New parent’s guide to cleaning

If you’re coming into or recently inducted into parenthood, you already know that you’re in for an amazing time and "New parent’s guide to cleaning"

If you’re coming into or recently inducted into parenthood, you already know that you’re in for an amazing time and a hell of a ride.  You’ll settle into your new baby cleaning routine soon enough, but in the meantime, we’ve got a guide to cover some essential ‘new parent cleaning’ tips.

Deoderiser for nappy bins

Babies are cute as, but sometimes when they go number 2 (or number 3, or the dreaded number 4…) they have a special way of making a stink. You’ll come to realise soon enough that rose coloured glasses won’t mask the smell of spent nappies and wipes. Keep baby changing areas smelling nice and fresh by cleaning the nappy bucket with a homemade deoderiser. There are plenty of recipes you can try online that use everyday household products like baking soda.

new parent cleaning nappy bins
Source: Pottery Barn Kids

How to sterilise a bottle

It’s recommended by many health authorities to sterilise bottles before and after use, to ensure your baby is protected from unnecessary, harmful bacteria growth. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to sterilise items is to boil them.

To do this:

  • Disassemble and clean the items as you normally would.
  • Place them in a large saucepan with enough water to cover.
  • Bring to a rapid boil for at least 5 minutes.
  • Allow everything to cool, then carefully remove the bottle bits and drain them dry on a sterile bottle drying rack or surface.
  • Store them safely for their next use.

You can use the same method for other items that’ll end up in your little one’s mouth, like dummies.

Pregnancy, Birth & Baby has more informative advice on cleaning and sterilising baby bottles.

cleaning baby bottles
Source: Lifefactory via Amazon

Cleaning cloth nappies

If you’ve chosen to go down the cloth nappy path, there are things you can do to ensure your baby has the cleanest, comfiest bottom around.

  1. First, before putting anything in the washing machine, you should remove any solids (flush it or bin it).
  2. Choose your detergent – you can help prevent rashes by using a sensitive skin detergent or by making your own using non-toxic, eco-friendly ingredients.
  3. Most parents swear by a hot wash (two for extra nasty nappies).
  4. Hang on the line to dry then finish the nappies off in the clothes dryer if you have one, to ensure they’re super sanitised and soft.

Stripping nappies

‘Stripping’ is a common term used to describe a method to get persistent stains out (urine, poop and even minerals from water). It involves soaking the offending nappies in a seriously hot tub of water mixed with a detergent appropriate to the material your nappies are made out of. You generally soak the nappies for up to 8 hours or overnight before draining the liquid and running them on a hot wash cycle.

cleaning cloth nappies
Source: Wikimedia

The easiest way to clean a high chair

High chairs + baby + meal time = a complete mess! You will be forever cleaning up the high chair, the area around it, and potentially the room it sits in, so having an effective cleaning approach is a necessity. Multi-tasking while you do a good clean is a parenting win!

  1. Once your little one is done eating (read: painting the high chair), use a warm, damp cloth to wipe as much gunk off the tray, chair ‘and everywhere’ that you can.
  2. Spray the tray, handles, harness, straps and seat with a cleaning product of your choice (commercial or homemade).
  3. Leave the chair for a minute or two: bath angel baby, call your mother, have a meal yourself…
  4. Once the mess has somewhat ‘softened’, use a damp cloth with a splash of white vinegar to wipe away the mess and any residual product. It should come off nice and easy (if not, repeat).

cleaning a highchair
Source: Pinterest

If you’d like some help getting your cleaning routine down pat from an experienced parent and domestic cleaner, or just want some help around the house when your baby arrives, you’ll find what you’re looking for on Airtasker’s cleaning network.

How to clean your fireplace

It’s nearing the end of winter, and although cleaning out your fireplace is probably the last thing you want to "How to clean your fireplace"

How to clean your fireplace

It’s nearing the end of winter, and although cleaning out your fireplace is probably the last thing you want to do, it’s important to stay on top of it so that there’s less cleaning required at the end of winter. Here’s some helpful tips on how to clean your fireplace.

cosy fireplace
Source: nous decor

Be prepared to get messy

Soot, smoke, ash, and crumbling chunks of charcoaled timber… be prepared for things to get more than a little messy.

  • Smock up – an artist’s smock, old apron, or even a plastic poncho will do.
  • Gloves – something heavy duty and made of fabric.
  • Drop sheet – you’ll definitely need a plastic drop sheet, or an old bed sheet that you’re happy to dispose of for the floor. Tape it down around the base of the fireplace door/opening, and a bit past the sides.
  • A mask – if you haven’t cleaned your fireplace in a while, it might be worthwhile wearing breathing protection and an eye mask to protect you while you get grubby.

fireplace drop sheet
Image credit: Ashley Poskin
Source: apartment therapy

Get the right tools and materials

Before you start, get yourself sorted out with the many bits and pieces you’ll need to clean a fireplace. You probably already have some of these items as part of your fireplace ‘tool kit’ or in your cupboard.

  • Wire brushes specifically for chimney and furnace cleaning – long and short handle
  • A scraper/small shovel
  • Dustpan and brush (that you don’t mind getting covered in black soot)
  • Vacuum cleaner – a hand held one or one with a brush attachment would be perfect
  • Used coffee grounds – if you’ve got some (we’ll tell you why below)
  • Scrubbing brush
  • Paper towel/drying cloth
  • A bin, bucket or cardboard box – or you can just use the drop sheet if you’re not going to miss it
  • Hearth or fireplace cleanser – either a commercial product or homemade version

Tip: Apartment therapy have some great homemade cleanser ideas that use typical cupboard products like cream of tartar and vinegar.

fireplace tool set
Source: Etsy

Basic steps for cleaning the fireplace

  1. Remove any chunks of wood or debris from your cold, dry fireplace (yes, let that furnace cool down first or Darwin will get you)
  2. Dislodge any out of sight objects up the chimney using a long stemmed brush
  3. Brush the sides of the inner furnace with a heavy duty or wire brush
  4. Sprinkle used coffee grounds over the ash – their weight and moisture help cling to the ash and prevent it from flailing around your living room
  5. Scrape or shovel the ash and small burnt leftovers out
  6. Brush the inner sides out with a dustpan and brush and if you have one available, go over it with a vacuum cleaner to remove the majority of the particles
  7. Use a hearth or fireplace cleanser of your choice to scrub the insides of the furnace walls, glass and door (don’t forget to clean the grate and fireplace toolkit too if they need it)
  8. Clean the exterior with the product of your choice
  9. Wipe everything out
  10. Collect all of your rubbish and dispose of it
  11. Allow to dry completely before using again

Okay, so you’re all set to get your Chim Chim Cher-ee on!  If you’d rather let someone else be an ‘appier bloke, find an Airtasker to ‘shake ‘ands with you’.  They’ll cheerfully spend time rolling around in the ashes and smoke.

YouTube video: Chim Chim Cher-ee (from ‘Mary Poppins’)

How To Rid Mould From Your Home For Good

Mould can ruin clothes, furniture and be terrible for your health. Here's some effective ways to get rid of mould from your home.

How To Rid Mould From Your Home For Good

If you live in Sydney, you’ll know it’s been a very wet autumn and a cold start to winter. Along with the awful weather, mould and mildew may have also snuck into the home and taken up residence in your bathroom or wardrobe.

spring cleaning organising wardrobe

No matter how much house cleaning you do, it can ruin furniture, your clothes and there is a real health risk. Mould can cause issues such as sinus, asthma, yeast infections, headaches, fatigue, depression, skin and respiratory infections and aching joints. It’s toxic and needs to be taken care of immediately.

Your first instinct will be to go to your local supermarket and stock up on mould killing products, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news – they won’t work. And I’m going to tell you why.

Mould vs. Mildew – what is it?

Mould is a type of fungi (yep, gross) and mildew is a type of mould. Mildew is what can show on surfaces like wood, wool, leather, silk, cotton and linen) and it’s pretty much everywhere and only needs water to get a colony started.

airtasker dusting house cleaning

Mould and mildew love warm, moist, sometimes dark spaces – that’s why it’s important to air areas like garages and cellars regularly (especially after rain).

How to get rid of mould

Feel like throwing everything out?  Unfortunately, it’s the mildews food source, which means you’ll have to get rid of the water source. To do this requires you to dry out your home and eliminate any moisture and dampness.

Are you renting?

You should tell your landlord (in writing) as they have a duty to maintain the rental in reasonable repair, which includes mould. For more information head to tenants.org to find out what your rights and responsibilities are.

Here’s a quick list of things you can do:

  • Make sure you have ventilation leaving doors and windows open on dry days.
  • Insulate your ceilings to keep them warmer so it’s less prone to condensation – moulds water source.
  • Open up the curtains and windows to let the sun in (remember it likes dark spaces).
  • After a rainstorm check for leaks and water pooling on the roof.
  • Dry all wet areas.
  • Clean indoor plants of dust and extra water.
  • Wipe away condensation.
  • Use a dehumidifier – set it to less than 55% humidity.

spring cleaning hacks shower curtain

What about bleach?

Bleach will only mask it and not get rid of the mould at all and if you are suffering any allergies from the mould, those symptoms will stick around too.

To clean mould, you’ll need…

  • Face mask
  • Goggles (especially for ceiling and walls)
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper
  • Micro-fibre cloth
  • Bucket
  • Broom
  • Toothbrush
  • Old stockings
  • Oil of Cloves
  • Vinegar

vinegar baking soda oven cleaning

Fixing Mouldy Things

Washable fabrics (curtains, cushions, bedding, towels, clothing)

  1.  Soak in 1 cup salt and vinegar in 10L of water with 3 drops Oil of Cloves – Leave overnight.
  2. Next morning, squeeze out as much as possible and hang in the sun until dry and leave out for an additional hour as a salt crust forms.
  3. Use a soft brush to remove salt crust over the newspaper and dispose of it after.
  4. Machine wash with warm water and hang to dry as normal.
  5. Spray with 3 drops Oil of Cloves and 1L of water and leave to dry.

cleaning-kids-toys

Non-washable fabrics (suede, leather, silk)

  1. Lay down sheets of newspaper and put the items on top.
  2. Mix some coarse salt with a little vinegar and a drop of Oil of Cloves.
  3. Leave to sit for a day in the sunshine.
  4. Brush off mould as mentioned in washable fabrics and spray again with Oil of Cloves water mixture.

Leather goods

  1. Put 3 drops of Oil of Cloves with 1/2 cup baby or coconut oil.
  2. Wipe mouldy area in a circular motion.
  3. Leave to soak and store in a light airy location.

Non-portable/washable fabrics (carpets)

  1. Spray with a mixture of Oil of Cloves (3 drops), 1/2 cup vinegar, 5 cups of water and then sprinkle salt over the top in a thick layer.
  2. Leave overnight to dry and then vacuum.
  3. Repeat if necessary.

task-cleaning-09

Mouldy grout

  1. Use a toothbrush or grout brush and dip into vinegar and then in a mixture of 3 drops Oil of Cloves and 1/2 cup bicarb soda.
  2. Brush while fizzing on grout.
  3. Repeat and afterwards spray with clove oil and water mixture and leave to dry out.

Cupboards

  1. Hang a stick of chalk tied together with ribbon to absorb moisture.
  2. When chalk become damp, hang outside to dry.
  3. Reuse chalk bundle.

Walls and ceilings

  1. Mix 3 drops Oil of Cloves, 1/2 vinegar and 5 cups water.
  2. Use a clean broom, and the leg portion of stocking over the head and dip into solution.
  3. Sweep over the mouldy area.
  4. Allow it to dry and repeat.
  5. Every month spray walls/ceiling with a solution of 3 drops Oil of Cloves to 1L of water and leave to dry completely.

spring cleaning ceiling hack

All of this cleaning can take a lot of energy and time, so if you need a helping hand there are plenty of Airtaskers in your local neighbourhood who can help.

Do you have any more mould killing tips? Share with us in the comments below.

Top 5 Cleaning Blogs

There are a plethora of blogs on the Internet that are filled with house cleaning tips, stain removal tricks and "Top 5 Cleaning Blogs"

There are a plethora of blogs on the Internet that are filled with house cleaning tips, stain removal tricks and even how to clean organically. So I thought I’d share some of the ones I love to read and get inspiration from to try at home and also share with Airtaskers. Here are our top 5 cleaning blogs.

The Organised Housewife

organisedhousewife

Mother of three, Katrina is the mastermind behind this lovely blog which features all kinds of articles from how to clean the oven to creative ways to flavour popcorn. The Organised Housewife inspires other mums to keep up with the family in some really interesting and fun ways.

Declutter home

declutterhome

Professional organiser Tanya Lea can help anyone get their life back in order by decluttering and sorting their home or office. With a wealth of experience, she shares many of her tips and tricks on her blog Declutter Home. What I especially love about her blog are the endless spring cleaning tips for organisation and Tanya covers everything from the bedroom to your passwords, things you just wouldn’t think about.

Homelife

homelife

I think you could find out almost anything you need to know about your home and garden on Homelife. It has some great focused articles such as top calorie busting cleaning jobs, How to clean and maintain your mattress and seven home eco sins. It’s not all about house cleaning either, but also decorating, recipes and shopping.

I Hate Cleaning

ihatecleaning

Yes, you read correctly the title of this blog is I Hate Cleaning and it makes it up there not only for it’s great funky website. Lana Jane allows us a look into her world where she battles with her hate for cleaning but also loves the feeling of a clean home. Lana has investigated the ultimate carpet cleaning solution and the natural ways to deodorize a fridge.

Stay At Home Mum

stayathomemum

With a young family, Jody found that she needed to be more frugal with her household budgeting and by sheer surprise they had a happier family life. On the Stay At Home Mum blog, Jody shares all her tips she learnt on living simply. One of my favourite articles is how to clean walls as she goes through all the possible scenarios such as crayon and grease marks and how to remove them.

There you have it, my top cleaning blogs that are awesome sources of inspiration for me. If you have any others please let us know in the comments below, we’re always looking for cool new cleaning websites.

Don’t forget, you won’t have to lift a finger if you hire an Airtasker to take care of the cleaning.

10 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda

You’re guaranteed to find baking soda in any pantry, often reserved for cooking, but there are plenty of other uses "10 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda"

10 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda

You’re guaranteed to find baking soda in any pantry, often reserved for cooking, but there are plenty of other uses for this natural mineral including home cleaning and medicinal purposes.

It’s common to find baking soda tips for cleaning your kitchen and bathroom, but I’ve looked into some other uses around the house. This way you can get more bang for your buck and make more areas of your home naturally clean.

Odors

Animals
They can get mighty woofy sometimes even if you do give your pet a good wash regularly. However by adding baking soda to kitty litter or sprinkling it on a wet dog and brushing out, it can reduce those not-so-nice odors in a flash.

Smoking
Cigarette and cigar smoke is never nice for non-smokers. To make it a more pleasant social setting, place some baking soda in the bottom of the ashtray.

Carpet and rugs
Got a funny smell you just can’t get rid of? Sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on top and leave it for 15 minutes. Then give it a vacuum and if it’s not better, repeat.

Baking-soda-clean-rugs
Source: A Single Sunbeam

Find out how to remove pesky stains by reading Stain Removal – Myths vs Facts

Kid’s items

Baby furniture
Harsh chemicals should be kept away from the baby’s room, however using a ¼ cup of baking soda to 1 cup of water to wash the bassinet, change table and other items will do the trick.

Pool toys
Inflatable pools and pool toys can be cleaned from mildew by washing with a baking soda and warm water solution.

Toys
With illness easily spread among children, after play dates make sure you clean the toys to kill any bacteria. To do this, place a ¼ cup baking soda and ¼ warm water in a bucket. Put in the toys (or just wipe with a cloth), and then rinse with clean water and leave to dry.

cleaning-kids-toys

Laundry

Fabric softener
To make your towels all soft and fluffy add ½ cup baking soda to the rinse cycle.

Boost bleach
Too much bleach can be bad for your health and the environment, but by combining baking soda with bleach you can cut down your usage and make it more environmentally friendly. Just add ½ cup of baking soda for each ½ cup of bleach.

laundry-airtasker

Outdoors

Furniture
With outside furniture battling the elements, a quick wipe down with a 1 cup of baking soda added to some warm water will leave them sparkling. Just don’t forget to rinse thoroughly with some clean water and leave in the sun to dry.

Fly screens
Screens on windows and doors can collect dust, dirt and cobwebs but they are easy to clean with a damp cloth dipped into baking soda and a bit of elbow grease. Rinse with a damp cloth or if you can remove them, wash with a hose.

Looking for more natural cleaning products? Here are 4 natural kitchen cleaning products that will clean your house.

4 Natural Kitchen Cleaning Products That Will Clean Your House

Most people make the switch to natural cleaning products for general house cleaning due to the high amount of chemicals "4 Natural Kitchen Cleaning Products That Will Clean Your House"

4 Natural Kitchen Cleaning Products That Will Clean Your House

Most people make the switch to natural cleaning products for general house cleaning due to the high amount of chemicals (which may cause health hazards), found in many off-the-shelf products.

The benefits of ‘going green’ mean fewer health risks and less impact on the environment. With a little bit of extra effort you’ll be able to beautify your home naturally.

Making the switch from harsh chemicals, such as bleach, to home remedies isn’t as hard as it sounds. You’ll have most of what you need sitting in your pantry.

borax-vinegar-lemon-bakingsoda-cleaning
Source: Hello From The Natos

Here are four kitchen products that you can use in a way you’ve never thought of using them before:

Baking soda
It’s often used in cooking but it can also clean, deodorise, soften water and scour.

lemon-and-baking-soda-naturalcleaning
Source: Secretly Healthy

Oven
Attack an oven of grimy grease and cooking juices by making a paste of baking soda and water. Once made, spread paste over the bottom of the oven, leave for a few hours and then simply wipe off.

Toilet cleaner
Take a cup of baking soda and put it in the toilet to let it soak for at least an hour. Then pour a cup of white vinegar and leave for 5 minutes before flushing.

Citrus fruit
Lemon is the fruit used most in and favoured for its strong food acidity against household bacteria.

General disinfectant
Making citrus infused vinegar will take care of numerous home-cleaning tasks e.g. mopping floors, windows and surface disinfectant.

To make: Place lemon peels in a jar and top up with white vinegar for a few days. When you want to use it, just strain out the vinegar.

Food waste disposal (in sink)
These can get smelly so to ward nasty smells, cut a lemon in half and turn on the grinder and put in the lemon while the water is running.

Air fresheners

natural-airfreshener-lemon
Source: The Yummy Life

Everyone loves walking in the door to a fresh clean smelling home and your house will smell divine with this recipe:

Ingredients
– Sliced lemon
– 2 tablespoons of rosemary
– Dash of vanilla

Method
Place into medium saucepan with ¼ cup of simmering water. Allow cooling and placing in a recyclable bottom and get spraying.

Vinegar
Most households would have vinegar in the kitchen, however white vinegar is the one you’ll want to cut through grease, remove mildew, odours, stains and wax build ups.

Dishwasher cleaning
Place two cups of vinegar in a bowl without any other dishes and put it through a cycle. Your dishwasher will be all lovely and fresh.

Shower heads
Wrap a plastic bag with vinegar in it around the shower head and tie it so that the head is immersed. Leave for a few hours and then carefully remove.

Clean-Shower-Head-Vinegar
Source: Curious Nut

Burnt saucepans
No one likes scrubbing the burnt pans after cooking. So instead, fill the pan with water, add a cup of vinegar and bring to the boil. Then remove it from heat and add baking soda – WARNING! It will fizz. Empty the pan and scour.

Not sure how to remove stains? Here are the Stain Removal Myths vs. Facts

Borax
You can buy this in powder form and it’s often found in many cleaning products – however it is a natural mineral.

Bathroom soap scum
Create a no-fuss scum by sprinkling Borax in the show or bathtub and add water. Then just wipe over it and rinse well.

Find out more Bathroom Cleaning Tips.

Fridge
Place one teaspoon of Borax with 3- litres of warm water and wipe the shelves and draws with the mixture. Rinse well with water and wipe dry.

If you’re not sure where to buy Borax, Coles stocks the Bare Essentials Borax cleaner.

Don’t have time to clean or need a helping hand? Why not Get Cleaning Quotes with Airtasker and reclaim your weekend.