How to Get Rid of Pet Odor

You love your pets, but let’s face it. Sometimes, they stink. Dogs, cats, and just about any other pet you can imagine come with their own unpleasant odors. Over time, you may grow so accustomed to those smells that you don’t even notice them anymore—but when guests come to visit your home, they do.

Fortunately, getting rid of lingering pet odors doesn’t mean getting rid of your beloved pet (as if you’d ever think about doing that!). There are plenty of steps you can take to neutralize all kinds of different pet odors throughout your home so you can enjoy a refreshed living space.

Reasons to Address Pet Odor in Your Home

Even if pet odors don’t bother you, it’s still a good idea to do something about them. This is especially true if you live in a rental where you could end up losing out on some (or all) of your security deposit because of pet odors lingering after you move out. If your landlord or property manager needs to replace the carpeting or other fixtures throughout the home due to pet odors, you may end up footing the bill.

By taking care of pet odors in your rental now, you can save yourself the hassle of trying to scramble to deal with them when you move out. And from there, you’ll have better chances of being able to recoup your security deposit.

Addressing pet odors in your home is also important when it comes to protecting your health and the health of those living under your roof. Some sources of pet odors, such as animal urine and even dander, can lead to illness or aggravate existing conditions (such as asthma and allergies).

And of course, there’s the fact that nobody likes to walk into somebody else’s home and immediately smell their pets. If you do a lot of entertaining, then neutralizing your home of pet odors is like doing your house guests a huge favor.

Common Sources of Pet Odors

There are many potential sources of pet odors that could be affecting your home, and some of them need to be treated differently than others.

Unfortunately, “accidents” are one of the most common causes of lingering odors. This is most common in younger pets, such as puppies and kittens who have not yet been house trained or trained to use a litter box. Cat urine has an especially strong odor that can be difficult to remove from fabrics, such as carpeting and furniture. If a male pet has not been fixed, he may also “spray” to mark territory, which can create additional unpleasant odors in the home.

Even if your pet is completely house trained, smells could still be a problem if your pet hasn’t been properly bathed or groomed recently. This is an especially common problem for pets who spend time outdoors, as their coats become dirty. When they come back inside and spend time rolling around on the carpet or sleeping on your furniture, those smells can set into fabrics and be difficult to get rid of.

How to Neutralize Pet Odors

Determine Source of Odor

Ultimately, the best method to neutralize a pet odor will depend on the source of the odor itself. The first step of the process, then, is to determine what’s causing the odor in the first place.

If unwanted spraying, soiling, or urinating is causing the odors in your home, this will be pretty obvious. And while there are some products out there that are designed to neutralize pet urine smells and similar odors, it’s generally best to start with natural solutions before moving onto chemical cleaners.

Use Baking Soda

One of the best natural ingredients you can use on pet odors in your home (including pet urine and spray) is something you probably already have in your pantry: baking soda. This is known for its ability to absorb odors, which is why so many people often place an open box of baking soda to prevent fridge odors.

To use the baking soda method of removing pet odors, try sprinkling a small amount of baking soda on the affected area. Allow it to sit and work its magic for at least a half-hour before vacuuming it up. If the smell is especially stubborn, there is no harm in leaving baking soda sitting overnight, as long as you can keep pets and any children away from it.

No Baking Soda? Try Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another useful remedy for lingering pet odors and is great for addressing general pet odors on furniture and carpets. Simply combine one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water in a clean spray bottle and spray the mixture on your couches, carpeting, pet beds, and other affected areas. You can then blot up any residual liquid with a clean towel and allow the rest to air-dry.

Preventing Future Pet Odors

These are just a couple of natural odor-neutralizers to try in your home before you resort to any chemical cleaners or sprays. Once you’ve successfully removed lingering pet odors from your home, there are some additional steps you may want to take to prevent them from coming back.

If you have a dog, when was the last time you washed his or her dog bed? This is a commonly overlooked chore that is actually quite easy to do and can really help to cut down on lingering dog smells in your home.

Taking the time to have your pet professionally bathed and groomed can also help to address pet odors in your home. Pets with longer coats will need more frequent grooming, but you should aim to bring your pet to the groomer at least a few times a year. Indoor cats may be an exception here, as they tend to do a pretty thorough job keeping themselves clean and may be stressed out by a visit to the groomer.

If urination and spraying are an ongoing problem with your pet, it may be time to speak to a veterinarian. Sometimes, these issues can be traced back to underlying health conditions, such as urinary tract infections or kidney issues.

Treat Yourself to a Maid Service

If you have pets, you already have a lot on your plate when it comes to keeping your house or office clean and odor-free. Hiring a professional maid service to help you out with your day-to-day cleaning tasks can take some of the burden off your shoulders and save you valuable time. Contact Maid Sailors today to explore our many service offerings and find out more about how we can make your life easier!

How to Clean Light Fixtures

When you think about cleaning your home, which tasks actually come to mind? The usual suspects likely include vacuuming your carpets, mopping/sweeping floors, dusting, and disinfecting solid surfaces (like countertops). What you might not think about when you plan on cleaning your living space, however, is cleaning your light fixtures.

Whether you have pendant lighting, chandeliers, or anything in between—the truth is that you “should” be cleaning your light fixtures on a fairly regular basis. But if you’re like a lot of people, you simply don’t have the time or desire to clean them. Or, perhaps the thought of cleaning your light fixtures has never even crossed your mind.

By having a better understanding of why it’s important to clean light fixtures and how to get this project done in as little time as possible, you can power through your house-cleaning in no time.

Why You Need to Clean Your Light Fixtures

Often times, light fixtures serve as statement pieces of living space. That beautiful chandelier hanging in your front entryway and those vintage-looking pendant lights hanging above your kitchen island can really catch your eye. Unfortunately, if they’re dusty and dingy, these fixtures may be sending a bad message.

Dust build-up is one of the most common problems people have with their lighting fixtures; not only can it detract from the overall look and feel of your space, but it can even hinder the main function of the fixture itself (to provide light!).

How Often Should You Clean Your Light Fixtures?

There is really no universal answer to the question of how often your light fixtures should be cleaned because not all fixtures accumulate dust and debris as readily or quickly as others. Chandeliers, for example, are notorious for collecting dust because of all the nooks, crannies, and crevices that are typically part of the design. A sleek and modern pendant light, on the other hand, maybe less prone to dust accumulation. Recessed light fixtures may rarely need to be cleaned.

The air quality in your home may also play a role in just how often your light fixtures need to be cleaned. If you have a lot of dust particles and other debris flying around, you’re likely to need more frequent cleaning (or, at the very least, dusting). The same applies if you have pets in your home, as they will kick up additional dander, fur, and debris.

Ultimately, it’s a good rule of thumb to dust your light fixtures every time you clean your home. A deep-cleaning of your light fixtures (as described below) may only be necessary once or twice a year.

Cleaning Light Fixtures Throughout Your Home

Before you can clean any light fixture in your home, you’ll need to dust it thoroughly to remove any loose debris and dust. Otherwise, spraying cleaning solution onto the fixture may make this debris even more difficult to remove. Usually, the most effective (and easiest) way to dust a light fixture is using a microfiber duster with an extendable handle. This will make it easier to reach your light fixture without the need for a ladder or step stool, in most cases.

Turn the Light Off

When it’s time to clean your light fixture, always be sure that the light is shut off. Otherwise, you could be putting your personal safety at risk. If you plan on removing light bulbs to clean or if any cleaning solution may come into contact with the fixture’s wiring, you’ll also need to completely shut off power to that fixture at the circuit box.

Remove Covers (if any)

The next steps will really depend on the type of light fixture you’re dealing with. For a light fixture with a glass cover, you’ll need to carefully remove the glass first. Wiping the glass down with glass cleaner may be enough, but if there are bugs or other debris accumulated in the bottom of the glass, you may need to actually wash it out in your sink and set it out to dry.

For any hanging-style light fixtures, your best bet will usually be to actually take the fixture down from your ceiling. Otherwise, you’ll need to prepare for quite an arm workout as you stand on a stool or ladder to clean the fixture as it hangs above you.

Use the Correct Cleaning Solution

Next, it’s time to mix up your own cleaner; you can do this by combining three parts water to one part vinegar directly in a clean spray bottle. This cleaner is safe to spray on most fixtures, including crystals and glass and doesn’t leave any smudges. To use it, simply spray the cleaner onto the exterior of the fixture, using a microfiber cloth to wipe thoroughly. If there are any stubborn areas of grime, you can also use a small amount of dish soap and water to scrub it away with a sponge. From there, simply wipe clean with a damp microfiber cloth and either dry with a clean towel or set out to dry before installing the fixture back in place.

What About the Light Bulbs?

If you’re already going out of your way to clean your light fixtures, you might as well clean the bulbs themselves as well. This should only take a few more seconds of your time and will really make your fixture look like new. Both regular light bulbs and fluorescent tubes can be dusted using a clean cloth. If desired, you can use a damp cloth. Just be sure to completely dry the bulb before putting it back into the fixture.

Keeping Light Fixtures Cleaner For Longer

While there isn’t much you can do to prevent dust from accumulating on your home’s light fixtures over time, there are some ways to keep your fixtures looking their best for longer. For starters, make sure your home’s air filter is cleaned or swapped out with a new one at least once every couple of months; this will help to reduce the amount of dust and debris floating around in the first place.

Furthermore, make dusting your light fixtures a part of your regular cleaning routine (if it isn’t already). Investing in a duster with a telescoping handle can make this a quick and easy task.

Get More Help With Your Day-to-Day Cleaning

Last but not least, don’t forget to reach out to Maid Sailors if you ever need assistance with your regular cleaning tasks. We offer a wide selection of cleaning services, including office cleaning, to make your life easier and free up your valuable time, and satisfaction is always guaranteed. Contact us today to request a quote or to set up your first appointment with our certified maids.

How to Remove Scuff Marks From Floor

If you have any kind of solid floors in your home, whether it be hardwood or tile, there’s a good chance you have some scuff marks on your floors here and there. If you’re annoyed by unsightly scuff marks that haven’t easily buffed out with a little elbow grease, then it may be time to explore other methods. The good news is that those scuff marks don’t have to be permanent; you just need to know the right methods to get rid of them based on what caused them and what type of floor you’re working with.

Do Those Scuff Marks Really Matter?

Aside from being an eyesore, are scuff marks on your floors really that big of a deal? Well, maybe. If you’re renting your place, your landlord may dock you part of your security deposit if there are scuff marks on the floors when you move out (as long as they also weren’t there when you moved in). That’s because your landlord or property manager will most likely need to hire cleaners to get rid of the scuffs prior to the next tenant moving in, which costs money.

And of course, scuff marks can really detract from the overall look and feel of your place. Depending on the type of flooring you have, scuffs could even lead to permanent discoloration if they’re not addressed quickly. This is most common on porous flooring types and laminate.

Potential Causes of Floor Scuff Marks

How did those marks get there in the first place, anyway? In most cases, scuff marks are caused by dark-soled shoes. If you wear shoes in the house regularly, there’s a good chance that’s the culprit. Check out our guide to clean white shoes. Moving furniture around can sometimes cause scuff marks to form as well, especially when it comes to tables and chairs with dark rubber furniture pads on the legs.

Easy Methods For Removing Scuff Marks

Ultimately, the best method for removing scuff marks from your floors will depend on the type of flooring you have. If you have wood floors, you’ll need to be especially careful because harsh chemicals or other rough cleaning methods could strip away the protective varnish on the wood, exposing it to potential damage and discoloration.

For Wooden Floors

To be safe, then, start by attempting to remove scuff marks from your wood floors using a tennis shoe. The key here is to use a light-soled tennis shoe (preferably white or off-white). Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the bottom of the shoe is clean as well. From there, simply insert your hand into the shoe and apply pressure between the sole and the scuff mark on the floor. Sometimes, moving the sole in slight twisting motions can be effective as well. Either way, this method is safe on delicate floors (including wood) and is usually pretty effective.

Another option to try is using a large pencil eraser, such as the ones you can find at your local office supply store. Again, it’s important here that the color of the eraser is something light—otherwise, you could end up leaving more scuff. To begin, take a clean and damp microfiber cloth and rub it over the scuff mark. Then, use the eraser on the scuff mark just as you would pencil markings that you wanted to erase. The scuff mark will come right up; then, all you need to do is vacuum or wipe up the remaining shavings left behind by the eraser.

For Tile, Laminate, and Other Hard Floors

If you need to remove a scuff mark from another type of flooring material, such as ceramic tile, laminate, or vinyl, there are some other methods you can try if the above aren’t effective.

One option is to apply a small amount of nail polish remover onto a clean microfiber cloth and then rub the scuffed area in small, circular motions until the scuff is gone. Just be sure to wipe over the area again with a damp towel to remove any excess acetone and dry thoroughly. Also, keep in mind that nail polish remover can be harsh, so it’s a good idea to test it on a small and inconspicuous area of your flooring before moving forward.

Another potential method for removing scuffs on more durable floors is to use baking soda. Specifically, you’ll want to mix equal parts baking soda and warm water to create a relatively thick paste. Then, using a microfiber cloth, apply some of the paste to the scuffed area of flooring and rub in circular motions until the scuff is gone. From there, simply wipe clean with a damp towel and dry quickly. Baking soda is very effective in removing scuffs from floors because it’s a mild abrasive, yet it is gentle enough to not do damage to these types of floors.

Protecting Your Floors From Scuff Marks

Now that you’ve rid your floors of those pesky scuff marks, what steps can you take to protect your floors in the future? One of the best ways to avoid scuff marks on your floors is to simply not wear shoes in the house. When you have guests over, ask them to remove their shoes at the front door. Set up a small bench and shoe rack so guests and others living in your home have a place to take off and store their shoes when they enter.

You may also want to apply felt furniture pads to chair and table legs throughout your home (at least for the furniture that’s located on your hard floors); these won’t leave any scuff marks and will make it easier to move your furniture around. Felt furniture pads are also extremely inexpensive, can protect your floors from scratches, and are very easy to install. Most can stick on to the legs of your tables and chairs using a strong adhesive.

Get Help Keeping Cleaner Floors (And More!)

After putting some time (and elbow grease) into removing scuff marks from your floors, you may be understandably tired. The last thing you probably want to think about is cleaning the rest of your house or cleaning your office. The good news? You don’t have to! Let our team at Maid Sailors help you achieve a sparkling clean home so you don’t have to lift another finger.

We offer a wide selection of cleaning services to suit your lifestyle, from regularly scheduled cleanings to deep cleanings, move-in/move-out cleanings, and everything in between. Set up an appointment with us today by using our convenient online form or give us a call at (212) 299-5170 to find out more.

How to Clean Up Vomit

Puke happens. Let’s face it; whether it’s a pile of vomit from a sick toddler or a wild party guest, we’ve all been in the position at some point of having to clean up a bit of barf. And if you’re like a lot of people, the mere sight or smell of vomit could also make you sick. Yikes! It’s a never-ending cycle of upchuck.

And then, of course, there’s the issue of staining. When somebody vomits on carpet or upholstery, it can be difficult to completely remove the stain (and smell) for good. Getting vomit stains out of clothing generally isn’t as difficult, but can still pose some challenges. By following some of our tips and tricks, however, you can effectively remove vomit stains from just about any surface and possibly prevent yourself from getting queasy as you clean.

Cleaning Vomit From Carpet and Upholstery

Getting puke out of carpet or upholstery can be a challenge; depending on how thick the carpet is, it’s possible that chunks of vomit will have settled into the fibers and will be difficult to remove. Generally, the best way to begin cleaning up puke from carpeting, a rug, or upholstery is to first address the larger “chunks.” A piece of cardboard or even a thick paper plate can be effective in more-or-less scooping the larger chunks off the surface without having to touch them. Still, it’s a good idea to don a pair of rubber gloves before you get started.

Use an Absorbent

Once you’ve removed as much of the vomit as possible from the surface of your carpet or furniture, you’ll want to use something absorbent to pull out the remainder from carpet or upholstery fibers. Baking soda is an excellent option here and something many people keep on-hand in their kitchens and pantries. However, cat litter can also be used effectively here if you have it available.

Let the Absorbent Dry

The best method to use here is to sprinkle the baking soda or cat litter on top of the vomit stain; make sure the stain is completely covered and leave it for at least 20 minutes. This will give the baking soda or cat litter time to pull out excess moisture while also neutralizing the odor.

As the baking soda or litter sits on top of the stain, it will begin to dry and solidify. This will make it easier to clean up; in most cases, you can vacuum the remainder to avoid needing to touch any of the vomit itself.

Wipe Away and Deodorize

Don’t expect the stain to be completely removed after this, however. You’ll still likely need to follow up with treatment using a carpet stain remover and/or deodorizer. Enzyme-based cleaners tend to be best for neutralizing odors rather than just covering them up, but you can also make your own using warm water, white vinegar, and a small amount of dish soap. From there, you can apply the mixture to the stain and blot, rinse, and repeat as needed until it is completely gone and your upholstery or carpet is clean.

Cleaning Vomit Stains From Clothes

It’s not uncommon for the vomit to end up on clothes in addition to on carpeting or upholstery. The good news is that it’s generally a bit easier to remove puke from clothing due to the simple fact that you can put your clothes through a washing machine! The specific process you should follow to clean vomit from clothing will vary a bit based on the type of fabric you’re dealing with, so it’s always best to check the care/garment tag on your clothes before moving forward.

In general, however, there are a few steps you can follow to remove as much puke as possible from your clothes. Begin by scraping off as much of the residual puke as possible (you can use the paper plate or cardboard method here to avoid touching any of the vomit yourself). From there, run some warm water over the stain and then cover it with a layer of baking soda.

Next, pour some white vinegar over the stain. It will react with the baking soda and begin fizzing. While it’s doing that, scrub away at the stain using a scrub brush or an old toothbrush before tossing the soiled clothes in your washing machine for a regular cycle. It’s generally best to run them through the washer on their own or with other vomit-soiled clothes. From there, the stain should be removed—but you can repeat this process once more if there is any staining leftover.

How to Solider Through Cleaning Up Vomit

If you’re the type of person who gets queasy or even falls ill yourself when handling other bodily fluids (such as vomit), then you may need to take some additional measures to get through the process of cleaning up puke. Many people find that wearing a surgical mask or respirator mask (such as the kind you might wear while painting a room) is helpful in reducing the stench that can often cause you to gag or get sick yourself. You can also smear a small amount of Vicks (or another medicated vapor) just below your nose before you get started; the strong smell from it can help to mask any vomit odor as you clean.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help or take breaks from cleaning as needed. The last thing you need is to puke yourself while you’re trying to clean up another vomit stain.

Advice For Future Clean-Ups

For parents or those who deal with cleaning up vomit on a fairly regular basis, it can also be a good idea to keep a “barf box” in an easily accessible area of your home. This box should be stocked with everything you need to clean up puke, including a box of baking soda, rubber gloves, a scrub brush, vinegar, and towels. This will save you the time and hassle of compiling every item you need when the inevitable happens, which especially comes in handy when you’re dealing with a sick child in the middle of the night.

Speaking of sick kids, you can also make changing soiled bedsheets easier by following a simple method. When you make up your child’s bed, make it in two layers that are separated by a waterproof mattress cover. This means you should have a fitted sheet/sheet followed by a mattress cover, followed by another sheet set. If your child gets sick on the bed in the middle of the night, you can simply remove the top layer of sheets and the mattress cover. You’ll still have a clean set of sheets underneath so your child can get back to sleep without you needing to totally re-make the bed.

Speaking of Cleaning…

If all this talk about cleaning has you feeling overwhelmed, treat yourself to a professional house-cleaning service. Contact our team at Maid Sailors today to find out more or book now! The team also offers same-day cleaning service and office cleanings.

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.

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 the Burners on a Gas Stove

A gas stovetop is a nice luxury to have. Not only do gas stoves offer more precise temperature control than electric stoves, but they can also last for many years without needing major repairs or replacement when properly maintained. Still, gas stoves are far from maintenance-free compared to glass top stoves. One of the most important things you’ll need to do is to keep your burners cleaned and clear of food debris, grease, and other gunk.

When was the last time you cleaned your gas stovetop burners? If it’s been a while or if you can’t recall ever having cleaned them, it’s time to set aside an hour of your time to give them a thorough cleaning and de-greasing.

Reasons to Clean Your Gas Stove Burners

Gas stoves are quite simple in their operation, but burners can become easily clogged over time with food particles, grease, and other residue. As these burners become clogged, the flame may weaken or may die out completely—preventing you from using your burner. Even if you are able to continue using a burner with a weak flame, the quality of your cooking may be affected.

Clogged gas stove burners, in some cases, can even pose a fire hazard. This is most often the case when flammable grease and cooking fat becomes caked on the burner and catches fire when you attempt to light the burner. With this in mind, it’s important to keep your gas burners clean and clear of debris. Doing so will allow you to enjoy the most precise temperature control while cooking as possible and cut down on fire hazards.

How Often to Clean Your Gas Stove Burners

The exact frequency with which you should clean your gas stove burners will really depend on how often you use them and how messy you are when you cook! If you don’t use your stovetop often and tend to stick with simpler recipes that don’t involve a lot of food splatter or messes, then you can likely get away with only cleaning your burners every few months.

On the other hand, if you use your gas stovetop often and like to experiment with messier ingredients or adventurous recipes, then you’ll probably want to set aside time to clean your burners a little more often. If you’re like a lot of cooks who have a favorite burner, you may even find that you need to clean one burner more often than the others!

How to Clean Your Gas Stove Burners

Always begin by checking the instruction manual on your gas stovetop for specific instructions on how to clean and care for your burners. These can vary from one manufacturer to the next—and some stoves may require special steps (such as complete shut-off of gas to the appliance). Always defer to your instruction manual. If you’ve misplaced your instruction manual, research the model number of your gas stove online. There’s a good chance you can find a free digital copy of the manual for more information.

In most cases, you can clean your gas stove burners using supplies and ingredients you may already have at home. One of the best methods involves the use of baking soda. Simply begin by removing the ceramic cover that lies on top of most gas stove burners. You can wash these just as you would any other dish with warm water and dish soap.

Next, you’ll need to remove the actual burner heads, which can usually be done by lifting straight up on them. These tend to be dirtier than the burner caps themselves, so you may need to soak these in a mixture of warm water and your favorite dish soap for about an hour.

Meanwhile, create a thick paste using equal parts baking soda and water. You can apply this paste to the burners themselves; allow the paste to work its magic for 5-10 minutes before using a scrub brush to wipe away the paste and gunk it has removed. You may need to repeat this step a few times, depending on how caked-on the debris is.

Once you’re happy with the cleanliness of your burners and all accessories, all that’s left to do is to rinse them all with warm water and dry them. You can dry them yourself using a clean dish towel or set them out to air dry. It’s important to be sure that everything is completely dry before you re-assemble the components of your burners, as moisture coming into contact with the starters can cause damage.

After your burners are re-assembled, test-light them each to make sure they’re in working order. From there, you’ll be ready to cook again in no time.

Preventing Future Build-Up on Gas Stove Burners

The process of cleaning your gas stovetop burners can take about an hour or even more, depending on how dirty the burners and other components are. The good news is that you can make this cleaning task a lot easier for yourself in the future by wiping down your burners and burner caps after each time you cook. This should only take a few moments of your time, but can save you a lot of hassle down the road. With routine spot-cleaning, you can avoid a lot of the severe build-up that is difficult and time-consuming to remove.

There are also cooking accessories you can purchase that may reduce the amount of mess generated as you cook. Specifically, silicone pan guards can help to contain sauces and other messy cooking ingredients, preventing them from spilling out of your pans.

Time to Hire a Cleaning Company?

Caring for your gas stovetop does take some time, but it will be worth it when you’re able to keep your stove running smoothly for many years without needing major repairs or replacement. And when you consider the fact that even a basic gas stovetop can cost hundreds of dollars, it’s easy to see why a little care and maintenance is so important.

Still, if you’re feeling burdened by all the little cleaning tasks that are quickly adding up around your home, then it’s probably time to do something about it. Hiring a professional cleaning company to take care of some of your household chores is a great way to reclaim your free time without sacrificing cleanliness and tidy living in the process.

Maid Sailors‘ team of certified and insured cleaners is here to help you with everything from vacuuming and dusting to taking out the trash and disinfecting surfaces. Reach out to us today to schedule your first cleaning appointment or find out more about our services!