Is Duct Cleaning a Complete Waste of Money?

So many people want to know if air duct cleaning is a waste of money. Commercial cleaning firms, health studies and scientific journals conclude that the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system in a home and building is probably a good idea. Duct cleaning usually involves a complete cleaning of the HVAC’s air handler, coils, grilles, housings, fans and motors. Cleaning air handling units, heating and cooling coils, and air handling units can improve running efficiency.

Reports by the National Institutes of Health say there is not enough proof to determine if duct cleaning actually improves inner air quality (IAQ) or building occupant health. The following information may help you to decide if your home will benefit from HVAC duct cleaning.

Why Duct Cleaning Is Important? 

The ductwork in your heating and cooling system (furnace/air conditioner) constantly collects dirt, dust and dander while idle and while in operation. This means when you turn your system on, those particles can spread around your home or business and eventually impact the health and safety of your home’s occupants or your business’s employees. Here are a few more reasons:

1. Creates a Cleaner Living Environment

Having your air ducts professionally cleaned reduces the dust that would otherwise circulate throughout your living space, landing on your furniture, your bedding, your flooring…just about everywhere. Fortunately, a thorough air duct cleaning reduces the amount of interior cleaning and dusting necessary to maintain a hygienic home.

2. Reduces Allergens and Irritants

In addition to dust, air ducts frequently contain harmful contaminants and micro-organisms. These include pet dander, bacteria, pollen, mildew, mold spores, and similar toxins. People who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems are particularly sensitive to these airborne particles. A periodic air duct cleaning promotes healthier living…otherwise, the dirty air in your home just keeps re-circulating over and over.

3. Removes Unpleasant Smells and Odors

Pets, household cleaning agents, paint fumes, mold, tobacco use and even food preparation all contribute to stale smells in the air ducts. Every time the furnace or air conditioner is running, these odors will repeatedly flow through the house. Even an accumulation of dust and dirt over the years can lead to a musty scent coming from the ductwork. Detailed cleaning of the air ducts removes all odor trapping particles, resulting in a fresher smelling home.

How Often Should I Get My Air Ducts Cleaned? 

It is highly recommended getting your vents cleaned every two to three years. If the residents of your home are young children, adults who stay at or work from home, elderly family members or individuals with allergies, asthma or chronic illnesses, we recommend more regular cleaning of every year to keep these at-risk individuals safe and free of allergens, dirt, and debris.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Air Ducts

If you choose to not clean your air ducts, air quality will reduce over time as debris collects in your duct system. There are a variety of items that can begin to grow in your ducts and create safety risks for your family and home. Here are some of the side effects of not cleaning your vents:

  • Mold spore development
  • Fungus growth
  • Asthma, sickness or cold induction
  • Pet smells from dander and fur
  • More allergy symptoms
  • Musty odor development
  • More frequent dusting

How to Tell If Your Ducts Need Cleaning? 

Unsure if you need your ducts cleaned? Here are some signs you should have your ducts professionally cleaned sooner rather than later:

  • Discovering Mold: If you spot mold in or near your air ducts, you should immediately get your ducts cleaned to keep your home safe. The professionals can help you with both mold removal and air duct cleaning.
  • Discovering Pests: If you find pests inside your home, chances are they are using your duct system to get around. Air duct cleaning can eliminate the organic matter that pests leave behind.
  • Dust and Debris: If you find yourself constantly dusting your home, the buildup of dust and debris in your ducts could be to blame. Finding dust and debris everywhere is a sign your ducts could use a cleaning sooner than later.
  • Pets: The more pets you have, the more dander and fur in your home. Your duct system draws this dander and fur, spreading germs, allergens and smells while idle or with each use of your heater or air conditioner.

Is Duct Cleaning A Waste Of Money? 

There is a lot of misleading information about duct cleaning on the internet. It’s easy to get confused by or misinterpret what you’re reading. The first question you may be asking, is if duct cleaning is a waste of money. It’s a very valid question to ask, and the answers you will find online may vary wildly. It all boils down to one thing. Duct cleaning is a waste of money only if you use the wrong company.

What Is The Purpose Of Duct Cleaning?

A cleaning every 5-7 years by a company that doesn’t make the duct cleaning a waste of money can provide relief from a whole host of problems. Proper duct cleaning can reduce the amount of dust being pushed out into the home by the HVAC system. If you find yourself needing to dust multiple times a week, and it’s been a long time since you’ve had the ducts cleaned, this may be a great solution.

If someone in the home has allergies, duct cleaning may help relieve the severity of some of their symptoms. Every time you come in from outside, you are bringing in allergens and even harmful particulates. They are taken in by the return ducts and circulated around the home by the HVAC system. A regular duct cleaning can help reduce the number of these particulates building up and being pushed back into the home. Additionally, if there is suspected mold spores or growth in the ductwork, a thorough cleaning will remove the mold and keep it from spreading into the rest of the home.

Another reason for duct cleaning, is renovations to the home. Whether you’ve just bought the home and are fixing it up, or you’ve been there for a while and it’s time to update it, duct cleaning should always be done after you’ve finished the renovations. Think of all the dust, debris, and contaminants that are released during the renovation process. When the air is on, all those particulates are picked up by the HVAC system. This is not something you want to breathe in, and duct cleaning after the work is a fantastic way to finish the process.

Trust Air Duct Cleaning Professional Companies 

Moreover, professional duct cleaners use brushes, vacuums and specially-designed blowers to clean the return, supply, and intact ducts throughout the home. Duct cleaning should be thorough, and should include a cleaning of the coils, air handler, housings, registers, motors, grilles and fans of the system. Although the jury is still out about whether duct cleaning improves air quality and helps people with respiratory allergies and illness, some states make HVAC duct cleaning a routine part of public buildings.

How to Choose the Right Upholstery Fabric

When it comes to upholstering your furniture for either residential or commercial purposes, there is a lot to think about the fabric materials that will sheath your furniture and complement the atmosphere perfectly. Upholstery fabrics are way heavier, thicker, and more durable multi-purpose drapery fabric compared to any other fabrics. So whether you’re looking for brand new upholstery materials for your furniture or just reupholstering the old ones, the right fabric selection out of so many fabrics is very important, and not to mention confusing or overwhelming for multiple reasons.

The details of each type of upholstery fabric can be sorted into multiple aesthetic and functional purposes. You need to pick the fabric material that suits your furniture style and durability both together. To help you out with this complicated upholstery fabric sorting and choosing procedure, we have put together a handful number of tips to help you help make sure the piece will last for years to come.

1. Fix the Place Where the Furniture Will Be Placed

The first and foremost thing to decide when choosing the upholstery fabric is where precisely your furniture will be placed.

  • Will the furniture be placed outdoor?
  • Will it be exposed to direct sunlight or rain?
  • Will it be placed in a high traffic area?

If your furniture is an indoor setting with low traffic, you can go for beautiful yet slightly stain, fade sensitive upholstery fabrics like cotton, silk, linen. If the furniture is placed in high traffic outdoor areas like near to patios and backyards, go for engineered upholstery materials like synthetic microfiber that are durable, fade-proof, UV, wrinkling, shrinking resistant and immune to heavy and frequent uses.

2. Decide What is Being Upholstered, and How

Next, decide how the furniture you choose to reupholster will be used, and where it will be positioned in your home, before selecting a fabric. If you’re planning to reupholster a very old or over-used furniture piece, make sure to choose a durable and fade-tear-stain resilient, hard-wearing, waterproof materials, vinyl or poly-cotton for instance. If your furniture is solemnly for luxury and show, you can use slightly fade or stain sensitive upholstery materials like silk or satin. Do note that these kinds of materials won’t be able to handle occasional spills, and the stains might be pretty difficult to take off.

3. Prioritize the Durability Over Everything

When you’re deciding on a brand new upholstery fabric material, it’s very important for you to choose one that will last. You need to make sure your chosen upholstery fabrics outlives your furniture itself since upholstery fabrics can serve multiple purposes. A piece of quality fabric with a bit of care will most likely exceed the overall lifespan of your other interior or exterior decorative materials.

If your furniture is placed outside and exposed to constant rain, heat, and storms, go for high quality, man-made fibers like coated polyester, acrylic, olefin and so on.

4. Consider the Fabric Pattern Carefully

The small patterns and details of your upholstery fabrics have more to do with the hiding and washing stains easily and efficiently, along with complementing your surroundings and the furniture piece itself. For instance, textured upholstery fabric patterns like woven ones are very much patterns that are capable of hiding stains efficiently. And don’t forget to opt for a fabric actually complements its surroundings.

5. Check Out the Fabric’s Wash-Ability

If you can remove your upholstery fabrics off your furniture and have the patience to wash up on a regular basis, you can slightly risk the slight possibility of staining or tearing by using natural upholstery fabrics like cotton or any natural blends with cotton. However, these cotton mix fabrics need to be cleaned by cleaning professionals.

But if you want easy-to-clean upholstery fabrics, here are some of the options you can choose from-

Microfiber

  • Synthetic fabric that boasts longevity and low maintenance.
  • A cheaper alternative to leather
  • Claw-resistant, safe from pets
  • Super easy to clean up stains

Leather

  • Durable and can often last longer than average fabric sofa
  • Can be gently vacuumed, damp-wiped as needed, and cleaned with leather conditioner or saddle soap.

Velvet

  • Aesthetic with maximum durability and both water-fade resistance
  • Wear-tear free, perfect fit for heavy foot traffic places

6. Verify the Fabric Grade

The fabric grade generally implies its manufacturing cost. Be watchful of this fact when selecting fabric for commercial upholstery. The higher the grade, the better the fiber type is and its construction procedure. There are different grades available in the market, both alphabetically and numerically. Consider asking the manufacturer about it before making your purchase.

Considering all the points mentioned above, you can be a little more relaxed while purchasing the most suited upholstery fabrics for your furniture, both for residential or commercial purposes. All you have to make sure is to pick the eco-friendly cleaning solutions, tailored for all types of upholstery fabrics and its decorative details. 

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer and Fight Off Germs

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

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

When Possible, Choose Soap and Water

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

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

Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer in a Pinch

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

What You’ll Need

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

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

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

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

Mixing it Up

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

Bottling and Labeling

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

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

Making Sanitizing Wipes

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

Best Practices For Using Hand Sanitizer

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

Use Enough to Cover Your Hands

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

Follow Up With a Moisturizer

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

Use Soap and Water if Hands Are Soiled

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

Purell Overview

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

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

You can read the FDA warning letter here.

Other Ways to Keep Yourself Protected

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

Avoid Touching Your Face

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

Wear a Surgical Face Mask

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

Stay Home if You’re Sick

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

Keep a Clean Home

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

How to Make a Surgical Face Mask

Hand sanitizer and antibacterial soap aren’t the only health items that have become difficult to find since the novel coronavirus made its way to the United States; surgical face masks, such as the popular N95 mask or N95 respirator, have also been flying off the shelves.

Because coronavirus is an airborne illness, it makes sense that so many people are rushing to stock up on respirators and surgical masks. If you’re having a hard time finding any in your area, the good news is that you can make your own. Before you get started, however, there are some things you need to know.

Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Surgical Masks

Reasons to Wear a Face Mask or Mouth Mask

There is always concern about the spread of germs when you’re in close quarters with other people. For example, if you ride a crowded subway or other public transportation to and from work each day, you might be worried about catching something from the person sitting next to you. By wearing a surgical mask or other types of respirator masks, you can effectively filter out some of the airborne particles (including some viruses) that would otherwise find their way to you. In this sense, wearing a surgical mask can provide you with some additional protection and peace of mind, especially if you spend time in larger crowds regularly.

Understanding the Limits of Surgical Face Masks

It’s important to understand that wearing a surgical mask (also commonly referred to as a mouth mask) will not automatically protect you from catching coronavirus (or any other airborne virus, for that matter). Even N95 masks, which are among the most effective facial masks available, can only block out about 95% of small particles when worn properly (hence the N95 name for the filtration efficiency). The N95 respirator is the most common of the seven types of particulate filtering facepiece respirators. This product filters at least 95% of airborne particles or N95 particulates but is not resistant to oil.

Also, you’ll want to understand your own physical limitations. Surgical masks can cut down on airflow, which can be a problem for those with respiratory problems (such as asthma). If you have any physical conditions that may make wearing a surgical mask dangerous to your health, be sure to talk to your doctor before proceeding.

How to Make Your Own Surgical Face Mask

Because N95 respirators and other types of surgical face masks or mouth masks have become difficult to come by, many people find themselves in a situation where they need to make their own. Even if you do have access to face masks or an N95 respirator mask in your area, you may want to consider DIYing your own, anyway. This will help to ensure that others who truly need those face masks (like those working in the medical field) can continue to get the protection they need.

A quick online search will yield all kinds of results for DIY surgical mask tutorials, but the one we’re outlining here is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. There is no need for any sewing experience, and there’s a good chance you already have all the supplies you need to whip up one of these masks in just a few minutes.

What You’ll Need For A DIY Face Mask or DIY N95 Mask

To get started, you’ll need:

  • paper towels (at least a few sheets per N95 mask)
  • rubber bands (shoelaces or string will also work)

If you’d prefer to make a washable mask (one that can be reused rather than replaced), you can also use a t-shirt in place of the paper towels. If you are using a t-shirt, it’s a good idea to bleach and wash it before use—especially if there is any chance it has been contaminated in any way.

Putting it Together

To create your face mask, begin by taking two or three squares of paper towel and layering them on top of each other. If you’re using a t-shirt, simply cut the shirt into several equal sections and stack them on top of each other (just be sure that the size is large enough to cover your mouth and nose).

Next, begin creating small accordion folds in the paper or t-shirt fabric until the entire mask is folded into a long, thin rectangle. At this point, you can attach your rubber bands, shoelaces, or other string. This can be done by punching a hole through the ends of the mask material and simply looping the band through, or by gluing or stapling.

From there, gently unfold the mask material until it is stretched out enough to cover your chin, mouth, and nose. You can then check and adjust the fit of the rubber bands as needed.

Getting the Most Out of Your Surgical Face Mask

Now that you know how to make or create your own surgical face mask, there are a few more tips worth following to get the most out of yours.

Ensure a Tight Fit

Ideally, your mask should fit snugly around your mouth and nose to reduce the number of foreign particles that can enter the particulate respirator, mask N95 or N95 mask.

Replace or Wash Regularly

If using paper towels for your DIY mask or homemade N95 mask, you’ll want to make enough so that you can change your mask regularly (at least once a day and possibly more, depending on how often you wear it). As soon as your mask becomes damp or wet, it needs to be changed out; that’s because a wet mask can make you even more susceptible to infection and other health problems.

If you’re making a t-shirt mask (or a mask out of another washable fabric), consider making two so that you can always have one in the wash and one readily available to wear.

Only Wear When Necessary

In reality, people who are showing symptoms are the ones who should be wearing these masks out in public. However, if you insist on wearing a mask to protect yourself, limit the amount you wear it to times when you are actually out in a large crowd. Remember that when you wear a surgical mask, you are restricting air and oxygen flow to your body—so you don’t want to wear it when it’s not really needed.

More Best Practices For Protecting Yourself

Keeping a clean home is always important—but when cold and flu season rolls around, it’s perhaps more vital than ever to the surfaces of your home disinfected for any virus. In addition to having face masks on-hand or other personal protective equipment, there are some other measures you should be taking to protect yourself against the spread of any type of virus. The best thing you can do is to wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds at a time, as well as keeping your hands away from your face.

Keeping a clean home can also go a long way in reducing the spread of germs. Too busy for everyday cleaning and disinfecting? Let our team at Maid Sailors take care of you! Contact us today to find out more about our cleaning services offered; we’d be happy to schedule your first appointment with our professional team at your convenience.

A Landlord’s Worst Nightmare: 5 Outrageous Tenant Horror Stories

Choosing good tenants is a critical part of protecting your real estate investment. And when we say choosing tenants, we don’t just mean evaluating them based on their outward charm or meeting them and deciding whether or not they look like trustworthy, decent people. Every landlord should have a strict and rigorous screening process—complete with background checks—to ensure that they don’t end up with risky tenants who might end up costing them thousands of dollars in eviction attempts, lawsuits, and major property repairs.

Background checks with the help of people search websites should be standard for all tenant screenings. Most landlords usually just ask for basic information, employment verification documents, payslips or bank statements, references, and a variety of other requirements when screening their tenants. But the problem with that is that none of these documents can actually help you get an idea as to what problems these potential tenants can cause down the line. They can one day decide to run an illegal business out of their home, set the property on fire, or murder someone right there on your freshly re-carpeted floors.

With the sheer number of terrible people in this world, the possibilities are truly endless. Admittedly, there is no foolproof way to avoid getting a bad tenant. Even if the tenant has all the right credentials and requirements, doing background checks that include criminal records, credit histories, and other financial information is still the best way for landlords to avoid experiencing their own tenant horror stories.

But if you still aren’t convinced, here are a few outrageous tenant horror stories that may change your mind:

1. The Bankrupt Conman

Never let appearances fool you. Just because a prospective tenant looks clean, sophisticated, and well-to-do does not mean that he or she will be a good tenant.

A case in point: a member of the National Association of Independent Landlords submitted a story about an outwardly prosperous man who applied to rent one of the landlord’s apartments. He showed up “with nice clothes and a nice car” and gave some sob story about how he needed a place to stay immediately as his wife had recently died, which prompted the sympathetic landlord to speed up the screening process and skip important requirements—such as the background check.

After just one month of renting, the tenant stopped paying rent. As it turns out, the tenant had filed for bankruptcy prior to signing the lease, which meant he was legally not required to pay his rent while his case was in bankruptcy court.

The tenant was able to stay in apartment rent-free for seven months. The landlord later learned that this man had apparently pulled the same con on various other landlords.

2. “Latex Dog Poo Lasagna”

Many landlords do not allow pets on rental properties because of the assumption that having animals would mean physical damages to the property. But at the end of the day, it is still the owner’s responsibility to train the animal and take proper precautions to mitigate the consequences of their pet’s behavior. It is only when owners fail to take responsibility for their pets that these problems occur.

The problem is never the animal—it’s the owner.

This was exactly the case in a particularly horrifying story from an askreddit thread on Reddit.com. After evicting the tenant for unspecified reasons, the landlord went to the house to clean the place up. When they got there, what they saw in the basement was the stuff of nightmares.

“They had a dog that went in the basement to crap. Instead of cleaning it up they poured latex paint on it to seal in the smell,” the user wrote. “The dog kept crapping and they kept pouring [until] a latex dog poo lasagna [filled the] entire room. The floor was a mound about 4ft high and 10ft wide, filling the entire basement of nothing but layers of latex paint and dog crap from several years of them living there. Took air hammers and chisels and weeks of work to clean.” 

3. The One-Woman Horror Show

Sometimes, landlords get tenants who are just too horrible for words.

Brad Chandler of Express Homebuying, who used to manage a section 8 community in Washington, D.C. a few years ago, recalls one particularly bad tenant who “liked to start problems” and “may have been a prostitute and drug and alcohol abuser.”

Clearly unstable, this tenant was a menace not only to her landlords but to other tenants as well. “When she got mad at our office she would turn on her water, block the drain, and flood the apartments below her,” Chandler shares. “[And] she lived on the third floor. She did this three times in six months. We were left to pay for and clean up the damage and we still couldn’t evict her.”

Worse than the willful property damage, however, was the manslaughter that this tenant committed right in the apartment complex. “One day she got in an argument with a gentleman outside of her apartment door, in the hallway,” Chandler explains. “It turned physical and she pushed the man over the railing. He ended up dying. Still, we couldn’t evict her. A few months after that she was run over by a bus not far from the community and she died.”

4. Stolen Appliances, Buckets of Poop, and Massive Destruction

Here’s another story from the same thread on Reddit.com that will make any landlord vow to never skip background checks again:

“My best friend and his father run a property management company nearby,” the user wrote. “They had a couple for tenants in the third floor of a building that were pissed off, out of work, alcoholics, and apparently just not nice people.”

The user continues: “They were getting evicted and knew it… so they proceeded to take anything of value and destroy everything else. They took the dishwasher, refrigerator and some carpet. They destroyed the closets, bathroom fixtures, cabinets, walls, etc.”

And then, just for kicks, they decided to defecate in buckets and left them in the apartment. But believe it or not, those things weren’t even the worst of what the tenants did.

“[One of the tenants] used to work construction and mixed up some quick-setting concrete and poured it into [the drains],” the user adds. “It literally destroyed most of the plumbing in the building as the pipes all drained down to the floors below. They had to tear the walls apart and completely redo all of the plumbing it touched.

5. The Worst Tenant in the World

What’s worse than a bad tenant who destroys your property and annoys all your other tenants? A bad tenant who commits domestic violence, torture, murder, and arson on your property, and then proceeds to involve you and the other tenants in a long and arduous murder trial.

“Tenant and his wife were divorcing and in the middle of a nasty custody battle. Wife brought child over for weekend visit and got into fight with new girlfriend. New girlfriend knocked her unconscious, tied her to a chair and kept her locked in the apartment until tenant came home. Tenant and girlfriend spent a week torturing wife until she finally signed papers relinquishing custody,” a Reddit.com user wrote on the same askreddit thread of tenant horror stories.

The story gets even grislier. “[The] tenant and [his] new girlfriend kill [the] wife. Tenant takes the drywall off the wall in the apartment, shoves wife’s body between the wall joists and puts the drywall back up. He leaves her there until he can’t stand the smell in the apartment anymore,” the user continues. “Tenant then pulls the drywall back off, pulls out the body, puts it in apartment complex refrigerator and… dumps the body in the national forest and sets it on fire. Then tenant brings the refrigerator back to the apartment so he can keep using it. When the police come looking for the wife, tenant sets the apartment on fire to cover up the murder but only does minimal damage.”

Despite the cover-up attempt, the tenant gets arrested. However, he soon gets bailed out by his mother. The tenant then returns to the apartment and makes all sorts of demands. He tells his landlord to fix all the destruction and chaos that he caused during the murder, such as the damaged drywall, bloodstained carpets, and the pervasive odor (from the corpse of his former wife) that still lingered in the apartment. Predictably, he was served with an eviction notice.

But, like all bad tenants, he wasn’t going to leave without causing major grief to everyone involved first.

“He trashes the entire apartment then waits until his new girlfriend comes home. He douses her with gasoline, locks her inside the apartment and throws a Molotov cocktail through the window. When the cops come, he blames everything on his new girlfriend who is now comatose with severe burns over the majority of her body,” the user adds. “[The] tenant is arrested again and held without bond.”

But the story’s not over yet. “[The tenant’s] defense lawyer then subpoenaed every other tenant in the building to testify and begins taking depositions that come across as bullying/threatening. Apartment complex insurance company attorney refuses to represent the tenants and have the subpoenas quashed. Half the tenants move out so they didn’t have to deal with the lawsuit/press/murder. The other half group together and sue the apartment complex because the management failed to maintain a safe living environment.”

After all of the problems caused by that one bad tenant, the landlords ended up filing for bankruptcy. “It cost $3k for the eviction [and] $20k in insurance deductibles to repair the fire damage but the insurance company paid out almost ten times that. The insurance company also paid out over $75k in legal fees and settled out the lawsuits for roughly six figures.”

The Bottom Line

To ensure that you don’t end up with a tenant horror story as outrageous and horrifying as the ones we’ve included here, always take the necessary steps to find out everything you can about your prospective tenants. You can use people search websites like MyLife.com, where you can find out more about the applicants who are applying to rent your property and order full background checks to supplement the tenant screening process.

Being a landlord is definitely not for the faint of heart. Still, almost all of these tenant horror stories could have been avoided with a proper tenant screening process and by conducting complete and accurate background checks.

How to Make DIY Foaming Soap

There’s just something about foaming hand soap that makes washing your hands more enjoyable. Maybe it’s the luxurious feel of the thick foam, or perhaps it’s the fascination of watching the liquid soap from the bottle “magically” transform into a frothy foam. Who knows?

What we do know is that watching your store-bought foaming hand soap dwindle down to its last few pumps is a bummer. Before you run out to your local grocery store to stock up on more bottles, though, did you know you can quickly and easily make your own foaming hand soap? There’s a good chance that you even have all the ingredients you need to make a foaming soap refill right now.

Ready to get started? We’ve got you covered with a simple step-by-step guide and some practical tips.

Why Make Your Own Foaming Soap?

If you’ve ever taken the time to compare the cost of foaming hand soap to its non-foaming counterpart, you’ve probably noticed that it’s a lot more expensive to buy the foaming stuff. And there’s really not any good reason for it. Even though foaming hand soap cleans just as effectively as non-foaming soap, you’ve probably noticed that the liquid in the bottle seems very thin and watered down.

That’s because foaming soap is literally liquid soap and water. Seriously, that’s it. See where we’re going with this? By making your own foaming hand soap out of regular liquid soap and a little bit of water, you can save yourself a nice chunk of change (and maybe some trips to the store). And when you re-use a foaming soap dispenser rather than buying a new bottle, you’re also doing your part to keep trash out of landfills.

How to Make Foaming Hand Soap

It’s so easy to make your own foaming hand soap. Walk through each step with us below!

Start With a Foaming Soap Dispenser

A foaming hand soap dispenser is a must, as these dispensers push air through the liquid soap to create that lovely foam. If you have an empty (or near-empty) bottle of foaming soap on-hand, you can reuse it. Just give it a quick rinse to get rid of any leftover soap scent—especially if you plan on using a new scent to create your own foaming soap.

If you don’t have a foaming dispenser on-hand, consider buying a glass foaming soap dispenser. You can find these online or at your local home goods store. The nice thing about a glass foaming soap dispenser is that these are heavier and more substantial, and they look nicer in your bathroom or kitchen. They’re also very environmentally friendly and are less likely to tip over when they get closer to being empty. Win-win!

You may also be able to reuse just the screw-top from an old foaming soap bottle on another container of your choice, as long as the screw-top fits.

Add Water and Liquid Soap

Once you have the right dispenser, it’s really just a matter of mixing the right proportions of water and soap. You can use any hand soap that you wish. Some people will even use dish soap to create their own foaming dishwashing soap for a more luxurious experience. Why not? If you prefer something that’s a little more moisturizing, you can even use a moisturizing body wash to create a foaming soap this way.

Begin by pouring a small amount of warm water into the bottom of your dispenser. It’s best to add the water first because if you add the soap first, you could end up with too much foaming inside the bottle. Not sure how much water to add? It really depends on how frothy you want your foam. Adding more water will result in less foam, whereas less water will create a thicker foam. We recommend trying about four parts water to one part soap, but it’s not an exact science.

After you’ve added your water, squeeze the preferred amount of soap into the bottle.

Gently Mix Until Incorporated

Time to mix! Avoid shaking the bottle to mix up the water and soap, as this will just result in lots of bubbles and foam inside the bottle (which isn’t what you want). Instead, try gently swishing the bottle back and forth until the water and soap are well incorporated.

Enjoy Your Luxurious Foaming Soap!

Give your DIY foaming soap a try! If the foam seems a little too thin for your liking, you can add and mix more soap into the bottle. Likewise, if the foam is a little too heavy, you can add a little more warm water to thin it out a bit. We always recommend using warm water here because it tends to incorporate more smoothly with the soap than cold water does.

Once you’re happy with your mixture, all that’s left to do is enjoy your (inexpensive and easy) DIY soap! You may also want to jot down which proportions of soap and water you ended up using to achieve your ideal results so you can replicate them the next time you need a soap refill.

While We’re at It, Some Hand-Washing Tips!

This seems like a fitting time for a quick refresher on proper hand-washing measures.

Focus on More Than Your Palms

It’s easy to focus on your palms and the insides of your hands when you wash them, especially since that’s where you dispense your luxurious foaming soap. However, it’s important to also pay attention to the backs of your hands, your fingers, your wrists, and even under your nails (if you have longer nails).

Wash For at Least 20 Seconds

Scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing! Try singing or humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice, or reciting your alphabet twice at a leisurely pace. Or, check out this list of ideas if you’d prefer to mix up your hand-washing tunes with some pop hits.

Shut Off Faucet With Your Arm/Wrist

Avoid re-contaminating your clean hands! Shut off your faucet using your arm or wrist instead of touching it again with your hands. Or, if you have it in your budget, upgrade to a touchless, sensor-activated faucet!

Looking For House-Cleaning Help?

Creating your own foaming hand soap is a great way to save money while keeping your hands clean and refreshed. What about the rest of your home? Maid Sailors is here to help! Our hard-working and professional house cleaners can help you achieve your ideal level of cleanliness without you lifting a finger! Contact us today to get your appointment booked!

All You Need to Know About Window Film

Window film is an innovative idea that has many purposes. For one, security window film is shatterproof, so in the event, it is broken, it will not shatter into a million pieces. It holds itself together on the film, so the likelihood that someone gets injured on a piece of glass is practically non-existent. The different types can make your windows private or semi-private. The availability of different levels of darkness is also an option.

When choosing a type of film for decorative window film has many different patterns and colors so you will be sure to find one that will fit in with your home décor and look great on the outside as well, you can choose many different designs that look like stain glass window film or film that looks like cut glass. There are so many choices for your home you can be assured of getting the one that is perfect for your décor.

The home with window tint will be cooler in the hot summer months, which will save you money on utility bills. You will have more energy because the heat that seems to drain us of every ounce of strength we possess will be blocked. Therefore, you will feel like getting a lot more accomplished without feeling so tired. Plus, window film will save your interior and its possessions.

Security Window Film Stops Smash and Grab

Window Security Film can prevent the smash and grab thief from getting into your store and stealing the items you use to showcase your business. We see use on jewelry stores, pharmacies, and stores selling anything of value that is displayed in the storefront windows.

Window Film For Safety

Do you need a reason to use residential window film other than the fact that it protects your furnishings from sunlight fading, makes your home more energy-efficient and is great looking? If so, let us consider this scenario. It’s the middle of the afternoon, your husband is away on a business trip, and you are getting ready to do some laundry. When walking past the front window, you notice a suspicious car sitting across the street. The occupant seems to be watching your home. The great thing is – you can see him, but he cannot see you because you have a dual-reflective window film on your windows.

Instead of feeling like you are under surveillance, you can watch to see what this person is going to do without being detected. Going window to window throughout the house, you are secure in the knowledge that he has no idea of where you are in the house because he cannot see your movements through the windows of your home in the bright afternoon. Because you have Dual Reflective Window Film on your windows, the watcher has no idea of what room you are in or even the fact that he is being watched.

Of course, this is just a scenario, but in today’s world, anything is possible, and having window tinting on your windows can help you in many positive ways.

Window Tint and Stain Glass Films

If you prefer, there are window film styles that do not show. No one will ever know they are on your windows, and you will still have all the benefits, or if you like the look of stained glass, there are several styles of this type available. There are stain glass doves, fish, abstract, and Venetian stain glass film. Clear etched grapes make a beautiful statement. This would be great for the Mediterranean style architecture. Cut glass bubbles and ice icicles are types of films that can help you to protect your privacy. Throw out those heavy, dusty drapes and let some light in without worrying about people being nosy or invading your privacy.

Stained Glass Window Film would also be great for shower doors, dividers in your home, and any other use you can think of for the attractive look it will give your home. The stained glass film would be perfect for a divider to separate your kitchen/dining area into two rooms instead of one large room. If you are ready to get rid of the bulky drapes, blinds that require constant cleaning, and the foil on your windows decorative or stain glass window film will be your choice for all the benefits it provides.

Best Time For Window Tinting

November to March is a great time to have your Windows Tinted not only does window film add an extra layer of protection on your windows to protect you and your family from shattering glass entering your home in case of an accident, but it also protects against the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Even in the wintertime, the sun’s UV rays enter your home and can damage your woodwork, painted walls, artwork and pictures on the walls, plus it damages your floor coverings even if it is just wood flooring…

So, to reduce heat, glare and UV damage and also keep the environment green, the use of window tinting is becoming more popular day by day.

Best Facebook Advertising Agency

These days, having a strong social media presence isn’t just a good idea—it’s an absolute must for businesses of all sizes. From startups to large organizations, being active on social media can help you better connect with your target audience and raise brand awareness. It’s no secret that Facebook remains one of the largest and most widely utilized social media platforms in the world. In fact, each month, Facebook sees over 2.5 billion active users. What this also means is that if your business isn’t spending at least some of your advertising budget on Facebook ads, you could be missing out big time.

One of the key reasons business owners don’t engage in social media advertising (Facebook ads included) is a lack of understanding. You may feel intimidated by Facebook’s advertising platform and may not know where to begin. This is where working with a professional Facebook advertising agency can really pay off. Specifically, Facebook advertising agencies exist to help you optimize your marketing budget, boost your brand awareness, and ultimately increase your bottom line through the use of customized and targeted Facebook ads.

We’ve put together this guide to help inform you about what it is that Facebook advertising agencies do, and how to determine whether it’s in your company’s best interest to hire one. We also provide tips for choosing a Facebook advertising agency that aligns with your organization’s needs, plus useful information on typical pricing structures for these agencies. Ultimately, we hope this guide will prove to be a useful resource as you move forward with your company’s social media advertising strategy.

Top 5 Facebook Advertising Agencies

To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of some of the top-rated Facebook advertising agencies out there today. This list can be an excellent starting point if you decide to move forward with hiring a Facebook advertising agency.

1. Voy Media

Voy Media offers a wide range of advertising services, ranging from Facebook and Instagram ads to mobile advertising and retargeting. The professionals here specialize in creating and implementing customized Facebook advertising campaigns to boost your bottom line. And when you work with Voy Media, you always have a dedicated account strategist to answer your questions and help you succeed.

2. MuteSix

MuteSix boasts a large team of more than 150 professionals working to take your Facebook advertising campaign to the next level. They use a personal-driving, ROI-focused approach to execute successful campaigns, running split-testing when needed to make the best use of your advertising dollars. In fact, 82% of their clients have doubled their revenue within their first year working with MuteSix.

3. AdvertiseMint

AdvertiseMint’s team of social advertising experts is here to help you yield the best return on your company’s advertising budget. When you work with them for your Facebook advertising, you have a team of copywriters, video editors, designers, and analysts working with you from day one. AdvertiseMint also offers month-to-month contracts, so you’re free to try out their services with no long-term commitment.

4. Abacus

When Abacus launched, it was a dedicated Facebook advertising agency. Today, it has grown into a full-blown social media advertising platform—but Facebook ads remain a large part of what these professionals are about. From helping you narrow down the scope of your audience to building ads that truly engage your audience, Abacus can help with it all.

5. Bamboo

Bamboo offers creative services, managed services, and strategy services for your Facebook advertising campaign. When they first launched, they worked with startup businesses to help scale their companies. Today, they continue to work with businesses of all sizes and scopes, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

Advantages of Using a Facebook Advertising Agency

Still not 100% convinced that working with a Facebook advertising agency is right for you in the first place? That’s okay. In reality, hiring a Facebook ad agency isn’t the right decision for every business at every stage—but it is a wise choice for many. By taking some time to review the advantages and potential drawbacks to working directly with one of these agencies, you can ultimately make the decision that best suits your business at this exact point in time.

Save Valuable Time

Many businesses haven’t thrown their hats into the Facebook advertising ring because they simply don’t have the time or resources to do so. Think about it; if your business doesn’t have a dedicated social media strategist or advertising professional, the amount of time you’d need to put into learning about how Facebook advertising works is substantial.

This is where working with a Facebook ad agency can really save you a lot of time and hassle. When you have these kinds of advertising professionals on your time, you don’t have to worry about learning the ins and outs of Facebook’s advertising platform. Instead, you can focus on other important aspects of your business while you let the professionals do all the work.

Maximize Your Budget

No matter how big or small your Facebook advertising budget may be, one fact remains: you want to stretch your dollar as far as you can while having the maximum impact. Again, this is where a Facebook advertising company can be extremely valuable. Many of the advertising agencies are used to working with startups and smaller businesses where budgets are tight—so they know what it takes to maximize each dollar.

Even if you have a larger budget to work with, a Facebook ad agency will ensure that none of that money goes to waste by creating and executing ad campaigns with the highest ROI possible.

Stay on Top of Changes

Facebook’s advertising platform, like anything on the Web, grows and evolves all the time. Changes are made often, and keeping up with these can be laborious and time-consuming. At the same time, staying on top of these changes is important because oversights can be costly and affect the success of your ad campaign.

Having a dedicated Facebook advertising team on your side is useful here because social media advertising is what these professionals do for a living. You’re paying them to stay in-the-loop when it comes to changes in Facebook’s advertising platform, so you can stop worrying.

Save on Onboarding/Training Costs

You may be wondering to yourself, “why can’t I just hire my own social media specialist to handle my Facebook Ads?” And truthfully, there’s nothing stopping you from going this route. However, there are some important things to consider when you think about hiring a part- or full-time social media professional for your business.

For starters, you’ll need to spend a fair amount of time searching for the right candidate for the job. From there, you’ll need to go through the costly onboarding process and, of course, make sure you’re offering the same benefits to your social media specialist that you are to the rest of your employees.

And if there’s any turnover in your social media position, you’ll need to repeat this process. You could avoid this hassle by hiring an outside Facebook advertising agency instead.

Grow Your Business

Last but certainly not least, understand that your business (no matter what industry you’re in…even a home cleaning service) has so much to gain from Facebook advertising. You could be just one campaign away from really taking your company’s success to the next level. There are many specific ways in which Facebook ads can grow your business (aside from the obvious conversions and returns on your investment).

Perhaps most importantly, successful Facebook ads create brand awareness and help target your ideal audience. By boosting your social media presence and spreading the word about all that your company has to offer, a well-executed Facebook ad can turn your brand into a household name very quickly.

Potential Disadvantages of Using a Facebook Advertising Agency

Now that you have a better idea of the many reasons why businesses enjoy working with Facebook advertising professionals, it’s a good idea to consider some of the potential drawbacks as well. From there, you can make an informed decision for your own business.

Up-Front Costs

All that knowledge, expertise, and customized service comes at a premium. Hiring a Facebook advertising agency is going to eat up a chunk of your company’s marketing budget; there’s no way around that. This cost can often be difficult for businesses to justify, especially for smaller businesses that may not have much in the way of a marketing budget to begin with.

At the end of the day, however, Facebook advertising is actually one of the cheapest and most effective ways to grow your brand. And when you start to see the kind of return on investment your business can achieve with the right Facebook ad campaign in place, it becomes much easier to justify those initial costs.

Security Concerns

Yes, hiring a Facebook advertising agency means you’ll inherently be trusting somebody you don’t know with your company’s social media account and its password. This can be unnerving for some, especially when you consider all the security threats on the Web today. Ultimately, however, you should have nothing to worry about in this regard as long as you have taken the time to properly vet the company you’re hiring to trust with your business Facebook account.

Lack of Control

Another obstacle some business owners face when it comes to hiring a Facebook advertising agency is the perceived lack of control over how their ad campaigns turn out. While it’s true that yes, you’re going to be giving up some control to the creative professionals you’ve hired, any experienced ad agency is going to take the time to ensure you’re 100% happy with the ads they’re going to run before they launch them.

This means not only will you be able to see a preview of ads before they’re launched, but your feedback will be taken into account before major decisions are made. Likewise, any reputable ad agency is going to speak with you extensively to find out what your preferences are and what kind of brand message you’re trying to create before they even begin brainstorming your next campaign.

All of this is to say that when you hire the right ad agency, you’ll still have plenty of control over the entire process.

How to Choose the Best Facebook Advertising Agency

If you’ve decided that hiring a Facebook advertising agency is right for you, be sure to check out the list at the beginning of this guide. This is a great starting point to help you find the agency that best suits your needs. Of course, your needs may vary depending on the size of your business, your advertising budget, and even the industry in which you operate. With that in mind, there are some additional steps you may want to take before you choose an ad agency for your business.

Know Who You’re Working With

Make sure you can get a true feel for who you’ll be working with throughout your campaign. Ideally, you’ll be assigned an account manager or other point-of-contact whom you can call, text, or e-mail with questions anytime. Other members of your team may include a design expert, strategist, and content manager. Regardless, be sure that you have all the names and contact information of the people who will be working on your team before you sign any kind of contract or formal agreement.

Check Out Examples

Any reputable Facebook advertising agency will likely have some case studies published to their website or otherwise readily available for you to review upon request. These case studies will provide you with some real-world examples of companies or other organizations they’ve helped to achieve success through Facebook advertising campaigns. These case studies can also be a great way for you to get a better feel for the kind of creative content the agency comes up with, which can help you further decide whether they may be a good fit for your organization.

Look for Certification

One of the first things you should do before you even think about working with a particular ad agency is to make sure they’re Facebook Blueprint Certified. This certification is offered directly through Facebook and requires the passing of an exam to receive. The purpose of this certification is to ensure that advertising agencies and other social media marketing professionals are proficient in Facebook’s advertising platform and how it works.

By choosing an agency that is certified, you can be sure that the professionals you’re working with are up-to-date on Facebook’s (and Instagram’s) advertising essentials. Having this certification also shows that the agency you’re thinking about hiring takes their work seriously, as earning this certification is not free.

Avoid Long-Term Commitments

If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of Facebook advertising, you probably don’t want to make any long-term financial commitments with an agency. Unfortunately, not all agencies offer short-term contracts, so this is something you may need to shop around a bit to find. Ideally, you’ll actually want to find an agency that will allow you to go month-to-month initially. This is a great way to see what the agency can do for you while having the peace of mind in knowing that you can stop using their services at any time.

Working with an agency that doesn’t require a long-term commitment also gives them more incentive to continue earning your business.

Make Communication a Priority

One of the most important aspects of working with a remote Facebook ad professional is communication. Being able to get ahold of a point-of-contact quickly and easily when you have questions/concerns is a must. You can “test” an agency’s communication by making note of how long it takes for them to respond to your messages or return a phone call at this stage. If you have to wait more than 24 hours for a response, then it’s probably time to move onto another agency.

Before you sign a contract with a Facebook advertising agency, you may also want to see if there is any kind of clause on communication. Are you guaranteed a response within a certain number of hours? Are you guaranteed to be able to get in contact with somebody 24/7? These are important things to look for when working with any kind of social media professional, as social media never shuts off!

Take Online Reviews Seriously

Don’t neglect to do some research of your own when finding out about an advertising agency’s reputation with their clients/customers. Taking the time to read some third-party reviews can truly give you a better feel for how past clients have been treated by the company and what kinds of results they have seen.

Be Clear About Pricing

Budget is most likely a concern as you look to hire a Facebook advertising agency, so you’ll want to make sure you truly understand what you’re paying for and how your payments will be handled. For example, some companies may require an up-front fee, whereas others may not collect any money until they achieve a return on your investment.

There are so many different payment structures out there when it comes to Facebook advertising agencies today, so be sure to read the next section thoroughly to better understand how some of the most common payment platforms operate.

Understanding Facebook Advertising Agency Pricing

The following Facebook ad pricing structures are outlined below in order from most common to least common. Be sure to shop around to find an agency that aligns with your preferences in this regard.

Agency Rate

An agency rate refers to a flat rate (often a percentage) that is charged for their services. This rate is typically a set percentage of the total amount of your advertising budget. For example, an agency with a 10% rate would charge $100 on a $1,000 Facebook advertising campaign. The nice thing about this type of pricing structure is that services are often all-inclusive with this type of rate; this means you likely won’t have to spend extra for creative services, content writing, or other add-ons.

Flat Rate

Another option is to go with an agency that charges a flat rate. This is usually a flat monthly fee that the company charges you regardless of how much you spend on Facebook ads that month. This can be appealing to small businesses or organizations with limited budgets, as it provides a predictable monthly cost.

Agency Plus Flat Rate

In some cases, you may find that an agency wants to combine the agency rate and flat rate model of pricing. This means you’ll pay a percentage of your ad spending directly to the agency, on top of a flat monthly rate. If you decide to go this route, make sure that what you’re spending on a combined agency/flat rate isn’t more than what you’d be spending with an agency that sticks to just one of these pricing models.

Revenue Share

Less common (but still an option with some agencies) is a revenue-sharing model, which means that your agency only gets paid based on the revenue or ROI that they generate for you. The nice thing about this kind of payment structure is that it gives your ad team more incentive to work hard and achieve results. However, some businesses don’t like the idea of paying directly out of their returns.

The Bottom Line on Facebook Advertising Agencies

If your business isn’t currently taking advantage of Facebook advertising, now is a good time to get started. And if you don’t have the time or resources to research and launch your own campaign, hiring an experienced Facebook ad agency can be one of the best decisions you make for your business. The key, of course, is finding the right agency for the job. Find a Facebook ad agency that treats your company’s marketing budget as if it were their own; driven to helping you maximize your Facebook ad ROI and building your brand’s reputation in the process.

Hiring a TV Mounting Service

You’ve just treated yourself to a nice, new flat-screen television with a crystal-clear picture and incredible sound. But before you can really sit down and enjoy it, you need to get it mounted to your wall. Mounting a television to your wall rather than placing it on an entertainment stand can free up square footage in your home; it can also create a cleaner and more streamlined look in any space.

Still, mounting a TV can be a time-consuming task—and if it’s something you’ve never done before, you may want to hire a professional for the job. The good news is that whether you decide to hire a pro or attempt to mount your own TV, there are some practical yet effective steps you can take to get the job done as quickly as possible. From there, you can get to binge-watching your favorite shows on your new television.

Hire a Professional or DIY?

The first thing you’ll need to do is to decide whether you’re going to mount the TV yourself or turn to a professional to have the job done. Each option has its inherent benefits and potential drawbacks, so consider them carefully as you make your decision.

Benefits of DIY TV Mounting

The biggest advantage of mounting your own TV is that it saves you money; aside from having to purchase the TV-mounting hardware, the only thing this DIY project needs to cost you is your time. And of course, when you mount your own television, you don’t have to worry about working around a professional’s schedule. As soon as you get your TV mount, you can tackle this project.

Still, DIYing this project is something you should only do if you have the right tools and experience. Common tools you’ll need include a power drill, stud finder, level, and wrenches. If you’re looking to mount an especially large and heavy TV, keep in mind that you’ll also need the strength to lift the TV up in order to mount it to the wall.

Advantages of Hiring a Professional

If you don’t have the right tools or aren’t totally confident with mounting your own TV for any reason, there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to get this job done. Doing so can free up your own valuable time while also saving you the money you would spend on acquiring the tools/hardware you need to do the job yourself.

When you hire a professional to mount your TV, you can also enjoy the peace of mind in knowing that it’s being done by an experienced worker who has likely mounted dozens or even hundreds of televisions in the past. You may need a home cleaning service if you do not want to clean up after.

Choosing the Right TV Mounting Hardware

Whether you end up hiring a pro or tackling your own TV-mounting project, you’ll need the right mounting hardware to get started. As you shop for a TV mount, there are a few tips that’ll help you make the right choice.

Consider Your Wall Material

If you’re mounting your TV to a traditional drywall, you shouldn’t have any issues finding a mount that comes with the necessary drywall anchors and other small hardware to get the job done. However, if you’ll be mounting your TV to another type of surface, such as plaster or brick, keep in mind that other hardware may be needed. Special drills and drill bits, for example, will be required to mount to a brick or cement wall. This hardware may or may not be included with your TV mount, so be sure to check and buy accordingly.

Choose the Right Weight Limit

The weight and size limit on your TV mount is vital; if your TV weighs more than your mount is rated to hold, the mount itself could end up failing—resulting in your TV crashing to the ground and potentially causing a serious injury. With this in mind, be sure to carefully research the size and weight limits on potential TV mounts and purchase one that is rated to hold at least the weight of your television.

Look for Other Features

You can find all kinds of clever features in today’s TV mounts. For example, some may come with the ability to tilt or pivot your television screen, which can make for easier viewing at different angles or even in other rooms of your home. Some TV mounts may also come with additional shelving for things like cable boxes, video game consoles, and Blu-ray players. Take some time to consider which features are most important to you when choosing a TV mount so you can more easily narrow down your options.

Tips for Mounting Your Own TV

So, you’ve decided to take the DIY approach and mount your own TV. Great! Before you get started, take some time to review these practical tips.

Know Your Limits

First of all, understand that mounting a TV can be quite the upper-body workout; this will be especially true if you’re mounting a large TV. Even though televisions have come a long way in the past several years and are more lightweight than ever, they can still be heavy and cumbersome to lift. With this in mind, don’t be afraid to ask a trusted friend for help in lifting the TV when the time comes to attach it to the mount. The last thing you need is to accidentally drop/damage your new TV—or to injure yourself!

Invest in a Quality Stud Finder

If you’re mounting your TV to drywall, you’ll need to drill into the studs. These can be difficult to find without a quality stud finder, so pick one up at your local hardware store or order one online. You can also locate studs in your home by looking for electrical outlets or light switches. Typically, these are installed directly on a stud, and studs are located anywhere from 16-22 inches apart from there.

Use Tools to Hide Wires

A mounted TV with wires hanging all over the place isn’t a great look. If you’re taking the time to mount your TV, do it correctly by hiding the wires. You can do this by either hiding them in the wall or even bundling and running them through a wire-hiding strip that can adhere to the wall. Most of these strips are designed to be painted to match your walls as well.

Don’t Forget the Level

Once the mount is installed, be sure to check and be sure that it is completely level before attaching your TV. If things aren’t looking perfectly level after your TV is attached, check the instructions that came with your mounting kit. Usually, these mounts are able to be slightly adjusted in either direction to achieve a level appearance even if your installation wasn’t 100% perfect or precise.

How to Find the Right TV-Mounting Professional

There’s no shame in saving your own time and hassle by hiring a professional to mount your TV for you. Just make sure you choose the right person (or company) for the job by following these steps.

Make Sure They’ll Use Your Mount

If you’ve already purchased a mount, start by making sure that the company you’re considering will use the hardware you provide. Most will, but some may insist that you use their hardware or purchase the hardware from them directly.

Ask About Hiding Wires

You’ll also want to make sure that the company you hire will take the time to carefully conceal any wires so they are out of sight after the TV is mounted. Find out exactly what the “game plan” is for hiding your wires, whether it be running them through the wall or using a concealing strip.

Request Proof of Insurance

You’re more-or-less hiring a stranger to handle your new (and likely expensive) TV, so it’s in your best interest to make sure the person/company you hire carries liability insurance. This way, in the event that your TV (or any of your other property) is accidentally damaged, you won’t be left to pay for it. The same applies if the person who is mounting your TV is injured on-the-job.

Inquire About Pricing and Timelines

Price is always a concern when hiring a professional for this type of work, so make sure your TV-mounting services are being fairly priced. Find out whether the company you’re looking to hire charges by the hour or charges a flat fee for the entire project. You may also want to find out how many people will be sent out to complete the job. For example, if you’re having an especially large TV mounted, you’ll probably want to make sure there are at least two people being sent out to get the job done safely and efficiently.

Don’t forget to ask about the timeline for the project, either. While most TV-mounting projects can be completed in the matter of just a few hours, it is possible that a busy company may not be able to come out to your home for a week or two. If you’re having your TV mounted for an upcoming event that you’re hosting at your home, you’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of time to have the project done before your scheduled event.

Read Third-Party Reviews

Before you hire anybody to mount a TV in your home, take some time to read third-party reviews from real customers who have hired them in the past. This will help you get a better idea of how other clients have enjoyed (or not enjoyed) their experience with the company or professional. If you can’t find reviews for a company you’re considering, don’t hesitate to ask them for a list of references or testimonials.

Keeping Your TV (And More!) Dust-Free

Once your TV is mounted, you can sit back, relax, and begin watching your favorite movies and television shows! From there, it’s simply a matter of keeping your TV clean and dust-free so you can enjoy crystal-clear picture each time you turn it on. Of course, this can be easier said than done. If you’re looking for help in keeping your TV screens (and the rest of your home) dust-free, it may be time to do yourself a favor and hire a maid service.

At Maid Sailors, we offer thorough house-cleaning services and office cleaning services to suit your needs and budget. From light cleaning and dusting to deep-cleaning and everything in between, our experienced professionals are here to serve you. Give us a call at (212) 299-5170 and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule your first service today. You can also use our convenient online form to book your cleaning appointment now!

Refresh Your Living Space With Homemade Potpourri

Keeping your home smelling its best isn’t easy. Whether you’re notorious for forgetting to empty that kitchen trash can or you simply have pets who leave their signature scents throughout your home, unwanted and lingering smells are a problem many people deal with. Before you resort to buying harsh air fresheners or room sprays, however, have you thought about trying potpourri?

Better yet, you can actually make your own potpourri in just a matter of a couple hours—and the lovely scent can last for many months to come.

What is Potpourri, Exactly?

Specifically, potpourri refers to a mixture of natural ingredients, such as dried flower petals, herbs, and spices that are placed in an open bowl or other containers to release their natural scents. Potpourri is most often used in homes to add a pleasant fragrance to a particular room or living space, and it’s not uncommon for the scent of a single potpourri batch to last for months or even years.

Potpourri can be bought at many home goods stores and even some grocery stores, but you can also make your own at home using some simple ingredients.

Benefits of Making Your Own Potpourri

Why make your own potpourri when you could just pick some up at the store or use a traditional air-freshening spray? There are a few reasons, actually.

Keep Your Home Smelling Great

First and foremost, potpourri will keep your living space smelling fresh. A single bowl of potpourri can easily spread natural and lovely scents throughout a large space, and there’s no need to plug in an air freshener or spray an odor neutralizer. Simply pour the potpourri into a shallow bowl or other containers that will allow the scents to release and circulate throughout the room and you can enjoy the fragrance for many months or years to come without having to lift a finger.

Avoid Harsh Chemical Fragrances

When you buy an air-freshener spray, these often contain harsh chemicals and other questionable ingredients. Do you really want to be spraying those into the air that you and your loved ones breathe? Potpourri is all-natural, using ingredients such as dried citrus, flower petals, and spices—so you never have to worry about potential contact with dangerous ingredients.

Save Money on Store-Bought Options

Even if you find a natural air freshener or odor neutralizer, the cost compared to a batch of homemade potpourri can be very high. By making your own potpourri, you can save yourself some money—especially if you choose ingredients that you already have on-hand or that are in-season (and thus less expensive).

Customize Your Scent

Part of the beauty of making your own potpourri is simply being able to personalize your scent to suit your tastes. There are so many possibilities when it comes to potpourri scent combinations, such as a cinnamon-based potpourri for the holiday season or a citrus one for the summer months. Many people enjoy being able to pick and choose the exact ingredients that go into their batch of homemade potpourri for a truly one-of-a-kind home fragrance.

How to Make Homemade Potpourri

Now that we’ve convinced you to try your hand at DIY potpourri, where should you begin? Follow our simple step-by-step guide and you’ll be on your way to a fresh and fragrant creation in no time.

Choose Your Scents

Begin by brainstorming some scent ideas. What are some of your favorite types of fragrances? Perhaps you tend to gravitate towards food-based scents like citrus, rosemary, or cinnamon. Or maybe you’re more a fan of florals. You may also want to consider a seasonal scent based on the particular time of year. For example, some fresh tulips and daffodils could make an excellent base for a springtime potpourri.

If you’re stumped on which ingredients you should include in your potpourri to achieve your ideal scent, there are plenty of “recipes” to check out online!

Gather Your Supplies

Begin by making a shopping run for the ingredients you need. Make sure you have parchment paper and a large baking sheet, as you’ll need these to dry out your ingredients. Many potpourri ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, though you may need to head to a florist if you’re looking for specific flowers or other plants.

Spread Ingredients Onto Parchment Paper

Once you have all your supplies gathered, it’s time to spread out your first batch of potpourri onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. For flowers, it’s generally best to snip off the heads of smaller flowers before spreading them; for large flowers, you can even remove and spread individual petals if you desire.

Next, add some more scent to your potpourri by layering sprigs of fresh herbs, citrus slices, or both to your mixture. Spices, such as cinnamon sticks or cloves, can also be added during this step. If you’d like a boost of scent, you can also add some essential oils to a small spray bottle and lightly spritz the entire mixture for good measure.

Dry Ingredients in the Oven

Next, pop the entire baking sheet into the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93.33 °C). To completely dry out the ingredients,  you’ll probably need to leave them in the oven for about two hours. Keep a close eye on them, though, to make sure nothing begins to burn.

Spritz With Essential Oil

Remove the baking sheet once the ingredients are dried out to the point of being brittle but not charred. From there, you can add a little extra scent if you desire by spraying some more essential oils onto the entire pan. From there, simply allow the potpourri to cool completely before gathering it into a bowl or other open container to display openly and enjoy!

Other Ways to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Setting out some homemade potpourri is one of the best ways to keep your home smelling fresh. And of course, what is more beautiful than a carefully arranged bowl of potpourri? Still, if you’re looking for help in keeping your home smelling and looking its best, you may also benefit from hiring a professional maid service.

At Maid Sailors, an Airbnb cleaning service and professional cleaning service, are committed to helping you keep a clean and tidy home from top to bottom. Let us do the dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, and more so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy! Contact us today at (212) 299-5170 or book now using our online request form. Your satisfaction is always guaranteed, so you have nothing to lose (and a lot of free time to gain)!