Hints from Housekeepers
You pride yourself on your own abilities and skills to keep your home clean and healthy. And while you know what you are doing, who doesn’t appreciate a few tips now and then to make the work easier — and more effective?
One source of tips can be professional housekeepers, those who work for maid services… cleaning professionals who spend all day cleaning houses and doing it right.
When it comes to the work they do, here are three easy strategies they use each and every day.
Start with clutter
When faced with a room that might seem a little overwhelming by how much there is to do, tackle big items first. Put things back where they belong, give the room a facelift of sorts and then work on smaller tasks, such as dusting and vacuuming. Think triage, which means doing a preliminary assessment of a situation and determine the order of things to bring it all back to normal.
Vacuum heavy traffic areas three times
Running a vacuum cleaner over carpet at warp speed is what many do. It’s best to slow down. Move the vacuum slowly over the floor and allow the beater bar to do its job. And for areas that are walked on more often, go over those three times, back and forth. What happens is the beater bar loosens soil on the first pass, then on the second it picks up most of it, and on the third gets the rest. Smart vacuuming means less dust in your home. The same principle can be used for hard floors, but the advantage there is you can see the dust and soil that isn’t as easy to see on carpet.
Shine those surfaces
Professional cleaners know that simply cleaning a surface sometimes isn’t enough. You want shine, you don’t want to see fingerprints, smears, or smudges. For glass and metal surfaces, after a thorough cleaning, wipe those surfaces with a lint-free cloth and a little rubbing alcohol. This dry (waterless) solvent makes quick work of fingerprints and smudges and gives surfaces a shine you can be proud of.
While some tasks are easy, others are not. When you need help, with any cleaning task but especially deep cleaning carpet and furniture and other tough chores, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Power of Household Products
It’s amazing how many cleaning products you have on hand, that aren’t actually considered traditional “cleaning products”. If you start analyzing what’s in your home, you will find that you have a nice selection of items that can help you keep your house clean and healthy.
Recently, we discussed the categories of dish detergents, baking soda, and vinegar as products you can use as part of your cleaning arsenal. Yet we aren’t done. There are more products you have on hand that will prove worthy in the fight against grime! The following three products are probably in your kitchen or bathroom.
Here’s a great secret. Salt is an absorbent compound. When you spill something, like coffee, on a carpet or rug, liberally sprinkle salt on it. Yep, that regular Morton’s is fine. It will absorb the liquid; you can see the salt turn from white to the color of the spill. When it is all dry, you can vacuum it all up. You may still need to do more spotting, but the majority of the spill is gone.
Sometimes, you need a dry solvent. By “dry” we mean without water. It’s still a liquid but doesn’t have water. Think gasoline. You might have on hand some fingernail polish remover, also known as acetone. While that dry solvent might work great on dry solvent-soluble residues, it might be too aggressive for some surfaces. Instead, rubbing alcohol can be used on surfaces with adhesive residues, oils, tar, grease, anything that will dissolve in a dry solvent. Use rubbing alcohol on a white towel and wipe away those spots and residues. Never pour solvents directly on the surface. Always do a small test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure the surface won’t lose color.
While used for first aid and to stop a skin infection from spreading, it’s also a great, color-safe bleaching agent. When you get blood, vomit, food stains, anything organic-related, on fabrics (carpet, clothing, etc) apply some 3% hydrogen peroxide. The type you buy at your grocery store or pharmacy. Cleaning pros use peroxide but usually a stronger variety.
Of course, your favorite cleaning company knows all about these products, and more. They have the right stuff. When you need help, call them. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Three Cleaning Products You Already Have
When you are cleaning your home, you need cleaning products. While you use some traditional products specific for your cleaning tasks, you may have some others in your home that can do the trick.
Here are three that you no doubt have somewhere in the kitchen and can use to keep your home fresh and clean.
One of the most famous of all time is Dawn, and you’ve seen the footage about birds in oil spills being cleaned up with this detergent. Water by itself is a great cleaning solution, but it doesn’t work very well on oily soils. You need more power. While Dawn is often mentioned, almost generically, any dish detergent is a grease-cutting tool. A few drops in water gives you a quick, effective cleaning solution for greasy surfaces, such as countertops. You can use a few drops in a bucket as an effective window washing solution if you use a wand and squeegee. There are many uses; a quick Google search shows you dozens of them. Just be sure to wipe away or clean off the detergent residue because that can attract more soil.
While most put baking soda in the refrigerator or cabinets (with the lid open, of course) for deodorizing purposes, some use it as a scrubbing additive, when you need a little more than elbow grease. It works on toilet bowls, sinks, and all types of surfaces. It’s a two-fold product, for cleaning and also deodorizing. Stinky trash can? A small container of baking soda left inside will help. It works as an odor absorbent, capturing malodors and freshening the air. Try it out!
Sometimes, an acidic solution is needed for cleaning, such as for nicotine residues or smoke, and for neutralizing some soils. Some use it as a deodorizer. It also cleans out any appliance that runs water through the system, such as coffee makers. Vinegar can remove lime scale, soap scum, and even rust if given enough time. Vinegar may have a strong odor, but it can’t be beat for handling some specific cleaning challenges. Just hold your nose!
Of course, your favorite cleaning company knows all about these products, and more. The tricks and hacks that make them the pros. When you need help, call them. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Cleaning Mistakes… Exposed!
If there is one thing you value and appreciate, it would be efficiencies when you clean your home. You want your time to be well-spent and effective as you clean your home and keep it looking great and a safe haven for your family.
And you want your efforts to really count, your cleaning to do just that… clean. Get rid of the dirt and make it all look good. Yet all too often we make mistakes with our cleaning process and can even do more harm than good.
Here are a few cleaning mistakes… exposed!
Carpet spot removal
When you see a spot on the carpet and grab your favorite carpet spotter, give it a squirt or two, you might then scrub the spot. Perhaps with a brush. When the spot doesn’t budge, you might scrub harder. That is a big mistake! When you scrub the carpet you are going to fray the fibers, damage the texture, and can even make the spot worse. When carpet spotting, apply your spotting solution, work it in gently with a white towel, and blot away the spot. If the spot remains, call your favorite carpet cleaning company.
Doesn’t everyone spray their glass, whether a mirror or window, and then use a cloth or paper towel and wipe in a circular motion? We all do. But there is a better way. Spray your solution on the window, use a towel to clean smudges and dirt, spray it again and use a squeegee to remove the liquid. If you don’t have a squeegee, avoid the circular motion with your towel. Go horizontal, and then vertical, until the glass is clean. This helps avoid streaking.
It’s what you don’t see that can be harmful. Some rely on a sensor telling them their vacuum bag is full. Others wait until they can see it is full, to the brim. You should change your vacuum bags when about halfway full, never more than 2/3 full. The longer debris, soil, dander, and other contaminants are in the bag, the greater the odds you will have foul odors from what’s “growing” inside the bag. Spend a little more time and money on your vacuum and keep it happy with a fresh bag.
When you start cleaning, it’s always smart to get good advice. And the best advice comes from your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Find the Best Carpet Cleaning Company
Keeping your floors clean in your home should be a priority, as a dirty floor is not only unsightly but also unhealthy. A clean floor in your home is a constant challenge because a busy family has plenty of foot traffic to add soil to surfaces.
When you need your carpet cleaned, and other related services such as hard floor care, tile and grout, marble, etc, you have options. Some of them are easier than others; the goal is to keep your home looking great without too much effort on your part — unless you like to clean!
Most homeowners have deep cleaning of floors set on a schedule, often every six months or annually. While you sweep, mop, and vacuum sometimes several times a week, that deep cleaning is a specialized task that really gets the soil out.
Option 1: Do it yourself
Let’s not kid ourselves. Cleaning carpet is tough work and takes a specialized machine to do it. It can be backbreaking work as you are bent over, scrubbing and cleaning, filling, and dumping the solution in the machine. Hard floor cleaning is not much easier if you do it right, such as deep cleaning the grout. You need professional-quality cleaning products and the know-how to do it right.
Option 2: Hire a professional cleaning company
While this will cost money, and you will pay more for higher quality cleaning, you get the very best for your home. Professional carpet cleaning companies typically do it all: carpet and rug cleaning, hard floor care, tile and grout, furniture cleaning, and more. They are highly trained professional, often certified, and can clean all your surfaces in your home with expertise. Besides doing great work, they often move furniture and get the job clean and dry quickly, so you are not inconvenienced at all. There are many methods of cleaning, as well, and a consultation with a professional company can help determine the best way to care for your carpet or other surfaces.
And to find the best company, get referrals, look at online reviews, and make sure that the company you choose has an excellent reputation, not only with cleaning but also with customer service.
Is it time to have your carpet cleaned, or other surfaces? Do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How to Remove a Mustard Stain
Mustard, like most condiments, is a slippery thing. When you put it in your sandwich, on your hot dog, or any food that fits the mustard profile, you enter the danger zone. Something is likely to come flying out and splat right on a white garment or fabric.
For some reason, things that stain land on light colored items. Murphy’s Law maybe.
Why is mustard such a tough stain to remove? Because of the natural dye called “turmeric”. It is why mustard is usually yellow, sometimes a light brown. When it lands on fabrics, it goes inside the fiber and stains it. Other condiments, such as mayonnaise and ketchup, can also stain, but not as much as mustard.
Before doing any cleaning, remove or scrape off as much residue as you can. When you start the cleaning process, you are at the point of no return. Once the fabric dries, any further efforts are probably going to produce minimal results.
With garments, it’s possible to wash them and mustard may come out. It may not. In the washing machine, some use chlorine bleach, although there is always a chance of removing other colors. The big picture here is do not put anything in the clothes dryer if the stain is still visible. The high heat may set that stain.
For carpet and upholstery, carefully wiping off the mustard and using a neutral spotter may help. But professional cleaning is recommended. If you start working on a mustard stain and you don’t remove all of it at one time, it makes it much more difficult to remove later on. It is always best if the pros do the work from the very beginning.
As with all cleaning projects, presoaking is important. Allow your cleaning solution, spotter, whatever you are using time to work. Use warm solutions, not hot.
Using peroxide on mustard stains often works as the bleaching agent in peroxide will either remove or at least lighten up the stain, while usually not affecting the natural colors in garments or fabrics. Wet out the area, and if you can, cover it up with plastic or foil, to keep it wet for an hour or two. The longer the peroxide solution has to work on the stain, the better the results. Rinse completely when you see good results.
Mustard is tough. No way around that. Besides being careful with your next hot dog, if a mustard disaster strikes, do the right thing. Call a professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Unplugging the Showerhead
Isn’t a nice, hot shower a wonderful thing? Whether you get up in the morning and shower to prepare for the morning or stand under the hot welcoming spray at the end of a long day at work… a shower can not only clean but also refresh.
But then, over time, the shower experience starts to fade. You aren’t sure why. You use the same shampoo. The water still seems hot, the exact temperature you like. Then… you figure it out. The water just isn’t coming out of the showerhead like it used to? That’s right. Your showerhead has an issue. Something is wrong. The water flow just isn’t there like in the past.
Showerheads have small holes in them that create those tiny strong streams of water. We know this. We also know that when you plug a hole, nothing comes out. With showerheads, it’s not like all the holes get plugged up at once. It happens over time. Mineral deposits natural in all water just builds up.
Here's how you fix this issue.
If you have a smaller profile showerhead, some have found a really easy way to do this. Simply get a small bowl of white vinegar and hold it up and immerse the showerhead in the liquid. You will have to hold this pose for a while, several minutes at minimum. Since some clogs are at the tips of the showerhead holes, the vinegar just might dissolve the minerals. It can’t hurt to try this method. All you are looking to do is dissolve the minerals, and vinegar as an acid solution will do it.
If that doesn’t work, it’s time to take things apart. Using the proper tools, which may include a wrench or pliers, and be sure not to scratch any of the finish on the showerhead, remove it from the pipe. Take it all apart. There should be parts inside, such as a small filter. Get it all apart and then soak it all in a vinegar solution. Give it plenty of time, and since you aren’t holding a bowl awkwardly above your head, maybe a couple of hours. Before, during, and after this process, inspect the holes. You may need to poke them with a safety pin, to help physically remove some of the deposits.
If vinegar doesn’t work, a stronger solution made for removing mineral deposits can be used but be sure to wear safety gloves and eye protection if you do this. The same procedures can be followed as already detailed.
Of course, for all your cleaning needs and advice, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Cleaning and Removing Pet Urine
They say that a dog is man’s best friend, but really, any pet you choose to adopt into your family can be your best friend. It can be a dog, cat, turtle, dinosaur, a bird. A pet is a pet.
Just kidding about the dinosaur; we all know they are too expensive to feed.
While you want your pets to behave, be a good family member, they have the occasional (hopefully not that often) accidents. Yes, we are speaking of when they pee on the floor. And mainly dogs and cats.
The “accidents” can occur for a variety of reasons. It could be a pet is sick, or left alone too long, or is mad because you didn’t give them their favorite treat. A host of reasons. The bottom line, though, is you have a mess to clean up. It could be a small mess, or a big one, depending on the size of your pet.
The first thing to do is act quickly. A pet accident on a hard surface is one thing, easy to wipe up, clean, and disinfect. A pet accident on a carpeted surface is something else altogether. This tip will concentrate on soft surfaces, such as carpet.
When a pet accident does occur, it’s important to remove as much as possible right away. Using only white paper or cloth disposable towels, blot the area until no more moisture transfers. If you have a wet/dry vacuum and don’t mind using it for this chore, vacuuming up the offending mess is a great way to remove most of the contaminant.
Next you need to clean the area. It’s always best to use a cleaning product you get from your favorite cleaning company, or something approved for cleaning spots on carpet. Apply the solution sparingly, work it in, and use an absorbent towel or the wet/dry vacuum to pick it up. Repeat several times, flushing out the area.
If you don’t get all the urine out of the carpet, and remember the urine can be in the padding, the odors may become strong, and your pet will know what’s there and return to it — it’s possible.
While you may attempt all this and even be successful at times, there’s just one way to guarantee the best removal of pet spots, stains, and odors. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!