The Ultimate Guide to Pristine, Streak-Free, Windows

16 08 2013

474493850_ca96b5b295_z

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.

Advertisements




How To Clean And Refurbish A Car’s Interior

3 07 2013

5889758708_df813d5990_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from DVS1mn

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve only recently passed your driving test and you’ve bought your first ever car, or you’ve had more than your fair share of vehicles over the years, maintaining your car is really important. As well as ensuring that you keep the outside of your vehicle clean and sparkling, especially during the summer months, you should also pay regular attention to your car’s interior. After all, the appearance of your car inside and out is a reflection on your personality. If your car is full of litter, food crumbs and cat hair, you may think twice before offering somebody a lift, for fear of them judging you as lazy and messy. For those unsure of how to keep their car looking as good as new, here is a guide for cleaning and refurbishing the interior of your car.

Throw rubbish away

The first step to thoroughly cleaning the interior of your car is to ensure that any clutter, litter and unwanted materials are thrown away. Get your hands on a heavy duty bin bag and de-clutter your car completely. Anything that you still want to keep but remove from your car can be placed to one side to take into the house later on. But any rubbish such as old soft drinks bottles and crisp packets can be thrown out immediately.

Get out the vacuum and a duster

Remove interior carpets and suck up any dust, mud and hair with a vacuum before moving on to vacuum the rest of the floor. You can use a duster and some interior polish to clean your dashboard while an old toothbrush will get rid of dirt from awkward nooks and crannies. If your car has leather seats, you can wipe them clean with a few wet wipes to remove the top layer of dirt.

Cleaning leather seats

Over time, the colour of your leather interior car seats may fade. One way to prevent this from happening is to avoid parking your car in direct sunlight. You can keep the leather soft by using a special cleaner but if you notice cracks in your leather seats, it may be a sign that you need to replace them. If that is the case, Halfords – Car Seats offer top quality replacement seat covers.

Cleaning fabric seats

If you notice stains on your fabric seat upholstery, you’ll be happy to know that there is an easy way to remove them. Mix together vinegar and water and spray over the stain. Allow to settle for a couple of minutes and then dab with a damp cloth. The stain should come off easily but if not, spray once more and leave the mixture a little longer.

Easy tricks for interior cleaning

Of course, you may not always have the specialist tools to hand. That does not mean that you can just leave the job for another day however; follow these easy tricks to get your car interior looking as good as new in a moment.

Baby wipes: use everyday baby wipes to clean the grime and greasy fingerprints off the inside of your car window. What’s more, they can easily be stored away in the glove box for future use.

Baking soda: to remove stubborn stains easily, mix a little baking soda with washing up liquid and water. Shake up to ensure the contents are well mixed and then pour the mixture over the stain. Leave to settle and rub off with a damp cloth.

If you find that over time you need to find replacements for your interior, you can head to Halfords.com Car Spares to find a wide range of useful car items.





Five Tips For Keeping Your Convertible In Great Condition

5 06 2013

938627751_4191eb6046_z

Image via Flickr creative commons from thomasdotorg

As good as convertibles look, they require more care and maintenance than your average, run of the mill car. There is nothing quite like faded fabric and mould to destroy the image of you cruising on some beachside road on a hot summer day.

Like any car, convertibles need regular maintenance. But beyond checking your tyres and having the windscreen replaced by Auto Windscreens, there are a few simple and regular things you need to do to protect your roof – whether it be vinyl or fabric.

Cleaner

First you need to make sure you are buying the correct type of cleaner for your convertible. This will depend on whether you have a vinyl or a fabric roof – there are other types but these are the two most common. The label on the bottle should specify which one you should be buying.

Although it is often best to get the right type of product, vinyl can sometimes be cleaned with regular car shampoo. Fabric, on the other hand, needs special treatment. To check which type of roof you have, drop about one eighth of a teaspoon of water on the material and try to rub it in. If it starts to soak, it is most probably fabric. If it smears but does not soak than you more than likely have a vinyl top.

Method

Once you have the correct type of cleaner, the methods are relatively similar. First, make sure the car is not in direct sunlight and give yourself enough time to do the whole roof in one go. Cleaning in bits will leave rings or spots. Then rinse the car thoroughly, getting rid of any loose dirt, before spraying with your convertible cleaner. After this, scrub lightly all over with a soft-bristled brush.

If you are working with an area that is heavily soiled, leave the cleaner to do its work for 15 minutes before scrubbing. Then rinse thoroughly, making sure none of the foam remains.

When you’ve finished – and if it is not raining day – park the car outside of the garage to help the top dry. Do not put the top down while wet, either.

Protect

As soon as you get your new car home, you should apply a protectant to its roof and reapply this at least once a month. The material is exposed to the same wear and tear as paint but is obviously not as strong. Around 99 per cent of new convertible tops have stitching that is not treated when it leaves the factory. It therefore needs to be protected immediately.

In the same way as cleaner, there are specific types of product that suit different types of roof. It is important you make sure the car is dry before applying protectant or sealant.

Keep inside

Wherever possible, park your convertible inside, especially during winter. If you live in an area prone to snowing it is unlikely you will want to be driving around in a convertible in the bitter cold anyway. At the same time, snow and ice won’t do the fabric any good at all.

If you do not have a garage, cover the car when not in use. A sturdy cover is always best and keeping the top clean and protected is more important in the cold than at any other time. Also, try not to put the top down in cold weather, the back window can become stiff and snap.

No obstruction

It may seem like the most simple of things, but make sure there is nothing blocking your roof when putting it up and down. Especially when you have an automatic, an obstruction can damage the mechanism and leave you with a hefty bill.





Five things that you need to protect your carpets from

1 05 2013

6347789598_d5f83b23af_z

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.





How to clean delicate or expensive outfits

12 03 2013

4334405595_e2ba1e8c5e_z

This image via Flickr Creative Commons from Ollie Crafoord

We all like to splash out on clothing from time to time – after all, the therapeutic benefits of a quick spot of retail therapy are well documented. But at a time when so many of us are feeling the financial pinch, it’s all the more important to ensure we get as much out of our clothing as we possibly can. There might be a great selection of ladies’ evening tops available, but you don’t want to have to keep replacing them all the time. It’s one thing to be a bit blasé about how you look after the less expensive items in your wardrobe, but when you really go to town and buy an item of clothing which you know is of genuine quality, it’s well worth making the effort to ensure it retains its charm and character for as long as possible. This is why you need to take great care when you clean expensive clothing.

An article from WikiHow.com makes the point that unless you know how to take good care of fragile or expensive designer items of clothing, you could find they soon start to lose their allure. Unless you make the effort to keep your clothes clean and store them properly and in the right place, then they’ll start to look washed out, tatty or creased. This will basically render them unwearable – and there’s really no point going to the effort of buying expensive gear if you aren’t going to look after it. You could end up wasting hundreds or even thousands of pounds or your hard-earned cash, so you really need to think carefully about this.

An article from Garmentcare.info has a number of tips for those looking for advice on how to store clothing. Firstly, you need to remember that there is such a thing as excessive washing – of course you want to keep your clothes looking good, but washing them too frequently could end up having the opposite effect, so you need to be careful. Make sure you check your clothes before you put them in the wash and then assess what sort of condition they’re in. If your clothes are still fresh, then you can hang them up and wear them again. You don’t need to wash clothing after each time you wear it, although this is a trap many people fall into.

Also, if you notice any problems with your clothes then you should try to repair them straight away. Don’t procrastinate and put it off, because that’ll probably just make matters worse – and you may find that you either have to pay more to repair your clothes or that you have to buy new garments altogether. Needless to say, this could soon prove to be a pretty expensive affair. You should also ensure that you treat stains as quickly as possible. The longer you leave them, the more ingrained they’re likely to become – so don’t waste time and make sure you get them seen to.

It’s also well worth just following the instructions on the label of your garment as to how your clothes should be cleaned. It might be a good idea to check the label before you buy so you have an idea of what you can expect to have to do in order to keep your clothing looking at its best. Make sure you keep your more highly-prized items of clothing separate from the rest, so you don’t just end up flinging them all in the wash together.