Your Guide to Keeping a Clean House (And Avoiding the Nasty Flu)

Keeping a clean home is always important—but when cold and flu season rolls around, it’s perhaps more vital than ever to the surfaces of your home disinfected. By doing so, you can reduce your chances of spreading germs, including the flu virus. And if you’ve ever had the flu (or even just a nasty cold), then you know just how miserable it can be. You want to avoid it at all costs.

Of course, there is no way to guarantee you won’t catch a virus. Even getting a flu vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from catching the flu in 100% of cases. The good news is that by taking some special precautions and being diligent about keeping a clean home, you can drastically reduce your likelihood of falling ill this cold and flu season.

But…where should you begin? More than likely, you already have a basic home-cleaning routine in place. What changes do you need to make to protect yourself against the cold and flu? We’ve got a few tips to help you clean and disinfect your home with greater confidence.

Start With the Right Supplies

Having the right supplies to fully disinfect and sanitize the surfaces throughout your home is a must. There’s a good chance you already have everything you need to rid your home of germs and bacteria, but there are a few more things you should know.

Cleaners vs. Disinfectants

For starters, understand the difference between household cleaners and disinfectants. Many household cleaning sprays and wipes will kill off germs when used properly—but for the best results, you want to be using a true disinfectant. A disinfecting spray or wipe will be the most effective at killing bacteria that carry major viruses (think Coronavirus / COVID-19) and illnesses. Check the labeling on your cleaning products to make sure your sprays, wipes, and other cleaners are truly disinfectants.

Sponges vs. Paper Towels

Many people use sponges, microfiber cloths, and other reusable materials when they clean their homes. This is perfectly fine for most household cleaning projects—but it’s important to understand that these products should still be cleaned and/or swapped out from time to time because otherwise, they will begin to harbor bacteria themselves.

If you’re doing a deep-clean of your home during cold and flu season, you may want to consider using disposable products, like paper towels. This is obviously a personal decision, but with disposable products, you won’t have the possibility of contaminating your sponges or cleaning towels with bacteria.

Using Disinfectants in the Home

When using a disinfectant to kill bacteria on the surfaces of your home, always follow the directions on the label to ensure effectiveness. Otherwise, you may not be giving the product a chance to really do its job.

One of the most common mistakes people make when disinfecting their homes is not understanding that a household cleaner should typically be used on a surface before it is disinfected. From there, you also need to make sure that your disinfectant is being left on the surface for the recommended amount of time. After disinfecting, you may also need to wipe the area with a wet cloth to get rid of any chemical residue; this is especially important when you’re disinfecting surfaces that you serve food from, such as tables and high-chair trays.

Focus on Hot Spots For Germs

In a perfect world, you’d have time to individually disinfect every surface in your home. If you’re like most people, though, the time you have to dedicate to cleaning is probably quite limited. If this is the case, then you’ll at least want to focus on disinfecting the most common “hot spots” for germs throughout the home. This includes…

  • remote controls
  • tables
  • computer keyboards and touchpads
  • sheets, towels, blankets, and pillowcases
  • all bathroom surfaces (floors, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc.)

And while you’re at it, don’t forget about your phone. Believe it or not, most phone screens are about 10 times dirtier than your average toilet seat. And because you come into contact with your phone so frequently, it’s important to clean it regularly.

Clean Your Cleaning Supplies (Seriously!)

If you are using any reusable cleaning supplies, such as mops, microfiber towels, or sponges—it is imperative that you disinfect those when you’re done with them as well. With microfiber towels, you can typically throw them in the laundry with the rest of your clothes. However, sponges and mops may need to be soaked in hot, soapy water for several minutes. Taking the time to clean these supplies is a must if you want to avoid spreading bacteria the next time you use them.

If Someone is Already Sick…

What if somebody in your household does fall ill with the flu or another contagious virus such as COVID-19 or Coronavirus? First of all, don’t panic. There are steps you can take to keep your home clean and reduce the risk of transmission.

Keep Them Quarantined

As much as possible, keep the sick person confined to one area of the home. Keeping them in a bedroom with access to an adjacent bathroom is ideal, as this will limit the spread of bacteria.

Switch to Disposables

When people are sick in your home, you can further reduce the spread of germs by making a temporary switch to disposable cups, utensils, and similar products. This may seem like overkill, but it can make a huge difference and give you added peace of mind. You should also make a note to replace the toothbrush of the person who is sick, as it is actually possible to catch the same virus again if any of the bacteria lingers on a toothbrush.

Use a Laundry Sanitizer

It’s not enough to just wash bedding, towels, and linens when somebody in your home is sick. To truly kill off bacteria, you’ll want to use a laundry sanitizer, such as bleach. And be careful when you’re carrying dirty laundry to the washer; keep them in a hamper and avoid contact with soiled linens as much as possible. You’ll also want to be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after you load the washer.

Need a Little Help?

Feeling overwhelmed? Too busy to tackle all this cleaning? Let a professional house cleaner handle it for you. Our team at Maid Sailors has years of experience disinfecting the various surfaces of homes, and we’d be happy to take this burden off your shoulders. Contact us today to find out more about our house cleaning services or to schedule your first appointment with us! Together, we can get through any major biological outbreak such as Coronavirus, COVID-19, Ebola and cold and flu season with confidence!

How to Clean Light Switches and Electrical Outlet Covers

As part of your regular cleaning routine, you’re probably pretty used to wiping down solid surfaces like your countertops, tables, sinks, and toilets. After all, these surfaces see a lot of use—which means a lot of inherent exposure to germs and bacteria.

What you might not think about though, are the dozens of other smaller surfaces in your home that are just as susceptible to germs. Items like light switches and even electrical outlet covers see plenty of use each day but are often overlooked while cleaning. The same goes for other smaller surfaces like toilet flush handles, cell phone screens, and keyboards.

If you aren’t already cleaning your home’s light switches and electrical outlet covers as part of your regular routine, now is the time to throw these items into the disinfecting rotation. Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you covered with some easy tips and tricks.

Why Clean Your Light Switches and Outlet Covers?

First of all, understand the importance of taking the time to clean your light switches and outlet covers. Think about how often you touch the light switches in your home on a regular basis. More than likely, there are quite a few throughout your home that you use every day. Now, consider how many other people who live in (or visit) your home may also come into contact with those switches. It becomes easy to see how these switches can become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria—and possibly even one of the dirtiest surfaces in your home!

What about outlet covers? You probably don’t come into as much physical contact with these as you do the light switches throughout your home, but these still have a tendency to get dirty and grimy over time. This is especially true for outlet covers in high-traffic areas of the home, like your kitchen. If you have outlets built into your kitchen backsplash (where you plug in countertop appliances, for example), these can often get splashed with cooking oils, grease, and other unpleasant liquids.

By taking the time to thoroughly clean these surfaces throughout your home, you can cut down on your exposure to germs and bacteria that could make you sick. Meanwhile, you’ll keep your home looking its best—right down to the finest details.

How Often to Clean Light Switches and Outlet Covers

Because of how frequently light switches can become recontaminated after cleaning, you should really add this cleaning task to your regular routine. Ideally, you should be wiping these down at least once a week, and possibly even more in particularly busy areas of your home.

Your outlet covers may not need to be cleaned quite as often, but many people find that it is convenient to clean outlet covers at the same time they clean their light switches. Ultimately, the decision of how often to clean these surfaces is entirely up to you—but if you ask us, it’s better to clean them too frequently than it is to not clean them frequently enough!

Cleaning Light Switches and Outlet Covers: Step By Step

Now that we’ve convinced you to start cleaning your light switches and outlet covers more regularly, where should you begin? Follow these simple steps below, and you can have the light switches and outlet covers throughout your home cleaned in just a few minutes of your time!

What You Need

Begin by making sure you have all the supplies you need, including:

  • a microfiber cloth or paper towel
  • everyday cleaning/disinfecting solution
  • soap and warm water
  • screwdriver

Shut Off Power

Safety first! The most important thing you’ll need to remember before cleaning these surfaces is to first shut off power at your home’s circuit breaker. Light switches and outlets can pose a serious electrocution risk if the power is left on while you’re cleaning them, so be sure to follow this step. After you’ve shut power off at the main breaker, double-check that electricity is turned off by testing a few light switches throughout your home.

Remote Plates and Covers

Next, take a screwdriver and remove the plates covering your light switches and outlets throughout the home. This will be the most time-consuming part of the entire process (along with replacing these plates when you’re done cleaning). However, removing the plates will ensure that you’re able to get into all the smallest crevices while cleaning. This will also make it easier to deep-clean the plates themselves.

Be sure to set all the plates and screws in a designated area while you work so you don’t lose any screws or parts. It can be helpful to keep the plates and screws stored in the individual rooms where they belong.

Dust, Swab, and Soak

Now, it’s time to disinfect! If the switch and outlet covers themselves are soiled, you can soak them in a mixture of warm water and dish soap. Leave them soaking while you move onto cleaning the light switches and outlets themselves. You can do this by spraying a cleaning solution onto a paper towel or microfiber towel; never spray directly onto the switch or outlet itself, as this could cause electrical damage when you turn the power back on.

Replace Plates and Covers

When the switches and outlets are wiped down, check on the plates that have been soaking. You may need to rinse them in hot water and wipe them down to fully remove grime. If they still look soiled or dirty, you can always purchase replacement plates/covers at your local hardware store. These are relatively inexpensive and can be a great way to update the look of your home. Carefully replace all the plates and covers throughout your home.

Restore Power

Finally, turn the power back onto your home and enjoy your freshly cleaned and disinfected light switches and outlet covers!

When to Hire a Professional Cleaner

Cleaning the light switches and outlet covers throughout your home isn’t difficult, but the process of removing and replacing the covers themselves can be a bit time-consuming. To save time, you might consider only fully removing the plates once every few months for cleaning. In the meantime, you can still wipe down the switches and covers as needed; just be sure to always shut off the power before you do!

Looking for more help with your everyday cleaning tasks? Our team at Maid Sailors offers a wide range of professional cleaning services to save you time and hassle. Contact us today at (212) 299-5170 to find out more about our services or to schedule your first cleaning appointment with us.

How Do You Get Wine Out of a Carpet?

How Do You Get Wine Out of a Carpet?

Pre-Treatment

One of the best things you can do is pre-treat as soon as possible. The longer red wine remains on your carpet, couch, or clothing, the harder it will be to remove. After a spill, dip a sponge into cold water and squeeze gently over spilled wine until liquid has been absorbed, or blot excess liquid with paper towels or an absorbent rag. This helps prevent any further staining. But keep in mind that vinegar is less effective when used alone; so when dealing with red wine stains, make sure you use an absorbent sponge to soak up as much liquid as possible before adding vinegar—or else it will just sit there soaking up moisture from your carpet and cause even more problems down the road!

Use White Absorbent Materials.

If you’re looking for a way to clean up that one big spill, place some white absorbent material on top of it and allow it time to soak up all of that spilled wine. Some good options include paper towels, coffee filters or even old rags. Don’t forget—these materials may take a while to soak up all of those pesky wine stains, so be patient. If you have some extra time before you need your carpet back in pristine condition, consider placing an absorbent sheet on top and then covering it with a towel. This will prevent spillage from spreading while allowing your materials plenty of time to work their magic.

Use a Few Drops of Dishwashing Liquid on the Wet Spot.

Wait 30 minutes, and then blot with a clean, absorbent cloth. If that doesn’t work, make a paste out of baking soda and water and spread it over the wet area with a brush or your fingers. Let dry before you wipe up. Then try using club soda or rubbing alcohol—it might take several applications—before moving on to more powerful carpet cleaners.

Wait for it to Dry.

If you spill wine on your carpet, don’t try to get it out until it’s thoroughly dry. The liquid that results when alcohol mixes with water (ethanol and water) creates a cloudy stain that looks like red wine but is more difficult to clean. When your carpet is dry, use rubbing alcohol or club soda and blot up as much liquid as possible. Then mix one part white vinegar with two parts water in a bowl; using an eyedropper, apply a few drops and blot with paper towels or rags.

Blot the Area with Paper Towels Until You No Longer See Any Liquid.

Once you’ve emptied your glass and pulled out your cleaning supplies, it’s time to start mopping up. But, before you dive in, blot up as much liquid as possible with paper towels. This will prevent your cleaning solution from spreading throughout your carpet. And don’t rub: You’ll just push wine into a fine stain! If there are any visible stains left after blotting, use a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part distilled white vinegar (with no fragrances) and apply it with a sponge or cloth; let sit for 5 minutes. Blot dry with a clean towel.

Wipe with a Clean Damp Cloth.

Once wine is spilled, it’s important to act quickly before it has a chance to soak in. Dampen a cloth with water and gently wipe up any excess liquid. The faster you clean up spills, the easier they will be to remove from your carpet or rug. You might even consider buying several white cloths specifically for use on spots and stains on your carpets and rugs; be sure that they are laundered frequently to stay clean.

How to Clean a Toilet Without Using Harsh Chemicals

How to Clean a Toilet Without Using Harsh Chemicals

Cleaning the bathroom can be an overwhelming chore, especially if you’re using harsh chemicals to get the job done. Fortunately, you don’t have to use chemical cleaners to get your toilet clean and sanitized when it gets dirty. These natural cleaning solutions will leave your toilet smelling clean and fresh without any of the harsh smells of using traditional cleaners like bleach or ammonia.


Products You’ll Need!

The bathroom is one of those places in your home that you know needs cleaning, but who wants to sit in a small room inhaling chemicals! When you clean a kitchen, you have open space, but not in a bathroom. The good news: A thorough spring clean doesn’t have to take much time or effort. Even better news: It doesn’t require special chemicals! Here are three non-toxic bathroom cleaning products for an effective, natural clean. You may be surprised by how little it takes to make your bathroom sparkle. You can even whip up all three of these homemade cleaners on Sunday afternoon and let them sit overnight—your toilet will be cleaner than ever by Monday morning!


Method 1: Soft Scrub + Vinegar

Mix 1⁄2 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of vinegar. Scrub, scrub, scrub. Vinegar is all-natural, so you don’t have to worry about harming your septic system. So is baking soda (in moderation). After cleaning your toilet, don’t forget to rinse it with warm water for the best results!

 

Method 2: Baking Soda + Lemon Juice

Baking soda has long been used as an alternative cleaning product, but many people forget that it can be used on toilets, too. Sprinkle baking soda all over your toilet bowl, wait 10 minutes, and scrub with a toilet brush. Then squeeze some lemon juice into a cup of water and pour it onto your bowl. The citric acid in lemon juice will help break down stains and leave your toilet clean.

 

Method 3: Hydrogen Peroxide + Dish Soap

The easiest cleaning method ever is also one of the most effective. Add a capful of 3% hydrogen peroxide, which you can find at any pharmacy, and enough dish soap to create an opaque white mixture. Pour it into your toilet bowl and let it sit for about 30 minutes before scrubbing away with your toilet brush.


Bonus Tips and Tricks

Tips & Tricks: Although it’s best to call in professionals for large-scale cleaning projects, you can tackle basic cleanups on your own. Here are some simple tricks for keeping your bathroom, apartment or home spic and span.

Conclusion

Cleaning your toilet may not be exciting, but it is important to keep your home clean. Try these tips if you’re looking for non-toxic ways to clean your bathroom. You’ll save money and reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals.

How to Clean Hair Brushes

So you love your hair, you take pride in your hair. You wash your hair daily, have regular appointments with your stylist to get it cut, colored, so on and on. It’s possible you spend far more than you even think you should on your hair. You love pampering your hair so much that you forget that your hair brush also needs pampering from time to time. Take some time to make sure you have clean hair brushes as they will have a clean office from a reputable office cleaning companies nyc

Imagine this, you just finished washing your hair. It’s all nice and clean such a great home cleaning. And then you take your brush or comb that you’ve used a million times before on your unwashed hair and use it on your freshly cleaned hair. Think about that for a moment. You’ve just taken your dirty hair that was left on the brush/comb and mixed it with your freshly clean hair. Now it’s not as clean as you may think it is.

How Do I Clean It?

Let’s face it, clean hair brushes and combs are a lot better than dirty brushes and combs. They collect debris of dirt and dead skin and its continuous build-up is not good for your lovely locks. The residue left behind by those lovely hair products, also your hair natural oils can leave your hairbrushes and comb look grungy.

Along with your own, hygiene it’s very important to keep tools of daily use like comb and hairbrushes clean. Your hair brush and combs are a tap of germs, conditioner, oil, dead skin and old hair. It may not seem like a very big deal but clean brushes and combs help the way you style your hair and keep them fluff-free.

Wait! There is no need to throw out that old brush or comb and get new ones just because it has accumulated so much lint over the gap of months or years. Here are some very valuable tips to keep your hairbrushes and comb clean and work like new.

1. Removing the Hair

It is recommended to do this in a bathroom rather than a kitchen as the kitchen is mainly used for cooking food and any loose hair can go into the food and make it unhygienic. First, remove all the hair with your fingers or a toothpick. Pick out as much hair as you can. You can also wet the hairbrush and comb under water this will soften the hair and it would be easy for you to remove them

2. Dampen the Brush

Place a small dab of shampoo onto the bristles of the comb or hairbrushes. Carefully rub the bristles together with your hands but make sure the points of the bristles do not hurt you.

3. Soak the Brush

For the remaining bits of hair and debris, soak the brush under warm water with a bit of baby shampoo or detergent. Generally speaking, baby shampoo is very good for cleaning makeup brushes. The warm water and detergent will soften the dirt and debris in the hair bristles. You can also use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning hair brushes and combs. Pour half cup of vinegar in half cup of warm water and soak all your brushes and comb into it for about half an hour. Wait till the dirt and hair get dampen and soft. Similarly, you can mix baking soda with warm water and soak in your hair brushes. But remember, an exception to the baking soda process is that, not to immerse certain types of hair brushes and comb into it.

The cushioned brush, the wooden-bodied brushes, rubber brushes and comb and natural boar bristled brushes. Permitting water to get through the vent hole on cushioned brushes will erode the cushioning of the brush faster and it will reduce its shelf life. A wooden bodied brush or comb may cause wood to absorb water and may cause damage to the finish and make the body swell and break. While natural boar bristle brushes contain natural hair that would take in moisture as would other types of natural hair so the bristles can twist or curl if dampened.

4. Use a Toothbrush

You can use a toothbrush for cleaning the debris and leftover in the bristles of the hair brushes and comb. This will indeed be helpful in cleaning the hair brushes and comb till the end of their root inside the bristles. It would be advisable to use a new toothbrush rather than an old one. You cannot use the one for your hair that you used for your teeth; could you? Rinse the combs and hair brushes well.

5. Dry the Brush

Take a clean cotton towel would be preferred, dry the combs and hair brushes with the help of the cotton towel and let the remaining water dry on its own. Keep them in some clean place so that further dirt, grime and dust particles do not stick on it as this can easily happen when the combs and hairbrushes are wet.

6. Repeat

Now, after drying, again clean it with a dry towel so that the dust particles are removed if any are there in the hair brushes and comb. And VOILA, You are done! Your hairbrushes and combs are now clean and you can use them for keeping your lovely locks beautiful.  Washing the hair tools twice a month can be very helpful for your long tresses; it will not only keep your hair clean but also helps in keeping your hair healthy.

Bonus Tips

  • Throw away pieces of hair stuck in your brushes because that could build up oil in your scalp and this can damage your hair.
  • Remove your hair from your hair brushes and combs after each brushing
  • Always clean your hair brushes and comb gently so bristles do not break off.
  • Never use a finger to scrub a brush, it is very painful to get pinned in the finger by a bristle and even worse under a fingernail.

Hopefully, you’ve learned some awesome tips on how to keep your brushes and combs clean! If these worked for you, drop us a comment below. And if you have any other tips on house cleaning please leave us a comment below. We love to hear from our readers!

spring cleaning guide

The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Guide

Your home may be full of clutter, but we don’t blame you! In today’s world, we have so many responsibilities that it’s challenging to take the time to clean as well as we should. Fortunately, with these tips from our ultimate spring cleaning guide, you can get your home looking its best in no time! In this article, you’ll learn how to approach your spring cleaning – from the rooms that need cleaning first to the products you should use – plus what order to do each room in!

Start With the Bathroom

To reduce allergens, start with one of your least used rooms and do a deep clean on it. A good rule of thumb is to do one room every week or two. This will help you maintain focus and not get overwhelmed by looking at all that needs to be done. The bathroom can be cleaned in less than 30 minutes, but plan on a few hours if you’re changing out all products or doing heavy-duty cleaning. Start by clearing everything off surfaces and removing any items that don’t belong there. Next, wipe down each surface with a disinfectant like Lysol or Clorox wipes. If you have time, use an all-purpose cleaner like Simple Green or Soft Scrub (which also works great for getting rid of soap scum). If using chemicals isn’t your thing, vinegar mixed with water works well too! Make sure to wipe down cabinets and shelves and light fixtures (and bulbs), fans, shower curtains/doors/heads/liners, etc., inside and out. Don’t forget about things like toothbrush holders!

Move On to Kitchens

There are plenty of ways to tackle a kitchen spring cleaning project. You could go room by room, starting in a particularly dirty or cluttered place, or you could do your whole house at once. Either way, remove any breakable items from your kitchen and then clean with products for kitchens to reduce allergens while dusting, mopping, and washing surfaces and appliances. If you do an entire-house cleaning on one day, remember to put all your stuff back before bed—but if you space it out over several days (or weeks), don’t worry about putting everything away until you’re done.

Bedrooms

Don’t think you have time for spring cleaning? Make it a goal to tackle your bedroom first. This is a great place to start because people tend to spend eight hours of their day in their bedrooms; plus, when you clean them, you reduce allergens that can aggravate asthma and allergies. Invest in mattress covers, dust-repellent sheets, pillows, and quality bedding from your favorite store or brand. Wash any linen items like comforters and quilts weekly in hot water (130 degrees F). Always wash new bedding before using it; never use it before washing to ensure no bedbugs or dust mites lurk inside.

Work Through Every Room One by One

It’s essential to get your windows, doors, and ceilings as clean as possible for spring because these surfaces tend to get overlooked during most cleaning sessions. While an occasional wipe down may keep them looking okay for a while, it’s good to give them a deeper cleaning once or twice a year if you want them to continue looking their best. In addition, hard water stains can build up on these surfaces over time and can be difficult or impossible to remove without professional help. A pro cleaner in Apex can clean and seal your windows, doors and ceilings so they look great all year long.

Make Sure you do a Good Job on Windows, Doors, and Ceilings too!

When spring cleaning, it’s easy to forget about all those hard-to-reach spots. Avoid getting caught in a spider web or coating yourself in grime by focusing on these three places: windows, doors and ceilings. From household glass cleaner to a damp rag and a vacuum, there are numerous ways to clean glass surfaces. For instance, you could use newspaper to apply Windex® and then just wipe it off. In addition to Windex®, many other products are available that can safely clean various types of glass without leaving streaks or film behind. The same goes for your doors!

Vacuum Your Carpets and Rugs

Vacuuming is one of those chores that’s so mundane; we often put it off until it’s too late—until there are visible stains or odors and we have to call out a professional cleaner. You’ll probably be fine if you’re vacuuming your carpets and rugs once a week or so. When dealing with stains and odors, however, if you delay cleaning them up too long they can become more difficult to get rid of. They can also build up over time if left unchecked, making your entire house smell musty or like stale cigarettes when you least expect it. Vacuum at least once a week and you should be good to go.

Deep clean your Switches, PowerPoints and Outlets

Vacuuming and dusting are great ways to keep your home clean, but do they really address all of your household surfaces? If you’re looking for a deeper clean, you should deep-clean your switchers, power points, and light switches. This is not only time-consuming but can be difficult to tackle on your own if you have a large home. It’s best to get a few people together who can help make sure that everything gets cleaned thoroughly. To begin with, use an old toothbrush or paintbrush to scrape away any dirt or dust from around each switch and socket. Then spray some cleaner onto a rag or paper towel and wipe down each switch plate, including any screws. Once that’s done, move on to cleaning each switch itself. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any remaining grime before using an air duster or compressed air to blast out any dirt left in between buttons. To finish up, run your vacuum over every surface of each socket as well as its surrounding area—this will ensure it’s completely free from dirt before you put it back into place!

Know When to Call an Expert

The biggest mistake that people make is trying to do everything themselves. If you’re not an expert on, say, tile repair or home cleaning, don’t try it yourself—call a professional who will do it right (and save you time and money). Make sure you know what’s included in your spring cleaning and be honest with yourself about when to hire a pro. You may think you’re good at making your own home repairs or refinishing floors or cutting back trees or doing any number of other tasks. But if there’s one thing we’ve learned at HGTV over all these years, it’s that some jobs just take a level of expertise that most homeowners don’t have on hand. And if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. We won’t tell anyone. We promise.

reduce-indoor-allergens

10 Easy Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home

Reducing allergens in your home can help you breathe easier and keep your allergies under control. Fortunately, there are several simple and inexpensive ways to do so; all you need to do is take the first step toward reducing allergens in your home today! Follow these 10 easy ways to reduce allergens in your home, and say goodbye to congestion, coughing, runny noses, and itchy eyes forever!

 

Dust

Dust can cause allergic reactions, especially among those with sensitive skin. If you’re one of them, and sneezing after dusting is a problem, use a damp cloth instead of a broom or vacuum. The water will eliminate allergens while leaving little mess behind.

 

Clean Filters

Filters help keep allergens and irritants out of your home. You can replace air filters once every month or two and vacuum filters at least once a year. Filters trap dust, dander, dirt, hair and other small particles that can cause allergic reactions and rashes. Vacuum cleaner bags should be replaced regularly; they are specially designed to trap as much dust as possible. But if you have allergies or skin sensitivity problems, you’ll want to make sure that you frequently check your filter for any indication of dust buildup—even if it’s not time for a replacement—to prevent triggering an allergic reaction or rash.

 

Vacuum Regularly

Vacuum cleaners are only as effective as their vacuum bags. This is especially true if you have pets or children since pet dander and dust mites love to nestle themselves into vacuum bags. If you have sensitive skin, sneezing often, or an itchy throat at night, empty your vacuum bag every time you use it. That’s easier said than done when you’re short on time and patience—but trust us: It’s worth it! It can be a lot of work, but vacuuming with a clean bag will remove up to 80 percent of pet dander from your home.

 

Check your vacuum cleaner’s bags regularly

This seems like a no-brainer, but many vacuum owners don’t realize they should be changing their bags or filters regularly. And forget about dust bunnies; if you have allergies, it’s likely you are sensitive to a larger number of allergens than non-allergic people, so even a small amount of dust and debris can cause sneezing fits and rashes. Vacuum bags usually need replacing every 3–6 months; filters, depending on your model, should be replaced after 2–3 months of use. Ensure your vacuum is empty before removing either—keep that dust from blowing around!

 

Wash pillows, sheets, duvets, and duvet covers

Many people are allergic to house dust mites and their waste. One way to reduce your exposure is by washing all of your bedding once a week—you can do it more often if you have allergies or asthma. Make sure you use water hot enough (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill any dust mites living on your sheets. Pillows, duvets, and duvet covers should be washed at least once every three months. Also, consider taking pillows outside and beating them with a stick as they are naturally full of dust, dust mites, dander, and other allergens (smoke detector batteries).

 

Keep pets out of bedrooms

Pets can often be seen as cute and cuddly companions, but they can also cause problems when they’re allowed into your bedroom. Dust mites and other allergens are common problem-makers when it comes to allergic reactions, especially if you have sensitive skin. For an easy solution, keep pets out of your bedroom—and give them a warm place to sleep that doesn’t cause you trouble. You might also want to wash your sheets and blankets regularly (at least every couple of weeks) for even more protection against dust mites and other potential allergens.

 

Keep windows closed when vacuuming

Vacuuming stirs up lots of dust and particles, so if you’re trying to reduce allergens in your home, you should leave windows closed when vacuuming. This can help reduce dust from circulating around your home and prevent allergens from floating into other rooms while you clean. Open windows again after vacuuming; letting a breeze into your home can help ventilate dust that settles on furniture and floors.

 

Wash frequently touched surfaces

Germs are like dust; they stick to everything and anything. We touch so many things throughout our day that it’s nearly impossible not to pick up a few germs. However, those germs don’t just live on our hands but on the surfaces, we touch too. And if you think about how many surfaces you touch every day – from doorknobs to kitchen counters – that means your home has more germs than you can possibly imagine. To reduce allergens at home, clean frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, and faucets with a disinfectant spray or wipes daily.

 

Ventilate the room with a dehumidifier or air purifier when vacuuming

When you vacuum, it’s important to open a window and use an exhaust fan. Otherwise, you could be recirculating allergens throughout your home. Some air purifiers even have a HEPA filter—an acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Air—which filters out airborne particles from cleaning and dusting products. If you use one of these, make sure it’s placed near where you clean so that you aren’t recirculating all those particles into other parts of your home.

 

Wash toys, stuffed animals, and books often

A pet may spend much of its time outdoors, but that doesn’t mean all its fur will fall off just because it went for a walk. When your pet spends most of its time indoors, as is common with cats and dogs, it can easily bring allergens into your home. Cats shed hair constantly, even if they aren’t quite so affectionate about sitting on your lap (like Dusty). Dogs also shed hair—and even dander—all year long and are particularly prone to shedding during springtime when their undercoats grow. Both Fido and Fluffy love a good game of fetch outside, but they will also be tracking dirt inside on their paws.

How To Clean Dirty Windows

The Best Way to Clean Your Dirty Windows Without Leaving Streaks

Cleaning your home windows doesn’t need to be an annoying chore. And if you leave them dirty for too long, it can have some pretty detrimental effects on your health, especially if you have windows in your bedroom or kitchen! Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to clean your dirty windows without leaving streaks behind.

Why These Methods Work

Windows are one of the hardest surfaces to clean, but a few simple tricks can help you get the job done. One option is to use newspaper or a lint-free cloth with water and vinegar. The vinegar will cut through the grease and dirt on your windows, while the newspaper or cloth will be able to scrub them clean without leaving streaks behind. Another way is by using a squeegee in combination with soapy water.

Water and Vinegar

Mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray on windows, then use newspaper or paper towels to wipe off. Use a microfiber cloth for the final cleanup. If there are still streaks after using this method, mix one part dish soap with two parts water in a spray bottle and go over the window one more time. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water afterward.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most effective ways to clean your windows without leaving streaks (and a whole bunch of other things!). Simply mix baking soda with a few drops of water in a bowl, and then rub the mixture onto your windows using a sponge or cloth. Rinse by wiping off excess moisture with paper towels, and your windows will be sparkling clean!

Vinegar and Squeegee

If you have dirty windows, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove any debris from the window. From there, you’ll need a bucket of water and a few tablespoons of vinegar. Pour the vinegar in the bucket and mix it with your hand or a sponge until it’s fully dissolved. Next, use your squeegee (or newspaper) to clean off the window with an even motion from top to bottom and left to right.

Soap and Water

One way you can clean your dirty windows without leaving streaks is by using a mixture of soap and water. Mix together a few drops of dish soap with warm water in a bucket. Then, use the solution on your window before wiping it down with paper towel or newspaper. For particularly dirty windows, scrub the window with a sponge dipped in the solution before rinsing it off with more water.

how to clean mold in washer machine

7 Tips to Prevent Mold in Your Front Load Washer

Does the idea of mold growing in your front load washer make you cringe? If so, you’re not alone. Front load washers are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning maintenance, which can cause issues like mold to develop over time. The good news is that you can prevent this mold from developing by following these seven tips to prevent mold in your front load washer.

Air Circulation

The most important thing you can do to prevent mold from growing in your washer is making sure it is getting enough air circulation. This means opening the door after every use and ensuring there are no physical obstructions blocking the venting.
Also, be mindful of how much laundry detergent you are using, as detergent will build up on the rubber seal and cause mold growth if not washed away.

Water Temperature

An important factor of preventing mold from growing in the washer is water temperature. If you are experiencing a problem with mold, try lowering your wash cycle’s water temperature. This can be done by pressing and holding the power button for 3 seconds to enter the Settings menu. From there, select Options, then Wash Cycles and finally Water Temperature. The ideal water temperature for cleaning clothes is about 120 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

Adding Bleach

One way to prevent mold from growing in your front load washer is by adding bleach. I would recommend adding a cup of bleach every time you do a load of laundry and rinse it out with water before you put the next load of laundry into the machine.

Don’t Use Fabric Softener

The best way to prevent mold from growing in your washer is by not using fabric softener. Fabric softener coats your clothing with a coating of detergent and oil, which will cause the soap scum to grow and cling onto the fabric. It also makes it harder for the water to get deep inside the fibers of the clothes. Instead, opt for cold-water wash cycles and use half as much detergent as usual.

Avoid Piling Your Clothes

1. Sort your laundry into colors and only wash one color at a time.
2. Check the pockets of your clothes for anything wet or sticky before putting them in the machine.
3. Add an extra rinse cycle if you notice any residue on your clothes after washing or drying them.
4. Use less detergent and make sure it is a detergent made for HE washers.

Vacuuming, Again and Again

Many people don’t think about vacuuming their washing machine, but it’s an important part of preventing mold. If the lint filter is dirty, then water and soap can easily run down into the washer drum and create a perfect environment for mold to grow. The more often you vacuum your washing machine, the less likely it will be that mold will develop.

Use Detergent Suited to Front-Loading Machines

Front load washers are a great option for eco-conscious consumers looking for a way to minimize their carbon footprint. However, they require special detergent that is suited to the machine’s design. You can find front load washer detergent at most big box stores and local cleaners. Be sure not to use liquid detergent, as it will clog the machine and cause mold buildup.

Book A Cleaning Service in NYC

Cleaning companies in NYC tend to offer laundry services when you book them for a cleaning. Interested in getting your home cleaned (and reducing effort to keep your washer clean)? Book a cleaning with Maid Sailors Cleaning Service!

The Best Cleaning Hacks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner (Seriously, Trust Us!)

The Best Cleaning Hacks You’ll Wish You’d Known Sooner (Seriously, Trust Us!)

We sat down with Alice, one of our longest-tenured cleaning professionals, and got her expert opinion on home cleaning tips, tricks, and hacks she feels everyone should know! These are some of the methods she uses while providing cleaning services in nyc.

Create a Cleaning Plan.

Most of us have moments where we’re motivated to clean, but having a plan makes it much more manageable. According to Alice, “Cleaning can be like ballet. You work at an angle, go down and see everything that needs attention.” Then, as you move around the house, lightly wipe switches, doors, and baseboards; then, continue in a circle around the property. This principle is also helpful when decluttering or if you’re trying to attract buyers.

Consider Speed Cleaning.

Whether your husband or sister is coming and you want to quickly clean the house, knowing how to speed clean the house is your saving grace. Focus on visible surfaces like countertops and bathroom counters for the easiest and quickest clean. It’s easy to be too lazy to put things away in cabinets or behind a coffee machine, but by keeping things visible, we can significantly reduce our cleaning time.

It’s Time to Start!

Keep on reading for my absolute must tips, tricks, and ideas for a cleaner, happier, healthier home 👇


For the Kitchen

Did you know that you can make lemon-scented sanitizer for the trash cans in your house? Not only will this make them smell better, but it will also help to keep your home smelling fresh. This is an easy process and only requires a few simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand. Plus, there are some added benefits to using this natural cleaner, like making your garbage disposal run more efficiently. So next time your trash cans start to stink, give this hack a try!


Prioritize

To have an easier and cleaner life, consider starting with cleaning your kitchen and bathroom space. Then, declutter your house, dust off your sheets, and finally focus on flooring. Please be mindful of what you need to take care of around your property to have a stress-free life. A clean house is a happy house, and one of the best ways to achieve that is by staying organized. Whether it’s putting your belongings in storage solutions like shelving units and plastic bins or streamlining your cleaning routine with decluttering hacks, taking time out of your day to tidy up can make all the difference.


Deodorize Your Smelly Refrigerator with Used Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can be used for more than just making coffee. If you let them dry on a plate in the oven, once they’re dried they become a great way to eliminate smells. You can put the soil into a container and put it in the fridge to keep absorbing smells and make your fridge smell pleasant. This is a simple hack that can be done anytime, and it only requires a few ingredients. So the next time your fridge starts to smell funky, give coffee grounds a try!


Freshen Up Your Garbage Disposal with DIY Lemon and Vinegar Cubes

Ice cubes, vinegar or lemon slices can help combat stinky bins. Simply cut the lemon in half and place it on an ice plate with vinegar before freezing it. Whenever your disposal starts to smell bad, run some water with a few ice cubes and voila – the scent will be gone immediately! This is a simple and quick way to get rid of smelly trash cans. So the next time your bin starts to smell, try using DIY lemon and vinegar cubes for a fresh-smelling kitchen.


Buy a Dish Brush That Dispenses Soap

Have you ever heard of a dish brush that dispenses soap? Neither did we, and we were ecstatic to find it! Make your life WAY easier with one of these brushed. Instead of needing to repeatedly stop to apply more soap to your brush, all you’ll have to do is let it to its thing, making scrubbing 5x easier, and much faster. Interested in more tricks to clean your bathroom?


For the Bathroom

Here are some tips on keeping your bathroom feeling fresh: Remove any odor from the towel. For example, you can use vinegar and baking soda. If your towel still smells bad after washing, it probably has mildew on it. This can happen if you leave wet towels in the bathroom for too long. To fix this issue quickly, follow these three steps:

1) Wash your towels as usual and run them through the dryer (a second time should do the trick).

2) Add some white vinegar to a spray bottle and spritz it on the towel.

3) Let the towel sit in a warm place for 1-2 hours, then wash again.


Use Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers are awesome at what they do best, getting dirty dishes clean, but they can be tricky if you don’t know what tools work best. For instance, glass will put up a fight in your dishwasher if anything is caked on it, and on top of that, you’ve got to be cautious with plastic – dishwashers get HOT and the plastic will melt.

Soak your dishes overnight before washing them in the dishwasher, and you’ll be surprised by how effective it is! This will also help eliminate hard-to-clean food stains, so it’s a great way to give your machine a little love while also cleaning your dishes more effectively. So the next time you have a lot of dirty dishes, consider using your dishwasher for an easier and more effective cleaning experience.


For Squeaky Clean Glass Windows, Look for the Morning Newspaper

Believe it or not, newspapers are one of the best materials to clean glass surfaces. All you need is a small piece of newspaper and some water or cleaning solvent. The newsprint will absorb the solution, leaving your glass streak-free and sparkling clean. Plus, using recycled newspaper is much better for the environment than reaching for a paper towel every time something needs wiping down! So take it from us, save the environment AND your money, and use a newspaper! Newspaper isn’t the only way to clean windows, though! Read some tricks to keeping yours clean here.


Or Fight Stains with Blackboard Chalk

The next time you see dirt or grease on your clothing or the tablecloth, instead of reaching for the laundry detergent, try using chalk. I’m going to read your mind. “Chalk?” is probably what you’re asking yourself. Yes, chalk! Chalk is a surprisingly effective substance for fighting stains and dirt. It absorbs very easily and helps keep surfaces dry. So before you toss your stained items in the wash, let chalk work its magic. You’ll be surprised by how effective it is!


Clean Denim by Putting it in the Freezer

Do you want to keep your jeans looking and feeling new? Here’s a hack for you: next time you wash them, don’t put them in the freezer (yes, people do this, and I used to be one of them). Instead, fold them into a bag or canvas (canvas is best) and keep them at room temperature for 3-5 days. This will stop any shrinkage from happening and will prevent bleeding. Keep your jeans smelling fresh!


Pick Up Glass Shards with Bread

To clean up glass shards from broken glass, look no further than your bread drawer. Yes, you read that right – bread can be used to pick up tiny pieces of glass better than a broom! Keep your hands bare and hold the slice of bread with firm fingers. Gently pat the surface around the broken glass until all of the shards have been picked up.


And Use Milk to Wash Away Red Wine Carpet Stains

If you’re worried about accidentally spilling red wine on your carpet, don’t be. Just grab some milk from the fridge and pour it over the stain. Leave it for an hour, then come back and rub in a little bit of water. The milk will help to absorb the wine into itself instead of onto your rug. The milk works by breaking down the wine itself and preventing it from settling into the rug’s fibers. Milk makes strong bones AND strong rugs!


Use dishwasher detergent pods to clean anything from a dirty oven to a toilet bowl

Dishwashers are amazing for so much more than just washing dishes. The detergent can also be used to clean up messy stovetops and counters. Dishwasher detergent is EXCELLENT at breaking down grime. Place one tablet into a bowl of warm water and let it dissolve for at least one minute. Next, take a scrub brush or sponge and scrub the door all over. But that’s not all you can do with dishwasher tablets! You can also use them to clean almost any stain from your toilet bowl and fixtures. Just like you would with a regular sponge, scrub the surface. Talk about multi-purpose!


Buff Up Scratched Tableware with Cream of Tartar

Have some cream of tartar lying around? Have some tableware that needs buffing? It’s time to get those dishes clean! For this recipe, you’ll need cream of tartar and a bit of water. Make a paste out of the two ingredients, then rub it onto the scuffed plates with a dishcloth. Wash it off with either soap or plain water – whichever you prefer! Your dishes will look good as new in no time.


Use Your Pillowcase!

You probably don’t need an extra pillowcase every evening, but you will need to use the pillow to clean your ceiling fans if you want to prevent a whole lot of dust flying around. “The pillow covers the dust and prevents it from being deposited on the floor,” Reichert said. It’s an easy cleaning solution.


Use Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda to Make a Dirty Baking Sheet Look Brand New

If you’re looking for an easy way to clean your baking sheets, sprinkle them with baking soda, add hydrogen peroxide, and let the mixture sit for a bit before scrubbing. Most of the dirt on oven sheets comes from the surface. Baking soda will keep your food from sticking and can completely clean any hardened messes. Rinse off the baking sheet with hot water and in minutes.


For the Living Room

There are many floor cleaning products available on the market, but they can often be expensive and not work as well as advertised. I think that using a simple homemade cleaner could be the change you are hoping for. The odor and grime of sectioned-off commercial cleaners are not worth their cost when compared to the ease and effectiveness of this DIY solution which only uses a handful of common household ingredients. You’re wondering, “what in the world are they talking about?!” The answer is drum roll please… Wear woolly socks with Swiffer pads on them! Throw them on fresh out of the washing machine (for warmth!). As you walk around, you’ll pick up a large chunk of that dust that’s been building up.


For Your Furry Friends

Pets are amazing companions that bring us immense joy, but they also come with a downside: hair. By donning rubber gloves every once in a while when petting them, you can avoid having their fur all over your clothes. The rubber will also remove a whole lot of shedded fur. It’s commonly said that trying to keep your pillow covers free of cat hair is futile. But if you put on some gloves and run them over any fabric, you can quickly remove pet hair and tangled strands. Do you really need to use a lint roller? We think not.


Skip the Polish

If your wood floors look dull, you may need to polish them occasionally. All you need is a wet microfiber cloth to make them shine again. “The furniture will actually be cleaner if you don’t use furniture polishes,” Alice adds. Microfibers – man’s gift to… man!


Use Baby Powder to Remove Grease Stains

If your shirt is stained with grease, don’t rush to the dry cleaners! Try this tip from the Happy Mom blog instead. Apply baby powder directly onto the greased areas and wipe away any residue. Then, apply a toothbrush and scrub into the dripping dish detergent until the foam is gone. Put the worn blouse in the dryer and hopefully all of that gunk will disappear too! Speaking of grease, here are some awesome ways to clean a greasy oven.


Clean Your Cast-Iron Skillet with Halved Potatoes

Thanks to this awesome hack, cleaning your cast iron pans will be a breeze! All you need are some potatoes, fine salt and oil. First, add the salt to the pan before scrubbing the potatoes. Then season the dish with cooking oil, making sure to spread it over the surface evenly. Finally, put the cooked tin in a hot oven for a couple of hours and voilà – no more mess!


Apply Toothpaste to Clean Dirty White Sneakers

Home Repair Man knows the pain of ruining a brand new pair of shoes. To avoid this tragedy, or to fix it if it’s already too late, grab a wet toothbrush and some white toothpaste. Gently brush the soiled areas until the mud comes off; with it, the stains will be gone as well!


Stock Up On Products

“Please, PLEASE, stop using cleaning products that aren’t made for whatever you’re cleaning without researching first!” says Alice. It’s easy to reach for the floor polish to use on your stainless steel or to use certain cleaners on unsealed granite, but that would be making a huge mistake. Alice recommends stocking up on cleaning supplies that are designed for their purpose. You can use certain cleaning products outside of their marketed use, but be careful and always do your research, otherwise you can cause serious damage to your floors, steel appliances, and unsealed counters. Not sure what cleaning supplies you should keep stocked up? Read this comprehensive guide on what supplies you should always have on hand.


Use a Disposable Razor to Remove Pilling From Sweaters

Tired of all those itchy bits on your sweater touching you? To remove pilling from a sweater, lay it flat on a table or ironing board and hold it tight. Use disposable razors for short strokes, being careful to test the sweater first on an inconspicuous area to make sure the fabric can withstand this treatment


Vacuum the Right Way

Alice recommends vacuuming rooms horizontally then vertically to release the accumulated dirt. Most professional cleaners agree on the need to vacuum slowly to remove dirt from the air. Equipped with a powerful vacuum cleaner, Alice adds that you can use the back of a chair or sofa to sweep the blinds. “Switch back and forth between horizontal and vertical lines for best results,” she said.


Microwave a Bowl of Water and Fresh Lemon Juice to Quickly Clean and Deodorize your Microwave – No Chemicals Required

“I’m confident this hack will work well because I do this with all of my clients that have microwaves,” says Alice. Fill a measuring bowl with water and cut lemons in half then microwave the cup for 3 minutes. Remove everything from the microwaves–the steam mixed with lemon juice will leave your microwave smelling fresh and clean.


Skip the Bucket

A bucket-free cleaning method offered by Leslie Reichert, Founder of Green Cleaning Coach and author of Joy Of Green Cleaning, is our new gold standard, and Alice swears by it. Instead of spreading dirty water, sludge, and whatever other debris accumulates in your mop water, let’s focus on keeping it simple. Ditch the bucket, give the floor a quick sweep, mix a little cleaning solution into a spray bottle and spritz around, then swiffer it up. Clean floor, happy life!


Use Black Tea to Clean Glass Surfaces Like Windows and Mirrors

You can easily clean windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces with homemade black tea. Simply steep several cups of black tea in boiling water and leave it to cool. Once it has cooled, transfer it to a spray bottle. The acid and tannin properties in black tea make it effective at combating dust and smudges. Black tea also acts as a bit of a dye, so make sure you read up on how to remove tea stains before trying this method.


Don’t Forget the Doormats

By placing a door mat both inside and outside of your home, you can prevent trodden-in mud from making its way into your living space. This is especially useful during winter months when boots are likely to be caked in salt and snow. Remember to regularly clean your door mat – it will contribute to the overall cleanliness of your house.


Remove Water Rings on Wooden Surfaces with Mayonnaise

Here’s a hack for keeping your household items in place: try mayonnaise. Just cover the surfaces with a generous layer of mayo, and it will help keep things from moving around. Plus, the mayonnaise will disappear when you rinse it out within a couple of seconds.


For Accessories

Did you know that dirty hairbrushes and combs can contain harmful substances? Yuck! That’s why it’s important to wash your brushes regularly.

To clean a hairbrush, rinse it in hot soapy water. For makeup brushes, place them in a trivet and wash them with soap and water. Cleaner brushes are not only more sanitary, but they also work better than those that aren’t clean! Learning how to clean your hairbrush is important for your hygiene, see how we suggest doing it here.


Combine Tasks

Clean more efficiently by completing two tasks at once. For example, clean floorboards and window surfaces by vacuuming or washing floors. When mopping the floor, sweep a bowl of water and cleaning solution.

You can make your cleaning routine more efficient by using some of these simple hacks. For example, you could speed-clean the kitchen or sanitize trash cans every day or week. There are plenty of tricks that can make keeping any home clean much easier. So what are you waiting for?


Schedule a Home Cleaning Service

This one isn’t a traditional hack, but it is important to add on here. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, and sometimes we just don’t have the time to get our home cleaned. I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before, “A clean home is a happy home.” This couldn’t ring more true. A study was done recently, and the results are exactly what you would expect, 80% of people felt more relaxed in a clean home. If you can’t find the time to clean, even with these time-saving hacks, consider booking a cleaning service.