Let's talk rentals

* This is a paid collaborative post

It was only after that brief conversation with our new neighbour over the garden fence, on what is already a long-forgotten Spring weekend that I thought about what it’s like to rent a property.  It’s not something I’ve experienced first-hand, ever, which thinking back is also quite odd.  I think that’s mostly because I grew up in London, started work in central London soon after leaving school rather than going away to study and well, haven’t moved very far.  I’m still in London, I’ve had a brief foray over to Essex but came back to South London, which is home for me.  

But considering what it’s like to rent a property from a renter’s point of view is an interesting one.  I’m sure that the overriding priority, is like the rest of us, having somewhere to live that works for work, is affordable, doesn’t need too much work and additionally is managed well and has a landlord that’s professional and fair.  It’s actually not too much to ask is it, but I’m sure it’s not that straightforward.

Then once you’re in your new place, there’s the requirements in the lease to uphold to ensure your tenancy is not only not interrupted but if you want it, extended at the appropriate points.  

And that’s where our over the garden fence conversation comes in.  I’m sure that it came from a place where they were keen to ensure their new garden was kept manageable and under control.  And that’s admirable.  I also know, through experience, that once you start trimming and pruning and cutting back, it’s quite addictive and that’s where I was keen to save (actually that’s rather stronger than I mean, protect is better), protect the new growth on our highly scented and many years-trained Jasmine.

While renters rightly have legal protection, finding a new home you like then jeopardising that by not completing your undertaking, however unintentionally, must be galling.  

Equally when you move in to your new home you have an expectation that it is fit for purpose, and that the previous end of tenancy cleaning has been done, and to a high standard.  As a landlord the quality and thoroughness reflects on you too, and you’ll want to present your property in its best light.

In some ways this is a better, and I’m sure more consistent way of approaching cleaning a house following a house sale.  In all the houses we’ve moved into - which is just five, but seems a lot to me - we’ve had some positive and negative experiences, I guess we all do.  But wouldn’t it be great all round if we didn’t?

I’m sure there’s many horror stories out there, but let’s focus on the positive.  Let me know your best experience of when you’ve moved into a new home, either rental or mortgaged in the comments below.

Mine was moving into this house, we discovered a bottle of wine (which is always welcome) and then rather randomly some duck breasts in the freezer.  It turns out we quite like duck, and it’s relatively easy to cook too…

* While this is a collaborative post, all views and opinions remain my own.

PoCoLo

A stay clean orange scrubber

Yes, that's what I thought too. You're thinking that's too good to be true right? It's what I was thought when Kuhn Rikon sent me one of their stay clean scrubbers, that and how it reminded me of sticklebricks!

Image credit: Kuhn Rikon

Image credit: Kuhn Rikon

It was much less like a sticklebrick when it arrived though. It's made of silicone which gives it a soft, flexible feel, which is just what you want from something you'll be using on your pots and pans. And I didn't mind the orange either, although if that's not your colour it's also available in white, red, blue and green.

It claims that you'll have no more smelly sponges, and let's be fair sponges can get pretty smelly which is why I don't have one. There's one in the kitchen at work and I can't bear to touch it to move it out of the sink, let alone use it anywhere near my mug. Kuhn Rikon say because silicone dries faster it doesn't harbour the bacteria, like a normal sponge does. And to give it a thorough clean you can just pop it into the microwave. Being silicone it's also dishwasher safe and heat resistant up to 260 degrees C.

So how did I get on?

Well, all in the name of research you understand I'd managed to burn something on my frying pan. I can't remember what, but it wasn't shifting and it seemed just the thing to try this on. There are apparently over 5000 silicone bristles on each scrubber - I took them at their word for this! 

Using the orange scrubber on my frying pan

So I set to work. And shortly after MOH got in on the act too. He is the master cleaner in this house, so it was useful to have his view. And he approved too.

MOH taking over the scrubbing

And now it's firmly positioned in our washing up caddy which lives by the side of the sink. I said before I didn't mind the orange, looking at this caddy it seems I'm not the matching kind of girl I thought I was, more of one that's happy with any colour whether it's lime green, orange or pink - and even the washing up liquid is blue. 

My scrubber by Kuhn Rikon's new home

And I'm already trying to work out if I could borrow it once a week to take to work to give my mug there a proper clean. As carrying a silicone sponge will be way easier than bringing the mug home each time it needs a clean. And when I take it to work - you see, it's already a when - there's no way I'm leaving it by the sink, as I'm pretty sure I won't be the only one impressed by it.

I never realised that silicone could be quite so versatile, but it really seems to be. Who knew.

 

This is a collaborative post with Kuhn Rikon, but all views are my own.

Post Comment Love

A chemical free fortnight with e-cloth

When e-cloth got in touch and challenged me to take part in a chemical free fortnight I was interested. I'm the person that finds walking down the cleaning aisle in the supermarkets overpowering and tend to agree that we're over reliant on using chemicals for cleaning, where often some old-fashioned elbow grease could work equally well. Don't get me wrong we use chemical cleaners here because often they're easier but I do wonder if we need to, all of the time.

So after reading that a Norwegian professor - Jan Vilhelm Bakke - confirmed that research had found that chemical cleaning sprays were harmful to health, I thought we'd give it a go.  Note the use of we'd there, as MOH does the majority, but not all of the cleaning here - yes, I know, I'm lucky.

Bakke even went as far as to say that chemicals designed to effectively clean dirty surfaces, should not be breathed in. And as someone that struggles to breathe in the supermarket cleaning aisle, I can see his point. So we were in.

A TRADITIONAL LOOKING DUSTER

A TRADITIONAL LOOKING DUSTER

The multi-pack of e-cloths, one for every occasion it seemed, plus a mop for cleaning the floor arrived. There were cloths for the bathroom, the kitchen, a hob & oven cloth, a stainless steel cloth, one for windows, another for use on glass & polishing as well as a traditional yellow duster. Thankfully, each one was labelled.

The blurb on the box says that by using these cloths you'll 

  • save time
  • save money
  • get better results and 
  • be kind to your family and the environment.
AN E-CLOTH FOR EVERY OCCASION

AN E-CLOTH FOR EVERY OCCASION

But did they work?

Well I had plenty of places to test these cloths, let's start with the induction hob. This is my area of expertise - I'm expert at making it messy, usually just by cooking dinner and am quite particular about how it's cleaned. I can't cook on it when it's dirty or if it's been cleaned by MOH and left smeary, so I have plenty of experience (and views) about how this should be cleaned. 

hob

The cleaner than I'd found most effective had recently run out and so I was looking for something to take its place. Wiping the hob with a damp cloth removes the grime - I knew that - but where I was struggling was to get a smear-free finish.

So up came the glass & polishing cloth. It worked really well and left me with the streak-free finish I was after.

cleaning the hob

Next up was the sink - definitely one for MOH, he cleans the sink way better than me and he too gave the stainless steel cloth the thumbs up. Once again the glass & polishing cloth was used to give the tap an extra bit of shine.

cleaning the tap

I used the kitchen cloth to clean the worktops - you wet the cloth, wring it out, form it into a pad and off you go. We've a quartz worktop and while it was damp using the glass & polishing cloth to dry it off and bring out the shine worked really well.

Already I was impressed with that glass & polishing cloth - I suspect many people are as there were two of them in my pack.

Spurred on by the results I set off to find more things to test these cloths on - most unlike me! I also persuaded MOH to use them to clean his pride and joy, the shower. He took some convincing, but more on that later as I'd remembered our bedroom windows needed a clean.

The frames had been attracting dirt and dust from the busy street outside and fluff from the curtain lining, and it was building up. So it was time to try the window cloth, which the pack said removes dirt and grime from windows and frames.

dirty windows

My windows gave this cloth a good workout and the results were good. Just with a wet cloth - and my already trusty glass & polishing cloth - I got fantastic results. I was tempted to carry on and clean the windows in the rest of the house (which aren't as dirty as these) but managed to curb my enthusiasm and went to check to see how MOH was getting on cleaning the shower without chemicals.

clean window
along the window sill

He was convinced the cloths wouldn't give as good a clean - or shine - as with the chemicals he usually uses, but reluctantly agreed to give it a go. He couldn't see how one glass cloth would stay dry enough to cope with our large shower screen.  

cleaning the shower

Well even the doubter was impressed. The bathroom cloth worked well, but once again it was the glass & polishing cloth that exceeded expectations. And tellingly one of the glass cloths now has a permanent home in the bathroom, alongside the bathroom cloth - I think that tells you what you need to know.

The technical bits

The e-cloths have 480,000 fibres per square centimetre. By combining their unique fibre technology with water they break up and hold grease, dirt and bacteria which normal cloths leave behind.

To clean the cloths the advice is that a warm rinse is usually enough in day-to-day use and regularly machine wash at temperatures between 30-60 degrees, with a small amount of detergent. The cloths will, it says, benefit from an occasional hot wash at 90 degrees. 

I haven't washed the cloths yet, but once I've finished cleaning the windows in the house that cloth will be the first I wash - and while I haven't tested it, I fully expect the manufacturer's claims to stand up.

The best bit

Well other than my favourite cloth - which I think you'll've worked out by now. The next best bit is how each cloth is labelled with its intended use. This is a handy reminder but even better than that I can see it putting a stop to those frustrating conversations we seem to have all too often where MOH asks which cloth he can use to clean this, despite us having quite lengthy discussions about which cloth should be used where on what seems a regular basis.

THE KITCHEN E-CLOTH - WITH A HANDY SCRUBBING CORNER

THE KITCHEN E-CLOTH - WITH A HANDY SCRUBBING CORNER

So going chemical free was much easier than I expected and MOH was impressed with them too, which I didn't think I'd be writing. Infact we're so impressed with the glass & polishing cloth that we'll be buying a couple more. One will stay in the bathroom, we'll keep another solely for use in the kitchen and we'll have one to use on our new glass table which we're already regularly cleaning our fingerprints from!

 

This is a collaborative post and I was provided with these cloths for the purposes of this challenge, however all views and opinions are my own.