Updated: Nov 26, 2020
Bear with me, this is my first ever blog. It's taken a while to finish but it is now complete. So here it goes, a brief recap of ALOE's first extreme end of tenancy clean. I hope we don't get called back to one of these in a hurry. Although it was hard work we worked well as a team to make our clients happy again.
Back, at the start of September, Mike was contacted by a lovely family in desperate need of a hand cleaning their rental property. It was once the much loved family home, 3 bedrooms, a lovely living room and bathroom and a kitchen diner many of us would be happy to raise our families in. Myself, Mike and his young daughter went to view the property on a gloomy Saturday morning, expecting a mess, but nothing like what we encountered. After having a little chat with the family we decided we had to do all we could to get the property back to its former glory.
The property was let out a few years ago to a lady and her three children, that were homeless and living in a hostel, in one room. Having been in this situation myself, when I was a single parent with two young children, I understand the struggles this lady would have been going through. Sleeping in one room with all your children, often the rooms are small with just enough space to fit 4 single beds. These hostels are also grubby and you have to share kitchens and bathrooms with up to 10 other families. Food would go missing from your cupboards, unruly children would break your belongings and the staff treat you like children. I was in a hostel for 6 months as I struggled to find a guarantor. Living in Bournemouth where rent for a two bedroom property ranges from £750 per month anywhere up to £1200 per month, you would say or do anything to get out of this situation and rent anywhere.
Wanting to help this lady and her children, our clients were kind enough to accept a holding deposit off the council and made the children extremely happy. With the couple now first time landlords, and not living close by, they had no idea what was going on inside their property, but rent as being paid on time so there were very few worries.
Then the dreaded Covid hit. Rent stopped being paid and there was little the landlord could do. A few months had passed and they finally got access to their property. The lady had moved out and the children were living with their dad. We aren't really sure the in's and out's, but what we do know is that the property was in an horrendous state. The hallway was unpassable, bags of rubbish and furniture filled the bathroom and hallway.
When we arrived on that gloomy Saturday morning we walked up the grubby staircase, trying not to touch the walls. There was a layer of dirt on the walls, with what looked like tiny blood splatters covering most of the walls and the carpets were in a terrible state, possibly the worst we have had to clean. The first few rooms were clear, just empty, dirty with filth covering the carpets. The place hadn't been cleaned in years, we new we had to help, but this was going to be a long, hard job. We couldn't reach the furthest rooms as junk filled the hallway. Bags of dirty nappies, food, broken toys with flies swarming the place.
Entering through the back door we were greeted to the greasy kitchen, As you can see from the photo the whole room was covered in grease. We saw what we could safely see of the property, before we quoted and made a swift getaway to some fresh air. I think we were lucky as the property had been unacessesable with rubbish, bags filling the bedrooms from floor to ceiling. The owners had spent their past few weekends clearing the mess, instead of spending time with their children. We really felt for the homeowners and the children of the tennant. I do hope they didn't live like this for two long and the tennant gets the help and support she needs.
The client dropped a set of keys off at our house on Sunday and I promised them that by the following weekend they can have their house back. They looked shattered and broken, but I left with a smile at least.
Day 1 - Deep Cleaning
I took Vicky to start our Deep Clean, early on Monday morning. Bless the couple, they had removed all of the rubbish and just a thick layer of dirt and grease remained. I showed Vic around the property, she was shocked by the state of it and wasn't looking forward to cleaning it. As we didnt know what is was on the walls our best option was to disinfect using the 5 litre pressure spray bottle.
Our second mission was to start the long process of limescale removal from the bathroom. I love my eco cleaning so brought along 2 litres of my special vinegar and citrus blend, along with some citric acid and the whole range of Pure Aura products.
I got a bit carried away with Pure Aura's Almighty spray and sprayed the glass before I managed to get before photos, I'm always too eager to start a transformation. I quickly grabbed a few snaps and got back to work, getting rid of all this limescale.
After spraying the glass and letting it soak, I turned my attention to the shower. It was a lovely shower head but it was caked in thick limescale, so was the hose. I new the best way to tackle this was to remove the hose and head and leave it to soak in white vinegar. I only brought 2 litres so topped the bucket up with Everyday and Almighty spray and chucked some citric acid in the mix. The mixture still didn't cover the shower head, but hey, we have the keys all week.
We then turned our attention to clearing the kitchen as we would need this for coffee and food prep. After we sanitised the sides and made it clean enough to have a nice cuppa we sat and discussed our best way to tackle the cleaning. We at least had somewhere clean to eat and use the loo for the next few days.
We began cleaning the living room, working from top to bottom, left to right, as always. The fireplace was filled with soot and old newspaper, held up with a flimsy piece of cardboard. We had to make sure this was secure and wouldn't ruin the carpets any more than they already were. As for the carpets, we usually remove our shoes but in this property it was unsafe to do so. We didn't know what was on the carpets, in some parts it looked like dried blood, so our shoes stayed tightly on our feet.
Back to the walls, the layer of dirt wasn't too difficult to get off, I think we used 4 magic erasers in one room. The windows had never been cleaned and the dirt in the casing was disgusting. With these extreme cleans we like to use warm soapy water and disinfectant in a bucket to make sure everything is as clean as possible. Being tall I was able to reach the tops of the walls and high corners but Vicky would need the step ladder.
Once the lounge was clear it was time to make a start on the smallest bedroom. It had blood splatters all up the wall, dried sweet on the sides and smelt awful. It had been used as rubbish storage for who knows how long. Everything needed scrubbing, from ceiling to floor so I did what I do best and got stuck in. It took around 3 hours to clean a room that would usually take one hour max.
It seemed as though we were making slow progress and we were beginning to loose hope. We made another brew, took a walk to the shop to buy some lunch and went looking for somewhere nice to sit and eat. Just as we found a bench the heavens opened, so we ran back, slightly damp, to the dingy flat. As we entered we were greeted to a lovely smell of lemons, we then realised we were making a difference. At least the lounge was clean so we could sit and eat in the dry.
The rest of the day was spent cleaning the bedrooms and hallway. The blinds on the windows had never been cleaned so these were taken down and left in the bath to soak over night. We snapped a few after photos, locked up and left at around 5.00pm, shattered and desperate for a shower. Work wasn't finished yet, as