Julies Blog

Mini Spring Cleans

by Julie Finch-Scally

The greasy area above my kitchen cupboards has been annoying me for weeks.  Last Friday I decided to do something positive about it.  I brought the step ladder up stairs, ran some hot water in the sink and trotted out the trusty cream cleanser.

Using the cream cleanser on the scourer side of a sponge/scourer rinsed in the hot water, I climbed up and started scrubbing the wall.  As I was now at the same level as the top of the cupboard doors I could see the grease and dirt across the top of them.  These got a scrubbing as well.

The top shelves of the cupboard I was cleaning are difficult to see into when standing on ground level, so I used the opportunity of being up high to wipe out the shelves as well. 

I moved out one item on the top shelf and placed it down on the bench.  With the damp scourer still impregnated with cream cleanser I scrubbed the area where the item had been sitting.  Taking a clean damp cloth I wiped off the residue of the cleanser then dried the shelf with a tea towel.

As that section of the shelf was now clean I moved another item on the top shelf into the clean space and using the previous process cleaned the area where the second item had been sitting.  Once dry I moved the final item on the top shelf into the clean space and went over the remaining dirty area.  When the whole of the top shelf was clean I pushed the items back into their original position and replaced the item I’d placed on the bench. 

I cleaned the other shelves in the cupboard using the same procedure.  There were a couple of marks on the front of the shelves so I made sure they were removed prior to closing the cupboard door.  Then for good measure I cleaned the front of the cupboard door as well.

There was another cupboard sitting above the range hood, so I cleaned that out as well.  Then I tackled the Range Hood.  The base of the hood is removable and allows one to take out a metal filter.  The base is too large to fit into the dishwasher but I managed to fit in the filter.  As I was going to clean the stove top I removed the cast iron hobs and placed them in the dish washer as well.  Once they had been through the pots and pans cycle they came out clean.  The heat of the water and the strength of the cleanser dissolve the grease especially in the small nooks and crannies. 

The base of the Range Hood I washed with the scourer and cream cleanser and placed outside in the sun to dry while I cleaned around and inside the Range Hood.  Once again I used the scourer and cream cleanser making sure all the residue was removed and the areas I had cleaned were thoroughly dried. 

When everything was clean and dry I replaced the filter and base of the Range Hood.  By this time I had cleaned the rest of the walls near the stove and the top of the doors.  The high wall and kitchen cupboards looked so much better and I felt I had done enough for the day.

The extra cleaning had been added to my usual wipe over of the splash back, bench tops and cupboard fronts under the bench.  Did it take long?  Not really: about an hour. 

Of course this was not a full Spring Clean of the kitchen but enough.  I’d clean out the lower cupboards a few weeks ago, so except for the pantry which will be a next week job, the kitchen has been given a Spring Clean in mini doses. 


Oil vs painting wooden outdoor furniture

by Julie Finch-Scally

After four years of constantly living in the elements our outdoor furniture was starting to look very tired.  We have made a point of coating the table and chairs with special outdoor furniture oil every Spring and Autumn, but for some reason or other we missed out last Spring.  The question was, do we repaint it with the usual oil or go for something new like decking paint?

Actually we chose decking paint.  Why? Maybe because the wood had shrunk to such an extent that we didn’t feel the oil coating would be enough, and maybe because the decking paint would be more protective.  Now we have used the decking we cannot go back to the oil anyway. 

It wasn’t the best of weekends to be painting outside: much too hot, but we started early in the morning before breakfast and were finished by nine.

I said the furniture was tired, but it was a bit more than that.  Splinters were starting to strip off the arms and the edges of the table, so all had to be rubbed down with sandpaper.  This made the surfaces smoother, and once wiped over were ready for painting.

Of course the sandpapering caused a light dust on the tiles where we were going to paint, so the whole area had to be swept and dust removed before we could put down the plastic sheet to protect the tiles.  Thankfully our large sheet of garden plastic fitted the allocated space and the table and four chairs were placed in such a position that hubby and I could paint a chair each and leave the box containing the tin of paint between us.

We were very diligent.  Not only did we paint the tops and undersides of the chair slats but the edges as well.  This was not easy as the gap was only wide enough for the paint brush to slide down between.  By maneuvering from both above and under the slats the sides of the slats were coated.  If this hadn’t have been done the paint job would not have looked finished and the wooden slats would not have had the protection they required.

There was a second coat painted early the following morning and by lunch time that day everything was dry.  The results were better than we expected.  The furniture looks fresh and rejuvenated, and the surfaces smooth and hard. 

The choice of using decking paint in our eyes was a good one.  The oil coating we had previously used had been the right choice while the furniture was new, but after four years more protection was needed and that is exactly what the decking paint has done.  

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