Take a look at our article published on Shropshirelive.com on our new venture into Shrewsbury
Take a look at our article published on Shropshirelive.com on our new venture into Shrewsbury
One of our stranger but fun questions…
Q: Why are dusters yellow?
A: It seems no one knows for sure but I’ve come across 3 explanations that are the most plausible
1. In the first half of the nineteenth century a large quantity of bright yellow cotton cloth was imported from Nanking in China, and subsequently imitated and produced in Britain, from which highly fashionable trousers (Nankeens) were made. After the garments wore out, the remaining cloth was recycled as polishing rag in the hands of the thrifty.
2. Dusters are yellow because it’s the colour of the flag hoisted on a ship before coming into port to let those ashore know that the crew were all fit and clean!
3. Connected with spring, such as daffodils and the expression ‘to be as busy as a (yellow) bee’. Spring cleaning with (yellow) wax and duster is an almost symbolic gesture of spreading sunlight around the home.
Now you know…
Got a cleaning Question? Ask Mrs Mopp… http://www.facebook.com/mrsmoppcleaningservices
A question we have been asked…
Q: How do I remove fly Poop from silk curtains?
A: The three things that would be worth a try (in order) are 1) Sugar soap 2) Lemon and salt paste 3) Baby shampoo… HOWEVER always test an inconspicuous patch first to test. To avoid in the future, try netting across windows and door in the summer months
Got a cleaning question? Post it here to ask Mrs Mopp http://www.facebook.com/mrsmoppcleaningservices
How to clean up mold problems
“Small areas” of mold can be cleaned with a detergent solution.
Wear a mask, safety goggles and rubber gloves.
Seek professional help if there is a lot of mold or if mold comes back after cleaning.
Bleach is NOT recommended
The presence of organic (humic) materials, the pH (acidity/alkalinity) of the water, the surface material and contact time affect the effectiveness of bleach for disinfection. Since these factors are not generally controlled, bleach cannot be relied upon for disinfection. The most compelling reason for advising against bleach is that fumes are harmful but in addition, overuse of bleach will result in increased releases of chlorinated effluents which can be harmful to the environment.
Small area clean-up
You can clean up small areas of mold (fewer than three patches, each smaller than a square meter) yourself. The minimum protective wear needed are:
safety glasses or goggles
a disposable dust mask
household rubber gloves.
**Infants and other family members with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in the work area or adjacent room during the cleaning **
Scrub with an unscented detergent solution; then sponge with a clean, wet rag and dry quickly.
Using an unscented detergent will make it easier for you to detect residual moldy odours.
Got a cleaning question?? Ask Mrs Mopp Cleaning Services
In this final part of “What cleaning Service will suit my needs” we will be looking at Cleaning Agencies.
What is a cleaning agency?
A cleaning agency is very similar to your typical recruitment agency – the agent finds, interviews and vets the workers and then “sells” the workers time/skills/trade to employers who may need them on a temporary or permanent basis.
This is true of a cleaning agency – With a cleaning agency, like a franchise, an individual can buy the licensed rights to use the brand name of the agency. The agency will heavily leaflet drop a set geographical area, then place ads in jobs centres to finds the cleaners to undertake the work, which they then sell to a homeowner, in chunks of the cleaners time, off the back of their leaflet campaign. Cleaning agents that you may have heard of are Maid2Clean, BellaCasa and Dolly Char and they are an ever increasing trend in the cleaning sector.
The cleaners are not employed by the agencies and are self-employed individuals, responsible for completing an annual self assessment and their own taxes and insurances. The homeowner will have to leave the agreed hourly rate in cash for the cleaner every time they have a clean – the homeowner will also have to pay the agency a fee every week by direct debit or standing order to pay for the services of the agency. The homeowner will be locked into a contract for a minimum of 3 months with a cleaning agency and please note, the agents fees are payable weather the homeowner has a clean or not that week!
The Pros of using a cleaning agency
The Cons of using a cleaning agency
As a cleaning business owner, and obviously working within the cleaning industry, cleaning agents are not my favourite flavour of cleaning service available as I, personally, do not feel they give a value added service to either the homeowners or the cleaners involved and the only party that benefits is the agent – they offer no training, no quality control of cleans, no back office support and no structure.
If you, as a homeowner, want to be in control of the rota and the quality, then you could hire your own cleaner direct as that is what an agent offers, with a weekly cost! If you want an uninterrupted service look at franchises or cleaning businesses and if you want to just make a phone call and hire/fire a cleaner then perhaps an agent is for you but please before you make any decisions, read through all the posts in this section to see which one would suit your home, family and pocket best
Please feel free to add your comments or questions
Next blog post: How to complain about your clean
What is a Sole Trader
A sole trader, also know as “one man band”, are normally individuals that work alone and have a self employed status. The sole trader will undertake all cleaning and ironing work within your home usually. The sole trader would be responsible for a self assessment annually, paying their own taxes and national insurance contributions and for their business insurances. Should the sole trader start to take on employees, they must be registered with the HMRC as an employer so that the appropriate taxes may be paid and have their insurances amended to cover more than one individual.
The Pros of using a Sole Trader
The Cons of using a Sole Trader
Check list for a employing a self employed cleaner:
1) Does the cleaner have references you can telephone to ask about the cleaners service, reliability and standards?
2) Can the cleaner supply the client with a copy of insurance details?
3) Can the cleaner supply proof of self employed status, such as government gateway number or proof of employer status by way of their employer code?
4) Does the cleaner sub contract out work when on holiday/poorly – Who to? Who’s insurance is the replacement cleaner covered by?
In the third of our What Cleaning Service Would Suit My Needs? this week it is the turn of the Cleaning Franchise
What is a franchise?
A franchise is the practice of an individual buying the name, brand and proven business model from a successful business, with on-going fees for the continued use of the brand and business model. The franchisor owns the business, the intellectual property and the trademarks of the business. The franchisor expands their business by selling set geographical areas to the franchisee to operate in, following an operations manual of methods and procedures to replicate the original successes of the first business.
Franchising has been around in business for many years and was first sold as licensing agreements were the owning party would sell the right to use their branding to an individual. Business model franchising (full turnkey solution) is now the most typical arrangement and has grown massively since the 1950′s when Ray Kroc decided to grow the empire, we all know and love, McDonald’s, through a business model franchisee route. Since Ray Krocs proven world wide success of creating “The worlds biggest small business” many other businesses have followed suit – Subway, Toni & Guy, Dominoes Pizza, Signs Express and Spar to name just a few of the brands you may know
Cleaning services are very popular within franchising and many cleaning brands already exist such as Molly Maid, Time For You, Bright and Beautiful and Daily Poppins to name but a few but what does having a cleaning franchise mean to a homeowner looking for a cleaning service provider?
Like with a cleaning business many of the pros and cons will be similar with a cleaning franchise, such as a stand in cleaner if your cleaner is sick or on holiday, training and quality checking and of course the cons are there too like staff turnover and standard consistency etc but below are more franchise specific pros and cons
The Pros of using a cleaning franchise
The Cons of using a cleaning franchise
Checklist for a cleaning franchise
Next week: Cleaning Agencies
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
The cons of using a cleaning business
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.
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
Okay, so since the last post we’ve all de-cluttered, made space in our home or office and are now ready to start the actual task of the spring cleaning right? (If not, please go back a step and read our de-cluttering post to get you on track)
To help you along with this big annual task I have put together this guide along with some useful hints and tips to help you achieve a clean, fresh, sparkly home without too much pain, so lets get on shall we as we have homes and offices to make beautiful…
1) Get bodies on board – A spring clean is not a task to be done on your lonesome, it’s a big job and should you try to be a hero and do it alone you could be trapped in your property until next spring! Recruit your fellow family members, colleagues, flat mates or use a professional service, as I am sure you did not create the mess alone, so don’t take on the task of cleaning it alone!
Children can help with wiping walls, wiping cupboards, dusting and using a feather duster among other duties and if children are set a task and are given the authority for it, not only will you have less work to do, but your children will feel important and like they make a difference in the home… also bribery of ice cream afterwards, trip to park, movie night etc usually help too.
2) Check you have the tools – Before you psyche yourself up and start doing your stretching exercises and limbering up for the cleaning event (not compulsory ) check to make sure you have all the tools you need to be able to undertake your spring clean.
You will need:
3) Start up, work down – Help gravity out, by always starting at the top of the room and work downwards – so ceiling dusting for cobwebs, then walls, then door and architrave, then skirting, then floor
4) Get behind the big stuff – spring cleaning is that time when we move the settee, pull out the beds, move the kitchen dresser etc in order to get behind them and clean those areas – Please never do this alone, pair up with another and remember “knees bend, back straight, we go up without a break”. Use your crevice tool for the hard to reach places to go over the carpeted or hard floor area and also the skirting
*** top tip *** If you have cream or lighter coloured carpets you may notice around the edges it will still look dark after vacumming, this is trapped hair and dust and it will never come out with a vacuum alone, even using the crevice tool. Solution? Wrap a damp jay cloth around your finger tip and run it between the wall and carpet, it collects all dust and hair in one go.
Okay, now the nitty-gritty, are you ready?
5) Cleaning walls – After using your feather duster to go around the ceiling, its time to start on the walls. The first thing to do is eliminate the dust that will naturally settle.For a textured wall, use nylon socks over your broom head as this will prevent snagging and stop you having lots of matted and ripped material stuck to your wall. For wall-papered walls, a normal yellow duster will suffice, attached on to your broom head and brush the walls from the top down
After dusting off all walls, take a look for marks (especially finger and hand prints where people may lean or touch i.e. by light switches, door handles, the water cooler), if you paint is washable then please wipe away with a multi surface cleaner, if you have paint that is not washable or you have wallpaper that has greasy or crayon marks for example, panic not, a art-gum to erase marks could be used among many other solutions
6) Cleaning windows – Windows can be tricky and personally I find that allot of the over-the-counter cleaners, whilst smelling very nice don’t often deliver on their “no streaks” promise. I find washing the windows with good old fashioned soapy water (or 1 part water, 1 part white vinegar if you’d prefer) and then buffing with either newspaper or a good quality micro fibre will do a very nice job. My two top tips are to firstly clean your windows on a cloudy day when it is not sunny or too warm and secondly buff one side in one direction and, should you do the outsides too, to buff the other side in the opposite direction so that if there are smears you can tell which side is the culprit!
7) Cleaning paintwork – Using your bowl, jay cloths and sponges wash all architrave (door frames), doors and skirting boards in the rooms - Psst don’t forget the top of the door frames and to wipe over your doors and architrave afterwards with a microfibre to have high gloss finish without water marks
Also wash down banisters, spindles, strings (the triangle piece up the side of the stairs don’t-you-know) and hand railings as these areas get very dusty, very grimy and carry germs that can lead to viruses.
8 ) Wooden flooring – Grit is the enemy of the wooden floor, so in order to prevent a build up it is always best to have mats for visitors to wipe their shoes off before they step on your floor. Regularly brush or vacuum (on flat setting, no brush bars please as they will scratch) or invest in a microfibre flat head mop, as theses can be used for buffing as well as collecting dust and grit
With wooden floors it is best to “mist” the mop head (spray solution onto it) rather then the traditional method with a mop and bucket, as the water residue will sit on top of the floor and will, over time, cause damage to the flooring
*** Top Tip*** When cleaning your wooden floor, attach a waxed piece of paper to the bottom of your flat-head microfibre or broom – this will not only pick up any little bits that were stuck to the floor but will also polish the floor too!
9) Cleaning Kitchens – On a spring clean, the kitchen (along with bathroom) should have the longest time spent on them, as they are the two areas of your home that will encounter high traffic. In the kitchen all kitchen cupboards should be washed both inside and out, all kick boards, pelmets and handles. As well as the paintwork, windows and walls the other areas to pay attention too are the appliances, a great tip is to wipe them over with vinegar and lemon juice to keep white and buff afterwards to keep that new look shine. Also tips for a clean sink are to use lighter fluid (yes really) on stainless steel sinks to get rid of any staining – on porcelain sinks, place paper towels on the bottom of the sink and drench in household bleach, leave for 8 hours overnight and hey presto a lovely sparkly sink (not to be used on coloured sink please)
A top tip for your refrigerator is to place a small box of baking powder in there to eliminate odours
10) Cleaning bathrooms – In my opinion bathrooms should dazzle and shine, they are place we go to get clean ourselves and therefore it should be clean to begin with as what’s the pointing of bathing in a dirty tub?
For bathrooms, all walls, tiles, grout and paint work should be washed, as well as the toilet (don’t forget the back of the toilet where the pipes are and the sides where the toilet bolts in, both places that collect allot of dust and grime) the hand basin, shower tray and bath – then all should be buffed to a high shine with your microfibre.
My biggest bugbear with bathrooms is glass and chrome – these should sparkle within a bathroom and my ideal clean is when a shower is so clean it looks like it has no glass in it at all – to achieve this the product I would recommend would be Viakal or for those that prefer the natural remedy, use 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 baking powder to one gallon water – use your dis-scalers all over the screen, scrub lightly with a sponge scourer, rinse, wipe off dry and buff and you will have a shower of a luxery hotel in your very own bathroom
So there we have it my top ten guide of spring cleaning… now go and get your marigolds on as we have work to do