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Getting Rid of Fleas

February 23, 2013 by Dallas Maids

Today we will tackle a tough and common problem for pet owners: fleas in the carpet.

If you have pets it’s almost inevitable that at some point you will have a flea problem. Unless your animal never leaves the house those sneaky critters will hitch a ride and make themselves at home in your carpet and furniture. They multiply quickly so as soon as you see that first flea you should start treating your home and your pet!

Feeling itchy yet? Let’s get started!

Vacuum to Victory

When waging a war on fleas your vacuum is your best ally. Vacuum all of the carpet in your home daily while you have an active flea infestation. You can put a flea collar in the bag of your vacuum to maximize the effect.  You should give special attention to areas where your pet spends a lot of time, going over those areas several times. Make sure to vacuum under furniture as well. When you are done vacuuming for the day it is absolutely necessary that you throw away the sealed vacuum bag, wrap it in plastic and throw it in an outside garbage can. If you don’t the fleas can easily escape and you may end up depositing them into other areas of your home!

Rugs and Mats

You should wash all of your rugs and mats thoroughly and often while you are fighting a flea infestation. Make sure they are completely dry before putting them back in place, fleas thrive in moisture. If you have rugs that have to be professionally cleaned you may want to store them until your home is flea-free.

Treat the Area

There are lots of great products you can use to fight fleas in carpet. When purchasing any flea pesticide, make sure it is labeled as containing ingredients that not only kill fleas but their eggs as well. Most of the available products can be grouped into 3 categories:

Bombs and Foggers

These little devices are great for treating an entire room at a time, or even the whole house. You should close all doors and windows before you bomb. Turn off the central heat or air and if possible you should close off the vents as well. Then basically you press a button on the fogger or bomb to set it and then leave the area immediately; closing the door behind you. The device then sprays insect-killing vapors into the air. Make sure to read the instructions on your particular bombs or foggers very carefully. You will need to remove your pets from the home when you set the bombs, and the whole family will need to be out of the house while the vapor does its job. 

Sprays

Spray products can be great for spot treating or for cleaning those hard-to-reach areas. Your veterinarian should be able to recommend a good one.

Powders

Anti-flea powders are excellent as an ongoing treatment for flea infestations in carpet. You might also try Borax, an all-purpose cleaning powder that can be very effective against fleas. You simply sprinkle it all over the carpet, work it in with a brush or a broom and then let it sit without vacuuming for a day or two. It’s not harmful to pets so you can rest easy.

Now that you have an arsenal of products and tricks at your disposal you are sure to win the war against the fleas in your carpet. Of course treating the carpet is just one step to having your home flea-free. You will need to treat your pet and possibly other areas or items in your home before you can declare victory. That’s it for this edition of Clean Freaks and as always: if it sounds like too much work just call Dallas Maids!

 

 

 

 

Removing Pet Hair

February 14, 2013 by Dallas Maids

We all love our pets, we care for them and see them as family members. But what can you do when the furriest member of your family turns your regular carpet into a mohair shag rug? Depending on the breed of your pet and the season dealing with pet hair in your carpet can be overwhelming.

Here quickly are several methods of removing pet hair from upholstery and carpets.

Rake

This nifty item is called a pet rake but it’s really more like a brush. You can pick one up at pet stores or major department stores. It’s pretty simple, you just brush it slowly across the area with pet hair and it should pick the hair up with it’s bristles. You can clean the brush as you go, removing the pet hair with your hand and collecting it in a small trash bag. You might also try a velour brush if you can’t find a pet rake.

Tape Sticky

tape is great for picking up pet hair in small areas or off of clothing. You can use almost any kind of tape except for duct tape or similar tapes because those may leave a gummy substance on fabrics. Masking tape works great. Simply make a loop around your hand and then lightly pat the surface you are trying to clean. The hair should come right up! When the tape loses it’s stickiness it’s time to get a fresh loop and start again. Toss the furry tape into the trash as you go. You may be able to find a special tape roller made just for this purpose in pet stores.

Shoes and Sponges

In a pinch the rubber bottom of a clean tennis shoe will pick up pet hair nicely. The same goes for a slightly damp, clean sponge. Just make sure whatever you are using it on won’t be damaged by the moisture. Another possibility is a “pet sponge”, you can find them at pet stores or home improvement stores. Those are used dry to pick up hair.

Your Vacuum

Not every vacuum is equipped to take on the challenge of a pet hair problem. Your vacuum will need to have a good beater brush or brush roll also a brush attachment can be useful for hard to reach areas or furniture. Remember to empty the bag often if your vacuum has one!

Pet hair removal may be the price to pay for the joy that owning an animal can bring to your life. Now at least you have an arsenal of tricks to win the pet hair war. That’s it for this edition of Clean Freaks and as always: if it sounds like too much work just call Dallas Maids!

 

Free Printable Spring Cleaning To Do List and Calender!

February 13, 2013 by admin

It’s almost that time of year! March on the blog will be a month long marathon of deep cleaning tips and posts but we thought we might give our readers these neat spring cleaning printables to get everyone in the mood… A sort of Valentine’s Day present from us to you! The first one is our original, printable Spring Cleaning To Do list, pretty as a spring day!

spring_cleaning_to_do_list1_mini

Click to Get it!

That list covers all the deep cleaning tasks you’ll want to add to your regular cleaning to make it a super spring deep clean! It’s broken up by room to make it even easier. This is the list we use at Dallas Maids when we do a spring cleaning/deep clean. You can block off a day and knock out all the items at once but if you’d like to break it up we suggest our beautiful printable calender for March. Just print it, write tasks from the to do lists on different days and stick it on your fridge!

march calender dallas maids

Get it Now!

There you have it, pretty sping cleaning printables to print, share and enjoy! Hopefully you are feeling inspired and motivated to take on a top to bottom clean in March; if not we’d be happy to do the dirty work just give us a call! Spring cleaning spots fill up fast so reserve yours now!

7 Steps to a Clean Smelling House

February 12, 2013 by admin

clean smelling

“Clean” is not measured by sight alone, our sense of smell can play a huge role in how clean we perceive a space to be. Of course, just cleaning on a regular basis contributes to a clean smelling house, but what about those stubborn odors? It can be frusturating and even down right embarrassing  but not to worry, we have tips for the most common yucky smells you might come across:

Bad Smell Culprit #1 – The Garbage Can

Ok, so taking the trash out regularly is the most obvious fix. Also try using cans with lids or tops as opposed to open top styles. Don’t throw anything that already has a strong bad odor in the indoor trash, better take it outside! If there is a lingering bad smell even after you take the trash out it’s time to scrub the can with a good disinfectant cleaner or if you’d like to go natural try vinegar!

Bad Smell Culprit #2- Pet Odors

This is really a polite blanket term for a couple different smells. If it’s your pets themselves that stink, then it’s bathtime. But if Fido smells like roses it could be the carpet or the furniture that is harboring the smell. Take action by washing what you can in the washer: cushions, throw pillows, slip covers, mats. Anything that can’t be washed could be taken outside and aired out on a sunny day, beating the dust out and vacuuming with a good quality HEPA filter vacuum can help too. If the smell is in the carpet try sprinkling baking soda, letting it sit and then vacuuming it up. Now, if the smell is from puppy or kitty accidents on the carpet you will need a good enzyme cleaner. We have a post coming up about that one (video too!) so stay tuned!

Bad Smell Culprit #3- The Fridge

There is nothing as unappetizing as a stinky fridge! Firs try taking everything out, tossing anything that’s expired or questionable then cleaning the interior with vinegar. Don’t worry, the tangy salad smell will vanish as soon as it dries. For really tenacious smells try a tray of coffee grounds or baking soda, the bigger surface area makes a tray a better container than a bowl or dish.

Bad Smell Culprit #4- Shoes

Funky gym shoes are a common perfume in teenager’s rooms. If they are washer safe toss them in! If not, or if you aren’t sure you can still battle the shoe sweat smell. Make sure they are totally dry by putting them out in the sun, then you can try putting a bunch of baking soda inside the shoes and leaving them overnight. You might also try putting them in a plastic bag and popping them in the freezer for the night!

Bad Smell Culprit #5 Cigararette Smoke

If you or a family member smokes there has never been a better time to quit! At the very least there should be no smoking in the house. That said, for tough smoke smells in the furniture and carpet try our friend baking soda; just sprinkle, wait a few hours and vacuum. You can try washing harder surfaces like walls with lemon water, add a few drops of lemon oil or a half a a cup of lemon juice to a bucket of warm water. *Bonus* For smoke smells in a car try kitty litter! Slide a shallow box of kitty litter under one or both of the seats and leave it for a week.

Bad Smell Culprit #6 Musty Closets and drawers 

Storage smells are best cured with kitty litter or baking soda, just pick one and set a dish of it in your storage space. If you have access to fresh wood shavings that is the ultimate storage deodorizer. To keep clothes smelling fresh and sweet in the drawer stick little bars of scented, wrapped soap amongst the clothes.

Bad Smell Culprit #7 Mildew 

To avoid mildew in clothes make sure you don’t put anything wet in with the dirty clothes, and the more often you do laundry the less likely you are to have mold and mildew.  For mildew in the restroom a good scrub with a disinfectant cleaner is key, again if you prefer vinegar you can use it just not diluted. Ventilation is important too, open windows and vents when possible.

Your Clean Smelling House

Now that you’ve busted all of those nasty hidden smells you can take it to the next level with a scented candle, I also like to wipe surfaces down with my favorite essential oil in a diffuser bottle with water. You can even just spray it into the air and the scent will last and last!

 

How to Clean Hardwood Floors – Unsealed Hardwood

February 11, 2013 by Dallas Maids

We are going to give you the down and dirty details of how to clean hardwood floors. What to do, what not to do, how to protect your investment and avoid some costly mistakes. Before you begin, you need to cozy up to your floor and determine what you’re working with.

The kind of wood isn’t as important as the kind of finish. The finish determines what kind of maintenance the floor will require. It the floor sealed or unsealed? If you had the floor installed recently then you should know and have the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations on hand. But if the hardwood was there when you moved in. How can you tell? If you press your finger against the floor and it leaves a smudge: it’s unsealed. No smudge? Your floors are sealed. Once you determine what kind of finish you have you can look up recommendations as to which products are safe to use.

Most new hardwood floors are sealed with urethane, polyurethane or polyacrylic. This makes them water and stain resistant and caring for these sealed floors is a piece of cake.

The tips we will give you today are safe, common-sense maintenance for sealed hardwood floors. We will talk about caring for unsealed floors in a separate video. Let’s get this party started!

The easiest way to keep your floors sleek and beautiful is to keep them free of dust and debri by regularly dust mopping and vacuuming them. Use the attachment on the vacuum to get into the corners and along the baseboards.

When needed you can clean your floors with either vinegar and water or a product recommended by your floor’s manufacturer. Ready for the bad news? Hardwood floors are best cleaned Cinderella-style:  on your hands and knees.

You may be wondering: Why in the name of polyurethane would anyone do that? It’s because water is your hardwood’s worst nightmare. Working on your hands and knees ensures that you will clean a small area at a time and dry as you go.

You should never get your floors too wet, and you should never let them air dry. Most floor manufacturers do not recommend using “oil-soap” type products so avoid temptation. Those soaps can cause a gunky buildup over time and you just might have to pay big money to have your floors refinished. Also avoid using furniture polish unless you want to skate around the house in your socks. It’s very slippery! No need to wax these floors either, it will cause a dull build-up and it’s just not necessary.

Here are some quick tips on how to clean hardwood floors:

Pamper and protect your sealed hardwood floors…

  • Sweep and vacuum the floors often, ground-in dirt and debris can ruin your finish.
  • Clean the floors with a damp cloth as needed but not as often as you sweep and mop. Always dry the floors as you work with a clean, dry towel.
  • Use runners or area rugs in areas with high traffic. Just make sure they are breathable materials that won’t trap moisture next to your floors, also avoid plastic backings and keep an eye on rug dyes that could possibly bleed and stain your finish.
  • Put a welcome mat by each door to the outside.
  • Keep your pet’s nails trimmed so they won’t scratch your floors.
  • Don’t use ammonia, alkaline or abrasive products on your hardwood as they can dull or damage the finish.

That’s it for this Clean Freaks post and as always: if it sounds like too much work just call Dallas Maids!

 

 

 

How to Find a Good Maid Service

February 8, 2013 by Dallas Maids

When you could use a helping hand around the house professional maid service can be a life saver and today, more than ever, busy families are turning to house cleaning services for their cleaning needs. You should know that not all services are created equally and the decision to hire a particular service isn’t one that should be taken lightly. Choosing the wrong service could mean real trouble, ranging from property damage to theft, from lousy service to legal problems. So how can you find a good maid service and reap the benefits of a quality professional housekeeper without the headache? Here are three great questions to ask your potential maid service today!

Will the same team clean my house every time?

There are four reasons that having the same team every time should be a priority.

  1. To maintain consistent quality- If you have a regular team you won’t have to keep showing new maids what you want. The team will learn how to clean your home your way and more efficiently
  2. To create a sense of ownership. If the housekeeper knows that this is their house, their responsibility they will work doubly hard to please you and keep their client.
  3. Less risk of breakages. This is their house, they know it like the back of their hand. They are invested so they are going to be very careful with your posessions. Still make sure that the company is insured for at least $100,000 in case of a breakage or mistake.
  4. Peace of mind. You should absolutely know who is cleaning your home. You should feel comfortable with your housekeeper and if you don’t you should fire your service. This is the place where your family sleeps! It is safer to go through a service than to hire an individual, the service should run background checks on their employees and again, insurance is a must against theft and breakages.

What is your employee turnover rate?

This might seem like a non-issue at first glance, but the employee turnover rate speaks volumes about your potential maid service. The first reason this is important takes us back to the question about having the same team every time. The second reason is that a company with a high employee turnover rate has a broken system. A good maid service finds good people, hires them and then keeps them happy so that they will stay for years. To follow up with this question you can ask how the service finds and selects their housekeeper. Do they do criminal background checks? They better! What are their preferred qualifications? What’s the training process like? These questions will give you insight as to the care and caution the company is taking before they send someone to clean your home.

Why are your housekeepers the best?

The management of a great cleaning service should be able to answer this one with no hesitation. Look for lots of enthusiasm, clear reasons and obvious pride in their level of service and their employees. Ask for references, reputable services will be happy to provide them. The integrity and dedication of the managers is a good indicator of what you can expect from the service as a whole.

That’s it for this special edition of Clean Freaks, we hope you are now better prepared to find a good maid service that you will want to stick with for years to come. Of course you can always save yourself the trouble and just call Dallas Maids!

 

 

Clean the House and Skip the Flowers this Valentine’s Day!

February 7, 2013 by admin

red rose closeup

Why She Wants you to Clean the House Instead of Buying Chocolate

Ok, don’t skip the flowers just yet but has anyone else noticed that Valentine’s Day is just not very romantic lately? We’ve lost the thought behind the gestures; to borrow the phrase from another overly commercialized holiday: we’ve lost the reason for the season.  Perhaps I’m making sweeping generalizations here (no cleaning pun intended) so forgive me if you are among those stellar husbands and boyfriends that write poetry and plan cute scavenger hunts ending in candlelit picnics… This post is for the rest of us. For those of us that add “buy shiny, generic V-day present” to our to do list, right under “oil change” and “power wash the garage door”. Time to clean the house boys!

The V-Day Problem

Valentine’s Day sometimes feels like a game we are sure to lose. She knows what she wants but won’t probably say it. She wants you to know without her saying it. Not fair, but if you listen very carefully you might catch her not so subtle hints. If that doesn’t work just paying attention in general will help guide you to those things that set her heat afluttering. Or you could try…

Giving Her Something She Needs

Need is relative but here is a universal truth: most people don’t like housework. It’s not called a chore for nothing. It’s time consuming manual labor but somebody has to scrub that toilet right? Be her knight in squeaky clean armor, pamper her, make her queen for a day and clean the house! If you don’t normally contribute to the housework she might feel like you don’t notice her sacrifice and hard work. Giving her the gift of clean says “I notice all the ways you help me, I appreciate your sacrifice, I want to lighten your load because I love you.” Home run!

If you combine this idea with something more traditional then you have a recipe for the best Valentine’s Day ever; you will be up for husband of the year! You don’t even really have to get your hands dirty, call Dallas Maids if you are in Dallas. Have the house cleaned while you make dinner for two. Flowers on the table but don’t spend a fortune, they will pale in comparison to your gift of cleaning! Want to take it to the next level? Get her some gift certificates, spread the love over time.

And don’t forget:

  • Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Maid service is a very close second.
  • Don’t do the same thing over and over every year. We are creatures of habit, we find what works then we ride that until the wheels fall off. Don’t be afraid to switch it up, don’t be afraid to try something new.
  • Plan it out. Don’t wait until the last minute because you will end up getting her flowers from the gas station.

 

 

How to Care for Marble Floors – Protect your Investment!

February 5, 2013 by admin

caring for marble floors

 Endless Elegance Through Due Diligence and Maintenance

It seems like in the arena of tricky floors to clean, marble takes the cake and eats it too. We get more questions about how to care for marble floors than any other flooring type except maybe hardwoods. These beautiful floors are a huge investment, they are also notoriously easy to damage. Here are 5 things you might not know about how to care for marble floors: 

1) Marble is very easily stained.

You may think stone = tough stuff but really marble is much less resistant to stains than even most cheap vinyl flooring. Polished marble with a good stone sealer to protect it is definitely hardier than unfinished stone which can be porous  White marble is the most vulnerable to nasty stains. Make sure your floor is treated with a high quality, water resistant sealer. Make sure you follow the product directions to the letter, never apply it on wet or waxed surfaces and when in doubt call the pro’s!

2) Acid eats marble like powdered sugar.

 Bear with me, yes surely acid isn’t great for any surface but any kind of acid on your marble can cause almost instantaneous damage. This includes citric acid from citrus fruits, cola beverages and wine. You have to deal with a spill immediately after it occurs: wipe the substance up then clean with a clean damp cloth until you have removed all traces. Then it’s important to dry the marble with fresh dry towels because… 

3) Marble hates water.

Ok, it probably doesn’t care but YOU should because water can stain your marble, especially white marble. Sitting water or a damp floor that’s not dried properly can lead to a breach in your sealant and then a stain. It’s not necessary to mop marble floors on a regular basis; most days just sweeping or dusting will do. If you must mop use a neutral cleaner and a slightly damp mop to clean the area. You will want to dry the floors as soon as possible so mop a small section and then dry it before moving on.

4) Marble scratches easily.

So much for “hard as a rock”! You can see at this point that marble is in fact very delicate flooring, very easily damaged. You will want to protect your floors from scratches because yes, marble is easily scratched too! You can put rubber protectors under the legs of the furniture in your home. Try to avoid dragging anything heavy across the floor.  Put a doormat at each exterior door to collect any incoming grit or dirt before it reaches your floors. Sweep or dust your marble often to prevent ground in grit from scratching your stone.

5) Marble needs seasonal or annual maintenance.

To keep your marble looking it’s best you will occasionally need to get it honed and polished by professional floor care technicians. Honing levels out the surface while polishing creates that gorgeous, radiant shine that marble does best!

 

 

Clean Freaks’ video editor found!

January 31, 2013 by admin

Our search for the perfect video editor came down to three contestants who each submitted their video. Jeff, the winner, did an outstanding job.

Jeff has amazed us with his hard word ethic, professionalism, and tremendous editing talent. He has found his calling and it shows! On top of all that, he’s just an all around good guy, a joy to work with. From transitions to special effects, he was miles ahead of the competition. If you are looking for a top notch video editor, Jeff is your man. Contact Dallas Maids and we’ll be happy to get his contact information for you.

You can see Jeff’s draft here:

 

 

Welcome to Dallas Maids Video Blog!

January 5, 2013 by admin

 

Welcome to Dallas Maids House Cleaning Video blog where you can learn more about Dallas Maids, our services, people, along with having the inside scoop on cleaning tips and tricks of the trade with Dallas Maids video series, Clean Freaks!

We’re excited to be featuring Clean Freaks series sharing effective and creative cleaning tips. You can also find Clean Freaks at www.facebook.com/maids and www.youtube.com/dallasmaid. Much thanks to Dolly, our wonderful writer, Kari, our genius actress, and Jeff, our talented editor for their help in producing this fun project.

To all our valued customers: Thank you for giving us a chance to serve you!

 

 

 

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