Nick's Thoughts About Cleaning And Life In General

The world of cleaning and other things according to Nick

 

Important Disclaimer

OK, first of all, please note this is a piece of content that will get updated quite regularly with short burst of wisdom, questions, news analysis, gentle little rants, and more. All opinions published here are personal and do not necessarily reflect Anyclean's position. 

In other words, take everything in this article witih a pinch of solt, and do not rely on the tips here as a 100% working solutions. If something has worked for me does not necessarily mean it will work for you (and vice versa). Please always seek professional advice for serious matters.

Here we go.


Our Carpet Cleaning Services Still At 2003 Prices

I have today read an article in Guardian.co.uk describing cleaning services’ prices back in 2003. Anyclean was mentioned a few times. I noticed that (apart from the fact that one of the other cleaning companies had gone out of business) our prices have not changed at all. We now charge less for a 3 seater sofa than we did 5 years ago.

Here comes the Guardian article mentioning Anyclean. I am glad our clients are getting a good deal.


Birthday Cleaning Party

I read in the news a fascinated story about a honourable young man.

When I read that I was really surprised. An American teenager from a little town called Marlboro decided that he had enough of the dirty streets around the place he lived. He loved his town and thought… that it would look better and nicer if someone put some effort and cleaned the abandoned cans, empty boxes etc.

That guy decided that the authorities would not respond quick enough to his requests and organised a group of volunteers to spend an hour cleaning up the rubbish from the street. What a better occasion than his own birthday! He invited all his friends to the party but warned them to wear old clothes because they would get dirty. The local community backed the teenagers’ idea and now they have clean local streets. The event made all the drivers passing by think twice before throwing litter from their car windows. Everyone then enjoyed food and drinks at the birthday boy’s house.

If that could only happen in London! It would be a nice of the new Mayor to spend some congestion charge money to finance a similar event. I believe people would love to go out on a weekend and clean up their own local streets and pavements for an hour. Then enjoy a communal barbeque. Sounds great! Why not then?


Fortnightly Rubbish Collections

Here is a thing that makes me angry. Fortnightly rubbish collections. What a nonsense!

More and more councils throughout the UK have reduced their rubbish collections to once every…two weeks. And yes, you guessed right – council taxes will continue to rise regardless of the fact that they are in fact reducing the service.

Call me stupid, but I do not understand how can someone increase the charge but reduce the amount of the service/products they provide? The logical outcome would be all affected clients/council tax payers to find an alternative provider. Sometimes an alternative provider may cost more but if you are desperate for a weekly collection, it is a way to go.

What would happen then? Are those councils going to amend their council tax rates to exclude the rubbish collection charge if an alternative rubbish collection company is used? I don’t think so. The pie is too big to give away especially in the current situation where local councils wield monopoly power.

I would love to see more and more rubbish collection companies on the market competing between themselves on quality and price. When that happens the councils days as rubbish collectors will be counted. However I expect a government ruling to protect the councils because as I mentioned above – the pie is too big to give away.

I hope that sense and reason will prevail and the problem will be sorted once and for all.


Vacuum Cleaner – Which One Do I Need

You cannot fully appreciate the need for a properly performing appliance until you see an old and wheezing vacuum cleaner doing nothing more than creating noise.

Nowadays there are plenty of vacuum cleaners. You can even get confused when reading the endless features they have. What is most important thing to look out for? Definitely: floor type compatibility, size, power, airflow, suction, hepa filter, air quality, tools. is to choose the right vacuum cleaner for the right type of floor.

Vacuum cleaners are probably the most important and versatile cleaning tools in any house. Vacuuming and dusting has been arround for ages and it looks like nothing is going to replace this great american invention. Wiki says that “the first manually-powered cleaner using vacuum principles was the “Whirlwind”, invented in Chicago in 1868 by Ives W. McGaffney”.


£1,000 cleaning bonus

No wonder Honda Racing Team is offering £1,000 bonuses to everyone including their cleaners for every race won. I don’t think bosses at Honda are in any danger of paying large bonuses to their cleaners this season. I had a quick look at their race winning history to find out that a Honda pilot has been on the highest step only three times – 1965, 1967 and 2006.

It is a cheap and safe way to boost staff morale though!


Cleaning Up Our Own London Streets - Volunteers And Local Residents Unite

Planting trees and cleaning upYoung volunteers from the Ahmaddiya Youth Musilm Association (AMYA), based in Morden, helped local Mitcham residents to clean up an alleyway damaged by fly tipping and increaded littering.

Residents from CRP (Crusoe Road Plus), aided by these thoughtful volunteers cleared and disposed of the rubbish using the correct procedures. Then beautiful trees were planted along the cleaned sides of the alleyway, all donated and courtesy of the Woodland Trust. Another example of the word "clean" standing right next to the word "green" and making a logical sense. Clean and green is the way to go.

The guys from AMYA has actually started a tree planting campaign back in 2011 and have since then planted tens of thousands of different trees across the country.


House Cleaning Brand Celebrates 50 Years of Service

In 2008 Mr. Clean – a popular american house cleaning brand owned by Procter & Gamble and created in Puerto Rico – celebrated 50 years from its creation. It first appeared in shops back in 1958. Within the first six months of his introduction, Mr. Clean became the best selling house cleaning product on the market. Mr. Clean products were introduced in the same year the UK under the name Flash.

Mr. Clean/Flash is known by millions of consumers all over the worls. He has different names in different countries. All Mr. Clean TV commercials were donated to the UCLA Film Television and Radio Archives in 1985 when Mr. Clean celebrated his 24th anniversary as “The Man Behind the Shine”.

In 2018 Mr. Clean added another 10 years as one of P&G's most popular products.


Cleaning Exhibitions – Carpex and Windex

I expected large exhibition hall similar to the NEC in Birmingham. To my surprise it was much smaller that that. The show was specialised into just carpet cleaning… and window cleaning. On the other hand I was thankful for the smaller number of exhibitors due to the amount of time I manage to save and do a wonderful job.

I ended up placing an order for 2 fully equipped carpet cleaning systems. The machines I ordered are new and quite promising. Unfortunately they will be delivered in May and June but I am looking forward to that.

Have you visited the Carpex and Windex exhibitions? Let me know what you think.


Cleaning Computers At Google UK

The computer cleaning team paused for a snap before taking on Google’s machines. Everyone was pleased with the result, especially Googlers. Horay! :)


Dishwashers With Steam Cleaning

Latest tests have revealed that new uber-dishwashers with steam cleaning (and much more expensive price tag) are only slightly better than standard dishwashers. In fact a dishwasher costing only half the price of the steam cleaning… one can get your dishes sparkling clean. Why spend the extra money then? I wouldn’t.

It is a different story ( I guess) from the manufacturers’ point of view. In order to boost sales (and profits) they add or “upgrade” their existing line of goods with, sometimes unnecessary, features. Like steam cleaning dishwasher. What is going to be next then – a voice activated, radio built-in vacuum cleaner running on Windows Server?


Window Cleaning Is Not For Benefit Cheats

Here is a classic story and example of a heavily abused benefits policy. A father and son double act stole more than £43,000 of taxpayers money while cleaning windows.

The fraudsters claimed they were too unfit to work and … received income support, disability living allowance, housing benefits and coouncil tax benefits. At the same time they have been running a two-men-band… window cleaning business.

Fortunately investigators caught out William and Mark Bridges by filming them going up and down ladders with buckets of soapy water. The five-month probe by the Department for Work and Pensions led to the benefits scam being wiped out and delivered justice to fraudsters.

William Bridges, 59, of Haydock, Merseyside was jailed for 8 months after he admitted swindling more than £28,500. He had been claiming disability benefits since 2002 after he complained he could not walk more than a few feet without feeling severe pain.

His son Mark, 34, was given a four-month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 300 hours unpaid work. He burnt a whole in the taxpayers’ pocket with a total of £14,546.

The duo was caught after a tip-off followed by the filming of the cheats doing their window cleaning rounds in 2006.

Confessions of the window cleaner? Sounds about right, after watching some video footage.


Self-cleaning wool and silk

That is what I call a cool and convenient invention. Soon garments made of wool and silk may need no dry cleaning or other special treatment in order to remove marks and stains – just expose them to sunlight. It is all due to a nano particle coating already in use in the windows manufacturing process…

Researches have carried out tests with red wine stains on wool and silk (two very popular, but very difficult to keep clean type fibres) and have achieved a substantial reduction in the colour of the red wine after hours of sunlight exposure.

It is all in the very early stages of research and testing but who knows – we may soon be buying self-cleaning socks or shirts.


What Does “Green Product” Mean To You?

The latest trends in shopping are to go for “green products”. But what does “green” mean? What is “green” and what is not?

Well, researchers from the Good Housekeeping Institute in the US have tested many environmentally-friendly… cleaning products and have the concluded that “green” products were made from plant-based as rather than petroleum based. As we all know plants are renewable sources so the products made from plant-based ingredients are better for the nature.

There are many companies that claim their cleaning products are “green”. A marketing consulting firm called TerraChoice has looked at over a thousand of “green” products on the market and has found only one company to be making false or misleading claims. One tries to cash in on the marketing hype that “green” and eco-friendly” stuff represent and shoud be named and shamed. No mercy for the cheaters!


Carpet Cleaning At The Sherlock Holmes Museum

 I was going through the carpet cleaning photo archive and came upon these photos from 2005. With the new Sherlock Holmes film hitting the big screens in London, I thought it was a good idea to share some sweet memories with you. Enjoy!

carpet cleaning at sherlock holmes museum in london carpet cleaning services in london
cleaning Sherlock Holmes' carpet carpet cleaning london

How To Clean Old Paintbrushes

A quick and inexpensive solution to restore your old paintbrushes would be to fill a jar or coffee can with vinegar and water and soak the brushes for a few hours. They should feel much softer and more supple. Now get on with that landscape painting.


Roadside Promotion, Another NHS Hospital Mess, Cleaning Liquids

Well, roadside signs, roadside promotion or “bandit” signs as people often call them, are illegal according to US law. Companies or individuals advertising on those signs are liable for a fine of up to $500 for each sign… That can be a lot of money if you are running a large advertising campaign. I would say – find another way of advertising. Bottom line – always obbey the law!

Anyway, who pays attention to roadside advertising when driving? I don’t.

I thought that the NHS has managed to sort out its problems with the cleaning side of the things. Apparently not. I read that the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington, Kent has been recently issued an “improvement notice”. This is reserved for serious breaches of the hygiene code laid down by the government.

Inspectors have found thick layers of dust, soiled commodes marked as ready to use etc. What is this – the United Kingdom or some poor African country? I think it is unbelievably irresponsible to allow that to happen in hospitals. In offices, factories, elsewhere – OK, not the end of the world, but hospitals?! One expects and visualises hospitals with white cleanliness, not dust and dirt! In my opinion – speak to the facilities management of the hospital and then the cleaning contractor. I believe the cleaning firm is providing a reasonable service but cutting costs in the NHS may have led to cutting a few corners by the facilities guys.

I have seen many clients who want to spend less and less on cleaning by cutting corners and reducing hours and budgets. They most certainly would end up with their premises not cleaned up to a standard (not the cleaning contractor’s fault) and asking another cleaning company for a quote (“Our cleaners are not performing up to standard!”). Soon they realise that old truth – You always get what you pay for! There is another way of saying it – If you pay peanuts, you are most likely to end up with a monkey! 

Mr. Whippy Muscle, Vodka Cif or maybe Sex On The Bleach? Reading that a barmaid put a shot of cleaning liquid in a guy’s drink made me think: Was she cleaning the glass and forgot the cleaning liquid there while the guy accidentally happened to be her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend? I don’t know and they didn’t say. Interesting...

My opinion – always smell before you drink. No matter how drunk you are. It may save your life sometimes. 


Cancer Causing “Organic” Products

What is wrong with this world? While everybody is trying to go green and trying to reduce its harmful impact on nature and human kind, some unscrupulous personal care household products manufacturers in the US… label their potentially lethal stuff as organic and natural. A recent research by the Organic Consumers Association has revealed the labels on many products by large US manufacturers deceive the public by boasting false claims to be organic and natural. People who follow the latest “go natural” and “go natural” may suffer cancer related deceases as a result of the use of certain products.

Isn’t that cruel? Those companies know that the use of their products may lead to the death of people and still do nothing to help avoid the danger. I think it is not human. I think it is a well planned corporate murder. My hope is that there will be lots of efforts worldwide to expose everyone who tries to deceive the public.


Karcher Introduces Chemicals Free Cleaning

In response to the increasing environmental awareness, Karcher, the German manufacturer of cleaning sysytems and products, has developed a house cleaning method that eliminates the use of chemicals by the use of steam.

Endorsed by the British Allergy Foundation, Karcher’s SV 1802 steam vacuum cleaner removes loose dirt and grime quickly and reliably from a wide variety of floor coverings, including carpets and PVC, natural stone and tiled floors. There’s even no need to wipe the floor afterwards.

Instead of using a bag to gather the dirt the SV 1802 uses a water filter and an addditional container for any spilled liquids being picked up. The steam vacuum cleaner also features a HEPA filter, a foam filter and a coarse dirt filter. With the range of accessories it covers environmentally friendly and efficient cleaning of almost all surfaces in the household.


How to Iron Clothes

Ironing clothes is boring, but it is a necessity in our everyday life. Even if you buy the most expensive clothing, if it is not clean and ironed, it will look poor. Moreover, you will look more neat, elegant and presentable when dressed in beautifully ironed clothes. It is not that complicated to learn how to do ironing, but there are certain guidelines which will help you do it right.

The type of the iron matters as well as the ironing board. The more quality ones you get, you will achieve better results with less efforts. The widely use ironing boards are the ones which could be folded easily and they can be moved around the house.  Irons which are more powerful do the job just with one movement. In the recent years people use steam irons which additionally ease the overall process of ironing.

It is important to note that not all clothes could be ironed and for this reason it is advisable you check the label of the garment first. You should set your iron accordingly for each item you intend to iron as very high temperature may damage some of the items. Try to iron all areas including in the corners, around the buttons, the collar and the sleeves. For best results iron the wrong side first and then the right one of the garment, although some fabric materials cannot be ironed on the wrong side. To make the garments look less wrinkled, use a bit of starch spray on some areas while doing the ironing.

After you have finished with the ironing, hang the garments on hangers and place them in your wardrobe rail or those which are really small and could be folded easily just fold and put them in the right places. Sorting your garments by colour will make it easier when making a choice how to match colours and you will make better decisions how to dress for the next occasion. 


Remember - Dirt Comes From The Outside

Remember – dirt comes from outside! Keep your entrance ways clean and you will see a miraculous change in the overall cleanliness of the house.


How to Maintain Baby Toys Clean

Cleaning Baby ToysEvery house where there is a baby living in, there are toys which need to be cleaned properly as children love to put them in their mouths and they are exposed to a direct contact with bacteria. Depending on the material of the toys, there are several ways of cleaning which exist.

The traditional method is by using a hot water and a soap and scrubbing each toy or equipment separately. If you like natural cleaning products, you can use vinegar instead. After they have been washed, the toys should be properly rinsed and dried. Usually two hours would be enough for drying.

Instead of proper washing, you may decide just to disinfect them with a sanitising solution and a cloth. This method just removes the bacteria, but if there is any food leftovers over them, they might not be properly removed. This method is efficient for a general cleaning, but not for deep cleaning of your baby’s toys and you can ask your domestic cleaning lady to wash them for you while she is around.

It is also possible for the plastic toys to be washed in the dishwasher, but not the wooden ones as they will be damaged.  If you prefer this method of cleaning, remember to avoid washing toys which are operated by batteries and which have small parts which might easily come off from the high temperature.

Wooden or metal toys from the other hand could be wiped down with a wet cloth and a detergent and polished with a soft cloth.

Many people ask themselves how often the toys should be properly cleaned. It is not necessary for the toys to be cleaned on a daily basis, but it is a good idea to wash them at least every couple of weeks. They for sure need some attention if you had other children around to play with them as diseases could be transferred easy between babies.


Dry Cleaning for more than 80 Years

It turned out that dry cleaning was going way back in the past than I thought.

Swan Cleaners in the US town of Port Clinton was established in 1938 and is still in business big time. Its owners say them years were busier because everybody used to dress up – ladies and men. It has been going slower during the last decades!!!

In the begining dry cleaners were using naphta, a quite flammable chemmical. All dry cleaners premises had to be outside city limits and were required to have hinges on the roof. I guess that was the Health & Safety at the time.

Swan Cleaners do lots of public service work like dry cleaning Salvation Army clothing donations and dry cleaning American flags. I like the flags bit. Makes you feel proud.


Window Cleaner Tells Of His Bad Luck As a Professional Singer

Being a window cleaner in London is not a bad job at all. Being within a touching distance from becoming a pop star in America (and possible the whole world) before that changes significantly the opening statement.

Karl Michael, from Standens Barn, North ampton, has told of his disappointment with record companies in the US. The guy, who is currently cleaning windows in Earls Court, London SW5, was only a step away from success in the music business until recent unfortunate change of events. Karl was signed by a New York record company and was preparing for the recording of his first album. The big money was only around the corner and as everybody would say, it was just a matter of time for the big money to start rolling in.

Suddenly, the record company decided to pull out of the deal and terminated his contract. He had no money left and had to start work as a window clleaner in London so he could support himself. He works night shifts in a bar in order to supplement his wage. Karl is renting a bedsit and struggles to survive (well, struggling as any other London window cleaner, I guess) on his "mortal"'s income.

As the saying goes, good things come after bad things and not long ago Karl was invited to become a contestant in The Voice UK - BBC One's music talent reality show. He has grabbed his "last chance" and he's prpepared to give it his best shot to wind the contest.

All judges turned their chairs to face the 27 year old singer-turned-window-cleaner-about-to-become-singer-again after they heard his version of Annie Lenox's "No More I Love Yous".

To see what course will take Karl Michael's music career, be a goodun and watch the BBC One's reality show.

Great voice, really.


Cleaner to The Stars

Over the years, the business at 20 Westport Road, Kansas, USA has earned a reputation as “Cleaner to The Stars.”

When first opened, the business was getting referrals from the concierge at the Intercontinental Kansas City Hotel. Mike Sansone, the founder of the business, prides himself in knowing personally every customer and remembering his name seconds after entering the shop.

Then the hotel started referreing celebrities staying at the hotel and looking for a dry cleaners to do their laundry. Soon most venues in Kansas City followed with referrals.

On the wall of Mike and Joe Sansone’s business is the proof: bits and pieces retrieved from the pockets of those stars’ garments. Bon Jovi liked Bazooka bubble gum, Keith Urban “donated” his guitar pick, Tina Turner – her Armani green silk suit etc.

As the saying goes – there’s nothing like the endorsement of a star.


House Cleaner Discovers Missing Bank Robbery Money

Here is another story from the cleaning vaults. It happened in the not very distant past.

A house cleaning lady found bundles of $10, $20 and $50 bills in a car speaker box she took home for her son-in-law. The cleaner was deep cleaning a vacated flat after her boss had told her she could keep anything she liked.

Rattling noise coming from the speaker box (it must have been a sub-woofer) indicated there was something inside. When opened the box revealed its contents – stacks of money, red dye and a gun.

The cleaning lady’s son-in-law called the police immediately. Later the FBI confirmed that the hidden money was the loot from a armed bank robbery back in 2004. The bank robber has been put in jail in 2005 but the money was still missing until now.

There is no information whether the police has offered any prize money to the honest house cleaning lady’s son-in-law but the robbed bank’s insurance company may consider some generosity. Not very likely, me thinks.


Plasma Cleaning - Radio Waves Provide The Elbow Grease

If I told you 10 - 20 years ago that cars wouldn't have wipers on their windscreens but use radio waves to clean the glass, you would be laughing. In fact you would dismiss this brave theory as a complete joke. 

Fast forward 10-20 years and you read in the papers that McLaren announced their wiper-free glasss cleaning technology. Ultrasound? Seriously? It looks that this is the future of cleaning - precise, contactless and very efficient. Magic!

The technology and process behind this "magic" is very simple to explain - plasma cleaning. Very high frequency radio waves/ultrasound is being deployed to the surface to be cleaned. They completely ionise the gas within the chamber (air, oxygen) and turn it into plasma. In this not-very-well-known 4th fundamental form, all the molecules are broken down into their basic charged particles. In this volatile state the plasma has enough kinetic power to clean stuff from surfaces i.e. clean dishes, car windscreen glass etc. Pretty amazing!

It looks like this technology is very close to becoming the standard way of cleaning stuff. I am pretty excited, not just because Anyclean is in the cleaning services business but on a personal level too. Wouldn't it be nice to have spotless cleaning tools at home so you can blast any surface you could think of and get it 100% clean? It would, definitely. Can't wait.

Until then - elbow grease is the correct word.