BLOG 4 - Kids and Cleaning
After many months of filming, my second series of Storage Hoarders has finally come to fruition. I can honestly say, despite the seemingly endless travelling and long days, it’s been a hugely fulfilling experience meeting all our lovely contributors (60 of them, plus partners!) and persuading them that their lives will be so much better without the weight (emotional, financial and physical) of the clutter that’s been clogging up their lives. Their relief after shedding excess stored belongings has been enormous. One man described it as ‘the noise in my head that’s gone away’.
After being on the road for days on end, coming home is always a mixed blessing. You see, I have two sons (18 and 22), who live at home. And I’m afraid I didn’t practise what I preach (‘Get your kids helping from an early age’), partly because I was always a working mother and didn’t want our home time spent with me nagging them to clean their rooms and tidy toys away. And now I’m paying the price!
When I’m due home from a trip, I’ll get a text asking what time I’m arriving. No, it’s not so they can get the kettle on to welcome me with a cup of tea; it’s so they can work out how much of a window they have to get the place vaguely under control. The thing is, although they know Spontex microfibre mops are the biz, they always ‘forget’ that the kitchen floor needs sweeping before washing. So I’m faced with an array of beer bottle tops and other detritus banked up around the edge of the floor, pushed there during ‘washing’.
Annoying, exasperating, irritating – all of the above. But would I rather come back to a pristine, empty house? Of course not!
BLOG 3 – Food Hygiene
A couple of weeks ago I appeared on Sky’s Sunrise with Eamonn Holmes to comment on a report by the Food Standards Agency which stated that more than 8% of us have at least one poor kitchen habit that puts us at risk of food poisoning. The poll found that 43% would eat food after the ‘use by’ date and more than a third (36%) wash chicken before cooking it, potentially splashing campylobacter and salmonella bacteria around the kitchen (a complete no-no!). More than a fifth of the people polled (21%) said they don’t wash their hands properly before preparing food.
It never fails to amaze me how many people ignore basic hygiene rules: the single most important factor in reducing the incidence of food poisoning is to wash your hands (and dry on a clean towel) both after going to the loo and before preparing and eating food. It’s what we (well most of us!) were taught as children, but unfortunately some of us have forgotten!
One point that didn’t seem to be covered was the stinky kitchen cloth – one of my bug-bears (excuse the pun!). The rule is: if it smells, it’s heaving with bacteria. To combat this, either stick it in the dishwasher each time you use it or if you want to be absolutely safe, pick up a pack of 40 Spontex Handy All Purpose Cloths and dispose of each when you think it’s done its due. Sorted!
BLOG 2 – Pillows
I’ve recently taken full advantage of the dry weather and washed all the pillows in the house! If you consider that a little excessive, just give a thought to the amount of saliva, sweat, dandruff and skin scales penetrating your pillows over the year and you’ll be hot footing yours to the washing machine as well!
Most pillows have a washing instructions label, but I wash mine, two at a time, in the machine at 40 degrees, using biological detergent.
Then I hang them on the line, pegged at the corners. Halfway through the day, I unpeg them, turn upside down and rehang, so the feathers get a good ruffling. Pillows containing real feathers need to dry quickly (over the space of a hot sunny day is good), otherwise they could go mouldy – and there’s no remedy for that!
While you’re at it, give the duvets a clean as well. Single ones are fine in most machines, but you’d be hard pressed to fit a double in there – you’ll need to take that to the local launderette.
BLOG 1 – The Chopping Board
Last week someone asked me how hygienic a wooden chopping board is, particularly in warmer weather. Well, that depends on how well you clean it!
Wood is fine as long as it’s scrubbed thoroughly, say with a Spontex Tough Scourer and very hot soapy water, then rinsed with hot running water and dried with a fresh
Spontex Supreme All-Purpose cloth to avoid possible germs, which can be transferred from a used tea towel.
To mask smells, squeeze lemon juice (or sprinkle a little mustard powder) over and wipe with an all-purpose cloth.
There are also other options for boards, such as plastic or glass. Plastic can go in the dishwasher; however, when cleaning remember to treat like wood, as a knife can create grooves in the board. A glass board will harbour the fewest germs; however they’re horrid to cut on and will ruin your knives.
Chopping boards are handy if you’re preparing flowers for a vase. Rose stems, for instance, need a little bash with a rolling pin to help them absorb water better, plus a chopping board will save your kitchen surfaces.