A Royal Army of Cleaners: How Buckingham Palace Sparkles, Even With 50,000 Guests A Year

Buckingham Palace is big. Try to imagine a single residence with 775 bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, 19 different staterooms, 760 windows, 350 clocks, and a cash machine, and you’ll soon have an idea of how big the Queen’s home actually is. 

Nowadays the Queen — and the Royal Family at large — is more of a diplomat than a sovereign. The result is that Buckingham Palace entertains more guests now than at any other time in its history — about fifty thousand people a year, it is reckoned. Piers Morgan once asked the Queen if she liked hosting so many guests. The Queen replied: “[Well Mr Morgan] how would you like 12,000 complete strangers trampling over your lawns?”

And that’s just guests and doesn’t include actual footfalls from tourists. The Queen’s comment is amusing because it begs the question: How does the Queen keep the Palace clean? At what cost? Here’s how, in five ways, Her Majesty pulls it off.

With a ‘Royal Army’ of cleaners

Things sound less daunting when you realise the Queen employs over 800 cleaners to look after the Palace. Most of them are paid a surprisingly low amount — about £17,000 a year. But they do get free accommodation and free meals in the Palace in addition to their duties, along with a pension scheme and 33 days’ holiday. 

The cleaners must work hard: as the Palace has a reputation for being remarkably free of dust. Despite its titanic size, the Royal Army of cleaners quickly removes any dust before it is allowed to settle in the historic home. 

The Palace’s garden also has a Royal Army, but a different kind: a legion of eco-gardeners. This Army tends to the 42-acre grounds of the palace. They recycle all the green waste and, using their advanced horticultural skills, take the droppings and straw from the Queen’s stables, start the process of rotting them, and then use them to prepare new flower beds. 

A third kind of Army is drafted for one of the Queen’s legendary garden parties, but not to repair the trampled flower beds. This army of 400 staff uses all of its military capability on the grinding out of 20,000 sandwiches, over 20,000 slices of cake, and in the brewing of over 27,000 cups of tea. 

With super-sized telescopic window-cleaning poles

The Queen requires her window cleaners to use 100-foot long telescopic poles to clean the near-thousand windows of Buckingham Palace. The Queen requires them because she — like any other person — has the right to a private life. In the few rooms that are off-limits to the forever curious public, these 100-foot poles rule out any possibility that anyone from the outside can effectively peer into those private quarters. 

By having ‘unique’ job roles

Perhaps the greatest threat to the maintenance of Buckingham Palace is that so many roles it requires are threatened with extinction. Twice a year, to correspond with the turning of the clocks forwards and backwards, the Queen employs a ‘horologist’. But horology is studied by precious few people. The British Horological Institute only has 2,400 members, and in 2013 only 86 people in the entire country had the qualifications necessary to adequately tweak the Queen’s clocks.

Other jobs the Queen requires include the role of cleaning “historic vases and irreplaceable paintings” (a scantily paid 20 hour a week job, with a salary of under £10,000 a year); a “frames conservator” who looks after the picture frames of said irreplaceable paintings (the salary for this is a modest £27,800 a year); and a “senior art handler”. The latter role is tasked with handling over 8,000 paintings and 3,000 miniatures and is paid £30,000 a year. 

The Queen even has her own in-house pot washers. With there being so many garden parties and guests each year, a handful of kitchen staffers are paid to non-stop wash pots all year round. 

The most glamorous job role of all (in both stature and pay) however, is perhaps the “Master of the Household” position. At a handsome £122,000 a year, the Master has the job of ordering all of the domestic staff about in the Royal kitchens, along with any pages, footmen, the Housekeeper, and the Housekeeper’s staff. 

By having a “110 percent” culture

Unsurprisingly, the Queen requires her staff members to give their all and cut no corners. For example, staffers in the dining room employ what is known as a ‘Butler’s Ruler’ to make sure each plate is exactly an inch from the edge of the table. 

Folding is also important to get right. The Queen once remarked to a staffer, named Barbara Allred, that “one could cut one’s lip” on the stiff napkins that she had set out improperly. The “110 percent” culture is perhaps no better noted than in the schemes that the Palace runs for the public. Anyone can train to be a royal-standard butler if they can find £7,000 and a place to stay near the training grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire (etiquette lessons are also included). The course may take four weeks to complete but then, and only then, can one properly eliminate the fear of having one’s Queen cut her lip on the napkins.  


This article was written by Neil Wright on behalf of Thomas Cleaning.

How Often Should You Clean These 20 Household Items?

How often should i clean thesese household items

Cleaning the house is one of those things that most people just don’t like to do. Getting out the rubber gloves, smelling all of the chemicals and spot cleaning with a toothbrush isn’t exactly the most appealing activity.

However, different areas in your house can be a breeding ground for bacteria, mold and fungus. Places you didn’t know were hazardous like your kitchen and bathroom sinks can become some of the most disgusting places.

So how often, exactly, should you clean each area of the home? We’ve got your answers!

Living Rooms

Your living rooms are naturally some of the cleanest parts of the home. However, we can track dirt in or kids and pets can make spills, so it’s best to keep up with this area fairly often. Here’s how often you should clean things in your living room.

Carpet

Once a week: Your carpet is a place where dust, dirt and allergens tend to hide. Giving your floors a weekly clean with a good-quality vacuum cleaner is super important. In places with constant foot traffic, you may want to vacuum more than once a week.

Protip: If you need to spot clean a stain, you can mix a teaspoon of liquid dish detergent with a quart of warm water and ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply this mixture on the spot and then rinse and blot dry!

Couch

Once every two weeks: Most people don’t realize how much dirt, dust, fur and oils your furniture absorbs. It can host allergens and other nasty things if left unattended. Regular cleaning can help extend the life of your furniture, which means a surface cleaning every couple of weeks using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum.

Protip: You should also plan to have a professional clean the upholstery about once a year, depending on how much you use the piece of furniture. If you develop a stain in between cleanings, put your iron on the “steam” setting and wave it back and forth over the problem spot.

Windows and Blinds

Once a month: The windows and blinds in your house can accumulate dust and dirt. To keep the mess at bay, you should try to wipe down your windows and blinds at least once a month.

Protip: When cleaning your blinds, you can use an old sock dipped in a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water. Stick your hand inside the sock and swipe it over each blind for a quick and easy clean.

Ceiling Fans

Once a month: Have you ever had dust accumulate on the blades of your ceiling fan? Since it’s so high up, many people forget that it’s up there until the dust bunnies have already taken over. To prevent the dust buildup, dust the top of your blinds once a week.

Protip: You can prevent the dust from falling everywhere if you use a pillowcase to dust your fan blades. Simply slide each fan blade into the pillowcase and enclose the case around it, then slide it off. The dust will stay inside the pillowcase and you can easily throw it in the wash when you’re done!

Baseboards

Once a month: Your baseboards can collect dust and dirt, but most homeowners don’t see cleaning the baseboards as a priority. If you keep up with cleaning them once a month the task won’t be too time-consuming.

Protip: Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to swipe the top edge where the dust settles. If there are scuffs or spills, wipe them away with an erasing sponge.

Bedrooms

Your bedroom may accumulate more germs than you realize. Since you spend a good amount of time here (approximately one-third of your life), it tends to accumulate germs. How often exactly should you clean your sleeping quarters? We explain here.

Bed Linens

Once a week: Bed sheets can accumulate a serious collection of sweat, body oils, dirt from outside and more. When they get too dirty they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Those are not things you want sharing a bed with you! While most people wash their sheets only every four weeks, experts recommend washing them once a week.

Protip: If you have white sheets, toss a squeeze of lemon juice in the washer. It’s a natural brightener without the chemicals in bleach products.

Duvet Cover

Once a month: If you use a top sheet you can get away with washing your duvet cover once a month. If you don’t, you may want to wash it every two weeks just to be safe. Like pillows and bed linens, duvet covers can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and dust mites.

Protip: Changing a duvet cover is on most people’s list of top annoying things, but did you know there is a simple hack to make the job easier? Use the burrito method for an easy switcharoo. Turn your duvet cover inside out and place comforter on top. Roll it up, tuck it in, and unroll it—it’s magically on!

Bed Pillows

Every three months: While you should be washing your sheets (and pillowcases) once a week, you should be washing the pillows themselves once every three months. Pillows can play host to critters and debris like dirt, oil, skin cells and even dust mites.

Protip: Most down-alternative pillows can go in the washing machine, while feather pillows need to be dry cleaned. Buy down-alternative to ensure cleaning is easy and frequent.

Mattress

Every three months: Your mattress is another thing that can accumulate sweat, dust, dust mites and allergens quite easily. To keep the bacteria and fungi at bay, clean your mattress with the seasons. You can use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the mattress, and clean its cover (if it has one).

Protip: Spot clean oil stains or food spills with a mix of baking soda, salt and water. Cover the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes then wipe it away with a damp cloth.

Closets

Twice a year: It’s usually a best practice to do a full-closet cleaning and purge twice a year. While it can seem like a daunting task, having a clean closet full of clothes you actually wear can be a game changer for your morning routine.

Protip: When purging, keep basic, classic items and toss anything trendy you haven’t worn in over a year. You can also ditch duplicate items or things you don’t feel comfortable in. Your closet should be full of only things that make you happy!

Bathrooms

We all know the bathrooms can get pretty gross, but most people probably still don’t clean them as often as they should. Things like bath towels and bath mats can accumulate mold, while your toilet and sink can be a bacteria breeding ground. Here’s how often you should clean the things in your bathroom.

Toilet

Every day: Toilets have a reputation for being the dirtiest place in the house, but the average toilet is cleaner than you think. To make sure your toilet stays sanitary, it’s best to give it a light clean every day, then give it a deep clean once a week.

Protip: Want to keep toilet stains at bay? Pour vinegar in the top of your toilet and let that sit while you spray vinegar around the seat and clean.

Bathroom Sinks

Every day: Did you know that your bathroom sink is even dirtier than your toilet seat? The bacteria travel from your hands onto the sink every time you wash your hands, so it’s incredibly important to disinfect your bathroom sinks every day.

Protip: You can use disposable disinfecting wipes daily to make sure the area stays sanitized. It’s easy, and you can throw the whole mess away afterward!

Bath Towels

Every three or four uses: Towels are tricky, because the more you use them, the more often you will need to change them. If you take more than one shower a day, or if you have multiple family members using a towel, it may need to be cleaned once every couple of days.

Protip: On the other hand, if you’re the only one using it and you shower at the gym three times a week, you may be able to get away with washing it weekly. Be sure to wash your towels in water that is at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) so that you kill all of the bacteria that’s inevitably breeding them.

Shower Grout

Once a week: Your grout can be one of the most annoying things to clean in your bathroom. However, it can also make the most impact on how clean your bathroom looks. Nobody likes a shower with dirty grout, so keep up with cleaning it weekly.

Protip: To clean, dip a toothbrush in bleach and scrub any discolored areas. Every once in a while you will need to seal your grout so that water and mold can’t seep in.

Bath Mats

Once a month: Bath mats that have rubber backing can wear out faster if they are washed more than once a month. However, mats that don’t have a rubber backing, or that are in a frequently used or extra-dirty space like the kids’ bathroom can be washed more often.

Protip: If a rug doesn’t have time to dry out it can harbor all kinds of mold and fungi. To kill all signs of life, wash the rug on high heat. Rugs with rubber backing should be air-dried.

Bedrooms

Your bedroom may accumulate more germs than you realize. Since you spend a good amount of time here (approximately one-third of your life), it tends to accumulate germs. How often exactly should you clean your sleeping quarters? We explain here.

Bed Linens

Once a week: Bed sheets can accumulate a serious collection of sweat, body oils, dirt from outside and more. When they get too dirty they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. Those are not things you want sharing a bed with you! While most people wash their sheets only every four weeks, experts recommend washing them once a week.

Protip: If you have white sheets, toss a squeeze of lemon juice in the washer. It’s a natural brightener without the chemicals in bleach products.

Duvet Cover

Once a month: If you use a top sheet you can get away with washing your duvet cover once a month. If you don’t, you may want to wash it every two weeks just to be safe. Like pillows and bed linens, duvet covers can be a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and dust mites.

Protip: Changing a duvet cover is on most people’s list of top annoying things, but did you know there is a simple hack to make the job easier? Use the burrito method for an easy switcharoo. Turn your duvet cover inside out and place comforter on top. Roll it up, tuck it in, and unroll it—it’s magically on!

Bed Pillows

Every three months: While you should be washing your sheets (and pillowcases) once a week, you should be washing the pillows themselves once every three months. Pillows can play host to critters and debris like dirt, oil, skin cells and even dust mites.

Protip: Most down-alternative pillows can go in the washing machine, while feather pillows need to be dry cleaned. Buy down-alternative to ensure cleaning is easy and frequent.

Mattress

Every three months: Your mattress is another thing that can accumulate sweat, dust, dust mites and allergens quite easily. To keep the bacteria and fungi at bay, clean your mattress with the seasons. You can use the upholstery attachment to vacuum the mattress, and clean its cover (if it has one).

Protip: Spot clean oil stains or food spills with a mix of baking soda, salt and water. Cover the stain, let it sit for 30 minutes then wipe it away with a damp cloth.

Closets

Twice a year: It’s usually a best practice to do a full-closet cleaning and purge twice a year. While it can seem like a daunting task, having a clean closet full of clothes you actually wear can be a game changer for your morning routine.

Protip: When purging, keep basic, classic items and toss anything trendy you haven’t worn in over a year. You can also ditch duplicate items or things you don’t feel comfortable in. Your closet should be full of only things that make you happy!

Kitchens

Believe it or not, your kitchen is one of the dirtiest place in your house. This is pretty unsettling considering we cook our food here. But, that’s precisely why it’s so dirty! Germs like e.coli can stick on cutting boards, hide in your fridge and set up camp in your sink. Here’s how often you’ll need to clean to maintain a safe and sanitary cooking environment.

Kitchen Counters/Sink

Every day: The kitchen sink and counters can be another place that germs accumulate. Since you’re often cutting meat and dealing with food products, the kitchen sink can actually end up being one of the dirtiest places in the whole house.

Protip: To keep your eating area sanitary, use one tablespoon bleach in one quart of water and spray down the sink daily. You can also use disposable disinfecting wipes here.

Sponges

Every week: Unfortunately, the trend is to keep your kitchen sponges until they smell and fall apart. Letting them get this bad means that they’re teeming with bacteria, funguses and things that can potentially make you sick. You should be cleaning your sponge weekly, and replacing them every two to three weeks.

Protip: For their weekly cleanings, mix ¾ cups bleach in one gallon of water and let your sponges soak for several minutes. Then just rinse and you’re done!

Oven

Once a month: Many people think that cleaning their oven is something to save for a special occasion, but the longer you wait to clean it, the harder it will be. Keeping up with monthly cleanings is the best way to make sure your oven stays in good working order.

Protip: A trick to making the process easier is to put a bowl of water in the oven and turn it up to high for 20 minutes. This will help loosen some of the dried dirt and grease. Then, wait for the oven to cool before wiping it clean!

Dishwasher

Once a month: Most people don’t realize that their dishwasher can accumulate all sorts of gunk and grime. It cleans the dishes you eat off of so you will want to make sure you give it a routine cleaning once a month (and a deep cleaning once or twice a year).

Protip: Place a cup of vinegar inside the dishwasher and run it on a hot water cycle. This is a great way to routinely clean your dishwasher and keep it in tip-top shape.

Refrigerator

Four times a year: A clean fridge is a safe fridge, yet nobody likes to deep clean it. While it’s best to give it a wipe down daily, you should only need to give it a deep clean about four times a year.

Protip: When you’re getting ready to clean the fridge, purge it of any ingredients that are past their “use by” date. Remove and soak the drawers in warm water while you wipe down the rest of the fridge. It’s best to work in sections so that all of your food doesn’t get too warm!

Originally posted on HireAHelper.com

How often should i clean thesese household items

Six Recipes for Homemade (And Natural) Cleaning Products

DIY Cleaning Products

Few things are more important than maintaining a clean home. Living in a clean, orderly environment does wonders for one’s mental state, but it also saves money down the road—a home left alone for too long might result in having to hire professionals to perform drastic measures such as power cleaning stubbornly stained windows or other cleaning services that cost a pretty penny. 

While most agree that it’s necessary to clean their home regularly, many people, when sprucing up their home, prefer to use store-bought cleaning products. Apart from costing money, these products are made with harsh chemicals that irritate not only the skin, but the eyes and throat as well. They can even cause headaches and other health problems. 

They’re also wholly unnecessary. Using simple ingredients, you can make your own effective cleaner and disinfectant without going out to the store, and without these potentially hazardous chemicals. Here are six simple homemade recipes for safe, environmentally friendly cleaning agents.

A Simple Homemade Glass Cleaner (h2)

This easy DIY glass cleaner utilizes ingredients you can easily find around the home. And it promises a streak-free shine! 

Take the following ingredients and mix them in a spray bottle: 

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

2 cups  water

8 drops of an essential oil of your choice for fragrance. (This could include lemon, lavender, orange, or any scent you’d like.)

You should have most of these ingredients handy, though you might need to pick up essential oils, which you can find easily online. They’re also available at many supermarkets and health stores such as Target and GNC. 

The best news about this recipe? It costs only roughly 33 cents to make a batch. Your windows, and wallet, will thank you.

A 2-Ingredient Kitchen Cleaner and Deodorizer (h2)

An even more simple, and equally inexpensive, homemade cleaner needs only two simple ingredients. For a simple way to clean kitchen countertops, appliances, and the inside of your refrigerator, simply combine the following items:

4 tablespoons baking soda

1 quart warm water

You can use these ingredients in a variety of ways. A simple solution of baking soda and water can be used to deodorize surfaces and clean counters, but you can also remove spots from stainless steel by applying a paste of baking soda and water on the steel and gently scrubbing the affected area with a damp rag.

An Easy and Safe Brass Cleaner (h2)

If you have any brass items in your home, you know that they can tend to tarnish easily. But there’s no need to go to the store and pick up a chemical brass cleaner. You can polish your brass with just three simple ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vinegar

Flour (until mixture becomes a paste)

Once your vinegar, salt and flour has acquired a paste-like consistency, rub the cleaner into your brass and leave it for ten minutes. Once you rinse it off with warm water, you should find a tarnish-free finish!

A Safe and Affordable Marble and Granite Cleaner (h2)

When cleaning stone surfaces, it’s best to avoid chemical-laden cleaners. But even natural acidic liquids such as vinegar or lemon juice can cause permanent damage to these surfaces. 

Thankfully, you don’t need much to create a mixture that’ll perfectly buff and clean marble and granite countertops. Simply combine:

2 cups warm water

2 drops liquid dishwashing soap

That’s it! A little bit of dishwashing soap in warm water will clean your countertops without damaging them. The key here is to not let the wet surface air-dry, once the solution has been applied, buff it off with a dry towel or soft cloth. 

An All-Purpose Cleaner for Everyday Use

This recipe is similar to the glass cleaner, but cuts out the rubbing alcohol and cornstarch added to avoid a streaky finish. What you’re left with is a simple, effective all-purpose cleaner that you can use on most surfaces. Take the three following ingredients and add them to a spray bottle:

2 cups warm water

½ cup distilled white vinegar

20 drops essential oil (of your choice)

Assuming you’ve already procured essential oil for your window cleaning recipe, you can find more use for the bottle to help give your all-purpose cleaner a nice, fresh scent. While we would not recommend using this cleaner on glass or stone countertops, it’s a perfect cleaner for wood, plastic, and everyday items around the home.

Which finally brings us to our last cleaner recipe.

A Natural and Effective Cleaner That’s Guaranteed to Break Up Grease

Arguably the most difficult part of cleaning is dealing with built up grease and gunk, especially in the kitchen around your stove and oven. Most cleaners that can effectively break up these greasy areas are filled with toxic chemicals and fumes that can impact your health with too much exposure. 

This recipe, while requiring some ingredients you might have to go out of your way to purchase, helps knock out these grease stains without any nasty chemicals. It requires orange essential oil (though lemon works in a pinch) and castile soap, which you can find at most supermarkets and national chain pharmacies throughout the nation, or you can order it online. 

Either way, castile soap is a vegetable-based soap that is environmentally friendly and will help give your degreaser some disinfectant qualities. Once you’ve acquired those two ingredients, you’re good to make your cleaner:

1 and ¾ cups water (if you have distilled water, it will give your cleaner a longer lifespan)

2 tablespoons castile soap (make sure you get a liquid soap version, as castile soap comes in both hard and liquid varieties)

20 drops orange essential oil

And that’s it! Put those three ingredients into a spray bottle, and you’ll be able to knock out grease stains in a heartbeat. And you’ll do so without filling your home with toxic fumes. In fact, this cleaner will smell downright refreshing.

With these six natural, safe, and homemade cleaning products at hand, you’ll find yourself saving money and saving yourself from exposure to harsh chemicals. It’s a win-win!

What’s the Best Stainless Steel Gauge for a Kitchen Sink?

Before & After Double Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

16 gauge? 20 gauge? 24 gauge? What does it mean? Which one’s the best stainless steel gauge thickness for my new kitchen sink? These are some of the questions you might have when choosing your next stainless steel kitchen sink. There are so many brands and styles from each manufacturer, and you want to make sure you make an informed choice. This article will focus on helping you decide on the thickness (gauge) of metal to shop for and to make the best choice for your situation.

  • THE SHEET OF STAINLESS STEEL THAT IS USED DURING THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS IS ROLLED TO A SPECIFIC THICKNESS. SHEET METAL IS AVAILABLE AS FLAT PIECES OR AS A COILED STRIP. THE COILS ARE FORMED BY RUNNING A CONTINUOUS SHEET OF METAL THROUGH A ROLL SLITTER. THE THICKNESS OF THE SHEET METAL IS CALLED ITS GAUGE. THE GAUGE OF SHEET METAL RANGES FROM 30 GAUGE TO ABOUT 8
  • MOST STAINLESS STEEL SINKS ARE MANUFACTURED USING A PROCESS CALLED DEEP DRAW FORMING WHERE A SHEET OF METAL IS DRAWN DOWN INTO A FORM THROUGH A SERIES OF STEPS CALLED REDUCTIONS. EACH REDUCTION STRETCHES THE SHEET METAL DEEPER AND DEEPER INTO THE FORM, SO WHAT STARTED OUT AS AN 18 GAUGE SHEET OF METAL WILL NOT END UP BEING 18 GAUGE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE FINISHED PRODUCT. THE INDUSTRY STANDARD IS TO STATE THE GAUGE OF THE METAL THAT THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS STARTED WITH.
  • ZERO RADIUS SINKS ARE MANUFACTURED USING A PROCESS CALLED PRESS BRAKE FORMING WHERE THE SHEET METAL IS BENT INTO THE MAIN SINK SHAPE UNDER TREMENDOUS PRESSURE BY A MACHINE. THE SIDES ARE THEN ADDED AND WELDED TO THE MAIN ASSEMBLY, FORMING A BOX SHAPED SINK BASIN. ZERO RADIUS SINKS ARE IDENTIFIABLE BY THEIR FLAT SIDES AND UNIQUE 90 DEGREE OR NEAR 90 DEGREE CORNERS. SINCE THESE SINKS ARE BENT INTO SHAPE INSTEAD OF DRAWN, THEY RETAIN A MORE UNIFORM THICKNESS THROUGHOUT THE FINISHED PRODUCT. 

The following table shows the actual thickness for popular gauges of kitchen sinks, as well as its density and % decrease in thickness compared to 16 stainless steel gauge, which is typically the heaviest gauge used for stainless steel kitchen sinks.

Gauge Decimal Inch Millimeters lb/ft2 % Decrease in Thickness Over 16 Gauge
16 0.0625″ 1.5875 2.52
18 0.05″ 1.27 2.016 20%
20 0.0375″ 0.9525 1.512 40%
22 0.0312″ 0.7925 1.26 50%
24 0.0250″ 0.635 1.08 60%

Stainless steels are iron alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Other alloying elements are added to enhance their structure and properties such as formability, strength and cryogenic toughness. These include metals such as:

  • Nickel
  • Molybdenum
  • Titanium
  • Copper

After a review of a large sample of key players in the kitchen sink market, including Blanco, Kraus and Houzer, the most common stainless steel alloy used in the manufacture of stainless steel kitchen sinks is 304 surgical grade stainless steel.  The main elements added to the iron in 304 stainless steel are 17.5-20% Chromium (Cr) and 8-11% Nickel (Ni).  Most sink manufacturers seem to choose 18% chromium and 10% nickel. With the rising costs of ferrochrome (used to make chromium) and shortages of nickel, one of the ways manufacturers control costs of kitchen sinks is to decrease the amount of material used.

Double Sink

So what should I look for in choosing a kitchen sink?

When shopping for a stainless steel kitchen sink, the number one thing to remember when assessing the thickness is: “The lower the number, the better.” Simply put, a lower gauge like 16 gauge is in most cases “superior” to a 24 gauge sink because it is thicker. How much thinner is a 24 gauge sink compared to a 16 gauge? Its only 40% as thick. A manufacturer can make a really cheap 22 or 24 stainless steel gauge sink because they are using 50-60% less material. Thinner sinks like this are usually seen as topmount or self-rimming and are easily found in big box stores, or maybe in your brand new home as a “contractor’s sink”.

So why is thicker (lower gauge) better?

A lower gauge (thicker) sink is better for the following reasons:

  • Improved noise dampening
  • Less susceptibility to denting and bowing
  • Strength and durability

It is generally agreed by sink experts that a heavier gauge can help prevent denting and bowing, and will also contribute to noise reduction from garbage disposals and items dropped or placed into the sink. Many sink manufacturers incorporate a sound proofing and insulation on the underside of the sink with coatings and/or pads. This will definitely help to make the sink quieter, but a thicker steel sink will have much better damping characteristics due to its mass.

What happens when you accidentally drop the pointy end of a butcher knife into the kitchen sink? Hopefully, nothing! A thicker kitchen sink will be less prone to dent and because it is stronger, it could make the difference between piercing the sheet metal, and not.

A thicker walled kitchen sink (lower stainless steel gauge) will bow less when you suddenly drain the water from a pot on the stove because the sheet metal is stiffer and will be more able to resist thermal expansion and movement.There is also less tendency for that Pop! sound when the boiling water hits the bottom of the sink.

Does a thicker (lower gauge) mean a better quality kitchen sink?

No, not necessarily. There is inherent better quality in the noise damping and structural integrity of the sink, however there are many other features which are probably more important in assessing the quality of a sink like finish, straightness and consistency.

Is thicker always better?

Not necessarily for the sink manufacturer, since it is more difficult to “deep draw”, or craft from a single sheet, and to reduce welding marks on zero radius sinks. Depending on the complexity of the sink shape and its method of manufacture, optimal gauge thickness of 16 or 18 gauge will be used to balance cost with ease of manufacture and marketing.

So what stainless steel gauge should I buy?

The maximum gauge I would recommend for any stainless steel kitchen sink is 18 gauge. The best choice is of course 16 gauge, however either 16 or 18 gauge will provide the same top value in terms of cost, performance and overall satisfaction. Don’t bother with higher gauges (20, 22, 24) which are significantly thinner. My extensive market analysis shows there is no truth to the myth that the lowest gauge sinks are the most expensive – 16 and 18 gauge sinks are similarly priced.

18 Gauge vs 16 Gauge Sink?

If you had the choice between two identical sinks (16 and 18 gauge) at similar prices, don’t hesitate in getting the 16 gauge sink. Why? A 16 gauge sink is 0.0625″ thick, while an 18 gauge sink is 0.05″ thick, which is only 20% less. There is no noticeable difference between the two gauges, however at the same price range, 16 gauge is “better” (thicker is better!).

If you had two identical sinks, one 16 gauge and the other 18 gauge, but the 16 gauge sink was much more expensive, I would recommend the 18 stainless steel gauge sink, because of the incremental benefits.

Conclusion

In summary, just remember a lower numbered stainless steel gauge is better   (thicker is better). The best gauge for stainless steel sinks is 16 gauge if available and the price range is acceptable, however don’t exclude 18 gauge sinks from your selections – either one is great value! The stainless steel kitchen sink is used many times a day and in so many ways. Paying attention to the non-functional requirements as well as the functional requirements will provide many years of satisfaction and pride. Every kitchen deserves a great sink.

A Clean Home is the Secret to a Healthier Life

House Cleaning Eureka CA

Have you ever noticed that after doing a deep clean of your home that you tend to feel a whole lot better afterwards?

It’s a pretty common side effect.

In fact, many people experience an uptick in their overall health when being in a clean space. It’s not unusual to feel better both physically and mentally. If cleaning isn’t your thing then it might be a good idea to check out a site like https://cleanhomeguide.co.uk/ to give you some helpful tips on what you can do to make cleaning easier.

However, this spike in good feelings usually only lasts for several days or weeks and that energy boost from cleaning eventually fades away. You may want to chalk this up to the feeling of excitement from having a clean house diminishing, but there’s a lot more going on than that.

The truth is your home environment has a large impact on your health, especially the air quality.

Research has shown that indoor air pollution is two to five times worse than the air outside. How can that be? Because, there are so many types of contaminants that get trapped inside our homes and then have no way to escape unless we kept our windows and doors open all the time.

The reason you feel so much better after cleaning your home is because as you clean you’re getting rid of a lot of these contaminants.

As your house begins to accumulate more dust, dirt and other particles you’ll eventually start to feel less healthy because these pollutants start making their way into your lungs. The more polluted the air is inside a home, the worse you’ll feel. Some homeowners find that getting an air conditioning system could improve the air quality within their homes. Allergens and other issues often appear during the spring and summer months, so getting an air conditioner could help keep your home cool during the heat and ensure that indoor pollution is kept to a minimum. Thankfully, some services specialize in ac installations that could help to keep the air in your home fresh and allergen-free.

If you want to stay as healthy as possible it’s important to keep up with a regular cleaning schedule so you can reduce the amount of indoor pollution. I hear that having an air purifier can help reduce indoor pollution as well. My friend tells me that reading Productexpert’s reviews gave them so more information on air purifiers. If cleaning isn’t your thing or you don’t have much time for it then a service like A-1 Cleaning Service, LLC can be a valuable investment for your health and home. Professional cleaning can ensure that your house is free of indoor contaminants.

Here is a list of the most common indoor air pollutants that affect your health:

  • Dust, which accumulates every day and can’t be stopped. For example, if you have a white high gloss coffee table, it’s important to dust it as often as you can.
  • Dust mites, which feed off of dust
  • Pet dander, which animals shed year-round
  • Bacteria and viruses, which come from the outdoors and people inside the home
  • Mold, which travels through the air in the form of spores
  • Asbestos, which is inside many building and furniture products
  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which come from air fresheners, cosmetics, glues, paints, furniture and carpeting
  • Formaldehyde, which is a form of VOC
  • Tobacco, cooking and wildfire smoke, which may or may not impact your home because of your lifestyle or where you live

Here are the most common symptoms you’ll experience from bad indoor air quality. These issues can come out of nowhere, may be sporadic or be something you experience on a daily basis:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Respiratory congestion

The long-term effects of repeated exposure to high levels of indoor air pollution include:

  • Respiratory disease
  • Cancer
  • Death

By making it a habit to clean your home on a regular basis, you can cut down on the amount of contaminants that linger indoors. You’ll also reduce your chances of experiencing the above health issues.

Dusting and vacuuming are the two simplest measures you can take. Try to do this at least once every week or two at the most. Another thing you can do to improve the air quality inside your home is to use an air purifier. An air purifier is a device that creates fresh air indoors by removing airborne contaminants. This device sucks air into a filter, traps the particles, and pushes out clean air for you to breathe.

Air purifiers come in many different sizes, colors and prices. There are also specially designed ones to combat particular problems you may have in the home, like pet dander, smoke, dust or odors. Over at Home Air Quality Guides, you can find out everything there is to know about these appliances. That site explains every feature, function and purpose behind air purifiers that you’d ever want to know.

Adding an air purifier to rooms that you occupy the most, such as the living room and bedroom, is often all you need to see an improvement in your overall health. Most of us don’t spend as much time in other areas of the home, which makes them less of a concern. However, some air purifiers are powerful enough to cover an entire floor of a home. It just depends on what your needs are and how clean you want to be throughout the entire house.

There’s an old saying that “a clean home is a healthy home” and now you know why. By making it a practice to clean often, and possibly invest in an air purifier, you can improve the quality of air you breathe indoors which is essential to living a healthy life.

Sitting room cleaning, step by step

Sitting room cleaning, step by step

Sitting room cleaning, step by stepIf you are concerned that you could be cleaning the sitting room in a more efficient way, then you could well be right. If you don’t have the right order or products then you could be missing dust and dirt every time you clean. Having high-quality products, such as a Hoover, then you will be able to get all of the dirt up in one. If you think getting good products will be too expensive then 10BestCarpetCleaners has done a budget friendly series on the best Hoover’s so be sure to take a look.

If you can get an order for doing any job together, it will ensure that you are not at risk of repeating yourself, wasting time, or having to think of what to do next when you are in the moment. The beauty of the ordered approach is that you will repeat it, and start to learn it off by heart, meaning that it will eventually become your natural way of doing things. You will likely find that the best way to deal with this is to develop your own order, but that can be hard, so there are some pointers below and a rough outline for the job. Have a look at how the order may work for your sitting room, or any room for that matter, and adapt it to your needs, so that the whole thing becomes a really useful tool in your overall cleaning sequence.

First, tidy everything away in to the places where it needs to be. You will find that there are many different ways in which you can find these places, but it is best to have a set place for everything, to ensure that there is no question as to how you tidy the house. You will find that tidying immediately makes the room look better, which can spur you on, as you are already half way there. You will find that it also removes the amount of stuff that the next step knocks dust on to, meaning that you have less to dust afterwards, which makes it a lot more practical to do first off…

Next, dust the room from top to bottom, with a feather duster for any difficult to reach bits. You will likely find that you have to run over the surfaces under the higher areas a few time to ensure that you get rid of it all easily enough. There is a lot to be said for taking objects off of mantles and sills whilst you are doing this, as it ensures that you are not having to dust around them, and it means that you are getting dust on less stuff again.

Next take the sofa cushions out, shaking the dust off of them, so that you can get rid of all of the rubbish and debris that comes to settle on them through use. Take a hoover and vacuum under the cushions, having taken out any money or larger objects that fall down the gap. Failure to do this may well result in breaking or clogging up the vacuum cleaner. Return the pillows to the sofa having plumped them up nicely.

Once you have dusted off the surfaces, polish them and the objects up with a polishing cloth and some polish, should the surfaces and objects need it. You will find that this is a pretty simple job, and that you will be able to get a decent shine up with a few sprays and a couple of buffs with the cloth.

Take the vacuum cleaner and vacuum the floor. If it needs mopping be sure to do this afterwards, as otherwise you risk scratching the floor with the mop as you push the debris around, and that would be a real nightmare, as that will mean even more cleaning and polishing to do after all the rest of it! http://www.carpetcleaningcleaner.co.uk/carpet-cleaning-wandsworth/carpet-cleaners-wandsworth.html

Practical Office Cleaning Tips

Practical Office Cleaning Tips

Practical Office Cleaning TipsWorking in an office environment is a fate a lot of us face today, which has its ups and downs as we go. If you do spend more than enough hours there, then you already know how much dust can get on everything there, not to mention the germs on your keyboard and the rest of your office desk; office cleaning services mean that when your workers are getting ready to leave at the end of the day, the cleaning is in good hands meaning they can go with peace of mind. The tips ahead will give you an idea about what you can do to make sure the problem is under control while you work:

• One of the big problems in the office, despite our firm entry into a digital age is the use of paper which many companies still purchase from places like office monster. Your job might largely differ from the general idea of what an old-school office was like, but you likely still work with at least a bit of paper. You must make sure you remove whatever paper you don’t really need from your desk, as this will make the job of cleaning a lot less troublesome to deal with. It’s worth considering whether you really need paper at all in this digital age, especially with companies like FilecenterDMS that turn your paper files into easily accessible computer files. This will greatly reduce the amount of space taken up by paper in your office and make it look cleaner, as well as make your job easier with files you can pull up in a matter of seconds!

• Make sure you never eat over your keyboard, as this will only make it worse when you follow up with your cleaning efforts. You can do a lot of good with simple antistatic wipes, as they are made for cleaning electronics specifically. You can also turn the keyboard around and shake it around. If you see any bread crumbs coming out of it, as well as bits of dust or hair, then you will need to do a very good job at cleaning them. However, if you consider your job in a factory as your office work then you should have something like rugged industrial keyboards in an integrated computing system which means that you will very rarely have to clean your keyboard. However, it still might be worthwhile to not eat over this system as anything can get dirty!

• Another thing you should also make sure is to clear out and organize the top of your desk, so you won’t have to dig through a pile of belongings each time you need to clean it. Since this is where everything is kept usually, then this means you will need to do this task on a semi-regular basis so you won’t have to deal with a big mess later down the line. If you have less decorations, then you will have a much easier time cleaning your personal space.

• One key thing worth remembering is to ensure you keep things in their place, not placing them all over the desk or office space. This will keep things organized, but at the same time easier to deal with.

• Thankfully, your main problem while you’re at work will be your own belongings rather than doing too much actual cleaning. You should keep things under control so there will be less to deal with. Put them in your desk, keep things less cluttered and you will do your cleaning easily. After that is done you can simply dust your work area as well as sanitize it if you feel its necessary.
http://www.londonhousecleaning.org.uk/W4-carpet-cleaners-chiswick/rug-cleaners-chiswick.html

Getting Out Carpet Stains

Getting Out Carpet Stains

Getting stains out of the carpetsIf you are tired of your carpet looking tired, then it is essential that you are well equipped with both the tools and the knowledge to get rid of the stains that can make it so ill loved. You will find that most stains are pretty easy to get rid of if you attack them with the right technique, and as soon as possible after the staining has happened. There is a lot to be said for keeping the stained area wet and ensuring that there is no risk of the staining pigment drying and setting in to the stained area, as this will make it nigh on impossible to remove. You should also try and remove as much of the staining article as possible form the area before you start attacking the stain, as trying to clean the area up without doing so can result in spreading the stain in to a wider area, which if it sets in, will essentially make your problem a lot worse. If you feel like the stain is something that you can tackle, then have a look at some tips and tricks to doing so beneath. If not, then you may need to call the professionals in, and that can be a great but expensive option, so think carefully about your plan of action!

For a start, you will find that different carpets will react differently to different cleaning agents. PH neutral soap will be fine for everything really, but some acids and alkalis will not do so well for some carpets. You will find also that using enzymes to clean up stains like blood and grass will be all too effective if you have stained on a wool or silk rug, as the protein fibers used in those materials will be eaten away by the enzymes as they clean, leaving holes. If you are at all in doubt as to how to treat a certain stain, then it is essential that you either ask someone with some experience in the matter, or you test out the product on an area of the carpet that can not be seen. Most carpets do not have an area like this, so the professional advice option is usually a good shout.

You will find that carpet shampoos work well on most stains, but some will need some extra help. You can often get great results form oxi-action stain removers, that you simply work in to the affected area, and then vacuum out when they are dried. The issue of course with this is that in the drying process, any left over pigment may well dry in to the carpet fibers, and leave you with a stain, even after all of your hard work! Bleach and other more harsh chemicals will usually only be a last option on a hardy carpet, as with delicate fabrics and darker coors you are at risk of allowing the bleach to remove the color of the carpet itself, which will not be a stain as such, but a white scorch mark, if the bleach is left for too long! If you are using these things, then you should rinse them well after wards, to ensure that there is no chance of being left with a load of acid or alkali cleaner in the area, that will carry on working away at the spot, long after the stain is gone, as this could result in far worse problems!

http://www.cleanerscarpet.co.uk/carpet-cleaning/SW12-rug-cleaning-balham.html

Sofa Cleaning for Light Marks

Getting Rid of Light Marks on your Sofa

Getting rid of light marks on your sofaaThe sofa is really easy to get marked, simply because it is a much loved spot for the family, and goes through a lot throughout the day. As a place where you are able to sit back and relax in comfort, you will find that it is actually very much the kind of place that gets things spilled on it; whether it is your cup of tea, the kids’ dinner or your friend’s glass of red wine, you will find that there are often little marks here and there, some of which are easy to remove, and some of which are really hard to get rid of! The main issue with a sofa is that only some of them have removable covers, and this essentially means that getting the stained area wet on a sofa that cannot be uncovered is risky, as the wetness can soak in, fail to dry, and cause mold and damp smells! Clearly the last thing that you want if you are trying to get rid of marks on the sofa is more marks, or a nasty smell, so it might be a good idea to look down other options!

For a start, if you have a light mark, you can often just wipe it away, and allow it to dry out. This is only really an option if you are aware that the staining article is not something that will get worse with drying in to the fabric, as this will mean that the stain is pretty much permanent if you don;t get rid of it completely the first time! For instance, red wine is not going to come out with a wet cloth, it will need more specialist attention. However, a little gravy on a black sofa will likely wipe away with a cloth and then be fine to dry out, as the mark will be unnoticeable.

Using upholstery cleaners is a good plan, as long as you know how to use them. Each product is different, but most will spray on, or have some sort of opportunity to lather up on the stain. Leave this lather in place so that the chemicals get their full chance to react with the stained area, and then wipe the foam away. You should find that the lather takes on the color of the foam, and that you are able to get a decent amount of the pigment of the stain away form the fabric or the upholstery. Using lemon or white vinegar in the same way can be very useful in that the acid in both will break down the build up of the stain, allowing it to be soaked up with a clean cloth, without spreading to the surrounding area of the upholstery. You should be careful with tougher stains not to allow them to be spread by your scrubbing, making sure to lift things off the surface with a knife or scraper, and ensuring that nothing gets pushed on to clean parts of the sofa.

Take the vacuum cleaner to the sofa to get up all of the crumbs, debris, pet hair and other bits and pieces that fall on the sofa. These smaller bits of dirt may seem inconsequential over all, but they can contribute to the deterioration of the fabric as the sofa is used, and the cushions rub together. Removing this dirt and dust regularly will ensure that the sofa looks better for longer. You will also find that plumping the cushions has a lot to do with the life of your sofa, as allowing a groove to be worn in to the cushions where people consistently sit will mean that the fabric is stretched in to a set position. Reviving the feather or padding within the cushions and upholstery will mean that this is less quick a process, and you will have your sofa looking a lot better for a lot longer!

Having a wet wipe ready to clear up any little food spills and other lighter marks that might befall your sofa is a great way to ensure that you are never worrying too much about the way it looks. If you feel like you are in a situation where you are always having to clean things up, it can be a good idea to get a sofa cover that matches the look of the room, that you can just throw in the washing machine in the event of a spillage!

http://www.carpetupholsterycleaners.org.uk/N1-upholstery-cleaners/islington-sofa-

Guest Post: Invaluable Tools for Cleaning Up After Children

Invaluable Tools for Cleaning Up After Children

1297273471Cleaning up after your kids can feel like a full-time job. That’s because most often, especially when parenting two or more, it is. The good news is with the right tools on hand you can significantly cut the cleaning time and even get the kids to help out with basic household clean up.

1. Baby Wipes – Keep a container on hand in every room in the house, in the diaper bag, and in the car for easily clean up. Clean faces, sticky hands in surfaces with a single swipe. Since they are safe enough for baby’s bottom, as your kids grow they can grow in their ability to help clean up little messes independently.

2. Hand Sanitizer – While washing yours and your little ones hands with soap and water is always the best defense for spreading germs, when a sink just isn’t available, opt for hand sanitizer instead. Keep a small bottle on your key chain, in your diaper bag and in your car for easy access. Monitor the kids carefully when using it so you can be sure that they rub their hands together properly and let their hands dry.

3. Bucketless Mops – Mops designed with reusable containers attached to them make laminate floor clean up a cinch.  Simply squeeze the trigger to spray your floor with the cleaning material of your choice and you can quickly mop up nearly any mess. Once the map pads are nice and gritty, remove and throw it in the washing machine. For a deeper clean opt for a steam mop that kills bacteria without the use of chemicals.

4. Handheld Vacuums – There is hardly a thing handier then a handheld vac. From cleaning leaves and dried mud up from the entry way to clearing crumbs off the countertop, floor, and table, handheld vacs allow you to clean up the mess without making a bigger mess  as you try to carry crumbs over to the trash can. Added bonus? The kids love to use it.

5. Steam Vac-   At one point or another, your child’s bodily fluids are going to hit the floor, literally. Whether it’s a potty training mishap or a case of the stomach flu, forget calling the carpet cleaning professionals and clean up quickly – even in the middle of the night – with your very own steam vac. Having one on hand will save you time, money and effort.

Cleaning up messes is part of life. Make this part of life a little easier to keep up with by having the tools on hand that can save you time and energy as you tackle your children’s messes both big and small.

 

With over 20 years of experience in the nanny world as an award-winning nanny, agency director, and parenting author, Michelle LaRowe is considered a leading industry expert. A mom herself, she loves to educate parents and nannies on the importance of quality in-home childcare. Find out more by visiting @eNannySource on Twitter.