MOLLY MAID Blog

As the UK's leading domestic cleaning company, MOLLY MAID has been providing professional domestic cleaning services and cleaning tips for many years.  Our MOLLY MAID Blog offers interesting cleaning tips and organisation tips to help make your life a little bit easier.

Novel ideas to fill your advent calendars

If you've set yourself the challenge of a making one of the homemade advent calendar as suggested in our blog on 14th November, you will no doubt appreciate some ideas as to how these can be filled. MOLLY MAID, the house cleaning professionals, have some novel ways in which you can mix your daily gifts up. Do remember that age appropriate gifts are always appreciated.

  • Write fun "challenges" for the children to do throughout December - with a reward at the end.
  • Pop in age appropriate jokes.
  • What do you plan to do that day? Leave an exciting message for the children to open and read: "Today we will pick out our tree", "today we will take our Christmas presents round to Granny's house", "tonight we will go for a drive to see the Christmas lights", "this evening we will make popcorn and watch a family movie", and so on.
  • How about a voucher? Make your own!
  • Gold and silver coins, or other Christmas treats.
  • The first clue in a treasure hunt - how exciting! Save up some little bits and pieces as the "prize".
  • The name of a recipe you will cook with the children that day - perhaps some special Christmas cookies (or a photo of the cookies you will bake! - make sure you have time for this in your diary, such as on a week-end!)
  • Tickets to a special Christmas show or pantomime.
  • Mini booklets with stories for the children to read (or leave them blank ready for them to write their own stories).
  • Save up miniature toys, knick-knacks and puzzles.

Remember that this can be a very rewarding and enjoyable activity that children will remember.

 

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
Categories :

Simple ways to freshen up your appliances!

With the Christmas season around the corner, we need all the help we can get to keep on top of household chores. The professional cleaning experts at MOLLY MAID, share some top tips to ensure that your trusted appliances don't let you down before the heavy Christmas work-out.

Washing Machine

We use our washing machines to remove the grime and odours - so the last thing we want is for the washing machine itself to start smelling. Try some of the below tips:

Run a service wash

Most people wash their clothes at 40°C or less. This is a great way to save money on energy bills and is better for the environment, but there is a down side. Washing at these temperatures will not completely rid your washing machine of mould and bacteria. Instead, you need to run a service wash to deal with this problem.

A service wash means spinning the machine without any clothes in at a high temperature. Ideally done once a month, most manufacturers now recommend you use a certain cycle to do this or provide a special drum-cleaning program. Your instruction manual should have this information.

Turn off your machine

The next steps require you to perform some maintenance on the machine. So before starting, turn off your washing machine and then unplug it.

Clean the seal, drawer and filter

Mould and bacteria can fester in the rubber seal around the door hole. After washing have a look at the seal to see if it needs a scrub - doing this regularly can help prevent the build-up of mould and bacteria. If mould has had too long to fester, it may have sunk into the porous rubber of the seal and be impossible to remove. If this happens, you may want to replace the door seal. Mould and bacteria also have a tendency to build up in the detergent drawer and lint filter.

Leave the door and drawer open

Leaving the machine's door ajar after washing allows air to circulate in the drum and helps prevent the growth of mould and bacteria. You should also leave your machine's detergent drawer partly open for the same reason.

Check the stand pipe

If bad smells continue, you may have a partial blockage in the standpipe. If you suspect this is the case, use a drain unblocker to try and clear the pipe.

Many top manufacturers recommend people to pour 2 mugs of white vinegar in the empty drum of the machine (nothing else in it) and put it on a full cycle at the highest temperature it will go to. What this does is removes all the lime scale build-up, and any soap scum that is still in the machine or pipes.

Tumble Dryer

Tumble dryers can often suffer from musty smells and can quickly ruin, a fresh smelling clean load of laundry. MOLLY MAID recommends going through the following checklist to locate the source of the problem:

  1. Remove the dryer vent and vacuum out any debris or lint that may have become trapped.
  2. Check the area where the vent attaches to the dryer as well as the vent that connects to the outdoors if not using a condenser dryer.
  3. Lint that becomes trapped in these vents can stay damp and hold the musty smell. As the dryer is running, the odour is pushed back into the laundry.
  4. If the load is too large, it may be taking too long to dry. As the laundry sits in the warm air, the damp clothing creates the perfect environment for the musty smell.
  5. Have your water checked. If your water is hard or has sulphur in it, it can lead to odours on the laundry. While the smells may be mild when wet, some minerals smell much stronger after being heated and "cooked" by the dryer. A water softener or filtration system may help.

Dishwasher

Tracking down dishwasher odours can be annoying and frustrating. There are many causes of foul odours in your dishwasher, but finding and eliminating the cause of the odours requires a series of troubleshooting steps and a little patience.

  1. Clean the drain filter. Remove the bottom rack, then remove and clean the filter. Wipe the filter housing with a damp cloth.
  2. Look for food particles on the door gasket and the surfaces of the door that meet with the gasket. Wipe the gasket and the door surfaces with a damp cloth. Also wipe the door seal inside the dishwasher at the bottom of the door.
  3. Make sure there is no water pooled in the bottom of the dishwasher. This is typically the result of turning off the dishwasher before it finished its cycle the last time it was run. If you see standing water in the bottom of the dishwasher, run a "rinse and hold" cycle. Check the drain hose for obstructions if there is still water in the bottom of the dishwasher after running it through a full cycle.
  4. Do not leave dirty dishes in the dishwasher for long periods. Run a "rinse and hold" cycle if you are not going to turn the dishwasher on straight away.
  5. Run the dishwasher through a regular wash cycle and, after the first rinse, open the dishwasher and place a 30 ml cup of distilled white vinegar on the top rack. Then let the dishwasher complete the wash cycle.

Good Luck!

 

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00

Advent Calendar: Why not try something homemade?

The origin of the advent calendar started in Germany in the 19th century. Different methods of counting down the days to the celebration of Christmas were used, such as drawing a chalk line to mark off the days, later lighting a candle every night or putting up small religious pictures marked each day until Christmas. 

There is nothing so special as a home-made advent calendar - and the best thing about them is that you can choose exactly what will go in them each day, personalising them to suit your family.

Some home-made advent calendars are flat, others offer you a bit more flexibility and allow you put in a little gift or edible treat. The beauty is every day marks a personal touch for your family members. MOLLY MAID, the experts in domestic cleaning, have a few ideas to get you thinking below:

 DIY Envelope/ Pin board

  • Attach 24 coloured envelopes onto a large piece of cardboard in shape of a tree or triangle and fill with light presents. Alternatively, these could be affixed to a pin board.

Twig Garland

  • Attach 24 hanging parcels wrapped in different wrapping paper from a large twig to make a garland.

Cardboard Cones

  • Create 24 colourful cones from rolling simple cardboard paper circles into cones and labelling with a number. Mix it up a little with smaller and bigger cones displayed on a windowsill for example.

Muffin or Cupcake Tin

  • Find a 24 muffin tin and if you wish to hang it, attach a festive ribbon with strong glue to the tin. Then fill each muffin tin with a present and cover up the individual tins with a piece of coloured cardboard with a number stuck over the top.

Mason Jar

  • Fill a Mason jar with 24 little wrapped parcels (flat) with clues as to where the gift has been hidden in the house.

Baby sock Garland

  • Assemble 24 festive coloured stray baby socks and clip each individual one with a clothes peg to a piece of long festive ribbon and fill.

Matchbox

  • This starts as a miniature chest of 24 drawers. As its drawers are removed and reversed, a picture is revealed, such as a Christmas tree, snowman or other festive image.
  • Remove matches from 24 matchboxes; glue boxes in three stacks of eight. Glue stacks together to make the chest, then cut a strip of paper to wrap around the sides of the chest; glue it in place. With acrylic paint or pen, number the front of each drawer. Turn the chest around; paint a tree or other design on the back. Remove drawers and glue a ribbon tab on the underside of each drawer on the numbered end. From cardboard pager, cut a square backing for the chest to keep drawers in place and hide the image; attach it at the edges with glue. Fill drawers with small treats and notes, and slip them back into the chest.

We at MOLLY MAID believe it's never too late to start a tradition like this for your family - one that will become a real treasure in the years to come. For more ideas of how to fill your advent calendar, please visit our blog on 21st November 

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00

Checklist: How to Winter proof your home

With the cold weather now upon us (for those of us in the northern hemisphere!), the professional cleaner company, MOLLY MAID is advising homeowners to check their properties to help stop the predicted harsh weather from taking its toll on their property, heating and maintenance bills.

Properties are vulnerable to attack both from the outside elements and the moist, warm conditions that build-up inside during the winter months, so now is an ideal opportunity to prepare.

  • Conduct a 360 degree assessment of your home - think roof, walls, floors, window, doors and repair, seal or insulate where possible.
  • It is important to recognise that letting a property breath the warm air out is as important as stopping the cold air from coming in. Today's lifestyle of showers, washing up, periodic short bouts of heating throughout the day and lack of ventilation can lead to a build-up of litres of water daily that forms condensation and damp on window sills, furniture and walls.

Below are suggestions of key areas to take note of:

Roof

  • Inspect the roof and replace any cracked tiles.
  • If chimney pots are in place but not in-use consider protecting them, by fitting ventilated cowls.

Loft

  • Check the insulation is in good condition (up to current standard).
  • Avoid over insulating. It is important that the tanks and pipes in the loft do not freeze, so do not insulate below the tank.
  • Make sure the lid is on the cold-water tank. 

Gutters and drains

  • Clear them of leaves and debris.  Take particular care that the gulleys are clear.
  • Overflowing gutters can drench walls and cause damage.
  • Insulate external drain pipes (e.g. those for central heating) with waterproof tape or similar material.

Walls

  • 33% of heat lost in the home is through the walls. Cavity wall insulation is a good option and can boost its value and saleability while reducing your energy bills.
  • Check the pointing - frost can play havoc with poorly maintained walls.
  • Make sure water can run off the building; fill gaps to cement angle fillets at wall junctions.
  • Consider fitting reflective foil behind radiators on outside walls.

Windows

  • Check perimeters of all windows to make sure water flows away from glass and doesn't collect on the sill, or drain behind it.
  • It is important to minimize draughts.  If double-glazing is not in place (it cuts heat loss through windows by 50 percent), consider fitting cheaper options such as secondary glazing or put polythene across the window frames.
  • Curtains can make a big difference to heat loss. Consider thermally insulated curtains for windows and the outside doors.

Doors

  • Stop draughts through letterboxes by fitting a cover and put a sealant around the door frames.

Boilers

  • Have your boiler serviced.
  • If you have a condensing boiler, insulate the external condensate and ensure it is of the correct bore.
  • Consider fitting a trace heater to prevent the boiler from freezing.

And finally, check your heating system is in order; insulate hot water tanks, and bleed radiators.

While many of these simple tasks can be undertaken safely in the home it is important that people seek the advice of reputable professionals when looking to complete larger jobs.

Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00

Winterizing your garden tools & gardening jobs this month

Leaves are falling rapidly, and wind and rain are on the increase. MOLLY MAID, the cleaning experts, suggest 10 top jobs this month to help protect your garden from the impending winter. Tender plants will need protecting from frost, gales and freezing rains. Move plants into the greenhouse or into a sheltered spot, but if you can't, it's worth wrapping plants or pots in situ.

Top 10 Garden Jobs:

  • Clear up fallen leaves - especially from lawns, ponds and beds.
  • Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent waterlogging.
  • Plant tulip bulbs for a spring display next year.
  • Prune roses to prevent wind-rock.
  • Plant out winter bedding.
  • Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem.
  • Insulate outdoor containers from frost - bubblewrap works well.
  • Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees using grease bands around the trunks.
  • Put out bird food to encourage winter birds into the garden.
  • Use seasonal bonfire - where this is allowed - to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting, but be careful not to disturb wildlife such as hedgehogs.

As the growing season ends and gardeners mow, snip and spade for the final time this autumn, MOLLY MAID, the expert domestic cleaners, recommend that it's time to think of proper cleaning and storage of all garden equipment. A little preventative maintenance now can prevent frustration and expensive repair in the future. Proper maintenance also extends the life of tools and equipment and makes working with them easier and more efficient. You'll thank yourself as soon as Spring arrives and your tools are clean, conditioned and ready for action.

Wooden Tool Parts:

  • Rinse or brush dirt off wooden handles.
  • Use fine sandpaper to remove any splinters.
  • Finish with a light coat of linseed oil.

Metal Tool Parts:

  • Use a wire brush to whisk off any dried dirt.
  • Sand with fine steel wool.
  • Sharpen all blades and cutting edges with a file.
  • Apply a light coat of WD-40 and store tools in a bucket of dry sand to prevent rust.
Posted by Molly Maid at 00:00
Find Your Local MOLLY MAID

This blog is cross-posted at our
Canadian MOLLY MAID blog

Tags

Archive