Aldi is selling pet stairs to help your dog get up on the sofa – but shoppers are divided

Budget supermarket Aldi is well known for its affordable deals on everything from homeware to gardening gear. The retailer launches new deals every week, twice a week, revealing what’s coming up in its famous middle aisles. The products can also be bought online and preordered before they launch in stores – which adds to the anticipation as shoppers rush to get the latest products for less. 

Launching in stores today is Aldi’s big pet event, with the latest products to keep pets happy in the home and outdoors. 

The new deals have been available to pre-order online this week, but some products can only be found in stores. 

Animal lovers will no doubt be impressed with the new range, which even includes two sets of pet stairs which have already sold out online, but may be found in stores. 

The stairs are just £12.99 each and are available in two designs – and they’re much cheaper than you’ll find elsewhere. 

READ MORE: Aldi launches retro kitchen appliances range with all under £45

Some fans have been excited about the launch after spotting the Special Buy on social media. 

“Wow these look great!!! These pet stairs are perfect for older dogs who might need a bit of help getting up to the sofa or the bed,” posted one on Twitter. 

Others simply commented “Take my money” when they saw the news – but others weren’t so impressed. 

“Pet stairs and pineapple cat igloo!!! What’s wrong with the world???” tweeted one shopper. 

The tweet refers to the rest of the range, which includes a yellow pineapple-shaped cat “igloo” bed, as well as other more luxurious pet beds and toys. 

There’s also a pop-up playpen for pets in the range, on sale for just £22.99 in different colours. 

The pop-up pen allows you to keep your pet safe and in one area wherever you are, and features storage pockets on the side. 

Aldi is also selling a pop-up pool which will be ideal if another heatwave comes along, with a tap built in for quick drainage. 

There are also plenty of bumper packs of pet treats and snacks in the Special Buys event to keep them happy. 

As well as the pet event, Aldi also has a kitchen range live this week that looks a lot like the more expensive Smeg products. 

The retro style kitchen appliances on offer include a microwave, kettle and toaster, costing under £85 for all three. 

There are also storage canisters with chic chalkboard labels as well as frying pans, cutlery and kitchen scales. 

The products are available to preorder now online, and will go in stores on Sunday. 



Rare pictures of Queen’s living room: Gold horse, 'biggest plasma' and ‘sofa nan had'

The cavernous room, inside Windsor Palace, hosts a number of visual delights for royal fans to analyse and discuss. The walls feature white panelling from the floor, carpeted in red, to the high ceiling. Behind Her Majesty on the back wall is a very large, ornate gold oval mirror.

Underneath it is a mantle piece on which sit two candelabras, what seem to be two stag ornaments and a number of candles.

To the left of this is a huge cabinet with glass doors, with many plates inside.

A huge variety of chairs sit around the room. On the left side of the picture is a large green chest, and a desk, both of which are covered to framed photographs.

Above the desk is an enormous painting, which some have joked is actually a massive plasma screen television.

Being the Queen is a large bouquet of green and white foliage.

READ MORE: Zara Tindall’s engagement ring worth huge sum of money – value compared to Kate and Meghan

On the large painting and suspected television, one joked: “She’s got the same TV as me, which has a screensaver that shows works of art.

“Biggest plasma I have ever seen on the wall there.”

Another commented on the size of the room, saying: “You’d spend most of the hour getting from one end to the other.”

“Anybody else want to know what’s in that green chest on the right?” another curious Twitter asked.

Judi James analysed the video for Express.co.uk exclusively.

She said: “This video is probably only the second glimpse into the very warm and funny relationship between the Queen and her daughter.”

The first time, she suggests, was during US President Donald Trump’s controversial visit to the UK.

“We saw the royal banter between them during Trump’s visit, when Anne yelled across to her mother ‘It’s only me left ma’am’ when the Queen was asking who was next in the queue for her to greet,” Judi said.



How to clean sofa cushions

We sit on our sofas every single day, and dirt, crumbs and pet hair can break down the fibres in the fabric. Not only do sofas start to look off-colour, they really can get filthy. Sofas are for relaxing and taking it easy, so it is important to keep them clean. Express.co.uk reveals how to make your sofa look good as new.

Check the label

Before cleaning your sofa cushions, you need to make sure you know what they are made from.

Different fabrics and materials require different products and some may even need to be dried in a specific way.

Your sofa cushions will probably be made of cotton blend, leather, linen, or vinyl.

You can find out this information and how to treat this material on the labels of your sofa.

There might be labels attached to the sofa cushions themselves.

Leather cushion covers should be treated by dry cleaners, it is too risky to wash them yourself.

Suede cushion covers should be hoovered and then rubbed down with suede rubbing cloths or brushes.

Stains on suede can be tackled with a mix of water and alcohol.

Vinyl covers are best cleaned while still on the cushion, using a wet cleaning rag and some washing up liquid.

Wipe away any residue and let it air dry.

READ MORE- Cleaning tips: Mrs Hinch fan shares

Tests

Before cleaning, you will need to test the cleaner on your furniture.

Apply some of the product on a small spot on the cushion cover.

Pick a spot that can’t be seen when the sofa is in its usual position, and only use a tiny bit of cleaner. Wait for it to dry.

If there is colour transfer, shrinkage or buckling, you should not use this cleaning product.

Another thing you need to test is the fabric’s potential to lose its colour.

Apply a mix of water and detergent to the inside of the cushion and let it sink in for a few minutes before washing it off.

If is discoloured, you should not clean the fabric yourself. Take it to the dry cleaner.

Tackle stains

Before cleaning the whole cushion cover, pre-treat heavily stained areas.

Purchase a pre-wash cleaning spray for furniture and spray on the affected areas.

Let it sit for as long as the instructions direct you to.

Alternatively, use the product on a damp sponge and gently dab it into the worst areas.

Allow it to settle in for a few minutes, and then move on to cleaning the whole cushion cover.

Should I use a washing machine?

Some fabric cushions can be cleaned in the washing machine, but don’t do this unless the label says this is fine.

Always turn the cushions inside out before doing so, and wash on a gentle and cool cycle.

Let the covers dry naturally rather than popping them in the dryer because this will cause them to shrink.

Instead of a washing machine, you could purchase a steam upholstery cleaner to deep-clean your cushions.



How to clean a sofa

After all the time spent indoors during lockdown, sofas in Britain are probably the messiest they’ve ever been. While vacuuming or wiping down your sofa may get rid of simple mess like dirt, pet hair, and crumbs, a more efficient clean requires a bit more time and effort. It is recommended you clean your sofa every six months ago, so follow this guide from Express.co.uk and make sure your sofa is never dirty again!

How to clean a sofa

Get to the stains quickly

As soon as a spill or stain happens, get to cleaning it straight away before it becomes too difficult to remove.

Waiting too long before treating or cleaning a stain, even just a couple of minutes, can cause the stain to set.

Before using any detergents or solutions on your fabric sofa, check the manufacturer’s instructions for care, which can usually be found on the sofa’s tag.

Failing to use safe cleaning products could mean permanently damaging your upholstery.

Check the cleaning codes for your fabric sofa

You may think the letters on your sofa’s tag may be random and mean nothing, but they are actually codes.

W – Water based cleaner. This means you should only use a water-based cleaner to clean the upholstery.

S/W – Solvents and water-based cleaners. This means it’s safe to use both solvents and water-based cleaners on your sofa.

S – Solvents. Only use a solvent to clean the upholstery. A solvent is a type of solution that uses a cleaning chemical as the main component.

Clean with baking soda 

Sprinkling baking sofa over the entire sofa will help remove doors and further loosen stains.

Let the baking soda sit for 15-20 minutes. Once it has fully absorbed the stain, vacuum the area with a brush attachment. Always spot treat an area of your sofa to minimise damage.

You can also spot treat your sofa with a recommended cleaning agent. If you’re unsure if the product falls within the recommendations, test a small area for discolouration before proceeding.

Whether using a water-based cleaner or solvent, follow the packaging instructions, and if it is safe to do so, use a soft cloth to wipe away the solution.

Dry your sofa

Pat down any weather areas with a dry towel to soak up any remaining moisture.

Gently brush off any remaining cleaning solution.

Let the upholstery air dry over night, and make sure it is dry in the morning before getting comfortable. Enjoy your fresh sofa!



Column: How I learned to appreciate the value of nothing

A few years ago, my husband, brother-in-law and I were on our way to the pub. It was a balmy evening. The last of the summer light was beginning to fade. The air was humid. Our spirits were high. We could practically taste the Weissbier.

We were meters away from the pub when we spotted them. Two middle-aged women loitering outside a house. One giant sofa between them. They were waving us down.

It was one of those sleeper couches that folds into a double bed. A monstrosity. On it was a handwritten sign familiar to anyone who has ever lived in Germany. Zu verschenken – to give away!

Can you lend a helping hand?

For bulky items that are no longer sparking joy, these two words offer an instant solution. Some Berliners furnish their entire apartments with cast-offs of this kind. 

“Do you guys have a minute?” asked the first woman. She was smiling very sweetly.

My husband is a gallant man. He said he had several. His brother agreed. We were, after all, only on the way to the pub.

They had fallen for the couch. “I don’t have a guest bed, you see,” said the second woman. “This would be perfect.”

Who has not experienced love at first sight? We agreed to help. “We just live up the road,” said the first woman. “It won’t take long.”

It was a two-person job. In this particular instance and set of circumstances, a two-man job. The two women and I offered moral support and commentary on technique.

“Would you try grabbing the legs from behind maybe?”

“Would it work better if you balanced it on your shoulder?”

“You’re doing great! Do take a break, if you need one!”

The brothers’ faces hardened in resolve. You never know when in life you will be called upon to serve.

It was a long road. The heat of the day had not yet abated. The street lamps went on. In the glow they cast, I saw my husband’s cheeks had reddened. Both brothers were now panting.

“Not too long now,” one of the women said sheepishly.

Just how far away is ‘up the road’?

‘Up the road,’ is an inexact metric at the best of times. When lugging a sofa through the heat, it can appear endless.

My husband’s arms were quivering. My brother-in-law wore an expression that suggested he had not expected his visit to Berlin to turn out this way. 

“How far left?” my husband hissed at me when the women were distracted.

I inquired. “Nearly there,” they agreed.

This too, is a relative concept.

Darkness had well and truly fallen by the time we reached the destination.

“Thank you so much!” said the first woman.

“It was nothing,” said my husband.

Deutschland Möbelmesse imm cologne 2020 (picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg)

The other woman dug into her pocket.

“Here,” she said.

He put his arms up in horror.  

She grabbed his hand, and slipped a note into it. “For the pub!”

“Honestly, there’s no need. It was no bother.”

“I insist!” she said.

My husband put his hand to his heart in gratitude.

After we parted, we counted to ten in our heads before any one of us spoke.

“Nearby, yeah right!”

“How heavy was that thing?”

“That took half an hour!”

“My arms are killing me!”

“How much did she give you?” I asked.

My husband stopped in his tracks for dramatic effect. “€5 [$5.6].”

“You’re kidding!”

He brandished the note. “€1.66 each.”

Behavioral economics

I found myself transported back to an experiment I learned about in the behavioral economics module I took in college.

In the ultimatum game, one person gets a sum of money and has to propose how to divide it up with another player. The other player can accept or reject the offer. If they reject, both players leave with nothing.

A hyperrational view of economics predicts that the second player should accept any offer on the basis that even a small amount of money is better than none.

But that’s not how humans work. Experiments conducted in several different settings and cultures suggest that offers of under 30% tend to be rejected. People would rather leave empty-handed than with an insultingly small amount.

Yet there was more to our indignation than that. As my husband and his brother exerted themselves, they could bask in the warm feeling that comes with doing a good deed.

When the woman slipped over a fiver, their act was instantly downgraded to a common transaction, inviting comparisons with regular forms of labor and depriving them of any notions they might have had of being knights in shining armor. Giving nothing would have been a far more generous gesture. 

“It’s not even minimum wage!” my husband said, sinking into his seat at the bar. 

“Not even close!” his brother agreed.

“Why don’t I get this round?” I suggested.