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.

The Importance Of Cleaning Before Selling Your House

For potential buyers to feel differently about your home, your home needs to be inviting; it’s no joke getting your home ready for sale; that’s why you have to clean it, leaving it fresh. Your goal is to have your home on the market for the least amount of time possible and to get the most money out of it.

While it can still be essential to repair stuff, eliminate clutter, and even renew painting, getting your home clean is the most important and inexpensive step in getting your house ready to sell quickly. Wondering, “how do I clean my house so it can sell quickly,” then what you’re going to need is this checklist to make sure your home cleaning goes well.

As a mom, myself, when it comes to creating the time to get those cleaning jobs done when busy isn’t easy. I can relate to you. If you have children, you know this feeling. Cleaning your home and keeping it clean is a struggle. Now imagine that struggle while trying to sell your home. Don’t worry, though; your goal is achievable. I’ll reveal a few essentials that you’re going to want to clean to give your best-selling chances.

Clean All Window and Slider Parts

For a house to look clean and neat, it needs to have clean windows mostly. I know firsthand with little hands around the home that this can be a battle. You will need much attention when cleaning particular areas such as windows paths and window sills just as much as the flat window surfaces and actual glass.

Since nothing can drag down the curb appeal of a home more quickly than dirty windows, ignorance of this unpleasant chore is not an option anymore. When cleaning your windows, you’ll find you will need a solution of baking soda and vinegar together with an abrasive scrub as they will come in handy. Baking soda and vinegar work together like magic, keep scrubbing to a minimum regardless of what you’re washing off. I have also used various hand tools as well to get into all the crannies and nooks of different cleaning ventures like my window tracks and sills, but also to get paint and gum of windows and floors, stickers, and posters off my son’s room, and more.

Clean All Built-In Cupboards and Cabinets

Whether you have built-in cupboards or cabinets in your bathroom or kitchen, the inside of your closets and kitchen cabinets will need cleaning. It is essential to give them a good wipeout. You want all prospective buyers to see a clean and well-kept house. The more your home looks ready to be moved into, the quicker it will sell. Potential buyers don’t want to think about cleaning the place they’re going to run into, which turns them away from buying a house. You can quickly clean your cupboards using your all-purpose cleaner and a few rags.

Clean the Walls

Remove and trap all dust using a dusting product of your choice, so the dirt does not disperse into the air. Consider yourself a detective and go looking for cobwebs, dust, and handprints. Using just a cleaner and a rag, they should come right out. Handprints can show up anywhere, particularly if you have children. When walking back and forth the hallways of my home, you will see mine covered in handprints. Generally, you’re going to want to wipe all the light switches, walls, doors, and handrails where hands tend to touch a lot. 

Painted surfaces are usually washable, but the cleaning solution should be tested first hand on a small surface before use on a large surface. Use an all-purpose, non-abrasive cleaner. Clean your way up, by starting from the bottom, use circular motions to prevent overlapping when cleaning on different areas. Using circular motions when cleaning will help to clean areas with streak marks caused by vertical blinds.

Clean the Flooring Including the Carpets

Cleaning up any carpets in your home is time well spent. You can clean them out either by renting a carpet cleaner or paying someone to clean them professionally. It’s crazy how dusty the carpets can get from the dirt and dust that comes into the house. One tip that also works is to vacuum your floors, make sure you start at the farthest corner, then work backward towards the door so that you don’t leave any footprints.

Give tremendous attention to the floors of the kitchen and bathrooms. Check the labels on cleaning products to ensure they are safe for cleaning the surfaces. Abrasive cleaners have extra cleaning power for stains that are hard to remove, such as grease residues and food particles in sinks. They may, however, be too harsh for easily scratched surfaces, such as solid surface floors or laminate floors.

Liquid and gel purifiers are usually less abrasive than powders. In small areas, such as countertops, spray cleaners are easy to use while powders or liquids combined in a pail of water are more suitable in larger spaces, such as walls and floors. Use a no-rinse product after each cleaning to avoid residue that comes from cleaning solutions which cause floors to look dirty and dusty when they’re clean, or can opt to rinse the surface floors as well.

Introduce a Fresh Scent

Making your house smell pleasant by putting fresh flowers on the table is all well and good, but those pleasant odors can’t mask any underlying unpleasantness any more than a spritz of perfume won’t hide the fact that you haven’t bathed in a while. Cleaning the home is the only way to resolve this. Foul odors can be a turnoff, even mild ones, and the problem is that sometimes you miss them out. With intense smells, some deep cleaning is necessary as some clients are not fooled by masking strategies such as plug-in deodorizers and scented candles in the sellers’ rooms. Besides, if the buyer does not like the smell of artificial citrus or lavender, used to cover up odors, those strong fragrances could backfire.

Neutralize a nasty-smelling carpet by sprinkling a box of baking soda on (and then vacuuming it up). Baking soda is to be used to clean the tops of the stoves, ovens, refrigerators, etc. Deodorize your disposal with a new lemony (tangerine, lime, or orange ) smell by running a few citrus peels through. Initial experiences mean a great deal. So don’t let dirty or dusty floors and surfaces or foul smells, make your potential buyer a bad one. Give your home a deep clean before listing your home (and during the entire selling process). That means washed toilets, swept surfaces, mopped floors, cleaned rugs, and clean bathrooms.

How to Clean Scorched Pots and Pans

Cleaning pots and pans can be one of the most difficult tasks after enjoying a delicious meal. The food residual or burnt food makes the job even more difficult as it requires extra hands-on attention. It is essential to be extra careful while cleaning tough stains on your pots and pans. As thorough scrubbing can damage the coating, especially of your nonstick pans. Thus, we have prepared this detailed guide to ensure that your loved pots and pans are not just cleaned but also protected in the process.

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Vinegar comes handy in a lot of situations and cleaning your scorched pans is one of them. The combination of vinegar and baking soda is used to combat harsh stains. However, you must be careful in using the ingredients together. If you mix them, you’ll notice a volcano effect that might create even more mess to clean. Follow the steps below to clean your scorched pots and pans.

  • Add equal parts of water and vinegar to cover the base of your pot.
  • Now heat the solution and bring it to boil.
  • Let it boil for 1-2 minutes. Then empty the container by pouring the solution down the drain.
  • After this, sprinkle baking soda over the base of your pan and use a scouring pad to scrub off any remaining burn marks.
  • Now rinse clean your pot.

This is one of the easiest and fastest solutions to scorched pans as it would hardly take 10 minutes of your time. However, if you are having trouble with frequent scorched pans then you can try frying your delicious meals in ceramic pans or a carbon steel wok as it would take away the daily hassle of scrubbing and cleaning your cookware.

Salt

The abrasive nature of the salt makes it one of the most elements in cleaning the burn marks on your pots and pans. The process is pretty simple that would hardly take 5-10 minutes to regain the sparkle of your beloved cookware. Follow the below-mentioned process to clean your pots with salt.

  • Sprinkle salt on the base of your pot.
  • Now add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and half a cup of hot water.
  • After this, thoroughly scrub the container to remove any burn marks.

Note: Try getting your hands on kosher salt as it increases the effectiveness of this method.

Soda

Soda can prove to be effective against burnt grime on the base of your pans. Just grab some club soda and cover the base of your pan with it when the pan is still hot. Now let it sit for a few minutes to break down the grime and lift it from the surface. After this, wash the pan with dishwashing liquid and you’ll get back your perfectly clean pan.

Dryer Sheet

Dryer sheets are some of the most loved items in the USA due to their multiple uses. Cleaning pots and pans with dryer sheets is another one of them. It might take a bit longer than the other mentioned methods. However, it is a hands-off method that requires minimal effort and guarantees a sparkling pot at the end of the process.

  • Cover the base of your container with the solution of water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Now soak a dryer sheet into the solution and allow it to sit for an hour. The dryer sheet would break down the burnt food on your pan and lift it from the surface, making it easier for you to clean without damaging the layer.
  • After this, wash your pot with a normal dishwashing liquid and you’re done. You can welcome back your sparkling clean pot.

Tartar

The abrasive nature of the cream of tartar makes it a perfect substitute for baking soda to get rid of the burnt marks. The ease of cleaning with tartar makes it one of the most popular solutions of cleaning beloved pots and pans. Follow the steps below to restore the lost shine of your cookware.

  • Mix a tablespoon of tartar in one cup of water to form a solution.
  • Now pour the solution in your scorched pan and bring it to boil.
  • Let the solution boil for 1-2 minutes then turn off the stove and allow it to cool.
  • Now scrub the pan.

Note: Always allow the solution to cool down before starting the scrubbing process otherwise you might end up damaging the layer on your pot and also increase the risk of burn injuries.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the easiest tips to clean your scorched pots and pans and to restore their lost shine. However, you must be careful in scrubbing different pots and pans like ceramic pans or pans with Teflon coating as you might end up permanently damaging the container. Thus, the best cleaning method also depends on your particular cookware.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer and Fight Off Germs

As confirmed cases of coronavirus spread across the world, many people are flocking to local grocery stores and pharmacies to stock up on soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Unfortunately, this has led to a nationwide shortage of these everyday items. If you’ve visited your local grocery store or pharmacy in the last week, you’ve likely seen the bare shelves; some stores have even imposed limits on the amount of soap, hand sanitizer, and cold/flu medicines that can be purchased per customer.

If you’re low on Purell or hand sanitizer at home and are having trouble finding any at your local stores (or even online), don’t panic! It’s actually very easy (and cost-effective) to make your own hand sanitizer with just a few simple ingredients that you may already have on-hand. Below you will get a simple recipe on how to make hand sanitizer when you don’t have Purell or other hand sanitizer brands available.

When Possible, Choose Soap and Water

First and foremost, though, it’s important to understand that hand sanitizer is not a substitute for washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water. The best way to kill germs and protect yourself (not just from coronavirus, but from any bacterial illness) is to wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap and warm water. Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, being sure to scrub not only your palms, but the backs of your hands, fingertips, and wrists as well.

Hand sanitizers are always good to have on-hand, of course, when you don’t have access to soap and water. This may be the case when you’re out and about, running errands, or even on public transportation.

Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer in a Pinch

If you’ve ever looked at the ingredients on a bottle of hand sanitizer, you’ve probably noticed that isopropyl alcohol, commonly know as rubbing alcohol, is the first ingredient. And actually, most bottles of hand sanitizer you’d buy at the store don’t contain a whole lot more alcohol content than that. After all, alcohol is what kills off germs.

What You’ll Need

There are plenty of variations of homemade hand sanitizer recipes online, but let’s start with the most basic. This is what you’ll need to make your own generic hand sanitizer (like the kind you used to buy at the store before it started flying off the shelves):

  • rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • aloe vera gel
  • a bottle to dispense from

If you want to get a little fancier with your sanitizer recipe, you can also add some essential oils. A lavender essential oil can help to offset the harsh smell from the rubbing alcohol, as can lemon or even cinnamon essential oil. Just to be sure not to use too much (about 10 drops should be more than enough, depending on the size of the sanitizer batch you’re mixing up). Using too much essential oil could dilute your sanitizer, which will make it less effective at killing bacteria.

It’s also important to make sure that the rubbing alcohol you’re using is at least 91% alcohol; any weaker, and it may not be as effective.

Mixing it Up

What about ratios of ingredients? For the best results, you’ll want to mix three parts rubbing alcohol with one part aloe vera gel. You can combine your ingredients directly into your bottle/pump and shake them up to make sure everything is well incorporated. Another option would be to use a blender or even a spoon to stir the ingredients together.

Bottling and Labeling

It’s a good idea to have at least one large bottle of sanitizer to keep at home, as well as a few smaller bottles to keep in your car, at your workplace, and in your purse or bag. This way, you’ll have access to sanitizer no matter where you go. You can also place the DIY hand sanitizer into a spray bottle. Having spray hand sanitizer or hand sanitizer spray is beneficial if you want to spray on surfaces.

Most people find that placing a large pump bottle of sanitizer in a central location of the home is most convenient, though smaller TSA-sized bottles are ideal for keeping in bags or in your car.

Making Sanitizing Wipes

In addition to making your own bottled hand sanitizer, you can use the same ingredients to make your own sanitizing wipes. You can do this by simply soaking individual paper towels (or even sections of paper towels) in the sanitizing mixture, and then placing them into a dispenser. If you have an empty wipe dispenser from a canister of old disinfecting wipes, this will work just fine. Otherwise, just make sure you store your homemade wipes in a relatively air-tight case so they don’t dry out.

Best Practices For Using Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is only effective if you’re using it properly, so be sure to keep these tips in mind.

Use Enough to Cover Your Hands

It’s better to use too much hand sanitizer than not enough! Ideally, you should use enough to completely cover your hands. From there, simply rub your hands together until the sanitizer dries completely.

Follow Up With a Moisturizer

Hand sanitizer can be harsh on the skin, which is why we highly recommend adding aloe vera to your homemade concoction. Even still, it may be a good idea to apply a small amount of lotion to your hands after each time you sanitize. This can help to keep your hands from drying out and cracking, especially if you’re also washing your hands more often than normal.

Use Soap and Water if Hands Are Soiled

Hand sanitizer will only do so much if your hands are heavily soiled. That’s because unlike soap, sanitizer is not super effective at removing dirt, debris, and other grime from your hands. So if your hands are visibly dirty, using hand sanitizer probably isn’t going to do a whole lot; you’ll be better off finding a nearby bathroom so you can properly wash and disinfect your hands with soap and water.

Purell Overview

Purell is the most commonly know instant hand sanitizer made of ethyl alcohol. The manufacturer of Purell claimed Purell “[kills] more than 99.99% of most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA & VRE.” However, amidst the 2019–20 coronavirus outbreak, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Purell’s maker, Gojo Industries, to stop its claims that the product is effective at eliminating diseases because there are no peer-reviewed, published clinical studies demonstrating the company’s claims.

“We are not aware of evidence demonstrating that the Purell Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer products as formulated and labeled are generally recognized by qualified experts as safe and effective for use under the conditions suggested, recommended, or prescribed in their labeling,” the warning letter stated.

You can read the FDA warning letter here.

Other Ways to Keep Yourself Protected

In addition to washing your hands and using homemade hand sanitizer or a natural hand sanitizer, there are a few other ways you can go about protecting yourself from viruses and other illnesses.

Avoid Touching Your Face

Germs are easily transmitted from the hands to the face when you rub your eyes or bite your nails. Try to get into the habit of keeping your hands away from your face, regardless of whether you’ve recently washed your hands or not.

Wear a Surgical Face Mask

By wearing a surgical face mask, you can effectively filter out some of the airborne particles (including some viruses) that would otherwise find their way to you. In this sense, wearing a surgical mask can provide you with some additional protection and peace of mind, especially if you spend time in larger crowds regularly.

Stay Home if You’re Sick

This may be easier said than done, especially if you’re short on sick days, but you can prevent the spread of illness by simply staying home when you have symptoms like a fever, runny nose, or bad cough.

Keep a Clean Home

Keeping the surfaces of your home properly disinfected is a must. Too busy to keep your home as pristine as you’d like? Maid Sailors can help! Schedule your first professional home and apartment cleaning service with our team today.

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 an Oven

Whether it’s for experimenting with an intricate new recipe or simply heating up a frozen pizza, you rely on your oven fairly often to help you prepare hot and delicious food. And more than likely, a routine part of cleaning your kitchen is wiping down the outside of your oven and the stovetop to keep it looking shiny and new.

But are you extending that same courtesy to the inside of your oven? If it’s been a while since the last time you cleaned your oven—or if you can’t remember the last time you cleaned your oven, it’s probably time to give this hard-working appliance a little TLC.

Reasons to Clean Your Oven

Whether you use your oven daily or monthly, there’s a good chance it could benefit from a thorough cleaning. In fact, there are many reasons to clean your electric or gas oven on a regular basis.

Improve Your Meals

Over time, grease and food splatters can build up along the inside of your oven and become caked on. From there, each time you turn your oven on, you could be releasing unpleasant odors not only into the air but into the food you’re cooking. By cooking in a clean oven, you may actually find that the flavor of your meals improves as well.

Self-Clean Only Does So Much

Some ovens come equipped with a “self-clean” feature that works by simply heating up the inside of your oven to an extremely high temperature. The idea is that food particles and other debris will be broken down and, in most cases, turned into ash due to the sheer heat alone. However, self-cleaning features can only do so much and generally aren’t the best (or safest) approach for cleaning an oven that hasn’t been scrubbed down in a long time.

Prevent Smoke and Fires

In the case of an extremely dirty oven, you could even end up with a fire hazard. By cleaning your oven, you can get rid of debris and other particles that could cause a fire or heavy smoke the next time you turn on your oven.

How Often to Clean Your Oven

Let’s face it. Nobody enjoys getting on their hands and knees to clean out the inside of an oven. Still, it’s one of those things that really should be done regularly for the reasons listed above. How often you need to clean your oven will depend on how often you use it and just how dirty it gets.

Keep in mind that once you thoroughly clean your oven, you may be able to extend time in between deep cleanings by using the “self-clean” feature (if applicable). In general, however, you should aim to deep clean your oven at least once or twice a year.

Cleaning Your Oven: Step By Step

Ready to clean your oven? Before you reach for that store-bought oven cleaner that’s probably loaded with chemicals, why not try a more natural approach that uses the cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar?

Remove and Wash Racks

Begin by taking out everything that’s inside your oven. This includes any oven racks, cast iron pans, pizza stones, or other dishware. Oven racks can be washed by hand; if there is a lot of built-up grease on the rocks themselves, consider letting them soak in a mixture of water and dish soap overnight.

Create and Apply a Cleaning Paste

Next, it’s time to create a special cleaning paste that will break down grease and food residue inside your oven without the use of harsh chemical cleaners. To create this paste, all you need to do is combined half a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. The key is to create a paste that’s thick enough to spread onto the inside surfaces of your oven without dripping.

Once you’re happy with the consistency of the paste, use rubber gloves to apply it liberally to the inside of your oven. If you have a gas oven, be careful not to apply any over the gas valve inside the oven itself, as this can cause damage to the component.

Let It Sit Overnight

After the paste has been applied all over the inside of your oven, it’s time to let the baking soda work its magic. Ideally, you’ll want to let the paste sit inside the oven with the door closed overnight. If you cannot wait this long, however, be sure to let the mixture sit for at least a few hours to give it a chance to work.

Don Gloves and Scrub Away

The next morning, put a set of rubber gloves on and use a damp cloth to wipe away the cleaning mixture. By now, the mixture will likely have hardened a bit, so you may need to use some warm water and elbow grease to scrub it (along with grease and other build-ups) away. If there are any stubborn areas where there is still build-up, try spraying some white vinegar on top. This will create a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda, which should loosen up even the most difficult of build-up.

Rinse With Water

Once the baking soda mixture is scrubbed away, simply wipe down the interior of your oven with a clean, damp cloth. This will remove any remaining residue. Again, if you’re working with a gas oven, be careful to wipe around any gas valves or other sensitive components.

Dry and Replace Racks

All that’s left to do now is replace the oven racks that you cleaned earlier; by now, they should be dry. If they’re not, be sure to wipe them dry before you place them back into your oven. From there, you’re ready to get cooking!

For Professional Assistance…

As you can see, you don’t need to buy harsh chemical cleaners to get the inside of your oven looking like new again. A little baking soda, water, and possibly some vinegar is all you need to clean out your oven with minimal effort on your part.

Looking for help with cleaning other parts of your home? Maid Sailors offers a wide range of professional home cleaning and office cleaning services, and we’re proud to serve NYC and the surrounding areas. From kitchen cleaning to dusting, taking out the trash, and everything in between—we offer the services you need to keep a clean and tidy home while freeing up your valuable time.

Contact Maid Sailors today at (212) 299-5170 to find out more about our certified professional cleaning services or use our quick and easy online form to request your first appointment now.

How to Get Rid of Water Stains on Wood

Oops! Somebody carelessly left a cold drink on your beautiful wood end table—and ugh, they didn’t use a coaster. Now you’re left with an unsightly and unfortunate ring on your table that you can’t seem to get rid of. Before you admit defeat, there are some simple yet effective methods you can try to remove water stains from your wood furniture once and for all.

Before You Get Started

One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to dealing with water stains on wood is assuming they need to completely replace or refinish their wooden furniture because of a little water spot. Yes, those stains are unpleasant to look at and they can certainly detract from the look and feel of your space. However, you should always exhaust all your options for getting rid of these stains before taking any drastic measures.

If you can’t stand to look at that water ring in the meantime, that’s okay. Place a lamp, vase, or other decorative items over the stain until you have the time to tackle the stain head-on.

It’s also important to perform a spot test before you try any of the following methods to get rid of water stains on your wood furniture. This is especially important if you’re working with antique wood or wood that has been previously treated with a varnish, paint, stain, or other finish. You can perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area (such as the inside of a table leg) 24 hours ahead of time to make sure there is no damage or discoloration.

Methods for Removing Water Stains

There are a number of tried-and-true methods for removing water stains from most wooden surfaces. However, we’ve picked out a couple of our favorites that we’ve found to be the easiest and most effective. And more than likely, you already have all the supplies and/or ingredients on-hand. If not, you can find everything you need at your local grocery store.

The Clothes Iron Method

If you have a clothes iron lying around, put it to work in ways that don’t involve getting wrinkles out of your clothes! Keep in mind that this method will work best if the water stain you’re dealing with is relatively new. If the stain has been set in for a while, you may be better off skipping to another method.

To try this method, all you’ll need is a clean microfiber cloth, a clean towel, and a clothes iron with no water inside the basin. Begin by wiping the wood clean with a microfiber cloth; otherwise, food crumbs or other debris could actually melt into the wood and cause further staining when heat is applied.

Next, lay down a clean towel directly over the stain itself. With the iron on its highest heat setting, run the iron over the towel for 5-10 seconds. The idea here is that the heat from the iron will evaporate the moisture out of the wood. Lift up the towel to see if any of the stain has lifted, then repeat this process a few times as necessary.

If you’re still left with staining after completing these steps, it may be time to move onto another method.

The Baking Soda Method

Another method that may be worth trying involves the use of baking soda to free moisture that has become trapped inside the wood itself. Just keep in mind that if you follow this method, you’ll likely need to apply a wood wax or sealant to the surface of the wood when you’re done. That’s because baking soda is abrasive and therefore can remove protective sealants and open up the grain of the wood.

To get started with this method, you’ll need a few microfiber cloths, baking soda, and water. You’ll also need some furniture wax or sealant to apply to the wood when you’re done.

Begin by mixing a small amount of baking soda and water together until you have a thick paste. After applying this paste to a microfiber cloth, begin rubbing the stained area of the wood in small, circular motions. Repeat this for several minutes until the stain has completely lifted. As you work, be careful to avoid any unstained areas of wood.

When you’re happy with the results, simply use another clean cloth to wipe away excess baking soda paste and apply furniture wax or sealant once the surface has completely dried.

Preventing Future Water Stains

Now that you’ve gotten those pesky water stains out of your wooden furniture, there are some proactive steps you may want to take to avoid future stains.

Set Out Coasters

Often times, water stains in wood occur when a cold glass is set down on a wood table without a protective coaster. Over time, condensation forms on the outside of the glass, which then drips down and permeates the wood. To avoid these annoying water rings on your wooden tables, make sure you have drink coasters set out for guests (and other members of your household) to use.

Lay Down a Table Cloth

Another option for protecting wooden surfaces in your home is to simply lay down a table cloth or place mats on your wooden table. Many of these cloths and mats come with a waterproof bottom layer to prevent moisture from seeping through. Tablecloths and placemats can also add a nice decorative touch to your space.

Use a Protective Finish

If you have wooden furniture in your home that isn’t finished, it will be more prone to water staining. You can take additional steps to protect the wooden surfaces throughout your home by applying a protective seal in the form of a stain/sealant, paint, wax, or varnish. These products are usually pretty easy to apply (just make sure to apply in a well ventilated area) and can add a layer of protection between your wooden surfaces and the elements.

For More Help Keeping Your Home Beautiful…

The next time you discover a water stain on your beloved wooden furniture, you’ll have a couple of methods in your back pocket to get rid of it. Looking for more help maintaining a beautiful home? Maid Sailors offers a wide range of office cleaning services and maid services to save you time and hassle.

Contact the Maid Sailors team today at (212) 299-5170 to schedule an appointment or find out more about how we can simplify your life. You can also use our quick and easy online booking form to schedule your cleaning service today!

This Is How You Search For the Right Kind of Movers

Moving is a stressful experience without the added issue of figuring out which is the best moving company for you. Moving is an expensive ordeal. No matter what the reason, you can be pretty confused as to what needs to be done.

Checklists can only help you that much. 

There is a horde of movers and move out cleaning services out there, and the whole thing can get quite overwhelming. Truth be told, I have too had a hit and miss experience with most movers. But, in this entire experience, I have managed to figure out certain not so hard things you can do to ensure you have a pleasant experience. 

Recommendations Rule All  

Ask around. Your family, friends, and neighbors would have at some point moved and used a moving company to help them out. A recommendation from a friend is much better than going in blind as that will give you a holistic vision of the services offered by the company.  

The internet can be the right place if you don’t know too many people in the area, but the catch with online reviews is that they can be modified.  

Once you get your recommendations, now go online and check the business credentials. Check if the information listed online is accurate or not. After you have run a basic check, you can ask the ones you liked to come for estimation.  

Get an At-Home Estimation

Further, also pay attention if you need a specific kind of mover. There are specialty movers out there who help with the move. The type of mover you need also depends on the sort of furniture and stuff you own. 

Your antiques for understandable reasons cannot be handled the same way your dining chair is. 

A good moving company will always make it a point to come down and give you an at-home estimation. This is done by taking an inventory of everything that needs to be packed and moved, and weighing it. Ask the estimator to give a complete breakdown of how they are categorizing your payment and on what basis they are charging you the said amount.  

Three Strikes and Then You Decide 

Always follow the rule of three while zeroing down on the agency you want to hire for the move. Ask for at least three companies to come over and give you an estimation, as it is impossible to provide an evaluation without thoroughly gauging the volume of your belongings.  

A good company will always provide you with a guaranteed cap amount beyond which the final amount cannot increase. When an estimator comes over and gives you the estimated amount, show that you have been doing your homework. This will get you the best deal possible on the amount as they will know they are not the only ones in the market. 

But before you finalize a mover, do collect the below-mentioned information from each one of them.

  • Company’s full name and address, also ask if they operate under any other name (never a good sign though)
  • The phone number, website, and email address
  • References for you to double-check their previous clients
  • MC (motor carrier) and USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) license numbers 

At the same time, don’t go running behind the lowest bid. You don’t want to compromise on quality.  If you see extra costs figure out their sources. Call the companies if you want clarification. You can never be too sure.

Verify the License Numbers and Check Insurance 

It might be tough to believe, but there are a lot of companies out there who operate without a state-accredited license. You can use the number that you collected during their visit and check up saferys.org to get more information about the company. If you have accurate numbers, chances are you will get the right information.  

Additionally, you can call the FMCSA’s safety violation and consumer helpline to see if any complaints are registered against your company. If you want further peace of mind, you can always make your way to the physical address of the company. 

Select the Mover

Finally, all the hours of research have paid off, and you can select the mover you want.  Call them up and set the dates for your move. Ensure that you get a signed bill of lading and order for service.

Moving Day!

You are moving! Once all your stuff is loaded, and you have given the correct directions to the movers for your new address, get a movers inventory list. Also, get the driver’s number and give them yours. Just in case something happens during the move, you should be available on call.  

Your move should be a smooth experience, and one can never be too vigilant about their belongings. Some movers even have the option for you to track your goods as they move through different cities. Finding a mover is a tedious task, but I think with the right guidance, you should be able to make your way through the ordeal without any issues.