Julies Blog

Who is doing our cleaning?

by Julie Finch-Scally

In a survey early this year it was discovered that 54% of professional cleaners were over 41 years of age.  Of those over 41 year olds 68% were over the age of 51.  That means the aged of our society are cleaning our properties.  Now I wonder why that would be.

Fifty years ago the western world was not as busy as it is today.  Homes were simpler and the only people who paid for their house to be cleaned were those in affluent suburbs.  Also each business hired its own people to keep its office or factory clean, whereas now-a-days the job is contracted out.

Fifty years ago, people knew how to clean.  Mums expected children to help around the house, and it was the duty of each member of the family to be responsible for a certain housekeeping job to receive pocket money – if their parents could afford it. 

Having been into many homes since starting my cleaning company in 1993, I was always amazed at how often the kids sat on the lounge watching TV or playing video games while Mum rushed around the home tidying up and cleaning.  No wonder she was happy to pay for a cleaner.

This all boils down to the fact that most people under 41 do not know how to clean.  Or more to the point don’t want to clean.  That 46% of cleaners under 41 are not the dedicated professional.  They are generally students or migrants from other countries who are learning the local language and therefore cannot obtain employment in their own field of expertise.  Once they have mastered the local language they move out of the cleaning industry and take on different work.  All cleaning companies find it hard to fill all the jobs they have on their books because of the lack of cleaners.

So the hard core of cleaners keeping our properties in pristine condition are members of the older generation.  Many of them are Baby Boomers who each year are getting older and once they reach a pensionable age will retire. 

The demise of these hardworking professionals will leave a large dent in the cleaning industry, especially as the younger generations are not interested in taking on this work.  Unless we establish a worthwhile training system for cleaners, and educate society into the necessity for hygiene, very soon a good, professional cleaner will be hard to find.  This is not a great prospect.


Using the oven griller

by Julie Finch-Scally

Where I am staying at the moment there is no toaster in the kitchen.  To make toast we have to use the griller element at the top of the oven.  As the oven door, when open, just touches the opposite wall there is a certain amount of danger in making toast. 

Thankfully hubby was happy to take on this job. But it does mean when toast is being made only one person can be in the kitchen, and if items are required from cupboards sitting on the other side of the oven, we dare not try and reach them due to the heat from the oven.  Neither of us want to be burnt. 

But I have discovered the beauty of using the griller for toasting.  Because it is bread that is being toasted there are crumbs.  Lots of them.  They fall on the bottom of the oven and onto the door when the shelf is pulled out.  They could be left there but the next time the oven is used for cooking the crumbs will bake and burn.

As the temperature inside the oven is cooling down after the grill element has been turned off, is the perfect time to wipe out the oven and remove the crumbs.  Of course one still has to be careful.  The temperature cannot be too hot on the floor of the oven otherwise no matter how thick or damp the cloth being used, the heat can still penetrate onto the fingers and create a burn.  If the cloth is particularly wet the heat can turn the water into steam which could cause a nasty scald.

The best time to wipe down the oven is while washing up the breakfast dishes.  We leave the oven door ajar after turning off the griller element to allow the cooling process to occur quicker. 

By wiping over and collecting up crumbs shortly after they have been generated, makes them easier to remove.  The damp cloth, which can sizzle slightly as the water hits the heated metal and glass, easily picks up the crumbs which can then be rinsed out of the cloth and down the sink. 

Be careful when you wipe the oven door.  Crumbs can get caught in the rim of the metal that holds the glass is position.  If crumbs do get stuck the best way to remove them is to take a round nosed knife and with the knife tip wrapped in a tea towel or cleaning cloth, run the knife around the edge of the glass between the metal and the glass.  This should dislodge any caught up wayward crumbs.

There is another benefit to all this.  I have been promoting for years that it is easier to wipe out an oven shortly after use.  But, if you have cooked a meal in the oven and placed all the used dishes in the dishwasher, to wipe out the oven is a little inconvenient.  Wiping over the oven the following morning after using the griller element is the perfect way to keep the oven clean.

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