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Remi

Plants That Keep Pests Away (4 Of The Most Common Ones)

By | Tips | No Comments

Even the most fervent animal lover would be hard pressed to extend their affection towards every creeping, crawling thing they meet. Most of us have a list of creatures that we’d definitely rather avoid contact with.

Whether you’re worried about your vegetables, about the disease, or you simply get creeped out by roaches, we all have some creatures that we would happily consider “pests”. Deterring these pests has grown into a big business. A range of repellents, poisons, traps, and obstacles widely available to kill or deter unwanted animals.

But these deterrents come with their own unwanted side effects. Mosquito sprays smell horrible and can potentially harm our health. Roach repellent can also be hazardous, and fly traps are just gross. But what if you could deter pests organically, with pretty flowers and attractive looking plants?

Luckily, there’s no need to dream; pest-repelling plants are already a reality. Essential oils in many plants act as a natural deterrent to pesky pests, so whatever insect or animal you’d like to deter, there’s probably an organic option available.

Mosquitoes

Nobody likes mosquitoes. In the worst case they spread dangerous diseases, and in the best, they cause endless irritation in summer months. Commercially available mosquito repellents sometimes do the trick of keeping these pests away, but they tend to leave you coated in sticky, nasty smelling poisons.

Planting lavender in your garden is a much more attractive option. Lavender is a tough and drought resistant plant that’s easy to maintain once it’s established. You might have also noticed that pests tend not to decimate lavender in the same way that they take to lettuces. That’s because the essential oils in lavender smell great for humans, but tend to put off more smell sensitive pests like mosquitoes.

Citronella grass is another plant that works wonders against mosquitos. It’s a commonly found ingredient in many mosquito repellants, but the living plant is much more effective in deterring mosquitoes.

Flies

Flies also spread disease. Unfortunately, they have the same appetite for dog waste as they do for your dinner, and this makes for some rather unpleasant cross-contamination.

Luckily, there are plenty of plants that deter flies whilst also providing a more pleasant sight for humans than a sticky trap full of dead flies. Bay laurel is one of the tastiest pest-repelling plants. Not only does bay add fragrance to stews, it keeps flies at bay during the summer.

Wormwood is best known as an ingredient in absinthe, but the same oils that add flavour to the potent liquor also make wormwood a great pest repellant. The oils secreted by this easy-growing plant are a great deterrent against a wide range of pests, including flies, mosquitos, mice, moths, and ants.

Roaches

Cockroaches are one of the more unpleasant pests out there. People go to great lengths to get rid of roaches in their home. But you needn’t fumigate your house to deter roaches – simply plant some of these pest-repelling plants.

Bay laurel works well against roaches, but another great roach specific plant is osage orange, a tree that produces a smell intensely disliked by roaches. The tree produces fruit full of essential oils. These can also be extracted and, when diluted with water, used as a natural, lovely smelling roach repellent for the home.

Cats

Cat intruder

Admittedly, cats aren’t in quite the same league as roaches or mosquitos. Most cat lovers would be hard pressed to consider their fluffy moggies as pests. Unfortunately, not everyone is in the same mind. Some people are intensely allergic to cats and would really prefer that the neighbour’s cat stays in its own backyard.

If you are a keen amateur farmer, you might also have noticed that cats quite enjoy doing their business amongst your carrots and onions. Cat faeces can actually contain some fairly harmful bacteria and viruses, so it’s a good idea to deter your own cats, or the neighbour’s cats, from providing your vegetables with unwanted fertilizer.

Pest-repelling plants are pretty much your only option here. Cats dislike the smell of lavender, pennyroyal, and lemon thyme, so planting some of these at regular intervals in your garden might deter your cat from using your vegetable patch as a toilet.

You might also try the tactic of attracting cats to a specific area of your garden. Try planting catnip somewhere far from your vegetables. Cats go crazy for catnip and it also tends to deter insects like mosquitoes. Of course, if your objective is to keep cats out of your garden altogether.  Planting catnip is probably not the best idea.

clean offices

How Briiz Office Cleaning Service Can Improve Your Business

By | Commercial Cleaning | No Comments

Office cleaning isn’t simply a matter of routine necessity. Keeping your office neat and tidy can actually help improve your business.

Cleaning is often the furthest thing from our minds. At home, it’s a chore, and at the office, there are far more important things that you feel should be on your mind. But keeping your physical environment in order is important.

Even in the digital age, many of our interactions involve the physical space around us, and when that space is in disarray, it can affect the way we work.  So, give it a little thought and you’ll soon come to the conclusion that office cleaning is an essential service.

Avoid Hassles with Good Organisation

You can picture the scenario. You’re in the middle of an important phone call and you’d like to take a brief note. But your pen is not where you left it and your notepad is nowhere to be seen. Alternatively, you need to get to the printer, but first, you’ve got to negotiate piles of trash and misplaced boxes.

Cluttered desk

The moral of the story is that a poorly organised office space creates an unnecessary hassle for you and your coworkers. When you want to be deeply involved in the process of work, having to negotiate the physical trials of misplaced objects and a messy office can hamper that process. Distractions caused by a messy environment stop you being involved in your work and hamper your overall productivity.

Making a Good Impression

Impressions count, and no matter what anyone tells you, physical appearances matter. If your work environment is messy, people will assume the same of your business practices. Without really thinking about it, people form lasting impressions based on the environment they find themselves in.

When a client steps into a clean, spacious office, they’ll leave with a totally different impression of your business than if they were forced to contend with a disorganised, dirty space. Nothing speaks to a lack of professionalism more than a grimy, messy office. You might have the best employees in the world and an awesome track record, but none of that will matter if your office looks like a bomb site.

Think of office cleaning as an aspect of your marketing and PR strategy. You wouldn’t think about putting out sloppy marketing materials, so why represent your business with a messy office space?

Hiring a cleaning service to create a pleasant office environment implies a certain level of professionality. Office cleaning, Malta or elsewhere, is an essential consideration when running a business.

Tidy Office – Happy Employees

Tidy Desk

Having a tidy office also makes a great impression on your employees. A messy environment has a knock on for productivity in that it creates obstacles to efficiency, but it also has a psychological effect.

People tend to think less clearly when they are working in a disorganised environment. Dirty working conditions also make people unhappy, pure and simple. A clean, spacious environment does wonders for an individual’s mood.

The office isn’t high on the list of places we want to be on a Monday morning, but that’s especially true when we dislike the environment in which we are working. Providing a clean and habitable office space can help mitigate this Monday morning effect by creating a space that employees look forward to occupying.

Paying attention to these aesthetic details seems trivial at first, but it becomes a priority when you consider the deeper implications of having a messy workspace.

Save Money by Hiring Professionals

The last thing to remember when considering how office cleaning can help improve your business is the financial gain. It might not be immediately clear how hiring professionals might save you money, but it’s a classic case of spending money to save money in the long run.

Maintenance is the surest way to help improve the longevity of your office space. Keep everything tidy and in order and you won’t have to face expensive bills for replacing floors or curtains further on down the line.

People looking to save money often make the mistake of scrimping on maintenance. They buy cheap clothes or avoid buying products like shoe polish or car wax – the inevitable result being that they soon end up replacing poorly looked after products. The same principle applies to office cleaning.

Hiring a professional makes financial sense when you consider the long-term costs of buying cleaning products too. You should also think about the financial cost of your time. Does it make sense for you to be cleaning, or could you be making more money doing something else?

So, to make a good impression, save money, and ensure the mental health of your employees, office cleaning is, ideally with Briiz, is the way to go!

Family Car

Simple Tips That Will Make Car Wash Eco Friendly

By | Tips | No Comments

Car washing might not top your list of imagined environmental risks, but taking a hose to your automobile certainly isn’t the greenest way to wash your car. When you clean your car in the conventional fashion, you’re not only wasting water but washing harmful pollutants into the environment.

When you wash your car, chemicals in the cleaning products you use, along with dirt and grease coating your car, run off of your driveway, into drains, and eventually into the water system. Luckily, you can make your car look brand new without polluting or wasting water.

Here are some eco-friendly car washing tips to help you maintain that shine at a smaller cost to the environment.

Park in a good spot

When you wash your car in the driveway, the chemicals you use inevitably run off the street and end up in storm drains. From there, the chemical-laden water will skip the nearest water treatment plant and be dumped directly into a river or lake somewhere. This is not the case if you wash your car when it’s parked over grass.

The soil underneath your lawn works as a great filter when it comes to removing oil and other nasty elements from your car wash water. So, to minimise the damage you do to the environment when you were your car, park it on the grass.

car cleaning with hosepipe

Of course, you don’t really want to be polluting your lawn either, but it’s a safer spot for chemicals than your local beach. To learn how to cut out the pollutants altogether, read ahead to the car washing tips below.

Save the water

Generally, the hose is the biggest culprit when it comes to wasting water at a domestic level. Ditch the hose and you’ll be saving litres of water per wash and tons of water per year. Instead of spraying down your car with a hose, switch to using a good old fashioned bucket, or even better, a smaller spray bottle.

You can still do a great job with a fraction of the water you’d use with the hose method. Nowadays you can even get waterless products to help you give your car a water-free quality spot clean.

Use homemade detergents

In terms of limiting pollutants, homemade detergents are definitely one of the best ways to go. The number of unnecessary chemicals in commercial car washing products is remarkable, and you can easily achieve the same clean with a homemade recipe.

The best natural car cleaners are window cleaners. You can use these on your car windows of course, but they also work wonders for the main body of your car. As long as you wash them off quickly, they are completely safe for your car, and they’re safe for people and the environment too. That’s because homemade window cleaners are entirely organic. All you need to do is mix equal parts distilled vinegar and tap water into a spray bottle.

Use a dry cloth to get at dirty spots, then wipe your windows down for a streak-free window shine. Vinegar works, as well as the more expensive, and more environmentally harmful shop, bought detergents. Just make sure not to leave vinegar on your body work too long, as it can cause the paint to fade over time.

DIY Wax

The same principle can be applied to wax. Most commercial waxes, as you might imagine looking at them, are pretty harmful once they get into the water supply. Luckily you can achieve exactly the same post-wash car shine with natural ingredients that won’t cost the environment.

Simply mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. Not just a tasty salad dressing, this mix can also function as an effective DIY car wax. You can also make a more advanced organic DIY wax using linseed oil, pure carnauba wax, beeswax, and a touch of cider vinegar. Try both out and see which works best for you.

lemon and olive oil

Briiz Eco-Pod

When it comes to cleaning your car in an eco-friendly manner, you needn’t always rely on your DIY skills. Organic waxes and spot cleaning are great, but sometimes you really want a professional clean. Paying for that shine in an eco-friendly manner is possible, you just need to pick the right service.

Briiz provides an eco-pod cleaning service that’s environmentally friendly and easy on your budget. All their eco pods, as the name suggests, are 100% eco-friendly and built with the environment in mind. All Briiz’s products are also developed to provide ultimate protection to your car. Lemon and olive oil does work, but it’s a safe bet that Briiz’s high-quality waxes and sealants will do a more professional job of protecting your vehicle.

real barbeque

BBQ Maintenance Guide

By | Exterior | No Comments

Summer is here, and nothing says lazy summer evenings like firing up the BBQ. Everybody loves barbecues, it’s a basic rule of life. Very few people, however, like cleaning barbecues. But everything enjoyable in life comes at a cost, and BBQ maintenance is a fundamental part of enjoying delicious, grill cooked food.

It’s always going to be something of a chore, but, if you know what you’re doing, BBQ maintenance needn’t be difficult. Follow this guide, get your BBQ maintenance skills down to an art, and you might even enjoy looking after your beautiful grilling machine.

Gas Piping

Gas Piping

Of course, how you maintain your BBQ depends quite a bit on what sort of BBQ we’re talking about. Cleaning a gas grill involves slightly different steps to cleaning a charcoal fired barbecue. Gas grills tend to have a pretty long lifespan, but one sure way to shorten that lifespan is by neglecting to maintain your grill.

Luckily, there’s not a whole lot you need to do to maintain your gas grill. The most important thing you need to do concerns gas piping. Every month you should check your gas lines for leaks. Simply run some soapy water down the line and check for bubbles. If you see bubbles forming, you know you either need to tighten or replace the line.

The only other thing you should to do is clean your barbecue fairly regularly. With a gas grill, you need to make sure to wipe the grime from your burners. If these can be removed, take them out and rinse them in soapy water, but if not, simply give them a good rub with a damp cloth.

If your gas grill has burner protectors, these should also be removed and rinsed in soapy water.

Cleaning Grates

Grate cleaning is not particular to gas barbeques; unfortunately, all barbeque maintenance necessitates cleaning the grill.

Grate or grill cleaning is essentially a question of elbow grease. Often, you just need to put in the muscle power to dislodge that burned on fat. Cleaning the grill whilst warm help, and making sure that you have a high-quality grease-cutting cleaner is also important.

Lamb on the grill

It can help to heat a pan of water within the BBQ, with the lid on. This steam cleaning method won’t exactly clean the grill for you, but it should help to loosen some of the more stubborn, cached on grease.

Before Winter

When it comes to grill maintenance, there are a few season specific actions you need to bear in mind. It’s a sad, sad day when you finally decide that the time has come to break down and clean your grill ready for winter, but this you must do if you want your barbecue to last. Properly preparing your BBQ for winter storage will ensure that the grill survives the cold season and that the work you need to do in Spring is kept to a minimum.

Start by cleaning your grill as described above. Make sure you give it the most thorough scrub of the year, both inside and out. Now is the time to fix any niggling problems that you’ve had with your grill over the summer. If you have a gas grill this step might be more relevant. Next, you need to store your grill properly. Find somewhere dry to store your grill, but if this isn’t feasible, make sure that you purchase a good quality BBQ cover to protect your precious BBQ from the elements.

Before Spring

If you’ve properly stored your grill over the winter, then Spring maintenance should just be a question of unveiling your grill and making sure that you have all the relevant supplies in order.

Preparing a gas BBQ for the summer grilling season involves a few more steps. First, you should check for leaks, as described above. Next, you should make sure that your propane tank and your batteries are full. Batteries discharge more power in colder weather, so it’s especially important to check them after the Winter. If your igniter isn’t working, it may simply be a question of replacing your igniter.

bbq ready for the summer

Useful Tools

Finally, good BBQ maintenance depends on having the right tools handy. Don’t scrimp on spending when it comes to BBQ tools – having the right equipment handy will make cleaning easier, and help ensure the longevity of your BBQ.

Worse, using cheap tools, or the wrong kind of tool can actually damage your BBQ. For example, try and avoid using steel tools to clean your BBQ as these might badly scratch the interior. Instead, opt for grill scrapers and scrubbers marketed as “safe”.

Need help of best cleaning company in Malta? – Check our services here!

Ewaste disposal

Appliance Disposal in Malta: How to Get Rid of Old Electronics

By | Tips

Throwing away old electronics isn’t as easy as getting rid of your regular household waste. That’s because electronic waste tends to contain toxic materials like mercury, lead, and cadmium. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that mercury isn’t very good for the environment, or for you, and it’s not a great idea to have it leaching into the soil.

As society becomes more and more dependent on screens and gadgets, and as these devices become cheaper and more disposable, greater numbers of electronic devices are ending up in landfills. Because of all the nasty stuff in phones and laptops, this can have catastrophic effects on the environment. In Malta, when you dump your broken phone in a bin it’ll probably head to the landfill in Magħtab. There it will sit and quietly break down, leaching barium and lithium into the groundwater system. Eventually, those toxic chemicals will make it into your tap water.

So, clearly electronic waste needs to be disposed of safely and effectively. But how do you go about facilitating this process? As mentioned, recycling your ewaste isn’t quite as easy as recycling your empty wine bottles, but for obvious reasons, it’s pretty important that you put in the extra effort.

Where do you take your electronic waste in Malta?

To civic amenity sites, of which there are six dotted across Malta and Gozo. These sites are situated in Mriehel, Hal Far, Luqa, Maghtab, Tal-Kus, Xewkija Gozo and at new site that recently opened in Ta’ Qali. They are open Monday to Sunday, including public holidays, 7:30 am to 17:30 pm. You can bring all sorts of waste to these sites, not just ewaste. They also take furniture, tyres, solvents and hazardous chemicals – pretty much anything you can’t just chuck in a bin.

Old TV

“Bring-in sites” are different to these rarer civic amenity sites. In the case of the former, you can only recycle plastic, glass, and other more conventional recyclable goods. Civic amenity sites are the only places in Malta where you can safely dispose of your dying fridge or your buckets of toxic waste.

Waste collected at these sites is either treated locally, re-used, recycled, or exported overseas for treatment. In other words, your batteries won’t get dumped into a landfill and be left to leach into the groundwater supply.

Each site at Mriehel, Hal Far, Luqa, Maghtab, Tal-Kus, Xewkija Gozo and Ta’ Qali has its own website with plenty of information and even some pretty pictures of waste disposal in action. You can also request a special information leaflet about these sites from your local council. These leaflets contain all the info you need about disposing of ewaste and restrictions that might apply.

Now, if you’re just getting rid of your old phone, it’s probably not worth taking your time trekking to one of these civil amenity sites. It’s better to keep your old electronics somewhere safe until you have amassed a suitably large volume of home appliances and old electronics to throw away. You might want to take your broken laptops and phones along once you also have something big to haul, like a refrigerator or old television.

Old mobile phones

Given that you’ll probably have a lot of ewaste to drop off at these sites, you’ll also want a car. In fact, civic amenity sites in Malta don’t allow pedestrian walk-ins, so you’ll actually need to be driving. If you don’t own a vehicle yourself, make a day of it and persuade a friend to drive you. If you’re driving anything other than a car – a truck, van, or something even larger – you’ll need to fill out a form to register the vehicle.

There are also restrictions

On how many times you can visit Malta’s civil amenity sites.  The exact number of visits allowed depends on the size of your vehicle, but in all cases, visits per year are limited. This is to encourage people not to throw away electronics and other goods, but to reuse as much as possible.

If all this sounds like a bit of a hassle, just try and remember the mercury leaching into the water supply. Consider how convenient and easy all these electronic appliances make your life in the first place. How many hours a week does a washing machine save you? Putting things into perspective will make the few hours a year you’ll spend disposing of ewaste seem more acceptable.

There is also another option

What if you don’t have a car, or any friends willing to drive you to a civil amenity site in return for a free coffee? If you are only looking to get rid of a few small electronic devices, you might be able to recycle them at a drop off point where they accept small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) items. The best way to find out about these locations is to get in touch with your local council.

Housewarming Gift Ideas

By | Tips

Moving into a new home is usually a fairly notable landmark, and we as humans tend to mark notable moments with gifts and ceremony. If someone likes you enough to invite you to celebrate their new home, it’s only polite and proper to bring along a housewarming gift. They’re welcoming you into their new domain, and it’s an exciting moment. Bringing a gift is a nice way to say thank you, and to show that you’re happy about their move too.

The only problem is, what do you bring? What do you get for first-time homeowners as opposed to veteran domestics who already have everything? Is a hamper of essentials appropriate, or is home decor the sort of thing you bring as a housewarming gift? Negotiating the social perils of housewarming gifts isn’t easy, but here are a few housewarming gift ideas to get the ball rolling.

Barware and drinking

Does the new homeowner or renter like a tipple? If so, a nice bottle of something probably won’t go amiss. Being invited to a new home for the first time is more of a momentous occasion than a regular dinner date, so if you do bring a bottle, you should make sure it’s something good. Of course, how good depends upon your means and how much you like them, but it’s generally a good idea to bring something fancy enough that they might think twice before consuming it then and there.

If you feel like bringing something more home-related and permanent is a better idea, then you can’t go wrong with barware. Like a wedding gift, a housewarming gift should be about contributing something to that person, couple, or family’s growing horde of necessary, or not so necessary, goods. If the person in question likes alcohol, they’ll need a bottle opener. A fancy designer bottle opener can make the perfect, simple, understated housewarming gift. If you know that they’re into their cocktail making, you can perhaps bring them a boston shaker, or some sleek bar accoutrements

Glasses are another drink related gift option. For first-time homeowners you might want to consider bringing some nice crystal glasses to start of their glassware collection.

Cooking and food

If your friends are teetollers but amazing chefs, then kitchenware is always a decent housewarming gift choice. Even if they’re drunkards and terrible chefs, they’ll still need to cook, and it might be a good idea to pointedly help them on their way with a set of pots or pans.

Pans and pots

Again, for first-time homeowners, wedding gift style presents are always a good bet. Pots, pans, knife sets, rolling pins, anything you can think of. If the person or persons in question are a big fan of quiche, why not get them a quiche dish so they can try their hand at making their favourite treat at home.

Spices, oils, or any other fancy food delicacies might also be appropriate. A good set of spices will make a lovely gift, especially for someone into their curries, but it won’t set you back as much as stainless steel pan. You could also make a gift of all the essentials. If you and your friends are a little younger and you have a mutual understanding of budget constraints, then why not bring something practical? If they’ve just moved then they might not have flour, sugar, or any of the other day to day necessities that are usually kept at home.

Home decor

Decoration of some sort is an obvious housewarming gift option, but you have to be a little careful. Your friends might not necessarily enjoy the same outrageous wall art that you appreciate, so it helps if you’ve visited their previous home and are familiar with their tastes.

Home Decor

If the people in question are not first time homeowners, but veterans at moving, they might already have all the paintings and ornamentation they need to make a house a home. What do you get for the person who already has everything? Personalized decor is a sure-fire win, and something that they’re unlikely to already own (perhaps for good reason). But even if they end up not adorning their walls with the six foot oil painting of their face that you commissioned, gifting personalised art is one of the more interesting housewarming gifts you can make.

The Garden

Obviously this one only applies if the new home actually has a garden. An ornamental lawn flamingo might make an amusing gift if your friend has just moved into a one bedroom apartment in tower block, but the joke will wear thin fast.

But, if your friends are lucky enough to have a garden, then garden ornaments make a perfectly suitable gift. If they have just moved, they’re unlikely to have start thinking about garden decoration, so that gift of a lawn flamingo will be one less thing they have to worry about. More seriously, garden furniture is never an unwelcome gift, especially if summer is just around the corner.

7 Spring Cleaning Tips

By | Interior

Spring has sprung and that means longer, brighter days, flowers poking through the newly thawed ground, and little bunny rabbits hopping about. It also means spring cleaning. With the Spring air so fresh and fragrant, it would be a shame to have your home dragging you back into winter with its dust and musty grime. So, now’s the perfect time for a deep clean, but where to start? To help you decide, here are a few cleaning tips that’ll help you get your home organised.

Make a cleaning checklist

First off, if you want a clean and well organised home, then personal organisation is the first step. Start by thinking about what you want to get done and how long you’ll willing to spend doing it. Draw up a cleaning checklist of essential chores and go through them methodically. Having a battle plan for tackling your household mess will help keep you focused and avoid wandering around aimlessly not knowing what to do next. Although it may take you a few minutes to write the list, it’ll save you time in the long run. Of course, that doesn’t help you with what to put on the list, so read on.

Checklist will help you with cleaning

Get your home organised with a good de-clutter

Before you start the job of cleaning pure and simple, you’ll need to spend time de-cluttering. While de-cluttering is part of the general activity we describe as cleaning, it doesn’t involve dusters, mops, or brushes. All it takes is an individual, in this case you, walking around your living space, and putting things back where they’re supposed to be kept. It’s about putting those dirty socks and underwear in the laundry bin so that you can actually get at the floor with a mop and bucket.

If you decide that the things you find don’t really belong in your home, feel free to recycle, throw, or give them away. De-cluttering is also an opportunity to slim down the number of possessions you have in your life. A perfectly executed Spring clean will not only leave your house sparkling clean, but should free up some space too.

Gather the supplies

The next big pre-cleaning tip is to get what you need before you start. You don’t want to be knee-deep in cleaning before you realise that you have to rush out to the shops to pick up some glass cleaner for window cleaning. Again, you can use a handy check-list to ensure that you’ve got all the supplies you need for an all out cleanliness assault on your home. Remember to buy or gather things like rubber gloves, all the relevant cleaning fluids for your surfaces, dusters, mops, microfiber cloths, etc. Once you have chosen your weapons, you’re all set.

Mopping the floors

Be methodical

Actually getting down to the cleaning, it’s important to be methodical. Trying to do it all at once will actually waste time and set you back mentally. Go room by room, tackling the kitchen first, and then the bathroom. Make a mental list and stick to it. If this is your first Spring clean, or you have a big house, consider spacing out the cleaning over several days. Alternatively, you could apply method to madness by cleaning on a task by task basis. De-clutter the whole house, then wipe every surface clean, next do the windows, followed by sweeping – you get the picture.

Don’t forget the fridge

A good deep clean is about more than just repeating your routine cleaning chores. A Spring clean is the perfect opportunity to give even your household appliances a new lease of life. At some point in your clean, tackle the fridge. Cleaning out the fridge can be a cumbersome task, but it’s well worth it. The longer you delay, the more months old gunk you’ll find rotting at the back of the fridge, potentially presenting a health hazard to you and your family. So, find a surface to put everything from your fridge and give it a good clean with some food safe disinfectant.

Messy Fridge

Getting to those forgotten spaces

Similarly, Spring is a good time to get to those forgotten spaces that never usually get cleaned. This is a once a year event, so if the space behind the cupboard is ever going to see daylight, now’s the moment. Move cupboards, sofas, so as to get at all the dust that’s usually secreted away. Corners, walls in the kitchen, behind the radiators – think of everywhere you wouldn’t usually think of and clean it!

Make the place fresh

Lastly, but most importantly, it’s important to leave your place feeling and smelling fresh. The absence of dirt and a lingering smell of disinfectant often isn’t enough to really make you feel as if Spring is sprung, so go the extra mile and adorn your house with Springtime accessories. Around the world, bringing in flowers to the home was the traditional way to celebrate Springtime, and you can see why. Brightening the place with a few well placed flower pots really provides a daily reminder that the warmer days have arrived. So, go on a walk, and bring the outside in with some fresh-cut flowers.

Cleaning Your Car After “Blood Rain” (Xita Tal-Hamrija)

By | Cleaning

If you’re interested in finding out how to clean your car after blood rain, you’re probably well acquainted with the phenomenon and can skip ahead, but it’s worth explaining Xita Tal-Hamrija for the uninitiated.

What is it?

Blood rain is the more poetic term for what is essentially red rain. Sometimes red rain is caused by the presence of algae spores in the upper atmosphere, but the blood rain we’re concerned with is caused by dust. Since ancient times, people have observed blood rains, and, expectedly, they were considered a fairly bad omen.

Sahara desert

Nowadays we know that it’s not actually raining blood, but during a blood rain we might still have cause for concern, especially for the cleanliness of our cars.

Blood rains occur when sand from the Sahara desert or from the Atlas mountains is whipped up and carried along by atmospheric depressions coursing through North Africa. These dust filled clouds most commonly touch down on the Iberian Peninsula, or of course, in Malta.

In the past, Sahara sand has been spotted as far afield as Northern Europe, when particularly extreme weather caused blood rains and confused drivers in parts of the UK. There are quite a few phrases that you might hear to describe blood rain. In parts of the world it is known as snow dust, rain dust, muddy rain, red rain, coloured rain, or simply rain dust. In Malta of course, it goes by the name of Xita Tal-Hamrija.

Rain with lots of red sand suspended in it makes for an interesting weather event, but it can also be really annoying. When those red clouds come to a rolling, car owners in particular get a little angsty. That’s because, after a blood rain, everything magically becomes covered in particulate matter or dust.

How to deal with it?

The first piece of advice when dealing with blood rain, is, don’t wash your car if you hear of a blood rain coming. Keep an eye on the weather forecast during the stormy season in the Sahara. There’s nothing more annoying than spending hours cleaning and polishing your car only to wake up the next morning and find it coated in a layer of red dust. Cleaning your car should definitely take place after a blood rain, rather than before.

The main culprit when it comes to blood rain in Malta are Sirocco winds. Sirocco is the term given to Southeast to Southwest dry desert winds generally. These winds start in North Africa and head off towards the Mediterranean. These winds are hot, dry, and usually dusty. Sometimes the dust levels will be minor, but Siroccos can often cause poor visibility, and when combined with water in the upper atmosphere, blood rain. Rarely, the amount of sand picked up by Siroccos can be so great as to cause sandstorms in the Mediterranean.

But is cleaning up after a blood rain simply a case of washing your car as usual? Not exactly. With your car exterior covered in fine grains of sand, you certainly don’t want to start off with a sponge, as you might otherwise.

Cleaning your car in car wash

Desert dust isn’t going to clean itself off your car, but, as with most things, there’s a right and wrong way to go about the job. First off, you need to give your car a thorough rinse to get rid off any larger particles of sand that might scratch your paintwork. If you start off with a sponge, you might be rubbing those grains of desert sand around your car exterior, damaging the paintwork in the process. The blood rain itself won’t scratch up your paint work, but after a Sirocco blows in, you’ll often find a lot of damaged car exteriors. This unfortunate state of affairs is purely down to car owners who haven’t thought about the consequences of grinding sand into their paintwork.

Of course, you can always take your car to a garage or a detailer for professional car care, but as long as you give your car a thorough hands free rinse, you should be able to take care of the job yourself. Once you’ve rinsed your car with plenty of water, then you can begin going about business as usual. After getting rid of larger dust particles, you should start cleaning with a good car shampoo.

Use a bioorganic car shampoo if you’re intent on cleaning your car the eco friendly way. It’s important not to use any old regular household detergent as the nasty chemicals in these products can seriously damage your paint work. A good car shampoo, maybe a car cleaning mitt, and plenty of water should do the trick when it comes to eliminating that pesky film of dust – but remember, rinse before you begin working on your car.

After the wash, you can wax and polish your car using a good quality car wax and car polish. This will help ensure that your car is better protected from any future blood winds. Just make sure that the weather event is fully over before you begin cleaning, otherwise you could end up having to clean all over again.

Car Valeting – Why You Should Book it Now

By | Cleaning

You might think that keeping your car clean is a relatively easy task that you can personally keep on top of from the comfort of your own home. If you are of this opinion, then your car probably isn’t clean, and it definitely isn’t in the best condition it could be.

Car cleaning

At its most basic, car cleaning can be easy – you just need a sponge and a bucket of soapy water, right? Kind of. You’re not going to get your car as clean as it could be with just elbow grease and soap. But, if you’re looking to replicate the kind of clean you’ll get from a car wash, then you can do this at home with the right equipment.

The real question is, do you want to? If you’re the sort of person that enjoys giving their car a little tender love and affection, then that’s fine. But if car washing is a chore rather than a pleasure, then you’re definitely better off getting your car professionally cleaned.

Going to the car wash or getting a car valet service will save you a bunch of time that you could spend doing something you enjoy, or need to do.

It might also not be as much of an expense as you think. You can find plenty of car service deals online, and once you take into the account of buying equipment and supplies, an auto service might work out roughly the same as a proper car clean at home.

Cleaning your car is important

A proper valet service

But if you are looking for car services that go beyond a quick clean at the car wash, then you’re definitely better off paying a professional. If you want a car polish, car wax, or car interior cleaning, then it’s best to leave it to the experts.

A car valet service has all the equipment and know-how to provide a clean that you’re simply not capable of at home. Car valets know cars inside and out, and they have all the correct chemicals and cleaners to deal with a range of car interiors. They also have the best waxes, polishes, and methods for dealing with your paintwork.

The benefits of professional car cleaning

Of course, the main benefit of professional car cleaning is a new lease of life for your vehicle. Turn in your car to a car valet service, and it’ll be like getting a brand new car back. With odors and stains eliminated inside, it will be a pleasure to drive, and with the paintwork fully cared for, it will be a pleasure to look at.

But even if you aren’t big into cars and don’t particularly care about your car’s appearance, it’s still worth getting your car professionally cleaned. For a start, a professional car clean will make car maintenance easier in the long run. Book a car valet service now and save yourself work in the future by keeping your car in prime condition.

A professional car cleaning service shouldn’t just be for your immediate benefit, it’s also an investment. Looking after your car means that it will keep more of its value should you decide to sell further on down the line.

A proper car service is about more than just aesthetics. Polishing and waxing not only keeps your car looking good, it protects the paintwork and the car from damage. Car cleaning isn’t just about pomp and show, it’s an important part of keeping up the longevity of your vehicle. Just as hygiene is an important part of human health, so is car cleaning an important part of vehicle maintenance.

What is car detailing?

Car detailing is a next level car clean. It is the meticulous step by step process of thorough interior and exterior maintenance. Car wash and car detailing aren’t synonymous. Whilst washing your car is about removing dirt, getting your car detailed means reconditioning your car. Again, car detailing is a crucial part of protecting an important investment.

A high quality auto detailing job can take hours, but the results speak for themselves. If you’re about to sell, then car detailing can help take your car back to the height of its youth. If you’ve just purchased a car, then car detailing is an important part of general maintenance and can take your car from ordinary to extraordinary.

Detailing brings the difference

Mobile car valeting

It’s also worth noting that a professional car valeting service needn’t involve you driving anywhere and hanging around for hours. Nowadays, you can find plenty of fantastic mobile car valeting services. Mobile car valeting involves the professionals coming to you, and is an especially useful service for the time conscious.

You can pay for a valet service to take your car away to their place of work, or you can pay for the service to be carried out at your home. Either way, you’re getting the professional clean needed to maintain your vehicle and make it a pleasure to drive.

Turning Your Balcony Into A Little Jungle With These Simple Steps

By | Exterior

Very few people are lucky enough to own homes with rolling lawns and luxurious flower beds. Living in the city means you’re even less likely to boast a large square footage in the garden department. Unfortunately, living in a concrete jungle necessarily means that you’re unable to enjoy the foliage related benefits of living in an actual jungle.

But all is not lost, there are still plenty of ways to bring a little nature into your home. Even if you’ve only got a balcony or a very small space to contend with, that doesn’t mean you can’t indulge your green fingers.

If you love to garden, you shouldn’t let a small garden hold you back, and even if you don’t enjoy gardening, there’s no reason to leave a perfectly good balcony bare. Nurturing plant life is good for you, it’s good for the neighbours, and it’s good for the environment, so with that in mind, here are a few ideas for helping turn a small space into a green wonder.

Go vertical

This is probably the most fundamental of our small garden design ideas. If a small garden means that you can’t garden outwards, go vertical instead. Have you ever seen buildings with “green walls” – soil and plants built into the walls and growing vertically? You can apply the same idea to your balcony or small garden.

If you want to take the balcony garden jungle concept to its natural limits, you can literally redesign your walls to incorporate plant life. Obviously, you shouldn’t start knocking down your outer walls and replacing them with soil, but you can build a living wall on top of your existing walls.

Green walls work best in city spaces

If you’re a hydroponics expert or have a lot of free time, you can do this yourself. Alternatively, you can find plenty of services and shops online that provide living walls to businesses and homes.

These living walls are essentially built like normal walls around a structure that provides stability. Instead of being made of brick or wood, they are made from a growth medium that is able to support plant life. Seeds are then planted in the walls, and hey presto – a green wall that looks beautiful and helps improve air quality.

More complex green walls have hidden pipe mechanisms and others require hand watering. For your home, it’s probably best to go for the latter option.

There are some types of plant that are better suited to vertical growing than others, but there are an extensive range of flowers and herbs that will flourish when grown in this manner.

Green walls are an excellent way to economise on space and creatively tackle urban environmental issues, but you can take advantage of vertical space in other ways. When it comes to simple small garden ideas, a trellis has got to be high on the list. A trellis is a simple wooden grid structure, and you can find them at most garden stores.

Herb gardens don't need more space

You can grow lots of beautiful vines along these contraptions, and they are wonderful tools when making use of a small garden. An aromatic jasmin is particularly powerful when grown on a small city balcony.

Hanging pots are another frequent feature of small garden design. Instead of taking up floor space, you can hang pots from the roof, or from the wall, to take advantage of as much space as possible.

Look at the positive aspects of small garden design

If you’re a keen gardener it can sometimes be disheartening to limit your green fingers to balcony planters or a small garden. But there’s another way to look at the problem of a small garden, that is, as an opportunity. A big garden is actually somewhat cumbersome. It’s time consuming and expensive, and often difficult to properly fill.

The advantage of a small garden is that you can emulate that jungle vibe fairly easily. Without too much effort, you can fill a small space to the brim with plant life, giving the impression of abundance and real natural beauty.

Take advantage of the wall space with living walls, and cover every available surface with grow bags and pots. With limited resources you can achieve a lot in a small garden.

Grow your little jungle on a balconyConsidering furniture

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to have a small garden space at all, you’ll want to spend as much time in summer as possible enjoying your little slice of jungle. To do so comfortably, and to enjoy meals or drinks outside with your friends, you’ll probably need furniture.

When considering a small garden balcony, you should probably opt for folding furniture that will allow you to take a versatile approach to space. The other thing to make sure of is that the furniture matches the style of your balcony space.

If you have wooden decking, you should opt for natural wood chairs, and if your balcony has more of a metallic style, try finding some wrought iron chairs. Again, both of these styles can be found in collapsible versions.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of small garden ideas and balcony ideas, but hopefully it gives you a taste of what you can achieve with a tiny garden space. Remember, gardening in a small space is a different ball game entirely, but there are plenty of opportunities to look forward to.