Archive for Hints and Tips

No more Frosty Fingers! HG Windscreen De-icer.

Anyone else get that sinking feeling when you step outside and discover there is a layer of frost on the car? it always happens when you are running late and now you have to go digging for that can of de-icer that sits in the cupboard under the sink since last winter that will invariably be almost empty or completely inaccessable in a hurry. Now you have to go searching in the glovebox or the boot to find that ice scraper or risk breaking a credit card scraping away to clear the screen enough to see where you are going, all the while getting your fingers and hands frozen.

However, keep a bottle of HG Car Windscreen De-icer handy and you won’t have frozen fingers ever again.

The handy trigger pump means no more frozen hands unlike a more traditional aerosol also it means there is no propellent in the can punching holes in the Ozone layer and adding to global warming, simply spray and leave for a minute and your windscreen will be clear, it also prevents re-freezing and keeps the glass clear.

I use this myself and always keep a bottle in the boot of the car, it really is that good.

“Ahhhh but I have a heated windscreen so why would i need to de-ice with a spray?” l do too, I drive a Ford, but let me tell you, it is quicker to use this HG Car Windscreen De-icer than it is to wait for the heating elements to warm up enough to start to clear the ice from the windscreen, minutes quicker!

“I don’t need to buy this, I will just go out a few minutes earlier and start the car running, the windscreen will be clear and the car will be nice and warm inside!”

Yes it will, but, leaving your car unattended with the engine running is not only dangerous, it is a massively tempting target for a thief and also, as a lot of the newspapers have reported recently, Illegal! yes! it contravenes Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and you can be slapped with a minimum £40 on the spot fine and HG Car Windscreen De-icer is an awful lot less than £40.

How to Defrost Your Freezer Quickly

In another of our “How to” series, this time we will show you how to defrost your freezer quickly and easily.

It is important to defrost your freezer. Opening the door causes ice on the walls and the ceiling of the freezer. It means you have less storage space. The ice formation means that the freezer no longer works in the best possible way and it consumes more energy. So defrost your (fridge) freezer 4x a year.

On this page you learn how to defrost a freezer fast and easy in 7 steps.

1. Collect everything you need to defrost the fridge freezer
The freezer is best defrosted with the right equipment. You need the following to defrost your freezer:

2. Switch the freezer off
Switch your freezer off first. Most freezers are switched off by pulling the plug from the socket. Some have an on-off button, which is often at the top of the fridge or freezer. By switching off your freezer you prevent the water from refreezing.

3. Empty the freezer completely
Empty the freezer completely. If you have a fridge freezer, empty the fridge part too. When you empty the fridge, keep an eye on the sell-by date of the foodstuffs. Throw away food that is past its sell-by date or that has gone off. The rest of your foodstuffs you store temporarily in cool boxes or cool bags with cooling elements.

4. Defrost the freezer
Wait until the ice in the freezer melts. Melting ice water will find its way out via the run-off. This is a pipe or rubber hose at the bottom of the freezer. Capture the ice water from the run-off with the drip tray. Put a towel in front of the freezer to absorb any extra water. This prevents water damage to the floor. If you are defrosting the freezer compartment of the fridge, put the towel in the freezer compartment. It prevents the melted ice water from ending up in the rest of the fridge.

5. Defrost freezer quickly
Do you need to defrost the freezer fast? It is easy to remove large chunks of ice with a wooden spatula or the plastic ice scraper from your car. Never use iron, because this causes damages in the inside of your freezer. Do you need to defrost the freezer fast? Use one of the following tips:

  • Put a pan or tray with boiling hot water at the bottom of the freezer or the freezer compartment. Put a trivet or towel under the hot pan or tray. This prevents damage to your freezer. Close the door and wait fifteen minutes. The ice will melt quicker. Repeat the process until the freezer has defrosted.
  • Use your hairdryer at its highest setting. Blow the ice until all the ice has melted.
  • Fill a plant spray with hot water and spray the thick layer of ice.
  • Use a fan and put it opposite the fridge freezer or freezer. Open the door of the appliance and check the air flows inside.
  • Use a special ice defroster for freezers, such as HG freezer de-icer. Spray the ice. Leave to work for 5-10 minutes and repeat if necessary. Remove the ice and dry the walls.

6. Clean the freezer
Once you have defrosted the freezer completely, wipe up the puddles of water in the freezer. Now clean the freezer with warm water and soda. Then dry the freezer with a tea towel.

7. Switch the fridge or freezer back on
Put all the foodstuffs back into the fridge or freezer. Switch the button on or put the plug in the socket. You repeat this 7-step plan once every 3 months, to make sure your freezer works in the best possible way.

We hope the above makes the onerous task of defrosting the freezer a bit easier, keep reading for a few further tips regarding your freezer.

3 tips to reduce ice formation in your freezer

Ice formation in your freezer is caused by damp air that ends up in your freezer. This is normal, and cannot be prevented completely. This is how you reduce ice formation in your freezer:

1. Close the door properly and only open the freezer when you need something.
Keeping the door open for a long time produces more damp air in the freezer. Always check that you closed the door properly. Any doubt? Stick a piece of paper between the door and the freezer and try to pull it out. If the paper comes out, the door does not close properly. You may need to replace the rubber seals.

2. Let leftovers cool down completely.
If you put leftovers in the freezer too soon, you get ice around the product. It also deteriorates the quality of your leftovers. How do I cool down leftovers quickly? Put the container or the pan in a bit of water. Do not leave it outside the fridge or freezer for more than 2 hours.

3. Freeze food in small portions.
Small portions freeze faster. This causes less condensation or ice in the freezer.

Thanks to HG for the use of their copy. Original article can be found here

How To Clean and Care For Your Grout.

Keeping your tile looking its best doesn’t just mean cleaning and caring for the tile itself, the grout in between needs some love too – and not just for aesthetic reasons. Sure, you want to prevent stains and discoloration, but there are some practical concerns that affect the longevity of your tile as well. Mildew and bacterial build-up are another major concern, along with liquids seeping beneath your tile.

A lot of people don’t realize, but grout is an incredibly porous material that can and will soak up liquid, grease and grime. That goes for cooking spills in the kitchen, mud being tracked on the front door and mildew in the bathroom.

But don’t worry, it’s all preventable! On top of that, it’s pretty easy as long as you keep up on it and follow the guidelines below.

We see so many recommendations floating around the web and by word of mouth recommending vinegar or other acidic solutions for cleaning grout and tile, but this should really be avoided. Acidic chemicals will break down and weaken the grout structure, causing premature failure. Plus, acidic cleaning solutions can etch and damage the stone around it as well.

What you should be using instead is a pH balanced cleaner that is tough on dirt and grime to get your grout back to its original color while still maintaining structural integrity. Granite Gold Grout Cleaner® is specifically formulated for use on grout while still being safe for natural-stone, ceramic, porcelain and even colored grout. Being non-acidic, this is a cleaning solution that is tough to beat.

As an added bonus, a nylon scrub brush is included in the kit to help agitate and remove any grime build-up. This is important because too harsh of a scrubbing material can also damage and wear down your grout. That means no steel wool or harsh scouring pads, as they will not only damage the grout, but will strip the protective seal on the grout and the tile around it.


That’s right, just like your natural stone, your grout should be treated with a proper sealant as well. This will give the surfaces a protective coating to help prevent liquids and mildew from making its way below the surface, as well as help to prevent stains and make your clean-up job just that much easier.

In general, it’s recommended that you seal your grout and natural-stone every 6-12 months, but high-trafficked areas and spots that have been through a deep cleaning might need it sooner than that. If you’re not sure on when and how to seal your grout, please be sure to check out our guide on the topic here.

Water seeping beneath the surface can not only provide a breeding ground for bacteria, but can lead to the breakdown of the grout as well as the adhesives holding the tile down to the floor.


If a stain does set in, you have a few options available to you if a grout cleaning solution isn’t enough to get the job done. Steam used in conjunction with a stone-safe cleaner can make quick work of this build-up. For instance, for bathroom tile, you can spray your stone-safe cleaner on the grout and then crank up the hot water in the shower for 5 minutes with the door closed. You might be surprised at how easily soap scum and grime comes up this way.

It’s also important to not discolor your grout – especially with darker shades. Overly alkaline solutions like bleach can absorb into the grout and oxidize, causing a chalky white appearance. With that being said however, for really tough grime and mildew, bleach can be used if diluted to a 50/50 mix with water.

Always make sure to rinse this solution away completely, and be sure to keep this mixture off of metal fixtures, wood surfaces and porcelain. After a cleaning as thorough as this, it’s highly recommended that you seal the surface again, as this process is assured to damage that protective barrier.


Like outlined above, even leaving standing water on your tile and grout can lead to some serious headaches by creating a breeding ground for mildew and compromising the structural integrity of the tile as a whole. Cooking grease can lead to similar issues while also being harder to clear out once it has seeped into the surface. Soap scum is another common offender, with the added risk of discoloring your grout where it is left to sit.

For stone tile showers, it’s recommended to give the wet surfaces a quick once over with a squeegee to prevent standing water from doing any damage, or becoming a small scale primordial soup science project. A lint-free microfiber cloth can work well for smaller spills.

It’s also important to maintain proper ventilation to prevent these issues on bathroom tile. It’s not a bad idea to open a window or run the bathroom exhaust fan for 10-15 minutes following a shower. This should allow for fast evaporation of water on the tile, limiting the time bacteria has to grow and take hold.

As you can tell by now, a major theme of this guide is that small amounts of regular maintenance over time is really key to freeing you up for more labor-intensive work in the future. If let go for too long, it can be quite a costly venture to bring in a professional to fix damaged grout and stone. Diligence is key!

Credit for this work goes to Granite Gold, original article can be found here

Are You Bonkers To Have Tried Conkers?

When I was little, the only thing we did with Horse Chestnuts or Conkers was tie a string through them and then proceed to bash them to bits against your best mates Conker in the school playground hopefully without taking a painful whack on the knuckles in the process.


Funny thing was, my nan always had a ready supply of conkers, I always thought it was because she knew I needed them (I was going to smash Jez Swinglers ‘Niner’ this year!). I did not realise till I was grown up, the reason why she always had a steady supply of conkers on hand, it turns out that she was an arachnophobe and had been using the conkers to scare away the spiders from the house.


Now, being an arachnophobe myself, this time of year is sheer misery, early autumn is when they all seem to migrate to my house and I spend the next few weeks jumping at every imagined corner of the eye movement, jumping out of bed at 3am and stripping the duvet off the bed because something itched on my leg, carefully checking shoes before putting them on because god forbid anything moved while my foot was in it. Spiders are the bane of my existence and you are never more than 6ft away from the nearest one apparently so if there is anything that can keep them away from me, so much the better.

Being a nearly rational person, I decided to do some investigation into whether my old nan was right or simply mixing her pills. After an exhaustive search involving banks of supercomputers, NASA, Google and my mate Geoff who knows everything about everything, I found that while there is no scientific proof or explanation why Conkers repel spiders, an awful lot of people swear that they do.

Just take a look at Ebay at this time of year, there are lots of listings for conkers, why would you pay for them?, they literally grow on trees! mind you, if the closest you can get to a tree is seeing one on television or the kids have already had all the conkers from your local area, then the sellers may be your only option.

Now personally, I prefer the old fashioned way of dealing with those eight legged interlopers but as I am told that a rolled up newspaper or the vacuum cleaner is not sporting, I am forced to rely on other methods to rid myself of spiders. Fortunately, there are many companies that help us arachnophobes out and produce chemical repellents and other more high tech methods involving ultrasound and electromagnetism.

Doff, who are a leading pest control manufacturer have produced The Ultrasonic Spider Repeller. A wonderful contraption that plugs into your mains and emits ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves that spiders cannot tolerate, it also works on rats and mice too.

If you are looking for a more low tech answer, then Doff have also produced Spider Glue Traps. Works like fly paper but you can put it on the floor, the spider crawls inside the trap thinking it is a dark little corner where it can lay in wait and gets stuck to the glue covered sides of the trap, also works on ants and other crawling pests.

If you prefer the idea of just stopping them from entering the home, then No More Spiders will be the answer, just spray the repellent on the door and window frames and the spiders are repulsed and can’t get in. A word to the wise, make sure there are no spiders in the house BEFORE you spray, otherwise they can’t leave and you will be stuck inside with them.

If like me, you just want to get them gone and really don’t care for the casualty rate, then Doff Spider and Crawling Insect Killer is your weapon of choice. Spray the surfaces where you have seen them and wait. Not long before you will be sweeping away dead spiders and other creepy crawlies like woodlice and ants.

Our full range of Spider Repellents can be found here and as always you can click the green links above to go to the product pages directly.

As I said earlier, there is no scientific proof that conkers work as a spider repellent yet people say they do, who is right? Until the end of October, we are going to give you a bag of 10 conkers with every spider repellent product you purchase from our range so you can see for yourself if conkers actually work and I owe my old nan an apology.

How To – Properly and Safely Move A Fridge Freezer or other Heavy Domestic Appliance.

In another of our “How To” series of helpful hints and tips, I’m going guide you on how to move those heavy domestic appliances like a fridge freezer or washing machine.

Moving large items such as Washing Machines, Fridges etc. are a hassle, no matter what the circumstances may be. A washer, a dryer, a refrigerator or a dishwasher is far too big for one person to pick up, and often too big for even two people to pick up and carry.


There are a number of angles from which you can approach the problem. Depending on what the appliance is, you may be lucky enough that it’s on wheels. Most refrigerator models have some kind of wheels so that you can push them at least part of the way, although you may still have to resort to some other technique in order to maneuver them around angles.

Without wheels or without practical wheels, one easy idea is to use Universal Appliance Rollers or a Scanpart Movable Base. The best ones are the ones that have a long flat edge that you tip it back toward you to can slide underneath the appliance in question then you can push or pull it to the location in which you need it.

If you are moving something over a longer distance, it’s a good idea to use a rope or bungee cord to secure the appliance in position on the Scanpart Movable Base or Universal Appliance Rollers. It may also be a good idea to have a partner help you guide the appliance or steer for you if it’s something particularly large.

Tips for Moving a Fridge:

1. Remove all contents, including freezer items.

2. Unplug the refrigerator and if it has a freezer compartment let the freezer defrost. This will usually take at least 6-8 hours depending on the state of the freezer. It’s best to defrost it overnight, and in the morning wipe out the inside.

3. Remove all shelves and other loose items. If you prefer, tape the fridge drawers closed (be careful that tape doesn’t leave a mark) or remove them. Wrap the shelves with blankets, towels to protect them during the move. Label the shelves appropriately.

4. Turn off the power source and wrap the cord, securing it out of the way.

5. Secure the doors. With a strong cord or rope, tie the doors closed by wrapping the cord around the fridge. If you have a double-door, tie the doors together tightly. Tape will work as well, but just remember that when you remove the tape, the paint surface might be disturbed.

6. Position it into its new space. Before you plug it in, let the refrigerator sit for at least 2-3 hours. This allows the fluids to flow back into the compressor. This is critical to its cooling mechanism.

Leave it plugged in. It’ll take a while before the fridge is ready to use. Some require 3 days before they’ll reach an optimum temperature. Check your manual for details.

Always keep the refrigerator standing upright as much as possible. This ensures that oil won’t seep into the cooling tubes which can cause permanent damage.

Read the manual. Check moving instructions in your refrigerator’s manual before you move. It’ll highlight important safety tips and advice and warn you of potential problems.

Hopefully there are some helpful tips there next time you have to move the fridge to retrieve the cat (true story!).