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

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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.

Family Car

Simple Tips That Will Make Car Wash Eco Friendly

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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.

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.

Make laundry easier

What Do Those Laundry Symbols Mean

By | Tips

You’ve just bought a beautiful new top, and on Saturday, you wore it out and about, delighting in praise all day long. Now it sits, crumpled at the bottom of your laundry basket, covered in food stains and stinking of sweat.

Obviously, it needs a good run through the washing machine. If at this point you chuck it in the washing machine and press whatever random buttons you can lay your hands on, you’re making a big mistake.

Certain clothes need to be washed at certain temperatures, spin cycles, and some can’t even be put in the washing machine at all. Then comes the drying and the ironing – there are a whole set of rules for those procedures too. So, what to do?

Fear not, we have it all figured out for you! If you follow these steps, we can guarantee that you will not end up shrinking your favourite top, or ruining your expensive dress.

 

1. Find the label

Find the Label

Luckily, most clothes come equipped with handy guides on how to wash and dry them in your washing machine and tumble dryer. You turn the top inside out and search for the little white label that you know is of importance to this process.

When you find it, at first you might be a bit confused as it appears to be written in some alien language, accompanied by symbols that may or may not represent a washing machine. Some of the numbers you recognise as belonging to your own language, but you’re not entirely sure what they mean.

But that little piece of label will actually save your clothes from a disaster, so congratulations, you’ve found the washing care label – the cryptic little tag that tells you how it’s best to wash your clothes. Unfortunately, that washing machine label is covered with little washing machine symbols that give little clue as to their true meaning – which brings us to the next point.

 

 

 

 

2. Learn what the symbols mean

In order to make things easier for you, here’s a brief guide to reading those weird little laundry symbols.

Washing Your Clothes

 

I. The Bucket With Water In It

Out of the clothes washing symbols, you should recognise one of the symbols as a little bucket filled with water. This is the most important symbol when it comes to selecting your washing machine cycle.

II. The Bucket With Numbers

If you’re lucky, there will be a number inside that little bucket. That number is the temperature that the garment should be washed at. Say you see a little 40 – that means that you should avoid washing your top on a hot wash.

Go over 40 degrees centigrade and you risk damaging your top or shrinking it, especially if you constantly wash at that temperature.

Learn what the symbols mean

 

III. The Bucket With Dots

Sometimes the temperature is represented by little dots rather than a number. One dot means a rather chilly 30 degrees, two dots symbolises 40 degrees, three dots 50 degrees, four dots 60, five dots, 70, and six, a scorching 95 degrees.

IV. The Bucket With a Hand

If you see a hand, rather than a little number or dots in that tub, then you’re out of luck. That means your garment is hand wash only and you’ll need to get the washing tub out.

V. The Bucket With a Big Cross

Even more extreme than the hand wash symbol is the little water tub with a big cross through it. That means you can’t wash the garment at all. Instead, you’ll have to get it dry cleaned.

VI. The Lines Underneath the Bucket

Next, you might notice lines underneath the washing symbols. One line underneath a bucket of water stands for “permanent press”. This means that the garment has been treated with chemicals so that it retains its shape.

Therefore, you shouldn’t iron a garment with one line laundry symbols on the tag. Two lines however, has nothing to do with ironing. Two line washing machine symbols mean that the garment is made from delicate materials like wool, and needs a gentle cycle on your washing machine.

So, that’s the washing machine confusion out of the way, but what about those other funny clothes washing symbols? They don’t indicate what you should do with your garment during a wash, but how you should dry it.

 

Drying Your Clothes

 

Drying your clothes

If the washing machine is represented by a little bucket of water, what has the washing machine industry chosen to represent your tumble dryer? More simplistically, it’s represented by a small square with a circle in it that looks like a tumble dryer.

I. Tumble Dryer With a Cross

Again, a tumble dryer laundry symbol with a big cross through it means that you shouldn’t tumble dry the garment. Instead you’ll have to let it drip dry on a clothes rack or a washing line.

II. Tumble Dryer With the Dots

And again, dots stand in for heat. One dot inside the tumble dryer means tumble dry on low heat. Two dots means tumble dry on medium heat, and three dots means you can tumble dry on high heat.

III. Tumble Dryer With Lines Underneath

If the tumble dryer laundry symbols are underlined once, that again means the garment is permanent press and that a permanent press setting on your tumble dryer should be used. Just as with the washing machine, two lines means a delicate setting should be used.

IV. Tumble Dryer Filled in Black

If instead of dots your tumble dryer symbol is filled in black, that means you should tumble dry using no heat at all.

 

Ironing Your Clothes

Ironing Your ClothesSo, that’s those crazy washing machine symbols explained. The only other thing you might see on your tag is the outline of an iron. Again, dots inside the iron symbolise what heat the iron can be used at.

One dot, low, two dots, medium, and three dots high. As you might expect, if you see an iron with a big cross through it, that means you can’t iron the garment at all!

Closing Thoughts

We hope you found this article useful and fun.

Read some of our other blogs.

 

Children can help you mopping floors.

How To Get Your Children To Help With Cleaning

By | Tips

Usually, your children are the ones making the mess rather than the ones cleaning it up, but why not turn those little hands to good use?

Getting your children to help with cleaning teaches them to be responsible from an early age, and your cleaning load will also get a little bit lighter with some help from your children – it’s a win-win scenario.

In fact, teaching your children to clean their rooms or the house might mean that they make less mess in the first place. It’s easy to go around trashing the place if someone else is doing the hard work cleaning up.

Once they realise what a chore it is to clean mud off the floor, they might consider taking their boots off before they come inside, for example.

It sounds ideal – raise your children right and get some free help with the chores. There’s only one little problem. Cleaning is not usually top of many children’s to-do lists. So, how do you get your little tikes enthusiastic about cleaning and ready to help?

 

Cleaning games – the first step to a clean house and clean kids

Cleaning games - the first step to a clean house and clean kids

As with any other boring chore, children will usually resist the idea that they spend their hard earned playtime helping you clean the house, or tidying up their rooms. But, just as you might make aeroplane noises when feeding your baby, you can make cleaning a little more palatable with a bit of fun.

What do they love more than cleaning? Well, pretty much anything, but especially playing games. The best way to get children to do anything is to turn it into a fun game. But how do you do that with cleaning?

You know your child best, so if you’re the imaginative type, you’re probably best placed to invent a game that you know will entertain your kid. However, if you’re too exhausted cleaning up after them to think of anything, here are a few ideas.

The robot game – this one requires quite a bit of direction, literally, but if you’re in the early stages of teaching your child to clean, then you’ll need room cleaning games that are hands on.

The cleaning game simply involves pretending that your kid is a robot and that they need input commands, like, ‘turn right, step backwards, pick up toys’. Introducing an imaginative element to cleaning up will mean that your kid isn’t too reluctant to tidy their room.

Simon says, cleaning version – this is a classic. The simplest way to get any child to do anything is to make a Simon says game out of it. Introducing the simple element of being able to be right or wrong will help your kid engage with the tasks at hand.

Cleaning games - the first step to a clean house and clean kids

Just make sure that the ‘Simon says’ commands are the chores that you actually want to be done.

Create a cleaning zone – house cleaning games like this are good when there are lots of sweeping to be done. Simply create a ‘bullseye’ or ‘cleaning zone’ with some tape on the floor. The aim of the game is to sweep as much dirt, lego, etc., into the cleaning zone as possible. If you want to speed things up, you can always introduce a timed element to the game.

Competition – if you have more than one child to hand, the best way to get them involved in cleaning is to make a competition out of it. You could time the task from one week to the next, seeing who can set the record for fastest window cleaning, for example. Otherwise, you could see who finishes all of their tasks first, rewarding the ones that do so.

 

Buying a children’s cleaning setBuying a children cleaner set

The other great way to make cleaning fun is by making the tools of the trade sparkly, or otherwise appealing.

You can buy ready-made Barbie cleaning games, for example, just make sure you’re not only buying cleaning sets for your daughters or nieces but your sons and nephews as well. You can get less pink and sparkly cleaning sets designed for less Barbie orientated children too.

If your child forms an attachment to their cleaning set, as they do with other toys, then they’ll be much more likely to use it.

You can even purchase a toddler cleaning set for your really young ones. There are also other cleaning toys available online, so just take your pick.

 

 

Teaching children to clean

Teaching children to cleanIf your children are a little bit older, then you might expect some quality help with your chores. Of course, if they are still toddling, or are too young to do many tasks themselves, then the help you’ll actually receive will be limited.

But this doesn’t mean that playing cleaning games with your young children is a waste of time. One of the most beneficial things to come of getting your children to help with cleaning is actually teaching them how to clean.

Make sure to start small. Teaching your children to clean isn’t about getting the job done, it’s about introducing them to the activity. So start with little tasks like cleaning a single window pane, or washing up a couple of dishes.

Even if they end up more a hindrance than a help, the extra effort on your part will pay off in the long run when they’re a proactive rather than entitled teenager.

Closing thoughts

We hope you enjoyed reading this article.

Read some of our other blogs.

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Tips on cleaning your carpet

Tips On Cleaning Your Carpet

By | Tips

As clean as you get the rest of your home, a dirty old carpet’s going to make the place look filthy. There’s nothing more unsightly than a big red wine spill on an otherwise pristine cream carpet, or a rug that’s matted with filth. So to keep your carpets clean and your place looking fresh, here are a few tips on cleaning your carpets.

Carpet cleaning the simple way

If your beige carpet is looking a little on the grey side, the primary weapon in your arsenal is the humble vacuum cleaner. There are certainly more carpet specific cleaning tools, but before you crack out the carpet shampoo, you should give the place a little vacuum first.

You probably don’t need a detailed how-to on using a vacuum cleaner, but here are a few things to bear in mind – Make sure you pick up any small items that could get trapped in the vacuum cleaner and try to clear the general area. It’s also worth dusting blinds and surfaces before you start, so that you vacuum up all the fallen dust, rather than messing up your hard work later.

Carpet cleaning the simple way

Use a nozzle attachment for hard to reach areas, and when doing the main vacuuming work, try to go both vertically and horizontally. Carpet fibres are usually twisted – by vacuuming in several directions, you can ensure that all the fibres are reached.

It’s also important to remember to vacuum your carpet regularly. Dust and dirt attract more dust and dirt, so by reducing build up, you can save yourself hard scrubbing work in the long run.

Make sure that you vacuum high traffic areas more frequently, and the other thing to remember is – go slow. A couple of slow passes with the vacuum cleaner will pick up much more dirt than swiping madly with your machine.

 

How to clean with a steam cleaner

A steam cleaner will do a more effective job of cleaning your carpets than a regular old vacuum cleaner. You can hire a professional to steam clean your carpets, or you can rent a heavy duty cleaner from a local home centre.

Professionally cleaning your carpets once in a while to remove deeply cached from dirt and allergens is a good idea, but you should also consider a personal steam cleaner for more regular cleaning.

How to clean with a steam cleaner

It’s worth noting that steam cleaning isn’t an alternative to vacuuming your carpet. In fact, to steam clean, you’ll need to vacuum first. Vacuuming will deal with the big problem dirt so that your steam cleaner can get to work on removing more deeply ingrained dirt particles.

Steam dislodges dirt by dissolving it, but it also removes mildew and mould spores. For a semi-regular clean, you should certainly invest in a lightweight steam cleaner to deal with the dirt that your vacuum can’t cope with alone.

 

Using a carpet shampooer

When you really want to go deep and scrub out old stains, then you’ll need to turn to carpet shampoo. Shampooing is an age-old carpet cleaning method and it’s really effective at sorting out heavily soiled and deeply stained carpets. If you need to make your carpet look like new again, you’ll have to spend a few hours with the carpet shampoo.

You can rent a carpet shampooer from a store, which is the easiest option, or you can shampoo your carpets by hand. You can choose a dry shampoo, which often comes in environmentally friendly forms, or you can opt for a wet shampoo.

There’s a constant debate in the carpet cleaning industry over whether wet or dry cleaning your carpet is better in general, but the best way to decide is to try both to see for yourself!

 

Act fast using carpet stain remover

The best way to keep your carpet clean is by dealing with stains as soon as they happen. Cached on grime is going to take heavy duty equipment to get rid of, but most stains can be coped with, as long as they’re caught in time.

The first rule of spot cleaning is to use a clean cloth! Soiled cloths or patterned cloths can make the situation worse, so make sure you keep a clean cloth handy. You should also make sure your rag isn’t bristled or too rough, as this might damage your carpet fibres.

There are a great many carpet cleaners to choose from on the market, and the type of cleaner you should use often depends on the stain in question. For instance, for blood, you need water or hydrogen peroxide, but for pet urine, you’re best off with an enzyme-based cleaner.

Make sure your arsenal is fully stocked to cope with all eventualities. Test these cleaners on a small portion of your carpet first to see they work well with the fabric.

Next, remember to dab and blot, and not to rub the stain further into the carpet!

 

When it comes to carpets, prevention is the best cure

When it comes to carpets, prevention is the best cure

Of course, as with most things in life, prevention is the best cure. To keep your carpet clean, you not only need to have a regular cleaning schedule – you need to look after it in the first place.

Try keeping to shoes off policy, as this will massively reduce the amount of dirt trodden into your carpet. It’s also best to keep eating relegated to non-carpeted areas, and certainly don’t think about carpeting your kitchen!

 

Closing thoughts

We hope you found this article helpful.

Check out some of our other blog posts:

 

 

Organising your Wardrobe in 8 Easy Steps

Organising your Wardrobe in 8 Easy Steps

By | Tips

Christmas and New Year are over, Winter is on it’s way out, and Spring will be here before we know it! Traditionally, many see Spring as a chance for a fresh start and a chance for change, echoing the birth and life which starts happening all around us at that time of year.

This fresh start also extends to your wardrobe; as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, our fashion needs change; we wear lighter fabrics, shorter lengths, brighter colours. The problem? Sometimes we can lose fab items of clothing, as they vanish forever into the abyss of a messy wardrobe! So take the time to get organised, and let your spring style run smoothly!

Here are my top tips for organising your wardrobe, and keeping on top of it.

 

1. Do your research

Before you go anywhere near your wardrobe, take the opportunity to have a think and be creative. What do you want your look to be? Does it need to fit a busy lifestyle, or be practical yet stylish to deal with a busy life raising children?

Do you want a more polished, preened look, or something low maintenance yet attractive? Which famous figures do you admire for their style? Gather some examples of your ideal look, so that you have an end goal in mind whilst organising. This will help you to more easily discard unwanted items, and give you a focus whilst sorting.

 

2. Get absolutely everything out

This may sound extreme, but it is 100% necessary. Get every single thing out of your wardrobe and drawers, and I mean everything; socks, underwear, coats, hats, scarves, bags…lay it all out somewhere where you can see it.

You will probably be surprised by how much there is!

 

3. Organise into sections

 

Organise into sections

 

Be picky here; don’t simply start a pile of ‘tops.’ Heavy jumpers in one section, cotton t-shirts in another, smart work shirts in a third…you get the idea. Do the same for other items – jeans, smart trousers, work dresses, etc.

 

4. Be ruthless

Work on instinct, go through each section methodically, and discard anything you no longer want. Anything which is faded, stained, doesn’t fit or simply doesn’t meet your tastes anymore can go. Any single socks, or things which you keep “just in case” can be easily removed.

Listen to your gut, if your initial reaction is “ew!” or “what’s that?” it’s time to let it go. Bag up unwanted, good quality items ready to drop at a charity store or friends, and put the rest aside temporarily – you may be able to use them as cleaning rags.

 

5. Find things which work together

Once you have a pile of items which you know you like and which all fit, the fun can begin. Consider which items work well with each other, and which can be used to create a whole new outfit. You may be surprised how many new outfits you can develop out of what you have.

The aim is to make sure that everything goes with something else, to make sure you actually wear it. You can even photograph different combinations, to help you remember and inspire you when you are in a hurry.

 

6. Make sure your wardrobe is clean and fresh

If you are anything like me, very odd things can end up in your wardrobe (especially if it’s used as a nest by sleepy cats…). You wouldn’t clean your floor with a dirty brush, so make sure the space is clean, aired and fresh smelling before you put your clothes back in.

 

7. Come up with a system

Some people organise their clothes by colour, others by function. Decide which works best for you, and put all of your clothes neatly in the wardrobe. Hang jumpers, shirts, blouses and long sleeved tops on hangers, and make sure these all face the same way. Hang skirts and dresses on the appropriate type of hanger, and make sure they all sit neatly and have enough space.

 

Come up with a system

 

This has a double bonus: you can instantly and easily see what you have, and it helps to stop clothes from getting wrinkled and creased, saving you time on the ironing! Neatly fold jeans, trousers and t-shirts, and store them carefully somewhere you can easily access and view them.

 

8. Don’t forget accessories!

Accessories can make or break an outfit, so don’t neglect them in your wardrobe organisation! Treat them in the same way you sort your clothes, discarding anything broken or that you no longer enjoy wearing. Make sure that necklaces are untangled, that earrings have pairs, that bracelets and watches have boxes where possible, and rings are clean and polished.

 

Don't forget accessories!

 

Make sure that every piece of jeweler has a home, and that you can quickly see at a glance what you have. It is also worth taking the time to wonder which pieces can go which different outfits, as a new accessory can transform an outfit easily!

 

We all have to wear clothes every day, so it is worth taking the time to make sure your wardrobe is organised and easy to access. Remove an unnecessary stress from your life, and enjoy the added bonus of discovering purchases you forgot you had or wearing something a different way to create a rocking new outfit!

How to clean your Bathroom

How To Clean Your Bathroom

By | Tips

Out of all of the unpleasant household necessities, cleaning the bathroom is perhaps one job that we all would prefer to avoid. It is the one area which can seem to never be clean, and often involves contorting yourself into awkward positions, spreading yourself with the shower hose, and getting up close and personal with the toilet.

The good news is that there are systems you can put into place to make the process easier, quicker and more efficient. Keep reading for tips on the best way to clean your bathroom.

 

1. Have different cloths for different sections

Make your life easier and your cleaning more effective by having colour coded cloths to correspond to different areas of the bathroom. Within industry, pink is usually used for the toilet, to highlight the risk of spreading germs which can occur.

This makes sure you are not using the same cloths in different areas, which can make your cleaning less effective, and could spread illnesses or germs. Similarly, make sure you have all of your bathroom cleaning supplies with you before you start to make your life easier!

 

2. Make products work for you

There is a range of items on the market, all of which claim to be the best bathroom cleaner. Whilst much of this is up to personal preference, you can make your products work effectively for you.

If you have something which needs time to work, such as a spray or foam, spray this on first, usually on the tiles surrounding the shower, and sometimes down the toilet or on taps. This allows the product to get to work whilst you are focusing elsewhere.

 

3. Start on the larger areas

Start off in the bathtub, usually the largest area in the bathroom. Apply the bathtub cleaner, then carefully wipe off the product, scrubbing as you do so to make sure all stains are removed.

3. Start on the larger areas

If you have a combined shower/bathtub, you can then rinse off with the shower head or bath taps, before rubbing the surface with a towel to remove watermarks and make it shiny. This step can then be repeated with the tiles; the bathroom tile cleaner applied, scrubbed, rinsed and the tiles polished.

 

4. Move onto the shower

As with other products, decide on the best shower cleaner for your bathroom, ideally, one which removes dirt, stains, soap scum, and gives a shine.

 

Spray or apply the product, then rub with a different cloth in a circular motion to remove stains and marks. Rinse off with the shower head, and then polish with another cloth or a dry towel. Leave the shower head and taps for a moment.

 

 5. Thoroughly clean the sink

Apply the necessary product to the sink area – don’t forget the outside and underneath. Scrub it well to remove toothpaste marks, makeup, hairs or any other unpleasantries, and then, as before, buff with a dry towel.

 

Thoroughly clean the sink

6. Don’t neglect the toilet!

Perhaps the most unpleasant aspects of bathroom cleaning: the toilet. Luckily, this can be tackled easily and quickly if you have a good system in place. Firstly, our bleach into the bowl, and scrub well with a toilet brush or cloth depending on your preference.

Then spray toilet cleaner around the bowl, under the rim, on the seat and on the lid. Wipe it all over carefully with another separate cloth, not forgetting the outside of the bowl. Once everything is clean, buff with a separate dry cloth to polish.

 

7. Make sure the floor is clean

You will be spending a lot of time in bare feet on it, so it is essential to ensure that the floor is clean. Depending on what your floor is made of, firstly sweep or hoover to remove any dust and debris.

 

Make sure the floor is clean

 

Then apply a floor cleaner, and either mop or wipe with a cloth, depending on the size of your bathroom. Wipe over the skirting boards with a damp cloth to remove dust, and to make sure that your clean floor doesn’t get dirty immediately.

 

8. Pay attention to details

Now is the time to turn your attention to taps, shower heads, fixtures and fittings. With chrome fittings such as taps and plugs, polish these with a dry cloth, buffing them until they shine.

Dust fixtures, light fittings, shelves, any ornaments, and bottles or packages which are on display. Using a specialised glass cleaner, carefully wipe down the mirror, taking care to buff out any streaks or smears.

 

The best way to keep a clean and tidy bathroom is to make sure that you keep on top of it. Doing a quick wipe round every day will ensure that soap scum and grime don’t have a chance to build up, and it won’t seems like a huge chore which needs to be endured.

Keep cleaning supplies handy, so that you can give a quick wipe round of the shower whilst you are in it. Rinse and wipe the sink after brushing your teeth, and use clever storage to ensure that shampoo and lotion bottles aren’t sitting out – this is the easiest way to get a scummy mark on the bath or tile.

Bleach the toilet every evening before bed to keep it fresh, and make sure you pick up any rubbish straight away. these easy tips will work to make your life a lot easier, leaving you with more free time to do far more exciting things!

Living Room Changes For 2018

By | Tips

We hear it every year: New Year, New Me!

Very rarely do any of us keep all (or any!) of the resolutions which we make in good faith, and with the purest of intentions. Life, work, school and people get in the way.

This year, however, why not take the opportunity to make a real change, which will benefit and inspire you throughout 2018, and in the years to come after that?

For most of us, our home is our sanctuary. It is the place where we can kick back in our comfy clothes, switch off and relax. It may also be where we host friends, hold gatherings and parties, and celebrate the successes of our lives.

It makes sense, therefore, to invest time and energy into our homes, starting with one of the most used rooms in the house: the living room.

 

Use fashion to help, not hinder you

Like with clothing, hair, and makeup, interior design also goes through phases of fashion.

The idea of modern living room is generally a space where the family can relax, entertain, and spend time together, and it is important for the room design to reflect this.

There are a few features which are must haves: comfy seating, good storage and accessibility, and the little touches which really make it personal and homely. Homes come in all shapes, and there are a range of living room styles depending on your family, your home and your taste.

Don’t be afraid of fashions and trends, or feel as though you need to be a slave to them; whilst checking out the latest styles can give you modern living room ideas and inspiration, it is important to remain true to your own tastes and preferences: there is no point in installing a huge, metal framed, ultra modern sofa if your preference is for vintage, squashy leather.

Fashions and trends can, however, provide you with interior design ideas, colours and fabrics, and give you a place to start with your living room decorating ideas, and particularly if you have a particular need or preference, such as inspiration for small living room ideas, or if you are after a total overhaul; magazines and websites can provide some great living room makeover ideas.

Cosy Living room

 

Bring the Outside In!

There is currently a focus on nature in interior design, and of the concept of bringing nature into the house through colours, lines, and accessories.

There is no need to go mad and get a green carpet and paint the walls sky blue (though if that’s your thing, go for your life and be amazing!); there are far more subtle ways to bring the outside in, remain up to date, and still show your personality.

Soft, draped curtains can add an element of fluidity and liquid; they instantly soften a window and a room, and can even be made from lighter material which flows more easily to increase the effect.

This can be enhanced with the choice in cushions or soft furnishings, to create a cohesive look throughout the room.

Pick out the colours of your favourite flower or plant, and make a bold statement with a rug, picture frame or ornament, and instantly update the look of the room without spending a fortune or making major changes.

cosy living room with pants and green sofa

Jazz up your Furniture

Furniture is another area which follows trends, and the preference at the moment leans towards smooth curves, Art Deco contours, and geometric shapes to provide an edge.

Again, there is no need to overhaul your entire living room design, unless you would like to.

Trends can give you an indication of modern living room furniture ideas, but there are number of things you can do easily to update your current kit.

Ok so shaving the edges off of the coffee table to create a modern, aesthetically pleasing curve probably isn’t the best idea, but you can upcycle pieces fairly easily. Repaint a dresser to give it a new lease of life, and pick some different handles to instantly update it and create a whole new piece of furniture.

If you know someone who is good with their hands, see if there are any modifications they can make to meet your vision.

Even if you don’t have access to a handy handyman, simply painting or sanding down, updating handles and curtain poles, and adding subtle accessories such as mirrors and pictures can transform the look of a room instantly.

In addition, even something as simple as rearranging the furniture can totally change a space. Experiment with the objects until you find the best living room design for you; putting a table there and a bookcase here can have a much bigger impact than you may realise!

 

The Devil is in the Detail

As I have reiterated before, the key aspects really do lie in the little things.

Updating curtains, careful placement of a rug, changing the photo frames, and being selective in your wall decor can all have a big impact in updating your living room, and pulling the look together.

If you like some of the bold trends of 2018, but don’t have the time, money or desire for a total overhaul and an entirely new, modern living room set, changing these small details can give you the overall look you crave quickly and easily, and can really add a touch of unique personality to the space, as the pieces reflect your own quirks and personality.

We spend a lot of time in our living rooms, so it is worth making the effort to invest some time and imagination into an easy update.

New furniture, walls, colours and carpets can create a total makeover, whilst more subtle results are also easily achievable. Whatever your preferred end goal, prioritise yourself and your home, and make 2018 the year of the new living space which suits you perfectly!

Cosy modern living room decoration