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Dishing the dirt on cleaning your home

It takes a bright spring evening for many of us to notice the smudges and and fingerprints on the windows.

It can also take the blinding spring light to alert us to dustballs in corners, coffee-cup rings on furniture, and clutter on shelves which you have no explanation for.

It's like returning home to find you are on Aggie and Kim's waiting list for How Clean Is Your House. And you've no idea how those giant cobwebs got there because you've never seen a spider about the place.

Fear not, as to the rescue is Patricia O'Neill, a qualified accountant who set up the cleaning company Aboutime.ie six years ago when she was trying to get a cleaner for her own home.

"It is when most of us look around and see things we haven't noticed all winter," says Patricia.

It's understandable if you'd rather be lying by a pool in Mauritius, but cleaning needs must, so get on your rubber gloves and start scrubbing with the help of Patricia's great tips.

Patricia says: "The most important thing to do when cleaning is to think before you start. Make sure you have everything you need to do the job including bucket, cloths, products -- and keep them together in the bucket.

"Invest in a good supply of cleaning cloths and change them frequently -- otherwise you are just moving dirt from one place to another.

"Remember, your best friend when cleaning is water. Cleaning products are just a helpful extra so don't over use them. They are expensive, can damage surfaces and are not good for the environment."