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Organize your home cleaning in 2014

As you waved goodbye to 2013, admit it – there was a little voice there reminding you what you hadn’t achieved last year. And which is why you, me and half the world sat down and made another set of New Year’s resolutions for 2014.

Alongside losing weight, vowing to save more and quit smoking, organizing our lives better is often one of those resolutions that keeps popping up. One way to achieve this domestic organizational heaven is to get on top of home cleaning. And here’s exactly how to do it:

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Nothing like a schedule

Ever been truly impressed at how some people just manage to always keep to a routine?  Well, routine means a schedule and – most importantly – keeping to it (no point in having a schedule if you pick and choose the tasks you like rather than stick rigidly to it).Stick to that schedule long enough, in fact, and it’ll become so routine that you don’t even notice you’re doing it half the time. So, identify specific days for particular home cleaning tasks. For example, it could be you do laundry on Fridays, bathroom and kitchen cleaning Saturdays, tidy up the backyard Sunday etc. 

Always organize

Organizing your home and belongings is your first step to a clean and well-maintained home.  Let’s face it, it’s impossible to clean a floor that can hardly be seen below the layers and heaps of family stuff.  Draw up a foolproof plan for your home to ensure that things are kept where they should be – whether this means having to create extra storage space and shelves. Alternatively just get rid of stuff you no longer need or use. 

Clean as you go

‘Clean as you go’ – it’s the single most powerful resolution for a clean and neat home all year round. Spilled some coffee?  Clean it up, now.  Spot a dirty kitchen floor while cooking?  Instantly give it a swipe with a cloth. Try to create a culture of cleaning, clearing and putting away without delay in 2014.

Keeping on top of a home while juggling a career, coping with family demands, caring for aging parents and trying to do your bit at the church social are a huge challenge. But you can make it easier by being organized in your home cleaning routine at least.

If you find you don’t have time to clean and tidy your home though, why not call on us here at Budget Maids?  We’re famed for our attention to detail and delivery on time-intensive cleaning tasks. We offer home cleaning in Olney, cleaning services in Reston, and maid services in Falls Church as well as throughout the VA and Maryland areas.

image via Vertex42.com

Dealing with the mess in home remodeling

Construction work or extensive home remodeling – can both be exciting as you contemplate the outcome but they can also turn out to be energy-intensive processes. And not just in term of the work or shifting stuff around. There’s all that cleaning up to do too.

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If you’ve begun some home remodeling and currently finding yourself at breakingpoint then this is pretty much the post for you. Read our advice here on how to deal with ongoing and post-renovation clean-ups:

Airborne grit or dust

Once grit or dust becomes airborne, it means more cleaning work for later on unfortunately. Try to keep grit and dust from becoming airborne by gathering as of this as you can and trap in a sealed container until it can be removed.

Construction dust

Never-ending construction dust is a huge headache and will prove much more difficult to clean up than ordinary household dust. Check that your air filters are functioning optimally and replace them once the first layers of construction dust are out of the way. Once all the obvious dust has been removed, water is a brilliant way to trap and remove the finer construction dust. Then, wash all hard surfaces such as floors, walls, cupboards and tiles with warm soapy water.

Vacuum power

Prepare yourself for some extensive vacuuming. Before getting started, go over your vacuum machine to ensure it is working to the best of its ability – it will need to give its all in ridding your home of renovation dust after all. Vacuum only after the worst of the construction dust has been removed by the air filter or washing. Vacuum your furniture (even if it has been protected by dust-proof material) as well as carpets, floors, furniture, cushions, mattresses – everything in the room in fact.

Washing blinds, curtains and carpets

Construction dust has a way of creeping into every possible corner. Washing blinds, curtains and carpets are an absolute must. It may sound like a lot of effort, but it really is a guaranteed way to rid your newly renovated home of the last of the construction mess.

Cleaning up a home after either construction or remodeling is not an easy task (as you can see from the above) so, if you need professional help to deal with the dust then do call on us here at Budget Maids. We offer excellent cleaning services in Columbia, house cleaning in Vienna and maid services in Rockville, as well as other areas of VA and Maryland.

image via healthandsafetyatwork.com 

Keep your christmas cleaning routine up to date

It’s that time of the year again folks – festivities, celebrations and family get-togethers.  Sure, it’s a merry time, but it’s also the busiest time of the year for most households.  Whether you’re opening your home this holiday season for family members from far away, friends or just the next-door neighbors, chances are you’ll need to step up your household cleaning and organizing routine. Fear not though, here at Budget Maids we have four helpful holiday cleaning tips to keep you on track over the holiday period, such as:

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  • Get rid of the garbage 
  • It’s the one thing that can really turn a household upside down. And with friends and family spending time at your home eating and drinking,  your average garbage pile is set to grow. Be strict though – have a removal rule and stick to it. Perhaps even place extra bins throughout your home.  Depending on how many guests you’re expecting, try and remove the garbage every day or at least every other. After all, no-one wants nasty smells permeating their home over the holidays.
  • No food fussing
  • Let’s face it: food at the best of times can be downright messy but at Christmas it can be chaos. Leave plenty of wipes lying around and never procrastinate when it comes to cleaning up any spills. Cleaning up dropped and spilled food is easier to do on hard surfaces, of course, such as tiles. Just pray the carpets don’t fall victim, otherwise you’ll have to put in some elbow grease. Do yourself a favor and try to organise meals around hard surfaced floors such as the kitchen or dining room rather than the sitting room, if possible.
  • Stock up on supplies
  • Holiday grocery shopping is a big deal; but you still have to remember to stock up on the basic items too. It will be plain disheartening to gear up into cleaning mode just to realize there’s nothing to clean up with in the cabinets. And you don’t really need us to point out to you how there’s never a spare moment to pop to the shops over the holidays…
  • 10-minute bathroom beautifier
  • You don’t like a dirty bathroom, so why should your guests? You can keep on top of this room though by doing a quick 10 minutes every day. Through away any trash or empty shampoo and soap dispensers, get rid of any dirty laundry lying around and put out fresh towels.  Wipe down the mirror, basin, bath, toilet boil and sweep the floor.  Then you’ll feel better about being the hostess at home.

Few of us have home cleaning on our priority list this holiday, quite rightly we’d rather spend time with our nearest and dearest.  And that’s where here at Budget Maids we can really help out. In the run up to the holiday season and throughout, we’ll be offering maid services in Arlington, cleaning services in Church Falls and house cleaning in Rockville and surrounds – making sure you can rightly relax and really enjoy the festivities this year.

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TLC for your dishwasher

In many a busy household where breakfast, dinner and lunch are just some of the kitchen doings on a household’s busy day, the dishwasher is an absolute lifesaver. But have you given a thought to the machine’s optimal functioning i.e.  cleaning your dishwashing machine from time to time?

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Cleaning a dishwashing machine is surprisingly easy and, thankfully, you’ll need only a few basic items to get started, For scrubbing, use a soft toothbrush (or other small brush) and a soft cloth. Go about cleaning your dishwashing machine carefully, and never scrub viciously. For some soap bubbles, use a mild detergent that won’t harm your dishwashing machine. A natural scouring agent, we’ve found, is baking soda.

Inside out

Start by removing all the racks, utensil holder and any other parts of the washer that can easily be removed for cleaning. Start from the drain area and work your way up – firstly removing any obvious caked filth or food scraps (which tend to build up over time). Gently scrub away any caked grime but do go about your scrubbing carefully. Continuously wipe away dirt with warm water and mild detergent. Food scraps and grime are rather stubborn, and can take a while to clean. The racks, utensil holder and other removable parts can be given a good clean separately – soak in the sink and scrub.

Let it run

Once all the scrubbing is done and over with, let your dishwasher run with the usual soap dose (without any utensils or tableware). This will allow your machine to rinse out any leftover soap or smaller pieces of dirt.

Dishwashers are true champions in the today’s homes. Following these easy steps should ensue your dishwashing machine will be on top of its game. Meanwhile, if any other cleaning tasks are hassling your household, do call on us here at Budget Maids for a professional and friendly cleaning services in Potomac, maid services in Vienna or any other household cleaning in Columbia. We’ll be happy to get your home sparkling clean after a joyous festive period.

Robotic or real cleaning: which would you rather have?

We must admit some of us have always been fascinated by the idea of a robot doing all the cleaning for us, especially if it’s programmed to conquer the really tedious tasks such as vacuuming and tidying up the kids rooms.

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However, don’t get too keen on the idea. For, by the sound of the latest robotic cleaning inventions we’ve a long way to go yet before we can sit back with our feet up and supervise via remote control.

Control and direction

The latest robotic cleaners in the technology aisle look and sound great but the reality is somewhat different. For instance, who is going to clean the robotic cleaner itself? Why you of course! You’re going to have to empty it out and give it a wipe from time to time. Then there’s the fact that it has to be kept up in battery juice – which means physically going out and getting some (a bit of a time drain there).

Then there was the time when a robot household cleaner in Austria ended up as a pile of ashes after parking itself on a hotplate while the homeowners were out at work. The house was not only still a mess when they returned from their day jobs, but they now had an additional task to take care off (ie getting rid of the ashes). Not to mention realizing they’d had a lucky escape from their house burning down.

Navigating awkward angles

Getting up and down stairs can prove a nuisance to human cleaners so imagine what it’s like for a robotic one. Another negative is that robot cleaners tend to work best on flat, smooth surfaces – which is not exactly your typical property.

In conclusion then, the technology and thinking behind robot cleaners are impressive but as for the actual reality – not so much. At the moment, if you’re looking for someone else to do your house cleaning we’d recommend a maids service like our own. We’re always reliable after all and we never break down.

For more information on our Budget Maids cleaning service in Rockville, house cleaning in Falls Church and maid services in Oakton and surrounds please feel free to contact us for an initial chat.

Who does the cleaning in your household?

It’s still a bit of a sensitive question in the average household today to ask who does the cleaning in the home. Most women like to believe that after decades of protest, some pleading and even a little demanding, the traditional roles would have shifted a bit.

But, it seems that’s not the case according to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Their findings showed that globally, women still act as the main housekeepers, overseeing laundry, cooking, cleaning and generally taking care of household chores for the entire family.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said…

After studying 28 countries across the world, the OECD found that women clocked up more ‘working’ hours in 22 of these 28 countries than men. The reason for this is that women ended up doing endless hours of housework in addition to putting in the necessary hours for their own career. Slaving away at the office and doing double shifts at home can, of course, take its toll…

What to do?

According to the survey, American households churn out 400 loads of laundry and 215 dishwasher loads every year. In addition, American women dedicate more than 15 hours a week to household cleaning.

Some households have come a long way in dividing chores amongst women, men and even children. Others take short cuts. Here at Budget Maids we believe the best way is to draw up a schedule of cleaning, cooking, and laundry that can be divided amongst household members on a weekly basis.

Another interesting statistics from the OECD study – certainly from our own point of view here at Budget Maids – is that there was a definite increase in outsourcing household chores. 

And of course that’s an easy, effective and no-worry way of getting household chores done without have to nag the other half or the kids.

Have you tried it yet? If not, why not give us a call here at Budget Maids and we’ll talk you through the type of services we offer. This includes house cleaning in Potomac, maid services in Arlington and cleaning services in Olney and surrounds. 

Natural cleaning agents in your closet

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the sensation at one time or another – you’ve set aside a day to finally get down to some home cleaning and guess what? You’ve only just realized you’ve run out of cleaning agents.

Now, for some non-committed types that may be the cue to put the coffee maker on and sit down with a magazine and cookie. For others it could be just the spur they need to encourage them to rifle through their closets for ingredients to make their own.

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And you know something? The latter isn’t half as difficult as you may think. And, more importantly, the cleaner’s are just as effective as the ones you’ll pay a fortune for in your local supermarket. Interested? Then read on…

Vinegar for tiled surfaces

Vinegar makes a great cleaning agent and disinfectant thanks to its specific pH balance and high acidity content. You’ll find that even some of those expensive chemical cleaners rely on vinegar to get the dirty jobs done. It works best for smooth surfaces that need a good wipe down or  scrub such as tiles, glass etc. A ratio of around one tablespoon per cup of water should be perfect.

Kosher salt as scrubbing agent

Large grains of kosher salt work really well as a scrubbing agent.  Ssimply sprinkle it over whatever surface you plan on scrubbing or scouring then scrub down with warm water.  Not only is kosher salt a perfectly safe scrubbing agent (in the sense it won’t stain) but it dissolves easily when used with warm water. 

Cornstarch for beating oil and grease 

Need to get rid of some grease or oil? Then get out the cornstarch. This is a great absorbing agent and is very effective when sprinkled and the area rubbed down with a cloth. It’s particularly good for silver and chrome utensils too, thanks to the fact it won’t scratch them.

We reckon most households will have at least some of the three ingredients mentioned above. If you’re interested in other household cleaning tips or even help with your household cleaning routine then please get in touch with us here at Budget Maids. We provide house cleaning services in Vienna, maid services in Olney and surrounds, and cleaning services in Columbia and most other parts of VA and Maryland.

image via Verdelifestyles.com

DIY dry cleaning: get your winter woolies ready for wear

With the cooler weather coming in we all find ourselves reaching for those big winter woolies – cuddly mohair jumpers, elegant fine woolen coats and lovely, soft cashmere scarves.  This means having to consider the extra expense of a dry cleaning bill of course – but, winter fashion doesn’t have to be that expensive, really. There are plenty of dry cleaning that can be done at home with very little assault on our savings and no lengthy trips to the dry cleaners to navigate. How so? we hear you ask. Well, consider the following:

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Do your own dry cleaning

Yes, heading for the dry cleaners can be convenient but, in actual fact, it’s not necessary. Most fabric can be dealt with by an ordinary washing machine program on a gentle wash, at home. With the exception of suede and fur it’s possible to wash everything else independently. Yes, really! And here’s how:

Read those labels

Dry cleaning is a bit of a manufacturer’s opt-out (ie insurance clause). It basically means the garment has to be treated with care in that it shouldn’t get soaking wet. However, in the majority of cases it’s fine to spot clean by hand. Gentle hand washing and spot cleaning (ie rubbing the stained area with a mild detergent) can be just as effective, believe it or not, as dry cleaning – and far less expensive.

Dry with care

Never wring the delicate garment you’ve just spot cleaned. That’s the last thing you should do. Instead, loosely – and gently – wrap it in a towel to absorb all the excess water.  Now, provided there’s some winter sunshine, set it out to dry flat on a sunny spot on your porch or an area of your garden where the cat or dog can’t get at it to play with (we’ve been there!).

Fresh air beats all

Nothing comes close to what fresh air can do for your jumper, coat or scarf (and we really do mean fresh air: not winter sunshine). Hang your favorite and prized garments out on a winter’s day with plenty of fresh air and we promise you will love the scent your clothing retains (which is a million times nicer than those nasty chemical odors from the dry cleaners, incidentally!).

Getting your home and family ready for the winter season can be quite challenging when you’ve so much else to think about. But, if you find yourself in need of some domestic help, whether house cleaning in Olney, maid services in Reston or cleaning services in Rockville, VA, Maryland and the surrounding area then do get in touch. You will always be guaranteed nothing less than a first rate service here at Budget Maids.

 image via Huffington Post

Get Those Dirty Dishes Done – Faster

There’s people out there who actually like washing dishes by hand – some even claim it’s therapeutic.  For the rest of us though, that mounting pile of dishes at the side of the sink is something we pretty much dread.

Sure millions of us have dishwashers these days but rising energy bills and a bit of thought for the environment mean many of us are resorting to washing dishes once again by hand. So here’s some tips on how to wash dishes the easy way:

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It’s all about the soap

The temperature of your water and whether you fill the sink right up or only half – none of these issues matter as much as the quality of detergent you use.  There’s also a very fine line between too little and too much detergent. Add too much detergent and you’re going to have to spend ages rinsing those dishes; too little and the grease is going cling to the plates.  Our tip?  Buy the highest quality dishwashing liquid you can afford, and  think of it in terms of one tablespoon detergent to four cups  warm water.

From fairly clean to dirty

Before washing, stack all the dishes from least dirty to food-caked so that you clean the least dirtiest first while the water’s still clean. That way you don’t have to refill.   

Deal with the food leftovers and scraps right away

That scraping of oatmeal left in this morning’s cereal bowl will come back to haunt you later in the day at dish washing time. The best way to speed up washing dishes by hand is to deal with food scraps immediately. Never let them harden on the plates; throw them to the birds or give them to the dog as a treat (just between you two) –  just don’t let them sit there. Soak the plates if you’ve no time to rinse. 

Drying on the right spot

Allowing your dishes to dry in a well ventilated area (such as below an open window) reduces the time you’ll spend with a drying towel in your hand. A warmer water temperature will do likewise.

Washing dishes by hand isn’t for everyone of course, no matter how much we care about the environment. Some of us simply don’t have the time thanks to tight work schedules, a family to care for and a home to keep shipshape.

In which case let our team at Budget Maids help. We provide cleaning services in Columbia, a maid service in Potomac or cleaning services in Vienna and surrounds such as the whole of VA and most of Maryland. No home cleaning task is too big or small for us. Why not give us a try today?

image via DetectEnergy.com

3 easy steps to microwave cleaning

Cleaning the microwave is one of those little cleaning jobs that it’s all to easy to put off.  But maybe not for much longer – thanks to the following 3 Step Guide to Microwave Cleaning it’ll make that particular chore something of a breeze. And let’s face it, these little metal boxes are a wonder and most of us can’t really imagine our kitchen’s without one (how else would you heat up that coffee you poured yourself two hours ago and haven’t had a chance to drink yet?)

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Soften up 

The first step to our simple three step guide to getting your microwave all shiny again, is to soften any foodstuffs that may be left in the microwave and clinging to the sides. This can be achieved easily by either filling a medium sized bowl with water and heating in the microwave for around five minutes or, heat some paper towels that have been soaked in water. The point of either method is to give the microwave a good steam and loosen off any foodstuffs.

The powerful ingredient

Now repeat step one – only this time with the addition of a cupfull of vinegar.  Pour equal amounts of water and vinegar into a bowl, and heat in the microwave to the point of boiling. Now let it boil for several minutes. The reason you’re introducing vinegar here is because it’s an excellent cleaning solution. It’s acidic nature allows it to clean both dirt and bacteria.

The good wipe

Once the above steaming and vinegar solution has been completed, the final microwave cleaning step is to wipe it down inside. Happily the steam from the water will have softened the foodstuffs (meaning the caked foodstuffs will wipe away easily with a cloth). The vinegar meanwhile will have sterilized any lingering odors.

Here at Budget Maids we’re in no doubt that even the grimiest of microwaves will benefit from these three easy steps. If you feel household chores are getting a bit on top of you these days why not give us a call here at Budget Maids where we provide house cleaning services in Potomac, a maid service in Vienna and cleaning services in Oakton or surrounds (in both VA and Maryland).

image via theorganizedhousewife.com.au