Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Common Winter Home Cleaning & Maintenance Issues

How to keep yourself and your family healthy through winter? 
Check out some health tips given by Auckland Regional Public Health Service & the Ministry of Social Development. They advise taking the influenza vaccination on time, washing your hands properly, taking healthy food, doing routine exercises, and reducing dampness in the house etc.

The website of the Health Service also says if you or your child is feeling unwell you can get free health advice from registered nurses by phoning Healthline on 0800 611 116. Read their full article with ten tips for staying well in winter.

Winter House Maintenance Issues 

Now let’s look at some maintenance tips for your house in winter.

Gutters and water leaks
Rain is usual in the winter. And if the gutters, downpipes and the drains are not clean, there can be blocks and water will leak into the house building structure. So, one must check the gutters before and during the winter to ensure free flow of water through the pipes and drains. 

Leaf guards on the gutters are to be checked and ensure that the cleaners you hire give quality service for them.

House insulation
As per the Building Code Clause H1, New Zealand houses should maintain proper insulation, ensuring the right level of thermal resistance (R-value) for their location. Adequate insulation is necessary for a healthier living condition and it also reduces your energy bills because the heat generated is effectively circulated inside the house.  

More insulation is needed for houses in colder climates. Recent studies in New Zealand clarified that there is a definite link between insulation and health. People living in well insulated houses reported visiting their GP less.

Ceiling and underfloor insulation will be compulsory in all rental homes from 1 July 2019. New Zealand Govt’s tenancy, maintenance and inspections website states that the landlord must disclose whether there is insulation in the rental home, where it is, what type and what condition it is in, so tenants can make an informed decision. The tenancy laws also stipulate that a landlord who fails to comply with the insulation requirements as on 1st July 2019 will be liable for a penalty of up to $4,000.

Before the start of the winter and also during the winter period, you should inspect the insulation so as to make sure that it hasn't become inadequate due to water damage, dampness or compression from storage boxes.   

Dampness and moisture
Everybody knows the signs of dampness in the house like mould growth and visible water stains on the walls, ceilings etc. There will also be the presence of damp, stale or musty smells caused by mould spores in the buildings affected by damp problems.

Mould spores in the air can cause sickness, so the areas affected by mould, especially the wardrobes, cupboards and the backs of curtains, are to be thoroughly cleaned. If you are not sure about completely removing the presence of mould, better hire an expert home cleaning service in New Zealand to do it professionally. 

Check and ensure that the extractor fans in the kitchens and bathrooms are working in good condition. Change the filters of the ventilation system once every year.

Prevention is better than cure:

A scheduled winter cleaning programme from Select Clean before the beginning of inclement weather can greatly reduce dampness and moisture related issues.

A freshly cleaned home is a delight to look at as everybody feels great in a clean atmosphere. Get more time for you and your kids by hiring Select Clean and you can spend your free time on the things you love to do. Protect your home in winter by joining hands with the most reliable and consistent home cleaning service in New Zealand.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Kiwis’ Cleaning Habits, Hamilton Property News, the Meth Threat, and More

Here are some interesting facts about New Zealanders’ general home cleaning habits and the overall attitude to housework. 

A recent survey, which quizzed more than 500 Kiwis on their household cleaning habits, said over 45% actively avoid the task of cleaning the toilet, while 22 percent would rather have dinner with their in-laws than cleaning the loo.

It’s found that the Kiwis mostly spend up to four hours in a week doing household chores, and it is women who actually do more house cleaning work than men.

Majority of the respondents also hinted that they judge friends on the state of their toilet, and admitted that they would rather hold on than use a toilet they thought was dirty, even at friends’ houses.

With the previous generations, women used to spend about 2.6 times longer on housework than men, but things have changed in the modern era, the survey had revealed. Women (3.9 hours cleaning) now spend just 0.5 hours longer on cleaning chores than men (3.4 hours).

New Zealanders are very much conscious about cleanliness. Almost everybody surveyed agreed that they do a quick whip-around clean before guests arrived.

New Homes Planned in Hamilton East
Meanwhile, a recent news report said Housing New Zealand and Waikato-Tainui are working in partnership to deliver new homes in Hamilton East, redeveloping the Jebson Place site.  The building site also covers the area bordered by Old Farm Road, Cassidy Street and Dey Street.

"A lot of careful thought has been put into the design to ensure the new homes planned are attractive and a good fit with the neighbourhood. The partnership will also provide the right types of social housing properties needed in Hamilton and increase the city’s overall housing supply,” says Housing New Zealand’s General Manager Asset Development Patrick Dougherty.

Mr Dougherty further said that all the homes would be attractive, easy to maintain, fully carpeted and insulated, and filled with light. The homes would be located on landscaped sections with private outdoor living spaces.

While, Waikato-Tainui CEO Donna Flavell opined: "There will be a mix of properties – some affordable and some for the open market. It was always our intention to see the redevelopment create a vibrant and diverse community."

Meth Contamination Threat
Now, regarding the meth threat, environmental chemist Dr. Nick Kim, a Massey University scientist, advised people not to panic if their house tests positive for methamphetamine, as it is unlikely to do them any harm. A news report on 17 June by Radio NZ quoted Dr. Kim as saying that methamphetamine residue was a very low health risk and people were misinterpreting Ministry of Health guidelines on cleaning up houses where the drug, known as P, had been used.

However, if you don’t want to take risks, and have concerns about the meth contamination threat, you need to call a quality home cleaning service in your locality. Ensure that the cleaner uses standard practice to remove all traces of meth residue from the floors and walls of your house.

For effectively cleaning up residential properties situated in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington & Christchurch, you may call Select Clean verified cleaners on 0800 000 907. Your home cleaning task is carried out by local, dedicated owner operators of Select Clean who bring all the cleaning materials, tools and equipment they need to complete the job.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Professional Home Cleaning Reduces the Health Risk of Mould

A briefing paper for the Canterbury District Health Board, said: “The housing environment (in New Zealand) is a key setting with impacts on human health. Housing factors which contribute significantly to health outcomes include temperature, humidity and ventilation, overcrowding, affordability and fuel poverty.” 

The paper further said that direct effects of cold homes on health included excess mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory disease amongst the elderly, increased respiratory problems in children, increased illnesses such as colds and flu, mental health problems and the exacerbation of conditions such as arthritis. 

Humidity level in your house is thus a decisive factor on human health. High humidity reduces indoor temperatures during winter, paving way for cold home conditions which adversely affect your health. The saturation of moisture content causes dampness, which leads to the over growth of mould and dust mites in your homes.

How to get rid of mould
Mould will grow in often neglected places such as wardrobes, under carpets, behind curtains and furniture in humid conditions. A quality home cleaning service will check these problematic areas and remove all traces of mould and mildew during the cleaning process. However, when you clean your home yourself, it is highly likely that you may overlook such matters.

Here’s a DIY method to kill visible mould: Apply methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) to the affected area, and let it remain there for half an hour. Repeat this process once more and see that signs of the mould have disappeared.  Finally, wipe the area with a clean cloth to completely remove mould spores. Throw away the cloth after use to prevent any leftover mould spores growing back.

Lemons and green home cleaning
Lemons can be used as a good natural cleaning substance, which will also leave your house smelling fresh. The citric acid in lemon makes it a strong disinfectant. It has also low pH and antibacterial properties. Harsh and toxic chemicals in many cleaning products will have negative effects on your health, so it’s good to resort to natural cleaners.

Stove cleaning: Stove gets dirty if you don’t clean it regularly. Take a lemon piece and rub it over the stove surface; then sprinkle some baking soda and using a soft sponge, begin to scrub. When hard stains are loosened, wipe the surface with a cotton cloth to get perfect clean.

Microwave cleaning: Take half cup of water into a microwave-safe bowl. Mix it with the juice of half of a lemon.  Place the bowl in the microwave and heat it for 3 minutes or until it boils. Now, let the boiled lemon water stay in the microwave for five to 10 minutes to kill all the bacteria and remove bad smell. The vapours will help to loosen up stubborn stains and any food particles stuck in the oven. Now open the microwave door and clean it with a damp cloth.

Residential cleaning
Till recently, the demand for house and apartment-cleaning services was most popular with people of higher than average wealth looking for a little more free time – especially in two-income households. Market research conducted a few years before said that married couples with college degrees, 45 years old or older, always depend on reputed home cleaning service in New Zealand.

However, the latest trend shows that people of all walks of life are inclined to avoid the cleaning chores in their daily routine because everybody can now afford reliable house cleaning services in New Zealand.

Select Home Cleaning provides professional home cleaning service in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch - dependable and affordable award winning home cleaning by fully trained owner operators. Call a home cleaner now on 0800 000 907 for a cleaning job or for a free quote on house cleaning.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Useful Housekeeping Tips for Busy Moms and Dads

Keep your bathroom & toilet germ free
Following some clever and easy cleaning techniques can restrict the spread of germs and avoid mould and mildew growing in the bathroom area.

Always close the toilet lid before flushing in order to prevent germs spreading onto other surfaces. It’s highly likely that your toothbrush and other personal items may get contaminated when germs are likely to splash onto them if toilet is flushed with open lid.    

While cleaning the toilet, also give particular attention to the toilet handle, toilet seat, taps, and door handles, which have large colonies of harmful bacteria and can easily spread the germs as these surfaces are frequently touched. If you have kept your showerheads out of use for some time and want to use it now, remember there can be large accumulation of germs there. Flush all the germs out by running the shower on full power with hot water.

Prevention of the growth of mould and mildew: bathroom surfaces are to be kept dry and the room well-ventilated. Any water leaks are to be immediately attended to.

Not carpets, but hard flooring like wood or stone is advised for bathrooms because of easiness to clean. Carpets also have a tendency to collect debris and encourage mould growth when wet.

Use of eucalyptus oil in home cleaning
Eucalyptus oil is an ideal natural freshener and also a cleaning agent (due to disinfectant and antiseptic properties) for your kitchen, bathroom and toilet. It can also be used for cleaning hard surface floors. The Eucalyptus oil helps to easily remove grease and stains from bathroom and toilet. As such it’s environment friendly too.

The oil can also be effectively used for mildewed wardrobes, stinking shoes, and smoky rooms (for clearing stale smoke fumes).

How to manage home cleaning with kids
It’s advisable to give a weekly cleaning chart to kids and thus their cleaning chores can be scheduled. It will make them more responsible kids and help to develop self confidence and habit of cleanliness in their young minds. For this you’ll have to decide which jobs children can do, and allot one or two jobs to each kid. Before proceeding you need to teach them how to do it for the first time.

Always praise the kids for their little contribution in helping you to clean the home. This will encourage them and slowly they’ll start doing the chores perfectly.

Necessity of hiring a home cleaning service
Everyone knows it’s very difficult to find some free time in today’s busy world. The time constraint of everyday life mostly affects home cleaning and maintenance. Hiring a house cleaning service is the best option to maintain cleanliness and home organisation.

A professional home cleaner is trained to do his/her job and uses the best equipment and products so the quality of work will always be better than what a homeowner does. Once you pick up a habit of hiring a home cleaner, there is no need to worry about hygiene and health issues. However if you don’t call cleaners, there are chances that your bathrooms may be left dirty and microwave soiled and germ affected for several days. 

Hiring a home cleaner means you’ll have sufficient free time to look after your kids and enjoy the life, unwinding the pressures of office job.

The first thing you want to do after coming home may be to kick back and relax, but the reality is that you’ll have to address a messy house. Attending to dirty dishes in the sink and smelly laundry everywhere will drain all your energy.

Get the peace of mind and relaxation you truly deserve in life by appointing a home cleaner in New Zealand to do general or schedule cleaning and other specialised tasks such as bathroom cleaning, oven cleaning, refrigerator cleaning etc.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Housekeeping Tips- How Often Should You Clean That?

Experts say an average household harbours more bacteria than a public garbage bin. A study related to home cleaning and hygiene said that over two hundred thousand or more bacteria could be found every 2.5 square centimetres of a floor carpet. A thing of concern, isn’t it? It is thus clear that if you don't regularly steam your floors, it’ll affect the health of your family members.

Robin Wilson, an interior designer who specialises in allergy-free homes, remarked that indoor air quality could be eight to 10 times worse than outdoor air quality. She suggested that people should at least clean their drapes and let air inside regularly if they don't clean the flooring at required intervals.

Microwave cleaning
Many of us think that the restroom in office is the storehouse of germs. However, a new study clarifies that highest percentage of harmful bacteria and dirt are present where employees prepare and eat food, not the restroom! Another such misconception is about microwave which people consider as the cleanest spot- and it turns out most are wrong after analysts examined the microwave.  

So, clean the microwave thoroughly considering the experts’ opinion. Wipe it down every week, ensuring that you also give it a deep cleaning twice a month.

Researchers in the home cleaning and maintenance sector have not given clean chit to bathtub too. In fact, the studies found skin infection-causing bacteria in 26% of baths tested, where as it’s just 6% with respect to garbage bins. So keep it in mind that the bathtub is more harmful than the trash – must clean it at least once in a week.  

Bed linen & bath towels
New lab tests suggest that your bed linen isn't as dirty and contaminated with germs as you may think. Euan Tovey, head of the Allergen Research Group at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, found out that you don't get as much exposure to dust mites in bed as the specialists once thought. Recommended cleaning for your bed linens is every one to two weeks; ensure you do it in hot water.

Bath towels are to be properly washed after three uses to remove dead skin cells, specialists opined. And for hand towels, wash them once in 3 or 4 days.

Give your refrigerator a professional cleaning every month as hygienists revealed that the presence of bacteria in the salad drawers is about 750 times more than the safe level.  

Computer accessories
Do you believe that the computer keyboards hold five times the bacteria content found on a toilet seat? People often take lunch at their desk, making computer keyboards a haven for harmful micro-organisms.  The thing to worry here is that these keyboards normally get neglected during normal home cleaning routine.

Expert home cleaners in Auckland recommend that you clean the keyboard every week. Clean the mouse and the desk too along with the keyboard.

Mattress & pillows
Mattresses need to be cleaned every two months to reduce allergens in your bedroom. First clean any spills or other stains on the mattress. After the spot cleaning, add five drops of essential oil into baking soda and sprinkle it on the mattress evenly using a sifter. Let it stay there for half an hour or more to absorb odour and all traces of moisture.

Similarly, wash the pillows once in 3 months. Also remember to change the pillows at least every three years, and if you’re allergic they need to be replaced even on six months’ intervals.

Every person valuing health and hygiene in the home environment should give due importance to better cleaning practices. Professional cleaning by a reputed home cleaner in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Christchurch or Wellington will go a long way toward keeping germs and allergens at bay.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Home Maintenance Checklist – Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Two important home maintenance tasks you must do in the first year of buying a home are given below:

1. Recaulk your windows: 

Experts assert that 80% of winter heat loss occurs because of cracks and air leak near windows and doors.  A clean solution for this is to seal the spaces around windows with caulk and thereby preventing the heat loss. While caulking the windows, ensure that you have the right caulk and the good quality one with proper joint movement capability so that the sealing is efficient and lasting without cracking or peeling. 
Check the caulking around your windows at the end of every summer and recaulk the windows if necessary.

2. Check furnace and HVAC filters after you move in: 

Another thing that wastes energy and costs you more money is the existence of clogged filters which make heating and cooling systems run less efficiently. Remove the filters from the system and if found dark and dirty, replace them. Do this filter replacing every year. This will also help removal of any trapped pollutants and allergens.

Home maintenance checklist for winter
The adage, ‘prevention is better than cure’ is applicable for home cleaning also. If you take up the home maintenance works on time, costly damage and emergency repairs down the line can be avoided. Here is a home checklist of maintenance projects, advising which tasks are to be undertaken in the winter season. This will help you to monitor and complete all the maintenance tasks before the harsh weather peeps in.
  • Clean the carpets
  • Clean the garage, and oil garage door tracks
  • Clean garbage disposal
  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, and replace batteries yearly or as needed
  • Check fire extinguisher
  • Remove lint from dryer exhaust vent
  • Check exhaust ducts are clear of debris
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hood and filter
  • Check sinks and toilets for leaks; remove showerheads and clean sediment
  • Inspect hoses on dishwasher and washing machine for leaks.

How to tackle home dampness and mould problems
Houses in New Zealand need to be properly maintained to reduce moisture in your home and avoid dampness related problems.

Winter is coming, and people living in cold, damp and mouldy homes will have more health issues.  Dampness and the presence of mould can impact on our health as they can cause or aggravate respiratory infections, asthma and rheumatic fever. 

“Insulation, moisture levels and decent curtains are the three things people should focus on to stay warm and dry over winter”, NZ Herald quoted Auckland council eco-design adviser Adrian Feasey as saying.
A 2015 nationwide survey of Kiwi homes by the Building Research Association of NZ (BRANZ), showed that rental properties compared to owner-occupied homes are about twice as likely to be rated ''poorly maintained''.

Homeowners should ensure that proper insulation is maintained in the walls, ceilings and under floors throughout the winter. Winter cleaning by a professional home cleaner before the start of the seasonal change will go a great way in maintaining the room temperature at the safe limit of 18C. A reputed house cleaning company will be able to point out general issues affecting proper sealing of your house.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Select Clean Home Maintenance Tips and Property News for Aspiring Homeowners

Housing crisis in Wellington and Auckland

According to latest residential property news, new housing developments in Wellington have been lagging behind population growth and demand. The city is facing a shortage of at least 3590 dwellings as per official records.

In their efforts to solve
Wellington's looming housing crisis, Mayor Justin Lester and deputy Paul Eagle announced a couple of months back that 750 units of social and affordable homes would be built in Wellington to avoid an Auckland-style housing crisis.

Wellington Mayor also declared a $5k rates discount for first-home and apartment builders. So, aspiring home/apartment owners can cash in on this discount in pricing.

Meanwhile, global investment bank Goldman Sachs said New Zealand’s housing market has a 40% chance of going bust in the next two years. It further said the housing market here is the most over-valued amongst the G-10 group of developed economies.

DIY home hacks ideas for busy homeowners

Did you know that binder clip can be used to make the following day-to-day activities more efficiently?
  • Phone & Cellphone Stand
  • Cellphone Stand Charger
  • Watching Movie Phone Stand
  • Pen Pencil Stand
  • Bind Cable and Charger
  • Organizing Cable
  • Knitting
  • Put Cloth Irony
  • Cleaning Bar Management
  • Tight Seal Food Bags
  • Toothpaste Surrender
  • Managing Money, Car keys & Cards
  • Safely Razor Packing
  • Securely Put Earphone

Watch a video to know how the above things are made with binder clips.

Simple and clever way to remove clothing wrinkles

You can remove wrinkles in your clothes by steaming them in the shower.

While you're showering, hang up wrinkled clothing from the shower rod. Ensure you close the doors and windows so the steam won’t escape. While you shower and do other bathroom routine activities, the wrinkles will be automatically gone from your garments. It won’t take more than 10 or 15 minutes for the steam to straighten the wrinkles.

If you have little more time and patience, here is another way of removing tiny wrinkles from clothes. While you boil water for the morning tea, hold the spout of the steaming kettle near the wrinkled area on the garment. Ensure you keep it at safe distance (say 12 inches) to avoid scorching the fabric. The advantage here is that the wrinkles are subjected to concentrated steam to get better result. The method of removing wrinkles while showering may cause your bathroom mirror fogging up. So, need not to worry about foggy bathroom mirrors with the teapot method.   

Stained TV Screens?

Make your TV screens and computer monitors stain and dust free by cleaning them with a coffee filter. All traces of grime, dust, dirt and fingerprints build up will be removed and the screens will sparkle again.

Seasonal Home Maintenance Chores

As a responsible homeowner, you need to make up your mind regarding the works you will be able to do yourself and the ones those are to be done by a home cleaning company. If you try to attempt the tasks that are to be performed by skilled personnel, it may run for some time, but you may end up with costly repairs later on. Summer and winter cleaning are important as they involve the beginning of your prime cooling and heating season respectively. Your home’s envelope and infrastructure need to be inspected and improved during these seasonal changes and only experienced home cleaners can manage it properly.    

The above points have been stated as per our vast experience in the home cleaning industry. Working for Select Clean, we have witnessed people paying extra power bills because of bad sealing, and then facing costly repairs due to moisture and leaks affecting the infrastructure of the building. Get a free home cleaning quote today from the most trusted cleaners in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga.