Category Archives: Cleaning

How to Prepare for an Open House – Budget Maids Top Tips

house for saleAre you selling your house? First impressions count when it comes to your home and ensuring it impresses potential buyers.

Read on to discover Budget Maids’ tips for what do when preparing for an open house…

Clean and tidy – as you might expect from the leading provider of house cleaning services in Oakton (!), a clean and tidy home is a must. Your kitchen and bathroom need to be spotless. Remember extras such as skirting boards, tiling, grouting and cleaning appliances – and ensuring there is no mold anywhere.

Clutter-free – while some people have the imagination to picture your home without your belongings, make it much easier for everyone by getting rid of all of your clutter. It’s distracting and it makes rooms look smaller than they really are.

Let the light in. Clean your windows and all of the curtains and blinds, dust light fixtures and make sure all your bulbs are working so that your home lets in lots of light and looks great.

Sweetly scented. This especially applies if you have pets. Your sense of smell might have gotten used to doggy or kitty aromas, but strangers won’t be used to it. The day before, thoroughly clean your home, open the windows if possible to let plenty of fresh air in, take out the trash, clean out the refrigerator and light some scented candles, or plug in some air fresheners. (Be careful with these as some of them can be overwhelmingly strong.)

Look down and focus on floors. If possible have the carpets steam cleaned, mop the tiles and polish all hardwood floors. Clean and gleaming underfoot is really important.

Apply some paint. Again, if possible, apply fresh paint which will give your home a really updated and clean look. Now is not the time to choose whacky colors though – neutral shades are best.

Tidy up your exteriors. Paint your front door and clean and polish the door knob and fixtures. A wreath adds a nice touch. Also ensure that your yard or garden is tidy, flowers and shrubs will make the place look very welcoming and of course your lawn should be neat and tidy.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Oakton, a maid service in Arlington, house cleaning in Olney or cleaning services in Potomac and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you to make sure that your home is ready for an open house?

 

 

 

How to Have a Halloween Party for Kids

halloweenThis year, Halloween falls on a Saturday – which is excellent news for anyone who loves Halloween parties as much as we do here at Budget Maids!

If you are planning a Halloween party for the children (and young-at-heart adults), here are a few ideas for a perfect Halloween party (and remember Budget Maids will be on hand to help out afterwards if you need house cleaning Arlington…)

The setting – if you switch off the main lights, and install lamps behind book shelves and on different levels you’ll easily be able to create a shadowy and spooky atmosphere. For a spooky soundtrack, you can download free Halloween music and sounds here.

For a Jack O’Lantern, you can find hundreds of templates to download here that will give you an outline for carving your perfect pumpkin face.

The costumes – why not offer a prize for the best home-made costume? Of course, the shops are full of ready-made Disney and Marvel characters, but the best costumes are hand-made with love, right?

The food – Halloween cookies of course! But if you want to create some scary-themed foods, there are some great ideas here at Taste of Home, and also Food Network.

The games – opt for the traditional Halloween games, such as ducking for apples. Do this one outside if you can. You’ll need a large, clean washing up bowl filled with water which you then float apples in. The object of the game is for children to kneel down and grab hold of apples with their mouths.

Another idea is to hang donuts from strings on a tree branch and again, children try to eat the donuts with their hands behind their back.

You can also do the Mummy Wrap game – divide your children into two teams, and give them plenty of white toilet paper. The object of the game is to wrap one team member completely in the tissue paper and the ‘mummy’ then has to race to the end of the garden or room to win.

Buy some cheap witches’ hats and attach them to a board. Buy some rings too and make the object of the game to get the rings to land on the hats. For younger children, you can allow them to stand nearer the board.

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 clean up after your Halloween party?

 

Cleaning Nightmares – Cleaning Services in Columbia Can Help!

Yikes!

Yikes!

No doubt that cleaning can be a tough gig from time to time, but when we carry out house cleaning in Columbia or maid services in Potomac – it’s unlikely we’ll face the same kind of challenge unlucky Terry Wilkins faced recently.

The pet shop owner had been cleaning a reptile’s cage in his shop when the reptile in question – a 20ft python – attacked him, biting him, wrapping itself around his neck and starting to crush his neck. Luckily for Mr Wilkins, two nearby police officers were able to step in and save his life.

The attack got us thinking – what other unfortunate cleaning incidents have there been? We might think ourselves unlucky if we turn up at a house and find that the owners have had a raucous party (though of course, we’ll clear it up quickly and efficiently and your house will be as good as new), but attacks by killer snakes would be pretty unfortunate.

Here’s some other cleaning nightmares and how to deal with them easily:

Cleaning the cooker. Ideally, you do this after every roast dinner, right? No, you leave it till black, evil-smelling fumes flood out and then do it! Read our easy tips for making cleaning your cooker a breeze.

Emptying the vacuum bag. Urgh – what a job. But your vacuum cleaner works better if you empty is regularly, the motor won’t have to work as hard and your cleaner will last longer. To do it easily, turn the vacuum on and let it run for 30 seconds so any dirt and fluff gets pushed into the bag.

Take the cleaner outside if you can to empty the dust bag and empty thoroughly. If possible, rinse it in hot water or put in the washing machine and dry before re-installing.

Cleaning dead beasties from overhead light fixtures. Do you ever look up at your light fixtures and shudder? Mmm, the sight of all those dead bugs ain’t a nice one. Turn off the light and arm yourself with a stepladder and unscrew the bulbs and fixture so you can give it a proper clean.

Scouring the kitchen bin. No matter how waterproof your garbage bags are and how regularly you clean out the bin, some kind of liquid is always going to escape and sit at the bottom of the bin getting moldy and really smelly. Take the bin outside and hose it down if possible, using an old towel or kitchen paper to pat it dry. Pet mess cleaners sprayed inside and outside the bin can help neutralise nasty odors.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in 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 with your cleaning nightmares?

 

 

 

The Top 10 Wardrobe Tricks Every Girl Should Know

Create calm in your closet.

Create calm in your closet.

Here at Budget Maids, we sure appreciate the problem of an over-flowing wardrobe… Heck, what’s a girl to do when fashion is so exciting and there are so many options to choose from?!

When we carry out maid services in Arlington, or house cleaning in Vienna, lots of clients ask us what they can do to keep their wardrobes under control.

 

Why not follow our top 10 wardrobe tricks for neatness and order in your home?

  1. First of all fold your tees properly. You know the problem – too many tees take up room, and if you don’t have the space to hang them up, then they can end up wrinkled and not ready-to-wear. Lay the tee shirt flat, fold it in half length-ways then fold the sleeves in. Fold the tee shirt in half down the way and then half again if you can.
  2. And also fold up your lingerie. We know, the temptation is to cram it into drawers, but folding is much more space-saving. See this great guide for how to do it.
  3. Did you know that you can use the tabs from soda cans to create double hangers that take up less room in your closet than two separate hangers? That way, you can pair up complete outfits. See how to do it at ideasbottle.
  4. Lint balls removal – are you avoiding certain sweaters and tops because of the lint balls? They are easy to remove, either using a disposable razor or a pumice stone. Lightly rub with the pumice stone and then use a lint roller to remove.
  5. Hang clothes efficiently. If you find the job of hanging up clothes tedious, then follow this neat tip for hanging up multiple items at once. Job done!
  6. Clean out your wardrobe properly once a month. Wardrobes and closets attract lots of dust so it’s worth clearing out all of the clothes and giving it a good going-over with polish and a duster regularly.
  7. You should also organize your closet according to the seasons – save time and space by storing all your winter clothing away when it’s summer time and vice versa.
  8. Clear out everything that doesn’t fit, or needs repaired too. We ladies like to hang on to our size 4s optimistically hoping we’ll slim back into them, but be honest yourself and get rid to save space. The same goes for anything that’s too big or needs repaired – either repair it, or chuck.
  9. Organize your clothing by color. This saves time as you now have matching items next to each other.
  10. And finally, keep special outfits in covers. Special outfits don’t tend to get worn as often so keeping them in covers will keep them clean and ready to wear, as well as easy to find when the occasion demands.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in 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 ensure that your closet is neat and tidy all year round?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Guide to Menu Planning

We're not sure you'll be having these foods for breakfast...

We’re not sure you’ll be having these foods for breakfast…

Fall already… where did the summer go? If you’re anything like us at Budget Maids you will be wondering what on earth happened to this year as the countdown to Christmas and the holiday season begins…

We’re all about offering you quick and easy cleaning tips and advice on this blog, but one idea you might like to consider in addition is menu planning. Menu planning can free up a lot of your time, not to mention saving you money so we always recommend it.

 

 

Here’s our guide to menu planning.

  • Start with your family’s likes and dislikes. It’s no good planning to make lots of curries if your family doesn’t like spicy foods. List the favourite dishes and add in one or two from your recipe collection, just to mix things up.
  • Think about your week ahead – if you have a busy week coming up, you’ll need meals and recipes that are very quick and easy to do, ready-made burgers and buns for example, ready cooked chicken or omelettes with salad.
  • Why not involve the whole family? Ask your husband if he’d like to cook a dish (if he doesn’t already!) or your older kids, and ask for any meal requests.
  • Write down all your planned recipes and meals for the week, including breakfasts and lunches. If you want to be really geeky, you could put the meals and links to the recipes on a shared calendar so the whole family can see it.
  • Are there dishes that can be made in large quantities – such as stews and casseroles? These are great because you can make up huge batches and store them in the freezer.
  • Now list all the ingredients you need for each dish, and check this against what you already have in your store cupboards.
  • Shop for the ingredients, sticking strictly to what’s on your list as this will help you keep shopping bills to a minimum.

 

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in 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 with all your household cleaning tasks so you can get on with menu planning and more?

 

The Best Bathroom De-Cluttering Ideas

clutter bathroomHands up who’s guilty of bathroom clutter?

Many of you who have put a hand up may be female, but the huge growth in popularity of male grooming in the last decade or so, means that over-proliferation of products can just as likely be attributed to the man of the house as it is to the woman. Here are our top tips for the best bathroom de-cluttering ideas.

Make Your Products Fit In

First off all, decanting products can offer a perfect solution for storage. Buy matching soap dispensers that can also double up for all your lotions and potions and give a more uniform look to your bathroom.

Employ ruthlessness when it comes to maintaining tidiness in the bathroom. Storing your best toiletries out of sight in custom-built storage helps to maintain the clean, designer look of a bathroom.

Banish “Bathroom Creep”

It’s a good idea to decide what belongs in the bathroom – and what definitely doesn’t. Many of us can admit to “bathroom creep”, where more and more products find themselves in the bathroom. Toiletries are fair enough, but should make-up be kept there? And if you don’t have lots of storage don’t keep your toiletry spares in the bathroom.

Another way to instantly de-clutter a bathroom is to look at the towels you are storing in there. Is it necessary to keep them all in there, or should you keep most of them in a cupboard outside of the bathroom?

Cleaning Products Storage

When it comes to your bathroom cleaning products – sprays for the shower and bath as well as air freshener and toilet cleaner belong in the bathroom. The hard-core cleaners though, such as drain cleaners and sink unblockers should be stored in a safe place elsewhere – out of the reach of little fingers.

One final suggestion for storage is hooks for your bath robes. It may sound simple, but being able to hang your robe up while bathing or showering feels very “hotel-like” and therefore luxurious.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Oakton, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you ensure that your bathroom is sparkling clean and clutter-free?

Pic – thanks to Splunkton on Flickr

 

Top Tips for Cleaning Home Appliances!

You might need to use drastic measures to clean your washing machine.

You might need to use drastic measures to clean your washing machine.

It happens to us all – one day we’re using the washing machine, the dishwasher or the refrigerator and suddenly we notice just how dirty it is…

Whether you’re a domestic homeowner, a landlord, or a tenant looking to get your home ship-shape before moving to somewhere else, the idea of cleaning home appliances can be a daunting one for anyone.

 

If you have a hectic schedule or a particular dislike of such jobs, Budget Maids®

can definitely help as we specialize in providing a professional service which will leave your home appliances spick and span. But for those of you who want to tackle the job yourselves, here are our top tips for cleaning home appliances.

Dishwasher

Dirty dishwashers can’t clean crockery and cutlery properly – and food morsels can build up inside them, leading to unpleasant odors. Replace the dishwasher salt and the rinse aid regularly (we advise you to do this once a month) and clean the filter out as that’s where those food morsels can hide. Finish up the job by cleaning around door edges to prevent rotting and buff the fitting of the door. Job done!

Fridge/Freezer Firstly, turn the appliance off, remove all the food, and take out the drawers and shelves. Leave to defrost for a few hours and then clean the interior with warm soapy water. Diluted sodium bicarbonate can also do the trick and it’s also good for removing bad odors.

Leave the door open to allow the interior to dry and scrub the shelves and drawers in the sink in warm, soapy water. Rinse well, dry and replace. Turn the fridge back on and wait for the temperature inside to drop to the appropriate point before putting your food back in.

Washing Machine Wipe the inside of the rubber band surrounding the opening to prevent water residue from settling and forming a grimy, moldy layer that could lead to rot. About once a month, clean the powder holder. Remove it from the washing machine and rinse it in the sink with warm, soapy water.

Dislodge the soap-encrusted areas and then replace. Use a sponge and a bowl of warm soapy water to wipe down the entire front of the machine once every two weeks and then polish with a micro fiber cloth for shine.

Handheld Housekeeping Devices:

Vacuum cleaner – empty the contents after every use, check the brushes aren’t obstructed by large debris, and check the cable for cracks or kinks.

Iron – after use, pour out any leftover water and apply a bespoke iron-cleaning solution to get rid of limescale and give the base a wipe with a wet cloth.

Blender – disconnect the grinder from the handle and soak the blending attachment in a bowl of hot, soapy water. Carefully remove the stray bits of food with a sponge, dry and reattach to the blender.

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 your home appliances are sparkling clean and working efficiently for you and your family? 

Horrible Cleaning Jobs Made Simple

Don't let crumbs build up in your toaster.

Don’t let crumbs build up in your toaster.

Here at Budget Maids, we love our work – no really, there is something very satisfying about cleaning and our customers always appreciate returning to a clean home.

But we do know there are certain horrible cleaning jobs that everyone hates – from cleaning the oven, to mopping up after pet ‘accidents’, some chores are truly hideous…

 

Read on to discover our suggestions for making the cleaning jobs you hate much more manageable:

Emptying the vacuum bag or bin. Once the bag is more than half full it begins to lose suction power and it needs to work harder – the risk then being that the motor will burn out. Try to empty it every month, or every two weeks if you have pets.

To empty the bag, run the vacuum for 30 seconds to get rid of any residual dirt and then unplug. If you have a disposable bag, stick duct tape over the hole where the bag connects to the vacuum to minimize the spread of dust.

For a reusable bag, take the vacuum outside and place the bag inside a garbage bag and shake out. Rinse in hot water and allow to dry out before reattaching.

De-crumbing the toaster. This job is important because the crumbs can burn and the smoke will set off your smoke alarm. Unplug the toaster and remove the crumb tray, throwing away the crumbs. Wash and dry the tray and turn the toaster upside down to remove any remaining crumbs. Try to do this every month.

Cleaning heat and air-conditioning vents and radiators. As dust builds up, your heating and cooling systems need to work harder – and your fuel bills rise. Try to clean them at least once a year – two if possible.

For the vents, turn off the heating or air conditioning and use the crevice tool of a vacuum over the floor and base vents. For ceiling vents, spread a sheet below and protect your head with a cap and use the crevice tool or a special duster to reach.

Remove the vent covers and wash with warm, soapy water. Replace when dry.

For radiators, dust between the fins with a bottle brush but don’t use water, which can cause the radiators to rust.

What’s your least favorite cleaning job? And do you have any tips that might help other people with it? Let us know!

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 the very worst cleaning jobs.

Pic thanks to John Bell.

 

 

How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up

You see? We gotta put all the sand in this bucket and that will make mom happy.

You see? We gotta put all the sand in this bucket and that will make mom happy.

We love the summer vacation here at Budget Maids, but there is no doubt that this time of year brings its own challenges.

If you’ve got the kids at home, then they are probably creating a little bit more mess than usual here and there. Hey, it’s no biggie and kids will be kids, but there are some tips and tricks you can use to avoid major fall-outs and tantrums (yours!) and keep everybody onside when it comes to a clean and tidy home.

 

 

Here’s how to get your kids to clean up…

New rules for the holidays. You probably have cleaning rules that are supposed to work all year round, but it can be worth re-establishing the rules at the start of the vacation so the whole family knows what to expect – such as putting away toys when they have finished with them, alerting you to spills and putting clothes in the laundry basket when they are dirty.

Follow through your rules. It’s all very well telling your kids what you expect, but you must all tell them what will happen if rules aren’t followed – and then do what you said you would do. For example, you might say that if clothes are left lying round more than two times then pocket money or an allowance will be docked. Decide the consequence and stick to it.

Do not clean up after your kids if they don’t do what you ask. This teaches them that they can ignore your rules, or if they whine about it or procrastinate they will get away with it. Remember – you told them the consequence and now you must carry it out.

Make cleaning up fun. This works well for younger kids – you can turn it into a competition. Who can pick up the most toys in two minutes, for example, or you can put on some music and turn it into a dance/cleaning combo!

Make yourself a good model. If you are always complaining about cleaning and tidying up, your kids will pick up on that message and think of it as a horrible chore. If you do it cheerfully, however, it will look like cleaning isn’t that bad – and make your kids more likely to want to do it. Remember too, that cleaning is a life skill. It keeps people healthy through the avoidance of germs, it gives them a sense of order and organisation and it can give them feelings of self-worth from tackling large, or difficult cleaning jobs.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Oakton, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Columbia and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you ensure that your house is kept clean all-year round?

What methods do you use to get your kids to clean up? We’d love to know. Tell us in the comments below.

 

 

Top Tips for BBQ Cleaning

A clean BBQ means better-tasting food.

A clean BBQ means better-tasting food.

Planning a barbecue for Independence Day?

Barbecues or BBQs are kinda traditional at this time of the year and here at Budget Maids we’re certainly planning a smoky feast of our own, but if there is one task we need to get out of the way fast – it’s the dreaded BBQ cleaning one!

 

Too much burnt on grease and food residue will make for a very smoky BBQ, can impair the flavor of your food and will stop your BBQ working as well as it should. Read on for our top tips for BBQ cleaning:

  • Be careful to follow the manufacturers’ instructions for your specific barbecue (and if you have lost these, remember that many manuals can be found online). Generally though, these instructions can be followed.
  • Ideally, clean the BBQ after every use by washing the cooled grill with warm soapy water. This will prevent food residue build up. A wire brush comes in very useful here.
  • Carbonizing the BBQ helps – you either turn the gas on full, or you put in charcoals, wait for them to get red-hot and then close the lid. Leave for 20 minutes, then open the BBQ and allow to cool fully before cleaning.
  • After rinsing and drying grills, rub on a light coating of neutral vegetable oil such as Canola or ground nut oil. This will help to prevent rusting.
  • One handy tip to getting rid of excess grease from grill trays is to pour it off (when it’s cooled down of course) onto cat litter if you have it, as this soaks up the grease. If not, pour out the grease into the bin or empty plastic bottles for disposal.
  • Newspaper is another ally in the BBQ grime fight. Soak old newsprint in water, place it in your BBQ as it cools down and then clean as normal. The newspaper will have steam cleaned your BBQ for you, so cleaning should be a lot easier.

Enjoy your 4th July Celebrations!

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in 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 ensure that your BBQ is clean and ready for summer fun?