Cleaning, Chores & The Hetty Cleaning Trolley

The summer holidays are over, and even families not going back to school, are heading back to our ‘term time’ routines. Or at least this one is! We might not have a daily school run, but many of our extracurricular activities and clubs run on a term-time timetable, so it forces us into that kind of schedule. That means that things like cleaning and domestic activities need to fall into a routine too, to make sure that they are actually done.

81Mb0U1jK1L._SL1500_ 81HFb9AouXL._SL1500_Another thing I like to do at this time of year is a bit of de-cluttering, clearing out, packing away of things that we won’t be using over the winter months. Our house is small, and we don’t have a private garden, so it’s essential to my mental well being that we have space around us.

Of course, with a five and a three year old, I don’t feel the need to do every little thing myself, and getting them involved in household ‘chores’ is important – as is cleaning up after themselves.

While the children really can use general house hold cleaning equipment – a broom, a brush and shovel, or a mop or duster – when we were sent the Casdon Hetty Cleaning trolley for review, I was quite pleased that they took a sense of ownership over their tasks.

They certainly view them as ‘real’ cleaning equipment. Recently they were sitting eating crackers on the sofa – which they aren’t allowed to do, because of course, the crackers tipped over and ended up down the back of the cushions! I helped them take the cushions off, and they had to clean up the mess themselves, so off they trotted to their cleaning trolley, and grabbed the brush and shovel for the sofa and the broom for the floor.

The Casdon Hetty Cleaning trolley comes with a brush, shovel, broom, mop, and a spray bottle, all with specific hanging space within the trolley. The trolley stands up on it’s own, and is is wheeled, so small people can move it around.  The mop has a slightly longer handle than the broom, and comes with a wipe for washing the floor. (We’ve found wet wipes fit in well, and since they are wet they do provide actual cleaning ability.)Casdon

The Casdon Hetty Cleaning Trolley comes with stickers to decorate your equipment, but aside from that it’s all pretty quick and easy to put together. The kids helped their dad and they quickly built all the parts.

The only problem I have with this trolley set is a pretty obvious one: it is painfully pink, and there’s really no need for that. The “boy” version called Henry is red. Much nicer!

All in all for the RRP of £15 (At the time of writing it’s £10.99 on Amazon*) it’s pretty good value, and makes a nice addition to the play kitchen. We used this printable chore chart from Tinyme to make up our own chores, which the kids can do with their cleaning trolley, which helps me a little around the house, but more importantly, gets them involved with the business of a hygienic lifestyle from a young age – which is as important as learning to be a doctor or scientist or whatever other ambition they may have for their future.

3 Simple Ways To Keep Kitchen Odours At Bay

We were away for a few days last weekend, and when we came home we were greeted at the kitchen door by a most unpleasant smell. While this isn’t fun at the best of times, tired, cold, hungry and covered in mud is definitely a lot less fun.

We’d taken the bin out before we went away, so I knew it wasn’t that, but in a compact kitchen, it can be tough to find the source of offence.

Here are three easy ways to keep your kitchen odour free:

1) Keep it small

It being your rubbish bin, your compost pot, or your vegetable bowl. Obviously a large bin is going to keep rotting stuff in your kitchen for longer, so having a small bin forces you to take it out more often. This prevents the gross breakdown of food stuff too, so you’re less likely to have leaky juices gathering in the bottom of your bin too.

If you do food recycling, this is another area a small box inside is a much better idea. It can then be emptied into a larger bin outside on a regular basis.

If you have a small-ish vegetable drawer or bowl, you use up what’s in it much more regularly than if you have a big bowl, meaning there’s less chance of something lurking at the bottom, unseen, growing fur.

2) Deodorise

You are talking about your kitchen here, so you don’t want to cover germs with chemical cleaners.

Rather use bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), lemon juice and vinegar as regular cleaners in your kitchen. They don’t just mask the smell, they absorb it or cut through it, leaving everything clean, germ free and scent free (well, the lemon might leave a lemony, fresh aroma, but the rest dissipates really quickly.)

A box of baking soda in the fridge will absorb remnant smells (i.e. it won’t remove a rotten smell while the rotten thing is still in the fridge, but once out, it will absorb the smell that would otherwise linger a while).

Boiling vinegar on the stove will cut through the smell of curry. While the curry would draw into the wood in your kitchen, the vinegar won’t.

Everything needs cleaning from time to time, whether it’s a cheapy wooden bread box or a Brabantia brushed steel bin, a frost free freezer or a top of the range cooker.

3) Do the occasional deep clean

You can scrub your counters and floors, and have appliances and accessories full of every type of cleaning cocktail imaginable, but sometimes you just have to put your washing machine and dishwasher through cleaning cycles (use vinegar) and clean out the cutlery drawers. Sometimes you just have to wipe out the fridge, Flylady the sink, give the bin a shower, and spray some essential oil in the room.

And sometimes, you just have to look under the counter, to where one of your kids dropped and left an apple a week ago, and hope to goodness you’ll someday forget the feeling of it disintegrating in your hand as you grope around on all fours trying to locate the sweet stench of rot! Gross.

Method Eco-Friendly Cleaners Review

I’m a huge fan of making my own cleaning materials, and using natural products. Especially with children either on the floor, or having a fetish for spray bottles, using water and essential oils for cleaning has become the norm for me.

Unfortunately, it’s all too simple for my husband. It seems he can’t get his head around water + essential oil = powerful cleaner, and he prefers to use commercial cleaning products when he cleans anything. (Which he does, and for that I’m grateful enough to not kick up too much of a fuss.) Unfortunately he’ll pretty much always go for the cheapest thing he can find, which I’m pretty sure correlates directly with exactly how bad it is for the environment, and for the children and us, breathing it in or absorbing it through our skins.

Whenever he’s been cleaning, I have to open windows to let the toxic fumes out.

So when I was offered a variety of Method cleaning products to review, I thought that sounded like an ideal place to look for a good compromise.

Method use plant based solvents and surfactants that are non-toxic and biodegradable to pack a cleaning punch.

Today I decided was a good day for some serious housework, and embarked on a seven hour deep cleaning – late spring, actually summer – clean. I started with the Method Multi-surface cleaner and decided to really put it to the test, using it on mirrors, laminate flooring and even the walls and I can tell you straight up, I’m impressed. It cut through all the marks and sticky stains and everything with no added effort on my part. Ameli cleaned her art table herself – it definitely does what it says on the tin, as it took all the crayon marks off with a 3 year old’s strength behind it. Not bad at all.

Also, my mirrors were amazingly clean. Seriously, I still look at them every now and then just to remark on how clear they are.

Next up was the bathroom.

Normally, I leave the bathroom to my husband and his industrial cleaners, because, well… because.

Tonight, however, I put the girls in the bath, and took to the sink and toilet to see how Method would handle it. A couple of sprays from the Eucalyptus Mint Method Bathroom Cleaner actually brought the sink to a gleam I haven’t seen in a while. There’s no residual chemical lines or soapiness or anything. I’m quite impressed. The taps actually sparkle. With that I’m equally impressed, especially because normally getting them to shine involves a dry cloth and some shining.

One thing it doesn’t do is remove lime scale, but then it’s not a lime scale remover, so fair dues.

The toilet cleaner is really nice too, although not a miracle worker. Let’s just say a friend’s little boy left traces of his visit a few days ago, and it still needed a toilet brush. The bowl does pretty much sparkle though, so I’m not complaining.

The best bit though, is that it took me a couple of minutes while the girls were bathing to clean everything, and it looked like I had put loads of time and effort into scrubbing, which I really didn’t.

My husband is the regular kitchen cleaner in the house, and he gave the Kitchen Cleaner a good rating. He thinks it had a nicer fragrance than his regular product, which was very strong and chemically, but worked as effectively. He also mentioned that it seemed to make everything shine more than he was used to, which I thought was great! He also used the all-purpose cleaner to clean one of the metal trays that had been used to roast potatoes, and he was quite happy with how easily it cut through the grease.

The fact of the matter remains that while these products are made from plant derived ingredients, they still undergo more chemical treatments than my water and essential oil, so I think for the normal mopping up after the children things, I’ll probably carry on using my own products, but for deeper cleaning, and for whatever my husband cleans – and for windows and mirrors – we’ll actually be sticking to Method now. At around £3 a bottle, they’re also quite affordable.

I’m really pleased, because it means we can bin the toxins he has hidden on a high shelf in the study, and we can instead come to a compromise of home made and Method, which sees us both happy.

*We were sent these products to try. Opinions are my own.