Removing Red Wine Stains and More…

red-wine-spillAccidents happen – and red wine stains certainly fall into this category. Whilst reality TV stars may make the scenario of spilt wine non-accidental (see The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills season 5 for example), for most of us the wine stain is a little accident – albeit perhaps more likely when our co-ordination skills are compromised!

But red wine spillage needn’t be a disaster for you or your flawless white linen. Here are easy ways to remove it and other nasty offenders:

Removing red wine with club soda. Apply club soda to the stain, covering the whole mark with the soda. Keep applying the soda until the stain has started to disappear. If the stain is on clothing, you should leave it for half an hour and then put it through a cool wash.

Removing red wine with salt and club soda. Again, apply the soda and then a spoonful of salt, covering the stain completely. Allow to soak in – you should be able to see the stain colouring the salt pink. Leave for half an hour, scrape the salt away and wash the garment on a cool wash.

Removing red wine with milk. Pour milk onto the stain, covering it and leave for an hour. Blot away the excess milk and put the garment on a cool wash.

Tomato sauce stains. Many of our favourite dishes contain tomato sauce, but it can leave nasty orange stains behind. If you spill tomato sauce on a garment, sponge the stain with cold water as soon as possible and then rub with a lemon slice or sponge on lemon juice. Rinse well and allow to dry. Alternatively, pre-soak your garment in a solution of warm water, dishwashing liquid and white wine vinegar (one quart water, 1/2 teaspoon and 1tbsp) for 15 minutes. Rinse then launder.

Curry sauce stains. Curry sauces often feature the bright yellow spice turmeric, which will stain anything and everything! If you spill sauce on your clothing, dab on a little biological laundry detergent and leave for 15 minutes before washing. You can also try lemon juice on the stain. If you spill it on surfaces, apply anti-bacterial spray and leave for a few minutes before wiping off. A mix of bicarbonate of soda and water can also work.

 

Here at Budget Maids we provide cleaning services in Oakton, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Potomac and surrounds, and more. Why not give us a call today and let us help you ensure your house is stain-free?

 

Top 10 Shower Cleaning Tips

ShowerheadOne of the treats of staying in a hotel is the scrupulously clean shower and bathroom (well, unless you have a predilection for dodgy hotels…), so why not extend this treat to your own home with a sparkling clean shower cubicle?

Here are Budget Maid’s top 10 tips for shower cleaning, ensuring that your shower is a pleasure to use:

  1. First of all, invest in a cheap squeegee. This can be used every day to remove excess water from glass screens and it will prevent hard water stains. This only takes a minute or so, but it makes a real difference to the look of your screen.
  2. Another option is micro-fibre towel. Wipe down the screen after every shower, squeezing out the excess water as you go.
  3. Shower mats prevent the transfer of dirt from feet to shower (which can be an issue if you spend a lot of time barefoot in the house) or you can ask everyone who uses the shower to stand on a wash cloth. This will help to keep the surface clean.
  4. Soap scum builds up quickly if you use bars of soap rather than liquid soap in the shower. If you do use bars of soap, then use a wash cloth to wipe the ledge under the soap every time you shower.
  5. If you use a detachable shower head, detach it from the ceiling and insert it in a plastic bag filled with a mix of cider vinegar and water and secure it with a rubber band. Leave overnight and this will leave you with a clean shower head in the morning.
  6. If you have shower curtains you can wash these in the washing machine, along with a couple of old towels (which will act as scrubbers on the curtains) with normal detergent.
  7. The door or window to the bathroom/shower room should be left open for at least an hour a day to prevent the build-up of humidity and development of mold.
  8. Dip a grout brush in bleach or specialist anti-mold cleaner and use this to clean discoloured grout. Grout should be re-sealed or replaced every six months.
  9. You can use an old toothbrush to clean tiles.
  10. A large crochet hook can be very useful for fishing out hairs from the shower plug hole, and it is a good idea to do this job regularly to prevent drain blockage.

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 get hotel-clean showers throughout your house?

 

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.

Pancake Day Recipe

Blueberry_pancakes_(1)We thought we’d start today with a great pancake recipe to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

The idea of Pancake Day came about as Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins in the Christian calendar. Lent is the 40-day period before Easter Sunday and it is viewed as a season of reflection and preparation. Traditionally, religious observers fasted or abstained from certain foods during Lent – hence, Shrove Tuesday was the day to use up luxuries such as milk and eggs.

The following recipe will make eight pancakes, and we have suggested some fillings for them including the traditional lemon and sugar variation.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, sieved
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 2tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2tbsp melted butter
  • Vegetable oil, for greasing
  1. Mix the flour together with the salt, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Mix the egg with the milk and the melted butter in a jug until well combined.
  3. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and whisk until combined (a few lumps do not matter). Allow the batter to stand for a few minutes.
  4. Wipe a griddle pan with the vegetable oil and heat. Drop in two-three tablespoons of the mix at the time and allow to cook until you can see bubbles on the top of the pancakes. Flip over and cook until brown on the underside. It will take one to two minutes to cook on each side.

Suggested toppings –

  • Sprinkle each pancake with a tablespoon of sugar and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  • Top pancakes with chocolate sauce and chopped bananas.
  • Use blueberry compote and two tablespoons of heavy cream, whipped.
  • And of course, the classic is grilled bacon and maple syrup!

Here at Budget Maids, we provide cleaning services in, a maid service in Arlington or cleaning services in Olney, house cleaning in Reston and cleaning services in Falls Church. Why not give us a call today and let us help you with healthy home maintenance?

 

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.