Time to fight the flu!

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Seasonal influenza (the flu) is a serious and contagious respiratory infection, generally transmitted through human to human contact. People who have the flu often present with fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue. The impact on public health and businesses due to seasonal flu can be significant. Fortunately, there are a number of important measures that can help reduce the risk of spreading the seasonal flu.

Wash your hands frequently

Proper hand hygiene / hand-washing is essential to preventing an influenza contamination. Proper hand-washing helps remove most bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, so they can’t be spread to others. The European Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) recommends the following:

  • Hands should be washed thoroughly with soap and water
  • After washing with soap and water, dry hands thoroughly with single-use paper towels. Hand-washing with drying of hands should last for at least 40-60 seconds each time
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitisers reduce the amount of influenza virus on contaminated hands. When hand-washing is not possible, alcohol-based hand sanitisers are an option

Avoid others that are sick & stay home yourself when sick

For the flu to be transmitted the virus must go from an individual who has contracted the flu virus to another person, who can then become infected. Individuals who have contracted the flu virus are contagious at least one day prior to displaying symptoms, and up to seven days after they first appear. You can reduce the risk of this sort of transmission through social distancing by avoiding others who are sick and staying home yourself if sick.

Clean & disinfectant surfaces

The flu virus can survive up to 48 hours on stainless steel and plastic surfaces, and up to 12 hours on cloth, paper and tissues. Proper cleaning and disinfecting can minimise the chances of individuals contracting the virus from a contaminated surface. To properly clean, disinfect and protect your environment:

  • Clean any visible soil from surfaces before disinfecting. When cleaning and disinfecting, work from top to bottom and from cleaner to more heavily soiled surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wet the surface with a BPD-registered disinfectant with claims for Influenza A and follow label instructions.
  • Disinfect frequently touched hard surfaces often, including tables, chairs, light switches, door handles and restroom facilities.
  • Give special attention to frequently touched surfaces in food preparation areas, as well as the restroom, including light switches, taps, toilet flush levers, door knobs and handrails.

Get the flu vaccination

Getting a flu vaccine and taking antiviral medications as prescribed if you do contract the flu are two ways the ECDC advocates stopping the spread of flu germs. The flu vaccine is one of the most effective forms of protection against seasonal flu.

Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing 

Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue helps protect others. If you do have seasonal flu and do not cover your nose or mouth a person or persons within two metres can be infected.

Wash your tableware thoroughly

Eating utensils, dishes and glasses should all be thoroughly washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and dishwashing detergent.

How to find a cleaning company for your workplace!

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Want to switch the cleaning company you currently use for your office? Or maybe you’ve only just got round to investing in a professional cleaning service. There are many types of services to choose from and it’s important to pick one that’s right for your company’s needs.

Carrying out a few simple steps before you make a decision will increase the chances of finding a cleaning service that meets all of your requirements without the hassle.

Assess your needs

What is it exactly that your office needs? Does it need a deep clean with tasks such as stain removal and carpet cleaning? Do you need cleaners to come in everyday or just once a week? How long do you need them to spend there? As well as the main office space, you’ll also need to think about additional rooms such as kitchens and washrooms that might need cleaning too. Make a list of all of the services that you need so that when you start approaching cleaning companies you are ready to state exactly what you want without getting sold any unnecessary extras.

Do your research

Research is key, not only for finding the best value services but also for reading online reviews and making sure that you’re choosing a reputable and reliable cleaning company. First of all, take a look at cleaning companies that are within a close proximity to your workplace and make sure that they serve your area. Next, check out what services they offer – do they match what you’re looking for? View the website and see how experienced they are and if they have a registered address and contact details. Another vital part of the process is reading online reviews and ratings to assess them on criteria such as if they’re efficient and thorough, if current customers would recommend them, and if the service was satisfactory and good value for money.

Get a quote

Most cleaning companies will offer quotes either on their website pricing page, by getting you to submit a form, or calling a contact number. You should always double check what the quote includes, e.g vacuuming and mopping, stain removal services, dusting around computers and telephones. Once you have a breakdown of cost, you can start to compare with other services to get the best deal.

Read the terms and conditions

It’s easy to get tied into contracts with cleaning companies so make sure you read the terms and conditions to see what happens if you want to cancel at any time. Also read the small print on last minute cancellations, what happens if you’re not satisfied with the service, and if there are any extra fees or charges that you need to be aware of. Having this covered will mean avoiding any nasty surprises down the line.

Once you’ve assessed your needs, carried out the research and received some quotes, all that’s left to do is choose the cleaning company. Carrying out these steps beforehand should help ensure that you make the right choice for your company.

Good luck!

There’s a Wrong Way to Dust? And 5 Other Cleaning Mistakes…

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The quickest, most efficient strategies to get streak-free windows, remove stains from a white sofa and more. Your welcome😉

Mistake No. 1: Cleaning a Cold Oven

We’re not saying you should start scrubbing when it’s hot, but a warm oven is easier to clean than a cold one. Turn it on low (e.g., 250°) for 10 to 15 minutes. Then turn it off, spray a nonabrasive cleaner (or spread a homemade baking-soda-and-water paste) all over the inside, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Scrub with a nylon brush or pad and use a sponge to rinse it off.

Mistake No. 2: Washing Windows on a Sunny Day

A gorgeous spring morning may seem like the perfect time to wash your windows. But doing the job when it’s sunny out is a bad idea, since the windows will dry too quickly and probably streak. An overcast day is better. Make a solution by mixing equal parts white vinegar and  cups of white vinegar, 20 ounces of water and a few drops of dishwashing soap. Using a microfiber cloth (instead of a sponge) will ensure that you don’t use too much cleaning solution—it should coat the windows but not splash down them. A squeegee will make the job a lot easier too, run it over the windows after you wash with a cloth.

Mistake No. 3: Scrubbing Like Crazy

The first thing people do when they spill, say, red wine on their white sofa is douse a towel in water or soda water and furiously try to rub the stain out. While soda water can help, the last thing you want to do is scrub—that just does more damage. Keep a cleaner handy (see this guide for useful tips) then, dab it onto the stain with a cloth. Don’t scrub, since that will just ingrain the stain further. Keep using new sections of the cloth, and eventually you will get all or most of the wine (or other offender) out.

Mistake No. 4: Spraying Furniture Polish All Over a Table

Statistics are hard to come by, but we’re pretty sure 99 percent of people who set out to dust their wood furniture do the spray-and-wipe. However, if you spray your cloth instead, you’ll have to buff less, you’ll waste less product and you’ll avoid the sticky buildup that can come from using too much polish. (Hint: Ones with citrus oil will bring out the wood’s natural shine, and the oil tends to repel dust and dirt for a while.) And if your aim is simply to remove dust, you don’t have to use any cleaner at all— microfiber dusters pick up dust on their own and don’t need spray.

Mistake No. 5: Using an Abrasive Cleaner on Your Bathtub

The reason many tubs lose their luster is they’ve been scrubbed with cleansers that have granulated powders, like Comet and Ajax. They scuff the porcelain and take the glaze off. Instead, use a mild shower spray like Mr Muscles. If you’d rather not spray every day, just runs a bath towel—a dry rag would work too—over the tub after he showers and the water has drained as simply drying the tub is enough to prevent scum.

Mistake No. 6: Vacuuming Up Cat Hair

If you have a pet that sheds, you’re probably accustomed to rolling a lint brush over your clothes and furniture daily. But if you’ve been taking a hoover to your hardwood floors in an attempt to rid them of hair, chances are you’re just blowing the mess around instead of picking it up. Your hoover’s exhaust tends to push as much hair away as it cleans up. On wood and other hard floors use a steam mop or a flat mop pad, which won’t create a lot of wind, so you can push the hair into a big pile. Then, pull out the vacuum—but use the wand attachment—to suck it up. You can also use the vacuum to clean the mop itself, or just toss it into the washing machine.

 

Why is there damp?!

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Damp and mould can mean big problems for landlords, letting agents and tenants. It can cause stress and even health issues to those affected, and can mean landlords having to spend time and money on rectifying the problems.

We’ve posted a couple of articles surrounding this topic recently (check this link and then this one) and is it is damp season, landlords, agents and tenants all need to play their part on combating damp.

1. The main cause of damp

A common cause is from condensation which occurs when air mixed with water at a warm temperature meets a surface at a cold temperature. These occurrences tend to be in microclimatic areas, such as behind cupboards and in the corner of rooms. Additionally, areas that can be affected include places with poor insulation, cold spots such as concrete beams and a lack of ventilation.

2. What you can do to prevent damp and mould

Knowing how you can stop damp and mould forming is by far the best way to defeat it.

  • Heating is also important because it lowers the opportunities for condensation to settle. Make sure your advise your tenant to turn the radiators on regularly.
  • Make sure that your property is insulated so it counters the usual, cold conditions in which condensation can grow. You might want to consider increasing the level of insulation in your property (EWI, cavity fill, double glazing) to improve insulation.
  • Ventilation is key. Keep trickle vents on windows open and try to keep windows open, especially if the tenant is drying clothes, cooking or showering.

3. How to remove existing mould

If you’re unlucky and you’re currently experiencing mould in your property, don’t panic. There are ways to make it eradicate it.

  • Clean the mould on the walls or windows with a fungicidal wash that’s recognised by a Health and Safety Executive ‘approval number’, and follow all instructions on the bottle.
  • Once you’ve done this, redecorate the affected surface(s) by using a fungicidal paint to help prevent mould from reoccurring.
  • For any mildewed clothes or carpets, make sure that you dry clean and shampoo them respectively.
  • If possible, place insulation to the external walls of your property. Seek professional insulation advice if you’re not sure on how to do this.
  • Finally, improve ventilation by installing fans, installing windows with trickle vents, and by using Passyfier vents.

Don’t let damp and mould damage your property. Getting into good habits as a landlord and tenant will help keep things under control and ensure that remedial costs and the effects of damp are kept to a minimum…

First time landlord? Here are some useful tips on being a good one…

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Landlords generally have a bad rep. Most tenants will happily tell you about their experience with a previous tyrant they rented from. Unfortunately, this isn’t always justified. If you’ve just got your first rental property, make sure you start you start your rental business in the right way with these useful tips:

1. Treat It Like a Business

Your property is your business. If your tenants don’t pay, you have to cover your mortgage. If something goes wrong, you’ve got to find the solution. The truth is, you have to go one step further. Put systems in place to cover all possibilities and give your tenants your (or your associates) contact details should they need you.

2. Don’t Let to Bad Tenants

All landlords are desperate not to fall into a void period. This doesn’t mean you should jump for the first tenant who comes your way. You should always follow a thorough screening process to ensure you’re only letting in the good guys. The last thing you want is to be a babysitter, chasing after overdue payments and cleaning up after people’s mess.

3. Meet Safety Standards

All landlords have obligations to fulfil. One of these is to adhere to correct safety standards. Have a checklist of these and ensure your property meets the expected criteria. Gas and electrical equipment needs to be installed and checked every year by a registered engineer. Fire alarms and carbon monoxide alarms must be fitted and checked regularly. Record any such activities and make them available for all to see.

4. Create a Personalised Tenancy Agreement

Most landlords use a standard tenancy agreement which usually covers all bases. The trick is to create a more personalised agreement and make sure you seek legal advice in this regard. By giving your agreement a personal touch, you can dispel any ambiguity and irrelevant clauses and make sure to make it clear who’s responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the property.

5. Be Approachable

It sounds simple doesn’t it? It is however one of the most neglected characteristics a landlord must possess. When your tenant moves in, show your face. Take the time to ensure they’re happy. It’s often comforting for a tenant to be shown how the heating and hot water work. Give your phone number and email address. Let them know they can contact you at any point with their concerns.

6. Get Things Done

There’ll come a time when tenants contact you with an issue that needs your attention. Never ignore this or overlook it. If you can’t fix it immediately, let the tenant know. Communication is key. There are going to be things which you can’t deal with yourself – it’s worth having a good relationship with tradesmen of all types.

7. Keep Your Distance

This can be tough for fresh faced landlords. You might want to be sure your property is being properly maintained but you can’t just pop round for a visit. Don’t hassle your tenants, let them feel comfortable in your property – after all, you want them to treat it like their home. By all means schedule an inspection after 6 months but don’t forget to follow the correct procedure for this.

8. Keep It Clean!

That’s right, you want to make sure that your property is clean and presented in the best possible light for tenants at the start of the tenancy. This will help the tenant appreciate the standard of cleanliness they need to return the property at the end of the tenancy and also creates a generally good first impression when they start living in your property . Need some help? You can either call in the professionals or do it yourself with this handy guide…

9. Inventory

An inventory can seem like a tedious task though it’s a vital one. Without it, a tenant can treat your property with complete disregard and face no backlash. If you don’t have an inventory, you face the possibility of losing any dispute.

Good luck!

21 End Of Tenancy Cleaning Hacks That Will Surprise You!

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End of tenancy cleaning can be time consuming and the last thing you want to do when moving home. We would alway recommend that you use a professional cleaning company to deal with your end of tenancy clean.  However, if you’re pretty hands on and don’t mind doing it yourself, we thought a few more useful hacks will help you along the way!

Kitchen Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean stove burners by putting them in plastic bags overnight with 1/4 cup ammonia. (Wear gloves; do in a well-ventilated area.)
  • Sanitize your garbage disposal during home cleaning by freezing lemon slices and vinegar in an ice-cube tray. Run 2 or 3 cubes through the disposal.
  • Keep your kitchen drain unclogged by pouring boiling water down it weekly.
  • Clean stainless steel appliances by buffing gently with flour on a dampened cloth.
  • For a clean microwave, mix 1 cup of water with chopped lemon. Heat 5 minutes in the microwave. Let cool and wipe the inside.
  • Clean your broiler pan or oven racks by scrubbing with salt.
  • Eliminate dishwasher stains by pouring in lemon drink-mix powder and running an empty cycle.
  • Knock out kitchen-wall grease stains during home cleaning by sprinkling cornstarch on a damp sponge and rubbing the stains.

Bathroom Cleaning Hacks

  • Sprinkle baking soda in the toilet at night. In the morning, swish and flush.
  • Remove lime or calcium on faucets by soaking a towel in vinegar. Wrap it around the area and put cling wrap on the outside. Leave overnight.
  • Remove bathroom soap scum during home cleaning with 1/2 cup vinegar, 1 cup water, and 5 drops of dishwashing liquid. Scrub with a sponge or brush.

Laundry Room Cleaning Hacks

  • Clean your washer by pouring in a cup of bleach or white vinegar (use more for a top loader) and running a hot-water cycle.
  • Clean in and under your dryer’s lint filter with your vacuum’s wand attachment.
  • Eliminate laundry room smells with 1 cup baking soda plus 2 drops essential oil in an old sock. Hang where the odor is the worst.

Other useful Hacks

  • Wipe ant-infested areas with white vinegar; then sprinkle cinnamon where you saw ants (do a test first to guard against stains).
  • Polish copper with ketchup. Apply liberally, leave for an hour, and wipe away.
  • Clean glass with newspapers instead of paper towels; no lint is left behind.
  • An open box of baking soda removes odors from smelly areas.
  • Clean pet carpet stains by removing pet soil, dissolving a few tablespoons of baking soda in a spray bottle, spraying the carpet, and blotting with a dry towel.
  • Eradicate water marks on wood by mixing half ashes, half mayonnaise. Apply to the water mark; rub gently with a cloth.

References (for bedtime reading ;))

  • The 11 best life hacks for keeping your kitchen fabulous. (2013, November 8). Huffington Post.
  • Brown, N. (2013, October 29). 30 squeaky-clean laundry hacks. Buzz Feed.
  • Burton, N. (n.d.). Surprising bathroom cleaning hacks. Mom.Me.
  • Cleaning hacks. (n.d.). Lifehacker.
  • Piro, L. (2014, July 10). 10 foods that are surprisingly good cleaners. Good Housekeeping.
  • Valliant, M. (2014, August 15). Cleaning hacks for 12 things you thought would stay dirty forever. Hella Wella.
  • Walsh, J. M. (2015, May 29). 9 genius kitchen cleaning hacks you need to know. My Domaine

How many calories do YOU burn keeping your home tidy?

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Thinking about joining the gym as part of your new year’s resolution? Forget it! The secret to keeping fit could be closer to home than you think….

Keeping your house tidy may be the bane of your life, but experts say it’s one of the best ways to stay in shape. Cleaning the windows, vacuuming and dusting the tables could even help you to shed some extra pounds from your waist, new research suggests.

While scrubbing the floors is believed to be the equivalent of 15 minutes running and could help you to burn off that slice of pizza you had for dinner. And if you’ve eaten a bag of crisps, consider doing the ironing to burn off the 157 calories you’ve just consumed.

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On average, UK adults spend around 11 hours doing house work every week – burning 2,345 calories. A minute of light housework is equivalent to taking around 72 steps – meaning that just half an hour of chores each day could make a big difference on your fitness tracker.

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So what are you waiting for, get cleaning😉