Helen Wellings. April 11, 2011.
You can clean your house from top to toe for less than ten dollars. Multi-purpose cleaners, magic formulas for specific tasks – no streaks, brilliant shine, power action, cuts grease, no scrubbing, virtually does the job for us… but those promises come at a massive cost. Instead, a few simple remedies, at a fraction of the price will clean just as effectively and save you hundreds of dollars a year. Busy mum, Elizabeth Cornwall has cleaning products for every room, every type of surface that blow out her grocery budget .. she’s looking for ways to save. “It costs two or three hundred dollars a year for cleaning products… We’re constantly told to buy a lot of different products. I mean one product will often do the job.”
“In my experience many of the cleaning products that you buy in the supermarket shelves are pretty heavily diluted. They’re so heavily promoted and I would imagine that the cost is up to 70% added on to the actual initial ingredients.” Michael Sweet who owns 1800cleaner has some sprucing secrets that leave homes he spring-cleans sparkling clean. Although, he steers away from the normal commercial products.
“In my view, no, they’re certainly very expensive but more importantly it’s the toxins they contain that worry me… they’re not good to have around the family… the old remedies that you see here, the classic bi-carb soda etc that grandma used to rave about are a lot more inexpensive but also less likely to contain toxins in most cases as well.”
For cleaning stovetops Michael uses a bit of lemon or orange juice, citric acid in water, his own simple product. “In a warm bucket of water as you see there, not too much, get our scourer, put it in, and off you go… scourer away, doesn’t have to take a long time, a little bit of elbow grease… then you want to dry her up with one of these nice, cheap tea towels, off you go, get rid of the junk off it one time, and then if you’re really fastidious, give it a little bit of a shake out (and) you’re done in about 30 seconds” And benches, again diluted citric acid. “I personally like to spray a little bit on the bench and then again, use the bucket and nice big strokes… push the dirt off the edge.” David Kilpatrick is a cleaning fanatic who’s saved thousands of dollars over the years. He advises don’t hand over $3 for Jif – use the magic clean-all for half the price. “It’s bicarbonate of soda and salt mixed together, a tablespoon of each, mix it together in a nice slurry and the get into it with a sponge, like you would any other oven cleaner.”
Michael explains when cleaning the whole house he prefers a bi-carb mix,”My personal favourite would be bi-carb soda bi-card… you can use that for a lot of stuff, particularly in the bathrooms, where you want to kill a few germs. You just have to sprinkle a bit of that into a hot bucket of water, use a nice scourer and off you go.”
Just a capful of plain dishwashing detergent will wash the floors just as well as the supermarket floor cleaners. A tiny squirt of toothpaste at a couple of cents gets out scratches. Cheap and cheerful white vinegar instead of toilet duck cleaner. Windows… Michael uses plain old metho. To spruce up the entire house this array of supermarket cleaning products costs $38.10 compared with these five basic cleaners Vinegar, Bicarbonate Soda, Methylated Spirits, lemon or Citric acid. Price check $9.20 the lot… that’s 28.90 saved… around $360 a year savings.
Joanna Tovia. October 10, 2006
When dust busters Michael Sweet and Toby Giordano started 1300 Cleaner, their goal was not just to turn their brand into a household name, it was also to build themselves a reputation for making homes healthy. This cleaning duo prides itself on getting rid of dust and grime from every corner of a house and completely removing it from the home using air filtration equipment.” Most cleaners use a duster and that makes the fine dust particles become airborne so it looks clean when the customer first sees it but the dust settles within a few days,” says Mr Sweet. “We get the dust out and it’s amazing how long a clean house stays clean for.” 1300 Cleaner charges $40-$50 an hour. substantially more than many cleaning companies charge.
But Mr Sweet says home owners who use 1300 Cleaner save over time. The first visit to a new home involves a 21-point clean which goes well beyond a traditional clean. “Our 21-point clean is a very thorough clean in which we move furniture and get on top of cupboards to remove built-up dust that rarely gets looked at,” Mr Sweet says.
Air vents and ceiling fans are cleaned, bathrooms are scrubbed and skirting boards wiped. Even the grime and gunk that collects under a fridge is removed. The microwave is cleaned, appliances are left sparkling and the furniture is moved so all dust can be removed from every nook and cranny.
An ioniser, HEPA air filtration, an antibacterial filter and Dyson vacuum cleaners then get rid of fine dust particles down to the size of 30 microns (one 30th the size of the circumference of a human hair). “Rather than just shifting the dust around that has built up over the years with a duster, we actually get rid of it which means your home stays cleaner for longer.” So instead of having the cleaner return a week later, Mr Sweet says householders usually book in for cleans fortnightly or three-weekly. A 12-point regular service is then used to maintain the home’s cleanliness. “They are getting better value and a better job but they have to pay more up front,” Mr Sweet says. “It’s literally a complete house wash.”
He and brother-in-law Mr Giordano started the business last August after securing the phone name 1300 Cleaner. Mr Sweet’s background is in advertising and Mr Giordano comes from the finance industry. “We complement each other unbelievably well – every weakness I have he has a strength in and vice versa,” Mr Sweet says. “No detail escapes him and he’s very good with customers no matter how annoying some customers can be.” Mr Sweet’s focus is on turning 1300 Cleaner into a household name. He says he has been experimenting with various forms of marketing from flyers and magnet drops to online advertising and the Yellow Pages. “If wisely done, online strategies are great but the Yellow Pages book is a complete waste of money.”
By far the best response has been achieved by having the 1300 Cleaner name placed on their car – a $300 job that has generated more than $10,000 in revenue. “The back of our car has given us the best bang for our buck by far … once people see it, they remember it.” It was the phone name phenomenon in Australia that gave Mr Sweet the idea to start the business. Although phone names have been used in the United States for 20 years, it has only been in the past few years that international phone standards have been enforced in Australia, meaning that the letters found on a phone’s keypad now have to be uniform. Mr Sweet says 85 per cent of home phones now have uniform keypads (where the letters ABC start on the number 2).
The pair chose to start a business in the cleaning industry largely because it was a fragmented market with no obvious market leader. They are also passionate about cleanliness. “Most of the harm that’s done through unhygienic and dirty things is at the microscopic level,” he says. “The inside of the average home is seven times more polluted than the air you’ll find outside … and in Sydney the air outside isn’t that great anyway.” By the time cleaners have given a home the 21-point clean, Mr Sweet says the air has been cleaned of dust and pollutants through their filtration equipment about 20 times.
“When you walk into your house it feels like you’ve walked into the top of a mountain, people are amazed.” He says householders who have suffered from asthma and allergies or other irritants caused by the dust inside their house find their ailments disappear. Some customers also report they are sleeping better and not waking up with headaches as they used to.