My Early Days
Not long ago were my days as a professional contract cleaner in a major building in the City of London. I started as an employee of a big firm where I was trained in the mastery of efficient quality cleaning (at speed).
Contract Cleaning Training
Now, commercial building cleaning is totally different to domestic cleaning. In a commercial building environment you must be efficient. What does that mean? Well, you need to clean quickly and effectively. At the same time you are trained to be safe. I know it sounds trivial, but you will be surprised to learn how many accidents happen during a cleaning shift in almost impossible scenarios. But that’s a different subject I am planning to touch on a bit later.
Getting back to my early days in my career as a professional cleaner.
As an experienced member of a flourishing deep clean team I was looking forward to my first job in charge as a supervisor. I had worked hard shown promise, and in my eyes was the right man for the job.
Countless nights I have been honing my craft. I could strip, scrub and seal almost any floor surface. I could plan a high-level dusting and vacuuming job, I could prepare risk assessments, I could write down method statements. Most of all I was ready to learn anything my job threw at me. I was ready for the next logical step in my career. Hunger to achieve is a big driving force in my life.
OK, enough background for now. Here is what happened that night.
The Actual Story I Wanted to Tell
We arrived on site with 6 large rooms to strip and seal. It was a floor cleaning job with re-applying the seal after the thorough clean of the hard floor surface. A little detail – there were a few different types of floors. I saw the various floor finishes and took the real wood floor. One I knew the results would look good, and as the boss on site I wanted to lead by example. All the team set to work, and I said I would check it all afterwards. So far so good, right?
Some hours later I had stripped and prepared my floor. I decided to work from one side of the room to the other, so the wax seal can be applied evenly and I could safely leave it to dry without having to walk over it. I would then use the fire exit in the corner, leave to dry and check on the team. I work quite quickly with floor polishes and that leaves me plenty of time to inspect the work of my subordinates. OK, I know what you are thinking right now – the fire exit door was locked, right? Wrong. I had checked the handle beforehand. Door opened fine and I pulled an inch to test. All good.
At some point one of my colleagues came to ask me something. I was literally putting the final touches to the wooden floor. I put the last stroke of wax and stood quietly in the corner, admiring my finished floor. A piece of beauty that was. I am always very proud of my completed work. Gives me that feeling of self-worth satisfaction with a job well done.
Confidence is King
As I stood there admiring my masterpiece, my worker asked me what I was doing. She politely inquired whether I was stuck with the wet wax and nowhere to go from there. ‘Are you trapped?’, surprise in her eyes. She was clearly referring to the lockled door and the shiny sticky sea of freshly applied polish. Reaching to the door, puling the handle down and opening slightly about an inch (I was at the hinges end of the door, so I couldn’t see what was behind the door, obviously), I said ‘No’.
Just then the caretaker arrived, “No, the door is open, however, it’s not as it says a fire exit. It was changed to a store cupboard, your friend is indeed trapped.” I imagine the surprise and genuine fear in my eyes have been hilarious, to which my team (yes, a few others joined the fun in the last minute) began to laugh out loud.
The moral of the story – always ensure that as one door opens, another truly does not shut. Hahaha. Got that.
Yes, Mum, I was listening. I listened to you when you told me to go and clean my room. Yes, I did resent it a bit when I was growing up, but now that I’ve got a home of my own, I appreciate the things that you taught me.
I appreciate them so much that I’d like to share them with others. After all, not everybody learned the right way to clean things from their mothers – ask any professional cleaner. In some cases, these domestic cleaners get called in to do household chores for clients who just don’t know how to clean their homes in some cases.
So thanks, Mum! Here’s the best of what you told me…well, this is what I remember :).
Mum’s Home Cleaning Tips
- Don’t put it down; put it away. This one was also phrased as “avoid double handling”. In other words, when you’ve finished using something, put it away where it belongs straight away. Don’t just dump it down on the nearest flat surface or the floor – that’s how clutter accumulates.
- Cold water removes blood stains. It also removes egg stains and other protein stains. Never use hot water or the heat will set the stain.
- A good soak works wonders for really dirty laundry. In preference, use enzyme washing powder and warm water – unless there’s a bloodstain involved. Overnight soaking removes a lot of dirt, meaning that you don’t have to use the heavy-duty load on the washing machine. Obviously, you have to remove the soaking water before the proper wash.
- Go through and sort out your stuff regularly to avoid clutter accumulating. We moved house a lot, so we had to do this every time. However, even when we weren’t shifting, an annual clean-out of accumulated “treasures” was ordered.
- Use your compost bin. Sort your compost if you have pets, as pets might like to eat some of the food you throw away.
- Daily vacuuming is quicker than a massive weekly session, especially in high-traffic areas.
- If you’ve managed to burn food onto the bottom of a saucepan, run it under cold water and soak it straight away. For really stubborn burnt-on gunk, sprinkle a teaspoon of dishwasher powder in the soaking water and leave the pan overnight.
- Cleaning is a form of aerobics and it’s good for you.
- Once you’ve done all the jobs on your to-do list, don’t do any more.
- Minimise ornaments. You’ll only have to dust them and there’s a risk of them breaking if you have a rambunctious family.
- Wipe down the kitchen bench and the dining room table before you vacuum the floor. Otherwise, you’ll be vacuuming twice.
- When making a single bed, stop sheets from becoming untucked on one side by securing them to the mattress with a blanket pin. You can fix the blankets there at the same time. This saves time on making beds, especially for younger kids.
My Mum was a very forward thinking woman in her days. She was so keen on using natural ingredients when cleaning our home, she would not allow anything commercial made through the door. I have had issues with this sometimes (well, you can’t get vinegar to clean absolutely everything, I’ll tell you that) but the long term health benefits are undisputed. Mum despised poisonous supermarket products designed to clean well while having (almost) a disregards for any health risks.
So, using natural cleaning substances has been deeply ingrained my DNA since very young age. In this line of thoughts, here is a great tip (also courtesy of Mum) about using vinegar as a discaler.
13. Every kettle gets limescale. There is no way round it. The trick here is to use vinegar regularly to clean the limescale and prevent the long-term build-up. Empty the kettle of any remaining water. Fill up 3/4 with vinegar (white vinegar works best, but any other type of vinegar will also do the job) and boil it. Let it cool down and bring to the boil again. Repeat this at least three times. Then throw away the vinegar, fill with water and boil 3 times again (changing the water before each boil in order to remove any traces of vinegar taste). Job done.
I hope you enjoyed these lovely cleaning tips (so dear to me, as they remind me of my Mum). Use them but be careful in the knowledge that whatever worked for me and my Mum, may not work in the same way for you.
Stay safe! Ta-ta.
Each year on April 22 we celebrate Earth Day. This is the biggest non-religious holiday in the world celebrated by half a billion people.
What an awesome idea!
I believe this will raise a lot of awareness inhttps://www.earthday.org/ many people who have not thought about environmental issues before. The fact of the matter is our planet is slowly dying. We need to act now or our kids and grandkids will be paying the price of our irresponsibilty later. If everone does their little bit of conscious decisions and applies that into everyday life, things will start falling into place. Fear and uncertainly will become a thing of the past. Our planet’s future will be greener and safer. Fingers crossed. Go on Earth Day!
We need to apply a few small things in practice to invite the green idea to our homes. Decorating our homes in “green” is a hot new trend, and here we are not talking about colour at all. The good thing is that following some of the tips can satisfy us from the desire to protect nature, but it can reduce our monthly bills.
Collect Your Domestic Rubbish Separately
A classical way of making our home “green” is the separate waste collection. Every one of us has seen differently coloured waste containers. Not all waste is appropriate for recycling, and you need to know exactly which objects are suitable for separate collection: paper waste, plastics, metal and glass. Also, don’t forget that throwing waste in the toilet is one of the most dangerous decisions for the environment. Everything thrown in the drain, the sink or the bathroom can eventually turn out in rivers and seas. If you pay attention to these not so complicated things, be sure that the first step towards your “green home” is taken.
If you want your home to be “greener”, you must treat natural resources with respect. There aren’t almost any places in which water is insufficient in our country, but despite all, we need to take care and not waste it in vain. Choose a shower with low consumption of water. Close the tap every time you don’t need the water stream.
Whenever you brush your teeth, wash your face or take a shower, don’t leave the faucet open, run the water to clean and then stop it when you are busy with other activities. When you do the dishes and treat them with detergent, prevent the water and start it again to wash them. When you cook, and you need to wash your hands frequently, use a small dish with water instead of leaving the tap running. When you take a ten-minute shower, use less than 1/3 of water instead of the amount of water needed for a bath.
These are just two of the main steps you need to take to start living a little bit more healthily and make your home “greener”, but they are a good start.
I would like to present to you some elegant cleaning solutions, which I have gathered throughout my working career and now sharing them here. Very often in life the things concerning our health and happiness are simple and easy to do. Please read the list of cleaning tips for “a happy house” and well-maintained household.
A lot of times we prefer to postpone our cleaning chores. The more we delay the harder we have to work afterwards, for to work we have sooner or later. I don’t believe the mess will sort itself out :). OK, that’s fine but howto ensure a quick and efficient cleaning and tidyin job?
Coke (Coka-Cola) is an interesting cleaning solution. It would be really very potent agent. Its acidity will help you to loosen up stains slowly on dirty surfaces, for example in the kitchen. I know it may sound a bit strange but sometimes weird substances can help with cleaning quite well. Real life hands-on information is vital when you want to clean your home without conventional supermarket cleaning products.
Here is another one. If you have a problem with clogged bathroom traps, mix baking powder, vinegar and boiled water and watch this potion eat away the clogging culprit. Easy.
Faucets can be easily washed using homemade cleaning products, avoiding harmful chemical liquids from the supermarket. Try cleaning it with lemon peels, mandarin or grapefruit. The cleaning result would be wonderful, the smell in your house would be tempting, fresh and inviting.
Try and share with your friends.
Watch this space as the next post will contain a ton more information.
Over and out for now.