know” culprits:

  • Magazines – They stock up in your magazine rack and/or magazine box, if you’ve already read it, then recycle it!
  • Batteries – When batteries are dead a lot of people head into the kitchen and straight to ‘The Junk Drawer’, where they sit, forever! If you say you haven’t got one of these, your lying, we all do!
  • Takeaway menus – Yes, even with the ability to jump on your phone and get a delivery from Deliveroo or Just Eat nowadays, we still get menus through the door. Guess where they usually go…. yes, you guessed it ‘The Junk Drawer’!
  • Wires – Every man on the planet has a drawer full of wires and when it’s opened they jump out at you like snakes! “I’m not throwing that wire away, that was for my Nokia 3210, you never know, I might need it again”.

Book time with your books

We bet that in your kitchen you have at least 10 recipe books, and some of you a lot more!

Do you use all of these books on a regular basis? The answer is probably no.

If you answered no to the above question, you need to go through your recipe books and be ruthless about throwing them out or giving them away.

One quick tip is to photocopy your favourite recipes and put them in one of those empty recipe books with plastic wallets.

This will help declutter your kitchen sideboard and give you more room to store more useless things! No really don’t do that! That was a joke!

 

For more cleaning tips and blog posts follow us on our social channels to keep up to date.

To find your local Merry Maids click here.

Interesting and Yucky Facts About Cleaning Your House

Interesting and Yucky Facts About Cleaning Your House

Your house is your pride and joy, and you want to keep it looking spick and span all the time. We have listed below some interesting and yucky facts about cleaning your house.

Interesting & Yucky Cleaning

Interesting Facts

Here are 5 interesting facts you can take away and help keep your home clean!

Burn those calories: You can burn up to 100 calories an hour while cleaning your house! Who needs a treadmill at the gym when you can lose weight by cleaning! If you have a large house then you can do the hoovering and lose 100’s upon 100’s of calories!

Lemony Clean It: When life gives you lemons, start cleaning! Lemons have anti-bacterial properties and can help disinfect your home. All you need is half a lemon and a damp bit of kitchen roll. Firstly, rub the half of the lemon on the area you want to clean, wait 30 seconds, and then wipe the damp kitchen roll over the same area to get rid of the stickiness. Then just like magic, your side is clean and lemony fresh!

Blend away the germs: Did you know that your blender can clean itself? All you need to do to get rid of the protein shakes or fruit smoothie that is left over is put some hot water with a dash of soap in your blender and turn it on! Hey, presto! A clean blender!

The news can clean: I bet you didn’t know that the news can help you clean! Well, a newspaper can do just that on mirrors and other glass surfaces. Just spray it with antibacterial spray and get rubbing with the newspaper. Make sure you read the paper first though!

Nothing is permanent: Have your kids been writing on the walls and on the table with permanent marker? Well don’t panic, toothpaste can save the day! Toothpaste is a fine abrasive that will remove pretty much anything it touches!

Yucky Facts

Now for some yucky facts that will make you want to get home and clean straight away!

Dirty dust: Dust is a pretty horrible thing! It contains 70-80% of dead skin flakes that have come from you and your family. The other 20-30% is usually from outside substances that have been draped in by footwear or on your clothing. Yucky!

Type away the dirt: You can’t literally type away the dirt, you actually have to clean your computer keyboards, unfortunately. Computer and laptop keyboards are actually dirtier than a toilet seat! Get cleaning yours now, because I bet you never have! Yucky!

Clean that sponge: Your washing up sponge on average contains 10 million bacteria! Yucky! Make sure you regularly clean your sponge by washing it with your washing up liquid and hot soapy water after every washing up session. There are other ways to clean your sponge, we can touch on that on another post for you.

A mattress of mites: On average a mattress contains a whopping 6 billion dust mites! Yucky! Give your mattress a hoover at least once a week or get our friends ServiceMaster Clean in to give it a good clean.

Flush away the germs: Make sure you have the toilet seat down when your flushing the toilet because germs will fly everywhere, maybe even on your soap or toothbrush! Yucky!

Hire a cleaner

Although you can do a bit of cleaning yourselves, the majority of you will not have time to do a good long clean and keep your house germ free. That is where Merry Maids come in. We are a professional and friendly domestic cleaning service that will clean your house until it is glistening, every time.

To find your local Merry Maids business click here.