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Cleaning the DIY way

Pic: The Shutter Store

The Project: Kitchen Revamp (Part 1)

What to do now: Clean the kitchen cabinets

After the festive season, your previously jam-packed kitchen cupboards could probably do with some attention – and might even need repairs or a new lick of paint.

What you’ll need now: A bowl of soapy water (good for all-purpose DIY cleaning); a soft cloth; kitchen roll or dry cloth; screwdriver

How to do it: The easiest thing to do is to clear out the cupboards one-by-one (that way you can tackle the job bit-by-bit), then give them a wipe out with a damp cloth. Dry the interior with a cloth, then tighten the screws in the door hinges – check for damaged or loose fixings and handles. Wipe the inside, then the outside of the doors and dry off, noting any chips and knocks.

Once you’ve got more time: Remove the doors and handles, fill any dents, lightly sand the doors down, lie them flat and apply a light coat of oil-based primer with a small roller. Once fully dried, rub down lightly, apply a top coat or two and reattach the doors.

The Project: Renewing Wallcoverings

What to do now: Clean the walls

A winter’s worth of being indoors can mean your walls are grubby from kids’ finger marks, kitchen tiles are sticky and grout is food-splattered, while paintwork might be knocked and scuffed, too.

What you’ll need now: A bowl of just-about soapy water; sugar soap; a sponge; a bowl of diluted bleach; a soft cloth; a toothbrush; a dry cloth or kitchen roll; grout pen

How to do it: Emulsion on walls can cope with a gentle sponging with soapy water to look as good as new, but be aware that wiping very dirty walls might just spread the muck – in which case, it’s worth just using sugar soap to prepare the walls for repainting almost immediately. Paintwork for skirting boards and around doors will look instantly brighter with a vigorous wipe down. Tiles can be washed and buffed and dingy grout cleaned with a homemade DIY cleaning mix of bicarbonate of soda or bleach and a little water applied by toothbrush; rinse, then brighten or re-colour it with a grout pen.

Once you’ve got more time: With the walls and woodwork wiped down you can easily see which areas need redecoration, and which don’t. Clean walls can be simply repainted, using a large roller and a brush for cutting in for a speedy finish. Woodwork will need a light sanding before being repainted.

The Project: Kitchen Revamp (Part 2)

What to do now: Clean your appliances

It’s no use painting kitchen cabinets if your appliances aren’t sparkling inside and out.

What you’ll need: Oven cleaner; rubber gloves; a bowl of soapy water; a soft cloth; a sponge; wire pad; kitchen roll or dry cloth

How to do it: Cleaning more than one appliance in a day? Start by spraying the cooker with oven cleaner (following the manufacturer’s instructions) and leave it to work its magic while you tackle the fridge, which may need emptying of all food, shelves and compartments before being wiped over with soapy water. Check the drainage channel at the back for gunk, too. Once the microwave has been washed, put a lemon in a little bowl of water and cook for a few minutes. This will help freshen it up. Now you can finish off the oven.

Once you’ve got more time: De-scale the kettle and around a stainless steel sink, shake the crumbs out of the toaster, wipe down the dishwasher interior and give its removable workings a good clean, too.

The Project: Redecorating bedrooms and living spaces

What to do now: De-clutter for redecoration

The worst thing about decorating? Preparation – and a big part of that is clearing furniture and clutter away from the area or room you’re repainting. The rest is a doddle.

What you’ll need: A few sturdy boxes to store things you’ll keep; bags for things going to charity; a damp cloth or two

How to do it: This is a job best tackled in ruthless stages. If you’re a hoarder (who nevertheless has a desire to de-clutter and revamp), ask a neat friend to help – they might be able to persuade you to part with things you don’t need any more. If you’re tackling a kid’s room, do it when they’re not in or you’ll never get anywhere. Once done, give the walls, shelving, built-in cupboards and woodwork a good wipe down (see above).

Once you’ve got more time: Follow our instructions for redecorating walls and wood before replacing everything you’re keeping in an organised and artful way.

The Project: Renovating Floorboards

What to do now: Clean the floorboards

Painted floorboards are not just a hot trend for the year ahead, they’re cheap and easy to DIY and very low maintenance once painted. But if you last painted yours a couple of years ago, it’s likely they’ll need a touch-up here and there now.

What you’ll need: A vacuum cleaner; bucket of warm water diluted with a floor cleaning agent; a mop

How to do it: Start by vacuuming them thoroughly, working right into the corners. Then, use a well-squeezed mop to give them a clean. This will highlight knocks, dents and scrapes.

Once you’ve got more time: Lightly sand areas that are knocked or chipped, then vacuum until they’re dust-free. Corners, stair risers and small patches here or there can then be simply touched up with a dab of top coat; larger areas of damage may mean the entire area needs to be done if there’s not to be an obvious difference between new and old paint. Use bright shades to add a splash of on-trend colour to risers.

The Project: Rethink Window Treatments

Want brighter, smarter, more streamlined rooms? Choose shutters, which filter in as much daylight as you like, make great draught excluders, give you plenty of privacy and create tons of kerb appeal. And if you love curtains, they look good matched with them, too.

What to do now: Measure up for and design your shutters

What you’ll need: A tape measure and notepad

How to do it: Follow our guide to measuring for shutters to get your dimensions right first time, then simply decide which design will suit your room and order online. Having problems? Just give us a call and our experts will be happy to go over everything with you on the phone.

Once you’ve got more time: Fit them yourself! It’s not difficult – if you can put up a shelf, you can fit our shutters without a hitch. And once up, they’re so easy to maintain and clean. You can buy special shutter dusters – but we’ve found that a wipe over once in a while with a damp cloth will keep them gleaming.

The Project: Giving The Garden A Makeover

After a summer of pulling things in and out of the shed, and an autumn of piling anything in there that can’t stand the weather, it’s time to devote a day to the shed.

What to do now: Clear out the shed

What you’ll need: A dry day; brooms of various sizes

How to do it: Pull everything out, remove cobwebs, give it a good sweep and re-organise. It’s definitely worth investing in hooks to hang smaller items and a freestanding shelf unit to save paint pots or garden paraphernalia from being piled up, too. Use this time to clean mud off garden tools, and to check that all your DIY-tools are still working.

Once you’ve got more time: Once the shed has truly dried out – and this may not be until well into summer – give it a lick or two of paint or preservative so it looks good as well as functions well.

February 09, 2018