Time to take down that Xmas tree? There are 3 main elements to deconstructing your Xmas tree – Taking off the decoration and lights, taking the tree outdoors and finally, cleaning up the needles. The following is our 3 step guide to doing this job and quickly and as easily as possible.
1: Store the decorations
Throw a towel at the base of the tree to catch at falling decorations to might drop – you don’t want to be cleaning up broken glass too! Starting at the bottom of the tree, begin to take off all your decorations (starting at the bottom saves you from knocking off lower ones whilst reaching for the top) and wrap the more fragile ones as your box them away. Old newspaper or Xmas present wrapping is ideal for this. When taking down the lights, start at the end and loop them around your forearm so that they can be easily unpacked next year. It might seem like a long time away but it won’t be long coming!
2: Getting the tree outside
A large bedsheet is the trick to save yourself from coating your house in needles. Remove the towels and shake them onto the sheet that you have laid down to the side of the tree. Using a turkey baster, siphon the remaining water out of the stand before you set the tree down on the sheet. Now all you have to do is drag the whole lot out the hallway and out into the front yard.
3: Cleaning up the needles
If you’ve got a bare floor, sweep up all the loose needles. For all other types of surfaces, reach for the vacuum. A neat trick for getting stubborn needles up out of a carpet is to sprinkle them with a little bit of baking soda to coat the needles before vacuuming. That’s that job done for another year!
MILDEW is that annoying mold that lives on fabric, wood, wallpaper or any area exposed to a lot of water – especially in areas with poor ventilation or direct sunlight. We’ve all seen the powdery white spots that appears on cardboard boxes stored in damp rooms or attics or the black gunk that lives in the corner of the shower. A small amount of mildew won’t cause too much hassle but if you don’t deal with it early on, it’s bound to spread. It can ruin household valuables and worse – trigger and allergic reaction. The following is our guide to dealing with this pesky problem in the home:
1) Painted Walls – In areas with poor ventilation, mildew can quickly begin to grow on walls. To deal with it at the first sign of growth, mix 5 litres of water with 200ml of bleach and apply to the growth with a soft scrubbing brush. Let the mixture penetrate for about 15 minutes before rinsing with fresh tap water. Dry thoroughly with a fan or a hairdryer for about 30 minutes. If the stain comes back, you may have dampness behind the wall and the hard wall should be replaced.
2) Wood – Wood is an ideal home for mildew. If you find growth on your wood cabinets, panelling or furniture, start by vacuuming the loose spores with a soft brush attachment. Using a well-wrung cloth dipped in a few squirts of washing up liquid and about 5 litres of water, clean the area as best you can. Don’t “drown” the wood as you could cause it to warp. If a cloudy film forms, wipe the area with a small amount of paint thinner.
3) Paper – There’s nothing worse than losing one of your old books to mildew. To rescue them, first air the pages outside on a sunny, breezy day for 3-5 hours. Once they’re dry to touch, brush off the mildew with a dry cloth. You may find some remaining stains so to remove this, gently wipe the pages with a soft cloth dipped in a solution of 1 part chlorine to 4 parts water. Make sure to wring the cloth out well first. Go over the same area again with a fresh soft cloth, this time dipped in fresh water. Remember not to over saturate the paper. All that’s left to do is to pat the pages dry. If you wish to speed up the drying process, simply sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on each page to absorb the left over moisturiser, then wipe it off with a soft, clean paintbrush.
4) Washable Fabrics – Towels left in that too-little open gym bag can be the ideal place for mildew to grow. To get rid of it, take the towel outside and brush off the mildew spores with a stiff brush and left it sun-dry with 4-5 hours. hen, machine-wash whites with chlorine bleach or pre-soak coloured fabrics for 30 minutes in liquid non-chlorine bleach. Rinse and dry. This method also works on plastic shower curtains and liners; just skip the first step and launder in warm water using the gentle cycle.