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Watch MaidPro’s instructional video below on how to clean your whirlpool or jetted tub in order to keep your family safe from germs and bacteria.
In Parts 2 and 3 of our series, we looked at why professional cleaners favor specific solutions and tools. In Parts 4 and 5, we look at how and why the pros clean rooms and homes in a certain order.
Nonprofessional cleaners will often work un-systematically, jumping around from one dirty-looking item to the next. But such an approach can cause freshly cleaned surfaces to become re-contaminated and important cleaning tasks to be missed altogether. Some professional services, meantime, send in large cleaning teams, making it virtually impossible to sequence the work properly. Floors end up getting cleaned before furniture has ever been dusted! In either case, the result is less thorough, less durable cleans.
MaidPro cleaning pros always work alone or in teams of two, using a specific division and order of tasks. Each room is cleaned by a single pro, using a method designed to deliver the most thorough, longest-lasting clean possible.
For each room they clean, MaidPro professionals are trained in a methodology called The Spiral. They work their way around every room in the direction of their dominant hand (righties clockwise, lefties counter-clockwise), starting at the top and spiraling down, so that no surface escapes their keen attention. In the kitchen, for example, the Spiral Method will typically carry a MaidPro professional through the following sequence:
- Upper then lower cabinets,
- Large then small appliances,
- Counters then sink,
- Trash removal,
- Baseboards then floor,
- Sink (re-clean and dry).
By working in a Spiral, the pros take advantage of gravity because all dirt is knocked downward to the ground as they work. Finishing up with the floor ensures that as much dirt as possible is removed permanently from the room. The Spiral also ensures that MaidPro professionals never skip or miss surfaces because every item in the home comes under their hands as some point as they work around each room.
In Part 2 of our series, we looked at our pros’ favorite cleaning solutions; in Part 3 we look at the specific tools our cleaning Pros prefer for generating top-quality, long – lasting cleans.
If you don’t clean homes for a living, you might think there is little difference from one sponge or cleaning rag to the next, but you would be WRONG! Here are just a few of the considerations that MaidPro takes into account when choosing tools for our service providers to use:
Cross contamination. Perhaps the most important consideration for cleaning tools is their potential to port dirt, grime and germs from one surface to the next. How yucky is it to think someone might clean your kitchen with the same sponge they use to clean your bathroom? Unlike many non-professional cleaners (and more than a few supposedly professional ones), MaidPro is obsessed with avoiding cross contamination as our service providers move from room to room and from house to house. Our specialized tools, such as shoe-covering booties, changeable mop (‘Schmop’) covers and color-coded cleaning rags – green for kitchen, blue for bathroom and yellow for living and bedrooms – help us to accomplish this.
Effectiveness. For example, different sponges and rags offer different levels of absorption, which, along with the right cleaning solutions, can make all the difference between removing dirt and simply moving it around. At MaidPro, we choose cellulose sponges and microfiber rags for their superior absorbency.
Potential for damage. Balancing efficiency and effectiveness is the issue of protecting property. While a highly abrasive sponge will make quick work of removing crud and scum, it can also scratch or etch surfaces invisibly. Those scratches cause the surface to reflect light unevenly, making it appear dull rather than shiny. As dirt and oils settle into the scratches over time, the surface reverts more quickly to looking grungy and eventually becomes un-cleanable. Our Pros are well trained to know which surfaces can take which abrasives and always well equipped with an array of sponges and soft rags for any surface they encounter.
Job fit. If you have ever tried vacuuming a flight of stairs with an upright machine, or upholstery with the wrong attachment, you will likely agree that it’s better to have multiple machines for different vacuuming and dusting tasks. Our cleaning Pros carry two sizes of professional Sanitaire vacuum cleaners plus an assortment of specialized attachments for maximum cleaning efficiency and effectiveness. Meanwhile, our preferred lamb’s wool duster is a best fit tool for removing cobwebs from ceilings and dusting irregular items such as chandeliers, light fixtures, figurines, plants and other uneven surfaces.
Extensibility. Tools that help cleaning pros reach into oddly shaped crannies or up high without back or other muscle strain means more surfaces get cleaned more regularly and thoroughly, which keeps homes looking cleaner for much longer. Cleaning Pros, for example, carry extension poles with attachable ceiling dusters, enabling them to easily reach and dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and so forth.
Safety. Some special cleaning jobs, older ovens for instance, require harsh chemicals to get the job done right. All MaidPro cleaning Pros are trained and equipped to protect their own health by wearing breathing masks and rubber globes as specific jobs require.
So, now that you know all our secrets for cleaning solutions and tools, be sure to tune in for Part 4 of our ‘Clean Like a Pro’ series in which we look at how and why MaidPro’s cleaning Pros sequence cleaning jobs both within and among the various rooms in a home
Keeping your home tidy is one thing, maintaining it to a consistently high level of clean is something else altogether. Start the New Year off right with this five-part plan:
Wrap your brain around the WHY of clean. Plain and simple: clean looks, smells and feels good. It’s healthy. And it’s also a sound long-term financial decision; clean better and more often to preserve – even increase – the value of your home and possessions.
Get introspective. Take a brutally honest look at where your home typically falls on the clean-o-meter – and why. Love cleaning? Hate it? Don’t mind it, but have too little time? Once you’re committed to cleaner habits, your strategy needs a strong dose of personality reality.
Get up to code! If – despite plenty of time and effort cleaning – your home never really feels, smells or stays clean for very long – you may be overdue for some deep cleaning. Think walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, furniture, fixtures and places you can’t see such as inside vents, cabinets and appliances. If you’re WAY overdue for this kind of work, consider gifting yourself the services of a professional cleaning crew that can bring your home rapidly to a better starting point for weekly and daily cleaning chores.
Educate yourself. Using ineffective – or just the wrong – cleaning tools and solutions can be another reason your home is falling a little shy on the clean-o-meter. Coupons can be a big culprit here, so do some research to understand what works best, where and why so you can make great buying decisions around cleaning supplies.
Build a budget. There is just no getting around the fact that proper cleaning takes time. Figure out what it takes each week clean your home well, and make sure you budget either the time to do it yourself, or the funds to have someone do it for you.
If you are expecting a baby within the next few months, you are probably focused on getting all of your gear and decorating the nursery. Something else you need – but probably aren’t thinking much about – is a good cleaning plan. The presence of a newborn in your home means two things: more cleaning work and different cleaning methods. Here’s how to get ready for the big arrival:
Before Baby Comes
Assume you are facing at least a six- to twelve-month window in which you will:
- Have little time or energy for large cleaning jobs.
- Want to avoid using harsh cleaning chemicals that generate fumes and leave residues.
Make a list and plan with your significant other to tackle large jobs or consider having them done professionally not long before baby arrives. Focus especially on tasks that will improve air quality by removing dust, dander and other potential allergens from carpets, mattresses, upholstery, textiles and so forth. The overriding objective: bring your whole home up to a standard of clean that will be very easy to maintain after baby arrives.
In Baby’s first Weeks And months
Dr. Sinner’s famous cleaning formula says that four variables, chemicals, temperature, time and action – working together – equal clean. Shrink one variable and the others need to get larger to deliver the same result. Where newborns are concerned, chemicals are the variable you want to shrink, so time, temperature and action (elbow grease) need to increase.
Deep-cleaning your home before baby arrives is a good start. Another good strategy is to avoid dirt and allergens in the first place, for example, by asking people to remove their shoes before coming into your home to visit baby. After the big arrival:
- Baby’s nursery should be dusted, vacuumed and – weather permitting – aired out at least weekly or even more frequently.
- Specific areas of baby’s room: sheets, changing table, waterproof mattress cover and diaper pail should be disinfected often with a nontoxic disinfecting solution.
- And, because diaper leaks and blowouts are common occurrences, plan on sanitizing your washing machine at least weekly or more frequently as well.
Where you do need to use cleaning chemicals, be sure to select high-quality cleaners that are effective in small amounts and designed to avoid leaving residues (many inexpensive and so-called ‘nontoxic’ or ‘green’ cleaning chemicals don’t meet this criteria). Also, be sure to read and follow directions closely to ensure you are realizing cleaners’ disinfecting and sanitizing benefits.
When Baby Starts To Move
While always bearing in mind that babies are born with wonderfully effective immune systems that need some exposure to germs to work properly, plan to increase the frequency with which you dust, vaccum, mop and scrub the floors throughout your home once baby starts rolling, dragging him or herself around and crawling (typically between five and nine months). Since babies love knobs and buttons, plan also to pay more attention to disinfecting things like remote controls, drawer pulls and cabinet knobs that are typically within baby’s reach.
One final piece of cleaning advice: when babies spit and/or throw up, it’s generally going to hit your clothing, carpet, furniture upholstery, bed spread or some other absorbent textile in your home. Depending on baby’s age and food stage, permanent stains will result if these textiles are not treated immediately and thoroughly to remove the agents that can interact chemically with your textile’s fibers.
Chances are you stick to a set list of weekly cleaning chores in your home. Here is a checklist for 14 not-so-routine cleaning tasks that should get your attention anywhere from 2-4 times a year with fall being one of them.
- Undersides of counter overhangs, tables, chairs and other surfaces. People tend to grip the edges of things especially when leaning. The resulting accumulation of grime and gunk may not be visible but can harbor germs and trap odors.
- Insides of drawers and cabinets. Emptying and cleaning cabinets, drawers and organizing solutions creates a great opportunity to sort and reorganize their contents and to toss expired items.
- Drawer housings and tops of cabinets. Pull drawers all the way out if you can. Depending on what a drawer gets used for, you may find crumbs, scraps of paper and even a few long-lost items that got pushed up and out the back of overfilled drawers.
- Inside your dishwasher. Especially if you live in an area with high mineral content (hard) water, you may notice deposits or odors building up inside your dishwasher. The good news: very little scrubbing is required. Use an appropriate solution in an empty dishwasher on a high-heat cycle; the only thing that may require a good scrubbing is the edges around the dishwasher door.
- Inside your washing machine. Newer washers may offer a sanitization cycle; be sure to use to remove germs from the washer drum and agitating elements. This cleaning can also be managed manually with careful application of a 1:10 bleach solution.
- Light fixtures and bulbs. Cleaning dirty light fixtures and dusting bulbs improves the illumination of your home just as the days start growing shorter and nights longer.
- Toys. Dirty toys can harbor germs and contribute to an overall impression of dinginess in your home. Colorfast plastic toys can be soaked briefly in a solution of bleach and water then rinsed thoroughly and dried. Smaller toys can be cleaned in your dishwasher.
- Small appliances. Think coffee makers, toasters, mixers, blenders, portable fans, built-in bathroom fans and so forth. While many small appliances only need a little extra attention to scrubbing out the crevices, your coffee maker may need decalcification to improve taste while portable fans should be dismantled and cleaned thoroughly either before placing into storage for winter or removing from storage during the warmer months.
- Closet floors. This is a quick hit. Next time you are vacuuming, dusting or mopping your floors, remember to pull everything off your closet floors and go over them as well.
- Dryer vent system. Lint accumulation inside your dryer housing and venting tubes poses a fire hazard. A quick vacuum four times a year is all it takes to minimize the risk.
- Refrigerator vents and coils. Dust accumulation here contributes to inefficient cooling and greater electricity use. If you have water filtration or automatic ice making system, you may need professional help to pull out the appliance and accomplish this maintenance (if you have a plumber in for any other job, it’s a great time to ask for this help). While you’re at it, replace your water filters too.
- Window screens and housings. While washing windows is a 2X/year task, screens and screen housings should be vacuumed and/or cleaned at least once every season to improve views and prevent more pollen and dust from making its way into your home.
- Chimneys and flues. This is important home safety maintenance that should be conducted by a professional at least once a year. If you didn’t do it in the spring, now is the time before winter sets in.
- Computer keyboards. You may be in the habit of dusting keyboard surfaces, but they occasionally need a little inside cleaning too. Compressed gas for doing so can be purchased at local office supplies stores.
STEP 1: DOORS
Remove all bottles and jars either to countertop or cooler. Remove door shelves (if possible) and place in sink to soak while you clean and dry the insides of your refrigerator doors (working as quickly as possible to keep the fridge open for a minimum amount of time). Be sure to clean around the sides of doors and also in the grooves of the sealing gasket. Close doors and scrub shelves. If shelves are too large for your sink, rotate them so each part gets a good soaking before trying to remove dried and ‘chilled on’ gunk. As you dry door shelves, inspect for spots you missed and re-clean as needed. Return dried shelves to doors. Wipe and dry bottoms of all jars and bottles, checking expiry dates and sorting by like items before returning to fridge doors.
STEP 2: SHELVES
Food crumbs and debris will fall down as you remove shelves for cleaning, so start at the top and work downward, following the same basic sequence of steps as for doors.
STEP 3: DRAWERS
The same basic cleaning sequence applies for drawers, but they have more moving parts that can harbor grime, so pay attention for opportunities to dismantle and clean parts separately. Also, before soaking, use your vacuum cleaner to remove larger food particles and other debris. You may also encounter hardened liquid spills hiding underneath drawers; soak with a hot cloth to soften and gently scrape as needed.
STEP 4: FREEZER
Remove food to cooler. Remove and soak any baskets and/or shelves. Remove ice trays/buckets and discard old ice but do not soak ice trays in soapy water; defrost and clean with hot water only. Brush any debris to floor and vacuum. Before returning to freezer, check dates on frozen foods and discard items that have gone past their recommended safe freezing timeframes.
STEP 5: VENTS AND COOLING ELEMENTS
If your refrigerator is NOT hooked up to water filtration or automatic ice making system, pull out from wall, unplug and vacuum cooling coils and back and don’t forget to clean the top. If the fridge is hooked up to water, you may need professional assistance to complete this final important step for ensuring cooling efficiency.
For a comprehensive list of what you’ll need to give your fridge a deep clean, click here.
Pinterest, one of the newer sites to explode on the social media scene, offers lots of great content around home organizing and cleaning. Here are nine quick tips for getting the most out of it.
Commit to the concept. The whole idea of Pinterest is to replace the mess of notes you write yourself or magazine pages you tear out whenever you see ideas you love. Try to get in the habit of using Pinterest instead of all those life-cluttering activities.
Be a pinner, not a follower. There are so many great ideas on Pinterest, it’s easy to get stuck there, simply following and repinning other people’s content. Be sure to add the ‘Pin It’ button to your web browser so you can be ready to pin great cleaning, home organizing and decorating ideas from all over the web whenever you encounter them.
Plan out and create your boards. It’s annoying to have to stop mid-pin and create a new board, so spend some time thinking about the kinds of ideas you are most likely to pin and get a bunch of boards ready ahead of time. Good ideas for home-related boards include: decorating, organizing, cleaning, DIY, holidays and seasons.
Research your repins. Before repinning an idea on Pinterest, be sure to click through to ensure the link connects to the original content source. Some don’t and it can be a huge disappointment to revisit a pin weeks or months later only to find a photo with no info behind it.
Lemons make pretty pictures. Keep in mind that Pinterest is both a visual and social medium. That means it favors popular trends such as sustainable living and features lots of lovely pictures of lemons floating in mason jars and attractively presented ‘green’ cleaning and other homemade concoctions. But, while some do-it-yourself solutions may be effective, others can be downright dangerous or damaging to your home. Best advice: Take an interest in the ideas you find on Pinterest, but arm yourself with authoritative follow up information such as Green Cleaning Myths Debunked.
Beware of spam. It has not taken long for spammers to get a hold of Pinterest and, unfortunately, they seem to have identified the word ‘cleaning’ as a great keyword for attracting people to bogus content. If you see comments or a message noting that a pin links to spam or inappropriate content, take heed and do not click through. Also avoid following anonymous boards with titles like ‘cleaning, cleaning, cleaning’ and stop spam from spreading by never repinning items without first verifying the links.
Be wary of product-driven boards. While many savvy product marketers will take the time to create useful and authoritative content for their customers and prospects, others just want to sell you something via Pinterest, so keep a wary eye when following product company boards.
Go with the pros. A great strategy is to find and follow boards from trusted publications such as Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living and Better Homes and Gardens that focus on cleaning, organizing and decorating for the home. A fast way to find publications’ official boards is to search the publication names in Pinterest and click on the People link under the search results.
Follow judiciously. Another good way to leapfrog spam on Pinterest is to find and follow boards from individual Pinners with good reputations for validating and pinning only authoritative content. A fast way to find reputable Pinners is to check out who your favorite publications follow and go from there.