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.

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.

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 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 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!

How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink In Just 4 Easy Steps

You scrub your dishes in your kitchen sink every day, but how often do you actually scour the sink itself? We tend to think of our sinks as being “clean” because they are constantly being rinsed with water (and a fair amount of dish soap too). Over time though, germs can get a foothold (did you know that it is actually dirtier than your toilet?). So now and again, you need to get serious about cleaning your kitchen sink. Otherwise, it won’t be a sanitary place to wash your dishes!

That means rolling up your sleeves, grabbing a few cleaning supplies, and putting some elbow grease into the job. In this article, we are going to teach you everything you need to know to get your sink spotless and germ-free!

Supplies:

  • Liquid soap
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Lemon juice (optional)
  • Sponge
  • Old toothbrush

You’ll notice we’ve listed the white vinegar as “optional” here along with the lemon juice. That is because they can be handy, but whether or not they are appropriate depends on the type of sink you have.

Here are some specific precautions for cleaning different types of kitchen sinks:

  • Stainless steel: Keep acids and salts away from stainless steel, as well as ammonia and bleach. Also, avoid using sponges with an abrasive texture. You don’t want to damage the beautiful finish on your stainless steel sink. Some people said that you can use lemon despite its acidic properties. If you do this, we recommend not leaving it in contact with the steel for too long — or just skip it to be on the safe side.
  • Ceramic: This material may be scratched easily. For that reason, you should not use abrasive materials or cleaning agents.
  • Cast iron: Cast iron sinks come with an enamel coating, so you must take care when scrubbing it. Abrasive cleaners, sponge pads, and wire brushes should be avoided.
  • Copper: Do not use harsh chemicals. Avoid acids as well if the sink has a patina. Otherwise, the patina could be damaged or stripped away.
  • Stone: As stone is porous, it can absorb anything that comes into contact with it. For this reason, you should not use harsh chemicals or acids.
  • Porcelain: Mild acids like lemon juice or vinegar are usually fine so long as you do not leave them sitting for too long.

Basic Steps to Clean A Kitchen Sink:

  1. Start by rinsing out your sink. Get all of the debris out of the way so that you can work.
  2. Next, dust the inside of the sink with baking soda. Get a sponge and start scrubbing. In contact with the wet surface of the sink, the baking soda will form a paste. This is a great way to pull up any stubborn debris and also take care of stains. It should give your sink a bit of a polish as well.
  3. Now it is time to tackle the drain flaps, the faucet, and the handles. Baking soda paste works great for this as well. Switch from the sponge to the toothbrush so you can get into all the nooks and crannies.
  4. Rinse out the sink. Get a paper towel and wipe down the faucet and handles as well so that all of the baking soda is gone.
  5. This final step is optional. If your sink finish is likely to be damaged by vinegar, do not do it. If vinegar is safe to use in your sink, soak a few paper towels in it, and then use them to line the inside of the sink as well as the faucet and handles. Go and do something else for 20 minutes, then come back and remove the paper towels. Finish up with one more quick rinse of your sink using dish soap and warm water.

Advice for Stubborn Stains:

Got a stubborn stain that just won’t come out? You may need to do some concentrated spot work. This is where you can use the lemon juice. Try mixing it in with some borax (so long as you are not cleaning a surface where borax will be too abrasive) and scrub hard.

Alternately, you can try again with the baking soda or the vinegar. Harsher products like ammonia, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide might work if absolutely necessary, but these can damage a lot of sink finishes, so use them only as a last resort.

Long-Term Care for Your Kitchen Sink

What is the best way to avoid having to give your kitchen sink a meticulous cleaning? You know the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, that applies with kitchen sinks too.

After every use of your sink, rinse the entire basin thoroughly. Then grab a soft cloth and wipe down all the surfaces so that they are dry. Do that each and every time, and you will minimize the amount of maintenance your sink needs to stay sparkling clean.

Now and again, you will still have to thoroughly clean and sanitize your kitchen sink, but the more diligent you are with the daily rinse and wipe-down, the less often you will need to bring out the baking soda and the vinegar.

One last tip is to make sure you do not leave certain foods or beverages in contact with your sink for too long. Coffee grounds and tea bags are particularly notorious for leaving deep, stubborn stains on sink surfaces. The sooner you get these out of your sink and rinse out any residue, the better.

With Regular Cleanings, Your Kitchen Sink Can Retain Its Spotless Shine For Years to Come

Once you get your dishes washed, dried, and put away, the last thing you probably feel like doing is scrubbing down the entire kitchen sink. But you know what? A clean kitchen sink is worth it. Keeping your kitchen sink sanitized means you and your family stay healthy. And by buffing up the polish on your sink now and again, you can bring it back to that same beautiful shine it had on the day when it was new.

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 to Clean a Lazy Susan

The Lazy Susan cabinet has been a kitchen staple for many decades; this type of corner cabinet typically opens to reveal a series of turntables, which can be used to store food and small kitchen appliances. The tables can then be spun to retrieve food and other items as needed. When properly organized, a Lazy Susan cabinet can really come in handy—providing clever storage space in even the smallest of kitchens.

Over time, however, a Lazy Susan can easily become disorganized and even downright dirty. Crumbs from food stored inside a Lazy Susan can build up, as can grease from food, utensils, and small kitchen appliances. This can not only be unsightly for you (and your house guests) to look at but could pose a health risk as well. Furthermore, a disorganized Lazy Susan can add unwanted clutter to your home—and if you haven’t cleaned out this cabinet recently, there’s a good chance your Lazy Susan is harboring expired food or other items you no longer use.

By taking the time to properly clean and organize your Lazy Susan on occasion, you can keep it clean and potentially free up some storage space in the process.

How to Clean a Lazy Susan

Not sure where to begin when it comes to how to clean a Lazy Susan? We’ve got some practical tips and step-by-step guidance. One of the biggest challenges people tend to face when cleaning out this cabinet is its somewhat awkward set-up. The back of the cabinet can be somewhat difficult to reach, as can areas of the cabinet’s base. Still, with the right tools and a little elbow grease, you can have your Lazy Susan clean and organized in about 30 minutes.

Remove Items From Shelves

The first step is to take everything out of your Lazy Susan. This will allow you better access to the shelves so you can properly clean them. It will also give you an opportunity to take inventory of what you’ve been keeping on the shelves so you can decide what you want to keep and what you need to get rid of.

Don a Pair of Cleaning Gloves

This is also a good time to put on a pair of quality cleaning gloves. This will protect your hands from exposure to any cleaning chemicals you may be using. A thick pair of reusable cleaning gloves is recommended here (like the type you would wear when cleaning a bathroom), but even a disposable pair of latex gloves would work here.

You’ll also want to make sure you’re working in a properly ventilated area if you’ll be using any harsh kitchen cleaners or degreasers. If your kitchen has a window, you may want to crack it open; otherwise, a properly placed box fan should do the trick.

Vacuum Up Loose Debris

Using the hose attachment on a vacuum, begin by vacuuming up any loose debris from inside the Lazy Susan. The smaller the hose attachment you have to work with here, the better. Pay special attention to the corners/dividers of Lazy Susan shelves, as these tend to accumulate lots of crumbs and other debris. If you’re able to access any of the cabinet’s base, use your vacuum hose to remove any loose debris from here as well.

Create a Cleaning Solution

Next, it’s time to work on cleaning the shelves more thoroughly. Over time, grime and grease can build up in layers on these shelves. This is especially likely if you use your Lazy Susan to store small kitchen appliances or cookware, such as pots and pans.

In most cases, you can create your own cleaning solution to cut through everyday grease and grime. To do this, simply mix a few drops of your favorite dish soap into a bucket of warm water. From there, you can use a sponge or rag to scrub away grime from the shelves. For the best results, wipe in circular motions. Follow up with a dry cloth or paper towel to dry.

Use a Degreaser For Heavy Buildup

If you’re happy with the results from using your own cleaning solution, there’s no need to complete this step. However, if you’re still noticing lots of grease and grime buildup, then you may need to follow up with a heavy kitchen degreaser to get rid of it all. You can find these products at your local grocery store; always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area before using on your shelves, though (especially if you have wooden shelves).

When sprayed and left on for a short period of time before wiping clean, a kitchen degreaser can break down even the toughest of grime so you can restore your Lazy Susan cabinets to their original cleanliness.

Wipe the Shelves Clean and Dry

If you used a kitchen degreaser or any other harsh chemicals, be sure to wipe the shelves down one last time to remove any chemical residue. From there, you can use a clean cloth or fresh paper towel to dry your cabinets out completely.

Organize Your Clean Cabinet

Now, all that’s left to do is to replace the items you removed from your Lazy Susan. This is a great chance to properly organize everything and toss out items you no longer need or use. You may even wish to add some organization to your Lazy Susan in the form of small storage bins or other accessories. From there, you’ll be able to easily locate everything you need in your freshly cleaned Lazy Susan cabinet!

Let the Professionals Handle It

In most cases, you should be able to get your Lazy Susan cabinet cleaned within about 30 minutes of your time. Of course, your time is valuable—and there are other things you’d rather be doing. That’s where our team of cleaning professionals can help. Contact Maid Sailors today to set up your cleaning appointment. Our deep cleaning services include a thorough cleaning of homes that have not been professionally cleaning in over 3 months (like your Lazy Susan and more!).

How to Do Deep Cleaning of Your Closets

Most of the time, our closets are usually full. The overcrowding comes with a lot of chaos. For example, it becomes challenging to find the cloth you need. Other times, you may even fail to get something to wear. Shocking, right? After all, how can you not have anything to wear if you have an overflowing closet? But it happens. If you find yourself in this scenario, you don’t need to worry. There is a solution in the form of deep cleaning your closets. Here’s how you can go about it. 

1. Set the Mood

Let’s be real; most of us don’t look forward to cleaning our closets. That’s why we try to put it off as long as we can. To make the cleaning process fun, you need to set the mood. For example, you can turn on the music and dance along to it or listen to an uplifting podcast. The goal is to be in a happy mood. 

2. Remove Everything From the Closet

If someone were to tell you to remove a few items from your wardrobe, you’d get confused about which ones to withdraw from the pile. Deep cleaning your closet requires you to get rid of some stuff to make it look more organized. Also, you want to first clean the closet before putting your items back. The first step towards achieving this is removing everything from the wardrobe. 

3.  Start Cleaning 

Closet

A dusting cloth and some water are the basic things you need to clean your closet. Use the damp cloth to wipe away dust, dirt, and other undesirable stuff from the shelves, drawers, and cabinets. Don’t forget about the doors too. There may be some moisture left afterward, which may damage your clothes. Therefore, ensure you get another piece of dry cloth and go through the areas mentioned. 

Since we are doing deep cleaning, you can opt for a mild household cleaner instead of water to dust the closet. If you are dealing with glass surfaces, then a glass cleaner will come in handy to ensure there are no fingerprints or smudges left on it. Kindly note that you should only use mild cleaning agents for your closets to avoid damaging the surfaces.  

Floor

It is time to clean the floor. Sometimes, our closets become humid, which causes them to give out a musty smell. Baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer, and that’s why you need it when carrying out deep cleaning. You can sprinkle it on the carpet and leave it for 15 minutes as you do other things. After that, get out your vacuum cleaner and clean the carpet. You will notice a fresh smell after that. When vacuuming, go through all the corners of the closet to ensure the whole space is clean.  

Ceiling and Walls

You can’t leave out the walls and ceilings to have your broom ready and start dusting and getting rid of cobwebs. A duster with a long handle will also do a great job. While dusting, remember the light fixtures too. 

4. Sort Out Your Items 

Now that you have a clean closet, you don’t want to stuff back every single thing you took out. It is time to go through each item and decide if you wish to keep it, throw it away, donate it to charity, or someone you know who needs it more than you. You may have some clothes or shoes that cost you a fortune and you don’t want to give away. If this is the case, you can put them aside and sell them online. Once you have the items you have decided to donate, also set them aside and get on with the process as soon as you can to avoid cluttering your space. The items to be discarded should go into the trash bag immediately and out of your closet.  

5. Put Everything Back

The items you’ve decided to keep cannot stay on your bed. Therefore, start reorganizing them. Having various storage options will help everything to fit in nicely without being crowded. 

After sorting out the clothes you’ll be putting back into the closet, you can go a step further and ensure they smell great. You can mix essential oils with water and then spray the liquid on your clothes. You can also give your shoes a pleasant smell by spritzing the cotton balls with perfume before you put them in the shoe section.  

Final Thoughts

Your closet needs cleaning; you can’t avoid that. However, it doesn’t have to make you cringe. You can follow the above tips to make the process fun and ensure your closet space is clean, organized, and free of clutter. It is essential to do this regularly because it will avoid the issue of having an overflowing and cluttered closet.