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Cleaning Service Reston: Allergy Advice

cleaning service RestonDo you find yourself sniffing and sneezing, but you know don’t have a cold?

An allergy to dust mites might be the reason. The allergy produces the same kind of symptoms as hay fever. Symptoms might include:

  • Red, itchy and watery eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Feeling “stuffy”
  • Sneezing

Some 20 million Americans are thought to be allergic to dust mites. What are they? Dust mites are tiny creatures, about a quarter of a millimetre long. They feed on flakes of shed human skin and they live in bedding, carpets, sot furnishings and clothing. They thrive in humid conditions.

People who suffer from the allergy are reacting not to the mite itself, but the protein in its droppings. Mites can produce 20 droppings a day.

Cleaning Service Reston – Tips for a Mite-Free House

You can’t get rid of dust mites completely, but there are measures you can take to minimize their effects.

  • Use allergen covers on mattresses, duvets and pillows. Dust mites love bedding – there’s plenty of human skin cells there.
  • Wash bedding at a high temperature and change the linen frequently (at least once a week)
  • If possible, remove carpets from bedrooms.
  • Vacuum carpets frequently – and arrange for regular carpet cleaning, which will help keep the numbers down. Budget Maids provides a carpet cleaning service in Reston.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. The filter removes airborne particles and can help with dust mite allergies. Use the vacuum cleaner on soft furnishings too.
  • For children, stuffed, soft toys should be washed regularly. If the toy can’t be washed, place it in a bag in the freezer for 12 hours.
  • Damp wipe surfaces once a week – window sills tops of cupboards, skirting boards etc.
  • Check out products aimed at killing dust mites. Some of these might not be suitable for people who suffer from respiratory problems and they should not be used in areas where children play.
  • Allergen barrier creams can help too. These are applied to the nostrils and they trap or block pollens and allergens, minimizing the chance of a reaction.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning service Reston, a maid service in Olney or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you minimize the impact of dust mites on your home?

 

 

House Cleaning Arlington – Fall Cleaning Tips

house cleaning ArlingtonHouse cleaning Arlington services likes to offer seasonal cleaning tips. In the Fall, one of the jobs you might need to do is clean leaves and leave stains from your drive way.

To make the job fun and inclusive, why not get the whole family involved? One of the simplest joys at this time of year is jumping into a pile of leaves or kicking them through. You’ll be tidying them up of course, but allow extra time for this simple pleasure.

The first step is to rake the leaves into piles, or sweep them up using a hard outdoor brush. Move the piles to the side of the area you intend to clean. Leaves can usually be disposed of in compost bins or the green waste trash can.

A high pressure water hose will get rid of the surface dirt. Then sprinkle the area with a little powder laundry detergent to break down the stains. Leave for a few minutes and then scrub thoroughly to clean.

House Cleaning Arlington – Gutter Clearing

Another Fall cleaning tip is cleaning out your roof gutters, required at this time of year thanks to those leaves. Blocked gutters can cause a lot of problems. Water can pool on your roof and then leak into your home. Blocked gutters are also attractive termites. Sliding, windows, doors and foundations are all affected, so regular gutter cleaning is a must.

You’ll need ladders, so do make sure they are safe! You will also need a trowel, garbage bags, a stiff brush, safety specs, work gloves and a pressure hose. If you do the job after light rain, that may make it easier to lift out the damp leaves and dirt. If you do use a leaf blower everything needs to be dried out completely beforehand.

Start with the drain outlets, as most of the gunk will have gathered here. Use your trowel to scoop everything out. When you have cleared the gutter, section by section, use the hose to remove anything you might have missed.

It’s best to do this job will a willing partner who can feed you the hose when you need it and make sure you don’t miss any of the gutter sections. Use the hose too to check how the water is draining away. Your gutters might need adjustment.

Kitchen Cleaning

Fall cleaning should also involve giving the kitchen a good going over. The refrigerator and the oven definitely need regular cleaning anyway. Take all the shelves out of the fridge to wash, and ensure you clean the area around and under your fridge. Food builds up everywhere! For the oven, place a ceramic dish of ammonia in your oven overnight to help loosen the worst of the burnt-on food. That should make the overall oven cleaning job easier.

Here at Budget Maids we provide house cleaning Arlington, a maid service in Vienna or cleaning services in Falls Church and surrounds, cleaning services in Olney and Oakton and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you get all those cleaning jobs done this Fall?

 

 

 

House Cleaning Reston Tips for Bathrooms

house cleaning Reston

Splurge on a special item to make your bathroom beautiful.

Many people use the summer as the time for major projects – such as bathroom renovation. If you’d like tips from the house cleaning Reston experts read on.

It might seem like an upheaval, but there are many benefits to the bathroom make-over. Here are just some ways you can make your bathroom better and what you’ll get from it.

 

 

Update the technology in your bathroom. Why not invest in some energy-saving tech for your bathroom, such as water-saving products that limit how much water you use in the shower or faucets? Other tech includes heated towel rails that allow you to vary the amount of heat and when it is used.

Added value. The main reason to renovate a bathroom is the value it can add to your property. House buyers want plenty of bathrooms and they want them to be clean, functional and stylish. Adding an extra bathroom can increase the value of your property by almost 7 percent.

House Cleaning Reston – Energy Efficiency

Improved energy efficiency. By installing water and other energy-saving gadgets or tech, you can save considerable money on your energy bills. At the most basic level, why not ask household members to time how long they shower for? Three minutes is a good time to aim for. Why not make it a competition among your family?

Make it more luxurious. Why not make your bathroom truly luxurious? We house cleaning Reston experts love spending time in our bathrooms, so we want to make sure the room is warm, welcoming and looks amazing. Check out ranges of water-proof wallpapers, install an old-fashioned dressing table with lights, put in a TV and get yourself a free-standing huge bath for Cleopatra-style bathing.

Or splurge on one stand-out item. You can actually renovate your bathroom on a budget. Get rid of clutter – tidying away the toiletries for example immediately makes a bathroom look better. Buying a set of matching towels will also improve the overall look, and old wooden crates can be varnished and used to store toilet rolls or rolled up towels. The, that leaves you free to concentrate on one stand-out item – that free-standing bath, for example, or a special order vanity top.

Here at Budget Maids we provide house cleaning Reston, a maid service in Olney or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you make sure your bathroom is beautifully clean?

 

 

House Cleaning Oakton – Holiday Hygiene

house cleaning Oakton holiday adviceHave you got a vacation coming up – or even a staycation, but one where you travel out of state? The House Cleaning Oakton experts here at Budget Maids have some advice for you. The last thing you want to come back with from your vacation is an upset stomach or worse.

Read on for our tips on how to keep your holidays healthy, hygienic and happy!

Room Safety

Check out your emergency exits at your accommodation as soon as you arrive.

If you have young children, make sure that they can’t get onto the balcony unless you are with them. And check that the balcony is safe to use – is it high enough? Is it wobbly? If you’re in any doubt, ask for another room, preferably on the ground floor.

Bed bugs

Unfortunately, bed bugs are on the rise. What with so many of us travelling nowadays, the little critters have decided to travel with us. Eww… and double eww…

Here’s what the House Cleaning Oakton experts recommend you do to avoid bringing the beasties home.

  1. Don’t put your luggage or clothing on the bed.
  2. Check the bedding. Look at the mattress, headboard and pillows. You’re looking for blood stains or small black dots. The critters themselves might be hidden along mattress seams. If you see any at all, alert the staff and ask for a new room.
  3. Wrap your clothing in plastic bags – and your suitcase too.

Swimming Pool

If it’s murky – don’t go in.

If you want to use the Jacuzzi, make sure you use one in a spotless hotel. And see if there’s a board up telling you times of hygiene/cleaning checks.

Watch out for trip and slip hazards round the pool.

The Buffet

An all-you-can-eat buffet can be the highlight of many people’s holidays, but be careful. You might not mind putting on a few pounds. You probably don’t want to end up with an upset stomach because of poorly prepared food.

  1. Hot food should be hot, and cold food cold.
  2. If there are flies or birds landing on the food, don’t touch it.
  3. Watch out for recycled food. Did you see sausages or chicken last night and now here it is again chopped into salads? Avoid.

We’re sure wherever you’re going, you’ll have a great time. Happy Vacation!

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Arlington, house cleaning Oakton or maid services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you ensure that your home is perfectly neat and tidy before you take your vacation?

 

Top Tips for Avoiding the January Blues

Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_002We’re now well into 2016 – but are you feeling a little blue? After all the hype of Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year, it is normal to feel a little deflated and low.

Never fear though, the Budget Maids team (house cleaning Columbia, maid service Arlington, and house cleaning Olney experts) are here to help. Here are some tips for avoiding the January blues:

Check your diet: are you eating happy foods? Many people embark on crazy diets in January, but this isn’t always helpful. January is tough enough as it is without subjecting your body to serious deprivation. Instead, fill up on lots of goodies such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, beans and pulses, nuts, lean meat, fish and olive oil.

Do a good deed – volunteering is good for your mental health so why not find a local charity to get involved in? You could opt for helping out at a shelter or hospice, finding a mentoring programme for young people to find a way to be an active part of your local community.

Clear out clutter – why not opt for a “one in, one out” policy for the Christmas gifts and toys your family received? Clearing out clutter is therapeutic – and if you donate it to a shelter or charity shop, you’re combining two January blues prevention tips in one!

Fake it until you make it – if you plaster a smile on your face, eventually the smile will feel natural, and you will have cheered yourself up.

Do housework – OK, bear with us on this one. Experts often stress the importance of an active lifestyle (rather than being an active sedentary person, where most of your life is spent sitting but you exercise in the gym one a day) and doing chores throughout the day keeps you active. Put on some loud music and enjoy the lift you get from being active.

Meet up with friends. Social activities keep us stimulated and happy. If you are all feeling the pinch post-Christmas, why not meet up for a walk, or take turns to host coffee mornings? There are plenty of finance-free options for socializing if you put your mind to it.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Arlington, a maid service in Oakton or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you avoid the January blues with a sparkling clean home?!

Happy Thanksgiving – Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Pumpkin_pie_with_crust_detailNext week is Thanksgiving and here at Budget Maids, we’re looking forward to joining our families and friends for an extended and joyful celebration.

Like everyone else, we’re busy tidying up in preparation (remember, we provide cleaning services in Olney, maid services in Reston and more), but we will certainly be taking the time to make some pumpkin pie. It’s traditional after all and who doesn’t crave a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving?!

Enjoy our pumpkin and we hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Ingredients

  • 2 cups of pureed cooked pumpkin, or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, plus the yolk from a third egg
  • 2tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • ¼tsp freshly ground nutmeg (measure this precisely because it’s very strong)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2-3 pods cardamom, seeds removed and ground to a powder
  • 1 ready-made pie crust (uncooked)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl and mix in the sugars, salt, spices, and lemon zest. Mix in the pumpkin purée. Stir in the cream. Beat everything together until it is well mixed.
  3. Pour the filling into an uncooked pie crust. Bake at the high temperature for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for 45 to 55 minutes more, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (About half-way through the baking, you may want to put foil around the edges or use a pie protector to keep the crust from getting too browned.)
  4. Cool the pumpkin pie on a wire rack for two hours. Pumpkin pie will come out of the oven puffed up and it will deflate as it cools.
  5. Serve with whipped cream dusted with a little ground cinnamon (or cocoa powder, if you want to be really decadent).

Thanks to Simply Recipes for the inspiration behind our pumpkin pie.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Olney, a maid service in Potomac or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds (ie VA and most of Maryland). Why not give us a call today and let us help you with all your cleaning up pre AND post-Thanksgiving?

 

 

Top Tips for Tidying your Home Office

Tidying up your office will save you time in the long run.

Tidying up your office will save you time in the long run.

Do you have a home office – if the answer is yes, then it might be the case that everything in your office is immediately locatable and whenever you need to find an essential piece of paper you can put your hand on it straight away…

That’s not the case? A neat and tidy home office saves a lot of time in the long run. It might be a little tedious to tidy it up in the first place but here at Budget Maids we reckon you’ll reap the benefits long term.

Here are our tops tips for tidying your home office.

  1. If you keep all your important papers in one drawer or file, then they are impossible to find quickly. Take the time to sort out papers into relevant classes – say, tax info, receipts, utility bills, health insurance, banking etc – then give them a drawer or box file all of their own and label it clearly.
  2. A fireproof, four-drawer filing cabinet is a good investment. This will make life easier for when you are looking for those essential documents.
  3. Can you reduce paperwork? Some services (such as utilities) provide bonuses or discounts for going online. Do this wherever possible.
  4. Set up an inbox which will keep all your “to do” items – but remember that once you have dealt with that item, then it must be filed.
  5. We recommend a clean desk policy for the end of each day. When you finish working in your office, clear the desk and any other office surfaces. Coming into a clean office is more uplifting than entering chaos!
  6. Take time regularly to throw out what you don’t need or use – old pens, stray paper clips, and any unnecessary paperwork, old magazines and broken equipment. Remember, a lot of this stuff can be recycled).
  7. How long should you keep papers? Here’s a quick guide: tax returns and supporting paperwork (seven years, or forever if you have the space); pay stubs (one year); investment statements (one year, or until you get your year-end statements; bank statements (one year); medical bills (one year); and credit card statements (one month – check them for accuracy).

 

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Arlington, a maid service in Oakton or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you ensure that home office is perfectly neat and tidy?

 

 

 

Pancake Day Recipe

Blueberry_pancakes_(1)We thought we’d start today with a great pancake recipe to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

The idea of Pancake Day came about as Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins in the Christian calendar. Lent is the 40-day period before Easter Sunday and it is viewed as a season of reflection and preparation. Traditionally, religious observers fasted or abstained from certain foods during Lent – hence, Shrove Tuesday was the day to use up luxuries such as milk and eggs.

The following recipe will make eight pancakes, and we have suggested some fillings for them including the traditional lemon and sugar variation.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sieved
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2tbsp melted butter
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  1. Mix the flour together with the salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the egg with the milk and the melted butter in a jug until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and whisk until combined (a few lumps do not matter). Allow the batter to stand for a few minutes.
  4. Wipe a griddle pan with the vegetable oil and heat. Drop in two-three tablespoons of the mix at the time and allow to cook until you can see bubbles on the top of the pancakes. Flip over and cook until brown on the underside. It will take one to two minutes to cook on each side.

Suggested toppings –

  • Sprinkle each pancake with a tablespoon of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Top pancakes with chocolate sauce and chopped bananas.
  • Use blueberry compote and two tablespoons of heavy cream, whipped.
  • And of course, the classic is grilled bacon and maple syrup!

Here at Budget Maids, we provide cleaning services in, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Olney, house cleaning in Reston and cleaning services in Falls Church. Why not give us a call today and let us help you with healthy home maintenance?

 

Our Guide to Post-Christmas clutter clearing (II)

And now here at Budget Maids, let us introduce the second part of our two part Post-Christmas Decluttering guide. Hopefully by now you’ve already carried out many of the suggestions in the first instalment.

Two Women Playing Video Games in Messy Living Area

 

If you have, it’s time to get started on the second set so here goes:

Sell electronic gadgets off. Many Christmas presents these days consist of gadgets – new phones, iPads, watches etc. Instead of stashing the old one away in a desk drawer somewhere why not sell it off instead? Ebay is the perfect place. That way you’ll benefit from its current value as well as avoiding more clutter.

Avoid the post-Christmas clearance sales. Yes, it’s tempting to think you’ll pick something up at 50 or even 70 per cent less than it’s original value. But think about it. You may have the money to purchase it but do you have the space to store it? It has to go somewhere. Best solution sometimes is just to avoid the sales altogether.

Get rid of anything useless.  Are there ornaments sitting on shelves that you never notice but are loathe to throw out because they were a gift? If so, get rid of them now by taking to your local charity shop. It’s all about clearing the clutter and making space. You won’t have to dust them again and can put up something you like in that precious shelf space instead

How do you decide what to throw out? There is a checklist of questions here that you can ask yourself to help determine what should go and alternatively what should remain. For instance, do you use the particular item you’re focusing on? If not, do you like it? Do you have something similar? Does looking at it trigger a lot of pleasant memories for you? Does it annoy you? Answer these questions honestly and see if you still want to keep it at the end. Write them down if it helps.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Olney, a maid service in Potomac or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds (ie VA and most of Maryland). Why not give us a call today and let us help you with all that post-Christmas decluttering?

Cultivate that Post-Christmas clear-up

It’s Christmas Eve and spirits are understandably high. Enjoy the next few days and don’t let the thought of the Post-Christmas clear-up get you down. To help you cope with the depressing thought of putting away those jolly decorations and finding homes for all the additional clothes, toys and toiletries that will soon be staking a claim in your home, we’ve prepared a Budget Maids guide to sorting post-Christmas Day. It’s in two parts and here’s the first:

christmasbauble

Make mini goals. If you’re the type of person who enjoys a challenge and ‘ticking things off’ then creating achievable targets is the way to go. For instance, tell yourself that come Epiphany you’ll get the decorations put away for another year by lunchtime. This includes sorting through any broken and tired looking objects and throwing them out NOW. On achieving this reward yourself with a favourite snack.

Get charitable. It’s time to pay a visit to your local charity shop. All those toys, games and books which haven’t seen the light of day – or the touch of tiny fingers – for months now would probably be appreciated by other youngsters. Donate them. Not only will it free up extra space in your home, but it’ll also give you a warm glow for being generous.

Enrol the kids. Getting your offspring to help remove the Christmas decorations can trigger a good old family chat about the festive season and their favorite parts. It’ll also make the job get done far quicker. Just make sure they handle those delicate bulbs gently!

Appreciate the space. The house may look emptier when the Christmas decorations are down, but it also looks bigger. Isn’t it nice to have all that extra room?!

Get more tidying tips from the Budget Maids team. We offer house cleaning in Vienna, cleaning services in Reston and a maids service in Arlington.