Seven ways to outsource the Christmas clean

Help is at hand to get your home ready for the festive season

Chimney sweep

If you burn fuel in an open fire or in a stove then you need to get your chimney cleaned at least once a year, says Tadhg Duggan of Apex Cleaning who has been a chimney sweep for almost 20 years. His busiest period is from September to Christmas Eve with everyone wanting to clean the way for Santa. The job these days is relatively clean work with 3,000kw of suction used to remove most of the soot and residue. The chimney is screened off to minimise soot getting into the room. Stove chimneys cost €60, while open-fire chimneys cost €50 – stoves need more work as you have to remove baffles set into the chimney and clean them too. Apex Cleaning covers all of Dublin city, Co Kildare, west and north Wicklow and east Meath. The company also offers a gutter cleaning service, from €50 for a terraced house. An additional €40 will wash the gutters afterwards.

Gutter declutter

These days you need to contact a qualified roofer to clean your gutters as public liability insurance hikes mean that a lot of small-time operators have left the business. A professional roofer will get the job done. Robert Lewis of Roofing Experts is a trained quantity surveyor who took over the family roofing business and says gutter cleaning should be done once a year, ideally in November, after the autumnal fall. Prices start from €40, front and back, for an average three-bed semi but will vary depending on height, accessibility and area, he says. Any leaking PVC gutters can be sealed using synthetic sealant.

The company can also give your roof and chimneys the once-over and provide a free quotation on any works needed. “Make sure your contractor is fully insured and ask to see a copy of his public liability insurance,” he advises. Also ask if he or she is a member of the Guild of Master Craftsmen and or of the Construction Industry Federation.

Cleaning services by numbers

About Time prides itself on its professional approach to cleaning. The company was set up 12 years ago by accountant Patricia O’Neill who is, by her own admission, “a devotee of order and of Excel spreadsheets”. She vets all staff references and the company offers a menu of services including window cleaning, from €65 for outside only, or from €70 for inside and out on a standard three-bed semi. Cleaning the oven so it’s turkey-ready costs from €69 for a single, from €80 for a double and add-ons include cleaning extractors, hobs and range stoves. Carpet cleaning starts at €75 for hall, stairs and landing, while power-washing patios starts at €75. It covers Dublin city and county, as well as Wicklow, Meath and Kildare. It also runs special offers, so keep an eye on the website.


Full immersive house deep clean

Does your home need a deep clean before you can receive guests? Absolute Cleaning is a company used by lettings agents for end of tenancies and it has built a solid reputation on the calibre of its deep clean. There is no secret to it, says owner Martin Nieuiada, who is originally from Poland: “It is all about the hard work of rubbing and scrubbing.” A deep clean consists of two cleaners coming to your home armed with all the products they need and spending as long as it takes to work through grouting, kitchen cupboards, bathrooms, dusting and vacuuming to make the house look and smell fresh. Expect to pay about €390, that is €65 per hour for six hours for two cleaners to take on the average three-bedroom semi. The areas covered are all of Dublin, Kildare and Wicklow.

Dialing down the smell of pets

If you have pets and you don’t want the smell of wet dog competing with the smell of your gorgeously fresh Christmas tree then enlist the help of Fiberseal, a firm that after visiting your house will assess the level of olfactory carpet, rug and upholstery damage. To clean carpets in a typical three-bed semi costs about €500.

It also has a very high rate of success on typical stains such as red wine, coffee and chocolate but fake tan, Lucozade and hair dye are trickier. The company can clean carpets, rugs, curtains and upholstery and then seal fabric surfaces once clean to prevent restaining. It also offers a sealing service for pristine new carpets. Be mindful that this sealant will darken the colour slightly.

Pristine patio and garden

Now that you’ve got the house in order you also want to look out on an ordered garden devoid of soggy leaves with dead growth on bushes and plants pruned back. Iona Garden Services is based in Sandyford and services south Dublin and north Wicklow. Run by Cian Fleetwood he will survey the garden and give an estimate. He has seen gardens in complete anarchy so nothing fazes him. Where patios need more than a power wash to remove moss or algae he will douse in acid to eat moss and return to wash it all away. He charges €193 for a half day and €317 for a full day cleaning. These prices include VAT and the removal of any waste.

Death clean sweep

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, written by artist Margareta Magnusson, instructs us to get our house in order so that when we die loved ones don't have to. On paper, as a cold hard fact, it makes sense were you to ignore the fact that, if very sick or dying, you may not be in any fit state to undergo such upheaval. It also disregards the reality that decluttering is such an arduous chore that most of us will put it off until tomorrow, or at least until after Christmas, a lucrative fact borne out by whole TV programme segments and publishing genres – Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising, has sold five million copies since it was first published in 2014. While Sarah Reynolds has yet to receive any requests for death decluttering, her company Organized Chaos will get your home in order for the festive season. A three-hour consultation costs €185 and might just be the perfect gift for the clutterbug in your life. Alternatively her new book, Organised: Simple Tips to Declutter Your Home, Your Schedule, Your Mind, published by Gill, will make a great stocking filler.