Forget spring cleaning. After a summer of slovenly habits, it’s time to put some manners on the place. There’s no better place to start than with a seriously deep clean. Luckily, there’s someone for that.
Brian Farrelly of Oven Ace (oven.ie) is the man many property managers call when they're trying to restore a rental property to pristine condition so it can be re-let. "Anything to do with cooking – ovens, grills, microwaves – is really important but the landlord doesn't want to do it, the tenant doesn't want to do it, and yet it has to be done," says Farrelly, who set the business up 11 years ago.
He also works for ordinary householders. A standard cooker with oven and grill costs from €90, rising to €160 for a range-style cooker. The process takes up to three hours depending on the size and state of the appliance but you’re not tripping over him in the kitchen. He takes out every removable part and puts it through a tanking system in his specially modified van outside. Seals, glass panes, racks, grills – everything. He also does hobs, rings and extractor fans. “There’s minimum disruption and I don’t use the kitchen sink at all,” he says.
Carpets are a visual log of every activity undertaken in the house – that’s where you spilled the wine, that’s where the dog went, that’s where the baby got sick. If you have a spill, don’t touch it, say the experts.
"Most people's instinct is to go at it with some carpet shampoo but they only end up rubbing it in deeper and make it harder to get out. If it happens, you're much better calling a professional," says Harry Byrne of MagicCarpetCleaning.ie, who has 33 years' experience mopping up after the rest of us.
He charges €100 for a standard three-bedroom semi, and that includes the bedrooms, the landing and the stairs. “That’s all most people want because everybody has wood downstairs,” he says. Where people do go for carpets in downstairs reception rooms, they go for the creams, whites and pale greys which of course ultimately break their heart. Getting them professionally cleaned at least once a year “helps you keep on top of it”, he says.
You might struggle to find a carpet cleaner willing to travel for such a small job but specialist rug cleaner RugClean.ie will come and collect your rug for you, clean it, and drop it back. It's run by Aidan Byrne, and most of his work comes from people with wooden floors who want to soften them up with a rug. Prices start at €25 for the smallest rug and rise after that depending on size and the kind of rug it is. Getting an antique silk rug cleaned will cost about €200.
Scuffed wooden floors are a magnet for dirt but the idea of a house full of dust puts most people off restoring them to their original condition. Floordoctor.ie is based in Cork, offers a nationwide service and is entirely dust free. "We don't even have to wear masks, it's all down to the equipment we use," says owner James Farquhar. Prices start at around €20 per sq m depending on where you are, the size of the job and what you want done. It costs about €500 to get a sitting room sanded and lacquered. If you want to change it up and add a new stain, you can expect to pay an additional € 200. The whole job will be done in a day.
Most carpet cleaning companies will offer a sofa service too, which helps remove odours and stains. If it's gone too far, it's time to call the experts. Kevin Ball of ChairDoctor.ie specialises in taking tired old furniture that's too good to throw away and rejuvenating it. It works best for quality pieces.
"Our parents would have gone to Clerys or Arnotts and bought a three-piece suite, and then had it reupholstered a couple of times over their lifetime. It works best on the kind of furniture that was built to last," says the good doctor. At between €1,300 and €1,700 for a three-piece suite, it won't make financial sense for cheaper pieces but he has hundreds of textile books to choose from at all price points and the whole thing takes just seven days.
If you knew what was living in your mattress you'd never be able to sleep. Allergy sufferers in particular will want to rid them of dust mites. The Irish Bed Hygiene Company (Irishbedhygiene.com) provides a heavy duty vacuuming service followed by a process that uses UV light to kill bacteria on the mattress surface and then blasts ozone through the mattress to get it deep-down clean. It costs from €45 for a double bed and €30 for a single, plus a call-out fee.
The chimney should be a central part of any serious deep clean, particularly as, unlike an annoying wine stain, a chimney really is a matter of life and death. Gill McGuinness of ABC Chimney Cleaners in Dublin (abcchimney.eu) is a second generation sweep well worth shaking hands with. Prices start at €60 for one chimney, she's in and out in no time and there's nary a speck of soot to be seen.
Be very careful what you burn, she advises. Logs stacked beside your stove or fireplace can make a very decorative touch but if they haven’t been dried properly, they can be deadly too. “And if you have a stove, make sure to use proper fuel designed for a stove, whether that’s wood or coal. If not it can block it up and that’s dangerous.” And, buy a carbon monoxide alarm while you’re at it.
Kitchens, bathrooms and windows
For hard surfaces forget abrasive cleaners and toxic chemicals. Green Leaf Services (Green Leaf Services.ie) uses only environmentally-friendly products and powerful steam cleaning equipment to restore tiles, ceramics and stainless steel.
“It’s the deepest clean you can get,” says Adrian Csapo, its owner, who only uses cleaning products from Dublin company Lilly’s Eco Clean. Prices vary. If you text them a picture they will send you back a quote but as a rough rule of thumb expect to pay about €100 to get a bathroom restored to a squeaky clean state.
The same company will do your windows for you too, using eco-friendly products on the lower windows and filtered water “it leaves no residue” to steam clean on the upper ones. The price to get all your windows done in a three-bedroom semi, inside and out, is about €120.
Clean Bee (cleanbee.ie), which is based in Cork but offers a nationwide service, has been providing a full deep clean service to sort your house out from top to bottom, since 2014. At a minimum, two cleaning professionals will turn up and tackle any job you can throw at them.
“There has never been any job so bad that we can’t do it,” says co-founder Martin Jantauskas. Prices build according to the number of rooms you want cleaned, but expect to pay about €95 for a sitting room, for example. “Most people go for a bundle that costs about €460 for a three-bedroom semi-detached house.”
It’s entirely “non judgy” – no matter how bad you think your place is, Jantauskas will have seen far worse: “There is nothing that could surprise us at this stage.”