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Power Point (Glos) Ltd
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Last month I talked about the best ways of cleaning a refrigerator. This time I am going to run through the basics of safely storing food in a fridge or freezer.

One of the worst things we can do is throw out food because it has gone off. It is bad for the environment and a waste of your money. Sensible storage can cut down this food waste dramatically.

First things first. Always wash your hands before handling food, whether it is cooking or putting away. Most fridges have a meat locker at the bottom of the fridge. Use this to store raw meat, poultry and fish away from other foods so they can’t be contaminated.

Make sure that the temperature of your fridge is 40 degrees F or cooler and that your freezer is 0 degrees F.

Storing Leftovers – perishable foods should be frozen or refrigerated within two hours. As a general guide, leftovers should be eaten within four days.

Store any food in tight-fitting, shallow containers. Glass has the advantage of being easy to check the contents and may also be microwaveable.

Storing Fruit & Veg – some items are not suitable for storing in a fridge as they can give off ethylene gas which can cause other vegetables to spoil prematurely. These items should not be in your fridge – avocados, bananas, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums and tomatoes. Beware of storing fruit and vegetables in air-tight bags as this can speed up the decay process.

Freezing Foods – food to be frozen should be kept in air-tight packages. Clearly label your foods and add the date. Preferably store in portion sizes so they can be easily reheated.
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I am sure you are aware of the importance of keeping your refrigerator clean and tidy to ensure your food is stored safely and hygienically. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.

I always recommend planning a regular cleaning schedule and sticking to it. In the case of your refrigerator it also pays to run your eye over the interior on a daily basis so that you can clean up any spillages as soon as possible.

When it comes to cleaning products I favour natural products whenever possible. Ordinary baking soda, for instance, is fantastic at removing stains and also absorbing any unpleasant odours.

White vinegar is excellent for cleaning stainless steel including whole doors if you have a stainless steel fridge. It is usually advisable to try a small area first to check there are no adverse effects.

Under no circumstances is it advisable to use bleach or disinfectant in a refrigerator. They contain very strong chemicals which could make people ill.

Some general kitchen cleaning products, such as surface wipes infused with citrus oils are usable but avoid any other products.

Key steps to clean a refrigerator:

1. Remove all food and containers from the refrigerator. It sounds obvious I know but many people try to clean around items. By removing them you can access all corners and surfaces.
2. Take out the drawers and shelves and soak with warm water with dishwashing soap. Rinse and wipe clean before returning them to the refrigerator.
3. Wipe all internal surfaces with warm water with dishwashing liquid.
4. If you encounter stubborn stains use baking soda to remove them. Apply a mixture of soda and a little water and leave for an hour or so before wiping clean with a damp sponge or cloth.
5. If you do use commercial cleaning products be sure to read the instructions and follow them carefully.

The result should be a sparkling tidy and safe refrigerator!
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I know loading the washing machine seems a simple task, but just remembering a few things can avoid potentially expensive disasters!

To start with, check all pockets are empty. Look for things like coins and keys, especially electronic car keys which are especially susceptible to water damage.

It also pays to do up zippers and make sure all buttons are undone and sleeves rolled down. The agitation of a washing cycle can cause buttons to tear in their buttonholes, for instance. To cut down on possible fading turn dark clothes, such as jeans, inside out.

Finally check care labels in case any items need special laundry treatment.

Distribute the clothing evenly and loosely in the machine and avoid overloading. The largest load of laundry should not take up more than three quarters of the drum. If using a top loader, do not load clothes above the agitator.

There are practical reasons for avoiding overloading. Clothes packed in too tightly can become creased and may not be completely washed. Too many garments mean less room for the water so again the quality of the cleaning may suffer.

In addition consistent overloading can cost you money. It may lead to damage to the machine’s frame or motor which can result in expensive repairs or replacement.

Finally, make sure you use the right amount of detergent. Too much creates extra suds which can carry soil, dirt and bacteria high up into the tub and leave an unpleasant residue. Also note that too much soap can make the rinse cycle less effective.
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I know that cleaning your oven racks is a time consuming and down-right dirty job but it is one that needs to be done.

Here are some simple and practical ways of dealing with the chore.

• Dryer Sheets & Dishwashing Liquid – Line your bath carefully with dryer sheets and put the oven racks on top of them. Then fill the bath with enough warm water to cover the racks and add half a cup of dishwashing liquid. Allow to soak overnight and drain in the morning, wiping the racks clean with the dryer cloths. The bath can then be easily rinsed clean.

• Baking Soda & Vinegar – Place the racks in the bath without any water in it. Sprinkle baking soda over them and then pour on the vinegar. There should be plenty of foaming, which is normal. When the foaming stops run enough hot water in the bath to cover the racks. Let them sit overnight and rub clean the following morning with any old cloth. Rinse thoroughly before replacing the racks in the oven.

• Dishwasher Soap Bath – Once again, you will be using your bathtub. This time line it with some old towels and carefully place the racks on them. Pour in enough hot water to cover the racks. Add a cup of dishwasher granules and leave to soak overnight. Rinse in the morning and wipe clean with a cloth.

• Commercial Cleaning Products – nearly all commercial cleaning products produce toxic fumes so make sure to clean the racks outdoors. Lay down some old newspapers or similar and place the racks on top. Put on some protective rubber gloves and spray the racks on both sides. Leave to sit for at least ten minutes and then scrub with an old cloth or rag. Rinse thoroughly before replacing the racks in the oven.
Keep Your Oven Racks Clean!
Keep Your Oven Racks Clean!
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Kristie Allsopp in Washing Machine Furore!I don’t follow many so-called twitter storms but the reports of one recently may me smile.

Location, Location, Location presenter Kristie Allsopp announced on social media “It’s disgusting, my life’s work is in part dedicated to getting washing machines out of the kitchen”.

The topic arose in response to a comment from someone saying that American work colleagues were confused by the British practice of siting their washing machine in the kitchen. It seems that in America and many parts of Europe washing machines are located in bathrooms or dedicated laundry or utility rooms.

"Bathroom, hall cupboard, airing cupboard, google tiny laundry rooms", commented Kristie.

However it is not that simple with British homes. Unless they are built with a laundry/utility room the washing machine seems to be logically situated in the kitchen. Don’t forget that there are no electrical sockets in UK bathrooms for safety reasons.

The debate went on. "Really? We live in a moderately-sized, four-bed semi and couldn't fit a washing machine anywhere other than the kitchen!" remarked one Twitter user.

Attempting to defuse the debate Kristie commented “Please note there is a degree of humour in this debate, no need to take it quite so seriously”.

Someone called Nick had an alternative solution. “I keep my washing machine at my Nan’s house. Saves her getting the bus to mine”.

How thoughtful of you Nick!
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To my mind this is one of the most common problems that occur with fridges or freezers but one that can be readily dealt with. The visible sign of a problem is the build-up of one of two types of ice.

Most often powdered ice is the problem. It has the appearance almost of snow and is found in freezers or ice boxes. The cause is condensation. Warm air from outside the appliance is somehow getting in and then turning to ice when it meets the cold air inside.

The things to look for are:

• Door seals not sealing properly
• Door not closing properly
• Door seals that are distorted, torn or split

The other type of ice is solid ice and is usually the result of a water leak of some kind.

If it is possible, arrange to defrost the fridge or freezer. The safest way is to turn it off and let it completely defrost naturally.

Do not attempt to chip the ice off with a sharp implement. You run the risk of damaging the evaporator which will effectively kill your appliance. Your warranty will not cover what is described as ‘customer misuse’.

I do not recommend using electrical means to try and speed up the process such as utilising a hairdryer. Having electricity and water in close proximity can be extremely dangerous.

If you would like us to take a look at your frozen freezer, give our friendly team a call on 01452 730874 and we’ll arrange for an engineer to visit.
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Tuesday 9th May saw some of our staff hard at work on a course – a golf course, that is!

We were pleased to support the latest James Hopkins Trust Charity Golf Day and, although our team didn’t win, we had a marvellous day out mixing with other Gloucester business people.

The event was held at the magnificent Tewkesbury Park Golf and Country Club. Starting the day with bacon butties, we set to on the impressive 6,500 yard par 72 course. I reckon our lads deserved their carvery after spending the day battling through woods and avoiding the water hazards.

The James Hopkins Trust is a Gloucester based charity set up in 1989 to care for babies and children under 5 who have life limiting or life threatening conditions. At present they are supporting 90 children and their families and have helped over 500 children since the charity’s formation.

I am very pleased to say that the day raised just under £10,000 for this fantastic cause. Our team photo features (left to right) Mike Dowdeswell, Josh Fivash, Paul Fivash & Martin Lea.

You can find out more about the James Hopkins Trust here:
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A question I am often asked is how long a washing machine, dryer, dishwasher or fridge freezer will last. I am afraid that there is no set lifetime for any white goods.

I should point out that there is no legal requirement for an appliance or piece of equipment to last a certain time. There are a number of factors which could affect its likely lifespan, however, including the following:

• How often the appliance is used. With cars it is often the case that certain parts have an accepted lifespan and are likely to fail after so many miles have been clocked up. There is no similar rule for appliances, however. As a very rough rule of thumb, low end washing machines are likely to need repair after 600 hours use while the higher end can last for 10,000 hours or more. Logically the more often an appliance is used the quicker it is likely to fail.

• If the appliance is right for the job. A person living on their own is likely to use a tumble dryer fewer times than a family of five so can expect the same appliance to last longer. It really helps if you explain to the salesperson when purchasing an appliance how often it is likely to be used, say once a week as opposed to once a day.

• Breakdowns and component failure. “I only bought my machine two years ago and it needs a new wotsit costing £xx. Can I claim under consumer legislation?” Probably not. Breakdowns and components filing are just facts of life. No appliance will last forever.

For repairs, sales, service and spares for all your white goods throughout Gloucestershire, contact the friendly team at Power Point on 01452 730874 or visit our website
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I don’t want to alarm anyone but I’m sure you have all seen stories in the press recently about tumble dryers being recalled and replacements offered because of the risk of them catching fire.

Unfortunately it is not just tumble dryers as all white goods and many other appliances can be fire hazards. Here are four simple steps you can take to make your home a little bit more safe and secure.

1. Don’t leave appliances running unattended. Now I know it is not possible to watch over every single appliance while it is in use. However, a little common sense goes a long way. It really isn’t a good idea to start the washing machine, dishwasher or tumble dryer and then go out to work or shopping. And it is not wise to let them run while you are in bed overnight either.

2. Read the manual. Boring I know, but it is important to know how to use your appliance safely. User misuse and ignoring manufacturer’s warnings are major factors in many fires caused by appliances.

3. Have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. I realise smoke detectors can be a problem in a kitchen but do considering placing them near your white goods. Having a small fire extinguisher handy that is suitable for dealing with electrical fires is another useful precaution.

4. Register your appliances. Registering your appliance with the manufacturer is vital these days as it allows them to notify you of any safety issues that they become aware of. In fact, it is worthwhile registering to get regular safety updates too.

So don’t have nightmares but do think carefully about the safety of your white goods and a serious incident may be avoided.

For repairs, sales, service and spares for all your white goods throughout Gloucestershire, contact the friendly team at Power Point on 01452 730874 or visit our website
Keeping Your Appliances Safe!
Keeping Your Appliances Safe!
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I am sometimes asked why clothes come out of the wash with small holes in them so I thought I’d do a bit of research. The obvious culprit is the washing machine, but it may not necessarily be so.

The first couple of things I noticed were that the washing machines involved were of different makes and had differing drum sizes. Also the items of clothing affected varied greatly including cotton shirts, t-shirts, denim jeans and skirts and corduroy items.

Possible causes of the problem include:

• The wrong spin speed. This is often the machine manufacturer’s stock answer, that people are selecting a wash cycle with a final spin speed that is too fast. To check you are using the correct programme read the instruction manual or go to the manufacturer’s webpage.

• The drum is overloaded. People often don’t realise that different types of laundry have differing wash load capacities. If these are exceeded the overloading may lead to reduced efficiency or possibly damage to clothing. Once again check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

• There may be an obstruction or damaged drum. I’ve often found loose coins or other small metallic items in with a wash. They can damage the drum or the plastic paddles that support it, resulting in small holes that may snag laundry. Zips and buckles can also cause problems so try turning those items inside out.

• The wrong detergent is used. It is thought that some biological detergents can damage clothing. This appears only to be an issue with silks and woollens though. Undiluted bleach should never be used in a washing machine as it is a corrosive. Even diluted bleach can cause problems.

• Physical wear and tear. This is particularly noticeable with t-shirts. If the holes only appear on the front of the garment then they may be the result of rubbing against jeans, belts or even kitchen worktops.

For repairs, sales, service and spares for all your white goods throughout Gloucestershire, contact the friendly team at Power Point on 01452 730874 or visit our website
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