When booking a Spring-Clean you should try to schedule these longer cleans to be done on either a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, as these days of the week usually have more hours available to do the extra work. Nearly all clients want their regular work done on a Thursday or Friday, so there are fewer available hours to do these longer cleans. If you promote the idea that the ‘catch-up’ or Spring-Clean can be done for the first time at the start of the week, and then the Regular clean can be done at the end of the week, most clients are happy with that.
Clean the inside of the oven and the grill
Dismantle and clean the stove and plates
Clean the inside of the refrigerator
Dismantle and clean the Rangehood
Wipe out the inside of cupboards and drawers
Clean the tops of wall cupboards
Pull out the refrigerator and dust behind
Clean the ceiling fan
BATHROOM, TOILET AND EN SUITE
Wash the tiles on the walls throughout
Clean mould off the ceiling
Wipe out the cabinets and vanity units
Dust the light fittings and ceiling fans
Scrub and clean excess build-up of soap scum on shower tiles
Clean the shower screen door tracks
Bleach the grout between the tiles
LIVING AREAS, BEDROOMS, HALLWAYS AND STUDY
Move all beds, lounges and chairs to vacuum
Dust behind moveable furniture
Dust ALL accessible skirtings, sills and frames
Spot clean marks off walls
Dust the very top of tall cabinets and bookshelves
Polish the glass on mirror robes from top to bottom
Vacuum under the cushions on all lounges
Vacuum and/or dust the mirror robe tracks
Sweep away cobwebs from light fittings and ceilings
Clean the glass crystals in chandeliers
All of these services are in addition to the Regular Maintenance services, along with any other requests from your client (apart from Window Cleaning). A full Spring-Clean averages 8 to 10 hrs, and can take up to 12 hrs.
When estimating the amount of time it will take to do these extra tasks the following is a guideline of how much time to add to a Maintenance Clean when doing a Spring-Clean.
- Cleaning inside the oven (if it has caked-on build-up)………………1 – 1.5 hours ( & up to 3hrs)
- Cleaning inside the fridge …………………………………………..1 – 1.5 hours
- Wiping out Kitchen cupboards and drawers ………………………..2 – 4 hours depending on their contents
- Dismantle and clean the Rangehood ………………………………..1 hour
- First clean in shower recess …………………………………………0.5 hour
When cleaning the inside of the fridge on a Spring Clean – take everything out and arrange the contents of the fridge in shelf order so that you remember where to put them back. Wash all the shelves, drawers and door fittings in the sink, and then dry them, placing them back in order and returning the food to the shelf that it was on. Leave any food that may be off or about to go off out of the fridge though. After you have cleaned the fridge on the inside, wipe it over with Vanilla Essence so that the smells of the cleaning fluids don’t seep through the food that you put back on the shelves. It will leave a really nice, clean smell.
Microwave Ovens must be cleaned inside and out on both Maintenance and a Spring-Clean service. When cleaning the outside where the program surface is, open the door of the microwave so that you don’t start the oven cooking while there is nothing in it. Finish off the glass door with Windex and newspaper. When cleaning the inside, use a mild detergent.
Never use a scourer on the inside of the door, as it will scratch the acrylic window. The glass plate needs to be washed as required, and take care not to break or chip it – it will be costly to replace. To leave a nice smell behind after cleaning the inside of the oven, squeeze some lemon juice into a glass of water and boil it in the microwave.
Inside Oven – This is only to be done on a Spring-Clean. It is recommended that you ask your client to spray the oven the night before your booking so that the product will have time to work before you try to clean the oven. If they don’t, firstly remove the oven racks, and where appropriate, the runners and back or side panels, and spray them separately. Then spray the inside of the oven before you commence cleaning any other area in the kitchen and come back to it later. Using steel wool (the best kind is the large curly coiled one), scrape off the burnt-on food and grease from the racks and fittings. You may also use this on the walls inside as long as the oven is not a self-cleaning one, in which case do not use abrasive or chemical oven cleaners. On a fan-assisted oven, check the fan blades and clean if necessary.
Removing the racks – always remember how to put them back in their correct position. Then, when spraying the racks place a few layers of newspaper underneath them so that you don’t damage the surfaces that the racks are leaning on. For protection of the floor or cupboard below, use paper towel to fill the cracks at the bottom of the oven door so that nothing drips through.
Cleaning a gas stovetop – turn off the gas supply and also the electricity for stovetops with electric ignition. Remove the pan supports, either by just lifting them off or by releasing their clips, and then remove the burner caps. Clean the pan supports and metal burner caps with fine steel wool soap pads or detergent. Clean out the holes in the burner rings with wire or a pin to remove carbon deposits, and blow through them to make sure they are free of debris. When the burner caps and pan supports are clean and dry, replace them. Make sure the burner caps are properly positioned in their gas supply seating.
If the burners are lit by pilot lights, cleaning the small opening of the pilot with a toothpick or similar sharp tool to remove grease or dirt will cure the problem of a pilot that will not light or stay lit. To gain access to the pilot lights, remove the flash tubes linking the burners or raise the top of the stovetop if it can be raised.
Cleaning Horizontal Venetian Blinds
Taking down a blind – Dust or vacuum the slats while the blind is hanging in place, then raise the blind to the top and tie up the cords at both ends to keep them out of the way. Lift the front covers on the headrail brackets and with a helper, grasp the ends of the headrail and slide it forwards out of the brackets.
Washing the blind outdoors – To get the blind ready for being scrubbed, suspend it from a length of sturdy rope or nylon cord strung between two anchoring points, for example trees. Make sure that the rope is fixed high enough for the fully extended blind to hang down and that it has enough slack to make a loop over each end of the handrail. With a helper, loop the rope at each end of the headrail and slide the rail into the loops. Then untie the blind cords and let the blind drop. First, hose it down with water. Then scrub both sides of the slats using a soft-bristled brush and a solution of mild liquid detergent and warm water. Finally, rinse with the hose and allow the blind to dry completely. If you cannot hang a venetian blind outside for cleaning, you can lay a small blind down in a bath for washing and rinsing. Be careful not to scratch the bath though.
Washing Vertical Blinds
Washing the blind while it is in place – Spread a plastic sheet over the floor beneath the blind: spread newspapers on top of the plastic to absorb dripped water. Close the blind, turn the slats at right angles to the window and, after a preliminary dusting, use a soft, absorbent cloth dampened in a solution of mild detergent and warm water to wipe both sides of each slat from top to bottom. Be sure to squeeze excess moisture from the cloth so that liquid will not drip into the tracks. Rinse each slat the same way.
First aid for Dingy Walls and Ceilings
Thanks to the law of gravity, the surfaces of walls and ceilings escape the daily spills and footprints that leave their mark upon floors and carpets. But walls and ceilings are by no means immune to dirt. Furniture that touches a wall, the smoke of an after-dinner cigar, or even a child’s head rested repeatedly against a favourite spot during bedtime stories can all smudge, scuff or film these surfaces with the kind of dirt that vacuuming or dusting cannot remove.
The type of covering on a wall or a ceiling will dictate the method used to clean it. Emulsion and gloss paints and vinyl-coated papers are washable to some extent and can be cleaned with mild detergent and warm water. Depending upon how they are made, washable wallpapers can withstand varying degrees of cleaning, from a light sponging to a sturdy scrubbing. If you do not know what type of paper that it is then always play safe and begin with a weak solution of detergent and gentle sponging action. Paints vary in quality; the better ones usually last longer and will withstand a greater number of washings.
Before you begin, consider the whole wall or ceiling and what the effect of cleaning just one spot will be. A highly visible smudge that needs to be scrubbed may leave a clean mark on an otherwise dingy wall. And, depending on the colour and quality of the paint, some of the pigment may come off on the rag. Faced with the cost of washing the whole wall in order to dispose of the smudge, your client may instead prefer to live with it. Advise them of the fact that cleaning a smudge may be worse than leaving it there, and then let them decide what they would like to do.
If they do decide to wash an entire wall or ceiling, a few preliminary steps will make the job easier for you to do. Pull all of the furniture away from the walls, and cover it and the floor with dustsheets. Take down the pictures, curtains and blinds; tape plastic bags or polythene over metal fixtures such as chandelier or wall sconces to protect them from damage by chemicals in the cleaning solution.
Then thoroughly vacuum the walls, ceiling, skirting, and door and window trim, paying special attention to corners and to the grooves and patterns in ornate woodwork. Use the vacuum attachments, such as the crevice tool and dusting brush. For the actual washing, you will need a stepladder with a shelf wide enough to accommodate two buckets – one for the cleaning solution, the other for the rinsing water. If the existing shelf is too small, you can extend it by clamping a board to it. Use separate sponges for washing and rinsing, and wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
All wall surfaces should be dusted and vacuumed before a thorough cleaning, but wall coverings that are too delicate to be doused with water and cleaning solutions will require extra care and, in many cases, unusual mixtures. Non-washable wallpapers can withstand only gentle dusting and an occasional spot cleaning. Many such papers, especially those found in older houses, were made before colourfast dyes were available; thus, the patterns may be destroyed by moisture. A number of special wall coverings, including grass, hessian and foil, are essentially non-washable – but you may vacuum them.
Washing solutions for paints and wall coverings – The solutions below are effective for removing dirt and various stains from walls and ceilings with washable finishes. In general, the stains that respond to washing are mildew, ink and substances with a greasy base – crayon, lipstick or food splatters. To remove mildew stains, add 250ml of chlorine laundry bleach to 3.5 litres of warm water, and sponge the surface. Wipe off with a clean, wet sponge.
Emulsion Paints – In order to wash entire walls and ceilings, mix 2 tablespoons of sugar soap or household detergent into 4 litres of lukewarm water. For greasy stains, use a stronger solution of sugar soap or a mixture of enzyme detergent and water.
Eggshell and Gloss Paints – When washing entire walls and ceilings use a solution of 1 teaspoon of washing powder per 4 litres of lukewarm water. Use the same solution for washable stains, except on painted wood such as a skirting board.
Washable Papers – To wash entire walls and ceilings, work as for emulsion paint above; do not let water get behind seams. Rinse each section, then pat dry. For ink or grease, use a 1:10 solution of enzyme detergent with water, or rub with a cloth dampened with methylated spirits.
Washing an Entire Room
Set up a stepladder tall enough for you to reach the ceiling without extending your arm fully. Place two buckets – one containing cleaning solution, the other rinsing water – on the ladder shelf. If necessary, clamp a board to the shelf to support the buckets. Immerse a sponge in each. Wring out the cleaning sponge until it no longer drips, and gently scrub the ceiling with circular strokes. Cover as wide an area as you can safely reach. (Another method for cleaning ceilings is also mentioned overleaf).
Then wipe off the cleaner with the rinsing sponge, also wring out until it is drip-free, and move the ladder to an adjacent area. Continue in this manner until you have scrubbed the entire ceiling. Change the cleaning solution and the rinsing water as needed – usually after you have covered about 10 square metres.
To clean the walls, begin by washing and rinsing particularly dirty areas – over radiators, near light switches, and round the perimeter of spaces occupied by picture frames. Then, starting in a corner and directly above the skirting board, wash and rinse a one-metre-wide strip up the wall all the way to the ceiling, working in overlapping vertical and horizontal strokes. Immediately rinse the strip, working now from ceiling to floor in order to wipe away streaks and drip marks before they have a chance to dry. Continue in this fashion, cleaning adjacent strips until you have circled the entire room.
When the walls of the room are finished, clean the wooden skirting boards and the framing around doors and windows.
Washing a Ceiling the Easy Way
There is also an easier, more simple and effective method to clean a ceiling, which is to use a paint roller on a long handle to apply a solution of sugar soap and hot water. This will quickly loosen any residues of tar from
cigarette smoke and other things such as mould. Go over the ceiling once or twice with the roller and the solution of sugar soap and water, and then once or twice with a clean roller using only fresh hot water (no cleaning solutions) to rinse. Then, take a dry fluffy roller to use to dry the ceiling. You will find that most of the ceiling can be cleaned this way and you will only have to stand on a ladder for the areas around the edges and the corners. This method is less tiring on your arms, back and neck, and will achieve a good result in about a third of the time it would take to do the work by standing on a ladder.
Cleaning the tops of Kitchen Cupboards
When asked to stand on a ladder and clean the tops of kitchen cupboards you will find a thick layer of dust and dirt up there, which will take quite some time to clean. Once you have finished cleaning it though, instead of allowing the same situation to occur again, line the tops of the cupboards with newspaper so that the next time you are asked to do a Spring-clean, you don’t have to waste time cleaning an area that could be quickly cleaned by simply changing the paper.