What Should I Look For In A Cleaner?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

help wanted

 

So, you have finally decided to get some help in your home. Yay! Brilliant news, just think of all that time you will have to play with, ah good times, lunch with friends, reading that long meant to be read book, taking a stroll… but before we rush ahead, we need to find the right person to clean our homes for us. But who? And how?

As, those regular readers will know, there are four types of cleaning service to choose from, so this post is written to encompass them all – some questions will apply to all business models some questions will not, use your ‘noggin on that.

Where to find a cleaner or cleaning service

  • By word of mouth – who does your friend use to clean their home? Who does your colleague use? Ask around, hear some reviews.
  • Local publications – Local sole traders and businesses tend to advertise in local press and magazines
  • The internet – Type in different search words like “cleaners in Telford” or “Domestic Cleaners in Telford” to find what you are looking for – please note that the top three results in the yellow area are paid for placings
  • By leaflet Drop – Leaflet dropping is very popular for cleaning businesses, even in this high tech age. When calling from a leaflet make sure it has actual details about the actual business and is in fact a real, registered business and not just somebody looking to make a quick buck.

Things you need to know about you cleaning Service

  • Are they insured? – What are they insured for, what does it cover? What is the value of their insurance? What is the excess on the insurance and who would be responsible for that in the event of a claim?
  • How do they vet their cleaners? – How are the employees or subcontractors referenced? Where did they recruit them? How much of the cleaners back ground do they check?
  • How do they train their cleaners? – Do they have a training process? Do they give any training?
  • How do they quality check the cleaning work? How do they ensure your cleaner is working the correct times and/or delivering the correct standard?
  • Who can I call if I have a problem or issue?
  • What do I do if I am not happy with my clean?

Things you need to know about your cleaner

  • How long have they worked for the business/franchise/agent/themselves?
  • How many other houses do they clean?
  • Do they have references and recommendations?
  • What training have they had?

Each area can go more in depth and I will be writing future blog posts on interview questions to ask a cleaner/business owner but for now you are armed and ready to find that domestic cleaning fairy to serve you and your home.

If you have any thoughts or questions I would love to hear them.

Thanks for reading – Mrs Mopp x

NEXT WEEK: The Guilt Of Employing A Cleaner In Your Home

 

 

Help! How can I can my porcelain floor tiles to shine?

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 Question To Mrs Mopp:

I have a black and white tiled floor. The tiles are porcelain and no matter how I clean them, my floor always looks dull and not quite clean. What can I do to make my floors shine?

 

chequered floor

 

Answer:

Porcelain tiles are widely used in our homes and offices , they look nice and they are quite easy to take care of with a little know-how.

Quick Cleaning Guide to Porcelain

  1. Vacuum or sweep tiled area prior to mopping – pay particular attention to the corners and sides of the room
  2. Choose your cleaning solution based on the tile type – see below
  3. DO NOT use ammonia or bleach based products on porcelain as it can discolour the tile and alter the grout colour
  4. DO NOT use solutions that contain oil-based detergents, sealant or wax cleaners
  5. Use rugs at all entrances where there are porcelain tiles to prevent walk through of girt and dirt that may damage and scratch your tile

 

Different Type of Porcelain Tile and how to clean them

Unpolished Tile – For flooring with a moderate dirt level

  • Vac/sweep – for best results use a clean, dry mop instead of a broom
  • Saturate floor with cleaning solution and clean first in horizontal and then vertical motions, for a thorough coverage
  • For stubborn stained areas, scrub the solution into the area with a nylon brush or scrub brush (avoid wire wool products)
  • Rinse the floor with clean, clear water using a new mop head from the dirty one or using a steam mop
  • Leave to dry in ventilated room or towel dry/buffer depending on size of the area

Polished/Glazed porcelain tiles

  • Vac/Sweep
  • Mop the floor with a mild cleaning solution – On a polished tile you need 50% less product than what you would on an unpolished floor – Mrs Mopp would recommend a cleaning agent that is non-soap based neutral PH cleaner or using a white vinegar mix (2 gallons hot water – 1/4 cup white vinegar)
  • Rince tiles with clear, clean water
  • Polish by hand, with a buffer , or with a clean, dry, flat-head microfibre mop to bring to a high shine. If you are cleaning a large floor area you may want to clean the floor in sections, as is the water is allowed to dry you will get water spots and streaking on your tile.

Textured Tile

A textured tile will require a little more cleaning time. Standard wet mopping will not clean the tile to its best, so it is important with a textured tile to clean a little more frequently

  • Vac/Sweep – for sweeping using a soft bristled broom, First sweep in the direction of the tile and then re-sweep in the opposite direction to ensure all dirt is picked up that may lodge in crevices or the groove of a tile.
  • Scrub/mop floor with a neutral cleaning solution, again cleaning in both directions. First cleaning one way and then the other to ensure even coverage.
  • Rinse the floor with clean, clear water and leave to air dry or towel dry/buffer depending on area size
  • For stubborn stains or high traffic areas it is recommend you clean the floor this thoroughly at least once a week and vac/wet mop daily

 

The most important thing to remember is to rinse any product – bought or natural – off the floor once washed. For quick cleaning use only hot water and a clean mop head after vacuuming or sweeping and allow to dry or buff if the room is not well ventilated

Hope that helps?

Happy Cleaning  – Mrs Mopp x

 

 

What Can Mrs Mopp Do For YOU?

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The New Year is upon us and as we venture into year 5 with our business, we would like to know what YOU would like to see from Mrs Mopp Cleaning Services – Please take 2 minutes to complete our quick survey about tips, blogs and prizes and help us keep all content relevant, helpful and useful for our readers.

What would you like to see from Mrs Mopp in 2013?

With our thanks for your help and co-operation 🙂

I need some help in my home… now what?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Modern life is busy – we have demanding jobs, demanding relationships, demanding children and demanding social lives. So how do we “have it all” and stay on top of this game called life? Well, just as in business, there comes a time when you need to delegate the jobs you just don’t have time for/are no good at/take you an age to do/you don’t have the skills for etc. by employing some outside help.

So, before you start to drown in your martyr-dom of trying to do everything… take your underware off from the outside of your trousers and look for some help!

Do you drown in the demands on your time? Maybe time for some outside help!

 

There are many ways that we can all relieve the stress from our daily lives by hiring other people to take on the burdens for us; there are life organisers, like Tick It Off, who will take on anything you have going on; from de-cluttering tasks, to organising a party, to organising your home office or schedule, to returning your library books. There are pet groomers, pet walkers, gardeners, window cleaners, child minders, painters, repair men and, of course, cleaners.

So now that we have admitted to our self we need help, what are the next stages?

1. Do your research

Weather you are looking for a dog groomer, a life coach or a cleaner you need to do your homework. With the wonderful world of the online web, you don’t even have to leave your chair to do this! Use search engines to type in what you are looking for and in what area, then have a look at several websites (also check out any Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Google+ etc sites they may have). How does their online presence look? What types of things do they post about? Do they have a large following? Do they have recommendations or testimonials online about their business? Do they interact with their audience?

You can find out a lot on a person/business from the internet – does the business you are looking at relate to you? Do you like how they write/interact? Do they provide value to their online visitors?

2. Have 3 quotes

So you’ve looked online, there are a couple of websites you like the look of and their Facebook profiles seem to be exactly what you are looking for. Now what?

Make contact. Call them, email them or submit a website query form – How did they answer? How long did it take for someone to come back to you? Did they sound friendly and keen for your business?

Next, invite them to your home – personally I suggest seeing the top 3 you liked the look of online. Try and see the prospective businesses on the same day, if you can, so that the meetings stay fresh in your mind and are easier to compare. Ask all to bring copies of their insurance, their references and evidence of their work if applicable, then…

3. Interview the potential business

Any personal service worth their salt should be able to answer any question you throw at them regarding their services. Don’t be afraid to draw up a list of questions so that you don’t forget or get caught up with the sales pitch without actually finding out if that service fits your needs. Some questions I would suggest are as follows;

1. How long have you been trading?

2. What did you do before this business?

3. Who does the work, you or do you have staff?

4. How do you train and vet your staff?

5. Have you ever had to claim against your insurance?

6. How do you monitor your quality?

7. What do I do if I ever have a problem or am not happy with an element of your service?

8. How do I pay you?

9. What makes you different from your competitors?

10. (The million dollar question) Do you have references I can contact who will validate your service?

Just as you would at work – get the best people for the job in your home

 

Now that you have looked at the businesses online, had 3 quotes to compare and interviewed each business inside-and-out, you should have all the information you need to employ your outside help. So, make that call, offer that work to the service business and then go and sit down with a cup of tea and decide what you are going to do with that free time you have just given yourself…

 

Help! What Is The Best Thing For Getting Rid Of Urine Smells?

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If you are potty training, have a family member with incontinent issues or have a new pet, the chances are you are going to end with a few accidents on your floors or chairs. Urine is not the easiest of stains to clean up as it is the salt within the urine that crystallizes and acts as a desiccant – this means that the salts attract moisture and never really dry out, so on hot days or rainy days the smell may become worse.

Some cleaning agents will help remove the stain and the odors but most just mask the smell on a temporary basis only; as the months and even years pass after the urine stain has been left the salts will still be active and it is these properties that form bacteria and make the smell that lingers in the air. In order to get rid of nasty smells altogether we need to clean the stain and deodorize the area

There are several chemical based products available for dealing with all types of urine stains from pets to people and a selection can be found here and I would also recommend washing the carpets with clothes washing powder, as not only will this clean the stain but will also deodorize the area too.

However, if you wish to attack the cleaning in a more natural way, below are some tips and techniques to try:

ALWAYS, always, always dab up as much of the pee before attempting to clean. Note the word DAB not rub. Use an old rag you can wash, paper towels or even newspaper. Stand on the cloth and apply pressure to the pee stain, keep repeating this cycle until the the paper towels/cloth does not seen to be absorbing any further. This step is the first step regardless of if you are using chemical or natural methods, the less pee we have to deal with the better right?

1. Using Vinegar – Use neat in a spray bottle or at a 80:20 dilution if you would prefer to weaken the smell a little. Always test on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first. Spray the vinegar mist over the damp patch – the vinegar will not remove the urine but it will help to break it down and loosen it from the fibers of your carpets or furniture. Once sprayed, get scrubbing… rinse and repeat the cycle if necessary. When the carpet has been scrubbed within an inch of its life (especially important if puppy wee to stop them follow their own scent and peeing in exactly the same spot again!), dab up any excess water and sprinkle the carpet with baking soda, leave over night and vacuum up the next morning

2. Using baking powder – Using 1 part baking powder and 2 parts water, make a paste that should be a toothpaste like consistency. Scrub the paste into the damp spot and again, using elbow grease get scrubbing the spot. Once you have scrubbed the fibres with the paste, leave on the stain over night – wash and dab dry the following day

Once the stain has been washed always deodorizer the area with a sprinkle of baking powder, the use of a perfumed fabric spray or household items such as mouthwash

3. If you find that the smell or stain isn’t lifting after chemical and natural methods then it is time to call in a professional carpet cleaner to treat much deeper into the fibers

4. However sometimes no matter what you do it may already be too late and the carpet or an area or carpet will need replacing – if urine has gone unnoticed and was not cleaned straight away it will seep in past the fibers to the backing of the carpet and into the underlay to the floor or through to your cushions if a sofa – this is as serious problems and all the baking powder in the world will not help.

Prevention is most certainly better than cure in the case of urine, so my advice is to always have your product of choice and cloths ready to use in an accessible area as if you are about to embark on a puppy or start potty training a toddler, you need to be on “Pee Patrol” and ready to act straight away on those little accidents that happen

Happy Cleaning 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Do I Get My Granite To Sparkle?

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Granite is the grandfather of all natural stone, it is tough and durable whilst beautiful and classic. But how do we look after it to ensure it always retains its beauty and shine?

Granite is not the biggest fan of acidic cleaning materials so avoid lemon or vinegar based cleaners, as although it would take continued use to damage the granite it will start to make your floors or worktops dull and faded. So, what to use…

Daily Cleaning

Warm water and a microfiber cloth will do the job nicely on a regular basis – wipe with a damp microfiber and buff with a dry microfiber or soft cloth to bring the granite up sparkly. If there are marks on the granite worktop or floor, use a PH neutral washing liquid or cleaning solution with some warm water and as before, wipe with one cloth and buff up with another. Buffing up your granite sides after they are cleaned will keep the surface clean and sparkly by eliminating water spots and streaking.

With a granite floor, use a microfiber flat headed mop daily to remove debris like grit and small stones off shoes as this will lead to damage and scratch marks on your flooring.

Deeper Cleaning

On a weekly basis it would be recommended a deeper clean on your granite to keep it in its best possible condition. For off the shelf products I would recommend a PH Neutral  cleaner such as Dr Beckmanns for floors and walls or a spray such as Method Granite and Marble Spray for worktops and sides, as these products are kind enough to your granite whilst lifting any markings or stains.

If you wish to take the home made product route mix 1 cup of baking powder to 3 cups of water and wash the sides or flooring down, then rinse with warm water and buff up for the perfect mirror like shine.

Protection

To make your granite look fabulous throughout its life span, make sure you look after it, as although it can withstand hots pans on the surface or you chopping an onion without a board, it doesn’t mean you should. Always use coasters and heat mats on your granite worktops and put something underneath you when using knives or hot cooking utensils. Put rugs in high traffic areas on granite flooring to cut back on the amount of debris being walked into the floor.

Most importantly with granite is to ensure it is properly sealed and the maintenance is kept up. Black and darker granite will need sealing less often than lighter granite but always check with the supplier and/or fitter of your granite to check when and if it should be re-sealed

Happy cleaning 🙂

 

 

Help! How do I get paint emulsion off my sofa?

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Q: Removing dry emulsion from sofa fabric, any ideas? (and yes the painter has been shot)

 

 

A: As the paint is already dry the first thing is to try and remove the majority of it before we make the stain wet again.

With a palette knife, small scraper or similar object start scraping off the paint that is on the top layers of the fabric. Depending on how old (or deep) the stain is, scraping should remove the great majority and all that will remain is to sponge the stain with warm water and a clothes detergent.

However, if the stain has become imbedded deeper in the fabric, take a look at the two methods below, depending on the composition of the paint used…

1. Latex Paint

  • Using a spray bottle Lightly mist the paint stain with water. (This removal process is effective for both wet and dry paint stains on fabric, once the excess paint has been removed)
  • Now for the hard work – Firmly dab the stain with a clean, dry cloth/towel until no more paint transfers over. The water spray will bring the paint out of the fabric. Ensure to use pressure when dabbing to ensure it lifts from the fibers below the ones you can see
  • Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean cloth and start to gently rub the stain ** CAUTION** Always test an inconspicuous area of the sofa first to ensure it does not damage the colour
  • Use warm water, with a tablespoon of clothes detergent, and wash the area
  • Use clean water and another clean cloth to rinse off the area, removing all soap and any remains of the rubbing alcohol
  • Leave to dry
2. Oil Based Paint
  • After scraping paint off, use a sponge dipped in turpentine and dab the stained area ** CAUTION** Again test an area out of sight on your sofa
  • Use a clean cloth to dab after you have dabbed with the sponge soaked in turpentine and you should see the paint lifting onto the cloth
  • Keep repeating the process of sponge dabbing with turpentine, followed by dabbing with a clean cloth until the stain is gone
  •  Use warm water, with a tablespoon of clothes detergent and wash the area
  • Use clean water and another clean cloth ro rinse of the area
  • Leave to dry

We hope this has helped, good luck with removing your stain

Help! Black Nail Varnish On My Beige Carpet

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Q: A friends baby has spilled black nail varnish on a beige carpet. Can someone please tell me how to get it up?

 

A: 1. You can use nail polish remover. I would recommend if you take this route it in acetone free remover as acetone is a stripper and it may bleach the carpet.This method is only recommended on white or very light carpets. ALWAYS test an inconspicious area in the room first that no one will ever see . I would also recommend diluting the nail varnish remover down with water. Scrub the stain with the mixture, always keeping it wet (so that it doesn’t dry into fibers) rinse of with clean water and repeat the process until the stain is gone

2. Use a lot of water, keep the stain wet! Use about 15-20 squirts of hair spray and 3-5 splashes of rubbing alcohol. Scrub gently with a small nail/tooth brush. Blot with kitchen towels. Repeat as necessary. Don’t forget to keep pouring water during the process so the stain doesn’t settle

3.Spray with window cleaner, scrub, rinse, blot repeat – Again ALWAYS test on a small area first. Some folk swear by window cleaner.

4. White vinegar dabbed, not rubbed onto the stained area repeatedly until the stain lifted

I hope this helps and good luck!

 

How To De-Clutter Your Bedroom

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

So far this week we have sorted out your Junk Mail and de-cluttered your Office Space but today we move onto the house… We can’t delay it anymore, we have to tackle the big stuff!

As with all cleaning, one should start up and work down and we are going to do exactly that, starting with the bedroom…

Is your bedroom your sanctuary? Is it a tranquil place that you can unwind and relax in or is it cluttered, with clothes strewn across chairs and in piles, DVDs/CDs/Books stacked in every corner or bulging from shelves or wires from chargers, straightener’s and alarm clocks in every socket? In our busy and active lives our bedrooms should be a pleasure room for relaxation and sleep only, not to work in, haggle in, pay bills in… just to relax and sleep.

In this post we are going to look at 3 main areas of the bedroom to  de-clutter and offer you 5 tips on how to stay on top of it all once you have a achieved you peaceful, zen like bedroom.

Where Do I Start?

 

1. Furniture

Have a look at the furniture in your bedroom and what it’s function is – ask yourself if it’s needed or if there is a better way of storing it’s contents. Do you really need all your coats and jumpers in your wardrobe all year round? Do you really need every one of your 73 pairs of shoes in the bottom of your wardrobe? Do you really need a drawer full of scarfs?

As with anything you have constant contact with,  it can become hard to see the wood for the trees and I would recommend asking a friend to help with their fresh eyes. Ask your friend how they would lay your bedroom out if it were their room, if they think it is streamlined and using the space you have efficiently; sometimes even shifting a wardrobe from one wall to another can make a huge difference to the feel of space in a room

When reviewing your furniture, should you find a particular piece that is redundant in your bedroom, look at using it elsewhere in your home, donate it to a charity (http://www.netcycler.co.uk or  http://www.frn.org.uk/)  or sell it on in your local newspaper (most local newspaper offer a free selling service for items under £200)

 

2. Clothing

Clothing will be the biggest hurdle to your de-cluttering effort in your bedroom, as most people will own far more of it than they will actually need.  In todays society we will have winter and summer wardrobes, shoes, boots, belts, scarfs, accessories, hats, bags, jumpers… Where does it all live and do we need it all?

The first task is to open your wardrobe doors (and with your tough mind from the office de-clutter), be honest with yourself, in scrutinising your clothes and ask yourself the following questions

1) Do I wear it?

2) When was the last time I wore it? (My rule is a 6 months – If you have not wore one of your winter jumpers from October to April, remove it from the wardrobe)

3) Does it fit me? – Now this may sound like a crazy question but I know plenty of folk who keep clothes that are too small as they are their “Inspirational” clothes or they keep clothes too big for them “just in case”

4) Do I like it? – Again, not a crazy question, from personal experinace, I had a dress that I very much liked on the hanger, however, it does nothing for me in real life; I would take it out of the wardrobe, try it on, hate it, take it off, hang it back up and repeat the pattern weeks/months later… Let it go

5) Will I wear it in the next 6 months? – I recommend splitting your wardrobe into Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter. When you are in one season the other half is packed up and put in the attic, under the bed, in a storage cupboard… you don’t need your snow boots and woolly jumpers in July!

For the clothes you have managed to part company with you can donate them to your local charity shop, in a clothes bank or have it collected from a national organisation (www.clothesaid.co.uk) or sell them (Ebay, PreLoved, BigWardrobe to name a few)

 

3. Bedding

Do you have bright colours, abstract designs or many colours, patterns and fabrics mish-mashed together? Your bedding may be too busy, making the room look cluttered or smaller than it is. Take a look at the below three points to help

1) Use White or neutral bedspreads and curtains to keep the room simple and fresh looking

2) Pillows – Less is more; do you really need a gazillion “show” pillows on your bed that you have to take on and off on a twice daily basis… really??

3) Cuddly toys – If you are under 10, we should have a review of how many you have and come to a mutually beneficial solution… if you are over 10 we need to talk! The odd teddy bear, even in a grown up bedroom, can be cute but to have a collection of 15 teddy bears is too much, looks too much, attracts too many bed bugs and lots of dust. Again, less is more sometimes

 

Okay you have reviewed your furniture, ransacked your wardrobes and drawers, removed 43 teddy bears and changed your bedding from flouresent pink to white with a hint of pink… now what?

Daily Tips 

1. Make your bed as soon as you get up and out of it

2. Open blinds/curtains straight away and open a window to air the room, even if only for the 10 minutes you are in the shower

3. When you get home from work/being out hang up your clothes or put them in the laundry, resist the urge to put on a chair (in fact let’s remove the chair!)

4. Avoid bedside clutter – you only need 1 drink, 1 pair of slippers, 1 reading book, 1 tube of hand cream etc

5. Keep an eye on yourself! Review new items you buy for your bedroom and where it will live, do you have space and do you even need it?

And so to bed…