Category Archives: Cleaning

Pets and Home Hygiene

cat in kitchenMany of the clients we work with have pets – a welcome addition to the home, but they do bring their own challenges to household cleaning and hygiene.

Pets are very popular in the US. It is thought that 37-47 percent of households have a dog, and 30-37 percent of households have a cat (this translates as roughly 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats according to the American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

The risks with animal ownership are issues such as ringworm which can be passed from animal to human; and the more serious toxoplasmosis, a parasite found in cat feces which is dangerous to pregnant women, and toxocariasis, an infection in dog feces caused by worms which can lead to blindness.

If you own a little or large bundle of fluff, here are some tips for how to juggle pets and home hygiene.

Simple hygiene is the first goal – washing hands and ensuring your children do after handling and feeding pets is good practice.

Cleaning out pet litter trays should be done by adults (unless a woman is pregnant). Feces should be scooped out on a daily basis, and the litter changed three or four times a week – daily, if there is more than one cat using it.

Keep cats off kitchen surfaces and dining tables if at all possible. It’s best to deter this behaviour from the beginning, but if you put foil on the tops of your surfaces this can discourage cats as they don’t like the feel and noise of it.

Never leave food out in the kitchen and on surfaces, as this will encourage your cat to jump up, looking for food he can steal!

Cat and dog hair is a real issue in homes so regular vacuuming is a must, but there are also other ways to pick up stubborn hairs. Running a balloon over a carpet or rub will help pick up hairs because of the static electricity, as can sprinkling the surface with a light coating of baking soda and then vacuuming. Grooming your pet regularly also helps reduce hair shedding.

If you cat or dog has a little accident in the house, make sure you clean it up as soon as possible. It is also important to use a product which contains ingredients that will get rid of the ammonia in urine because pets will return to the same place to pee if they can smell it. (Remember, their sense of smell is much more powerful than ours.)

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

How to Clean your Fridge

fridgeThere are some cleaning jobs that are regular – washing up the dishes, for example – and other jobs that are more occasional.

Cleaning the refrigerator comes under the category of occasional, but how often is occasional – particularly when it comes to a domestic item that has a key role in your family’s health and safety?

Of course, that is a subjective question. In a busy household where family members are opening and closing the refrigerator all the time then cleaning requirements are greater than in a bachelor household where the fridge is used solely for the storage of beers (we hope we are not stereotyping bachelors here!).

In general though, it is a good idea to aim for cleaning the fridge once a week. Here’s how to do it:

  • Remove all the food from the fridge, take out the shelves and wash them in warm soapy water.
  • Use warm, soapy water to clean the interior of the fridge. Bicarbonate of soda will help shift stains (mix with water to make a paste). Remember to rinse well and dry everything.
  • If your fridge smells, soak a cotton wool ball or sponge in lemon juice and store in the fridge for several hours.
  • Use a white wine or cider vinegar solution to clean the stainless steel elements of your fridge.
  • Clean the door seals, as they can harbour germs, dirt and food debris. Clean with a sponge or cloth and soapy water and dry thoroughly.
  • DO NOT use bleach or household disinfectants inside your fridge, as traces will end up in your food.
  • Make sure all of your leftovers and food are stored in airtight, clean containers as this is the best way to maintain fridge hygiene.

In general, you should keep an eye on everything in the fridge – throwing out items that have gone past their use-by date or have turned moldy. It’s easy to forget opened jars of sauces and condiments, but keep a regular check on them.

Clean spills as soon as they happen because they will contaminate other things in the food and result in bad smells.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Columbia, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Oakton, Reston, Vienna and a host of other places. Why not give us a call today and let us help you with all your cleaning needs?

Pic thanks to Flickr.

Spring-cleaning your love life

Valentines_CandyDoes your romance need a spring clean? As Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, here at Budget Maids we thought we would take the opportunity of sharing our top tips for spring-cleaning your love life!

Spring cleaning is thought of as a way of refreshing and rejuvenating your home – and the same advice can be applied to relationships. Just as our homes need regular clear-outs of clutter, so does the way we interact with our nearest and dearest.

Firstly, let’s look at relationship clutter. Just as many of us are guilty of holding onto too many things that are neither useful nor beautiful, the same hoarding tendencies can happen in a marriage or relationship.

Are you holding on to past resentments? Are they clouding the way you feel about your partner? It’s time to get them out in the open and clear the air. Remember, any discussion should be neutral – use lots of ‘I’ words and ‘I feel’, rather than ‘your mother always criticizes me, why don’t you stand up for me?’.

Instead try, ‘I feel that your mother criticizes me a lot, what do you think – or could you stand up for me?’

Past resentments can fester, which is why it is important to talk about your feelings. This is two-way traffic, and you need to be open to your spouse or partner also wanting to raise issues.

A beautiful house needs regular housework – small tasks carried out on a regular basis are much easier than having to do a huge clean every few months or so, and much less daunting.

The same can be said of intimacy. Small, regular gestures of intimacy create closeness – gestures as simple as cuddling up next to your partner when watching TV, or kissing goodbye and hello every day, and holding hands when out walking are gestures you should adopt.

When small gestures are part of your daily life, it makes the bigger intimacy gestures and talks easier.

Many couples fall into the trap of losing sight of each other’s thoughts, wishes and desires because conversations can become limited to domesticity – with people reduced to exchanging details about housework, their whereabouts or the kids.

Recall your early dating days and ask all the questions you used to ask then – questions about your partner’s hobbies and interests, ask them what they think of a TV program, ask them what they haven’t done in a long time and what they would love to do.

Finally, cleanliness in the home is wonderfully conducive to romance. Without the distraction of mess and clutter, you are free to focus on the man or woman in front of you.

Have a fun Valentine’s Day folks!

 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 create a clean and tidy home for you and your loved ones?

 

Natural Ways to Scent Your Home

What's that smell...?

What’s that smell…?

What’s that smell? Hopefully, it’s a nice one!

If you’ve recently used Budget Maids’ cleaning services, chances are that house smells beautifully fresh and clean. But if haven’t been so lucky, what are some of the best ways to keep your house smelling fresh and clean?

 

There are a wealth of air freshening products on the market, but if you are looking for natural solutions then there are plenty out there which will give your home a pleasant fragrance.

You can create your own essential oils diffuser by taking a spray bottle, adding 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oils, adding water and then spraying it in rooms.

Vanilla extract dabbed on light bulbs will give rooms a lovely warm scent when the lights are switched on. You will only need a tiny amount.

If you have a cat or cats and they use an indoor litter tray, be careful where you place it. If it’s near radiators, the smell will intensify. The general advice for litter trays is to remove feces from them daily and change the whole lot twice a week (although you may need to do this more regularly if more than one cat is using the box.

Tea leaves mixed with the litter also improve the smell.

Slices or halves of lemon have multiple purposes. A half lemon microwaved on full power for 30-45 seconds will remove an odors from the microwaves (as well as making it easier to clean).

You can also place lemons in a saucepan with herbs, cover with water and bring to a gentle simmer. The scent will give your home a pleasant smell.

The juice of lemons or cider vinegar can be put down sinks, left for 20 minutes and then flushed away with boiling water to help minimize smells from drains.

For your bedroom, placing a drop or two of lavender essential oil on your bedside light or placing a few drops on your pillow case will create a nice smell in the room. It might also help you to sleep as lavender is often used to induce sleep.

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Oakton, a maid service in Olney or cleaning services in Rockville and many other places. Why not give us a call today and let us help you with your cleaning needs in 2015?

 

 

 

Your Cleaning Resolutions for 2016

happy new yearHappy New Year! No doubt you’ve been busy making resolutions to start the new year on a positive note.

Budget Maids, your friendly cleaning service which provides house cleaning Columbia, cleaning service Potomac, maid service Arlington and more would like to suggest some resolutions that don’t involve giving up cake, drinking only green tea and getting up at 5.30am to run five miles before breakfast. No, our resolutions only apply to cleaning – the kinds of jobs that you often put it off, but that will ultimately make your life much better!

Tub/shower sinkhole – once a month, pull on your rubber gloves and remove the trapped hair, greasy lint and other yukky stuff that gets trapped down there and stops the water draining away properly. After that, sanitize the drain with ½ cup hydrogen peroxide poured down and left to sit for an hour before being flushed through with warm water.

Home computer/laptop – another monthly job. Unplug the keyboard. Turn it upside down and tap to get rid of the crumbs. Ideally, you don’t eat anywhere near your laptop or computer but those crumbs often sneak in anyway. Wipe the surface with a clean, damp cloth to tidy it up.

Manage your mail. Open all of your mail while stood over the recycling box or bin so that you can dispose of all the unwanted items quickly.

Get everyone in your house to clean the shower after use every time. A quick spray with a shower cleaner while the walls are wet and warm and then a wipe down with a squeegee will keep your shower soap scum free and prevent the build-up of mold.

Clear out the kitchen. Make 2016 the year of your minimal kitchen. Get rid of all those gadgets that aren’t used regularly (the bread maker, the pasta maker), any chipped crockery or tools such and melon ballers and the like unless you do use them frequently. If you are feeling very virtuous, empty out all your drawers and give them a clean. Drawer organizers will make your life easier too, so why not invest in them?

Recycle presents and old clothes. For more space in general be ruthless with your de-cluttering and get rid of toys that are unwanted and unused and any clothing that hasn’t been worn in six months.

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 stick to your cleaning resolutions?

Our Guide to Post-Christmas clutter clearing (II)

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

Two Women Playing Video Games in Messy Living Area

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivate that Post-Christmas clear-up

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

christmasbauble

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

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

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

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

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

Our tips for your Christmas clean-up

We all want our houses spic and span for the festive season and Christmas Day in particular. Apart from relatives and friends we never know who else might pop in to visit.

ChristmasTree

So, here’s our Budget Maids quick tips to getting your household looking ship shape – without having to spend too many hours on it.

Forget cleaning the whole house. When short for time it makes sense to simply concentrate on the rooms which will be seen ie the sitting room and the dining area. The bathroom is another must-do.

Recycle the kids toys before Christmas Day. You know they’re going to get a whole lot more on Dec 25 and the old ones will take second place to the new toys anyhow. Therefore to ensure you have enough storage room for the new toys take all the ones they haven’t played with for months now down to the local charity shop. Or sell them on eBay.

Arrange those food cupboards now. Get rid of all the stuff past its sell-by date and make sure you have all the essentials sitting there ready to be grabbed when needed. This includes coffee, tea bags, condiments, sugar, flour etc.

Defrost the freezer in preparation for Christmas dinner. You know things get so busy in the last run-up to Christmas Day that you’ll never have time then. You’re going to need the extra space for the additional food you’ll have to store to feast the rest of the family who are bound to drop in over the festive season.

Get your storage organised. While pulling out the Christmas decorations give the cupboard a little tidy up while you’re at it. It’ll be easier to store Christmas presents there as the days go by and the number of wrapped presents start to mount up.

And on that note, make sure you have enough bin bags with which to throw out all that unwrapped Christmas paper and boxes. No-one wants all that hanging around the house for days.

For more cleaning and tidying tips – or for a professional house cleaning service for yourself (whether a one-of for Christmas or monthly) then do get in touch with the team here at Budget Maids. We provide cleaning services in Reston, a maids service in Falls Church and house cleaning in Arlington and surrounds. In fact, we serve all areas of Maryland and VA.

Get your oven grunge-free for christmas

Oven cleaning – it’s not something the majority of us look forward to. But let’s face it, it has to be done. And now, with the prospect of lots of Christmas cooking on the horizon, is probably as good a time as any. Why? Well, an oven that isn’t clean won’t distribute heat properly meaning the quality and taste of your food could be affected.

Ovencleaning

So, roll up the sleeves and lets get cracking. Read on for the Budget Maids blog to getting a grunge-free oven:

Keep it clean on a regular basis. This makes sense of course. It’s just finding the time to do so. Making the time is worth it though. It means that, come the end of the year, cleaning your oven won’t be as intensive and therefore will take half as long (meaning you will have time to enjoy a congratulatory glass of wine afterwards).

Chemical or natural cleaners? If using chemical cleaners it’s important to protect your hands using rubber gloves. To let them work their magic allow the chemicals to remain on the oven for a few hours or even overnight. Expect to engage lots of elbow grease when scrubbing off and rinsing.

Natural cleaners include white vinegar and baking soda. Make a thick paste using water and baking soda and apply to the inside of the oven. Leave for several hours then rinse off with a mixture of white vinegar and water via a bottle spray. The paste will fizz. Leave for another few hours then remove with a damp sponge. Voila.

Now you can be assured the only thing that could potentially ruin your Christmas dinner will be your own culinary talents rather than your oven!

For more cleaning tips from the Budget Maids team do check out our regular blog. It has plenty of ideas and advice for home cleaning. Alternatively if you simply don’t have time and would like to employ our services then please get in touch. We offer a maids service in Renton, house cleaning in Potomac and cleaning services in Falls Church and surrounds in VA and Maryland.

Keep your carpets in tip-top condition

Carpets may not be as fashionable as polished floors or tiles in some quarters these days ie the sitting room or hall way. However, we all love the feel of thick pile under our feet when we get out of bed in the morning.

CarpetCleaning

There’s also nothing better than snuggling into a warm rug in front of the fire on a cold day. So now that we’ve established we’ll never let our carpets go, here at Budget Maids we’ll tell you how to keep them clean and looking their best. Not only will this ensure that your carpet will be around for longer, but it will also make your home more hygenic and make future cleaning far easier.

How often should you vacuum a carpet?

Our recommendation is once a day for high-traffic areas such as the hallway and twice a week for the bedroom or study. Remember to use the brush attachments for particular areas such as the edges of carpets.

Clean stains straight away

Failure to clean up as soon as a liquid is spilled on the carpet can lead to more difficult removal and even, in the worst scenario, pemanent staining. The best way to do so is to blot rather than wipe up the stain using a towel. This will soak up the worst of the liquid and prevent it spreading. Next, add four teaspoons of white vinegar to a litre of water and a little carpet shampoo or washing up liquid.

Why professional cleaning is essential

Even if you do comply with the above, there is still a chance dust and bed mites can nestle into your carpets. The way to permanently remove these is to have your carpets professionally cleaned on an annual basis. Here at Budget Maids we offer professional carpet cleaning as well as a number other cleaning services such as a maids service in Falls Church, house cleaning in Potomac and general cleaning services in Arlington and throughout Maryland and VA.