Tuesday, 31 May 2016

How to Ensure Improved Air Quality in Your Home

As per a press release published on 24 February, 2016, the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand (CASANZ) expressed its grave concern about the proposed cutbacks to climate and related environmental research in CSIRO, especially in the Oceans & Atmosphere unit. This shows the importance of reducing air pollution to control global warming and climate change. However, never assume that air pollution is something happening outdoors only! In fact, the air inside our homes or offices is more polluted than the air outdoors.

So, let’s make it a priority to make the air inside our homes cleaner and healthier. How to improve the air quality in our homes is an important topic today as most of us spend almost 80 % of our time indoors- for children and elderly people, this percentage will be higher! Poor air quality can cause allergies, lung diseases, and even cancer.

The air inside your home may not be that clean as you assume. There can be chemicals, moulds and dust mites, which are very harmful to health. Tests have proved that the air quality in common households is affected by chemicals such as formaldehyde, fire-retardants, radon, and even the fragrances used by conventional home cleaners which emit volatile chemicals.

Remedial Measures to Keep Air Quality High
If you don’t take the services of a professional home cleaner once in a while, the situation will turn worse as harmful chemicals generated from unclean mattress, furniture, and carpets will affect everybody’s health in your home.  Dampness caused by water leaks, insufficient ventilation, and improper home cleaning could give rise to the growth of mould and dust mites which can aggravate Asthma and related ailments.

You need not to get panic because maintaining good air quality in your home is not that difficult! Let’s consider some tips to get the best quality clean air in your home:

1. Keep Your Floors Clean
Most of the chemicals and allergens in your home air come from the floor as people or pets move about. Cleaning the floor hygienically is the foremost step to improve air quality. While using a vacuum cleaner, use protective filters which can lessen the presence of lead and other harmful chemicals and allergens. 
There are several sources of formaldehyde chemical in your house including glue, plywood, particle board, paper product coatings etc. Use proper air cleaners to remove all presence of this harmful chemical.
After vacuuming, mopping is necessary to pick up further concentration of dust, dirt and allergens. Perfectly clean all door mats also.
However, remember that you can never attain the level of cleanliness a professional home cleaner can bring forth.

2. Keep Humidity under Control
If humidity is more in your home, then there will be large colonies of dust mite and higher percentage of mould growth. Take advice from a well known home cleaner or maintenance expert to keep humidity under allowed limits.
Good ventilation protects both your health and your home. Include the basement also in your home's ventilation strategy to minimise humidity and keep the air fresh.

3. Service the Furnace on Time
Furnace can be the villain spoiling the quality of your air. Call certified professionals to service and clean your furnace annually. Also remember to replace the filter on a monthly basis or as directed by the cleaning experts.
Professional home cleaning can improve quality of life by removing pollutants and harmful chemicals in your homes.

4. Make Your Home a No-smoking Zone
Second-hand cigarette smoke contributes greatly to indoor air pollution as it contains over 4,000 chemicals. So it’s clear why smoking causes the deterioration of your home’s air quality!

5. Refresh the Indoor Air
Get proper ventilation by opening all the windows for a few hours. Let the fresh air come in and the stale air go out. Rather than using artificial air fresheners, just use sliced lemons and baking soda to get a clean scent. Indoor plants can also act as natural air purifiers. Use them as advised by experts.

A little more care from your end in house maintenance and taking timely help from home cleaning professionals can reduce the levels of pollutants in the air and keep your home healthy. Call your favourite home cleaner in New Zealand on 0800 000 907 to check and ensure that hundred percent cleanliness is maintained in your home.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

How to Handle Chocolate Stains on Clothes, Upholstery and Carpets

Festive occasions and day-to-day events can cause chocolate stains on your costly clothes, furniture & upholstery, or carpets.
Chocolate stain is not an easy customer! It’s called a combination stain. With a variety of ingredients such as proteins, sugar, fats and oil, and tannins, chocolates easily get absorbed into clothe fabrics and become very difficult to remove. If not handled properly, these stubborn stains can spoil your upholstery, clothes and carpets.

Chocolate Stains on Clothing

For clothes with ‘dry wash only’ labels, never attempt to try DIY tips to clean chocolate stains - you’ll have to call a professional cleaning company to do the stain removal in such cases.  
Use the following chocolate stain removal method on washable clothes:

Put the cloth in a polythene bag and place it inside the fridge for 20 minutes. The polythene or plastic bag is used to avoid the cloth getting stained by other substances in the refrigerator. Once the cloth is cold enough, take it out and gently scrape away maximum amount of the chocolate stain with a scraping tool or steel ruler. Wipe as much of the excess chocolate as you can, but always make sure that you’re not pushing the stain deeper into the fibres.  

Next, apply some dishwashing detergent on the chocolate stain and wait for 10 minutes. Now put the cloth in the washing machine and run a normal washing cycle. You may repeat the process two or three times till all the traces of chocolate is removed.

Chocolate Stains on Furniture & Upholstery

Using a small plastic spoon, you can scrape off any sticking chocolate flakes from the upholstery.

Take a container and add 2 cups of water. Mix it with one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing powder. Dip a clean cloth in the detergent liquid you just made. Use this dampened cloth to slowly remove the chocolate stain on the upholstery or furniture starting from the outer edge of the stain. Repeat the dampening of the stain and removal processes till the stain is removed fully.
Next, dip a cloth piece in clean water and then use it to sponge the stain affected area. And finally dry the area by wiping with a dry cloth. 

If the stain is very tough, you may also try putting 2-3 drops of a dry-cleaning solvent directly onto the stained area. After a few minutes, blot the affected area using a dry cloth several times to see that the stain has been fully removed. 

Chocolate Stains on Carpets

If your carpet is stained from a bar of chocolate, it can be termed as dry stain because there is not much liquid involved. In this situation, we can first vacuum the stained area to remove maximum amount of chocolate. But while vacuuming, ensure not to use the beater brush on your carpet because it may grind the stain into your carpet. Instead, use the upholstery attachment to the vacuum cleaner and just make use of the suction of the vacuum to pick up loose chocolate specks and bits.

However, if the stain is caused by wet chocolate, never use the vacuum method.

Next step is to use a towel dipped in cold water to sponge and blot the stain, starting from the outside of the stain and moving towards its centre area. And finally, use a laundry detergent and repeat the sponge and blot processes to completely remove all traces of chocolate stain from your carpet.

So, the chocolate stain removal from the carpet, furniture & upholstery or your clothes is not that crazy difficult to deal with. It can be done in simple easy steps. And let there be Easter, Christmas or any other party time, you can have the last laugh as you know how to remove the chocolate stains now!

The Benefit of Calling Experienced Home Cleaning Professionals

Use effective, naturally-derived, non-toxic home cleaning products as much as possible for home cleaning. The house cleaning charges vary from $15 to $25 per hour in Australia/New Zealand. However, never believe the cheap home cleaning services as they may compromise on quality.

Do you find it difficult to clean your house and the premises because of busy work schedule? Don’t worry; we have many years of experience in dedicated house cleaning in New Zealand and Australia, and can help you out. Book a home cleaning task online today or call us now on 0800 000 907 for a free quote.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

DIF Tips to Clean Thermal Backed Curtains in Your Home

We all have faced problems associated with mould in our homes when there were lapses in our home cleaning and maintenance practices.
  You might have noticed that mould attacks more during winter and rainy seasons. Mould is irritating and smelly and can cause serious health and respiratory problems for you and your family members.

If you happen to see mould build-up on your window curtains, don’t panic; we can show you how to remove it using simple home remedies. However, if you have allergies, asthma or related respiratory illnesses, never forget to wear a mask while cleaning mould affected curtains. If your health issues are complicated, we recommend calling professional house cleaners to remove the mould.

When You Can Clean the Curtain in a Washing Machine

You can use a delicate washing cycle in the washing machine if both your curtain and its thermal linings are fabric material. Add some soap powder or liquid soap into the warm water in the washing machine. When the soap fully dissolves, put your curtain in the washing machine and make a normal wash cycle without letting the machine to spin. Once the washing cycle is over, fill the laundry tub with water and rinse well.

Now take out the curtain and hang it straight on the clothesline, don’t fold. Don’t use clothespins to hang curtains, always use the curtain hooks. You should double check to ensure that the thermal lines are not touching each other. If there was more dirt in the first curtain piece you washed, then you’ll have to drain the washing machine and refill with fresh water. Otherwise use same water for two or three curtains till the water gets dirty.

When the Curtain Needs to Be Hand-washed for Mould Removal

Remember, if you use washing machine to clean your curtains which are thermally backed/patterned thermal fabric, be cautious, you could spoil the show and damage your curtains beyond repair. If you act carelessly, the thermal lining in the curtains can get stuck together and damage it. If you try to untangle the linings, they’ll just peel off. 

So, use the following cleaning methods to safeguard your curtain:
First vacuum the curtains, or try shaking the curtains to remove dust, dirt, and loose mould spores. You may use this opportunity to give the windows also a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth and plain water after you have removed the curtains. Ensure to wash the hooks, strings and other attachments before fitting the curtains back.

Condition 1
If you notice that the mould has affected only the base and corners of the curtain, then do the following.  Mix half a cup of white vinegar with one cup of warm water and pour it into a spray bottle. Mix well and spray the cleaning liquid on the traces of mould. Wait for 20 minutes and wipe the area with a plain cloth to remove the mould.

Condition 2
If mould is spotted at many areas of the curtain, get it hand washed perfectly. Put the curtain in a bathtub with water and 1 cup of vinegar. Wash it carefully without spoiling the thermal lines. If the wet thermal material (coating) starts to stick to itself, then it’s difficult to save your costly curtain.

Now, take out the curtain from the bathtub and hang it to dry in a straight position without folding. You may also spread it flat over a clothes horse. The drying should be done in a well ventilated area, and on a sunny breezy day, it’ll be quick to dry without getting damaged.   

Prevention is Better than Cure

Even after washing properly, you may find mild traces of mould stain in the curtain as it’s not possible to completely wash away the whole mould presence. However, you can be rest assured that the washing will ensure the mould spores are dead and won’t grow any further. Again, consider the saying that prevention is better than cure. Make sure that your windows don’t suffer from condensation and that the conditions for mould growth are always avoided.

Call professional house cleaners for weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or occasional home cleaning to get everything done efficiently and thoroughly. This will prevent cleaning issues such as mould and mildew, stains etc.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

How to Safely Plan Your First Home Buying

Buying your first home needs careful planning and important budgeting too. Here are some useful points for you to keep in mind while planning for the total cost of buying a home that covers insurance, mortgage, legal and other fees etc.
  • Saving for a deposit on a first home
  • Choosing what and where to buy
  • Getting a mortgage on a first home
  • Moving-in costs
  • Ongoing costs
  • Where to go for help

Initial Deposit Needed When Buying a First Home
Lenders in the country make it mandatory that you’ll have a deposit of at least 20% of the amount you’re borrowing. For example, you should have around $120,000 when planning to buy a house for $600,000.  Also enquire about the Welcome Home Loan Scheme, which stipulates a saving deposit of only 10%. Here we have to remember that if there is more money in your deposit, you need to pay less interest. So plan your budget accordingly to save maximum. The cuts you make on your household expenditure are worth for the cause as you are going to have your own home!

Choosing What and Where to Buy
Choose your house wisely. Reliable real estate websites can be searched to find out how much properties are worth in different places.

If you want to purchase a property as an investment, as well as a place to live, first consideration should be about resale or rental potential. Check out the interest rates of the banks in such case.
Other points to consider are transportation facility, distance to schools & hospitals, and feasibility of rental market.

Getting Mortgage on a First Home                                  
Be careful and cautious while choosing a mortgage because the interest rate, fees and degree of flexibility varies with different types of mortgages. Over time, repayments could add up to a lot more than the cost of the home. Better to use the servicers of a qualified mortgage broker and get all the mortgage legal formalities checked by a lawyer before buying your first home.

Check Builders' Reports and Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
Before you put all your investment on a home loan, make sure that you’re getting a safe home. Get a builder’s report which will help you to find out if there are existing flaws with your house building structure. Same way get LIM through the local council or your lawyer to know about possible problems with the land where the house is built. LIM will contain information on drainage issues or landslip risks, if any.

Take a Note of Other Costs Involved  
Other than the basic requirement of the ten or twenty percent deposit, you need to have funds for moving-in costs such as house moving services or truck hire, renovations or additional purchases for the new home, legal service and builder’s reports etc. And also take into account ongoing costs such as insurance, rates etc. As a first homeowner you become a ratepayer. Stipulated by local councils, rates include charges to cover the cost of things like roads, water supply, sewerage and parks, amounting to thousands of dollars a year.

Regarding insurance payment, there are house and contents insurance, life insurance and mortgage repayment insurance. The Lenders Mortgage Insurance is not for the homeowner, it covers only the bank in the event of non repayment of the loan from your end. If you’re buying an apartment, insurance for the building will normally be included in the annual body corporate fee that’ll also contain costs for maintaining common areas etc. Anyway, there will be contents insurance that you’ll have to manage separately.

Remember the Affordability Criteria
Once you are committed to a home loan, your regular home budget won’t be the same again! You’ll have to compromise certain things as you are going to possess a very big asset in your life- your beautiful, happy home! Include all the above said costs into your total budget, and do a thorough calculation to see if you can afford the house you’re going to purchase. Good to consult a lawyer before you proceed further.

This information is brought to you by the research wing of Select Home Cleaning, providing regular home cleaning, seasonal cleaning and move-in and move-out house cleaning etc.