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.
Is it time for cleaning your patio slabs again? Green deposits occur mainly in spots that get little sunlight on cloudy and rainy days. It is ugly on patios, but also on pots and fencing. Time to fight it! We have a number of tips for fast and easy removal and prevention of green deposits.
Where do green deposits come from?
Green deposits often occur in moist spots that do not get a lot of sun. Patio or garden tiles in the shade are often affected by it, as well as fencing in shady areas. The deposits form on all types of patios and surfaces, on wood, stone and concrete. Irregular surfaces and soft materials are more affected than hard and straight surfaces, however.
The seasons also play a big role. Green deposits are often more stubborn during fall and winter because there is less sunlight and more rain. Therefore, spring is the best time for cleaning paving slabs; and of course you want to be able to enjoy a beautiful and clean patio on nice sunny days.
Tips for preventing green deposits
Unfortunately, you will never be able to prevent green deposits completely due to our rainy climate and the changing seasons. You can however make some choices when paving or installing a patio that will reduce the risk of algae and moss forming on your patio. For example, you can make your patio slightly sloping and provide good drainage so little or no water will remain on your patio. This way the moss and algae have less chance of attaching to the patio.
So few green deposits will form or it will take them longer to form. The materials you choose also plays a role. Some materials are more prone to green deposits than others. So you might want to get hardwood when installing fencing or well-coated tiles. Please consult an expert for advice.
Tips for removing green deposits
Three DIY solutions for removing green deposits
In addition to specially developed products, there are lots of DIY solutions for cleaning patio slabs on various blogs and websites. Note: these methods do not guarantee success:
1. A high-pressure cleaner Especially during spring and summer, many people choose a high-pressure cleaner for cleaning paving slabs. Unfortunately, there are two major drawbacks. First of all, you will blow the grout out of the patio tiles which might cause the tiles to displace. Secondly, the high-pressure cleaner might damage the tiles so the structure of the tile becomes more porous, which will cause the algae and moss to penetrate deeper into the tile. And this will cost you even more time and energy the next time you have to clean the patio.
2.Chlorine or white vinegar An often used patio cleaning solution is chlorine or white vinegar. Chlorine is however harmful to plants etc., which makes it unsuitable for outdoor use. White vinegar is more natural than chlorine, but can be harmful to some plants too, especially to grass and herbs. Be careful when using white vinegar, because the acid can damage natural stone with a high lime content. This is not suitable for every patio, so we advise you test it out in an inconspicuous spot first.
3. Mixture of soft soap, soda and hot water A mixture of soft soap, soda and hot water is especially efficient for removing green deposits from wood surfaces. However, scrubbing your patio table with a hard brush is time-consuming, plus you will only see the result after rinsing the furniture, so you might have missed some spots and have to start all over again. This is not a problem with the HG product range!
If it does not work the way you expected it to? Then try the HG products especially developed for cleaning concrete patios and removing green deposits.
HG is the patio cleaning solution for easy and effective removal of green deposits
HG has a special products for the removal of green deposits; HG algae and mould remover. This is a convenient product for fast and effective removal of green deposits from walls, fencing, doors and pergolas. The HG algae and mould remover ready to use in 5 litre variant (only available during spring) is perfect for spring cleaning in the garden. We also have HG patio cleaner. This is a concentrated cleaner, sufficient for up to 200 metres of tiles, patios, garden paths, walls and rooftops.
You have just made a nice investment into your home and splashed out on some gorgeous looking granite worktops and surfaces, see how they sparkle in the light and have that mirror like shine coating on them, If you are serious about keeping them looking that way, then keep reading.
Granite is a low maintenance product that requires very little care, but it is important to use the right products to clean your granite countertops or floor. Despite its durability, granite is a porous stone that can absorb liquids, some of which result in staining or etching, a dullness that may permanently disfigure your granite. Here’s why you should avoid using acidic cleaning products on granite and other types of natural stone and what you should use instead.
ETCHING AND EROSION
Granite is not as soft as marble, but it can still be damaged. Etching is a type of damage that occurs when granite is exposed to acidic products. This damage of the surface often shows as dull etch spots on the surface, but it can also affect the entire surface of the granite if you use acidic cleaners. If the acidic product sits on the surface for too long, or if your granite is very porous, it can even result in indentations or erosion.
WHY ACIDS DAMAGE GRANITE
The reason acidic cleaners damage natural stone is because stone contains some concentration of calcite, which reacts to even weak acids by dissolving. Marble and limestone have a high amount of calcite and are most susceptible to etching, but granite is not impervious. In addition to some calcite, granite also has natural fissures and pits that can trap acidic cleaning products. This means the stone can degrade slowly over time.
ACIDS TO AVOID ON GRANITE
Many common household cleaning products can damage granite countertops and floors. You are unlikely to see the damage for some time, by which point your countertops will appear dull and may even have visible indentions. Avoid any products that contain acids, including citric acid. Acidic foods such as vinegar, wine, lemon juice, pineapple, and tomatoes can also cause damage to natural stone.
CAN ETCHING BE REPAIRED?
Etch marks and dullness on granite can sometimes be repaired, but it’s not a DIY task. This is because the polished surface of the granite has been chemically damaged, so it’s not a matter of simply cleaning or buffing the stone. If your granite has already been damaged by harmful cleaning products, you will likely need to have the stone professionally refinished and repolished.
HOW TO PREVENT DAMAGE TO YOUR GRANITE
It’s important to know how to clean granite and maintain it. The best way to prevent damage to your granite counter tops is to use the right cleaning and sealing products. To prevent a hazy film, use a granite-safe cleaner like Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®. Your granite should also be sealed regularly to prevent chemicals and liquids from seeping into the porous stone and causing damage. To seal your granite, apply a granite sealer in three-foot sections. Immediately buff the sealer into the stone with a clean cloth until dry before moving on to the next section.
I have to credit the original authors of this article over at Granite Gold for their words of Wisdom. The original article can be found Here.
For the last few weeks, I have been looking out into my garden and making mental plans on what needs sorting out now that Winter has officially finished and Spring is finally here (well calendar wise, it doesn’t feel like spring yet temperature wise).
My eye is constantly drawn to the sorry state of my once proud patio, (I say drawn, it is more like an unconscious desire not to look at the Jurassic state of the lawn and flower beds at the moment). The slabs now have a distinctive greenish hue and look decidedly furry in bright sunlight and provided the weather holds for the weekend, I have to tackle the undergrowth (so the other half keeps telling me!).
Braving a short excursion to the shed tells me I am going to need to buy some proper stone cleaning liquids. A little bit of research later and I have found the two products that suit my purposes exactly and they are both from the same company.
Firstly, to give the flagstones a proper deep clean, I use HG Hagesan Patio Cleaner. Simple to use, wet the patio first and get rid of any puddles, dilute 1 litre of cleaner with 4 litres of water in a bucket or large bowl and get scrubbing, I like to use a proper Deck Scrubber Brush or hard wearing stiff bristled handheld scrubbing brush. Once you have done that, go and have a cup of tea, just don’t allow the liquid to dry out. When you have had your libation of choice, just rinse off with water (a garden hose will make short work of the rinsing process).
Now, to tackle the green and furry growth that has infected my nice (now clean) flagstone slabs, I use HG Hagesan Algae and Mould Remover, this is potent stuff and definitely gets the job done, dilute at about 1:20 water (500ml or half the bottle is about a decent sized bucket full) and “water” the affected area with a watering can of the mixture. You do need to give this time to work, it is going to need at least 36 hours really so best to put this down on a Friday evening and come back to it on Sunday afternoon. After this time, you can just brush or hose away the dead moss and algae and you will be left with paving or patio slabs that look like they were just laid the previous day.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture to show you how the patio turned out because I forgot to take a before photo D’oh!
At least now the patio is done and I can then turn my attention to the jungle that is the lawn, that is another weekends work.
A nice sunny day, top down, the open road and the wind in your hair, Maybe a trip to the coast or just head off into the countryside, we all love a nice trip out. Problem is when you finally get back home again, does your car look like this at all?
It looks like you have half the country’s bug population splattered all over your paintwork and windscreen. Bugs on the windscreen are a major problem, especially if you still have miles to go before your destination, not only do they look horrible but they pose a danger to your visual acuity and the wipers and screen wash only tend to make matters worse.
It is vital that you take the time to get the remains off your paintwork as soon as possible and I mean as soon as possible, not next Sunday when you were planning to wash the car, I mean right now.
All us motorists know about bird droppings and the effect they have on your lovely shiny paintwork, well you may not realise that insides of your average bug is highly acidic so you can imagine what damage the couple of hundred or so currently adorning your bonnet and front bumper is doing to your finish if you do not act quickly.
A bucket and sponge and warm soapy water won’t get the job done, it may remove the lumpy bits, but not without some considerable effort, especially if you have left them to mature for a few days, but at that point, the damage has already been done and your pristine shine has turned to this.
Once it has reached that stage, you are going to need professional help or worse a respray and both those options can cost ££££££’s.
A much more wallet friendly approach is to use a dedicated bug remover, one of the best is by McKlords who make the best selling Inspired range of cleaning products.
The V12 Advanced Bug and Tar Remover is specially formulated to remove the bugs with ease without undue elbow grease and will not leave any streaks. It does this in a fraction of the time it will take with ordinary soap and water and will not damage the paint or leave a residue when dry. It also works on the glass of your windscreen and the plastics of your headlamps and number plates.
Personally, I keep a bottle in the glovebox along with a good microfibre cloth, that way I can tackle the bugs as soon as I get home. Click the green link above and purchase some for yourself, you won’t regret it.
Ants tend to keep the same nest for several years at a time if not disturbed and while a cold winter can wipe out a local ant colony, we have had the 3rd warmest winter in 100 years and a warm spring too, conditions are just about perfect for ants to mate and thrive.
The most common ant species in the UK is the Black Garden ant, which generally lives outside in nutrient-rich, moist environments. During the spring and summer, they are often found in the warm, damp area beneath paving slabs. They frequently make their way indoors in search of food and additional places to nest. Should they find a food source, the ants will lay down a chemical trail to give other ants a signal to follow, causing a potential problem to quickly escalate in your home.
Preventing an ant problem all starts with simple hygiene. Storing food in sealed containers and wiping down surfaces will go a long way to keeping your home ant free. If caught early, ant issues can be dealt with quickly and easily. A range of products are available for use indoors and outdoors, in the form of sprays and powders, and nests can be treated with a killer gel which the ants themselves then help spread within their nest.
However, immovable infestations may require professional attention to effectively and finally deal with the problem, particularly if the ants have found their way into wall voids or under floor tiles.
There could also be an increase in the number of Flying Ants – these are the males and new queens produced by the black garden ant colony, growing up to three times the size of their peers. The goal of the flying ants is to breed and build new nests in other areas creating a potential pest nuisance for the following season. On a side note, flying ants make a tasty inflight snack for most common garden birds so if you see a large flock of birds suddenly appear over your house or garden around sunset / early evening then chances are you have flying ants in your immediate area.
Tips to prevent ant problems:
Exercise good hygiene
When there is a spillage or mess, clean it up as soon as possible. Once ants have found their food they leave chemical trails to lead other ants to the area. Be sure to clean up sticky messes, shut food containers properly, and don’t leave washing up to fester. Also keep surfaces clean and clear of food, so there won’t be anything to attract them.
Regular deep clean
Aside from maintaining a hygienic environment on a day to day basis, a regular, proactive cleaning regime plays an important role in avoiding an unwelcome visit from ants. Pay particular attention to those hard to reach places, which could be fostering the moist conditions craved by ants. Cleaning also disrupts the chemical trail left by ants.
Keep an eye out for any ants outside your home
Most patios are laid on sand, and ants will often emerge between the cracks to find and carry food. By watching where the ants disappear into the crack, you’ll be able to locate the nest and have a place to aim that ant killer spray before it spreads any further.
As shown in the picture, the finely granulated soil on the pathway is a clear indication of an inhabited Ant colony and also marks the main entry / exit of the nest.
As the summer progresses and the weather stays hopefully warm, remember to check below windows before throwing them open and keep a close eye on any paving slabs or patio areas you have in your garden for the signs of an ant colony under your feet.
Have you got a stone path or patio that looks like this?
Did you use grass fertilizer recently?
What you are looking at is Rust. Many fertilizers on the market today contain a small percentage of iron. Fertilizers with iron are commonly used to create a greener, healthier lawn by preventing and correcting yellowing from iron or manganese deficiencies. But they also have a downside. If you manage to get any fertilizer particles on your stone path or patio and don’t remove them, the iron in the granules that settled onto your nice patio or pathway, probably by accident whilst you were spreading the fertiliser, when wet will oxidize and shortly afterwards start to show up as rust stains. These rust stains are extremely hard to remove until now.
It was originally formulated for textile use, getting rust stains from clothing, however people discovered it also works at removing rust spots from concrete paths and driveways, it worked so well in fact, that HG included it on the product label.
All you have to do is soak a cloth in the product, place the cloth on the rust spots for a few minutes to give the liquid time to work into the concrete, leave it to work for a couple of hours.
Get a bucket with hot soapy water and a brush and scrub the wet brush over the stains and they will just lift right off, leaving you with a pristine looking path or drive again.
Unfortunately the product is only available in one size (50ml) but what price can you put on something that actually works even though it was never originally designed to do so.
Of the course the best answer is to the read the small print on the container of Grass Fertilizer before using and take heed. Avoid getting it on your path or patios in the first place!
So you have built a pond, look great don’t they, the centerpiece of the garden, they are great to sit out beside on a warm Summer day, the gentle tinkle of the water feature and the splash of the Koi you spent more money on than you should have done because the guy in the garden centre said “you have to have Koi, can’t have a pond without Koi”.
Problem is, they can soon become something that resembles scenes from that Burt Reynolds movie Deliverance, you know, the one with the banjos.
Green Algae, the bane of every pond owners existence, it develops during the Winter months but will erupt suddenly in the Spring as the weather warms up, literally overnight, your once crystal clear, beautiful pond now looks like 5,000 litres of Pea Soup.
Well don’t worry, you do not have to spend ages, draining the pond, scrubbing it clean and re-filling it, there is a much more simple solution.
It uses naturally occurring bacteria, about 8 billion of them in a single sachet, what they will do is break down and kill the algae, both the Phytoplanktonic (the pea soup variety) and the Benthic (the stringy hairlike variety), the dead algae then rise to the surface where they can be skimmed off, a similar principle to how Professional Chefs create Consomé using egg white, just on a larger scale.
Just drop a sachet into the pond and wait. It will dissolve and begin to break down the algae. Because it is 100% naturally organic bacteria, it is harmless to Fish and other life in your pond and it even digests excess organic matter like fish poop, leaving your pond as clean and clear as the day you first filled it.
The best time to do this is late March / early April, before the algae really has time to develop but will still work if used later in the year.
The Garden Genie Pond Clarifier is the simplest and least expensive option over inline clarifiers that need to be plumbed into your pond’s water filters. For the price of a goldfish, you can return your pond to its pristine condition and enjoy seeing the Koi that you haven’t told the wife how expensive they were.
*Warning: The subject matter discussed in this blog may induce feelings of YUK! and OMG! and in extreme cases EEEWWWWW!! It is recommended not to read during your lunch break*
You may not be aware of this, but when you brush your teeth, you are putting more than just a brush and toothpaste into your mouth, your toothbrush is also home to microscopic particles of fecal matter, you read that right, you are brushing your teeth with poop and it probably isn’t yours either.
There is a phenomena known as Toilet Plume, this occurs every time you flush. When a falling body of water meets a still body of water, it creates a plume of spray, imagine Niagara Falls but in your bathroom.
These droplets are so small, you can’t see them and because they are so small they can be carried in the air for up to 90 minutes before settling. Think of the size of your bathroom and what you have in there. Imagine if someone in your household is Ill, how often do you have to flush to completely clear the bowl?, twice?, three times? all you are doing is perpetuating the plume with each successive flush and of course you are spreading the germs further into the room.
You can’t stop this from happening, but you can severely restrict it with one simple action, close the lid BEFORE flushing the Toilet.
This one act, will contain the plume to the immediate toilet area because the contents of the bowl will not be able to atomise completely and will be larger in droplet size which will be much heavier and settle almost immediately where they can be dealt with easily and hygienically.
A good spritz with HG Toilet Area Cleaner (⇐ click the link to purchase) a couple of times a day or after each use if you wish, will keep your toilet area and bathroom an awful lot cleaner and germ free.
You can also minimise the chances of picking up any unpleasant bugs by keeping toothbrushes and mouthwash in closed cabinets or at least covered when not in use.
Right, now that I am done making everyone feel queasy, i’m off to Boots to replace my toothbrush.
HG Terracotta Remover should remove most other water-based polishes or waxes – however we cannot guarantee that it will remove all other manufacturers products.
For the removal of stubborn dirt dilute 1:5 with water. For the removal of polishes or wax use undiluted.
Apply to the floor with a mop and leave to work for several minutes. If necessary scrub the floor. Then mop up with a mop or cloth.
Coverage: 10 to 15 m² per litre undiluted or 30 – 50 m² per litre diluted.
a) Removing cement, plaster, builders dust, grout residue/film use: HG Cement Grout Film Remover (HG Extra).
Dilute with water a solution of 1:4 is used. Apply liberally and spread over the floor covering no more than 10-15 m² at a time. Leave to work for 15-20 minutes, keeping the floor wet.
Scrub thoroughly with a pad or a stiff scrubbing brush and mop up. Rinse well (2-3 times) with water.
Coverage: 1 litre for 20-50 m².
b) Removing stubborn cement, grout, white bloom, salt deposits (efflorescence*) and mortar use:HG Cement, Mortar and Efflorescence Remover.
*Efflorescence is caused by soluble salts transferred by water, being drawn towards a drying surface by the movement of water. At the surface the water responsible for the transportation of the salts evaporates leaving behind the salts as a surface deposit.
Depending on the degree of residues dilute 1:4 to 1:10 with water. Apply and spread with a scrubbing brush or pad.
Leave to work for a couple of minutes. Scrub thoroughly till clean then rinse off with plenty of water. Repeat if necessary.
1 litre approx. 20 to 40 m².
c) Removing surface Oil and Grease Stains use:HG Spot Stain Remover
First mix by shaking the bottle before. Can be used concentrated on severe staining, otherwise dilute 1:5 with warm water, apply and spread over the area.
Use a scrubbing pad or brush. Scrub and leave to work for 5-10 minutes. When staining has been loosened, mop up and rinse off thoroughly with plenty of clean water. Treatment may need to be repeated.
d) For Oil and Grease Stains on porous Terracotta useHG Oil and Grease Absorber
Stir well. Use a palette knife or spoon and apply approximately 1/2 cm thick coating to the stain.
Apply around the edges of the stain moving towards the middle. Wait for at least 4 hours, until it has dried completely into an easily removable ‘cake’.
e) Removing Floor Glue Residues use:HG Floor Glue Remover
Extensive remements must first be perforated using a pricking roller or a similar tool. Remover must be able to penetrate very well into the glue layer to be effective.
Remaining glue should be well covered using a brush. After 10-15 minutes scrape off the glue using a filling knife.
Repeat the treatment, if necessary allowing longer to work.
Finally rinse the surface with water and allow it to dry.
Coverage: 0.5 – 1 litre per m²
Once the floor has been cleaned we recommend checking to see if the floor requires sealing. Carry out a porosity test to see if the tiles are porous.
Use a tablespoon of water on the tile. If after 5-10 minutes none of the water has been absorbed into the surface the surface is sealed (not porous) and you can skip to step no. 3 – Finishing.
If however the water is absorbed into the surface of the tile we would recommend using HG Impregnating Sealerto seal.
This will make the tile non-porous making the tile impervious to water and water-based staining.
Rinse the floor with a lot of warm water (after cleaning) and leave to dry for 3 days before sealing (floor must be completely dry).
Use neat, evenly, in one direction with our Superfine Roller or a Non-Fluffy Cloth. After a maximum of 5 minutes HG Impregnator is drawn into the surface. Remove any excess immediately after this 5 minutes with a dry cloth, dampened if necessary with white spirit. If the Impregnator is fully absorbed and no surplus is required to be wiped off, a second/third treatment may be needed until the Impregnator is no longer absorbed.
After treatment the surface should retain a matt appearance. Allow 2 hours before applying a second or more coats depending on porosity. After approx. 4 hours the surface can be walked upon.
Coverage approx. 8-10 m² per litre. 5 m² for 2 coats.
Then it is all about the finish you prefer. You have four choices.
a) If you are happy with the colour and matt finish after sealing you can just use HG Terracotta Clean and Shineas a regular maintenance product.
Use diluted as necessary: 100ml (1 cup) to 5 litres (1/2 bucket) of warm water for cleaning floors. Increase strength if floor requires it.
Scrub or mop the floor as necessary. Smooth tiles can usually be mopped clean but it may be advisable to scrub tiles with a rustic surface.
Wring the mop in a separate bucket of clean water to avoid soiling the solution. The water can be changed as it becomes dirty. This save wasting the clean solution.
Do not rinse the floor after cleaning because you will remove the shine compounds left by the product. Allow to dry naturally.
b) Or use HG Terracotta Shine Seal to give a shine/gloss and a protective coating.
Use neat. Do not pour directly onto the floor. Apply with either a Non-Fluffy Cloth (perhaps wrapped around a floor mop), a Mohair Paint Roller. (not foam or wool) or with a wax-applicator moistened with HG Terracotta Shine Seal. Apply thinly and evenly in one direction. Several thinly applied coats are better than one thick coat.
Allow to dry for at least 45 minutes before applying the next coat to achieve a smooth shining finish. The floor can be walked on after approximately 3 hours. After 3 days the product is completely hardened.
The stain resistance of the floor can also be increased by applying additional coats.
Coverage: 20-25 m² per litre.
c) Or you if you prefer a wax to enhance, deepen or change the colour of the terracotta and give a rich shine you can use HG Terracotta Wax available in two colours.
Should be applied at surrounding temperatures of above 15 degrees celsius. Apply at 20 degrees celsius (warm by immersing the bottle in warm water, pouring it into a bucket and stirring thoroughly) with a soft brush evenly across the tiles and grout joints. Max 2 m² at a time.
Wax should then be rubbed in thoroughly and polished with a cloth or buffing machine.
Coverage: 2.5 – 10 m² per litre.
After application, wax should be left for at least two weeks (to cure).
Clean the floor with HG Terracotta Remover to ensure good adhesion with the wax. Allow to dry thoroughly (3 days).
Do not shake before use. Apply with a clean, damp, Non-Fluffy Cloth wrapped around a floor mop.
Pour a little onto floor as well as onto cloth and apply evenly and thinly in one direction. Do not rub in or polish.
Coverage:25-40 m² per litre.