Category Archives: Cleaning

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

Getting some green help with household cleaning

As the cooler weather starts to set in, naturally enough we find ourselves spending more and more time indoors.  But, that also means increasing exposure to indoor air pollution.  What indoor air pollution we hear you ask?Well, with limited natural air circulation, our indoors are being polluted by all kinds of chemicals believe it or not – from kitchen fumes, tobacco smoke and bacteria in damp air.  And although we can’t exactly see indoor air pollution, our chronic eye, ear and nose irritations remind us that it’s definitely there.Now, you might use air filters or humidifiers to clean your indoor air, but let us here at Budget Maids share some interesting green tips with you:

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Natural chemical removers

Plants are natural chemical removers.Just as the Amazon Rainforest is the world’s green lung, indoor plants can purify your indoor air.Scientists refer to this special ability of plants to remove chemicals from air as phytoremediation.In the past, NASA announced a very surprising statistic: within a period of one single day, plants are able to remove up to 87% of toxins in indoor air.  And you thought ornamental indoor plants were just part of the décor…

Try these household plants 

Scientists also found that some household plants are more effective indoor air cleaners than others.The plants that made the top air purifying list include the following common household plants: Spider plant, Geber daisy (pretty flowers too!), ferns, Chinese evergreen, Mother-in-law’s tongue and ivy.

Plants are pretty effective at this secret mission of theirs, and scientists have found that one plant per 100 square feet is a pretty good ratio.

Making use of this incredibly efficient cleaning function offered free by nature can help your household stay clean and healthy – as well as smelling and looking nice. If you need more help with cleaning other than your indoor air, be sure to contact Budget Maids for our other cleaning tips and services, including cleaning services in Reston, house cleaning in Olney and maid services in Arlington – whatever your household cleaning requirements in fact.

Keep a Lid on Your Laundry

Ever find yourself wondering at the speed at which the laundry pile seems to grow? No matter whether you check in regularly on a Monday, Thursday or at Saturday that fabric pile seems to multiply almost overnight. Here are a few Budget Maids tips though that might just help you cut it down to size:

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  • Best days for doing laundry. Ever wondered when you should be doing your laundry?  Er, we hate to tell you this but really; every day should be a laundry day.  Yep, scary as it sounds, try to schedule a little bit of laundry time every morning or afternoon – even if it’s as little as half an hour.  Do a little every day and you’ll prevent that out of control mass at the end of the week. 
  • Separating system. Unfortunately, none of us can get away from having to separating our dark and light clothing.  So it makes sense to have a proper dividing system right from the start. Have separate laundry baskets in different rooms in your home, such as the children’s’ room, bathroom and laundry closet.  That way, when it’s time to do the laundry, you simply collect the already-sorted batches. Simple!
  • Tackle laundry heaps according to available time. If your time is limited start tackling small laundry loads instead of big heavy loads such as linen and towels etc.  By getting smaller bundles sorted quickly you’ll have more time later to tackle the tougher batches.
  • Save time on ironing. Never delay hanging out your laundry if you can help it. That’s because the sooner you get the laundry onto the drying rack, the less time you’ll spend ironing it. Let your wet laundry idle in the washing machine and you’ll end up slaving away with the iron later that day or week.
  • Ask family members to help. Don’t feel guilty about getting the rest of the family to help with the washing. Draw up a simple schedule which includes loading the machine, hanging the washing, ironing and sorting it. Get the laundry done fast, and you might even get to spend more time with the family.

Don’t let your laundry get out of hand – not when there’s simple ways, like those above, that can prevent it from doing so. If you find yourself in a never ending laundry struggle, call on for a helping hand at Budget Maids – we’re right here whether you need a maid service in Vienna, house cleaning in Reston or a cleaning service in Falls Church and the rest of VA and Maryland.

image via Mumpreneur.com

Germ-free homes for newborn babies

Most parents of newborns are pretty desperate to keep their homes clean. After all, it’s a scary thought to realize that junior could easily pick up germs from the living room, your bedroom or his/her nursery.

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And – not meaning to cause alarm – new home hygiene research is now stating that highchairs have higher levels of bacteria than even toilet brushes! Ironically the very existence of a new baby means your home is usually left in a state of total chaos and, understandably, you just never manage to find the time for deep-cleaning.

So, in order to keep your hygiene – and sanity levels – on par, here are a few easy cleaning tips for you to implement: 

·         Surface cleaning

While your little one is still young and demanding all your attention, keep the surfaces in your kitchen, bathroom and the nursery clean with an antibacterial surface spray. Once baby starts to crawl you’ll obviously want to start concentrating on the floor. 

Germs so easily collect on the floor, thanks to shoes bringing in dirt from the outside.  But tile and hard surfaces are easy to keep germ-free by mopping your floors on a regular basis with an antibacterial cleaning solution.  Disinfectants are best.

In fact, hygiene specialists recommend them more than conventional cleaners. As you’d expect, carpets and rugs are so much more difficult to keep germ-free. The best advice here would be to vacuum regularly using a deep-cleaning machine and to consider washing them during the warmer summer months when rugs can be hung out to dry.

·         Kitchen cleaning

The kitchen, of course, is a never-ending source of germs. Fridges, worktops, washcloths, and the kitchen sink – they’re all full of them. And as if that thought wasn’t bad enough, the Global Hygiene Council say our kitchens are an even bigger source of bacteria than the bathroom. So, what to do? Well, apart from disinfecting on a regular basis, don’t leave any food around which has passed its sell-by date and gone off, regularly clean out your fridge and replace sponges and washcloths every few weeks.

Keeping your new family germ-free may seem overwhelming at times but luckily most of us are born with fairly resistant immune systems.  Just realize which areas are your “risk-zones” and focus on keeping those as germ-free as possible.  Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some help in the cleaning department – whether it’s a maid service in Vienna, house cleaning in Oakton or cleaning services in Rockville and other parts of VA or Maryland don’t even hesitate to call us here at Budget Maids. We’ll be only too happy to lend a hand.

 image via Apartmenttherapy.com

Take time out for some tile TLC

Floor tiles may be low maintenance compared to carpets, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need special care at times. Fear not though, employ some easy cleaning routines and you can keep them looking as good as new for years to come.  Read on folks…

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Keep the shine

Dirt which has built-up over a number of months can really make your tiles look worn down. That’s why cleaning with detergent once a week is your best bet in order to maintain that shine. A dry buff also works wonders – if you can spare the time and muscle effort involved.

The soap catch

Ever found yourself thinking “more soap will do the trick”?  We often – wrongly – believe the more soap we use the cleaner the surface. But when it comes to tiles that just isn’t the case. That’s because using too much soap when mopping floors leaves a cloudy layer on floor tiles – as well as a sticky residue too (meaning you have to clean them all over again!). 

Get rid of stains

Nothing will make your tiles look more worn-out than stains, and stained grout in particular. This can be a nightmare at times to clean but don’t despair, there are remedies to make the work easier. You could, for instance, try mixing your own grout cleaning solution with a paste of two-thirds baking soda and one third water.  Then just scrub the grout thoroughly, leave it a few minutes and rinse clean. Voila!

Know your tiles

Nature stone tiles are prone to acid damage and won’t do well with the majority of tile cleaners currently on the market (although you can buy cleaners specially for natural stone). They can be treated with a very mild detergent. Ceramic tiles on the other hand are much more resilient and can put up with more chemical bombardment. 

But listen, if the thought of cleaning your tiles on a regular basis to keep them looking good makes you want to run for the hills, then why not give us a call here at  Budget Maids?  We offer professional maid services in Vienna and Potomac, house cleaning in Columbia and cleaning services in the rest of VA and Maryland.  Really – your tiles will love you for it!

image via sheknows.com

Keep those kitchen items in constant working order by cleaning

Here at Budget Maids we are aware that there are certain items in our kitchens that we use every day and rely on so heavily that it would be painful if they broke down. So – all the more reason to give them a service and clean up every now and again to prevent any future tears.

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Here we list three of our most used kitchen items – the oven, washing machine and that all important coffee roaster.

Keeping your oven clean

Ok, we’re probably all guilty of having an oven that isn’t exactly sparkling. But that’s because it’s used so often there’s little chance to clean it. But, if you get into the habit of wiping it down every time you use it, you’ll never again have to face that dreaded big scrub with chemicals and plenty of elbow grease again.

Ammonia bleach and water usually does the trick but remember to wear rubber gloves and even a face mask as we’re talking strong chemicals here (and avoid if pregnant). Alternatively you could use bicarbonate of soda and water, smear it on the oven and leave overnight then get ready for some heavy elbow grease action next day.

In terms of the ammonia, take the shelves out and spray them separately and leave for two hours before soaking in water then washing with detergent. Spray the inside of the oven too and rinse.

Make sure your washing machine cycle continues

When you think of what we expect our washing machines to do, it’s no wonder they get dirty and bunged up with gunge sometimes. Do the following every month or so and you should be able to keep cleaning clothes to your heart’s content:

  • Defluff the filter – always lots of lint in there
  • Refresh the detergent drawer – wipe with a cloth and a toothbrush for corners
  • Rinse the machine – run empty on a hot wash with some vinegar to get rid of soap   scum

Manage your coffee machine

Cafetieres can be kept clean by just immersing them in hot soapy water, as can the filter and jug of electric coffee machines. Descale with water and white vinegar.

The same applies for a cappuccino or expresso maker, except wash the steam nozzle too in hot soapy water.

None of the above take long to do but they sure save a heap of time when it comes to once a year cleans on the above items (especially the oven – yeuch).

Budget Maids runs a house cleaning service in Reston, maid service in Potomac and undertake house cleaning in Columbia as well as other areas of VA and Maryland. You can always contact us here for further advice and details of our service.

image via videojug.com

Back to school household cleaning

No matter how much we try to deny it, summer’s definitely over. How do we know? Because the kids have been back at school for more than a week or two now and the house is starting to get messy again with their gym kit, school books and general detritus.

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As a result, it’s time to gather them together for some household cleaning pointers, such as:

Get rid of the holiday gear and gadgets

Whether your kids were out and about this summer swimming, fishing gear, or doing their annual summer camping stuff, all items related to those activities need to go back into storage NOW (goodbye summer). Have each member in the family take care of their own summer holiday belongings.

The bathroom speedway

You know the drill; getting in and out of the bathroom on weekday mornings can prove a rough start to your day, to say the least. So why not simplify the morning bathroom schedule by organizing everyone beforehand. And we don’t just mean in terms of allocated times. No, allocate space in the bathroom too. Your teenage daughter’s numerous shampoo bottles dotted around the side of the bath, the seven-year-old twins’ bath toys scattered across the floor and hubby’s magazines lying in a wet puddle – here at Budget Maids this is what we’d term clutter and mess. Don’t put up with it!

The mini-office work space

Getting schoolwork done with all the distractions of media and entertainment is a huge challenge these days. That’s why often a dedicated ‘kids-work space’ really works. But not only should this be a media and entertainment free zone, it should also have a cleaning routine attached. After all no-one can work in mess, really. A clear surface tends to equal a clear and ordered mind and is far more inspiring than a pile of paper and crayons scattered everywhere.

How’s your home coping with the whole back-to-school routine? You can always call on our services at Budget Maids for professional assistance with house cleaning in Falls Church, maid service in Rockville or if the kids just can’t do their bit, for a cleaning service in Arlington.

image via sc.chinaz.com

Hot tips for cleaning an indoor heating system

We’ve all started to notice the slight change in the air, telling us that fall is on our doorstep.  Most people bemoan the thought of winter and it’s certainly a time when we rely on our home’s heating system. But if the thought of stale indoor air leaves you cold then it’s time to get cleaning.

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Cleaning furnace ducts – is it really necessary? The answer is no!  Only consider cleaning your air ducts if you are aware of any pest infestations, if you can visibly see mold or if excessive dirt and debris are released into your home via the ducts.  These are extreme cases, thankfully.

Prevention is better than cure. Stopping dust, dirt and other filthy matter from entering your air duct system is the best way to prevent indoor air contamination.  Regularly check your heating system’s filters for efficient functioning.  When the time comes to replace the filter system, opt for the highest quality that you can afford.  Routine vacuuming with a high quality vacuum cleaner (and that means high quality vacuum filters) is one of the best ways to ensure your indoor heating system is up to the mark.

Clean-up the components. Be sure to clean your heating system’s components at least once a year.  This means giving the furnace fan blower and furnace heat exchange a thorough clean.  If you do this regularly, your indoor air quality will last you throughout winter with no hassles. 

Cleaning indoor air and heating systems all boils down to good household cleaning routines.  And that’s where Budget Maids can help. If you need household cleaning in Potomac, a maid’s service in Olney or a cleaning service in Vienna and throughout Maryland and VA then please do get in touch!