5 tips for keeping your carpets clean

Even though hardwood floors are more commonplace these days – and understandably so since they make our rooms look larger and tidier – there’s still space in many of our hearts for a lovely thick warm winter carpet. And indeed, here at Budget Maids we can testify that many of you still have them in your homes – all year round.

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What puts many householders off carpeting their home is the need to keep them clean.  Carpets tend to harbor bugs and germs unless vacuumed regularly. In addition, regular foot traffic results in crushed fibers and a flattened look. Here’s our tips to help keep your carpets looking their best:

1.  Vacuum your carpet at least once a week in order to get rid of the accumulated dust and dirt. The thicker the carpet the more dirt it’ll tend to hold. For hallways, bedrooms and areas of the living room which are regularly used, get out the vacuum at least three times a week.

2.  To vacuum correctly separate the carpet into quadrants and completely vacuum one patch several times before going on to the next.

3.   To get rid of smells put some baking soda into the bag in your vacuum or sprinkle it directly onto the carpet.

4.   If you’ve decided to move your furniture around and notice there’s heavy depressions left in the carpet then raise the fibers back up by holding a steam iron over the area so that the steam reaches the fibres (but doesn’t touch them). To get the fibers to stand up simply scrape them with a spoon afterwards.

5.   Rejuvenate your carpet by giving it some shine and spring back through steam cleaning or professional dry cleaning. It’ll get rid of the bugs and revive those fibres enough to give it bounce again. 

At Budget Maids we offer a dry carpet cleaning system which means there’s no chance of water damage to existing furnishings or wooden floors and no lengthy drying off period either. We also provide a House Cleaning service in Potomac, Maid’s Service Olney and a Cleaning Service in Reston as well as most areas in Maryland and VA. See here for further details.

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Budget Maids Tips for Keeping Your Flooring Clean

These days most of us have wooden flooring in our homes although you probably also have the odd rug and carpeted room as well. They tend to be the areas in our home which get the grubbiest and attract the most spills and stains. As a result, here at Budget Maids we’ve listed our tried and tested tips for cleaning all types of flooring from laminate to linoleum to tiles and carpet.

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Laminate floors

These look great but they really need to be swept on a daily basis (whether using a broom or a vacuum). To get rid of marks and to generally brighten up they can also be wiped with warm water (although using as little water as possible). Special cleaning fluid for laminate is also available but can prove quite costly.

 

Linoleum

A favourite flooring material because it’s so versatile and inexpensive, you can add life to linoleum by stripping and reapplying its wax coating. But if it’s stains or marks you want rid off then it’s a fine nylon pad and some elbow grease you’re going to need (although do massage gently).

 

Tiles (ceramic flooring)

The best way to keep tiles clean is to sweep them and give them a quick once over with a wet mop in a little detergent every few days.The grout between the tiles can be kept clean by scouring it with a soft brush dipped in a little bleach and water.

 

Carpets

If something’s just been spilled on your carpet then get a tissue or absorbent cloth and try to blot it out. Next, wipe it inwards (ie from the edge of the stain in towards the centre so you don’t spread it around more). In the worst case when there’s still a mark left try cleaning it with hot water and a little mild detergent (do a patch test first though).

 

You can always find a host of cleaning tips and advice at our website Budgetmaids.com. We provide house cleaning in Vienna, a maids service in Potomac and a cleaning service in Arlington as well as other areas of VA and Maryland.

 

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Eco cleaning solutions from your kitchen cupboards

Here at Budget Maids we like our eco tips and this week we wanted to tell you about two food-related items most of us have in our kitchen which not only improve our meals but are also great cleaning solutions for our homes.

It sounds rather suspect but were you aware, for example, that potatoes were great at getting rust off cast iron and aluminum pots and pans? Neither were we until we tried it – and were might impressed.

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All you need to have those pots shining as good as new is a potato and some table salt (or baking soda). Just halve the potato and rub the flat side it in a saucer of salt. Now just position it over the rust in the pot and rub until it’s gone. Sounds simple? It is!

The reason it works is because potatoes contain oxalic acid which helps rid the rust and the salt is an abrasive.

Our other favorite cleaning item found in the cupboard is white vinegar. Why is this condiment so great? Well, how about the fact it gets rid of soap scum and grease? And that’s just for starters. It can also deodorize and disinfect thanks to the fact it contains acetic acid – so goodbye mold and other household nasties.

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At this time of year we tend to have our barbecue grills going non-stop. Well, if you want to clean them thoroughly, get some vinegar. Just spray onto a warm barbecue liquid from a bottle made up of half vinegar/water. Leave to sit for 10 minutes then with a piece of foil coated in vinegar scrub the grill (repeat) then rinse.

Get a smoother iron going by cleaning the iron plate with vinegar. Just pour a mixture of vinegar and water into the iron’s water chamber, turn to ‘steam’ setting and iron a piece of discarded fabric to clean out the iron. Leave switched on for five minutes then repeat the process – this time just with water – once the iron has cooled.

You can find more cleaning tips today at our Budget Maids website as well as information about our house cleaning, maids service and general cleaning services in VA and Maryland including areas such as Vienna, Olney, Oakton and Arlington.

Keep your bathroom clean at all times

It’s so easy to keep your bathroom looking gleaming and new at all times if you follow these easy to implement tips from Budget Maids below:

  • Get rid of clutter. The more ‘stuff’ you have lying around your bathroom the more surfaces there are for dust and dirt to cling to. Only have out on display what you really need – put the rest of it inside a cosmetic/toilet bag or in the mirrored cupboard.
  • Make sure there’s always something to clean the bathroom with to hand. You probably already have a toilet brush. Keep facecloths in a basket for cleaning with as you go along (make sure they’re pretty so they look like part of the décor). You can use these to clean surfaces and mirrors as well as the shower every now and again (just squirt a little shower cleaner on them).

Why is it so important to keep your bathroom clean? Well, as you’ve probably guessed, there’s more chance of picking up some sort of infection from here than in any other room in your home (apart from the kitchen, perhaps). And it’s not just because the surfaces haven’t been wiped in a while either.

A study at Leeds General Infirmary in England for instance, discovered that C difficile bacteria was 12 times more likely to be in the air if the toilet was flushed without the lid being closed. Think of that landing on a nearby toothbrush.

 

And here’s another awful statistic for you – a study, this time at the University of Arizona, discovered that a toilet paper dispenser was likely to be have up to 150 times more bacteria on it that a toilet seat. The paper towel dispenser had 50 times as much.

Do you have any great time-saving bathroom cleaning tips you’d like to share with us?  We’re a cleaning service in VA and Maryland. This typically involves services such as house cleaning in Columbia, cleaning service in Vienna or a maid service in Potomac. Find out more about what we offer right here.

 

 

Perfect that patio of yours with our Budget Maids cleaning tips

At this time of year most of us are spending just about all our time outdoors so our patios are getting a lot of traffic. As a result it’s important to keep them clean and looking in great shape. At Budget Maids we’ll give you some tips here on exactly how to do that.

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·         Declutter

One way to make sure you actually want to go out there and enjoy your outdoor lounge is to make sure there are no bikes, broken plant pots and tools lying around so forbid the kids (and the husband) to leave anything lying around. If there is anything there right now just gather it up and hide it away out of sight in the shed.

·         Weeds

Get rid of weeds between paving by scraping them out with a kitchen knife or a specially designed patio weeder. You could always cut the weeds down with a strimmer but they’ll be sure to surface again pretty soon afterwards. Weed killer can be an effective route – providing there are no pets or wildlife around (and you don’t have a garden pond it can run downstream in to). 

·         Scrub

Hot soapy water is the best bet for cleaning slabs that aren’t too dirty. If there’s moss though a patio cleaner usually works wonders and you’ll only need to brush the dirt off (although this does involve a lot of back bending).  A water hose can get rid of dirt that’s been there a while and if the area is really bad then a pressure hose on a low setting should do the job (but look out for the paving as this can damage the surface. Keep away from grouted areas too as it could take it out).

For more cleaning tips on making the best of your home take a look at our website today. We provide house cleaning services in Potomac, house cleaning Reston and a maid service in Arlington – as well as other areas in VA and Maryland.

Make sure your July 4 party goes with a bang

Tomorrow is July 4 and most of us – including the team here at Budget Maids – will be celebrating American Independence Day party style. But of course, before we do that, it usually means a big clean – both outdoors and in.

We’ve a few tips for you right here to ensure you make the best use of your time prior to your July 4 party. After all, who wants to spend all their pre-party time cleaning, right?

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·         Only clean the rooms you know people will go into

That usually means the bedroom where you plan to leave your guests’ jackets, the kitchen area, toilet and the porch. It might be an idea to clean the sitting room too though – just in case it rains and the party has to move indoors.

·         Get the other family members to help

Why should you end up having to do all the cleaning on your own? If everyone in your household mucks in it means the house and garden will be finished much quicker and you’ll be able to spend more time planning the food and going to the store to buy it.

·         Clean the grill

We’re guessing that if you’re like us you’ll be hosting a barbecue. It’s often easy to overlook cleaning the grill as you’re so busy organizing everything else. Depending on what type of grill you have this mostly just involves scraping down the grill tray and soaking it with lots of hot soapy water. Remember to do it though otherwise your food will have a greasy taste from last time round.

Of course there’s another way to get all the household cleaning done prior to your July 4 event. At Budget Maids we regularly get called for one-off event clean-ups – both pre and post event. If that’s the kind of service you believe you’d benefit from then please give us a call or see our website here.

We undertake house cleaning in Columbia, provide a cleaning service in Olney and a maid’s service in Vienna – as well as other areas of Virginia and Maryland.

Clean up everyday germs and ‘nasties’

Whether you get in one of our Budget Maids cleaners or house maids every week or every fortnight there are still areas of your home that are going to need vigilance – simply because they tend to be areas where germs can congregate.

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The type of areas we’re talking about are more often in the kitchen than other areas of your home and as such are used more often, usually for preparing food. These ‘germ hotspots’ include:

·         Chopping boards

Germs which can remain from raw meat and the soil in which fresh vegetables are grown means it’s crucial to keep these scrupulously clean on a regular basis. Always disinfect between using. Plastic boards are easier to clean than wooden versions but the latter are fine provided you do give them a good clean with soap and water every time they come into contact with the above foods. If your chopping board has quite a few cuts and scratches in it then discard and purchase a new ones as these can be havens for bacteria to flourish.

·         Dishcloths

Bacteria love warm, moist places and that’s exactly what dishcloths tend to be unless you apply antibacterial liquid after every use or even soak them in a mixture of hot water and bleach. A hot dishwasher can also work wonders. 

·         Laundry

Because of the low temperatures we’re advised to wash clothes at these days (30 degrees) we don’t always get rid of the bacteria in our clothes. A good airing helps though as does a thorough drying. It’s an idea to wash them at a hotter temperature every now and again just to be on the safe side. 

·         Door handles

We’re thinking of the bathroom in particular here – and not just the handles but the taps too. Wipe both items with an antibacterial substance on a regular basis to get rid of germs.

·         Remote control devices

Everyone in the home is going to reach for these every now and again so always wipe the TV and stereo remote at least once a week to prevent any nasty germ build-ups.

For more tips on germ removal or to book a cleaning audit at your home contact our team at Budget Maids. We’ll always be happy to assist. Our service includes house cleaning in Reston, a Maid Service in Olney and a Cleaning Service in Potomac or elsewhere in VA.

Cleaning up America’s worst odors

As a professional cleaning company, here at Budget Maids, we’re used to dealing with unpleasant odors so we were intrigued this week to read the results of a British survey listing the 10 worst smells – household and otherwise.

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Number one on the list was, understandably, baby poo. Second place went to sewers. Wet dog came in at number four and rotten food at number seven (we’ll publish the whole list at the end of this blog post).The poll, sponsored by a refuse management firm, interviewed 1000 Brits.

So, we wondered, how does it compare with America’s worst smells? The largest survey we could find for the states was nationwide and conducted a couple of years ago. Number one on that particular list? Garbage can odor. Next was pet odor then mold, body sweat and tobacco odor.

Here’s the British list (in order):

  1. Baby Poo
  2. Sewers on a hot day
  3. Bad breath
  4. Wet Dog
  5. Fart
  6. Human Sweat
  7. Rotten food
  8. Smoking
  9. Smelly feet
  10. The “juice” at the bottom of your bin

The good news is, of course, that wiping and vacuuming can take away a number of those odors. The latter will pick up the likes of pet hair, mold spores and dust easily – since many of them happily lurk in our carpets.

But baring in mind the fact that the human nose is actually capable of picking up something like 10,000 scents, it’s a good idea to invoke other remedies too. These include

·         Sprinkling baking soda in garbage cans and litter boxes

·         Spraying the room with a mix of two teaspoons baking soda and two cups water (mix it together in a trigger top bottle)

·         Putting lemon and orange rinds in the garbage disposer every now and again

What’s your remedies and cleaning tips for eliminating nasty odors in your home? If you need help to get rid of nasty odors then don’t hesitate to contact us here at Budget Maids where we provide services such as House Cleaning in Potomac, a Maid Service in Arlington and a Cleaning Service in Reston as well as other areas of VA.

image via Guardian.co.uk

Budget Maids Best Ways to Tackle Tough Cleaning Tasks

When it comes to cleaning, it’s always one of the most dreaded cleaning tasks in most households, we’ve found at Budget Maids here in VA. Yes, scrubbing out the oven usually gets left ‘til last, either that or allotted a whole half day on its own. That’s because this is hard work – especially if you adopt the natural ingredients method ie covering it overnight with a paste of bicarbonate of soda then scrubbing hard with a scratchy pad next day.

The alternative is to use lots of chemicals, remembering to put on a face mask and rubber gloves. Remove the oven shelves and spray them with your chosen formula (ammonia and water usually). Put in a place where no-one is likely to go near them, then spray the inside of the oven. Wait a few hours before rinsing with plenty of water then wash both the shelves and the inside of the oven with warm soapy water.

One of the other least liked kitchen cleaning task is sponging down the fridge. This is best carried out weekly where the shelves and plastic compartments are given a wash in warm soapy water. You can wash the inside of the fridge with a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and warm water. An old toothbrush is great for cleaning up the rubber seal on the door.

If there’s any stubborn stains they can usually be cleaned by rubbing toothpaste on the mark and leaving it for some time before washing off. Meanwhile, it may seem strange, but twice a year it’s worth pulling the fridge out from the wall and running a vacuum over the cooling elements. Believe it or not this will actually make them run more efficiently.

Do you have any cleaning tips for nasty household chores that you’d like to share with us here at Budget Maids? We’re a company that provides services such as house cleaning in Columbia, maid service in Vienna and a cleaning service Arlington

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House cleaning isn’t just about tidiness. Keep your home smelling good too

Part of having a clean house is having it smelling nice. Food smells, pet stains, mould and poor air circulation can all leave unpleasant odors in that sanctuary you call home. So how can you make sure it smells nice at all times?

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Well, there are a few tips we recommend here at Budget Maids. These include:

  • Sprinkling a little of your favorite essential oil onto a light bulb or two (when they’re cool!). Once the light bulb is switched on the heat will allow the scent to flow around your room.
  • Steam cleaning your carpets to get rid of the smell of pet hairs. You could also try sprinkling a little baby powder on the carpets then vacuuming.
  • Neutralizers in the kitchen can take away most food odors and squirting a little fresh lemon juice or slices down the plug hole or garbage disposal can keep the sink smelling nice. Another good tip for the kitchen is to simmer a pot of water, cinnamon and cloves on the cooker.
  •   If poor air circulation is the problem then it’s possible to put scented inserts into your air vents. These will flow through the whole house giving a nicer scent to the air. Alternatively you could always dab cotton wool balls with vanilla and lay them inside the vents.
  •   Like the smell of coffee? Then place a bowl of coffee beans in a room. These will not only fill the room with a lovely coffee scent, they’ll also help neutralize smells by absorbing them.
  •  Use free perfume samples in magazines. Open, dab with water, and place on a windowsill for a couple of days.

Just one thing we’d warn about odors in your home – it’s actually difficult, after a period of time, to identify them because you become so accustomed to them. It’s often only when you have a visitor to your home that you can identify what’s wrong. So maybe ask a good friend what they think?

For more cleaning and household tips see Budget Maids who provide House Cleaning in Olney, a Cleaning Service in Rockville, Maid Service in Falls Church and other areas throughout VA.

image via Tim Sackton, Flickr