Cleaning Tips and Tricks

At AprilClean, we like to share our cleaning hints and tips. We frequently add new cleaning tips to this section, so be sure to check back regularly.

Best vacuum cleaners for your home

Although an upright vacuum cleaner usually has more power our cleaners much prefer using the drag-around canistertype. The reason for this is that they are much easier to manoeuvre around rooms and up stairs and also cause a great deal less stress to the cleaners back and arms. Although the uprights have a hose option they are usually veryshort, incredibly awkward to use and virtually impossible when going up aflight of stairs. Price is not always the best indication when choosing a newvacuum cleaner. Check that is has good power (over 1000 watts) and that itcomes with a variety of attachments. If these come attached to the body of the vacuum cleaner even better as that means you will be less likely to lose them.

There is very little difference in quality between those that use bags and those that do not. The main thing to consider is whether you will have time to purchase new bags when your current stock runs out. If you do not want to have to do this then get the non-bag option.

Finally remember to check the filter on your vacuum cleaner - if it is not regularly cleaned or changed then this can severely affect the performance ofthe machine.

Coffee and tea dropped on your carpet

Disaster has struck! Someone has spilledsome hot coffee or tea on your carpet.

Firstly, do not let the mark dry out. Mop up the excess and then make up a solution of one tablespoon of borax to onepint of water. (Borax is excellent and has many uses - you can usually find itin the larger supermarkets or
sometimes in Boots)

Sponge this solution onto the spill until you lift the mark out. If not all of the stain is removed use a commercial stain remover such as Stain Devils or Vanish.

Even the heaviest stain should now have been lifted.

Following this treatment it is always agood idea to spruce up the carpet with a carpet shampoo as the patch you have been treating will now be cleaner than the rest of the carpet.

Floor cleaning secrets

Forget expensive floor cleaning liquids.The secret recipe for wonderfully clean and shiny wood, tile and linoleum floors is as follows:

1/4 cup of liquid soap, 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 2 gallons of warm water.

Always use two cleaning buckets. One bucket should contain your floor cleaner, the other should contain clean warmwater.

Before you start cleaning, rinse out your mop in the clean warm water to soften the sponge up. Then place it into the floor cleaner bucket and start to clean. When it comes to dipping the mop intothe floor cleaner bucket again,
first rinse it in the bucket of water. Then you can place it back into the bucket of floor cleaner without fear of dirtying the solution and spreading dirty water back onto your floor.

The super microwave cleaner

Fill a microwavable bowl with 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water. Place into the microwave and switch it on atfull power for 5 minutes, so that the mixture comes to the boil and starts to steam the inside of the machine. This will soften any baked-on food splatters and remove any odours.

Once the water cools down, dip a cleaning cloth into the remaining solution and use it to wipe the inside surfaces of the microwave.

This cleaning method will not only clean your microwave, but also eliminate any nasty smells that may have accumulated.

Preventing steamy bathroom mirrors

If you run cold water into your bathprior to running the hot tap, the bathroom windows and mirrors will not steam up so badly. Also, rubbing your bathroom mirrors with a small amount of neat washing up liquid will help prevent condensation.

Cleaning glasses

We all love the look of gleaming cleanglasseware. However dishwashers just don't get glasses as clear and streak free as we would like. Whichever solutions you use, your glasses will generally endup dull and smeared with a slightly squeaky texture. Washing glasses by handcan be a bit of a bore, but if you follow the following technique all your glasswear will be sparklingly pretty.

Fill the sink with hot soapy water andadd a little vinegar before placing the glasses in to wash. Once clean, polish them dry with a soft cloth - this will have them gleaming.

Do be very careful of the watertemperature - it is important not to use water that is too hot - and never rinse the glasses in cold water as this will cause them to crack.

Cleaning glass decanters

Due to the shape of glass decanters,cleaning the inside base can be very tricky and require a great deal of soaking. However, all you need do during the wash is pour either rice grains orsand into the base of the decanter and swill
it around. This will loosen anysediment and the offending dirt can be poured straight out.

When drying the decanter, never replacethe stopper immediately as any water left inside will cause ugly condensation around the neck. Once dry, this
will cause a stain that is impossible toremove. Instead use some kitchen towel to create a tube that is slightly longerthan the decanter. Sit this tube in the decanter overnight. It will wick away any traces of moisture.

Removing wax dripping from your tablecloth

Place some brown paper (or kitchen towel)over the wax and then iron over the paper on a low heat. This will melt and absorb the wax completely.

However, red wax stains on a white tablecloth are almost impossible to remove. Although this method will removethe wax, it will not remove the red dye. Using coasters is always the best way to prevent any wax drips on your tablecloths.

Shiny pans

The best way to scrub up your pans is touse a fine and fairly soft wire wool with a squeeze of oven cleaner (obviouslynot for non-stick surfaces!).

Alternatively invest in some Brillo Pads that contain injected soap. Remember to wear your rubber gloves as, although your pans will look great after this, your hands will not!

Computers and disks

Don't ever be tempted to spray polish on the screen of your monitor. Nearly all modern polishes contain silicon and itwill coat your screen, monitor case and keyboard in a shiny residue. This willthen pick up dirt from the office environment and your hands that will be incredibly difficult to remove.

The best choice is an official monitorcleaner that can be purchased at your local computer store. Failing this, we recommend a damp (not wet) cloth sprayed with a little bit of white vinegar.This will cut through any grease or dust without causing any damage. Dry with asoft non-fluffing cloth.

The best technique with floppy disks issimply to keep them clean at all times. Always keep them in their dust jackets in a floppy disk file. Disk drives are designed to clean the floppy disk as it's used. If your disk drive needs cleaning, purchase a specialist disk to cleanthe drive from your local
computer store.

Dull curtains

The best way to deal with dull curtains is to hoover them. Using the longer furniture attachment on your machine, workup and down the length of the curtain and along the very top. This should help to brighten them up.

Should your curtains need cleaning, it is always advisable to carefully read the instructions prior to shoving them in to the machine! Also check the state that the curtains are in. Carefully stretch and feel the back side of the fabric to make sure they aren't sun-rotted. If they are it is time to go
shopping! They will just fall apart during the wash or dry clean if this is the case.

Storing your cleaning equipment

If you are likely to have any youngchildren visiting your house, don't keep your cleaning materials under the kitchen sink. Placing the cleaning materials in a higher cupboard will not only be safer, it will also make it much easier when it comes to cleaning, as you will be able to clearly see (and get at) the cleaning products you require.

It is also worth investing in a small 'cleaner carrier' such as a small bucket or basket. You can then carry all of your cleaning equipment with you as you clean around your house.

After cleaning, tie the cloth you have used with each cleaning product around that product's tin or bottle. You will then be able to keep your cleaning cloths for longer and avoid any cross contamination between your kitchen, bathroom and toilet