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

 

 

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?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Cleaning tips Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

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?

Ask Mrs Mopp... Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

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! Black Nail Varnish On My Beige Carpet

Ask Mrs Mopp... Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

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!

 

Clear Your Mind, Clear your Office

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Day two of our mission to help you de-clutter your lives and living space. Today we talk about your office/desk space… now hands up, who has a desk that looks like a bomb has hit it?

I'm sure I had a stapler here somewhere...

Top 5 Tips to Cleaning Up Your Office

1. Clear your desk – That’s right, everything off!

Now you have a visible surface to polish and also a clean slate on which to start. Take a look at all the items that are now on the floor and ask yourself two things 1) What do I use on a DAILY basis? 2) What needs to be in reach? (This is where you have to be tough) ONLY the answers from those two questions get to make it back onto the desk everything else needs to be binned, recycled, filed or sold!

2. Book Cases, cupboards and shelves

A book case or storage cupboard is an invaluable asset in your office for giving items somewhere to live, however it is not to be used as a permanent filing stop gap for folders, books and binders, and so here’s what we are going to do…

1) Look at all books that you own and ask yourself do you need it? Is it relevant now (what are you keeping that 1980’s version of stream line your office for)? Will you ever read/re-read it?  Depending on your answers…

a) Sell them (Psst! Try not to rush out and buy more books to replace the old ones!)

www.amazon.co.uk/trade-in

www.cash4books.net

www.fatbrain.co.uk

b) Donate them to your local library, Chamber of Commerce or Local Business Hub (not your Mills & Boon stuff obviously)

c) If you really must keep all of your books, think about storing them elsewhere if they are not needed regularly. See this great post I came across to give you some ideas and inspiration “Top 5 Book Storage Ideas You Wish You Thought Of”

3. Paper, paper, paper

Ah paper, the life blood of us office types. We have masses of paper all over our offices; in drawers, binders, filing cabinets, folders, old notebooks etc. But how do we cut down on it and how do we aim to reach the utopia of a paperless office?

1) Remove your name from mailing lists – see our post yesterday about Junk Mail 

2) Paperless Billing – By swapping to electronic bills you will not only save trees but it is claimed 171 pounds of greenhouses gases, 63 gallons of water and 4.5 gallons of fuel annually for each paperless household, pretty impressive right for a small switch? Now if we could just find a way to stop them billing us in the first place…

3) If you still have to use “Snail Mail” for remote clients or friends why not tech it up a little by using digital snail mail over the internet? Will save you have stores of paper, envelopes, stamps etc and free up a tad more space in your office

www.pc2paper.co.uk

www.ukpostbox.com

4.  Manage it – You will need a recycle box/bin and a two tiered filing tray labeled with “To Do” and “To File” – now go through your piles and they can only end up in one of 3 places!

4. Let’s Not Get Too Personal

It is nice to personalise your office; have some comforts and make it individual to you, however, a little too much personalisation can distract you and I take it you are at a desk to work and be productive? Ask yourself (time to be tough again) Do you really need 14 pictures of your children/dog/recent holiday/loved ones?? Yes we know you love them but resit the urge to daydream or get lost in the picture by keeping it for the home

5. Tidy up Time!

Impose your own clear desk policy, especially if you are a home worker. At the end of every day the last 10 minutes should be sent getting your desk in order for the following day  – In a survey conducted by OfficeMax it was said that 77% of people claimed that a messy office had a negative impact on their productivity, we don’t want that, we want to be in the 23% of productive people, we have goals to achieve this year, yes?

Now let’s get cracking… everything off your desk!


Will a cleaning business suit my needs?

Cleaning Articles & Guides Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

To continue on with our “Why use a cleaning service” post; after looking at sole traders previously, we will be looking at cleaning businesses and what the Pros and Cons are for homeowners thinking of using a cleaning service

What is a cleaning business?

A cleaning business is usually a number of cleaners that all work for the one business. A cleaning business may still trade in a sole trader capacity but most will trade in a Limited company capacity as the business grows. Some cleaning businesses may also be registered for VAT, depending on their size and turnover. The business is normally owned/run by an individual and is a private business operating in the owners local area.

Mrs Mopp Cleaning Services is a cleaning business.

The pros of using a cleaning business

  • One of the disadvantages of sole traders is that if your cleaner is sick/on holiday/breaks a leg the homeowner is left without a cleaner. In a cleaning business, as there are normally several cleaners and/or bank staff, so that you as the client should never have an uninterrupted service
  • There are usually several ways for clients to pay when using a cleaning business such as online, by card, direct debit etc. as a business will service several clients a day, compared to a sole trader, and it is not feasible or safe to be collecting money off every clean, making it easier for the clients to pay their bills and budget their own household.
  • The pricing within cleaning businesses tend not to be hugely dissimilar to sole traders with rate from £8.50 – £12.50 per hour  being the average rates and depending on if the business is subject to VAT, provides the cleaning materials etc. – with added security of an uninterrupted cleaning service, higher insurance cover and fidelity bonding on staff and an up-line for complaints
  • Some people do not like to complain when they are not getting the service they would like. With a sole trader, whilst a pro is that the relationship between cleaner/client may be closer that can cause problems in its own right if the relationship does become too friendly, as to tell your cleaner you are not happy may result in you not having a cleaner at all or putting up with a service you do not want as to not rock the boat. With a cleaning business, there is a manager you can talk to who can either have a word with your cleaner or even replace your cleaner all together if necessary
  • Spot checks and training of staff to ensure standards are met and kept

The cons of using a cleaning business

  • Due to the hard and arduous nature of work, there is usually a high turnover of staff within the cleaning industry, so even though you may not have an uninterrupted service it may not always be the same cleaner that will come to your home
  • A cleaning business may have a contract or at the very least Terms of service which may impose charges on a client for cancellations and lock outs, for example, as the cleaning business will have an obligation to its staff regardless, whereas a sole trader only has to think about their own time and money.
  • As businesses grow, some may lose the “personal touch” as was there in the beginning as sole trader due to the number of staff, clients, suppliers etc that the owner will have to deal with and the client may not feel as loved as they once did

Checklist for a cleaning business

1. Does the business have Employers liability insurance, Public liability insurance, at a minimum of £1 million and do they have fidelity bonding against their staff – can they provide you with a copy of their insurances?

2. Does the business have references from clients they currently serve? What is the retention rate of their clients?

3. Can the business show and tell you how they recruit, train and monitor their staff?

4. How does the business keep in touch with its clients as not to lose that “personal touch”?

5. What does social media think of the business? Check online, do they have good/bad reviews, what does their customer service levels come across like? Do they have visibility on the web? Could you connect with your Cleaning business through multiple channels?

Next week: Cleaning franchises.

20 Weird & Wonderful Cleaning Tips

Cleaning tips Mrs Mopp Blog Spot

Years before supermarket shelves were packed with an array of brightly coloured bottles promising to kill 99.9% of all germs or promising to clean an item so brightly that you could use it as a make shift mirror, the world of cleaning used natural remedies and sometimes slighty unnatural remedies to get results…

1. Lemon Juice can be for stains and rust on plastic – use diluted or neat

2. Use diluted lemon juice on a curry stain on a carpet to remove stain and freshen fabric

3. For spills on carpets, use soda water dabbed on to remove staining from pile

4. Remove water marks from wooden surfaces with a small amount of mayonnaise or toothpaste on a damp cloth

5. Banish children’s finger tip marks from your wall by rubbing with slightly moist, stale white bread (yes really… told you weird and wonderful!)

6. To make your chrome sparkle and shine, pour flour over, rinse and buff with a soft cloth

7. To make your stainless steel shine, rub it over with baking powder and buff up with a ball of scrunched up newspaper

8. Want to perk up your wooden furniture? Wash wood with a white vinegar/water solution, leave over night, then polish and buff surfaces as normal the next day

9. For tough, hard to shift stains and for disinfectant properties use white vinager and water, with a 1:5 ratio

10. To remove lime scale from a shower head, leave in a bowl of white vinegar overnight

11. Remove hard water marks from toilet bowls by tipping in fizzy cola, leaving for an hour and then flushing

12. Rub plant leaves with a  small of amount of mayonnaise or milk on a paper towel to make them shine for weeks!

13. To make small brass or copper items shine, rub with a cotton swab that has been dipped in ketchup, then buff

14. Use WD-40 to remove sticker marks from plastic tubs and items

15. Want to  find another use for vodka other than having a party… how about using it on a soft clean cloth to shine porcelain, chrome or glass

16. Use rice to clean inside vases, bottles or hard to reach areas by mixing rice with a water/vinegar solution, shaking vigorously and rinse out (rice is also good for putting into your salt pot to protect from moisture)

17. To remove rust from items put the kettle on (no, not for you) and make some strong black tea, wait for it to  cool and place the item in the tea for an hour to overnight depending on the level of rust

18. To remove wax and paraffin stains on furniture use glycerine (bought from chemists and is harmless on skin)

19. Another top tip for carpet spills, sprinkle over the spill with corn starch, leave for 15 mins and  then vaccum

20.  To remove mineral stains from glass built up by dishwashers or hard water areas rub with  freshly peeled potato skins and buff