The most complained about and therefore noticed part of your work!

On your first visit to a new job remember to ask your client where they keep all the products and equipment, especially the vacuum. Firstly, make sure the bag inside is empty enough to produce a strong suction, and if it is not, replace it. This will make your job so much easier, as will changing or cleaning the dust filters. If you cannot find the bags or you use the last one or there are already none left, you will need to leave a note for your client asking them to purchase more or leave one out for you. Check the suction by placing your hand under the nozzle and if it appears that there is a blockage use a wire coat hangar to push it through.

Vacuums are fantastic to clean skirting boards, remove cobwebs and clean under lounge cushions. Most vacuums have various different nozzles designed to do these things, and you can sometimes find these located under a button opening part of the machine itself. Edges of carpets and awkward areas like underneath furniture and the tracks of sliding wardrobe doors should be done as often as possible.

If you are ever asked to clean spots off carpets be very careful to test any product that you are asked to use in an area that will not be noticed. A very mild solution of liquid detergent and warm water can get some marks out of carpets. Never rub – just blot with a sponge and dry with a similar coloured towel to the carpet itself.

Do not use salt for removing stains – soda water is best for red wine.

Furniture (especially beds) and rugs should be vacuumed under regularly

even if you move one item each visit.

When using mops and buckets – be very careful if your bucket is full of hot water, detergent and bleach when you are cleaning a Bathroom or Kitchen floor. There have been occasions when the bucket has had a slow-leak in it and has been put just outside the Kitchen or Bathroom door. When the bucket was picked up

and taken away there appeared a stain on the carpet because of the bleach, and the entire colour was missing from that particular patch of carpet. The whole room’s carpet needed to be replaced because of one small white area, and the incident was a very costly lesson to the person involved.

Watch out for overloaded powerpoints, frayed cords and loose plugs, equipment that makes your hand tingle when you turn it on, and switches that spark when turned on or off. Report these faults to your client straight away. Don’t use the equipment until it has been fixed.

When plugging in the cord to the vacuum cleaner be careful not to remove cords to other electrical appliances such as the microwave, the bedside radio alarm clock, computers, videos, televisions, telephone answering machines or fax machines. Most of these appliances have clocks and timers built in, and will have to be reset if you disconnect them. Some phone answering machines have to have the message recorded again as well, and if you are unfamiliar with what message was already there your client is going to be very annoyed at what you have done. Always leave power points as they were ie: if a lamp was plugged in and switched on, return it’s cord and leave it as it was.

Mopping – generally all non-carpeted areas should be mopped. It is absolutely vital that you have a vast knowledge of the different kinds of floor surfaces so that you don’t damage them. E.g.: are you aware of how you should clean marble tiles? Or slate, perhaps? Are you also aware that the thinner the head of the mop becomes the more chance you have of scratching your client’s floors? So, check the mop and if a refill sponge or cord head is available and you think it is necessary, then change it!

Wooden floors are best cleaned with warm water and a capful of metho or white vinegar in order to keep them streak free. Tiles, cork and lino floors are best cleaned with hot water and a splash of mild detergent. Always squeeze as much water as possible from the mop so that there will be less streaking.

Mopping wooden floors – Because these floors are a lot softer than other floor surfaces you must always remember to make sure that the only part of your mop that is in contact with the floor is the sponge head or the bulk of the string head, not the metal frame that the string or sponge is attached to.  Clients will and have claimed against their cleaner to repair their scratched wooden floors, and if this occurs you will need to make sure that you are insured, because the only person who could have damaged the floor is you and your client will insist that you pay for the cost of repairs.

Wet floors must be dried soon after they have been done. It is very important not to leave the floors wet when you have finished mopping them, as either you or the client could easily slip on a wet floor. This will cause much havoc when it occurs, so use preventative measures and make sure that you dry the floor after mopping. It will also stop any streaks from appearing when the water dries.

Cleaning Protective Finishes on Wood

Wood is probably the most common material found in the average home, but its’ cleaning is usually indirect. The reason is simple: most wood surfaces are protected by some sort of coating, ranging from clear varnishes on fine paneling to the tough paints that mask more utilitarian wooden doors, trim and mouldings.

Painted wooden surfaces are the simplest to clean: when they get dirty, they can be washed. Interior painted surfaces can be washed with a cloth or sponge and a mild solution of sugar soap and water. Use one teaspoon of sugar soap to one litre of water. While cleaning, the cloth or sponge should be wrung out until almost dry.

The large range of clear finishes used on wooden furniture and paneling can all be maintained by routine polishing and by weekly attendance to spills. Simply use a cloth dampened with a cleaning solution appropriate to the finish. The five most common clear finishes are varnish, lacquer, oil, French polish and wax – all of which are easily identifiable. In addition, a coating of liquid or paste wax can either be used on

its own or as a dressing to maintain and preserve any other finish. Whether waxed or not, varnish and lacquer finishes can be cleaned with a commercial cleaner/polish, which is usually sprayed on, then lightly rubbed with a soft, lint-free cloth.

A finish of oil or French polish is best cleaned with a cloth dampened in boiled linseed oil. Prepare the cloth by pouring a small amount of oil into the centre, then twist and wring the cloth to distribute the oil evenly. Use only commercially prepared boiled linseed oil; the term ‘boiled’ is a misnomer that actually refers to the addition of chemicals that make the linseed oil dry faster. No heat is involved. If you try to boil raw linseed oil it will not produce the same result – and will catch on fire long before it begins to boil.

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