Freeloading pigeon has new role on Brighton line trains

Pigeon fare dodger image by Robert MacMillan (via Shutterstock).
A fare dodging pigeon waiting for the 1652 to Marlow at Cookham station. We think. Image by Robert MacMillan (via Shutterstock).

Whether you leave your train at Liverpool Lime Street, or any of the Manchester stations, the next people you notice on leaving the train are the ticket barrier staff. Northern and Merseyrail hire Revenue Protection Officers from an external body and stop fare dodgers from freeloading. In the animal kingdom, only those of the winged or small furry variety can negotiate their way past the ticket barriers. With the former, pretty straightforward. Especially when you happen to be a pigeon without a Season Ticket or a Permit To Travel.

Continue reading “Fare Dodging Pigeon Cleans Trains”

A handful of songs which could be dedicated to industrial cleaning – and the odd group with cleaning themed connections

Industrial cleaning songs record player image by Indigolotos (via Shutterstock).
You’re listening to CleanHire 320, and here’s today’s cleaning tune countdown… (Image by Indigolotos, via Shutterstock)

In the good old days of local radio, we at Clean Hire would have been familiar with Clive Tyldesley’s commentary on Radio City. Or Billy Butler’s wisecracks – also seen on the BBC and the long-forgotten Saturday morning television programme, The Mersey Pirate. Till Doctor Fox spoiled the party, Radio City, Piccadilly Radio, and the other independent stations had their own singles chart. Supposing Clean Hire had its own station, our ten songs would have a cleaning theme. Such as these seen below.

Continue reading “Ten Industrial Cleaning Themed Songs”

A look at the 1980s’ successful orange Vax vacuum cleaner

Vax advert still
A still from the 1990 Vax television advert.

It is hard to imagine an era without wet and dry vacuum cleaners for domestic use. Carpet cleaning at one point meant a separate device or a bottle of carpet cleaner. This meant a vacuum cleaner for dust and a carpet shampooer for cleaning your Axminster. In 1977, Alan Brazier had a cunning plan when he formed Vax UK Ltd.

Continue reading “Iconic Vacuum Cleaners: The Vax 111 Orange Tub”

Two cleaning positions advertised on The Royal Household website, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Windsor Castle

HM The Queen Cleaning Jobcentre Card
By Royal Appointment: two cleaning positions at HM, The Queen’s desirable residences.

Fed up with your present position? Sick of the same superstore shelves ad infinitum? Fancy a change of scenery? The Royal Household is asking for two cleaners; one at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and the other one at Windsor Castle. As advertised on The Royal Household’s website, cleaning positions are available on a full time or a part time basis.

Continue reading “One’s Applying for a Cleaning Job”

How a collection of 300 vacuum cleaners are proving to be a headache for Steve

Modern Day Cylinder Vacuum
A modern day cylinder vacuum cleaner. Image by Cheshmeh Studio (via Shutterstock).

Many moons ago, we looked at the Vacuum Cleaner Museum in Heanor, Derbyshire. The visitor attraction is undoubtedly the place to go to if you love your vacuum cleaners. Claiming to have the third largest collection of vacuum cleaners in the United Kingdom is Steve Cook. The 38-year-old from Swindon has 300 items in his collection.

He has been interested in vacuum cleaners since he was a child. One day, his father, a school caretaker at the time, brought home a Hoover Constellation vacuum cleaner. Steve had a bash at trying to repair the dome-shaped cleaner. Though his attempt at electrical repairs was unsuccessful, it became the first of many additions to his collection.

The rarest model in his collection of 300 vacuum cleaners is the Hoover Powerdrive. Released in the mid-1970s, few models were manufactured. A halfway house between a Hoover Junior and a Hoover Turbopower vacuum cleaner, it cost the equivalent of £600 in today’s money. Steve has spent over £10,000 on vacuum cleaners in the last thirty years. One of his finds include a Moulinex Major – purchased for the princely sum of £2.00 at a carboot sale in Peterborough.

Courtesy of The London Economist blog, here’s what Steve Cook has to say about his collection in video form.

We wonder how he manages his to keep his floor clean, or find enough space for them. His 300 vacuum cleaners are almost taking over his one bedroom flat.  So much so that he has stored some of his collection in a lock-up garage.

Clean Hire, 03 March 2017.

Tefal takes on the vacuum cleaner market alongside Dyson with a new bagless cleaner

Non Stick Frying Pan
A Non-Stick Frying Pan: one of Tefal’s best known product lines. Image by Family Business (via Shutterstock).

Tefal: what is the first thing you think of when you hear the name Tefal? The first thing that springs to mind is cheese toasties. Teasmades and kettles. Anything to do with cheese and bacon or both, or chips. The brand name is a portmanteau of the first three letters of Teflon and the first two letters of the Aluminium. But vacuum cleaners???

We have learned from the Which? Magazine website how Tefal’s creation will give James Dyson and Co. a run for their money. As with Britain’s market leading manufacturer of cyclonic vacuum cleaners, Tefal’s models are bagless. It is claimed their models have powerful suction capabilities, capturing 99.98% of dust.

Their most powerful cleaner, the Tefal Air Force Extreme TY8865HO has a 6200 rpm motor with a delta shaped brush head, headlights, and a lithium battery. It is a lightweight rechargeable cordless cleaner with a powerful motor, a bit like a Jack Russell Terrier at full tilt. After charging, the vacuum cleaner is operational for five minutes shy of an hour. The recommended selling price for the 25 volt cordless vacuum cleaner is £270.

Should every home have one?

There has been favourable reviews for Tefal’s entry into the high powered world of vacuum cleaner manufacturing and design. We like the sleek slimline looks and think the Air Force Extreme range are a useful sidearm for your home. Get one for the stairs: there’s no need to worry about the hose or tripping over the flex.

The Tefal Air Force Extreme range of vacuum cleaners are readily available from most electrical shops and online retailers. Please note that some models come under the Rowenta name.


Clean Hire, 15 February 2017.

5p bag levy sees fewer single use carrier bags

Carrier bags by Monticello (via Shutterstock).
Less waste: with fewer carrier bags being taken at the checkout, the 5p levy has resulted in more people reusing previously purchased bags. Image by Monticello (via Shutterstock).


This time one year ago, the 5p bag levy was akin to being the spawn of Satan. For a time, charging for carrier bags seemed like Armageddon for some commentators (though Kwik Save did so from the 1980s till its demise in 2007). Almost to the point it was claimed that oceans would rise; that house prices would fall; and that aeroplanes would fall from the sky. A year on, none of the hysterics happened. We lived our lives normally and adapted to the changes pretty well.

How well did we adjust to the five pence levy? Very well indeed. A survey from Cardiff University has noticed some changes in shoppers’ habits since its imposition. Though similar schemes are successful in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, its success in England was a potentially sterner test. The results are staggering. It was stated that:

  • 90% of shoppers reuse their carrier bags;
  • Only 7% of shoppers opt for carrier bags at the checkout;
  • One in two shoppers take their own bags for the carriage of clothing;
  • Increased support for 5p levy – and similar waste management levies for plastic water bottles.

As a result of the five pence levy, 90% of us shoppers reuse previously purchased carrier bags. Alongside single use bags that are widely available, this has meant reusable jute bags, rucksacks, and longer lasting ‘Bag For Life’ plastic carrier bags. As a consequence, only 7% of shoppers buy a bag each time they visit their local shops. This is a substantial drop from 25% in October 2015.

With clothiers eschewing plastic bags in favour of fashionable paper-based carrier bags, more shoppers have elected to reuse them instead of plumping for new bags. Last October, 10% of those surveyed did just that. Today, this figure stands at 50%.

Professor Wouter Poortinga, who headed the study at Cardiff University said: “Overall, our research has shown that the English carrier bag charge has had a strong and positive impact on people’s attitudes and behaviours and that it successfully disrupted people using plastic bags.

“We’ve seen that the charge has become increasingly popular with the English population since it was introduced, and that it has changed attitudes towards waste policies as well.”

Increased support for five pence levy and similar waste management schemes

In spite of the doomsday predictions from some quarters, 51% of shoppers favoured the 5p levy on the 05 October 2015. Today, this figure has climbed to 62%. Plus, there is increased support for the extension of similar schemes. For example, a levy on plastic water bottles. Or a much needed boost for rinse and return schemes (who remembers returning empty pop bottles to the local off-licence?). Among the suggestions mooted is a deposit scheme for plastic bottles, or a levy on disposable coffee cups.

So far, Starbucks Coffee rewards its customers with a modest discount for using their own mug instead of a disposable one. This is one small step, but advertising it as a discount for individual mugs rather than a levy for disposables is the way to go. So far, for disposable cup recycling, this is only the beginning.

Overview: Carrier Bag Charges

There has been a 5p levy on carrier bags in England since the 05 October 2015. Retail businesses with fewer than 200 employees are exempt from the charge, which should benefit independent shops. Furthermore, free carrier bags can only be dispensed if used to carry fresh food (for example: meat from the local butchers, or a small bag for the carriage of takeaway food including sandwiches).

For more details, GOV.UK has a helpful guide, which includes a video clip.

Clean Hire, 30 September 2016.

Shocking findings on why a coffee mug is best washed at home

Unwashed mug by Anton Watman
Home is Where Your Mug Should Be Washed: the University of Arizona’s research recommends washing your works mug at home, in a dishwasher. Image by Anton Watman (via Shutterstock).


The works kitchen or brewing up area is in many cases a good help for many colleagues. It saves on the cost of several Costabucks coffees. Some have microwave ovens which are good for warming up food from home. Some even have dishwashers. Nothing beats being able to use your own mug as well.

But – and this is a massive but – the University of Arizona has revealed a study that would chill Britain’s tea lovers to the bone. With the communal nature of the office or site kitchen, the chances of bacteria are far greater. You may be better off eating your sandwiches off the floor after one of Clean Hire’s industrial vacuums have put in a shift.

The report was created by Charles Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at University of Arizona. He said that washing up sponges are a magnet for bacteria, owing to the amount of mugs that have been cleaned. Instead of one mug, the same sponge may have been used on twenty of them.

Though a little inconvenient, he suggests getting your favourite coffee mug washed at home. If available, in a dishwasher. There are two figures alone, which are a good enough reason for carting your mug on the 1754 train from St. Helens Junction (other National Rail stations are available of course). Firstly, 90% – yes a staggering 90% – of cups in the control group harboured dangerous germs like e Coli and salmonella.

Secondly, 20% of mugs contained traces of faecal matter. This due to some colleagues who may have refrained from washing their hands after using the toilet.

So, the moral of the story is: whilst at home, wash your office mug in the dishwasher. You could consider using paper cups, but tea in a styrofoam or paper cup can never beat a proper mug.

Clean Hire, 19 September 2016

How a central vacuum cleaner, underneath the former West Side Line in New York City aims to keep the city’s much-loved elevated park in tip-top condition.

High Line Corridor NYC image

A revolutionary system of pneumatic tubes is set to improve the cleanliness of one of New York City’s most popular open spaces. Pneumatic tubes, akin to a giant central vacuum cleaner, will be used to keep the High Line linear park clean. It is part of a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in NYC by 80%, by 2050.

All of the tubes will be placed underneath the park’s elevated walkway, which is 1.5 mile in length from The West Village to 34th Street. The city’s proposed network of tubes is inspired by a similar system on Roosevelt Island and is championed by ClosedLoops, who have overseen the project’s development since 2010.

At pedestrian level, there will be a trio of bins every few yards. One bin will be used for the disposal of food waste (half-eaten burgers and sandwiches) with a second one for recyclable refuse, and a third one for non-recyclable rubbish. These will be connected to a pneumatic tube. There will be a separate pneumatic tube for restaurant food waste and a branch from Chelsea Market.

Like an enormous central vacuum cleaner, the allegorical vacuum bags will be the system’s anaerobic digestion facilities. The waste is containerised and sent by rail for recycling. Its railhead is a few yards from the northern end of High Line park (which is the junction of 34th Street and 12th Avenue).

As part of its environmental strategy, the giant central vacuum cleaner will see fewer dustcarts along the High Line park. The idea’s nothing new; it is reminiscent of similar practices In the UK with local authority housing estates. Known as the Garchey system, the waste disposal unit of a sink would be an outlet for disposing refuse.

This was implemented in the now-demolished Quarry Hill Flats in Leeds, and at the soon to be fully-refurbished Park Hill Estate in Sheffield. As waste consumption increased due to consumer spending, its limitations were evident. New York’s scheme aims to improve on previous practices and we think they could be on to a winner.

Clean Hire, 14 September 2016.