With Thanksgiving ringing in the waning weeks of the year, I hope this season finds you healthy, safe and surrounded by those you love and who care for you.
I’m also optimistic that this year the holiday will look more like we remember. Some things may still be different, vestiges of the journey we have all been on the last 2 years. Things may be different, but in their change we have an opportunity to practice gratitude in a deeper, perhaps more reflective way.
I read an article the other day by an 87-year-old woman in the New York Times. Having battled Covid and been vaccinated she is entering the holiday season with a fresh perspective. “I have decided that life is simply worth the risk.
”What a perspective to consider this Thanksgiving. Sure, we have all taken the precautions we believe necessary to protect ourselves and those we love. This looks different for everyone and really defies a simply cookie cutter approach. But that perspective also empowers us to fully lean into the holiday. Having done all we can to be safe, we take the risk because life is simply worth it. Family is worth it. Joy, laughter, quiet moments of contentment, connecting with others. All worth the risk.
Thanksgiving: More Grateful This Year
And knowing what we do now – that life is precious and full of risk – we can be a little more grateful this year. At Dallas Maids we feel that way. The last 2 years have been the worst year on record and the best (2020 and 2021 respectively). Two years full of risk, uncertainty, and yet somehow growth and working alongside you as our customers. Would I want to do it all again willingly? Not. One. Bit.
But the lessons learned along the way, that life is risky and worth it are something we cherish. From all of us at Dallas Maids we want to simply thank you for your business. Your patronage saw us through our darkest hour and has led to new horizons for us this year. In the midst of such turmoil, you decided that taking the risk of supporting a local business to meet your cleaning needs was worth it. We will never forget that.
This holiday we are grateful for each of you, and wish you and yours the happiest thanksgiving.
Happiness is a hard thing to define. It certainly is different for everyone in particular ways. We call it different things: joy, delight, elation, contentment, pleasure. At its core, it’s something important that makes life not just bearable but a feeling that things are the way they should be.
While writing about happiness, a philosopher described one part of it as “time without purpose.” No chores, no errands, no bills to worry about, no mess in the kitchen to clean. Happiness in part is the ability to simply be and do whatever you want.
Philosophical ramblings are great but what does this have to do with us? By cleaning the homes of our customers, you make happiness a possibility. Hours spent cleaning after a long day vanish. Friends can gather without the host being stressed about dusting. A quiet meal can be enjoyed in front of the television or with a loved one. Games can be played, books read, conversations enjoyed – all without the distraction of folding laundry, cleaning dishes, vacuuming, dusting, taking out the garbage and the thousand other little things that pile up.
Yes, we clean homes. More than that, we make home a place of happiness because it can once more be “time without purpose”. Time spent by our customers doing whatever they love. You make that possible – you make happiness, calm, and peace at home more likely. That is something worth celebrating and being proud of.
A Happy Holiday After a Difficult Year
As 2021 began I think many of us looked to the new year in hopes that it would be a turning of the page from the trials of 2020. In some ways it has been but in others it has been very difficult – COVID-surges, price increases, rising stress levels among customers, personal struggles. All layered on top of an already beleaguered nation. I know at times each of us has felt the burnout, exhaustion, fatigue, and sadness these last two years have laid upon us. Yet through it all, you endured. You kept showing up to work, serving with excellence, and getting things done. That is no small feat.
I want to recognize each of you for the stellar work you have done and more than that, celebrate you. This Christmas, I am delighted to give each of you a larger Christmas bonus. The government has forgiven the second loan given to us to survive the Pandemic and my only thought was to use that money to thank each of you sincerely. Everyone received an individual bonus that was determined by your length of employment and your overall performance.
The holiday season is always busy for us. People want and need clean homes amidst the busyness of this season. I know with great confidence that we will continue to provide great customer service and make home a place that can be full of happiness. Equally important, I want you to enjoy yourselves and your family and friends this Christmas. I hope this holiday bonus makes this Christmas more joyous, less stressful, and gives you a chance to enjoy time without purpose – happiness.
As a company that offers cleaning services, we get to deal every day with all types of customers. This can become a pleasant experience because human interaction can feel rewarding, positive and constructive. However, especially when interacting with people in a position of power, it can turn into a big problem.
Let’s read how to make our best to spot difficult customers right away and how to deal with them through every step of our service.
Prepare In Advance
Gathering as much knowledge about the situation before going in is a huge advantage. There are two factors that you (ideally) would know beforehand: your service and your customer.
The first one speaks for itself: knowing your service is fundamental. Particularly, knowing what are you offering, what are you not offering, what is considered an “extra” and how much you should charge for it, and what services or tasks are within the legal and moral boundaries of your company.
The second fact that can help you is knowing the customer and obtaining information about them (if you have the chance).
If this person has hired several cleaning services before, finding out why they switched is important. Was the reason merely a financial issue? Or was it a personality clash between the customer and the company? Did the customer cancel the service or was it the previous company?
Good customers will often remain neutral and objective when explaining why they are switching companies, focusing on the facts instead of their feelings. If the customer was not happy with their previous service, or if they are demeaning towards the previous company or worker, it could be a bad sign.
Communicate Properly With Your Customers
When talking to the customer, it is important to let them know a detailed list of what your service includes, if possible, with a written copy (emailed, available on a website, etc.) both before and after offering the service. You also want to listen if they have any questions or comments about the service they’ve hired.
Avoiding unmet expectations will help you avoid angry customers later on. Be clear and make sure the other person knows what they’re getting. Customers tend to assume or believe that certain tasks are within the service, such as watering plants, cleaning inside the cabinets or doing the laundry, for example.
These speculations will not happen if communication is clear.
Listen to the Customer
Sometimes, customers have had a bad day and they just want to vent.
Active listening is crucial. Saying “hmm”, “I understand” while they’re explaining the issue, will make them feel heard and valued.
Another important step is to let them offer the solution. Listen to what they come up with. It might be just what you were thinking, but if you let them say it, they will be the ones deciding what’s happening next, instead of just having to “agree” or compromise to the solution you come up with.
Transform the Problem Into a Win-Win Situation
Even though you’d want nothing else to do with this customer after your service, while you’re still at it you need to stay professional and try -all within reasonable boundaries- to turn this into a positive outcome for both parties.
Compromising and setting boundaries are two good examples of positive behavior. Knowing when to switch between each one is a skill that can be improved with time.
Remember: when an issue arises, a difficult customer is usually in a position of “customer vs employee”. The goal here is to change this into “employee AND the customer vs the problem”.
This means that the focus should not be on the person that “created” the problem, but more on the problem itself and how to find ways to fix this and go from “bad experience” to “positive outcome” at the end.
Difficult customers -with a few exceptions- are able to change their ways, especially after a problem was fixed successfully and handled professionally.
Compromising With Your Customers
If there’s an issue and both parties have a different understanding of what the solution should be, there has to be compromising. When explaining why their solution is not possible, make sure you highlight the positive aspects of their solution. “I like the idea of…” “While I think it’s effective to do X…I won’t be able to perform this task because Y”
After doing so, offer an alternative. “However, I’d be happy to do Z if you agree, which will achieve the same purpose” “What if I do Z? This will fix the issue because…”.
It is important to set boundaries for a) The services you will offer as well as “extra” steps that you will do (e.g., repeating a task if the customer is not happy, performing a task a certain way); and b) To the way you and your staff gets treated.
While it is important to scale the argument down, once the customer gets aggressive or disrespectful is time to disengage from the conversation. There’s no need to yell or insult back, just walking away sets a boundary and shows them that you will not tolerate their behavior.
Let’s say you and/or the customer have come up with a solution. Before proceeding, always make sure you’re on the same page with the client by saying: if I do this, will you be happy/satisfied?
This is a good way of setting boundaries. Otherwise, you may fix the situation but the customer will say they’re still unhappy and want you to do the same task again and again.
There’s a very fine line between spending a little extra time to ensure the client’s satisfaction, and spending hours and hours for a customer that won’t be happy, no matter what you do.
Avoid Negative Reviews from Customers
In the present day, negative reviews are not only word-to-word, but they are also present online for everyone to see (just as your positive reviews) and they do impact your business. There are hundreds of different companies competing to offer the same service, so each review counts.
This is why you should deal with issues fast before the customer decides on posting a negative review. That is besides offering excellent service, of course. Questions such as “What can we do in order to fix this?” should be asked when contacting the customer. In the long run, it is much more effective to offer a second cleaning service for free to “fix” the areas that the customer was not happy with.
Make sure you don’t focus on the problem or the person/people at fault. Instead, offer a sincere apology and offer a solution/listen to the customer’s requirement to change its opinion.
Keep Contact with Other Companies
Small businesses owners and managers, more often than not, know of each other and even have a cordial relationship. Healthy competition between companies is not only achievable but helpful because it allows you to share valuable information. And one piece of information that everyone should know is bad customers.
Sometimes customers are not problematic or difficult. Maybe they are not the right fit for your company, in terms of budget, type of service, standards, etc. In this case, referring them to a different company could be a good solution.
That being said, if you feel like they’re going to cause a problem everywhere they go, it might be smarter to contact the other company first about this customer and their needs and see if they’d be interested in offering their services.
Even if your service was excellent, the customer will feel heard and valued if you seek feedback from them. If they were not happy with your service, make sure you take notes of every detail that they found unpleasant, and work on a solution to change this.
And if they did like the service, ask for feedback too! Ask for 2 or 3 random tasks that were part of the cleaning checklist and confirm that they were performed properly.
Ask for feedback regularly. For example, after the first service, the fifth service, and then once a year. Make sure customers know they can always leave their questions or comments through your communication channels, especially social media.
Of course, each customer may have different opinions about what they would change. This covers different areas such as performance, customer service, efficiency, and even what tasks they found unnecessary or irrelevant.
Growth is not possible without change and healthy self-criticism, and getting that from someone outside the company is more than valuable.
Finally, if the customer is not open to compromising or expressing how they would feel happy, it could be in your best interest to let go of this customer. This is true particularly when they were aggressive or dismissive to your staff.
Serving people that were disrespectful without a valid reason is not a pleasant experience. If customers are important, the staff is just as important, if not more so. A happy staff will take care of their jobs and their clients on their own initiative.
Simply saying “we are not a good fit” is a polite and neutral response. It also allows you to stay out of any drama and, again, not focus on the problem, just stating the facts.
However, keep in mind this should be the absolute final step, and think this through before losing a customer, especially if it’s a long-time customer.
Earning the client’s trust and satisfaction is not easy, but by communicating and focusing on the solution you’ll be able to keep the majority of good clients. And don’t feel bad if you have to lose one or two over the years!
Not pleasing everyone is unfortunate, but it is a natural experience in our personal and professional lives, especially when managing a company. Just make sure you did everything within your power to avoid this while respecting your company and your staff.
Hi everyone! We’re so excited to share the good news. We’re honored to be picked as a Local Favorite on the Nextdoor website!
Thank you so much to the guys at Nextdoor! We’re humbled and thankful that they recognize our service to the community as a cleaning company.
What Is Nextdoor?
Nextdoor is a website that helps you find the best businesses around your neighborhood. They do that by connecting with your neighbors, businesses, and public services.
By using Nextdoor, neighbors, businesses and nonprofits can increase their engagement. They can also be up-to-date with events, local products and services and offer recommendations, ratings and comments.
They can be super helpful for neighbors that just moved in and that want to explore their new town and get to know neighbors and businesses nearby.
Dallas Maids: Local Favorite On Nextdoor
We’re proud to announce that our site was picked as a local favorite on Nextdoor. This means that plenty of neighbors recommend our service as one of the best cleaning services in Dallas.
Our dedication to making our customers happy with their cleaning has earned Dallas Maids numerous awards and recognition. This is another example of that and we couldn’t be happier about it.
We take pride in the quality of our job and being recognized in the community is very important to us. Above all, we’re always happy to be of service.
Our Cleaning Service
We are happy to help people with residential cleaning services to make everyone’s lives easier. We offer the following services:
1) Recurring Home Cleaning (weekly, biweekly, and monthly house cleanings)
2) One-Time House Cleaning (regular, detail, and move in/out cleaning)
Is this your only day off and you want to tackle your entire home in just 3 hours? Talk about a challenge! Don’t worry, let’s make sure you’ll be able to maximize your time and energy and come up with a much more presentable home space at the end of the day with this 3-hour weekly cleaning schedule.
Before starting, make sure you find a stopwatch to track the time for each room. All smartphones nowadays come with this feature. Make sure to customize this guide as you wish. Let’s get right to it!
What Makes My Home Take Longer to Clean?
This is not an easy question to answer because it depends on multiple factors.
First of all, the actual square footage is important, for obvious reasons. The bigger the area, the longer you’ll spend cleaning, because not only the floor area is bigger, but also the walls and roof as well.
Another area that plays a huge role is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Let’s think of this example: let’s say you have two 1200 sq ft apartments. They can have two completely different layout: a quiet, small Dallas town will not have the same demand as an upscale New York apartment.
The family that has been thought for the household during the design process also plays a key role here.
This means that, although they have the same square footage, you might have a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom apartment or a 2 bed, 1 bathroom 1-story house. Adding more rooms and especially service areas (such as bathrooms) will increase the time that requires to clean everything.
Finally, your lifestyle is definitely the leading decisive factor here. Depending on how much time you spend at home, whether you have kids or pets, and how many activities you perform, the time that demands cleaning can be significantly higher.
Why Should You Clean Using a Schedule?
Life can be hectic, and sticking to a schedule, in general, is not easy. Your routine gets challenged all the time with inconveniences, traffic, and other unexpected events.
But even if your day goes by smoothly, you still need some mental and physical energy to get started with cleaning. Your brain is already tired from organizing your day as it goes, which is why you should optimize all recurrent tasks as much as possible.
By creating a schedule, you’ll speed up the process because you can jump straight to it. Besides, you’ll be less likely to question or “skip” part of the cleaning routine since all chores have been added from the start, instead of adding them from scratch each time you need to clean.
Whether you’re using your smartphone to keep track of your cleaning schedule or going old school by handwriting and/or printing, having a routine already set for you is going to make it easier, and you can adapt it as you go and add or remove as many tasks as you wish.
How Much Time Should It Take You to Clean Your Home?
Again, a very complex question. A three-bedroom, 2-bathroom home where two adults and two kids live, might take between 2 to 4 hours to be cleaned every week.
Consider all the previous factors: square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and your lifestyle. They will be able to increase or decrease this time. Every household is different and therefore, there’s no magic recipe for cleaning.
Also, keep this in mind: if all family members hop in and are old enough to help with cleaning the entire house, you’ll be able to do the same in much less time, or achieve much more during the same number of hours.
Why A 3-Hour Cleaning Schedule Might Work for You
This 3-hour schedule comes with just the right number of tasks to take care of all the essential rooms in your home, but without giving away an entire day or weekend.
A 3-hour period is just long enough to cover all important areas, but it can also be squeezed first thing in the morning so you can have the rest of the day free, or maybe right after dinner.
You can also split this into two or three blocks, but this is not ideal. Once you start cleaning, you’ll build momentum which will help you get things done faster. If you choose to split that, it will take you several times to get back on track.
Besides, you never know if any compromises arise during the day, and this means that you might not be able to complete your cleaning schedule.
Of course, do what works for you, as long as you’re able to complete your cleaning routine.
Can I Incorporate Family Members into My Cleaning Schedule?
Of course you can! The more, the merrier.
Adding multiple family members (that are physically and mentally capable of performing cleaning tasks safely, of course!) will make this a more positive experience.
If you have kids, they will understand the importance of keeping a clean and tidy home, and will be more likely to help you more and more with cleaning as they grow.
Having other adult family members is great news too, because more grown-ups can take care simultaneously of “grown-up” tasks, such as handling cleaning gadgets or cleaning supplies.
Plus, it can become a tedious cleaning routine into a fun project! You can switch chores every week so that everyone gets to do a different one, which will help you keep tasks varied enough.
Getting Ready for Your Cleaning
Now, once all tasks have been split, it’s time to gather your family members and all your cleaning supplies, gadgets, garbage bags and start with your cleaning schedule.
Because this cleaning involves different areas, you are going to need a broom, cleaning brushes, a duster, microfiber cloths and, possibly, a vacuum (keep reading to find out whether you will need it or not).
If you prefer more natural, DIY cleaning products, you should grab some vinegar, either cooking vinegar or cleaning vinegar will do the job. Multi-purpose cleaner and baking soda can be necessary for certain areas of your home as well.
Deodorizer and floor cleaner should be present as well. You can choose between scented or non-scented if you have allergies or just don’t like fragrance.
Buying cleaning products in bulk is always cheaper in the long run, so keep that in mind if you plan to create a consistent cleaning schedule.
All you cleaning agents should be tested first in a small, hidden area. Once you have all your cleaning gadgets, materials and supplies it’s time to get started!
Start Your Weekly Cleaning with Your Bathroom
Bathrooms should be the first place to start (along with the kitchen) because you will probably need to let sit cleaning solutions for a while. Whatever cleaning agent you choose, they’ll work more efficiently if they have at least 10 minutes to act on the surface.
Besides, this is beneficial for you in the long run because, considering that they have had time to act on their own, you’ll need less time and effort to rub and scrub, which will give you more energy to finish other tasks faster.
On top of that, if your bathroom doesn’t have windows, it will take longer to dry and that’s the perfect scenario for bacteria and mold to grow. Especially in places with high humidity, such as Dallas.
You can start with your toilet, by adding your favorite cleaning product and letting it sit. Make sure you scrub your bathroom floor, your shower (especially the corners!), and don’t forget your sink.
If you are super quick, you’ll finish in under 20 minutes. Let’s say you have 2 bathrooms so this will take you 40 minutes in total.
Next On the Cleaning Schedule: The Kitchen
This is probably the hardest room to tackle because there’s so much to do and little time for each task. Same as your bathroom: let cleaning solutions sit for a while on your appliances and countertops first. It’s a good idea to also stack and run your dishwasher at this point.
You probably won’t have the time to clean your entire fridge but at least make sure to wash your frequently used shelves and drawers (removing the food first, of course!) Dry them and put them back in place.
By now, your appliances, countertops, and other surfaces should be ready to go. Make sure you clean them using warm water to improve your results and wipe them using a clean, microfiber cloth.
This process will easily take 40 minutes so make sure to set your timer. At this point, you probably are a bit tired. You can take a quick break but try not to lose momentum! You might also set a timer for your resting time.
Don’t Forget to Put Your Living Room in the Cleaning Schedule
Alright, the worst is over! Now let’s get to the living room. If you don’t know where to start, stand on a point where you have a complete view of your living room. Assess the area and find out what’s making more “noise” in your living room, and tackle that first.
You will probably have cushions out of place and a messy coffee table. Get rid of the mess and remove the dust from all your surfaces using a microfiber cloth. You can also wipe your TV screen and other electronics.
Next on the Cleaning Schedule: Your Bedrooms
Now, we’re almost done! Bedrooms should be one of the easiest rooms to tackle within your cleaning schedule.
A reasonable goal involves changing the sheets, sweeping your bedroom floors, and removing dust from your headboard, dressers, and nightstands.
If you have stuff over your surfaces that don’t belong there, make sure you will put them away. Besides making your bed, this will create the biggest visual impact and will set apart a messy bedroom from a clean one.
Let’s say you have 3 bedrooms. Cleaning each one for 20 minutes will take away one hour in total!
Let’s Save The Floors for Last
Now that you’re done, let’s save floors for last. You want to do it this way so that any dust or dirt on top of surfaces that you cleaned previously, will fall on the floor and be ready to be cleaned.
Sweep them and, if possible, mop them. You can try a mix of vinegar, hot water, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. If you have pets (especially dogs) you might want to add a floor deodorizer. Perhaps it won’t be necessary every week, but definitely once a month.
Always test your cleaning mix in a small, inconspicuous area, especially if you have different types of floors. Vinegar and deodorizers are fairly safe to use for almost every type of floor, but essential oils are a bit more tricky. They might stain certain types of flooring, at some of them are dangerous to use around dogs and cats.
Make sure you do some research first about that specific cleaning agent and its reaction to your environment.
If you are going to mop, make sure to start within the furthest room and work towards the room you’re planning on staying in after you’re done (for example, your living room).
If you’re fast you could get this done in less than 20 minutes in a small apartment.
When Do I Vacuum?
You might be thinking at this point (especially if you have carpet floors!): when do I vacuum?
The truth is, considering all the previous tasks, you might not have enough time to vacuum within a 3-hour schedule. Not only because of the time but also because of the effort that takes vacuuming on top of doing all your cleaning, especially if you’re doing this solo.
Vacuuming is recommended at least once a week, or twice a week if you have kids and/or pets. According to research, vacuuming offers additional benefits if performed daily. In this case, adjust vacuuming into your schedule as you see convenient.
Let’s say you are taking Sunday morning for your weekly cleaning. It might be a good idea to vacuum Sunday afternoon, and then again on Wednesday, for example.
The Downside of a Weekly Cleaning Marathon
Cleaning marathons are not always a good idea. Many people can find them exhausting. You may end up not wanting to do anything else for the day and avoid cleaning down the road.
There’s a possibility that they make you feel frustrated for letting your home get “this” messy. But maybe, because of your agenda, this might be the perfect solution for you.
It never hurts to try what works for your routine and lifestyle, and cleaning is not an exception. Always try to find a healthy balance between having a clean home, enjoying your time with friends, family or by yourself, and resting.
That’s it! 3 hours go by so fast when you’re busy and focused.
Even if you keep your home mostly clean & tidy, you will probably need to dedicate some time every week to keep things under control. Make sure you adapt this schedule as you wish, adding or removing other areas. You can also give it more or less time, after all every household is different so make sure this works for you.
What if you don’t make it every week? Remember you can always hire a cleaning service and let them take care of the heavy stuff.
How did this challenge work for you? Did it take you longer than 3 hours?
With the conclusion of Olympics 2021 in Tokyo, I couldn’t help but think about Esther Kim, the first office manager of Dallas Maids. She was instrumental in helping Dallas Maids survive during the vulnerable first years of a startup. So why did the Olympics draw her memory?
Just before Dallas Maids she had been an Olympic-level athlete that sacrificed her spot on the 2000 Olympics Taekwon-do team for her best friend, Kay. They were facing each other in a match that would determine who would be placed on the Taekwon-do team representing the United States. Kay had been injured; Esther thought the fight would not have been fair. So, she graciously bowed out, gifting her spot to Kay. For her act of amazing altruism, Esther was named U.S. Olympic Committee 2020 Female Athlete of the Year.
I thought why not reconnect, see how Esther has been doing over the years, maybe share a few good stories of Dallas Maids’ early days. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
My Memories of Esther
A few of months ago, I did a quick Google search for Esther’s contact info, her facebook, or whatever way to get in touch. To my despair, her obituary appeared. She passed away December 10, 2019 from lost liver and kidney function. She was only 40. Too young. Too unfair. I was in a daze. The news weighing heavy on my heart. The loss of Esther and a chance to reconnect, forever gone.
It was a blessing to have had a chance to know Esther and count her as a friend. On dignitymemorial.com, Bindi had written, “She was fun, fierce, and fabulous”; have no doubt, this succinctly describes Esther. Here I’d like to share some of my memories of Esther, the fun, the fierce, and the fabulous.
Before continuing, I’d like to preface with a couple of thoughts: First, Esther’s passing and the memories we shared have been on my mind for a while now. I felt compelled to cement those memories in words. Maybe it’s my way to keep a little precious piece of Esther alive. Second, some of these memories are happy while others reveal history Esther shied away from because they’d been too hurtful. Sharing them here with our pitifully few readers (if any) of this blog is probably the safest place to hide the very personal, heart-breaking bits while honoring her memory by sharing some of the happy ones here. I can feel an eye-roll from upon high as I write this. If you knew Esther, you know what I’m talking about. Finally, Esther loved her Mom. Her last request was asking for help to make sure her Mom was taken care of afterward. Thanks to Jake Stovall for setting up this GoFundMe.
Our journey starts in 2004 with the launch of Dallas Maids. My goal from the beginning was to grow Dallas Maids into a quality cleaning service. I needed a versatile person who could take customer calls and help staff in the field – quite manageable with just two teams: a mother/daughter and a cleaner and myself at the time. They would also have other duties such as helping me pass out flyers and even cleaning when needed because being a small operation, that flexibility was necessary especially when a cleaner called in sick or couldn’t make it to work for whatever reason.
I placed a job classified ads in the Observer and the Green sheets back then – I think Esther found us in the Observer. Anyway, what matters is this amazing young lady called, wowed me over the phone interview, earning an in-person interview at Starbucks.
At the time I had officed out of my apartment which coincidently was on Esters Road (a sign?). Having no office, Starbucks at 2501 West Airport Freeway in Irving was my interview place of choice. With a relaxing atmosphere and a comforting cup of coffee, it was the perfect place for job candidates to open up and share more about themselves.
An Outstanding Candidate
Esther walks in dressed to impress in a pretty yet professional white shirt, sits down, and the interview commences. Even though it’s been 17 years, I remember the interview; specifically, three things:
She was simply outstanding. Professional. Intelligent. Socially skilled. My search had ended though I feared she was overqualified.
She complemented me on how professional I conducted the interview. Thank you though I can’t take credit. It was out of Gary Goranson’s playbook from his House Cleaning Biz 101 system. It was a tremendous loss to the world when this wonderful person passed away six years ago. Gary’s how-to guide on how to run a maid service helped countless of cleaning businesses like Dallas Maids in their early years with its field-tested system. I had to do a video referral for him.
She claimed to be an Olympic athlete. “Yeah… right”, was my thought. “Well, looks like the interviewing shall continue”, I silently lamented. But being an extraordinary, crazy claim coming from a seemingly sane person, I had to Google it… and, well, yes, her story was true, she wasn’t crazy.
It was an easy decision, Esther was…
On a side thought, there was only one other memorable interview at this Starbucks. A lady was interviewing for a professional home cleaner position. While asking about her work history, she brings up some choice words for her formal boss. She muttered, and I paraphrase, “he was a sneaky, slimy, cheap, Jew”. First, I’m thinking you’re black, you’ve experienced the evils of racism and discrimination, wtf. Second, by heritage I’m Jewish. She didn’t get the job.
Esther expressed her thanks for the job because she was anxious to move forward from recent memories of her selfless sacrifice for a friend soon followed four years later by an unbearably, heartbreaking betrayal that I think may have haunted her for the years to come. Some history…
In 2000 she was facing her injured friend, Kay, in a match that would determine who would be on the United States’ Olympic Taekwondo team. Esther bows out of the match so her best friend, Kay, could have the honor instead.
Esther explained Kay was the better athlete. Kay had entered the Olympic trials ranked No. 1 in the world in the flyweight class. She would heal and would have a better chance to win the gold was the idea. Ironically, this unexpected act of altruism may have messed with Kay’s head, costing her to be upset in the Olympics.
For her selfless act, Esther was invited as a guest of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She had a prime seat to Kay’s match. Esther noticed Kay was not usually, aggressive self while fighting. During the match, Kay continued to look toward Esther with a longing/confused look (if I recall her words correctly). Maybe Kay felt she was letting down Esther. Maybe the pressure of an unfathomable gift was too much. Or maybe she felt guilty. But one thing was certain, Kay was not as aggressive as he would normally have been, resulting in an early upset.
Fast forward to 2004 Olympics. Esther was again in the mix for the Olympics as she underwent the qualification process. As her father was quoted in this Deseret article, “Esther feels like 2004 is her time to go to the Olympics,”. She had been anxiously awaiting this moment for four years. Now, as I write this, I recall with crystal clarity the pain on Esther’s face as she shared her story, a story I am about to share here: She was in a match that, if she lost, would give Kay a path to the Olympics team. Esther lost. And from the stands Esther saw Kay cheer in joyful jubilation.
Esther had graciously given her spot on the Olympic team for her friend. The same friend now celebrating Esther’s loss because it meant she was still in play for the Olympic team. She was fierce and strong on the outside. Say or do something cruel to her and there would be no hint of hurt. However, for anyone who knew Esther on a deeper level, knew she was a total softy on the inside. And I can’t imagine how unbearably heartbreaking this betrayal was for Esther. She didn’t want anything to do with the Taekwondo world afterwards.
Early Morning Flyer Runs
I was frantic about ensuring the few staff I had had a livelihood. I did everything possible to find them cleaning jobs. Our website was ranking on the first page of Google within a couple of weeks. I was getting calls before I had hired anyone! Total motivation to act and hire my first crew. Anyway, even though our website was visible and bringing in some business, it was still 2004. The internet was in its infancy. Not as many people roamed the net seeking house cleaning services as they do now. Passing out flyers was a way to generate a full schedule of jobs for my staff so they can support their families.
Esther had the brilliant, yet inconvenient idea of waking at 3am and hitting local apartment complexes. Genius for a few reasons. First, Dallas was sleeping so our flyers and business cards would be the first thing folks found before ferrying on to work. Second, we need not worry about other people passing out flyers for other business and removing ours as so often happens. Third, night time was also cooler, so we avoided the angry rays of the sun pounding down upon us.
Yeah, it was tough getting up that early but it worked. And I was glad to have Esther as a partner during our early morning flyer runs.
Now where Esther proved invaluable was her ability to open locked apartment entrance gates from the inside. During the morning hours, everyone was asleep so waiting for a car to enter or exit so we could sneak in may take a while. Not an issue with Esther. Her thin frame offered an opportunity. She simply squeezed through the front gate, scurried back to the out-of-reach open button. As the gate opened, I promptly drove the car in, parked, and we grabbed our bags of flyers for the early morning flyer run.
Apartments were ideal for flyer distribution because all the units were close together. We took a break around 7:30 am as the residents hopped in their car to start the work day. Afterwards we’d continue for a few more morning hours.
We were able to cover around 800 doors before the day was over. From our efforts we would get 1 or 2 calls on the cell phone for service the same day while getting another 1 or 2 calls within a couple days thereafter. Knowing 800 doors would equal 3 jobs, it was simply a numbers game; pass out xx flyers, get xx jobs. So, I was assured we could keep our teams busy, providing them a healthy payday check. Better yet, later I discovered hitting the same apartment complex twice would yield slightly more jobs than the first-round while thrice would produce results similar to the first visit. The lesson: Repetition is key with advertising.
How To Win at Taekwondo
While sitting on a curb in an apartment complex taking a break from passing out flyers, Esther, puffing on a cigarette, shared her strategy on winning at Taekwondo. It was simple. In a match she would focus on one area to hit. And hit. And hit yet again. This would quickly wear down her opponent. Just thinking about being kicked in the left shoulder repeatedly makes me cringe with the imagined hurt. I can see how this would be painfully effective.
As I learned from Esther, the world of competitive sports is ruthless. Athletes at that level do what is necessary to win. I can’t help but recall the tragic story of Tonya Harding who had a goon hit her team mate, Nancy Kerrigan, hoping to increase her chance to medal.
Talking about ruthlessness, I recall a traumatic time when something terrible happened to Esther’s friend, Mandy.
I met Mandy through Esther. They were the closest of friends. One day Esther was incredibly upset with Stephen. I knew Stephen had done something terrible to Mandy but Esther didn’t divulge the details. Later reading this CNN article which I found in this Reddit Thread revealed the source of Esther’s anger. Per the article: “According to the lawsuit, Steven Lopez started to physically abuse Meloon in early 2002, and rape her in 2004.”
Apparent why Esther wanted to flee the toxic side of Taekwondo.
I was Esther’s boss, though after working together for a couple of months, she confessed seeing me more as a friend than a boss. And looking back, we did a lot of friend stuff. Hanging out at bars, night out clubbing with her and her best friend Mandy, eating dinner at a local Korean restaurant where she demonstrated traditional Korean etiquette that I found incredibly charming, celebrated my 30th birthday together where she had “In Da Club” by 50 Cent blasting all day – “Go shawty, it’s your birthday!”. Yeah, I miss Esther.
As I write this, I recall how one night while out at a bar, the shots lady stopped by offering a shot in a vial. I politely declined. But, in a not-so-sober nor proud moment, I somehow stealthily snatched one as she walked away. Esther cracked up laughing. What’s so funny I inquired? Seeing me a stand-up kinda guy that always did the “proper thing”, well, this was just too much for her, hilariously unexpected. Her laughter ensued, non-stop, for a good five minutes.
With us more as friends instead of having a boss/employee relationship was a double edge sword.
Speaking Her Mind
It was a positive in that Esther felt more open to share her opinion of my managing skills. Such unbridled constructive input was welcomed as my managing experience was still immature. I recall an incident where I needed something done and asked her to do it. She took visible offense on how I said it, countering it would be more construction to say “I need your help with xx…” instead of “Can you do xx…”. To this day, two decades later, I use “I need your help with xx” with my current staff.
On the other hand, Esther could be stubborn. Frustrating when you needed things done. And with the diminishing of the boss/employee relationship, her stubborn side surfaced more frequently. For example, having a cleaner call in sick and needing her to help me clean the home was no longer on the table.
Can I Have a Kiss Please
At the time my girlfriend was Korean. One day I thought it would be fun to ask for a kiss in Korean. Esther was happy to teach me. Now, I don’t know the exact spelling, but I remembered how to say “Can I Have a Kiss Please” in Korean by using English words to sound it out: Boo-boo Jew-Say-O. Angie, my girlfriend at the time, was quite amused.
Later, Angie would not have been amused by what Esther said to me one day: “Why are you with her. Your girlfriend is ugly.” Damn Esther, why don’t you tell what you really think!? Of course, I didn’t share Esther’s thoughts with Angie. I wondered what prompted Esther to say this because, contrarily, Angie was a beautiful girl. Her job, which I was not keen on, required good looks and late hours – the late hours allowing platonic nights out with Esther.
Angie had started as a waitress at The Lodge, a gentleman’s club. And as with waitresses in a place like that, they are often encouraged to work as a dancer which she eventually did. Unfortunate, as this was why I ended our relationship. I told her “I can never marry a stripper”. Outer beauty she had. And inner beauty is desirable, too.
Coincidently the owner of The Lodge, Dawn Rizos, had been one of my customers. I found the Rizos family to be a normal, all-American Leave-It-to-Beaver family; you wouldn’t think they ran a strip club.
In the Closet
Nearing the end of 2004, I rented office space in a snazzy office building at 2351 W. Northwest Hwy, Suite 2110, Dallas Texas 75220. Well, they said it was an office but “Suite 2110”, being windowless and about half the size of my current office room, I think it was really a utility closet. Though at the lovely low price of $250 a month it was perfect for a budding business so no complaints. However, wish I had known about the strip club across the street and the area in general. Being relatively new to Dallas, I wasn’t aware of the seediness that is Harry Hines. Esther occasionally got a call requesting for a type of maid service we just didn’t do.
The office was a whopping 300 sq ft square. Esther had her desk on the south wall while mine was on the east wall. Two cubicle barriers donated from my friend, Richard Burnside, created a second “room” where the cleaning supplies were stored, mainly just sitting on the floor.
Richard was then owner of Thank God Small Moves & Home Delivery. As a moving company, he found himself collecting office furniture (like cubicles) and décor from jobs. This led him to start Second Hand Sams. Clever.
Anyway, back to Esther…
Starting From The Bottom
There we spent the hours building a cleaning business, customer by customer. Esther was exceptional in customer service. Customers loved her. Important because if customers like you, they are willing to overlook mistakes. And being a young business, many mistakes were made.
Day in and day out, Esther worked her magic on the phones. She scheduled cleaning services for customers, ensuring they were happy. She managed the cleaning crews, making sure making sure they had everything they needed to do their job and helping trouble shoot issues in field. All of this while taking occasional smoke breaks or snacking on beef jerky which she always seemed to have on hand.
One day Esther found I was not paying myself a salary. She urged me to do so though that was not an option. The business precariously hung by a mop thread and needed every cent to survive. I lost monies the first year, selling some of my stocks to cover costs as we continually cultivated cash flow. Second year I didn’t lose money yet didn’t make money. The third year I paid myself a severely modest salary of $150 every two weeks. Fourth year I was out of the hole and doing ok, with a salary of around $40k a year. Today Dallas Maids is a million-dollar business. The pay you put off now pays dividends in the future for fledging ventures.
In The End
I don’t recall exactly why Esther left Dallas Maids. Though I feel becoming more friends and losing the employee/boss dynamic ultimately caused the separation. That and damn she was stubborn. Yet sometimes I wonder what would have happened is she stayed. What did my life miss out on.
In the end, I hope sharing some of my memories honors the memory of Esther Kim, maybe allowing a piece of her to live on. How lucky I was to have had the chance to work with Esther as she was a tremendous talent and instrumental in lifting Dallas Maids off the ground during those first, precarious years when a startup’s survival is at its most vulnerable. How lucky I was to have known Esther.
While writing down my memories, I recalled a rough time line of event. The accuracy of this time line may be questionable but it’s to the best of my recollection.
Sept 2003 to Sept 2004. The Chelsea on Southern Apartments (Then called Southern Villas) – Came up with the idea of starting a maid service for Angie and Cassie, one of our roommates. They weren’t interested so I had a go at it myself. Set up Dallasmaids.com 3/31/2004 and started getting calls, prompting me to hire first cleaning team of two. A history of www.dallasmaids.com.
Sept 2004 – Sept 2005. Lived with Angie in Creekwood apartments on Esters Rd. Rented a closet office.
Sept 2005 – August 2013. After lease ended, moved into condo which doubled as my office and separated from Angie. Bought Frisco home and move out of “office” on Oct 2008. Used condo as office.
Cleaning your carpet is always a dreaded task for some people. Carpet is a resistant, durable material and it can last for a long time if preserving measures are taken because it can be sensitive to damage.
Here are some guidelines for cleaning your carpet flooring and keeping it in perfect condition:
Don’t mess up your carpet in the first place
What’s the best way of keeping things clean? Not messing them up in the first place.
You should enjoy your home to the fullest and feel free to use your space the way you want to. However, sometimes the greatest victory is not having a battle in the first place.
Your footwear will be the one in contact with your carpet all the time. Set up a shoe rack in your foyer and if you don’t have an entryway or foyer, there are dozens of ideas to create a similar space with functional, compact furniture, the size of a nightstand.
We’re talking about something as cheap as 10$. That’s a no-brainer!
You could also get a custom-made furniture piece, or even turn this into a DIY project if you feel like it! You can also buy them and choose from a variety of designs: open cabinets, closed cabinets, storage benches, hangers, you name it.
Countries like Japan follow this habit and most homes keep a space on the entrance designed specifically for leaving your shoes as soon as you get home.
If you adopt this tradition, your flooring, no matter what type, will be preserved so much longer.
You can increase benefits even more by getting a couple of slippers for you and your guests! You’ll create a healthy habit, stay comfortable and maintain your carpet flooring at the same time! Win-win-win.
Get to know your carpet before cleaning
Knowing your carpet is also a big part of not ruining it. There are two major types of carpet: synthetic and natural fiber. Each one comes with its own cleaning process. As you may know, organic materials can be a little more sensitive than synthetic.
This doesn’t mean they are any more or less durable than synthetics, this will depend on the material and the traffic it’s exposed to.
If you haven’t installed carpet floors yet and you are weighing the idea, take your time to do proper research. Perhaps one material will be more appropriate than the others if you have allergies. Some materials can be more prone to staining, for example.
Natural fiber carpets are more eco-friendly because they are biodegradable and require fewer chemical processes to be produced in the first place. Keep that in mind if this is something important for you.
Wool and nylon are the most common types of natural and synthetic carpet floors, respectively. Wool is very durable and easy to maintain, but it can cost twice as much as nylon.
Natural fibers also attract carpet moths, which may happen if the area you live in is very humid. Cities like Dallas can get high levels of humidity depending on the time of the year, so keep that in mind and do some research about your city humidity levels before choosing your carpet.
Other popular types of carpet are olefine, polyester and acrylic.
Olefin carpets shouldn’t be steam cleaned because they’ll turn brown with time. Polyester is resistant and easy to clean but it can suffer from color fading if exposed to sunlight constantly.
Acrylic carpet, on the other hand, is hypoallergenic and moth resistant because it’s synthetic. However, it’s not very resistant to stains, so you’ll need to be careful with grease and dirt; and it doesn’t last as much as wool, for example.
Clean Your Carpet Flooring Constantly By Vacuuming
Carpet can absorb so much dirt and bacteria that the only way to keep it under control is to vacuum constantly. Clearly, sweeping won’t do the job so make sure to invest in an efficient vacuum and if possible, a model and/or an attachment that is designed for carpet cleaning.
Vacuuming twice a week is the norm, but that depends on your traffic. For example, if you have pets, you will probably need to vacuum at least 3 times a week, especially if they are shedding hair.
This schedule should be applied as well if you have kids or if you have allergies, to avoid allergens being present constantly on your floors.
There are hundreds of vacuum cleaners on the market. Depending on your budget, you could get yourself a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air (filter), which means that it will be extremely effective when it comes to absorbing particles of dust, bacteria, fungi, and other types of allergens.
Those allergens are floating around in the air and will eventually end up on top of your floors. It’s like having an air filter combined into your vacuum cleaner.
A vacuum cleaner is now very affordable, including those with HEPA Filters. However, these types of devices do improve their quality, effectiveness and resistance significantly with a higher budget (around $200 will get you a good vacuum cleaner). And if you’re short on dough, you can find them for as cheap as $50.
Talking about pets, here’s one thing you need to consider: they like marking their territory. And carpet floors are known for absorbing odor and liquids.
Besides, their hair or fur comes with a natural odor, especially if we’re talking about a wet dog or cat. Your pets sweat, just like we do, so they produce microorganisms and bacteria which cause an unpleasant odor.
The bad news is that your nose gets used to that, so you may not notice the smell but your guests will do.
If you don’t want to cause a bad impression, make sure you take action to deodorize your carpet flooring. Besides, constant maintenance will help to avoid the floor being stained or rot over time.
Remove Odors From Carpet With Enzyme Cleaners
Now, if you want to remove pee stains caused by your pets, you can use an enzyme cleaner. It comes in a spray bottle that breaks down the dried urea into carbon dioxide and ammonia, which will evaporate quickly.
Enzymatic cleaners are effective for fresh pee stains. You can start by applying the product to the affected area and leave a damp towel over the spot. The damp microfiber towel will absorb as much liquid as possible. Let sit for 20 minutes, using additional towels as required.
Doing this once per month should keep your carpet flooring odor-free. Of course, this depends on the number of pets you have and how often they have “accidents” on your floor.
As always, remember to test any cleaning product in an inconspicuous place to make sure there are no negative reactions.
Baking soda is a popular homemade deodorizer, but it can clog your vacuum filters. Baking soda is particularly harmful to bagless machines and therefore it’s not a good idea, at least for regular deodorizing.
Enzymatic cleaners won’t have this issue because they’re liquid, but it never hurts to do some research first and see if that specific brand you’ve got can be used regularly.
Use DIY Cleaning Strategies For Carpet
Even though DIY cleaning solutions are usually a great option, be careful in this case.
As always, make sure to test your cleaning agent, whether it’s DIY or not, on a small, hidden area. You can never know for sure how the surface is going to react to your product.
A well-known all-purpose cleaning product is a one-part vinegar, one-part water mix. Make sure you do some research first on your carpet material and the way it may react with a cleaning mix.
Paper towels are also a must if you need to absorb food and beverage stains.
There are some cleaning agents that you should not use for cleaning carpet. Ammonia, for example, is highly likely to ruin your carpet flooring, especially if it’s a wool carpet.
Bleach is another component to avoid as well, because the chemical remains active, which can become dangerous for pets and children. Besides, It can damage the backing and subfloor.
Remember that the right technique is to blot instead of scrubbing, in order not to distort your carpet fibers.
Carpet Deep Cleaning
Besides your regular maintenance, your carpet floors do require a deep cleaning once a year, at least. Again, this depends on its foot traffic, presence of pets, staining, etc.
According to science, steam cleaners and particularly dry steam cleaning machines, are effective for deep, industrial cleaning standards. Carpet steamers are meant for occasional, everyday use but dry steam cleaning machines are not!
Dry vapor steam cleaning machines are extremely successful. They won’t leave any water or dampness behind since they use very little water that is heated to 240 degrees F or above.
Some heavy-duty machines are available for rental, though.
Talking about deep cleaning: If you haven’t cleaned your carpet for years, it’s time to go professional. You’re going to need industrial-glade tools if you want to get rid of the dirt that has been for an extended time, such as the dry steam cleaning machine that was mentioned earlier.
Hiring a professional service is a very reasonable choice if you want to let them deep clean your carpet floors once a year, for example.
In fact, you need to hire professionals if you want to keep your carpet warranty valid, because they will ask for receipts that demonstrate that maintenance was done by experts, no matter how clean you are keeping your carpet floors on your own.
It’s not easy to preserve carpet. Consistency over time is the key feature for well-kept carpet flooring. Knowing your carpet is the first part of the process, whether it’s for a new installment or it’s already part of your home.
Vacuuming and preserving your carpet in the first place will save you from spending more money and effort in the long run.
Talking about long-run investments: get yourself a good vacuum cleaner, preferably with steam-cleaning and HEPA filter features. This will guarantee a safe, clean space.
Keep in mind that vacuuming isn’t the same as deodorizing: pets do generate odor and carpet flooring is known to absorb that easily. Find a good deodorizer from the store or use baking soda if you like homemade alternatives!
Even if you’ve been cleaning your tile floors and walls for hours, they don’t look great, and grout between tiles doesn’t look any better. But why?
First, tiles are extremely resistant and easy to clean. However, they also tend to be in contact with humidity, soap, and even grease. This means that if you don’t do a good job cleaning them every now and then, they might look decolored or stained.
Grouts joints might also be the problem. When cleaning, they are usually overlooked so they only continue to get dirtier as time passes.
Let’s read 5 tips for leaving your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room spotless.
The good old soap and vinegar
For starters, you can take a classic approach. It’s effective and simple. Mix one cup of dishwashing soap with one cup of hot white vinegar. Apply on your tiles using a spray bottle and let sit, then rinse it off with plenty of water.
This will do wonders for removing the typical soap scum and remnants of lotion, but if you need a deep clean then this mix might not do the trick.
Mold and mildew are common problems in bathroom and laundry rooms, especially in humid places like Dallas. The lack of proper ventilation and sunlight is the main cause of this.
Bleach is a great sanitizing agent that works great for ceramic tiles. It works great on shower floors, but not so much on walls because it dries too quickly.
This solution works for both your tiles and your grout lines. Remember to wear a mask if you need to, and make sure to ventilate the room if possible.
Use a steam cleaner for tiles and grout
You’ve probably heard before the hot water trick (which applies to pretty much every cleaning technique). Due to the grout joints being so small, a steam cleaner with a pointy cleaner can be the perfect tool for you to use.
You can either use tap water, or you can add one part vinegar to two parts distilled water. However, this will create a low pH environment which is the perfect scenario for mold, so make sure you rinse with plenty of water after finishing.
Drill the dirt out of your grout
Now, if you are wondering if there’s a tool for this, don’t look any further. You can get a Power Scrubber or even better, a Drill Bush Set to plug into your drill and create the perfect tool for tiles and grout lines.
And if you are feeling adventurous, you can create your own DIY drill brush! You can do so by attaching a soap dispensing palm brush refill to a 5-inch hex tap bolt.
Just use two split lock washers and a flat washer in between. Get everything set with a hex nut at the end and use a socket wrench to ratchet it down. Not too tight though! You can get a full tutorial on YouTube.
Once you’re all set, you can add a two-part stain remover, one-part water mix into your tiles. Let sit for ten minutes and then start drilling your grout lines!
This is the most permanent option and will leave your grout lines looking great for a long time. It’s also the most important step after cleaning the grout because otherwise it will be dirty and stained again in a month, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
After cleaning the grout, you should re-seal it. This is because most grout is porous because it’s made using sand. Therefore, it absorbs any liquid such as water, and you can avoid this using a sealer. There are tons of grout sealers in the market for you to choose from.
If your tiles are big enough, it will be easy to focus on applying the sealer to the grout itself and not the tiles, thus saving some product.
Once you are done with cleaning your grout and tiles, you will realize the impact it will have on your entire floor. It’s going to look a lot cleaner and shiny.
And, with the right technique, it will also be properly sealed against liquids. Don’t forget tocontact a professional if you’re just not in the mood for cleaning your bathroom or kitchen tiles for hours.
Have you ever cleaned your grout lines? Do you recall them being a different color before? Let us know in the comments!
If you’re thinking about renovating your home, linoleum flooring seems to be a wonderful option to consider, but most people don’t know how to clean linoleum floors.
Although it has its detractors with memories of those ugly 70’s linoleum tiles, modern design has created much more attractive, stylish alternatives.
As always, every material has its own rules when it comes to cleaning and preserving them. Let’s read some strategies for you to get the best out of this durable, noble material.
What is Linoleum Flooring?
Linoleum is obtained through linseed oil, also known as flaxseed oil. This makes the perfect replacement for wood. Scientific research deems it as “easy maintenance, recyclable, antibacterial, antistatic and hypoallergenic”.
This is combined with wood flour, cork, and pine resin to create a resistant yet flexible material. Linoleum can be found on the market in tiles or in rolls. Since it’s made out of wood, mostly, it’s sensitive to moisture.
Should You Install Linoleum in Your House?
Installing linoleum would be a great idea! It can last a long time, you have a ton of alternatives, and it’s safe for use in humid rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or basement, because it’s resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew.
Some areas like Texas can get extremely humid at certain times of the year, so linoleum will work great thanks to its great resistance to humidity.
How Should You Clean Linoleum Floors?
One of the main advantages of linoleum it’s its durability and since it’s a combination of several materials, it’s treated in a way that it’s resistant to most types of cleaning products and common techniques. However, because it’s made of organic materials, they are somewhat susceptible, especially to water.
As always, a good installation saves a lot of trouble (and this goes for pretty much every single floor material you can think of). If you install it correctly (yes, you can do it yourself!) and take good care of it, it can last for decades.
Linoleum floors will mostly require sweeping and mopping to stay clean and sanitized.
Sweeping Your Linoleum Floors
Having a linoleum floor will make your sweeping time a walk in the park: it doesn’t absorb dust or dirt, it repels it, hence the term “hypoallergenic”. Just apply your regular sweeping routine every day or every other day.
Using an anti-static broom will make it twice as easy. You can also use a dry microfiber mop.
Mopping Linoleum Floors
If you installed it properly, you’ll have no issues mopping your linoleum floors whenever you wish to. When mopping you can use straight white vinegar, mopping and then letting it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
This is what a “thorough” cleaning would look like, because regular cleaning will only require warm water. Make sure you dry the floor after mopping or any other time water is spilled.
Waxing Your Linoleum Floors to Keep Them Clean & Shiny
Wax will keep your linoleum floors nice and shiny over the years. You should apply wax at least twice a year, but once every quarter would be ideal.
Waxing is one of the few things in cleaning that should be done with proper, specialized products. Liquid acrylic floor wax is preferable over paste wax for this type of flooring.
Additional Care For Your Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum floors can turn into a yellowish color after a few years, especially when exposed to sunlight or because of spills. To fix this you can mix baking soda and lemon juice.
Just mix them until you form a paste and then scrub lightly using a toothbrush. Remember to rinse with water and dry afterward.
Mixing baking soda and bleach would be a good alternative. Usually, mixing bleach with any other product is not a good idea but baking soda is one of the few exceptions.
You can fix stains and spots by using a mild cloth and a neutral detergent (pH 6 to 8).
Avoid ammonia or ammonia-based cleaning products. Also, be careful with pointed objects such as high heels because they may dent your floors.
Linoleum is an outstanding choice for your floors. Technology has allowed the creation of modern, elegant patterns, including imitations of classic floor choices such as wood, marble, and ceramics.
If you’re renovating on your own and you want to apply linoleum floors as a DIY project, remember to follow instructions carefully and look for advice from several sources before going in. Also, keep in mind that water is your number one enemy for organic floors so don’t let water sit for too long!
And remember, if you need to hire a cleaning service to use the right techniques for each type of surface, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Even though you do your best to keep your home clean, sometimes mold and mildew can surprise you. These types of fungi can quickly give you a headache because they’re not good news. They’re a sign that there’s an unexpected presence of moisture in your room, growing out of control, and mold removal is not easy.
Fungus growth depends on the environment. Usually, a highly humid place is a good scenario for fungal growth. For example, Dallas can get very humid depending on the time of the year or the area, so keep that in mind.
Naturally humid rooms are also prone to mold or mildew: bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements. This risk increases exponentially if the room does not have windows or if it’s kept closed for a long time.
Removing Mold vs Removing Mildew
Even though they both belong to the same kingdom, which is Fungus, Mold is actually a common name to call different species. Mildew Is a specific type of mold.
The easiest way to set them apart is by their color: mildew is usually white or gray, and sometimes yellow, turning brown with time; while mold is darker, with shades of blue, green, and black.
Particularly mold can be dangerous because it invades the surface it sets in and it grows inside of it. Mildew, on the other hand, will only grow on top of the surface. Any of them can be dangerous if it comes into contact with your skin or nostrils.
Mold Removal Tip #1: Find The Cause
The first thing you’ll need to consider is how to stop the environment to be at risk of mold/mildew growth. Darkness and humidity are the two components of this environment.
How do you combat them? Airflow and sunlight, simple as that. Keep your windows open and let air flow for some time each day, especially in bathrooms and laundry rooms. Sunlight will warm up spaces and reduce the humidity.
Keeping your rooms clean is also a must! Vacuuming and sanitizing your floors and walls will help you take care not only of fungi, but also bacteria and other types of allergens. Remember to either do this on your own or hire a cleaning service for it, but don’t let it sit for too long.
Your furniture should not be pressed against walls or other furniture. Leave at least a two-inch gap so the air can flow in between them.
Beware of the unexpected presence of water. Maybe you have a water leak. Check your plumbing once a month to make sure you’re not missing anything. Rainwater is always a risk if you have a drainpipe nearby, so make sure to apply constant maintenance. If it overflows with leaves and dirt buildup, water will start looking for ways to escape.
Mold Removal Tip #2: Improve Air Quality
If you live in a particularly humid area, maybe investing in a dehumidifier is the way to go. This appliance will let you control the level of humidity in the air, thus reducing the presence of mold and mildew.
Technology has grown so much and this isn’t the exception: you can find dehumidifiers now for less than 30$. Your level of humidity should be kept under 60%. Depending on your area, you may have to run the humidifier every day to get it down to that level.
On that same line of thought, an air purifier wouldn’t hurt. The dehumidifier will reduce the level of humidity in the air so the mold stops growing, while the air purifier will stop the airborne mold spores that can make you sick in the first place.
On that same line of thought, an air purifier wouldn’t hurt. The dehumidifier will reduce the level of humidity in the air so the mold stops growing, while the air purifier will stop the airborne mold spores that can make you sick in the first place.
Mold Removal Tip #3: Wash Everything!
This is a very important step. Even after taking all the previous steps, you’ve probably managed to stop the spreading, but mold takes a few days to grow.
If you cleaned it, there are still spores throughout your entire home. And because the air is now dry, the next time you take a shower, it will bring back humidity and spores will grow very fast.
The way to proceed here is to wash everything that could’ve been in contact with spores: all your clothing, sheets, furniture, surfaces, floors, and everything else you can think of. Make sure you effectively stopped the mold or mildew from spreading because otherwise, these spores will continue to appear.
Check your washing machine too! Here’s a guide on how to remove mold from it.
Mold or mildew is an issue that you should take care of pronto. This can evolve into health problems so it’s best to take it very seriously and find out the issue is not major, and not the other way around.
Giving your rooms the proper amount of sunlight and airflow every day will be enough to keep your spaces under control, unless there is previous contamination taking place in that room. If the levels of mold are beyond your reach, contact mold specialists in order to stay safe. Health and safety always come first!