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How to Clean Your Carpets: with Antoinette

If your carpets are clean and smell fresh, it makes a big difference to your home.

Like many cleaning tasks, prevention is better than cure when it comes to carpets.

Regular Cleaning

Vacuuming your carpets regularly helps to keep them clean. It also reduces allergens such as house dust mites, pollen and pet dander.

Ideally, you should vacuum your carpets twice a week.  Focus on areas where crumbs and dust gather, such as under the dining table or around the sofa.

In high traffic areas such as the hall and stairs, you might want to vacuum more frequently to stop your carpets getting flattened and grimy.

Choosing a Vacuum Cleaner

You can’t beat cordless for convenience. Most cordless vacuum cleaners are lightweight too, so are perfect for the stairs. A cordless vacuum is perfect for a quick whizz around, but the on-board battery can mean you run out of power before you’ve finished the job. Most brands sell spare batteries, which allow you to have one on charge all the time.

A traditional corded vacuum cleaner (very much your Helper’s preference) gives you unlimited cleaning time, and they are often much cheaper to buy than the cordless versions. Look out for a model with a long power cable, especially if you have stairs. Always vacuum with the cleaner at the bottom of the stairs to avoid the risk of it falling onto you.

Make sure your vacuum cleaner has a good range of tools. Upholstery and pet attachments are particularly useful, and a turbo tool can give you an extra boost when you need it.

We remain stalwart supporters of the Miele range. Look out for Miele bargains around the summer sales.

Treating Spills and Stains

Look at any supermarket cleaning aisle and you will see a huge selection of stain removers for carpets. Always make sure you use a product that is suitable for your type of carpet, and do a patch test in an inconspicuous area, just in case.

For dried-in stains, use a sponge to dab the stain towards the centre. Don’t be tempted to rub too hard or you may make the stain bigger! Use a dry white cloth to blot the area, then leave to dry.

Eco Alternatives

Bicarbonate of soda is a great stand-by for dealing with spills or pet accidents.  It quickly neutralises nasty odours. Once you have removed the spillage from the carpet, sprinkle the dry powder over the affected area. Leave for an hour or two, then vacuum.

The Big Clean

Every six to twelve months it is well worth giving your carpets a deep clean by shampooing them. You can hire a machine from many DIY stores. Why not consider splitting the cost by sharing a weekend hire with a neighbour? I recently hired a Rug Doctor machine from my local supermarket. The whole process was surprisingly easy and gave my beige carpets a well-needed lease of life.

When you’re shampooing your carpets remember:

  • Vacuum your carpets thoroughly before you begin
  • Always read the instructions for the machine carefully
  • Check the care instructions for your carpet and do a patch test first
  • Use the correct cleaning solution for the machine
  • Be careful not to make the carpet too wet
  • Open windows when you have finished to let out the moisture, to avoid mildew.

Top Tips for Clean Carpets

  • Choose your carpets carefully. If you are replacing carpets, avoid very pale colours, especially in high traffic areas such as halls and stairs. These colours might look beautiful when they are new, but they will show up every mark!
  • Consider opting for carpets which are stain resistant.
  • If you have young children or pets, this is especially important.
  • Use barrier mats or rugs to protect carpets from muddy paws or food spills.
  • Treat spills and stains immediately if you can – it will make them much easier to remove.
  • Vacuum regularly to keep carpets looking their best.

If you’d prefer to relax and let us look after your carpets for you, contact us here to book your helper or let us arrange a service with one of our tried and trusted carpet cleaning partners.

Useful Links
Big Green Smile offer a range of eco-friendly carpet and floor cleaning products.
More tips here on shampooing, from Vax.

Room by Room by Antoinette – Bedroom 


Is your bedroom a place for relaxation and rejuvenating sleep?

In order for your brain to ‘switch off’ this room should be clutter-free and look and smell fresh and clean. Here is a helpful insight into how your Helper ensures that this is our priority in your home, enabling you to spring out of bed ready to rock with whatever your day has in store.

Having the correct toolkit for any job is essential for getting great results. Here is a list of the key ingredients to making your boudoir beautiful. Next, of course, is the method in which the magic happens. Follow this simple, yet highly effective order and I know you will be impressed with the outcome:

Order

1. First strip the bed linen and place it in the washing machine. If you are anything like me, the idea of getting two jobs done in one time slot is intensely satisfying.
2. Vacuum any rugs thoroughly and remove them to the landing outside the bedroom.
3. Make the bed with clean linen (It’s really important to do this now so that lint and fluff doesn’t land on your newly dusted surfaces)
4. Dust all available surfaces going from high to low. Don’t forget your window ledges, blinds and radiators.
5. Use this opportunity to declutter your room and arrange high traffic areas such as dressing tables and bedside cabinets so that things are relevant and easily accessible. This is the time to let your artistic flair shine!
6. Vacuum the floor. If you are a shredder and don’t have a fabulous Miele Hoover with it’s special hair grabbing head, then try using the brush function to loosen any hairs from the carpet.
7. I would suggest, that once a month if you store your life under the bed, pull it out and make sure the vacuum gets into all those nooks and crannies. Once a quarter pull your bed away from the wall and make sure you get to these areas too. Grossly, it’s renowned for dead skin cells, hairs, runaway tissues and all the other clutter you have dropped down the side during your nightly Netflix binge.
8. It’s likely that you have ruffled the bed. Make sure that one of your last actions is to give it that hotel feel. Pull the edges of the duvet out and smooth the duvet down from the middle to the edges using the flat palm of your hands.
9. If you have special items such as silver, gold or brass trinkets, take them out to the hallway and treat them using specialist cleaning solutions. Watch this space for our future blog on ‘The Lost Art of Polishing including Silverware’.
10. Return any rugs.

Stand back and admire our handiwork, smug in the knowledge that you can look forward to a good night’s sleep in crisp fresh linen and a newly adjusted Feng Shui bedroom.

Rock a bye baby….

It’s worth noting that we would recommend minimal use of sprays and products in your baby’s bedroom. Dry dusting with microfibre cloths should be sufficient along with a good vacuum. At worst, an anti-bacterial spray could be used, though there is a school of thought that recommends no products so that your baby can build resilience to germs. I’ll leave that battle with you!  Don’t forget to do a regular dust between the struts of your baby’s cot too.

Sweet dreams, Antoinette.

Room by room by Antoinette: Living Rooms

Your living room should be an area of your home where you can relax and unwind.

In order for you to do this, it help’s if it is clean and tidy. Here are my tips on how to achieve a sparkling living room clean.

This is the time for me to rave on about one of my favourite topics – yes! Miele Vacuum cleaners. The ‘creme de la creme’ of vacuum cleaners, consistently number one in most Which? trials, and more importantly for us, most widely recommended by our Helpers. Miele cylinder vacuums come into their own when cleaning your carpeted rooms, and rooms where other fabric surfaces need attention such as your sofa, curtains, and pet beds.

It is really important to invest in a vacuum cleaner that has at least 3 attachments: The Corner crevice/Extension wand (long with a tapering thin end), the Upholstery tool; great for vacuuming sofas and curtains and your Dusting brush – great for leather sofas, and other dusty surfaces that your arms can’t easily reach with a cloth.

Most Miele models helpfully store the three main tools in it’s body so you need never have to scrabble at the bottom of your cleaning cupboard again.  With it’s helpful variable suction feature you can use your machine to vacuum a large variety of surfaces.  That said, your hand, a good cloth and some elbow grease are still the very best tools for most things.

Things that are commonly forgotten

Don’t forget to dust skirting boards using either the crevice tool, or a cloth. A great tip from my good friend Clair is to put a pair of fluffy socks on and use the edge of your foot to dust the skirting boards.  Genius! Lamps can be vacuumed with the vacuum dusting tool and the lightbulbs dusted by hand with a cloth. Blinds can get a quick dust with the long handled duster, or a more thorough clean with a cloth and one finger. We usually recommend this happens as a ‘Helpful Extra’ twice per year.

Other things to consider

Special items such as brass door knobs, silver ornaments and photo frames all need special polish and cloths. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It is best to remove the items to the dining room or kitchen counter, covering the surface with newspaper to protect it.

Final touches
Mop your way out of the room, moving furniture back into place as you go.
Clean another room in the house and come back to replace the rugs and dustbins.

That’s it! I hope you find this useful for your living rooms. Now you can sit back, relax and enjoy ‘Strictly’ in a dust-free and sane environment!

Appliances Review: Dishwashers

Following the long running theme of reviewing household appliances to minimise the disturbances to your already busy lives I am moving on to Dishwashers.

It won’t be a surprise to those who know me that I highly recommend a Miele Dishwasher, but I’ve also reviewed a few others below using a mixture of hands-on experience in clients homes and Which? reviews.

No.1 rated Best Buy by Which?: The Miele G6620 SC

It comes as no surprise to us that a Miele appliance is first in the Which? rankings. Highly rated for its energy efficiency as well as its capacity and excellent cleaning and drying. Main issue is that, due to its energy efficiency and ability to get your dishes bone dry at the end the cycle takes 3 hours, also with the handy extra cutlery drawer in the top it also reduces the 2nd drawer capacity meaning you may struggle to put some larger items up there like a big mug. Overall, Which? rates it as ‘Practically Perfect’. The icing on the cake for me is that at the end of the wash, the door pops open (secured by a nifty child safety catch) allowing the steam to escape and your dishes to complete their drying cycle. Genius!

A good buy under £550: The Integrated Bosch SMV69M01GB

The energy and water efficiency of this dishwasher is excellent when used on the slightly longer Eco program. It is very good at avoiding water marks even on glass and leaves everything very dry. The one down side it that the cutlery drawer is a bit fiddly to load and unload.

Best slim line under £350: The Integrated Belling BELIDW45

With several programs to choose from this dishwasher can be flexible with your washing needs ranging from a long Eco program to a short wash. It is, however, quite noisy compared to other dishwashers and the slim line layout sometimes makes it difficult to cram everything in without unknowingly restricting the wash of items adjacent or underneath – I guess this is often a problem for slim line dishwashers.

One thing that you always need to compliment your dishwasher is an effective dishwasher tablet.  In our experience Lidl does very well with it’s own brand, and the highly recommended Finish tablets also produce a great, dirt free, tea stain busting, glass sparkling clean.

As part of our regular cleaning service we will always unstack a clean dishwasher or load an empty or half empty dishwasher.

My Miele obsession

Household appliances are a huge part of our lives, and we take them for granted until they get in the way, either by breaking down altogether or, more frequently, causing us some doubt as to their performance standard.

“Is that rattling normal?” “Really, you need more salt again?” “I put it to 200°C just like the recipe said but it’s just not browning!” You could say that these occurrences are just minor disruptions, but when you add them up with all other appliances running your life, it can start to drain.

It would be my advice to not cut corners on choosing the devices and appliances you add to your home, they could be part of your life for a long time. We tend to choose a fridge freezer based on value, forgetting that we would spend hours researching the purchase of a car even though our fridge freezer is in our lives for about the same amount of time, if not more!

I can’t give you advice on the best sound system, or the best in home security system, but get me going on vacuum cleaners and you’ll never hear the end of me.  Miele is a German brand with the tag-line “forever better”. I’m not normally a sucker for tag lines or advertising, but for me, this brand has proved its worth over and over and many of their products are featured highly by Which?

John Lewis and Amazon sell most of the Miele vacuum cleaner range. They start at £99.95 and prices span all the way up £499.99 for the Scout RX1 bot. Robotics aside, the features that make some more expensive than others are mostly arbitrary: specialist filters for pet hair, capacity, fancy attachments. At their core, each vacuum cleaner has the unique technology relying on an age old system: the bag.

Bags get bad press but they are not necessarily the runt of the litter. Bags keep more dust out of the filters so you have to clean them less regularly, ultimately allowing them to last longer. Bags also maintain consistently good suction up until the point that the bag needs emptying.  Gone are the days when bags were fiddly and frustrating, leaving you wheezing in a cloud of cat hair, if anything they are often cleaner and simpler to empty than bagless options.

The benefits of the Miele vacuum cleaner do not stop at their bags; my experience has also found them to be durable, portable and practical: Bits do not tend to break off, unlike other more fancy brands. They are light and wheel about well, unlike trendy upright types. Practical internal storage of attachments means they don’t get lost, and finally, when you thought I might have exhausted my long list of praise – the power cable is longer than your average and retracts with one touch of a button, very handy indeed!

I can’t write a post on Miele Vacuum Cleaners without mentioning the Scout RX1 robot. A round robotic vacuum cleaner commonly found on YouTube comically carrying round cats and babies in methodical straight lines and circles. Unfortunately technology needs to evolve a little bit more before it can compete with our Helpers, one such bot in a friend’s house has several blind spots that it never cleans, while running over and over other spots to the point of almost wearing the carpet out! And for the price, you could get 40 hours of one of our lovely Helpers who can come and make your bathroom and kitchen sparkle at the same time.

Need a hand cleaning your home?

Life in London is demanding and time is at a premium. Get some sparkle back into your life and home with one of our domestic cleaning packages.

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