Tag Archives: cleaning tips

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?

 

 

 

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.

 

 

When kids are old enough for cleaning chores

With a little one on the hip and two more at your feet, you probably imagined a day when your kids would be old enough to help with cleaning chores. So by three years old you’ve realized that your child can in fact help out a little bit, but what are considered reasonable chores for that age group?

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Cleaning tasks for age three

Before you start expecting your child to help with cleaning and household chores, remember the golden rule: household cleaning should be fun. By the age of three, it’s perfectly reasonable for you to be asking your child to collect, sort and store away their own toys. Take this one step further and ask them to handle small bundles of laundry – dirty laundry to the machine and clean laundry to the ironing board.

Pre-schoolers

By the time your toddler reaches pre-school age, the chores can be more complex and time-consuming. For instance, a pre-schooler should be able to handle a broom and duster. Ask them to clean up messes, dust furniture and wipe down outdoor furniture.

Age six to eight

Resistance to chores by kids aged six and older shouldn’t really come as a surprise. By now your child has his or her own interests and household chores are probably not one of them. Nevertheless, keep the fun alive by giving your child greater responsibilities: feeding the pets, helping out with cooking and washing up etc.

Pre-teen

A pre-teen can probably assist with almost any household cleaning task that does not involve hazardous substances, heat or heavy equipment. As a pre-teen, your child should be able to vacuum, wash dishes, mop, and even help out with bigger outdoor chores such as washing the car.

Teenagers

By this stage a teenager will be ask for financial compensation for providing a helping hand. Make it worthwhile on your pocket by asking them to take full responsibility for a single room in the home, one night’s dinner, or window cleaning and ironing..

Asking your child to help in and around the home – regardless of their age or the seemingly unimportant nature of the cleaning task – does bear important lessons. Your child will learn responsibility, scheduling, and skills such as cooking.

Who knows, this might spark their interest and your child could even become the next junior master chef… If you really find yourself in a dirty spot do call on us here at Budget Maids for some no-fuss help. We offer household cleaning in Arlington, professional maid services in Rockville and cleaning services in Maryland and other areas of Maryland and VA.

TLC for your dishwasher

In many a busy household where breakfast, dinner and lunch are just some of the kitchen doings on a household’s busy day, the dishwasher is an absolute lifesaver. But have you given a thought to the machine’s optimal functioning i.e.  cleaning your dishwashing machine from time to time?

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Cleaning a dishwashing machine is surprisingly easy and, thankfully, you’ll need only a few basic items to get started, For scrubbing, use a soft toothbrush (or other small brush) and a soft cloth. Go about cleaning your dishwashing machine carefully, and never scrub viciously. For some soap bubbles, use a mild detergent that won’t harm your dishwashing machine. A natural scouring agent, we’ve found, is baking soda.

Inside out

Start by removing all the racks, utensil holder and any other parts of the washer that can easily be removed for cleaning. Start from the drain area and work your way up – firstly removing any obvious caked filth or food scraps (which tend to build up over time). Gently scrub away any caked grime but do go about your scrubbing carefully. Continuously wipe away dirt with warm water and mild detergent. Food scraps and grime are rather stubborn, and can take a while to clean. The racks, utensil holder and other removable parts can be given a good clean separately – soak in the sink and scrub.

Let it run

Once all the scrubbing is done and over with, let your dishwasher run with the usual soap dose (without any utensils or tableware). This will allow your machine to rinse out any leftover soap or smaller pieces of dirt.

Dishwashers are true champions in the today’s homes. Following these easy steps should ensue your dishwashing machine will be on top of its game. Meanwhile, if any other cleaning tasks are hassling your household, do call on us here at Budget Maids for a professional and friendly cleaning services in Potomac, maid services in Vienna or any other household cleaning in Columbia. We’ll be happy to get your home sparkling clean after a joyous festive period.

Who does the cleaning in your household?

It’s still a bit of a sensitive question in the average household today to ask who does the cleaning in the home. Most women like to believe that after decades of protest, some pleading and even a little demanding, the traditional roles would have shifted a bit.

But, it seems that’s not the case according to a recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Their findings showed that globally, women still act as the main housekeepers, overseeing laundry, cooking, cleaning and generally taking care of household chores for the entire family.

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The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said…

After studying 28 countries across the world, the OECD found that women clocked up more ‘working’ hours in 22 of these 28 countries than men. The reason for this is that women ended up doing endless hours of housework in addition to putting in the necessary hours for their own career. Slaving away at the office and doing double shifts at home can, of course, take its toll…

What to do?

According to the survey, American households churn out 400 loads of laundry and 215 dishwasher loads every year. In addition, American women dedicate more than 15 hours a week to household cleaning.

Some households have come a long way in dividing chores amongst women, men and even children. Others take short cuts. Here at Budget Maids we believe the best way is to draw up a schedule of cleaning, cooking, and laundry that can be divided amongst household members on a weekly basis.

Another interesting statistics from the OECD study – certainly from our own point of view here at Budget Maids – is that there was a definite increase in outsourcing household chores. 

And of course that’s an easy, effective and no-worry way of getting household chores done without have to nag the other half or the kids.

Have you tried it yet? If not, why not give us a call here at Budget Maids and we’ll talk you through the type of services we offer. This includes house cleaning in Potomac, maid services in Arlington and cleaning services in Olney and surrounds. 

Natural cleaning agents in your closet

I’m sure we’ve all experienced the sensation at one time or another – you’ve set aside a day to finally get down to some home cleaning and guess what? You’ve only just realized you’ve run out of cleaning agents.

Now, for some non-committed types that may be the cue to put the coffee maker on and sit down with a magazine and cookie. For others it could be just the spur they need to encourage them to rifle through their closets for ingredients to make their own.

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And you know something? The latter isn’t half as difficult as you may think. And, more importantly, the cleaner’s are just as effective as the ones you’ll pay a fortune for in your local supermarket. Interested? Then read on…

Vinegar for tiled surfaces

Vinegar makes a great cleaning agent and disinfectant thanks to its specific pH balance and high acidity content. You’ll find that even some of those expensive chemical cleaners rely on vinegar to get the dirty jobs done. It works best for smooth surfaces that need a good wipe down or  scrub such as tiles, glass etc. A ratio of around one tablespoon per cup of water should be perfect.

Kosher salt as scrubbing agent

Large grains of kosher salt work really well as a scrubbing agent.  Ssimply sprinkle it over whatever surface you plan on scrubbing or scouring then scrub down with warm water.  Not only is kosher salt a perfectly safe scrubbing agent (in the sense it won’t stain) but it dissolves easily when used with warm water. 

Cornstarch for beating oil and grease 

Need to get rid of some grease or oil? Then get out the cornstarch. This is a great absorbing agent and is very effective when sprinkled and the area rubbed down with a cloth. It’s particularly good for silver and chrome utensils too, thanks to the fact it won’t scratch them.

We reckon most households will have at least some of the three ingredients mentioned above. If you’re interested in other household cleaning tips or even help with your household cleaning routine then please get in touch with us here at Budget Maids. We provide house cleaning services in Vienna, maid services in Olney and surrounds, and cleaning services in Columbia and most other parts of VA and Maryland.

image via Verdelifestyles.com

DIY dry cleaning: get your winter woolies ready for wear

With the cooler weather coming in we all find ourselves reaching for those big winter woolies – cuddly mohair jumpers, elegant fine woolen coats and lovely, soft cashmere scarves.  This means having to consider the extra expense of a dry cleaning bill of course – but, winter fashion doesn’t have to be that expensive, really. There are plenty of dry cleaning that can be done at home with very little assault on our savings and no lengthy trips to the dry cleaners to navigate. How so? we hear you ask. Well, consider the following:

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Do your own dry cleaning

Yes, heading for the dry cleaners can be convenient but, in actual fact, it’s not necessary. Most fabric can be dealt with by an ordinary washing machine program on a gentle wash, at home. With the exception of suede and fur it’s possible to wash everything else independently. Yes, really! And here’s how:

Read those labels

Dry cleaning is a bit of a manufacturer’s opt-out (ie insurance clause). It basically means the garment has to be treated with care in that it shouldn’t get soaking wet. However, in the majority of cases it’s fine to spot clean by hand. Gentle hand washing and spot cleaning (ie rubbing the stained area with a mild detergent) can be just as effective, believe it or not, as dry cleaning – and far less expensive.

Dry with care

Never wring the delicate garment you’ve just spot cleaned. That’s the last thing you should do. Instead, loosely – and gently – wrap it in a towel to absorb all the excess water.  Now, provided there’s some winter sunshine, set it out to dry flat on a sunny spot on your porch or an area of your garden where the cat or dog can’t get at it to play with (we’ve been there!).

Fresh air beats all

Nothing comes close to what fresh air can do for your jumper, coat or scarf (and we really do mean fresh air: not winter sunshine). Hang your favorite and prized garments out on a winter’s day with plenty of fresh air and we promise you will love the scent your clothing retains (which is a million times nicer than those nasty chemical odors from the dry cleaners, incidentally!).

Getting your home and family ready for the winter season can be quite challenging when you’ve so much else to think about. But, if you find yourself in need of some domestic help, whether house cleaning in Olney, maid services in Reston or cleaning services in Rockville, VA, Maryland and the surrounding area then do get in touch. You will always be guaranteed nothing less than a first rate service here at Budget Maids.

 image via Huffington Post

Get Those Dirty Dishes Done – Faster

There’s people out there who actually like washing dishes by hand – some even claim it’s therapeutic.  For the rest of us though, that mounting pile of dishes at the side of the sink is something we pretty much dread.

Sure millions of us have dishwashers these days but rising energy bills and a bit of thought for the environment mean many of us are resorting to washing dishes once again by hand. So here’s some tips on how to wash dishes the easy way:

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It’s all about the soap

The temperature of your water and whether you fill the sink right up or only half – none of these issues matter as much as the quality of detergent you use.  There’s also a very fine line between too little and too much detergent. Add too much detergent and you’re going to have to spend ages rinsing those dishes; too little and the grease is going cling to the plates.  Our tip?  Buy the highest quality dishwashing liquid you can afford, and  think of it in terms of one tablespoon detergent to four cups  warm water.

From fairly clean to dirty

Before washing, stack all the dishes from least dirty to food-caked so that you clean the least dirtiest first while the water’s still clean. That way you don’t have to refill.   

Deal with the food leftovers and scraps right away

That scraping of oatmeal left in this morning’s cereal bowl will come back to haunt you later in the day at dish washing time. The best way to speed up washing dishes by hand is to deal with food scraps immediately. Never let them harden on the plates; throw them to the birds or give them to the dog as a treat (just between you two) –  just don’t let them sit there. Soak the plates if you’ve no time to rinse. 

Drying on the right spot

Allowing your dishes to dry in a well ventilated area (such as below an open window) reduces the time you’ll spend with a drying towel in your hand. A warmer water temperature will do likewise.

Washing dishes by hand isn’t for everyone of course, no matter how much we care about the environment. Some of us simply don’t have the time thanks to tight work schedules, a family to care for and a home to keep shipshape.

In which case let our team at Budget Maids help. We provide cleaning services in Columbia, a maid service in Potomac or cleaning services in Vienna and surrounds such as the whole of VA and most of Maryland. No home cleaning task is too big or small for us. Why not give us a try today?

image via DetectEnergy.com

3 easy steps to microwave cleaning

Cleaning the microwave is one of those little cleaning jobs that it’s all to easy to put off.  But maybe not for much longer – thanks to the following 3 Step Guide to Microwave Cleaning it’ll make that particular chore something of a breeze. And let’s face it, these little metal boxes are a wonder and most of us can’t really imagine our kitchen’s without one (how else would you heat up that coffee you poured yourself two hours ago and haven’t had a chance to drink yet?)

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Soften up 

The first step to our simple three step guide to getting your microwave all shiny again, is to soften any foodstuffs that may be left in the microwave and clinging to the sides. This can be achieved easily by either filling a medium sized bowl with water and heating in the microwave for around five minutes or, heat some paper towels that have been soaked in water. The point of either method is to give the microwave a good steam and loosen off any foodstuffs.

The powerful ingredient

Now repeat step one – only this time with the addition of a cupfull of vinegar.  Pour equal amounts of water and vinegar into a bowl, and heat in the microwave to the point of boiling. Now let it boil for several minutes. The reason you’re introducing vinegar here is because it’s an excellent cleaning solution. It’s acidic nature allows it to clean both dirt and bacteria.

The good wipe

Once the above steaming and vinegar solution has been completed, the final microwave cleaning step is to wipe it down inside. Happily the steam from the water will have softened the foodstuffs (meaning the caked foodstuffs will wipe away easily with a cloth). The vinegar meanwhile will have sterilized any lingering odors.

Here at Budget Maids we’re in no doubt that even the grimiest of microwaves will benefit from these three easy steps. If you feel household chores are getting a bit on top of you these days why not give us a call here at Budget Maids where we provide house cleaning services in Potomac, a maid service in Vienna and cleaning services in Oakton or surrounds (in both VA and Maryland).

image via theorganizedhousewife.com.au

Germ-free homes for newborn babies

Most parents of newborns are pretty desperate to keep their homes clean. After all, it’s a scary thought to realize that junior could easily pick up germs from the living room, your bedroom or his/her nursery.

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And – not meaning to cause alarm – new home hygiene research is now stating that highchairs have higher levels of bacteria than even toilet brushes! Ironically the very existence of a new baby means your home is usually left in a state of total chaos and, understandably, you just never manage to find the time for deep-cleaning.

So, in order to keep your hygiene – and sanity levels – on par, here are a few easy cleaning tips for you to implement: 

·         Surface cleaning

While your little one is still young and demanding all your attention, keep the surfaces in your kitchen, bathroom and the nursery clean with an antibacterial surface spray. Once baby starts to crawl you’ll obviously want to start concentrating on the floor. 

Germs so easily collect on the floor, thanks to shoes bringing in dirt from the outside.  But tile and hard surfaces are easy to keep germ-free by mopping your floors on a regular basis with an antibacterial cleaning solution.  Disinfectants are best.

In fact, hygiene specialists recommend them more than conventional cleaners. As you’d expect, carpets and rugs are so much more difficult to keep germ-free. The best advice here would be to vacuum regularly using a deep-cleaning machine and to consider washing them during the warmer summer months when rugs can be hung out to dry.

·         Kitchen cleaning

The kitchen, of course, is a never-ending source of germs. Fridges, worktops, washcloths, and the kitchen sink – they’re all full of them. And as if that thought wasn’t bad enough, the Global Hygiene Council say our kitchens are an even bigger source of bacteria than the bathroom. So, what to do? Well, apart from disinfecting on a regular basis, don’t leave any food around which has passed its sell-by date and gone off, regularly clean out your fridge and replace sponges and washcloths every few weeks.

Keeping your new family germ-free may seem overwhelming at times but luckily most of us are born with fairly resistant immune systems.  Just realize which areas are your “risk-zones” and focus on keeping those as germ-free as possible.  Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some help in the cleaning department – whether it’s a maid service in Vienna, house cleaning in Oakton or cleaning services in Rockville and other parts of VA or Maryland don’t even hesitate to call us here at Budget Maids. We’ll be only too happy to lend a hand.

 image via Apartmenttherapy.com