Ever since we moved to Jakarta, the kids have been falling sick, usually with runny noses and coughs. I blamed it on N initially, thinking that he brought the germs back from school, but C pointed out that N only started school in January 2017, but all three had been unwell on and off since we arrived in November 2016. I don’t know why I didn’t think about it, but when some of the ladies in my SG/Msian whatsapp chat group suggested that we were still adjusting to the air and weather here in Jakarta, it all suddenly made sense. C also had a perpetual runny nose, and I realised that it was most likely because he gets “exposed” to the air a lot more than us, since he goes to work.
Some ladies recommended that we got Blueair air purifiers for our home, as they’ve tried other brands before but felt that the Blueair ones were the most effective. (They’re also probably the most expensive, but the Customer Service is apparently very good, so I guess we’re paying for that too.) We got two Blueair air purifiers for the two rooms that the kids spend the most time in, and leave the purifiers on all the time. The filters are supposed to be changed every six months, and from the photos I’ve seen of my friend’s filters, I’m pretty sure ours will be quite dirty too.
My friend’s Blueair filters after six months (the white ones are the new replacement filters)
A few days after we got the air purifiers, N and Meimei came down with runny noses and coughs again, so we found ourselves back at the clinic. I thought it was yet another virus, but the doctor told me that it was allergies. I had attributed N’s slightly swollen eyes to his lack of sufficient sleep, but the doctor said that they were also due to allergies. This is why, people, we should go to the doctor when we don’t know what’s wrong. Anyway, he prescribed some anti-allergy meds for them, which came in tiny sachets packed by the pharmacist herself. When I asked what was in it, she said, “Powder. Medicine.” Erm okay, thanks.
I consulted my many Jakarta whatsapp chat groups, and some of them suggested getting professional cleaners to do deep-cleaning of our mattresses, sofa, and curtains, since we’ve lived in our apartment for four months now. I thought that the air purifiers were good enough, since we don’t even use them in Singapore, but as the ladies kindly reminded me, the air here is a lot more polluted.
Diana of Masterclean was recommended by one of our church friends, and she was extremely prompt in arranging our deep-cleaning appointment. I was pleasantly surprised that she came along with her staff, and stayed throughout, supervising them and even lending a helping hand when necessary. I showed her what needed to be cleaned, and because Didi was napping in the master bedroom, they started cleaning the guest room first. When I asked if our wallpaper needed to be cleaned, Diana honestly told me that she didn’t think it was necessary, since we haven’t been living here for very long.
The two cleaners worked quietly and efficiently. One started with the curtains and window ledges, while the other worked on the bed. They each had a water-based vacuum cleaner, but used different attachments for the different pieces of furniture that had to be cleaned.
Clean water in the vacuum cleaner’s tank
The different attachments
Cleaning the curtains
The staff who cleaned the bed started by removing the mattress and bedsheets, then used the vacuum cleaner on the headboard and bed frame. The largest attachment was used on the mattress itself, and he vacuumed both sides of the mattress, as it is relatively thick. The smallest attachment was then used on the mattress protector, before the medium-sized attachment was used to clean the comforter. Diana recommended changing the bedsheets after the cleaning process was completed, and they helped us to put on the new sheets.
Cleaning the headboard
Cleaning the mattress
Then the mattress with the protector on
And finally, the comforter
Diana helping with the comforter
When they were done with the guest room, I was appalled to see how dirty the water had become. How did so much dirt accumulate in just four months?
Gross water tanks from the guest room
For the kids’ playroom, I asked if the play yard and playmat could be cleaned, and they did so with Dettol. The babies’ bouncers were vacuumed, as was our Doob beanbag which we shipped from Singapore. It’s been a lot harder to keep the babies’ play area and toys clean, as N constantly walks all over the mat and plays with ALL their toys, so I’m glad that the Masterclean guys used Dettol to do the cleaning. They moved the things in the room around while they were cleaning, but put everything back neatly, which saved me the trouble of having to do it myself after that.
Cleaning the play yard
Vacuuming one of the bouncers
I didn’t know bean bags could be vacuumed too
One of the Masterclean guys worked on the kids’ room, while the other cleaned the study, as the latter only had curtains and a small carpet to be cleaned. These were the water tanks after they were both done. I think it looks less dirty because we have an air purifier in the kids’ room, and also because there wasn’t a mattress that had to be cleaned.
Next up was our master bedroom, which has our bed, N’s bed, and the babies’ cots. That’s a LOT of mattresses that needed cleaning! There’s also a carpet, which I know traps a lot of dust, but it came with the apartment (we’re renting a fully-furnished unit), so we can’t get rid of it. I had to leave to pick N up from school, so I only got to see the end result of the cleaning: the water tanks.
The last area to be cleaned was our living and dining rooms. I was surprised to see that they actually cleaned the bases of our sofa and dining chairs, before cleaning the surfaces. I was also pleased to see that the attachment for the mattresses was strictly for mattresses, and not used on the carpets or sofas, even though those are large surfaces too, as I think it’s definitely more hygienic this way. N came home while they were still cleaning, and he was very fascinated by the water bubbling away in the vacuum cleaners.
Cleaning the base of our sofa
The base of each dining chair was cleaned too
Cleaning the grooves thoroughly
Fascinated by the water in the tank
If I thought the water from the guest bedroom was dirty, I was certainly unprepared to see how disgusting the water from cleaning the living and dining rooms became. The water was so thick with dirt that it became almost opaque! The windows in our apartment cannot be opened, and there’s only a sliding door to the balcony that we usually keep closed, so I have no idea how all the dirt managed to accumulate in such a short period of time.
When all the cleaning was done, Diana asked if I was okay with aromatherapy, and got her staff to set up the vacuum cleaners with a few drops of oil mixed into the water tanks in the kids’ playroom and then the master bedroom. N went to “supervise” the process, and declared that the room smelled “very nice”. I asked if the water would turn black, since the air in the room was sort of being cleaned at the same time, and Diana said it depended on how dirty the air in the rooms were. To my great relief, the water wasn’t very dirty, so I guess our air purifiers do help?
After five minutes in each room
While the staff was cleaning and packing up their equipment, I asked Diana what the difference between her vacuum cleaners and the standard ones was. She told me that the suction strength is definitely stronger, and the water-based vacuum cleaners trap the dust and dirt better. For the traditional vacuum cleaners, dust will still escape when the bags or storage containers are being emptied, while the dust will remain trapped in the water and be poured away.
Not that much equipment is required for the deep cleaning
It’s been slightly over a week since the Masterclean folks came over, and the children have been pretty healthy since then. I can’t tell you enough what a relief it is to not have babies with runny noses, and I pray that all three kids (and us adults too of course) will remain healthy and allergy-free. Diana recommends getting a thorough cleaning every two to three months, depending on how dusty our home gets, so I’ll definitely be getting her team in when the dust accumulates again. I like that there wasn’t a long waiting time to get the appointment fixed (I contacted her on a Monday and she arranged to come on Wednesday that same week), and that they arrived promptly at the agreed time. Punctuality is an overlooked virtue here! The whole process took about 3-4 hours, and the staff worked quietly and efficiently.
For those of you who are interested in trying out Masterclean’s services, Diana has kindly agreed to give you a 5% discount on top of the low fee that she is charging. Just quote ‘Growing with the Tans’ when you contact her via Whatsapp (+62 815 10006883) to book your appointment.
Masterclean Price List
Here’s to a cleaner and allergy-free life in Jakarta for all of us.
*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored review, and Diana offered us a 5% discount as a group of us approached her via our mutual friend. I wrote this post because I believe in sharing good deals, and hope that others will benefit from getting a thorough cleaning done in their homes too.