Do you want to know the tricks to the trade? These cleaning tips will let you do a more effective job, quicker.
For more of the down and dirty on how to up and clean your home, visit Dallas Maids’ cleaning tips videos on YouTube.
Speed Cleaning Rules
Rule Number 1: Make every move countThat means work around the room once. Don’t backtrack. It also means you must carry your equipment and supplies with you so you don’t make dozens of aggravating trips back and forth across the room. Walk around the room once and you’re done, except for the floor.
Rule Number 2: Use the right tools
Ah! Here’s probably the major timesaver of the bunch. Give your specialized gadgets to your enemies. You need real tools that cut time to shreds. Most of all, you need a cleaning apron to hang tools on and store cleaning supplies in as you move around the room. The method depends on it, and soon you’ll feel lost without yours.
Rule Number 3: Work from top to bottom
Dirt follows the laws of gravity just like anything else. When you start at the top and work to the bottom, you won’t be constantly re-cleaning surfaces with dirt from above.
Rule Number 4: If it isn’t dirty, don’t clean it
For example, vertical surfaces are almost never as dirty as horizontal surfaces. Upper shelves and molding have less dust than lower ones. Often all that’s dirty about a surface is a few fingerprints, so don’t clean the whole area.
Rule Number 5: Don’t rinse or wipe a surface before it’s clean
You’ll just have to start over. In other words, when you’re cleaning a surface, don’t rinse or wipe just to see if you’re done. If you were wrong, you’ll have to start all over again. Learn to check as you’re cleaning by “seeing through” the gunk to the surface below. Then you can tell when it’s dislodged and ready to be wiped or rinsed…
Rule Number 6: Don’t keep working after it’s clean
Once you’ve reached ground zero, stop! You’re cutting into VLT-Valuable Leisure Time. Rinse or wipe and move on.
Rule Number 7: If what you’re doing isn’t going to work, then shift to a heavier-duty cleaner or tool
You’re going to get very good at knowing what tool or product to use without having to throw everything in the book at it. You’ll be learning to anticipate what to reach for before you start a task so you won’t have to shift.
Rule Number 8: Keep your tools in impeccable shape
Dull razors scratch-they don’t clean. Clogged spray bottles puff up and make funny noises-they don’t spray.
Rule Number 9: Repetition makes for smoother moves
Always put your tools back in the same spot in your apron. You can’t spare the time to fumble around for them. And you can’t afford to leave them lying around in alien places for the dog to carry away. You’ll quickly get so expert you’ll become aggravated if the tool you expected isn’t in the right spot when you reach for it. Progress, progress.
Rule Number 10: Pay attention
Almost everything else will fall into place if you do. Don’t think about the revisions in the tax code. Or anything else. In Latin: Age quod agis-“Do what you are doing.”
Rule Number 11: Keep track of your time
Get a little faster every time.
Rule Number 12: Use both hands
Your work force is half idle if one hand is doing all the work. Finish one step with one hand and start the next step with the other. Or, wipe with one hand while the other steadies the object.
Rule Number 13: If there are more than one of you, work as a team
You’re what the biologists call a “superorganism.” If your partner gets done ten minutes faster, the team gets done ten minutes faster. And that is a wonderful thing. You can’t stop being vigilant for one moment about what will speed up or slow down your partner’s progress
How do you clean grout?
If you have old grout, you may need to clean it with a wax stripper or heavy-duty cleaner plus a grout brush. You may need to use a bleaching cleanser on tough spots. Once you have the grout as clean as you can get it, rinse it well. Once it’s good and dry, apply a coat of masonry sealer so that it won’t absorb dirt in the future. If you have mildewed grout in tubs or showers, you can use your grout brush with a 1:5 solution of chlorine bleach and water. Anytime you’re using bleach, make sure you don’t have any ammonia-based products around and that the area is well-ventilated. Also, once the cleaning is done, rinse the area well to remove any traces of bleach. If you have colored grout, you should clean it with a heavy-duty cleaner and a grout brush. You’ll want to be sure not to use a bleaching solution on colored grout. A masonry sealer can be applied to clean, colored grout to ward off future stains. If colored grout doesn’t come clean with a heavy-duty cleaner, you may want to try a 1:5 mixture of chlorine bleach and water, but keep in mind that this could also remove the color from the grout.
How do you clean painted walls?
Different types and qualities of paint greatly affect how you clean a wall, as well as how clean it will come. There are generally four types of paint finishes you might encounter:
Baked enamel (most appliance finishes), epoxy enamel and automotive paints:
These paints are durable and pretty stain-resistant. Dirt typically cannot penetrate the hard-finish. These types of surfaces can withstand scouring with mild abrasives and can also handle heavy-duty cleaners and degreasers when necessary. With these finishes, you need to be most careful of scratching or dulling the finish by using harsh abrasives, steel wool, colored scrub pads and strong solvents.
This type of paint is the most common found on interior walls, especially kitchen and bathroom walls. This type of paint is pretty stain-resistant and can also handle moderate scrubbing. You should be careful, however, that you don’t use abrasive substances or colored scrub pads, as this finish can be scratched. Most of the time, you should use a neutral cleaner solution and a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. Only use heavy-duty cleaners or abrasive cleansers when you’re willing to take your chances on ruining the paint. Make sure if you have latex enamel paints that you don’t leave them wet for more than a minute or so. Oil-based enamels are more water-resistant. Keep in mind that gloss enamels are the most durable and washable, followed by semi-glosses and then satin finishes.
This type of paint, which is a pretty common household paint, is not as washable as enamel paints. When you use heavy-duty cleaners or scrub the surface hard, you run the risk of removing the paint along with any dirt. Be sure to use mild detergents and gentle scrubbing, and don’t let any solution sit on the surface for more than a minute.
Obviously, this type of paint is mostly used outside. These paints are typically oil-based or latex, and should be scrubbed only with a mild detergent and then rinsed with a hose. You may need to use a long-handled brush for hard-to-reach areas or stubborn spots. Some people like to use pressure washers on the outside of their homes, but these, along with other harsh chemicals, can loosen the paint. These should be used with caution.
How do you clean no-wax floors?
How do you clean ceramic tile floors?
How do you find a good maid service?
How do you clean hard-water deposits?
How do you remove fleas from the carpet?
If you have a dog or cat, chances are that you will have a flea problem at some point. Because the little critters multiply so rapidly, getting rid of them can be extremely difficult. Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize your misery. Read on to find out how to free your carpets of fleas… for good.
The single most effective way to battle fleas in your home is to vacuum frequently, including all of the carpet (that includes under the furniture), upholstered furniture and long curtains or drapes. In the early stages of infestation, you should vacuum almost constantly. (This means every day!) Once the problem is under control, once or twice a week should be enough.
There are a few things you can do to maximize your vacuuming time. First of all, it helps to place a flea collar in the vacuum bag before you begin. Additionally, you should spend extra time working over areas in which your pet spends a lot of time. Finally, throw away the vacuum bag every time you vacuum. This may seem extreme, but fleas can easily escape from the bag. Seal it carefully and dispose of it somewhere outside of your house.
You should also regularly clean all of your rugs and/or mats. Wash them in warm water, and dry them thoroughly. (Fleas thrive in moist areas.) If your rug requires professional cleaning, you may want to wait until the problem is under control before returning the rug to its place.
There are also a number of products available that will help rid your carpet of fleas. Such products are widely available over the counter, but you can visit your vet for something even more potent. Foggers or misters work by spraying a flea-killing product into the air. Sprays, on the other hand, offer a little more control, and can get those hard-to-reach places (under the couch, for example). Whatever product you use should contain both pesticide and insect growth regulator. The first takes care of the fleas themselves, while the latter prevents eggs from hatching.
If you aren’t interested in buying specialty products, Borax, an all-purpose cleaning powder, is an effective household remedy. To begin, sprinkle the powder on the carpet. Next, you should brush the powder into the carpet; use a mop or a broom to really work it into the fibers. Wait a day or so before you vacuum. Don’t worry – the powder will not harm your pet.
Of course, treating the carpets is only one aspect of a complete flea control plan. You should also address the fleas in your yard and, most importantly, your pet. There are a number of products available for dealing with both; consult your vet or someone at your local pet supply store.
Still can’t get your flea problem under control? You may have to turn to a professional. Exterminators are generally very effective, especially when combined with the techniques listed above. Have your exterminator visit regularly if it is within your budget; otherwise, a one-time visit followed by your vigilance should do the trick.
Removing pet hair from upholstery & carpet
Removing pet hair on fabric and upholstery goes much faster if you use a pet rake (a brush that has crimped nylon bristles). Use light, even strokes to remove the hair. You can also try velour brushes, tape rollers or even tape wrapped around your hand. Another option is to try the rubber bottom on a clean tennis shoe or a slightly dampened sponge (as long as the dampness won’t harm the upholstery). To get hair off carpets, use a vacuum that has a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums don’t generate enough lift to get all the pet hair up from the floor. Another option for both upholstery and carpets (especially the edges where hair tends to collect and vacuums have a hard time reaching) is a “pet sponge.” These sponges, which are intended to be used dry, can be purchased at pet supply as well as home stores.
How do you remove pet stains from carpet?
First, blot up any liquid by putting towels or absorbent rags over the spot and stepping on them. Start with gentle pressure and keep increasing it (right up to putting your full weight down) and changing to fresh rags or towels, until no more moisture is coming out. If the stain is fresh, apply a bacteria/enzyme digester (can be purchased at a pet store) according to directions — it’s the only way you can deal effectively not only with the stain but also the odor. Bacteria/enzyme digesters work well but they work slowly, so be sure to leave the solution on as long as it says. Urine has probably penetrated down into the carpet and pad, so use enough solution to reach as far down as the stain did. Apply the solution, put plastic over it, and step on the spot several times until the area is well saturated. Then, leave the plastic on the whole time the digester is working, to make sure the spot doesn’t dry out. If the stain is old and dry, you may find it anywhere from hard to impossible to remove, but go ahead and try the bacteria/enzyme digester. Bear in mind that if it’s a popular accident site you’re treating, the bacteria may produce enough ammonia in the course of breaking down the stains to create a super-alkaline situation that interferes with their own action. In cases like this you may need to neutralize the spot after the bacteria have been working for about four hours. Mix up a solution of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Rinse the area with this and then apply a fresh batch of bacteria/enzyme solution. If the stain is still there, you’ll probably need to call in a professional deodorizing specialist. A complete cure will probably involve cleaning the entire carpet by extraction and replacing the pad underneath, if not replacing the carpet and sealing the hard-water, you’ll need to use a phosphoric acid cleaner to remove the scale. Again, let the acid soak subfloor.
Removing motor oil from carpet/upholstery
Motor oil stains on carpets and upholstery can be a nightmare. It is important to begin cleaning the area as soon as it is discovered. The longer stains remain on carpets and upholstery, the less likely you will be able to completely remove them.
There are various ways of removing motor oil from carpets and upholstery. The effectiveness of these methods depends largely on the materials in question. Some materials soak up stains, while others somewhat repel them. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations before attempting any method of cleaning. Use the method that best suits your particular carpeting or upholstery. When in doubt, consult a professional carpet or upholstery cleaner for advice.
If motor oil stains are on removable upholstery, you may be able to clean it effectively in your washing machine. Check upholstery labels for manufacturer recommendations before washing and drying them in a machine. If you determine it is safe to try, use an oxygen bleach product according to label directions along with warm water. Pre-treat the item with commercial stain remover of your choice, and place it in the washer. Set the water level on the lowest possible setting for the size of the item, and chose the longest possible wash cycle. If the item must be washed on “gentle cycle”, it may be necessary to wash it more than once. After checking to be sure the stain is gone, dry the item according to label directions.
If the upholstery cannot safely be washed by machine, it will be necessary to remove the stain by hand. There are many commercial cleaners available that claim to remove motor oil stains from carpets and upholstery. The most expensive cleaners aren’t necessarily the best. The most effective cleaners contain degreaser, so read product labels carefully for this ingredient. If you decide to use a commercial cleaner, follow the directions precisely so the stain does not become permanently set. After finding a cleaner you think will do the job, test it on a piece of scrap material first. Recreate the motor oil stain, and attempt to remove it according to label directions. If the product works well without causing damage to the material, then you can assume it will effectively clean your good upholstery or carpeting.
If the stain is on carpeting or material that must not come in contact with water, you may want to consider using dry cleaning solution in an attempt to remove it. Do not use dry cleaning fluid on carpets or upholstery that have latex backing or elastic trim. Dry cleaning fluid may damage these items.
Methylated alcohol, otherwise known as “wood spirits”, and ammonia can be mixed together to make an effective motor oil stain remover. In a disposable container, mix together one-part wood spirits to one part ammonia. Make sure the room has adequate ventilation, and test the mixture on a scrap piece of carpeting or fabric before using it on your good items. Recreate the motor oil stain, and use a sponge to gently blot the area. If the scrap material is damaged, reduce the amount of ammonia in the cleaning solution. Recreate the motor oil stain, and attempt to remove the stain again. If damage occurs, reduce the amount of ammonia once more, and continue this process until the solution effectively removes the stain without damaging the material. After the stain has been removed, clean the area with warm water and mild soap. Rinse it thoroughly, and allow it to dry. Properly dispose of any unused cleaning solution.
To reduce the risk of stained upholstery and carpets in the future, consider spraying them with fabric protector. The cost of this product is well worth the peace of mind and protection it provides.
Cleaning soap scum in tubs and showers
Preventing soap scum build-up is a lot easier than cleaning it up, so consider using a squeegee on shower walls and doors, a soap like Zest and/or using a towel to dry off the walls and doors. If you have tile walls or frosted shower doors, using a light coating of lemon oil on them periodically will help stop the growth of soap scum. And, if you have a porcelain tub, you can try to prevent build-up by applying a light coat of boat or car wax to the sides (never the bottom) of the tub. It will take some elbow grease to get rid of existing soap scum. You’ll need a degreaser to cut through it. You can get a good alkaline soap scum remover at a janitorial supply store, or you can try a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent dissolved in a bucket of warm water. Make sure you cover the affected area completely and let your cleaning solution soak for at least 15 minutes. Applying this solution right after a shower is a good idea since the walls will already be wet. After the appropriate soaking time, you’ll need to use a stiff scrub brush or a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge to clean the walls. You may need to soak and scrub a couple times to get rid of all the build-up. Once all the build-up is removed, make sure you rinse well. You’ll need to use acid cleaner only once in a while, with the soap scum remover being used more often. Remember that overuse of strong acid cleaners on ceramic tiles can cause grout to deteriorate.
How do you get rid of toilet bowl rings?
Using bleach on a toilet bowl ring may seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t do the job. You should try to catch rings early, as they will be much easier to remove and may even come off through a good cleaning with an acid bowl cleaner. If the bowl cleaner doesn’t get rid of the ring, you can try using a green, nylon-backed scrub sponge along with the acid. If you have an old ring, you’ll have the best luck using a pumice stone. Take the stone and wet it with the water in the bowl, and then rub it on the ring. Make sure to keep the stone wet the entire time you’re scrubbing. Pumice stones should only be used on vitreous china toilets – never on colored, enamel or plastic fixtures. Once you’ve gotten rid of a ring, weekly cleanings should stop it from coming back.
How do you clean wood floors?
Wood floors should be vacuumed and dust mopped regularly to maintain them. Doing this will stop dirt from building up and potentially damaging the floor. Any wood floor can be cleaned with a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water. Wood floors are best cleaned on your hands and knees because you should only clean a small area at a time and then dry it and move on. You should never get wood floors too wet or let them dry naturally. Finished wood floors often can be cleaned with just water. However, the finish will eventually wear off, and you’ll probably have to either re-finish the floors or start waxing them. Keeping wood floors free of dirt through vacuuming and/or dust mopping is the best thing you can do to maintain the look of your floors.
Make Quick Work of this Annual Chore
Spring is coming. Time to brush away the cobwebs of winter and awaken your home and your spirit with some spring cleaning. Starting on your spring cleaning now will give you time to do it well without wearing yourself out. So, put together a spring cleaning plan now, and you’ll be ready to enjoy the warmer weather when it arrives.
In the Bedroom(s)
- Flip the mattress
- Wash/change the mattress pad or cover
- Wash duvet covers
- Air pillows and comforters
- Wash blankets
In the Closet(s)
- Pull out any clothes which haven’t been worn in a year and sort those which can be donated from those which
are too torn or dirty (all cotton clothes can be used for cleaning rags)
- Take any torn clothes you plan to keep to a tailor for mending (or mend them yourself)
- Gather any winter clothes which need to be stored and get them ready for cleaning and storage
- Take any warm weather clothes which weren’t cleaned last fall to the cleaner In the Bathroom
- Check expiration dates on all medicines and dispose of any which are past the date
- Consolidate and dispose of all those partial bottles of health and beauty aids
- Wash your shower curtain and replace the liner if needed
- Wash bathroom rugs
In the Kitchen
- Go through the cupboards and dispose of food, spices, and other items which are past their expiration date
- Clean the oven
- Clean the burner drip pans
- Clean the vent filter and vent hood
- Defrost the freezer if necessary
- Dispose of any items in the refrigerator which are past their expiration
- Clean the inside of the refrigerator
- If possible, clean the floors under large appliances
Around the House
- Clean and/or air any area rugs which you can
- Clean and/or air any throw pillows
- Wash windows
- If necessary, take out, clean, and repair window screens
- Move and vacuum/sweep under large pieces of furniture
Start early in the season, pace yourself, and see if giving your apartment a good spring cleaning doesn’t prepare both your
home and your spirit for the summer to come.