What Are The Best Methods For Cleaning A House?

First off, we better clarify ourselves. It’s likely when you think about ‘cleaning house’, you’re thinking about picking the toys up after your kids, packing away dirty dishes, and making sure the rubbish and junk are picked off the ground.

Not quite.

What we are talking about is the best methods for cleaning the outside of the house, the bit of it that is open to the elements 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; The brick, wood, vinyl, stucco or stone exterior that separates you from the world.

First off, you little garden house isn’t going to cut it, not even if you stick your finger over the end to make the water come out faster. You need something with a lot more grunt.

Pressure Washing

Over time, moisture can effect the exterior of your house, causing mold, mildew and grime to appear. This has a negative effect on the look of your house, but it can also effect the structural integrity of the house as well as your health inside.

Pressure washing is one way to get rid of this stuff. However, you should not go down to the shops and buy the most powerful pressure washing water jet available and just go to town on your house.

Pressure Washing Is Not Suitable For All Surfaces

Pressure water jets are powerful machines. The force of the water coming out of those jets could be up to 200 times atmospheric pressure. That is enough that it can do serious damage to your fingers and toes if they get in the way, but also damage the very surface you are trying to wash. You could end up with a surface looking worse than when you started trying to wash it.

Painted wood surfaces, for example, are not candidates for pressure cleaning, as the force of the water can easily strip the paint from the wood. So unless that is something that you want, stay away from the pressure water jet.

Leave the pressure washing to those exteriors that are tough, durable; surfaces like brick, stone and concrete.

Soft Wash – The Other Option

There is another option to using pressure washing. It’s what the professionals call the Soft Wash Process. Instead of a high pressure water jet to chisel out the dirt and grime and debris, this process uses environmentally friendly chemicals to break down the contaminants. A low pressure water rinse is then all it takes to wash away the chemicals and the broken down dirt and grime. This process leaves the surface unaffected, and is much safer for surfaces like wood.

The Catch

The Soft Wash process catch is, because you are using chemicals, it is probably a lot safer for a professional pressure washing company to handle that process. Find a company experienced in using the soft wash process. Even better, a professional pressure washing company will be able to look at your house exterior and tell you which process – a high pressure water clean, or a soft wash process – is best.

Your Blocked Gutters Can Be Damaging Your Home

Most people don’t think much about their gutters. As long as they keep doing their job, keep moving rain water from point A to point B, we’re happy. We don’t even give them a second think.

But perhaps that’s exactly what we should give them. A second think. And maybe even a third one.

Because our gutters can get blocked, and when that happens, that simple process of moving water from point A to point B gets interrupted, and now, the water might be pooling at point C, or overflowing the gutters and running down the walls to point D … and that can cause some issues. Some very expensive, time-consuming, issues.

Why Getting Water From Point A to Point B Is So Important?

Water is corrosive, just ask the Grand Canyon. Admittedly, that took millennia to form, but even over a much shorter time period, water can cause wood to rot and metal to rust. We know this from primary school.

If your gutters are blocked with dirt and debris, the water can’t go where it’s supposed to (the drains), and instead pools up, overflowing the gutters and pooling at Points C and D. Point C is the roof. Standing water pooling at your roof is a bad thing for a couple of reasons.

As said, water is corrosive. If it remains on the roof, perhaps held to the roof surface due to water-logged dirt and debris, the water may rot and rust the roof, leading to leaks being formed and more problems inside the house.

And here’s the second thing about water. Water is heavy. And water located in just one part of the roof, causes points of intense pressure that can cause buckling at weak points on your roof, exacerbating any leaks.

Neither roof nor gutter are designed to withstand heavy weights for long periods of time. They were designed to move that weight onwards. For gutters, this might mean that the gutter itself will begin to sag away from the roof, necessitate more expensive repair work.

What About Point D?

Point D, the other place where you don’t want water to form, is at your home’s foundations. When a blocked gutter causes the water to pool up and overflow the gutter, the water will flow down the roof and pool at your home’s foundations.

This water than does what water has done since time began. It erodes at the earth around your home’s foundation. This erosion allows parts of your home foundations to become exposed to the elements that were never intended to be exposed. The erosion also causes weak points at your home’s foundations, where the foundation might shift, causing cracks to form.

Again, more expensive repair work.

It seems surprising that simply cleaning your gutters could prevent multiple expensive repairs from being required, but it is something that you need to consider.

Steam Cleaning, Dry Cleaning – Which way to go?

You will probably see advertising for steam cleaning and for dry cleaning, and some businesses will do both, but some will specialise in only one or the other. How do they compare? I hope to help you decide which one you should choose.

This basically describes the difference processes. In both cases, they start with a vacuuming to get out the surface dirt. But then they are different.

Steam Cleaning

Another name for this process would be “hot water extraction”. A jet of hot water is injected under pressure into your carpet. The water is then sucked up, taking out all contaminants, dirt etc with it. This is a similar process to vacuuming, except with hot water.

The advantage is that you will get a deeper clean. The hot water jet is the better way to remove dust mites, allergens, and anything else lurking in the depths of the carpet, including bacteria that could bring illnesses to your family.

The disadvantage is that the carpet will remain wet longer. More importantly, if the operator is less experienced, the carpet may become excessively wet and this may result in damage to your carpet.

Dry Cleaning

Specialised dry cleaning solvents, mixed with a little water, are applied to carpet. This solution breaks down any oily residue, dirt, and other unwanted stuff in the carpet, and sucks it up so that a short while later it can be vacuumed away, and the carpet is clean and free from contaminants.

Of course the main advantage is that dry cleaning is “dry”. You can walk on the carpet without a great deal of delay, which means that normal foot traffic is not disturbed for a long time. Another advantage is that the dry cleaning solutions treat more stains, in particular oily residue, than other cleaning methods.

However dry cleaning is great for cleaning the surface, but not as good if deep cleaning is needed. It can be difficult to get out the stubborn stains.

So … which way to go?

There are pros and cons for both of the processes. One is not always better than the other in every case. Steam cleaning has benefits that dry cleaning does not have, and vice versa. If you can’t decide which way is best, seek the advice of a carpet cleaning specialist, one who is able to inspect your carpet and give an unbiased, objective assessment of the best options to deal with the problem.

If your carpet is in a high traffic area, and the traffic can’t be diverted in another direction, the dry cleaning process is probably the way to go. But remember that this type of cleaning is more surface, less deep, cleaning, and you may need to do it more often.

Conversely, if there is an alternate route for your traffic and the carpet can be left to dry for a day, then the deep cleaning of the steam option may be your best solution.

Pressure Cleaning – DIY or PSE

(PSE – Pay Someone Else)

You have decided that your house (building, factory, office, parking lot, driveway) is looking a bit dusty, and in need of a good clean. So, is it a case of DIY or PSE? Think about it.

DIY (do it yourself) will save you money – that’s the first and obvious argument for the person who is convinced he is a latent tradie, and can do anything he puts his mind to. It only requires a hose, doesn’t it? Maybe one with a special nozzle? And all he has to do is point and shoot. Start at the top and work down. Easy As!

But is it?

It might require you to hire a power cleaner, especially if the water has to get to high places. But that’s not a lot to spend. And these power cleaners are very good for cleaning the paths or driveways – usually reasonably level areas of solid concrete.

However there’s more to pressure cleaning than just “point and shoot”. Even a hired pressure cleaning machine might not be able to cope with the job that is before it. Just like you can’t expect a 1T truck to deal with removing the multi-tons of overburden from the open cut mines (maybe that’s a bit of a stretch comparing trucks to pressure cleaners), you need to choose a piece of equipment that meets the need. And I think you’ll find that you can’t hire all of the different types of pressure washers from the local hire shop.

For large projects, you might need to use a ladder to get to some areas. A weekend tradie might not have the expertise to stand on a ladder and use a pressure wand, possibly with quite a lot of pressure, safely. The experts even have safety devices and harnesses for difficult situations.

Remember also that the water jets can be dangerous. They are good for digging out the grime from the hard surfaces you should be aiming at. You don’t want to lose control and accidentally have the jets pointing at fragile surfaces, windows, your car … or your fingers and toes!

Think about getting a professional in to do the job. They know what to do. They have done it before and know what to expect. They have the best machinery available to them, and they know how to use it safely. They know when they should not use high pressure, when a soft wash would be best. They know if chemicals are required, environmentally friendly of course, or if the water jet is sufficient.

So weigh up the pro’s and con’s of doing it yourself or paying someone else to do it. Do some research about the Professional Pressure Cleaning people in your area. Look at websites such as the pressure cleaners in Adelaide, and find out what people are saying about them. Remember that you get what you pay for. Cheap prices don’t necessarily get you the best results.

The Environment and Green Waste Removal

Of course there are many things affect our environment, but today we are talking about green waste. The overall term “Green Waste” covers all the unwanted grasses, weeds, plants, trees, prunings, leaves – anything left over after you’ve taken the pruning shears or chainsaw to those items in your garden that needed to be tidied up and/or disposed of. At the end of a storm, big or small, there are likely to be vegetative casualties, and it is the householder’s task to tidy up the mess and dispose of the remains.

How do we do that?

The first thought is the dump. Have you got a vehicle big enough to take the waste to the dump? However, it is not really a good plan to take a lot of green waste to the local landfill. Your town’s dump is only so big, and too much dumping of large amounts of green waste will use up huge amounts of space.

As well as this, large amounts of green waste potentially create large amounts of methane gas, which can cause unacceptable problems. You know how the greenhouse gas situation is a point of serious consideration at the moment. And it’s not just the cows that are to blame! Green waste would be compacted in the landfill, getting covered over and pressed down, deprived of oxygen, and as it decomposes without oxygen, methane can result, and bacteria also in the mix can get to work and make matters worse. Methane is very potent as a greenhouse gas, maybe compared to carbon dioxide it is 25 times more potent.

Rain water can work through the landfill and carry away biological matter into any local creeks, which flow into the rivers, and pollute drinking water. So this could lead to problem health issues, for farm animals and people, and for the creatures who live in the streams.

But do not despair, there are alternatives.

Composting is one alternative. It reduces your green waste to a product that can help in your (or anybody else’s) garden to grow the next generation trees, bushes, plants, flowers or vegetables.

Clever, imaginative people can also take a log of wood or a branch and turn it into something decorative or practical for people to use.

Another way to deal with green waste, is to call someone who has proper green waste disposal services. They can decide whether to compost or recycle, and sort it out accordingly. You won’t have to be concerned about how your green waste might be affecting the environment. Look them up on the interweb, leave it all up to them, and you can sleep easily at night. No worries.

Ways Of Determining Whether You Should Have Your Tree Removed

Sometimes trees seem immortal. You see them standing tall and proud; they’ve stood against countless storms with barely any problems. They look like they could be there forever, continuing to stand up against anything that man and nature can throw against them.

Of course, that’s not true. Trees are alive, and as such, they have a beginning and an end. They can get sick, they can also die.

The thing is, it can sometimes be very difficult to ascertain that trees are sick, or that they have died, and the particular problem with sick, dying or dead trees is that they can pose great safety problems to your house, your yard and property, and to your family and the people that visit you.

Trees that are sick, dead or dying may not strength enough in their root structure to survive against the storms that they used to stand against in previous years, or they may drop their branches, some of which might be very large, posing a constant threat to all those who are nearby.

But there are signs that trees might be sick or dead, and need to be removed by professional tree removers. If you notice your trees exhibiting these signs, quickly call a tree removal company to get immediate expert advice.

Look At Your Trees – They may have broken, damaged or dead tree branches.

Branches that are hanging on precariously can become a hazard in high winds. These branches should be removed. However, be sure to take care when cutting branches off trees. Cutting into a tree is a would, and like human wounds, these cuts can become infected if the area is not treated in the right way.

Place close attention to the bark on your branches. I know, this is not particularly exciting, but branches that don’t have bark might indicate a dead branch. Now, a branch can lose bark, but if the bark doesn’t grow back, the branch is likely having health issues.

Look at the trunk – check for missing bark and cracks.

When looking for cracks, these aren’t just the shallow cracks that you would naturally see on any tree’s surface. These are normal, and part and parcel of being a growing tree. The cracks we are looking out for are not surface cracks, but cracks that go deep into the tree. This could be indication that the trunk has become rotted, or that the soil supporting the tree has become unstable, causing part of the tree to shift in response.

As with branches, missing bark may be an indication of health issues. Healthy trees lose bark, but grow them back. Sick and dying trees may not.

Look at the base of your tree – Check for fungus

This sign relates to the health of the tree’s root system. If mushrooms or fungus are growing at the tree’s base, or around its base, this can be an indication to the health of your tree’s root system. It is the root system that keeps a tree planted during strong storms; if your tree has weak roots they really need to be checked out by professional tree service experts.

Your Carpets and Your Pets

It is estimated that there are more pets than people in Australia. It is also estimated that 65% of Australian households have pets. If you are part of that 65%, it is important to consider how your house, your furnishings and your pets can be compatible. You know your pet well, so you know whether you should have trinkets on low shelves, or whether you have a white sofa. But if you need advice on whether or not to have carpet on your floor, then here are some things to think about.

Carpet type

Carpet is comfortable, for people and for pets. All of us, people and pets, can enjoy stretching out on a soft carpet. But there is more to consider, if you have pets. Should you get cheap, low quality carpet, on the basis that the pets might cause damage or staining, and replacing it would not be too expensive. Or should you get a high quality, high priced carpet which may be able to stand up to the potential damage from a pet’s paws and claws. Of course loop carpet is not a good choice. The loops will get caught by claws and perhaps even teeth. The correct choice is a carpet that resists stains, is durable, and cost effective. Nylon carpets are popular choices by pet owners. Wool carpet is also popular, being easily cleaned and highly durable. Of course, when you buy your carpet, tell the retailer about your pets, and make sure they give you the right advice about the carpets you are interested in.

Does colour matter?

Carpet colour is definitely a consideration. Do you choose a colour to suit your room and its furnishings, or choose a colour to suit your pet? Pet hair is an ongoing problem, and you could choose to vacuum every day, or you could choose a colour that disguises the shed fur and vacuum only every second or third day. The usual choice seems to be dark to medium colours which are more likely to hide the stains and the pet hair to an extent.

Cost of carpet is another consideration

High quality carpet is more expensive to purchase. But it will be much more durable in the high traffic areas, like the living room or family room. So think about selecting a good quality carpet in high traffic areas, and perhaps you can put less expensive carpet in the bedrooms. The pets will usually spend more time in family rooms, so putting more expensive, better quality carpet there would be a sensible decision.

Regular Maintenance must not be overlooked

Regular professional cleaning is important for all carpet areas, whether there are pets or not. It is important for your health, your family’s health, and your pet’s health, to have the carpets cleaned and refreshed on a regular basis. Your whole house will smell fresh and welcoming. Regular carpet cleaning will also increase your carpet’s life span.