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 Fish Tank

Having fish can be very rewarding, but depending on the type and number of fish you have, it can also be time-consuming and complex to care for them. Many fish thrive in very specific conditions and could quickly fall ill if those conditions aren’t met. Water that’s even a few degrees too warm or cold could kill a fish, as can water that isn’t properly balanced for nitrates, nitrites, or pH levels.

No matter what type of aquarium or fish tank you have, one fact remains: you’ll need to clean it regularly in order to properly maintain the tank and keep your fish healthy.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Fish Tank

Taking the time to clean your fish tank is vital for a couple of reasons.

Protect Your Fish

The most important reason to clean your fish tank is to protect your fish from diseases, illnesses, and death. When you clean your fish tank, there are generally three ideal outcomes. The first is to reduce nitrate levels in the water, which can be dangerous to fish in high concentrations. This is done by removing some water from the tank and replacing it with fresh water.

The second goal of cleaning a fish tank is to remove any organic waste that could be dangerous to fish and that isn’t caught by your tank filter. Cleaning your tank should also help to replenish essential minerals for the well-being of your fish.

Keep It Presentable

In addition to keeping your fish healthy and thriving, a clean fish tank simply looks better. This is especially important if you keep your tank in a high-traffic area of your home.

How Often Should You Clean a Fish Tank?

There is no universal answer to the question of how often a fish tank should be cleaned. This will really depend on a number of factors, including whether your tank is a fresh-water or saltwater tank, as well as the types of fish you have. In general, you should at least be testing the water temperature in your tank daily and adjusting as needed. The gravel at the bottom of your tank should also be vacuumed at least once a week.

How to Clean a Fresh-Water Fish Tank

Gather Your Supplies

There are several supplies you’ll need in order to clean your tank, including:

  • prepared water (for replacing the water you’ll be removing)
  • a dedicated bucket for removing old tank water
  • an algae scraper or scrubbing pad
  • a siphon-style gravel vacuum
  • replacement filter (if your filter needs to be changed)

Clean the Interior Glass

Begin by wiping down the interior glass using an algae pad or scrubbing brush. You may wish to wear gloves while you’re doing this to protect your hands from coming into direct contact with algae or organic waste. Remember that there is generally no need to remove your fish from the tank while cleaning, and while it may be a bit stressful for your fish while you’re cleaning the tank, it’s still less stressful than being completely removed.

Remove Water

Next, use a siphon to remove a pre-determined amount of water from the tank. You should generally replace at least 25% of your tank water each month in a fresh-water tank. Just be sure that you have prepared the same amount to replace it; this may mean conditioning the water a day ahead of time to ensure it’s ready.

Vacuum the Gravel

Next, use your vacuum to clean the gravel at the bottom of the tank. This will remove any debris that may have settled at the bottom. If you have any decorations in your tank, this would be a good time to clean them as well.

Add Fresh Water

Now, it’s time to add fresh, conditioned water back into the tank to replace the water you took out. It’s important that the water has already been brought to the proper temperature and that it has been conditioned before you add it. In most cases, this will mean preparing the water the day before and allowing it to sit overnight. Before adding the water to the tank, it’s a good idea to test it for nitrates, nitrites, and to ensure the pH level is correct.

Monitor Your Fish

Finally, swap out your tank filter if needed; in most cases, filters will need to be cleaned or replaced about once a month. From there, keep a close eye on your fish to make sure they’re getting acclimated to the new water and that there are no signs of distress.

How to Clean a Saltwater Fish Tank

Cleaning a saltwater fish tank isn’t very different from cleaning a fresh-water one. The main differences to keep in mind are that the salinity and pH levels need to be very precise in a saltwater tank, so it’s best to use distilled or reverse osmosis water when replacing the water in this type of tank.

From there, you’ll also need to add a one-step salt mix (available at most pet stores) and aerate the water before it can be brought to temperature and added to the tank. The ideal water temperature for most saltwater fish is between 73 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

For a saltwater tank, you should also aim to replace 10% of the water every two weeks for the best results. This will ensure that nitrates are properly removed from the water.

You’ll also need to watch for something called “salt creep” in a saltwater tank, which leaves a white film near the waterline of your aquarium. In most cases, this can be easily removed with an algae pad or even a damp cloth.

What About Your Other Cleaning Needs?

As you can see, maintaining a clean fish tank can be a time-consuming job. However, a well-kept aquarium can add beauty to your home, and caring for fish can be quite rewarding. Still, if you’re looking for some help with your other household cleaning tasks, Maid Sailors is here for you.

Reclaim some of your valuable free time by trusting our professional maids to tackle your vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and other cleaning needs. We offer regular and deep-cleanings, as well as specialized services such as move-in/move-out cleanings as well. And all of our services come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can enjoy additional peace of mind with your booking.

Find out more about all that Maid Sailors has to offer by giving us a call at (212) 299-5170 today! You can also use our online form to book your first cleaning with our team in a matter of minutes.

How to Clean White Shoes

Buying a pair of crisp, white shoes always seems like a good idea—until you accidentally step in a mud puddle the first time you wear them. The good news is that it’s possible to remove most stains from a white pair of shoes so you can keep them looking as fresh as the day you bought them. And of course, everybody deserves to have a nice pair of white shoes in their wardrobe. Not only are white shoes eye-catching, but they’re also versatile enough to be worn with many different outfits.

If you’ve been putting off buying that pair of white shoes for fear of not being able to keep them clean, relax! We’ve got some tried-and-true methods for cleaning your white shoes and keeping them clean.

Methods for Cleaning White Shoes

The specific methods you should use to clean your white shoes will ultimately come down to the material out of which they’re made and the materials/supplies you have on-hand. As a general rule, it’s always best to defer to the specific cleaning methods for the exact material your shoes are made of. This is especially important when it comes to fabric materials that may be easily damaged by harsh chemicals or cleaning methods.

Try a Magic Eraser

For non-fabric materials, a magic eraser can work wonders when it comes to removing scuff marks and other stains from the surface of your white shoes. Even if you do have fabric shoes (such as a canvas or mesh material), a magic eraser sponge can help to remove scuffs and other unsightly marks from the soles of the shoes.

Another tip about magic erasers; if you want to save some money, skip out on the “name brand” and purchase a supply of melamine foam online. This is the exact same material that brand-name eraser sponges are made out of—but you’ll get much more bang for your buck.

To use a magic eraser sponge, all you have to do is get the sponge slightly damp. From there, rub the sponge in circular motions around stains and scuff marks to watch them “magically” disappear! You can then rinse and wring out the magic eraser to use it many more times before replacing it.

Scrub With Soap and Water

If you have canvas, mesh, or other fabric materials that need to be cleaned on your shoes, you may have better luck washing them with good old-fashioned soap and water. For the best results, we recommend adding a few drops of your favorite gentle dish soap to a bowl of warm water.

From there, dip a clean washcloth (preferably microfiber washcloth) into the soap and water mixture and then scrub away in small, circular motions at any stains or discoloration on your shoes. You can then blot away excess water using a clean towel and leave your shoes out in the sun to expedite the drying process. It’s generally best to avoid putting your shoes in the dryer, as this could cause your shoes to lose their shape and become damaged.

Clean With Bleach

If your shoes are really looking worse for wear, the most effective method will likely be to clean them using a diluted bleach solution. Before working with bleach, it’s always a good idea to don some protective gloves. From there, while working in a well-ventilated area, mix one-part bleach to five parts water in a bowl or small bucket.

From there, dip a scrub brush or a toothbrush into the bleach solution until it is saturated. Scrub in small circular motions of your shoes, paying special attention to soiled and stained areas. As you work, you should be able to see your shoes become brighter and whiter. When you’re happy with the cleanliness of your shoes, use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining bleach mixture and let your shoes dry in a well-ventilated area. For best results, place your shoes in front of a fan or even outside to dry completely.

How to Keep Your Shoes Clean and White

Now that you’ve got your shoes looking bright and white once again, you may be wondering how you can keep them looking clean for as long as possible. We’ve got some practical and effective tips for making that happen so you can get as much wear out of your white shoes as possible before needing to buy a new pair.

Deep Clean as Needed

When you notice your shoes starting to look discolored or dingy, it’s time to give them a spot cleaning with one of the methods listed above. The frequency with which you’ll need to clean your shoes will depend on how often you wear them and in what conditions. However, spot cleaning your shoes in between deep cleanings will help keep them looking great.

Use a Spray Protector

If you haven’t already, now may be a good time to invest in a spray-on shoe protector. These sprays are designed to repel liquids and stains from setting into the material on your shoes. You simply spray one or two coats on your shoes and allow them to dry; from there, you can begin enjoying extra protection against stains. For the best results, apply a new coat or two every couple of weeks.

You can find spray-on protectors for your shoes at most shoe stores, but you can also purchase them pretty inexpensively online.

Keep Them Properly Stored

Make sure your shoes are being stored properly when they’re not being worn. Leaving them out in the open is a sure way to cause discoloration and staining over time. Ideally, you should keep your white shoes stored in their original box or in another covered storage container. Keeping them separated from other shoes will also help reduce the likelihood of staining.

Treat Yourself to a Professional Maid Service

Depending on how many pairs of white shoes you own and how dirty they are, you could easily spend a few hours cleaning your shoes and restoring them to their original look. This, on top of all the other cleaning and chores you have to do around your home, can easily begin eating up your already-limited free time.

By hiring a professional maid service to tackle things like vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, and more, you can free up more time to do the things you love. Maid Sailors offers dedicated cleaning services with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Whether you need a deep-cleaning a regular cleaning or something in between, our certified professionals have you covered. Contact us today at (212) 299-5170 to get started or book online now!

How to Clean a Shower Head

When you clean your bathroom, you probably put a fair amount of elbow grease into cleaning your shower as well. However, if your shower head is not easily accessible, there’s a good chance you don’t bother cleaning it. Even if you can reach your shower head, you may simply give it a quick wipe down to remove water stains from the metal. After all, how dirty could your shower head possibly get?

You may be surprised. Even if you don’t touch your shower head on a regular basis, these small fixtures can actually accumulate a fair amount of bacteria and other buildup over time. Even when they look relatively clean, they could be harboring bacteria inside. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to deep-clean a shower head—and this project doesn’t involve a lot of time or elbow grease.

Reasons to Clean Your Shower Head

Okay, but is it really necessary to deep-clean a shower head? While it’s probably not something you need to do every time you clean your bathroom, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of doing it once or twice a year. There are a few reasons to add this little project to your list of cleaning tasks.

Improve the Flow of Water

Have you noticed that the water pressure in your shower doesn’t seem as strong as it once was? If so, then take a closer look at your shower head. If you live in an area with a hard water supply, there’s a good chance that buildup from minerals and other deposits in your water is clogging your shower head nozzles. This happens gradually over time, so you may not notice a significant difference in your water pressure until the nozzles have become significantly blocked.

By taking the time to clean your shower head, you can get rid of this buildup and enjoy a full water pressure once again.

Get Rid of Bacteria

Bacteria and even mold/mildew can accumulate inside your shower head as well. When this happens, you could be literally showering yourself with bacteria or mold spores each time you use your shower head. Keep your water as clean as possible by deep-cleaning your shower head as needed.

Save Money on a New Fixture

Perhaps a clogged shower head or other problems with your shower head has you thinking about replacing the entire fixture. Before you spend your hard-earned money on a new shower head, however, try giving your current one a deep cleaning. You may be able to restore your current fixture to a like-new condition, which will save you the time, money, and hassle of picking out and installing a brand new one. After all, shower heads aren’t cheap; they can easily cost upwards of $50.

Best Ways to Clean Your Shower Head

Now that you’ve committed to giving your hard-working shower head a deep cleaning, you may be wondering where to begin. The good news is that you don’t need to set aside a huge chunk of time to tackle this chore, nor do you need a lot of supplies. To get started, you’ll just need:

  • a scrub brush or an old toothbrush you no longer use
  • a plastic bag
  • paper towels or a wash cloth

Consult Your Shower Head Manual

Before you begin, it’s a good idea to consult the manual that came with your original shower head. This manual will contain some tips and instructions on proper cleaning of the shower head itself. You should always defer to the instructions in the manual to avoid accidental damage to the fixture itself.

If you don’t have your shower head’s manual handy, you can likely find it online or by calling the manufacturer directly.

Scrub the Rubber Nozzles

In most cases, the majority of the buildup on a shower head occurs on the nozzles where the water comes out. To get started with cleaning these nozzles out, then, it’s usually pretty effective to use a scrub brush or tooth brush. Simply scrub in small, circular motions around the nozzles to loosen up debris and buildup.

If your shower head is up very high on the wall (or if it’s a rain shower head coming from the ceiling), you may have an easier time removing it completely before cleaning. Otherwise, using a step stool may make it easier to access.

Once you’ve scrubbed debris off the nozzles, turn the shower head on to allow water pressure to push out any loose debris. If you’ve removed the shower head prior to scrubbing, you can run it underneath your sink instead.

Soak in a Cleaning Mixture

Next, it’s time to clean out the insides of the nozzles and the shower head fixture itself. This can be done by mixing equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Pour the mixture into a plastic bag and then tie the bag around the shower head itself. The idea is that the shower head should be submerged in the mixture so it can soak for up to an hour.

If you’ve removed your shower head, this step may be easier because you can simply pour the vinegar mixture into a bowl and place the shower head in the bowl.

Clean Out the Filter/Screen

After the shower head is done soaking, rinse any remaining vinegar mixture away with water. If you wish, you can also clean out the filter that is built into your shower head. However, this will involve partially disassembling the fixture, so you’ll definitely want to refer to the manufacturer’s manual before completing this step.

Once you’re happy with the cleanliness of your shower head, re-install it (if you removed it for cleaning) and run your shower as normal to make sure the pressure is to your liking. From there, you can enjoy a shiny, like-new shower head, improved water pressure, and cleaner water!

Keeping Your Shower Head Clean

If you live in an area with hard water, mineral buildup may cause problems not only with your shower head, but with other plumbing fixtures and appliances in your home as well. You may want to consider having a water softener installed in your home, which can help remove some of the minerals and other deposits from your water before it reaches your plumbing fixtures. This may help to keep your shower head (and other fixtures) cleaner and free of buildup, which can save you the time and hassle of having to clean them as frequently.

What About the Rest of Your Home?

Looking for help keeping the rest of your home clean and tidy? Maid Sailors offers professional cleaning services to suit your needs! Call us at (212) 299-5170 or book now on our website!

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.

How To Clean a Cast Iron Skillet

Whether you’ve recently picked up a cast-iron skillet or have had one sitting in your cupboards for quite some time, one fact remains: cast iron skillets and pans can be intimidating to cook. Their heavy weight and cumbersome size may leave you feeling unsure if you’ve never cooked with cast iron before, but the good news is that preparing your favorite dish in a cast iron skillet is not much different than any other pan.

In fact, many people find cast iron easier to work with due to the fact that seasoned pans are naturally non-stick and extremely durable. When properly cared for, a cast-iron skillet can easily last a lifetime! By having a better understanding of the benefits of cooking with cast iron and how to properly care for your cast iron pan, you can start cooking with more confidence!

Why Cook With Cast Iron?

If you’ve never cooked with a cast iron skillet before, there are so many reasons to start.

Cook With Less Oil/Calories

If you’re trying to watch your calories or limit your intake of fats/oils, then cooking with cast iron can be one of the easiest ways to do this. That’s because cast iron pans, when properly seasoned, typically don’t require the use of any additional oil, butter, or cooking spray. This means you can enjoy all the non-stick qualities of a greased-up pan without adding unnecessary calories to your food.

Avoid Chemical Contact

What about non-stick pans? While it’s true that non-stick pans can also cut down on the amount of butter or oil you cook with, these pans are often made with non-stick chemical coatings that can get released into your food over time. If you want to avoid ingesting chemical particles from non-stick pots and pans, making the switch to a cast-iron skillet is a great way to do this.

Can Be Placed in the Oven

Cast iron skillets are also extremely versatile; unlike some other types of pots and pans, they can be moved back and forth from the stovetop to the oven without causing damage. This makes them a great choice for recipes that call for searing meat (such as steak) before popping them into the oven to finish cooking. Just be sure to use an oven mitt when transferring a cast iron pan from stovetop to oven (or the other way around), as the handles can quickly become hot.

Increase Your Iron Intake

Cooking with cast iron is also an easy yet effective way to add some iron to your food! If you have low iron levels or suspect that you do, consider cooking with cast iron before you begin taking an iron supplement (which can sometimes mess with your stomach). Of course, you should always speak to your doctor if you suspect you have an iron deficiency.

The Importance of Properly Cleaning Cast Iron

Often times, people are hesitant to cook with cast iron because they’re not sure how to properly clean these types of pans. Unlike a traditional non-stick pan, you can’t simply throw your cast iron skillet into the dishwasher when you’re done using it. Instead, you’ll need to take some special measures to care for and clean your cast iron, Otherwise, you could end up with rust and other issues that could affect your cooking experience or the flavor of your food.

Cleaning and Caring for a Cast Iron Skillet

So, what exactly do you need to do (and not do) when it comes to caring for your cast iron skillet? There may be a slight “learning curve” as you get used to taking care of a cast-iron pan, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll likely find that these durable pans are very low maintenance and can last for decades to come.

Start With a Seasoned Skillet

Part of what makes cast iron skillets so special is the coat of “seasoning” they develop over time. This seasoning refers to a layer of oils that gives your pan its non-stick qualities. Many cast iron pans sold today come “pre-seasoned” so you don’t need to do a thing once you bring your pan home. A pre-seasoned skillet will generally have a sleek black appearance, but should not be oily or greasy to the touch. Other pans, however, are not pre-seasoned—so you’ll need to do this yourself before cooking.

Clean Immediately After Use

The secret to keeping your cast iron skillet in the best possible shape for many years to come is to always clean it out as soon as possible after you’re done cooking. In most cases, the best way to clean a cast iron pan is to run it under warm water and rinse away any food debris. From there, while the pan is still wet, add a bit of kosher salt to the pan and use a soft sponge or rag to scrub away the remaining debris in circular motions. From there, simply rinse and you should have a clean skillet!

Always Dry Completely

Water and cast iron don’t mix; always be sure to completely dry your cast iron skillet as soon as you’re done washing it so that you don’t end up with rust spots.

Don’t Be Afraid to Use Soap

Generally, it’s best to be as minimally invasive as possible when cleaning your cast iron skillet. The fewer chemicals you use, the better. Still, cast iron is pretty resilient so there’s no harm in scrubbing with a bit of your favorite dish soap if you have some particularly challenging food debris to get rid of.

Re-Season as Needed

If you’re finding that your cast iron doesn’t have the sheen it used to or that your food is starting to stick to the pan while you cook, then it may be time to re-season your skillet. There are many ways to do this, but perhaps the easiest way is to heat your skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop. From there, apply a couple tablespoons of cooking oil to the surface of the pan until it smokes and there is no residue left. Repeat this several times to create a new coating.

Need More Cleaning Help?

With just a little care, a quality cast iron pan can last a lifetime (and then some!). Still, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by caring for your cast iron on top of all your other household cleaning tasks, Maid Sailors can help. We offer competitive pricing and a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can book a cleaning with confidence! Contact us today at (212) 299-5170 to get started.

How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

Cleaning your kitchen is a laborious and time-consuming task. From mopping the floors and disinfecting countertops to cleaning out your fridge and wiping down your appliances, the chore of kitchen-cleaning is dreaded by many. However, one aspect of cleaning your kitchen that you might be forgetting is that of cleaning out your cabinets.

While it’s true that you probably don’t need to deep-clean your cabinets every single time you clean your kitchen, this is something you should be making time for every so often. When was the last time you cleaned your kitchen cabinets? If you haven’t done this since you moved into your place, then it’s probably time.

Reasons to Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets

Why should you add cabinet-cleaning to your ever-growing list of chores? There are actually a few compelling reasons to consider.

Keep Them Looking Great

For starters, think about all the grime and debris that can build up on your cabinet exteriors over time. It is not uncommon for grease particles to become airborne as you cook—and these can quickly adhere to solid surfaces, like your cabinet doors. Even if your kitchen looks clean, taking a damp paper towel to your cabinet exteriors will likely reveal some unsightly build-up. By at least taking the time to wipe your cabinet exteriors down each time you clean your kitchen, you can keep the space looking fresh and inviting.

Save Your Security Deposit

If you’re renting, cleaning your kitchen cabinets may also help you more easily recover your security deposit when it comes time for you to move out. If your kitchen has a lot of grease and grime build-up, your landlord or property manager may retain some or all of your security deposit to hire specialty cleaning services. This can be easily avoided by simply making sure your cabinets are clean before you move out.

Get Rid of Bacteria

Kitchens are breeding grounds for bacteria; just think about all the raw food and splatter you encounter when you cook up those new recipes. When grease and other food particles go airborne, they can settle on your cabinets and increase contamination and food-borne illness risk. Protect yourself and your loved ones by keeping your kitchen cabinets clean and disinfected.

How Often Should You Clean Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Since it doesn’t take long to clean your cabinet exteriors, you should be doing this every time you clean the rest of your kitchen. However, a deep-cleaning of your cabinets may only be necessary about once a year. Some people may even wait until they move out of their place before cleaning their kitchen cabinets inside and out. At the end of the day, it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with.

Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets: A Step-By-Step Guide

Now that you understand the importance of cleaning out your kitchen cabinets, it’s time to get started. You won’t need much in the way of supplies except for a small broom or vacuum with a hose attachment, as well as some paper towels or clean washcloths, dish soap, and an all-purpose cleaner that’s safe on your cabinet door material.

Remove the Contents of Your Cabinets

Begin by completely removing the contents of your kitchen cabinets. Some people prefer to remove everything from all their cabinets at once, whereas other may prefer to work one or two cabinets at a time. If you have a smaller kitchen without a lot of counters or floor space to set things down, you may be better off cleaning one cabinet at a time; this way, you can put the contents of one cabinet back inside before moving onto the next one.

Vacuum Out Larger Debris

More than likely, your cabinet shelves will have some crumbs and other loose debris lying around. This will become obvious once the contents of each shelf are removed. The easiest way to get rid of these is to simply use a vacuum with a hose attachment. However, if you don’t have access to one of these vacuums, you can also use a small handheld broom and mini dustpan to sweep out each cabinet and shelf individually.

Wipe Shelves and Walls Down

Now, it’s time to wipe down and disinfect the shelves and inside walls of your cabinets. If your cabinets have easily removable shelves, it may be more efficient to remove each shelf and wipe it down. This will make it easier for you to get at all the nooks and crannies, as well as the underside of each shelf. Removing shelves can also allow you to scrub at areas that may have stubborn stains or build-up.

When wiping down cabinet walls and shelves, you can use a simple mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish soap on a clean rag. Follow up by wiping away any soap residue with a clean, damp rag, and then dry thoroughly with a hand towel. This is just as effective as any chemical cleaner, but less harmful and less likely to damage your cabinets. Still, it’s always a good idea to test a small area before cleaning a larger area.

If you have removed any shelves, allow them to dry completely before you put them back in the cabinet. Not drying them promptly could cause them to warp, so it’s best to wipe them dry after you clean them than it is to let them air dry.

Wipe Down Cabinet Exterior

Finally, clean your cabinet exteriors using the same soap and water mixture. This will be safe on most cabinet door materials—but if your cabinet doors are made of real wood, you’ll want to be careful not to use too much water, as this could damage the wood. You’ll also want to make sure to dry each cabinet after wiping it down.

Another option is to use an all-purpose cleaner on your cabinet doors, so long as it is advertised as being safe for your particular cabinet material.

For More Help With Your Cleaning…

Keeping your kitchen pristine can be a full-time job on its own, so why not leave this tedious work up to a professional? Maid Sailors offers regular cleaning services to keep your kitchen looking its best, and all of our basic services include wiping down your cabinet exteriors. For a more thorough cabinet-cleaning, check out our deep-cleaning or move-in/move-out services. These include cleaning out the inside of cabinets and drawers to achieve your ideal level of clean.

Contact Maid Sailors today at (212) 299-5170 to find out more about our services or book your appointment online in minutes!

How to Clean an Area Rug

Area rugs can serve a practical purpose of better defining the open spaces in your home. At the same time, a well-placed area rug can provide warmth and comfort on otherwise cold or uninviting floors while also making a design statement within your space.

Still, if you have area rugs in your home, you’ll also need to add one more cleaning task to your list: cleaning your rugs. It’s not the most exciting chore in the world, and the process of deep-cleaning a large area rug can actually be quite laborious—but it’s an important part of keeping your home clean and refreshed.

By knowing how to deep clean your area rugs and keep them fresh in between deep cleanings, you can keep your space looking and feeling great.

The Importance of Cleaning Area Rugs

Even if your area rugs don’t look dirty, it’s important to clean them on a regular basis for quite a few reasons.

Get Rid of Allergens and Bacteria

Area rugs, just like carpet, can easily collect allergens, dust mites, bacteria, and other debris. Some of this can irritate your respiratory system, especially if you (or anybody living under your roof) suffer from a condition like asthma or allergies. By taking the time to deep clean your area rugs, you can pull the majority of those allergens, dust, and other debris out from the fibers of the rug and enjoy improved indoor air quality.

Prolong the Life of Your Rug

Area rugs aren’t cheap; depending on the material, size, and quality of your area rug, there’s a good chance you paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars! By cleaning your area rug regularly, you can keep it in the best possible shape and avoid having to prematurely replace your rug down the road. That saves you some hard-earned money and the time/hassle involved in picking out and laying down a new rug.

Present Your Space With Pride

When your area rugs are clean, you can entertain guests with confidence. Take more pride in your home by keeping your rugs clean, especially in high traffic areas.

How Often to Clean an Area Rug

How frequently you should clean your area rugs will really depend on how much foot traffic they see. Rugs in areas of very high traffic, such as hallways and living rooms, will need to be cleaned more often than area rugs in less frequented areas of your home, such as an office or guest bedroom.

Regardless, you should aim to clean your area rugs at least once every week or two—although a deep cleaning may only be necessary once or twice a year.

Basic Care and Cleaning for an Area Rug

Basic cleaning of an area rug will help to remove surface debris and keep your rug looking its best in between deep cleanings. You don’t need much time (or much in the way of supplies) to do a maintenance cleaning on an area rug.

Before You Get Started…

Always check the care instructions on your area rug’s label, which should be located underneath the rug itself. Defer to those instructions above all else, as some rugs may be made of fabrics and materials that are delicate or need to be cleaned a specific way.

Shake it Out

While most area rugs will be too large to completely remove from the room and “shake out” outside, you may still be able to lift the corners and sides of your rug and give them a few good shakes to loosen up the debris.

Neutralize Odors

Next, sprinkle a small amount of baking soda over the surface of your area rug. You can also use a store-bought carpet-refreshing powder, which will likely contain baking soda and a scent. If you’d prefer to avoid additional chemicals or want to save money, however, baking soda will work just as well to neutralize odors without adding any artificial scents or perfumes.

Vacuum With Care

After letting the baking soda sit for a few minutes, vacuum your area rug thoroughly; depending on the pile and thickness of the rug, you may need to adjust the height settings on your vacuum to achieve the best results.

What About Deep Cleaning?

Once or twice a year, aim to give your area rugs a deep cleaning to remove surface stains and tough debris. Again, be sure to check the care instructions on your rug before you get started. While many rug materials (such as cotton and wool) can be cleaned using this method, others may become damaged if exact care instructions aren’t followed.

Hand-Wash With a Homemade Cleaner

Begin by running a vacuum over your area rug to remove any loose dust, pet hair, or other debris. From there, create your own cleaning mixture by combining a bucket of cold water with a cap of your favorite laundry detergent. Next, using a scrub brush or some clean microfiber rags, begin working in one corner of the rug by dipping the brush/rag into the mixture and scrubbing away in circular motions. Repeat this process until the entirety of the rug has been scrubbed.

Next, “rinse” the cleaning mixture away using clean, damp rags–again working out from one corner of the rug. Be careful not to drench the rug’s fibers with water. You should be able to blot them most of the way dry using a few clean towels when you’re done. However, you may be able to speed up the drying process by using a couple of strategically placed fans. Try to avoid walking on your rug until it has had a chance to dry completely.

When to Get Help From a Professional

Very large area rugs or those made of delicate materials may need to be professionally cleaned. If this is the case, check with local dry cleaners or carpet cleaners to see which option will be most practical and cost-effective for you.

Save Time With a Maid Service

Even if you only have one area rug in your home, you can easily spend most of an afternoon deep-cleaning your rugs. The good news is that you can reclaim your valuable free time in other ways, such as by hiring a professional maid to clean the rest of your home. Maid Sailors offers a number of office cleaning services and home cleaning services to save you time and hassle, including deep-cleaning and move-in/move-out cleaning. We even offer organization services to help bring more order to your everyday life!

Find out more about all that Maid Sailors can do for you by calling us at (212) 299-5170. You can also schedule an appointment with us using our convenient online form.