Category Archives: Cleaning

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

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