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Updated July 1, 2012, 6:26 pm betterhomesgardens
If it's time to come clean at your home and you haven't a clue where to start, we have all your bases covered. Follow these handy hints for stress-free cleaning in the bedroom and lounger room, and get your home shipshape with the minimum of fuss. You can do the jobs yourself or you can simply call a professional.
Quick fix: shutters are a bit like venetian blinds, they are a magnet for dust. Use the brush attachment or the crevice tool to vacuum them clean. Invest in a specially designed duster with several fingers that slip in between the slats for easy cleaning. Try not to wet oiled timber plantation shutters because they will stain.
GO WITH THE PROS: Get the experts to come to you with a mobile blind-cleaning service or have your blinds picked up, cleaned and rehung. Whichever you choose, it will take the stress out of the job for you.
Quick fix: air your mattress for several hours to keep the moisture levels down. Before you make the bed, freshen up the mattress with this easy recipe. Add a few drops of lavender, rosemary or rose essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Dip the cloth in the water and lightly wipe over the mattress. Plump the pillows (punching them is the way to go) every day and vacuum the bare mattress weekly.
TRY THIS: Many mattresses need attention from day one so they don't dip in the middle. You need to turn them over for the first two months, once a week, rotating horizontally, then flip them over. Gradually reduce this procedure until you are rotating and flipping monthly.
GO WITH THE PROS: For re-caning, restoring and removing heavy-duty stains, you'll need professional help. Call cane or wicker furniture manufacturers for their recommendations, or check the Furniture Repairs & Restorations section of the Yellow Directory.
Quick fix: add a sweet-smelling fabric conditioner or a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or rose, to the final rinse for all bed linen, which should be dried on the clothes line. Spray pillowcases before they are ironed with a lavender spray or linen spray.
TRY THIS: Take your bed linen to a laundromat which will charge about $50 to wash, iron and fold your sheets. Have all blankets and doonas professionally laundered or dry-cleaned seasonally as washing and drying them can be particularly laborious.
Quick fix: grab the vacuum cleaner and start 'dancing', moving back and forth over each part of the carpet at least 10 times. Blot or dab but never rub or scrub a stain. Hotels have used White Wizard Spot Remover on carpets for years, so buy a tub of this all-purpose absorbent compound cleaner - it works a miracle on stubborn stains.
TRY THIS: Rent a carpet-cleaning machine from an equipment hire company or selected supermarkets, and shampoo or steam your carpet every few months.
GO WITH THE PROS: For a deep restorative clean, have your carpet steam-cleaned or dry- cleaned once a year by a specialist company.
Quick fix: first shake your curtains, then dust them using a soft brush or the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner. As floor-length curtains attract dust, spray them with a fabric protector.
TRY THIS: Send your curtains to your local dry-cleaner, who will wash and dry-clean them for a fee. Lawrence Dry Cleaners charge about $27 per metre for lined curtains, and about $24 for unlined.
GO WITH THE PROS: Have a technician dry-clean your curtains in situ.
Quick fix: keep your upholstery looking fresh by using washable throws or slip covers. Vacuum the sofa cushions each week, including the tricky crevices underneath.
TRY THIS: If you can't face another day of sponging the spaghetti off the sofa, invest in a can of upholstery shampoo (available from supermarkets and a few fabric showrooms).
GO WITH THE PROS: Call in the pros for a thorough cleaning of all sofas and chairs that have fixed upholstery. A two-seater sofa costs about $66 to clean, however, many companies have a minimum charge. You could also hire a specialist carpet-cleaning company to do the job.
Quick fix: Crumbs, grit and coins can damage leather, so a weekly vacuum and casual once-over with a damp cloth is essential. Don't be tempted to use normal upholstery shampoo or even saddle soap to clean spills as you could end up with water marks worse than the original stain.TRY THIS: Protect pigmented or aniline- dyed leather with a suitable leather conditioner. Ask your furniture supplier to recommend a product or look in your local supermarket.
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