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Room by room by Antoinette – Entrance Hall

Room by room by Antoinette – Entrance Hall

The Entrance Hall in your home is often the first space that your guests will see. Taking time to ensure that this room is clean and clutter-free will enable both you and your guests to feel relaxed as soon as you come through the door.

With so many elements making up an Entrance Hall it is often overlooked as it can be tricky.

Here are my top tips on how to achieve the best for your Entrance Hall. It is the window into your home after all.

Order

  • When cleaning your home a common mistake can be doing the hallways last.  If the floors need mopping you need to think this through, as the worst thing is mopping and then having to walk back over your hard work.  Consider doing the downstairs hallway before you go upstairs or vice versa depending on what order you have cleaned the rest of your house.  This gives your floors time to dry.
  • Vacuuming rugs and moving them out of the way is essential for a thorough clean.  Expensive and delicate rugs should be vacuumed carefully and then placed safely somewhere to air.
  • Bookshelves are often housed in hallways and can give a lovely aesthetic to this space. This feature is often neglected and can get very dusty. By using a  Feather Duster you can easily eliminate the dust. The much maligned feather duster is great for getting to the tops of books and into the edges of the bookshelf. I highly recommend an annual prune and spring clean where all the books come completely off of the shelves to prevent any stubborn marking on your selves.
  • Every home has it! The ‘Tidy Disaster Zone’. You know that drop zone by the front door. Shoes, scarves, jackets, scooters, shopping bags, Abel and Cole boxes… and anything else that randomly gets dumped there. Is it time to throw away the broken umbrella that’s been lurking there for 3 years? YES!
  • Entrance Halls are also notorious for cobwebs. Staircases are often the highest ceilings of the house, so by using a Telescopic-Static-Duster, you can dust high-level cobwebs with ease.
  • Light fittings and their bulbs show dust off when illuminated. So take time to dust light fittings and chandeliers.  If you do have chandeliers in your home be very careful when dismantling.  Allow an hour for this task and take a photo before you start from all angles! They are like a jigsaw puzzle, you do not want to be left with a random piece once you have carefully reassembled it.
  • Carefully dust tops of pictures. Be careful of precious artwork. I find an old-fashioned feather duster comes in handy here.
  • Polish mirrors using a special glass microfibre cloth for a sparkly, streak-free finish.
  • Dust Dado Rails and Skirting Boards.
  • Dust tops of light switches, then anti-bac wipe and polish them for a hygienic and sparkling finish.
  • Dust tops of plug sockets, anti-bac wipe and polish them to ensure no dirt accumulates.
  • Dust between the balusters (I bet you didn’t know that term!) for us common folk, they are the spindles or banister supports on your staircase.  If they are really dirty, use the damp cloth to give them all a thorough clean.
  • Hard to reach windows can be difficult and potentially dangerous to clean effectively. You may need specialist window cleaners. Please feel free to contact us for our recommended window cleaning partners should you require this service.
  • Vacuum the whole area including the stairs.  Don’t forget to do edges first with the corner nozzle attachment and then use the large attachments for each step. Ensure that you adjust for the correct floor setting for carpet, hardwood or other surfaces to do the landing areas.
  • Mop, make sure you always mop your way towards the next room you will clean.

Enjoy

Now you can fling open your front door with pride and let your Entrance Hall welcome guests in.  Think how proud (and shame free ;-)) you will feel the next time friends and family visit. Until next time. Happy Cleaning! Antoinette.

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!

Room by Room by Antoinette: Kitchen

Your kitchen needs cleaning more regularly than any other room in the house; it is used 2-3 times a day and sometimes much more in shared accommodation.

They can also be the biggest bone of contention for households of any size: “Are you gonna wring that cloth out or just leave it dripping on the side?”… “I don’t think it’s ok to leave your toast crumbs on the worktop”… “How big does this washing up pile have to get for you to start doing it?!”… “Next to the dishwasher is not in the dishwasher, is it?”. I’m afraid we can’t offer any advice for those niggling day to day issues but if you are ever in need of a full top-down clean we are here to help.

Again, as with the bathroom clean, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a good set of clean microfibre cloths in your arsenal. Here’s what you’ll need for the kitchen, in addition to a white-topped scourer (less harsh than their dark green counterparts):

  • Cloth 1: This one may start dry but will get progressively wetter as you go along
  • Cloth 2: This one should be done dry and lint-free and used for drying all cleaned surfaces
  • Cloth 3: This one is a specialist polishing cloth, best-kept bone dry
  • Cloth 4: This is for the dusting

Also, always remember to work from high to low so that you are not leaving spray residue on areas you’ve just done and centre all your cleaning on the sink being the final battle, moving towards it from the left and then the right so you can keep using it to rinse your dirty cloths in hot soapy water right until the last moment.

Step 1: Tackle the lime scale & grease first

Pre-emptively spray the taps and hard lime scale areas around the sink with lime scale remover before moving on to your first job. Also spray the hob with degreaser. Soak any tough looking stains with a splash of water. For Induction or electric hobs: a product called Hobrite works well for stubborn burnt on stains; make sure that the instructions are carefully followed otherwise it is not as effective as it could be. Just leave things soaking for the moment but keep an eye on the time, some of these products have a limit on how long they should lay on the surface.

Step 2: Bins

Empty all bins and spray with anti bac cleaner, leaving it to soak.

Step 3: Clear out the sink

This will probably involve emptying or refilling the dishwasher and switching it on if it is full. Once the sink has been emptied, fill it with hot soapy water ready for your top to bottom wipe down of all surfaces, doors, countertop items and applicances. Think HOT so get your gloves on.

Step 4: Don’t forget the washing

If you need to get the washing machine on now is the time to do it.

Step 5: Doors and handles

Wipe down all the fronts of the cupboard doors with your wet cloth soaked in your hot soapy water, then move on to the handles, not forgetting the rooms doors, light switches, oven buttons and glass oven door – giving an extra squirt of Anti-bac spray for those high ‘finger-fall’ areas. Go over the surfaces with your dry cloth and finish any glass surfaces with the polishing cloth.

Step 6: Counter and Countertop items

Now let’s be logical about this, move items to areas you’ve not yet cleaned in sequence, wipe counter, wipe item, dry counter, return item. Think about some of those special countertop items that attract all the daily use grime too: toasters, kettles, microwaves, coffee machines, bread bins, oil and spices racks…make sure they get a little bit of extra hot soapy love.

Step 7: Hob & Extractor fan

Put any rings and frames into the sink. This is where the pre-soaking will have come in handy. Avoid using the scourer, unless it is a ceramic hob because you won’t realise until after how nasty that scratched patch will look and how much it will catch your eye after every clean. Use the wet cloth to wipe down the hob, rinsing regularly in the sink. The final touch could be to use a metal cleaner, we recommend Cif stainless steel cleaner, then polish with the dry cloth once the final wash has been done. Don’t forget to wipe down the top of the extractor fan too – it can get very greasy up there, even though it is out of your eye line: use a cloth rinsed in warm soapy water and have the polishing cloth on hand to immediately polish once wiped down.

Step 8: Sink and taps

Rinse and clean your wet cloth one more time and drain away the dirty water, not forgetting to wipe down the anti-bac off the bin before your final rinse. Go over the taps and the sink one last time with the kitchen spray and wipe round, polishing as you go afterwards to avoid streaks.

Step 9: Wash the floor

Poor hot water and your floor cleaning solution into the bucket and, working towards the door, wipe the floor with your rung out mop, rinsing as you go.

That’s it! I hope you find this useful for your kitchen.

Room by Room by Antoinette: Bathroom

Bathrooms are notorious for having the most sparkly things in them: tiles, enamel, porcelain, glass, mirrors, and stainless steel.

They also deal with the biggest enemies of shine on a daily basis: lime scale and soap scum. No wonder our clients find this the toughest room in their house to clean and subsequently the one with the biggest ‘wow’ when we come in and make it sparkle again. So here’s my basic step by step guide on how to clean your bathroom top to toe:

Before we get started let me go on a small rant about cloths, you’ll find I do this a lot. Using a good set of cloths will halve your cleaning time and leave a sparkling finish with minimal effort. I recommend having 4 Mircofibre cloths on hand at the beginning for all you bathroom cleaning needs:

  • Cloth 1: This is the duster, which will then end up being the wet one once rinsed
  • Cloth 2: This one is dry but will get progressively wetter and dirtier as you go along
  • Cloth 3: This one should be done dry and lint free and kept that way
  • Cloth 4: This one is a specialist polishing cloth, also left bone dry and lint free

Step 1: Get things going!

Some things take a bit of time to get going so let’s get the first things soaking before we launch ourselves into the scrubbing: Soak toilet with cleaning solution, preferably one that will deal with lime scale like popping in a toilet cleaning tablet into the bowl.  Leave the toilet brush soaking in the toilet pan while cleaning the rest of the bathroom so it too is getting a bit of a clean.

Then it’s all about clutter and dust riddance: Remove dustbins and any other portable items and place them outside the bathroom door. Dust all the surfaces with Cloth 1 like the shelves and window sills and as well as anything on them like ornaments and products. Hoover the floor, before any water activity to ensure that none of the dust starts sticking to things.

Spray glass and chrome with lime scale remover so that can be left doing its work while you start dealing with all the other items. Lime scale can be a huge problem in London homes and other hard water areas, hear my tips about this here.

Step 2: The shower and/or bath

Lay a healthy sheen of surface cleaner on all grimy surfaces. Use your scourer for getting rid of all the grime, or for really lime scale infested areas you might want to get out a toothbrush or grout scrubber, ensuring the surface is tough enough to take it. After this you can scrub round with wet Cloth 1, focusing on all the chrome fittings, rinsing off as you go. Use the squeegee to scrape the excess water from the glass. The final touch is the 2 part Mircofibre rub down – let the shine begin:  Cloth 2 to remove any excess liquid and then Cloth 3 to polish the glass and chrome fittings. Lastly return all the bath/shower paraphernalia to where it came from, having wiped it all down with Cloth 1.

Step 3: The toilet

This is the last job cloth 1 will need to do: Rinse the cloth out well so there’s no excess water dripping everywhere, use your antibacterial spray and clean the top of the toilet pedestal, being sure to give the flush mechanism a good wipe.  Fold the cloth in half and use a fresh side to wipe down the top of the toilet lid. Fold the cloth in half again and set aside. Now use 3 sheets of folded toilet paper and anti-bacterial spray to wipe down the space behind the toilet seat, the toilet side of the toilet lid, the upper and lower side of the toilet seat, the chrome fittings of the toilet seat and the top lip of the toilet basin. The order is important: moving from the cleanest to the dirtiest parts of your loo to avoid cross contamination.

With the seat the the lid lifted, use the toilet brush to thoroughly scrub the inside of the toilet basin being sure to get underneath the rim and also as far into the u-bend as you can. Flush the toilet, rinsing the toilet brush under the stream.

Finally use trusty Cloth 2 and anti-bac spray to wipe the wall or tiles behind the toilet and outside of the pedestal.

Step 4: Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Even at this late stage Cloth 3 should look like it’s barely left the drawer so can be on the mirror with a small squirt of glass cleaner to limit the streaks.

Use the pristine Cloth 4 glass polisher to get that sparkly streak free finish and use the same cloth to finish the shower screen glass and all of the tabs and other chrome fittings. Step back and admire the dazzle.

Step 5: The sink

You’ve probably been using your sink to rinse your cloths and sponge and store all the wet things as you’ve been going along so now is the time to start clearing up the mess and give the sink a squirt with your all-purpose spray, scrub round with the scourer, Cloth 2 and 3, not forgetting the splash back tiles and pedestal.

Step 6: The towel rail

Use Cloth 2 to remove dust and dirt from the towel rail and give it a polish with Cloth 3 to finish. Fold towels beautifully for the that Just Helpers Finish!

Step 7: The floor

Assuming you have a tiled bathroom floor you can now crack on with the final task, get some extra hot water, mop, bucket & floor cleaner making sure you work into all the easily neglected areas like round the toilet and in the corners where the grime usually gathers. Open a window and leave to dry.

Step 8: Return everything to normality

Empty the dustbin and spray and wipe the inside and outside, polishing where necessary and then wipe down any other portable fittings that were removed at the beginning. Wait for the floor to dry, replace all items and pat yourself on the back for a good job done!

Step 9: Reflect

Sit down and have a cup of tea, think to yourself, ‘I’m never going through all that again’ and get in touch to book your Helper to do it for you!

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