The Ultimate Guide to Pristine, Streak-Free, Windows

16 08 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Erich Ferdinand

Cleaning your windows isn’t a task you should have to do too often, unless you have young children or pets, both of whom just love to get their sticky fingers and paws all over your windows. If you don’t have a local window cleaner or don’t wish to pay for one, you may also need to clean the outside of the windows. This is a much bigger undertaking and requires proper equipment and you must pay attention to relevant health and safety protocols to ensure your own safety.

There are many tools available to help you with cleaning windows, from micro-fibre cloths, squeegees, an e-cloth or an electric karcher window vac. Most of these products can be found at your local supermarket or online at Makro. If you have no chemicals available to you, all you need to clean your inside windows is some vinegar diluted in water (1:4 ratio), a cloth and some crumpled up newspaper. Clean with the vinegar solution and a cloth then buff clean with the newspaper. When cleaning the outside windows you will need a lot more just the vinegar solution, at the very least you will need washing up liquid dissolved in water to tackle the dust and grease from the roads. When cleaning inside and outside window sills, you will need to shift all the mildew that has gathered from your houses moisture. Use a nylon scrubbing brush, washing up liquid and a lot of elbow grease. If your frames have any cobwebs in the corner, use a broom if you can’t reach them.

The best tool for cleaning a large area of outside glass is a simple squeegee. These can be picked up at most supermarkets. The key to success with a squeegee is to buy a good quality squeegee and keep it fitted with a sharp new rubber blade. A squeegee such as this is what the pro’s use, when purchasing one, be sure to pick up 2 or 3 spare blades as once it becomes nicked or damaged in any way it won’t work nearly as effectively. Here are 7 quick steps to ensuring you gain a streak free shine from your squeegee;

–        Dip your scrubber (a sort of long stiff sponge on a stick) into a solution of 2 gallons hot water and 1 teaspoon of dish-washing liquid.

–        Scrub the glass, cleaning every inch

–        Wipe down one vertical line with the squeegee, right next to the edge

–        Then clean the rest of the glass with horizontal wipes

–        clean the squeegee blade on the scrubber or a clean towel

–        Then repeat the vertical and horizontal wipes

–        Finally use a micro-fibre, to wipe up any excess water

If you need to reach a higher floor than just the ground floor, you will need a safe and reliable ladder, ordering these online may be more trouble than it’s worth, head down to your local Wickes or B&Q, check out their selection online first, you may have to reserve the one you want.

If you live in a high rise building, you windows may be removable, lift them up off the tracks and pull them into your apartment, give the windows a proper clean with a cleaner such as Mr Muscle. You windowsills are a bit more of a maintenance job than the rest. Again use a nylon scrubbing brush, elbow grease and some detergent, then buff dry with a cloth. While cleaning you should also be checking for rot. If you find any rot this will need removing and replacing the same goes for crumbling putty. Flaking paint can be touched up with a small brush. A quick guide for repairing cracking putty can be found in the article here.

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Five things that you need to protect your carpets from

1 05 2013

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Image via Flickr creative commons from Stephani Spitzer

When you’ve just moved into a new house and forked out hundreds of pounds on a plush new carpet, you are always on full alert for little accidents. Perhaps you are hosting a moving in party and the scene is set with candles and red wine at the ready. To the average eye it may seem innocuous enough – but to the carpet owner it is a potential minefield of disaster, waiting to ruin your beautiful deep-pile piece of luxury.

It is probably a good idea to look into some form of carpet protection before hosting the big event – lest you ruin the ambiance, scouting around your living room all evening, carpet cleaners at the ready. Here are some of the main culprits you need to protect your carpet from.

Red Wine

The arch nemesis of the cream carpet, a splurge of red hidden by a tactically-placed piece of furniture is common in many a home. These stains are acidic and deeply coloured, which will stain carpet terribly. It is important to clean up a red wine spill immediately. Leaving it a long time will mean strong detergents are imperative. Begin by blotting with a clean cloth to remove as much of the wine as possible – do not scrub! You then may need to dab the stain with white wine.

Blood

Nobody wants injuries in the home and if someone does start bleeding the carpet should probably be the last thing on your mind. That said, it does stain very badly. As blood is thick and protein based removing it is not easy. Spoon up as much of the blood off the carpet as possible before blotting the stain with a mixture of cold water and enzyme laundry detergent

Urine

If your pet has had an accident, you’ll need to act quickly to avoid permanent discolouration. Perhaps the best way of avoiding these is to train your dog to go outside, if not white vinegar is good as it helps get rid of any nasty odours. Hydrogen Peroxide and a little bit of baking soda can work well to remove remnants of urine from the carpet.

Vomit

It might not be nice to clean up, but vomit on carpet needs immediate attention.

Ammonia works well to clean up sick but it is important you mix it with a little bit of water. Once your solution is made up, be careful not to soak the carpet. Use a spray if possible. Afterwards, you’ll need to get the ammonia out of the carpet very quickly – it is also a pretty tricky stain. A tablespoon of detergent dabbed on the carpet with a cloth can work wonders.

Candle Wax

Perhaps the worst of all carpet stains. When dry, candle wax can be a nightmare to get out. You should let the wax harden before scraping out the bulk with a non-sharp knife. Then place part of a paper bag, a sheet of newspaper, paper towels or a clean cloth over the wax and gently place a hot iron over the top. Do not leave it there for too long or you may burn the carpet, but the paper should soak up what is left of the wax.

If it’s coloured wax, try dabbing the stain with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol. If this does not work, dry cleaning solvent might.