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Choosing Between Professional Home Carpet Cleaning

carpet-cleaner

Vacuuming your home is the easiest and most convenient way to keep your carpet clean, but simple vacuuming will not be enough to keep a carpet in good repair.  At least once every year or two, our carpets will show enough wear and tear, stains, scuffs or blots, that we consider giving them a better, deeper cleaning.  It is then that we are faced with the choice between a home cleaning using a rented steam cleaner or small purchased model, or choosing a professional carpet cleaning.

Dirty carpets impact your indoor air quality, which is often 8-10 times worse than outdoor quality and which has a profound effect on those with asthma or allergies.  Regular carpet cleaning is a must for these individuals.   Many experts recommend frequent carpet cleaning for everyone, at least every six months, to help keep dirt, allergies, and germs at bay.  You should probably clean your carpets even more often if you have pets.

So how to clean those dirty carpets?  Steam cleaning is the only real way to loosen dirt and dust trapped deep within carpet fiber.  These tiny particles, moving within the deep carpet fibers, can effectively shred our carpet from within.  Getting them out is of utmost importance to protect your long-term carpet investment.   In fact, many carpet warranties require professional cleaning every 12-24 months in order to honor the warranty, for this very reason.

Steam cleaning works by spraying detergent mixed with hot water into the carpets. A steam cleaner then acts as a wet vacuum to pull the dirt, detergent, and water back out of the carpets.  This can be done by professionals or at home, with a rented or purchased machine.  Steam cleaning works well because it moves past the surface of the carpet into the deeper layers where dirt and dust particles like to hide.  The spraying and lifting actions of the machine help to pull those particles out of the cracks and crevices they have hidden in.

While you can certainly buy or rent a steam cleaner and do the work yourself, professional expertise helps with making sure all the steam comes back out of the carpets after cleaning.  Leaving the carpets wet is sure to lead to mold and a greater health hazard than the dirt you started with. Steam cleaning is both an art and a science.  Important factors to get the carpets really clean while avoiding moisture and resulting mold growth include: using the right amount of water (not too much or too little), don’t let the water sit too long on the carpets, and use the steam cleaner properly to vacuum the water and detergent back out.  Professional steam cleaners can use more water than home cleaners can because they have much stronger suction to pull the water back out - this gives a cleaner result.  Professional steam cleaners also have the advantage of hot water pumped from the truck into the machines, while, at home, you can only heat water and pour it into the steam machine, hoping it doesn’t cool off too much as you go.  Another factor is the condition of the machine you use at home.  If it’s a rental machine and perhaps not in good repair, it could create more problems than it solves by releasing too much water or detergent or failing to vacuum it back out well.

Steam cleaning is highly effective but it takes time to dry. A faster, though somewhat less effective, alternative to steam cleaning is dry cleaning.   Dry cleaning is not a completely dry process, but it uses far less water than steam cleaning.  Chemicals, in powder form, are sprinkled onto the carpets.  These chemicals sift down into the carpet, disrupting dirt, breaking it up and bonding with it.  A small amount of water is used over top of the chemicals to increase their effectiveness. Vacuuming is then used to pull the chemicals and dirt back up.  You can walk on the carpets almost immediately after this treatment, leading to less disruption for the carpet owner.   While these chemicals are very effective without much time or effort, they are also somewhat toxic and may affect those in your home who have allergies or asthma.  Home owners can dry clean carpets with a simple baking soda sprinkle, but the more effective and harsher chemicals are usually best left to professionals.

While professional carpet cleaners are far more effective at getting a clean result with both steam and dry cleaning, the costs will be higher.  Renting a steam cleaner for a day may only cost $20, while the professional may run $120 or more.   Ultimately the decision requires a cost vs benefits analysis by each homeowner where results are weighed against cost and the time of the homeowner is factored in.

Whatever you do about carpet cleaning, between cleanings, be sure to vacuum regularly.   With low wear, carpets can be vacuumed once weekly, with greater use, several times a week may be needed. Vacuuming slowly, thoroughly and in multiple directions will help keep your carpet far cleaner and reduce the number of times it needs a full cleaning.

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How to Really Get Wine out of Your Carpets

Red wine is among the most infamous of carpet cleaning challenges.  Short of calling in the professionals, what’s a homeowner to do?  We’re happy to save you time and put your mind at ease as we treat your carpets.  But if you’d like to try a little TLC of your own, we have the tips you need below. Here’s how to really get red wine out of those light carpets, if it can be done.

wine spill

If your stain is fresh and still wet, the first step is heavy blotting.  Do not wipe your carpet!  Try to use a clean fresh cloth with plenty of absorbency rather than a paper towel or napkin which could shred into the carpet as it absorbs moisture.  Blot up as much as you can of the stain, pressing fresh sides of the clean cloth against the stain again and again until no more wine is coming up on the cloth.

Next, start with plain water or even better, club soda if you have it.  Take another fresh clean cloth and dip it into the water, then begin blotting again.  Getting moisture into the area helps to dilute the wine and keep it from settling down into the carpet fibers and drying in place.   After you have removed as much as you can this week, prepare a solution of two cups of warm water plus one tablespoon of dish detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar. Use this solution to blot the carpet again. Continue blotting as long as wine comes up. Make sure to follow the vinegar solution with another blot of plain water to help remove the vinegar smell from the rug.  

If you have no time to do anything about your red wine stain while it’s wet, simply dump salt on it!  This is an age-old method but even experts swear by it.  It works by absorbing the red wine.  While it doesn’t work perfectly, it can be a great partial solution if time constraints don’t allow you to thoroughly treat your red wine stain when it’s fresh.   This solution is said to work best when used on top of the club soda treatment mentioned above.   Some experts say this is the only solution you need to use . . . but see what works for you.

If all these techniques fail you can always mix one part dish detergent with two parts hydrogen peroxide and blot the area.  This may bleach your carpet, especially if it is not light colored, so use this method with care and spot check an inconspicuous part of the carpet first.  If it is not too strong for the carpet, this method works without any scrubbing.  Simply pour some solution on, wait for it to do its work and if more is needed, add an additional solution to the stain.  Eventually, it will appear to “melt” away!

Even if you’re dealing with a dry wine stain, do not despair.  Although these are much harder to clean, there is always hope!  Try pouring hot water onto the stain to saturate the area then sprinkle granules of some kind of oxi product onto the now-wet spill and let it sit for up to ten hours to work on the tough stain.  In many cases, this will remove the tough dried wine stains.

While red wine is among the toughest challenge a carpet can face (see about carpet cleaning), there are many solutions known to work!  Try the tips above and if all else fails, call in the professionals! We’d be happy to help you save face, and save your carpet!  Whatever you do, don’t put off dealing with a red wine stain. The sooner you call for help, the more likely we are to have success in dealing with your stubborn stain.

 

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Getting rid of mildew

mildew on a wall

Mildew is one of the harder problems to deal with because many times it creeps up on you unexpectedly. Greasy kitchen walls, the basement, and closets are just some of the places that tend to go unnoticed but are some of the places where the environment is ideal for mildew to grow. The two main ingredients, humidity, and higher temperatures, that need to be present for mildew to form are often more present in the summer than the winter but can also be created during the cooler months. When it is found, it is essential to deal with the problem as soon as possible.
 
Here are the main places where you can find mildew:

  • Carpets
  • Clothing
  • Showers
  • Plants
  • Walls

There are two basic approaches to removing mildew: the chemical methods, and the natural and organic methods. The chemical methods are found in the form of sprays and liquids that you apply directly to the affected areas. There are a number of products you can buy, many found on the same label as mold removers. This is because both mold and mildew are both types of fungi, but mildew is far less dangerous to humans. That said, when using chemical sprays to clean mildew you need to be sure to wear a face mask for two reasons. The first is to avoid inhaling the spray, which may contain chemicals that can irritate your throat and respiratory system. The second reason is to avoid inhaling any of the mildew spores, which can also negatively impact your respiratory system.
 
You will likely need to use a scrub brush and a moderate amount of elbow grease to completely clean the infestation. Dense infestations of mildew on walls, tiles, or shower areas may require multiple treatments. In especially severe cases a professional cleaning company may be required to completely rid your home of mildew.
 
The alternative is to use natural or organic methods to clean the mildew. These methods are preferred by some people because since mildew is a living organism, it only makes sense to deal with the problem naturally. Before reading on it is important to know that different people have had different results using some of these methods, so you may need to experiment to find the best solution for your particular problem.
 
One of the bigger concerns of using chemicals is that the chemical that kills the mildew can also have a toxic effect on you, requiring you to wear rubber gloves to prevent it from being absorbed into your skin. In contrast, the first two natural methods are liquids you may either cook with or drink.
 
Vinegar is naturally antimicrobial, meaning its kills molds naturally. There is no need to dilute the bottle of plain white vinegar, just spray it directly on to the surface needed to be treated, let it stand for a period of time, then wipe the mildew from the surface. There are two potential limitations to using vinegar. The first is that you may have to wait a while before wiping the surface clean, so if you have a time compressed schedule that would not be the best choice. A second potential drawback is that you may have to repeat the procedure several times to completely rid the surface of mildew.
 
You may like the second choice much more – vodka. It is not for drinking but, like vinegar, to spray directly on to the affected areas. It is not recommended to use your best bottle of vodka for this purpose; any undiluted brand will work equally as well. (In fact, for some reason, the cheaper quality vodkas work better.) Like the vinegar, you will need to let it sit for a while before wiping it off the surface, and repeated treatments may be necessary.
 
At the beginning of the article there were two major factors for mildew growth – high temperatures and moisture. The most natural way to rid your home of mildew is attack the affected areas with sunlight and fresh air. Unfortunately, darkened areas such as bathrooms and closets my not be able to get the needed sunlight for this method to be effective, but clothing and carpets may be able to be treated without costing you one cent.
 
The final natural method we will mention is using hydrogen peroxide. This is especially useful on bathroom floor tiles where intricate patterns are difficult to clean. Simply pouring full strength hydrogen peroxide on the tiles and letting it set for at least 10 minutes will do the job without the scrubbing necessary when using chemical cleaners or other organic solutions. Keep in mind peroxide will lose its potency quickly if exposed to sunlight, so be sure to use it on areas where sunlight is scarce.
 
Between mildew and mold infestations, mildew is the lesser of the two problems. But because getting rid of mildew has many simple and easy solutions, you do not see it being presented as a health risk. But always remember it is a living organism and will spread throughout the house if not properly treated.

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One time house cleaning

a team member cleaning counter tops

I came to realize a simple truth: when it comes to house cleaning there are many people out there like me.
 
I keep my home as in order as I can. A friend of mine was amazed that I only filled up one 13-gallon garbage bag of trash every 10 days. I keep my house relatively clean because in part I don’t let relatives come over very often. Things are kept in order because as a self-employed person I need to find things when I need them. Perhaps most importantly, I am not a messy person.
 
But the reality is that there are times when my home needs a good cleaning from top to bottom. I don’t need nor want a maid service because there really isn’t enough for them to clean up even on a weekly basis, so while having them come in seems necessary – it’s not. What I discovered is necessary is for a quality, professional cleaning service to come in and give the place a thorough cleaning.
 
The first time you realize the one time cleaning is necessary is the traditional spring cleaning ritual. Friends and neighbors, especially those with children, are talking about how to spend the next few weekends cleaning out garages and basements of artifacts accumulated during the winter. But even if you are a neatnik, you will see why seasonal cleaning is a must. Spring is that time of the year when birds and bees find time to mate, and they don’t care where they find the place to do it. So a one-time cleaning to eliminate any potential resting or nesting places is common sense.
 
It helps to know what kinds of services a reputable cleaning service offers so you can find out which services best suit your needs, and which companies have the best reputation to deliver on their promises. Here is where you actually need to speak to the company personally because there are so many cleaning needs that can be easily overlooked. Consider this short list of possible oversights that many cleaning services will clean for you:
 

  • Your gas or electric oven – We are talking about pizzas, but only you know what you put in there.
  • Your microwave – It is easy to miss what grows on top of the inside
  • The laundry room – One would think that the place where there is mostly soap and water would not require much cleaning, but only the cleaning service knows for sure
  • The refrigerator – Do we really have to put this one on the list? Yes!

If you have a home or apartment that has hardwood floors, the reason is because the look so great and are much easier to keep clean than carpeted floors. But regardless of the quality or material of the hardwood floor, it needs to be kept clean to prevent scratches and to get the maximum service life from it. A seasonal cleaning is just what the floor doctor ordered and let you focus on your work and leisure time.
 
Tile floors, whether they are in the bathroom or the kitchen can be a source of built up dirt, especially those with intricate tile designs. Whether the tile color is light or dark, some of the dirt cannot be seen and requires more than just a mop and a bucket. When you consider that much of your personal hygiene is done in the bathroom, it makes good sense to have the tile thoroughly cleaned several times during the year.
 
Whether you have leather or fabric covers for your furniture, they need to be cleaned professionally to get the maximum use from them. Many people wait until they become unsightly or a major spill occurs that requires a call to a cleaning services company. But like your personal clothing, having it cleaned periodically helps it last longer and adds to the appearance of your home.
 
You may only need to have your house thoroughly cleaned once a year. The question you have to ask is whether you have the skills, tools, and know how to do it all yourself. If you factor in the time it will take from your weekly routine, you will discover you are better off using a one-time cleaning service to do the job for you. If you are not convinced, take a few minutes to make a checklist of all the areas in your house, from top to bottom, that need to be cleaned. In order for your HVAC system to run at maximum efficiency, which will save you money, a clean air environment is necessary. That means eliminating as much dust in your living environment as possible.
 
Calling in a cleaning service for a one time cleaning of your home is an investment of both your time and your money. You will save on both because the cost of having a clean, well-maintained home is significantly less than paying for higher energy bills during the year or for an exterminator to rid your house of pesky insects. Calling a cleaning service for a one time cleaning is the only way you will know what services are available, and which ones meet your specific needs. And you are likely to find out there are many people just like you who are in need of a good, quality house cleaning.

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Five DIY cleaning solutions


“Living on a budget”: can mean different things to different people. For some, it means financial discipline, while for others it means finding a way to pay the bills and make ends meet. But whatever category you put yourself in, almost everyone agrees that having a clean house or apartment is essential for healthy and happy living. Finding the best and cheapest cleaning solutions is a point everyone can agree on. Price is also a consideration since everyone likes to have more money in their pocket. Here we will take a look at five of the best cleaning solutions for your home or apartment.
 
You don’t have to be an environmentalist to like the idea of all-natural cleaning solutions. This is not about products that advertise themselves as “all-natural” or “eco-friendly” but products that are commonly found in your home and in many cases are very low priced. Some of the solutions have been tried and tested for years, so you can be sure of their effectiveness and safety. Also, there are many different surfaces you have to deal with, everything from kitchen counters to shower walls. It generally is not a good idea to take a one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning.

The Bathroom

The bathroom should always be the cleanest room in the house. This is the place that the majority of your personal hygiene takes place and the place where germs and bacteria can accumulate quickly. If someone asks why there is a fungus among us, the answer is usually in the bathroom. To treat the inside of the toilet bowl, put about one-half cup of baking soda into the bowl, followed by a one-quarter cup of vinegar. Once the fizzing starts you can scrub away the dirt. Vinegar is the best solution for tubs and showers. Simply create a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar, then wipe or gently scrub as needed.

The Kitchen

Cleaning cooking surfaces and countertops is not always the same as disinfecting them. Once again, the 50-50 solution of vinegar and water is the simple, easy way to get the job done. But a word of caution needs to be made here. If you have a kitchen countertop made of stone or marble, the acid level of vinegar is high enough to potentially damage the surface. The first step you need to take is to read the care instructions for your countertop or call the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. Sometimes the surfaces are coated, allowing you to use the cheapest cleaning solution. For cooking surfaces such as wooden cutting boards, lemon juice or an actual lemon will do the job. For microwave ovens, vinegar once again saves the day. Pour a small amount into a cup, turn on the microwave for 2 – 3 minutes, then wipe the interior walls with a soft cloth.

Your Windows

Having clean windows does more than just make your home more attractive. In the winter, clean windows can actually save you money by naturally heating your home through sunlight. The solution is a 4 – 1 water to vinegar mixture that you can use as much as you need. Some people recommend using a sponge or soft cloth, but old timers swear by an old fashioned newspaper (if you can find one). This cleaning solution is also great for mirrors around the house.

Varnished Wood

There are still carpenters among us who make their own furniture and prefer the varnished look. But care must be taken to preserve the look and protect the wood underneath. A simple and natural home cleaning solution is to mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of vinegar, and 1 quart of water in a large spray bottle. Shake, spray, and then wipe with a soft cloth.

Non-wood Floors

Floor made of tile, linoleum, and other non-wood materials can be washed using vinegar using a 2 – 1 mixture of vinegar and warm water. The biggest benefit for this cleaning solution is that no rinsing is required!
 
If it seems that you should have an ample supply of vinegar in your home for cleaning purposes, you are right. Vinegar has acidic qualities about it that make it very useful for almost anywhere in the house. Yet it mixes well with water and oils, making it a great foundation for all types of household cleaning. Some of these solutions require what many people call “essential oils” that should be in almost everyone’s home, mainly for cooking. A few mentioned in this article are olive and lemon. Both are relatively inexpensive, and combined with vinegar, give you a variety of natural cleaning solutions for every room in your home or apartment. We started you with five, now find the best of the rest!

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How To Clean Light Fixtures

light fixtures in a kitchen

When it comes to cleaning the light fixtures in your home, there are so many of us who will keep putting it off as long as we can before accomplishing this chore.  It is a very time-consuming task, and it isn't the easiest chore since most of the light fixtures in your home are out of reach.  However, even though it is a frustrating household chore, it is one that has to be done no matter what the excuse might be.  Once you have finally cleaned your light fixtures, you can notice an enormous difference with the lighting in the room.  The room is brighter since the light can shine through the light fixture, without any of the dirt and dust blocking its rays.  So, when it comes to cleaning your light fixtures, there are several different tips that you can use to be able to keep up with the cleanliness of them each week. 

Simple Cleaning 

It seems as if light fixtures have a built-in magnet to dust and dirt, and no matter how frustrating this is, there is no way to change it.  Therefore, if you take the time to do some light dusting once or twice a week, then you won't have to worry about a significant amount, of this dust and dirt build-up, from corroding and covering your light fixtures.  There are several different types of extendable dusters that you can find at the store, and this makes it easier to do this dusting every week.  Using a regular dry cloth works as well, and it helps to prevent any serious amount of dust and dirt building up on the fixtures, making your cleaning easier. 

Deeper Cleaning

Many individuals have glass covers that are covering the light within their home.  If this is the case for you, then removing the glass from the light itself is the best way to clean them.  Remove the glass as safely as you can, and once you have accomplished this, then you will want to be sure and dump out any dirt or dead bugs that are residing within the glass cover.  Soak the glass cover in some warm soapy water, and then you can simply wipe away the dirt and dust, and then rinse it off.  When you replace the cover back over the light, be sure that you do so safely and take your time putting it back correctly.  

Light Bulbs 

It is important to remember that when you are cleaning your light fixtures, it is beneficial for you to clean the light bulbs as well.  The dirt and dust will build up on the light bulb just like it does the fixture, and it is just as important to clean it off.  As you are waiting for the glass cover to soak, or if it doesn't have a glass cover, you can then gently wipe down the light bulb with a rag and then replace it back into the slot and cover it again.  
 
In conclusion, it is important to be sure that you keep your light fixtures properly cleaned each week, and this will prevent any serious build up of dirt or dust from forming on them.  If you are looking to avoid having to clean your light fixtures deeply, then it is prudent that you take the time each week to wipe them down.  This will keep the light fixtures free of so much dust and makes it easier to clean when you are looking to deep clean them (see our cleaning services). 

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Coffee Maker Cleaning Tips

coffee maker

Having the right coffee maker in your home can make all the difference between a pleasant morning and one that you would rather forget, especially if you happen to love coffee. In fact, a lot of people go out of their way to try different types and flavors of coffee in their never-ending quest to find that special blend that tastes just right. If you happen to be one of these individuals, you might be interested to know some tips for effectively cleaning your coffee maker. Doing so on a regular basis will not only make your coffee taste much better, but it will also help preserve the life of the coffee maker itself. That, in turn, can save you a lot of money in the long run because you probably won't be required to go out and buy a new one nearly as often.

Everyday Cleaning

There is a better than average chance that you already take the time to wash and rinse out the carafe after each use thoroughly. This minimizes the residue that can sometimes collect on these types of surfaces, especially if you drink strong coffee. But while you are cleaning that carafe don't forget to remove the coffee grounds from the filter area and then use a damp rag to clean that area as well. 

A lot of people have a tendency to forget this part, as they think that having the filter in place will prevent any of this residue from collecting.  In reality, this residue collects just the same, and over an extended period, it can cause your coffee to taste strange. If it gets severe enough, it can even cause some of the residue to get into your coffee or even block the filter area all together so that it is essentially impossible for water to be pumped through the coffee grounds to make coffee in the first place.

Cleaning The Coffee Maker Itself

As far as cleaning the machine itself goes, you can do it one of two ways. There are commercial products that are available, which you can purchase in virtually any supermarket or discount store. They are designed to be utilized in the cleaning of the machine. Typically, this is a liquid that is poured into the tank just as you would pour water into it to make coffee. You then have to turn the machine on and allow it to pump through. Most products require that you do this once or twice each time you clean the machine. Make sure that you also run at least one or two full cycles of fresh water through the machine after you have used these products to ensure that there is no chemical residue left over. Your other option is to utilize vinegar. It cleans the machine just as effectively as the commercial cleaning products, but it doesn't require the use of harsh chemicals to do so. Simply pour the vinegar into the tank, turn the machine on and allow it to brew just as it would at any other time. After the coffee machine has cooled, run water through it a couple of times (just like you would when making coffee). Your coffee maker is now ready for use. 

Typically, you should be sure to clean your coffee maker about once a month, but we at Out of Sight Cleaning recommend that with hard water you do it more frequently,  as this can make it hard for the pump to function correctly.

If you clean your coffee maker regularly and you follow these tips, you can have coffee that tastes great whenever you want it. The best part is that it gives you a better chance to keep the coffee maker you love and not have to buy a new one.  Otherwise, you could find yourself being forced to replace it every few months. 

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How to Clean Kitchen Cabinets

If you are like most people, you like to make sure that everything in your house is clean on a regular basis. This includes things like the kitchen cabinets. The question is, how do you clean kitchen cabinets effectively and what should you be using to accomplish this goal? This might seem like a job that is too tough to tackle at first, but fortunately, it isn't that difficult at all. What you need to get the job done is a little elbow grease and a couple of good cleaning products.

First Things First

cabinets

The first thing you need to do is decide if you want to clean only the exterior of the kitchen cabinets or if you would prefer to clean both the exterior and interior at the same time. If you decide to do the latter, you can save yourself some time by removing all of the dishes from those kitchen cabinets and setting them aside, so you don't end up getting cleaner on them. Next, take a damp cloth and simply wipe out the interior of the cabinets, being sure to allow the cabinets to dry completely before replacing the dishes. Once you get this task accomplished, you are ready to clean the exterior of the cabinets without having to worry about cleaning the interior or accidentally contaminating your dishes, which would naturally force you to wash them all before you could restock them.

Cleaning The Exterior

Chances are, the exterior of the kitchen cabinets will require a little more effort than simply using a damp rag. What you want to do is be sure that you are getting all of the oils from your skin, as well as debris from cooking and everything else, off of the cabinets. This involves using a cleaner that is designed for exactly this type of thing. You can choose to utilize a good wood polish if your cabinets are varnished or if they are natural wood but you need to utilize a wood cleanser first. If your cabinets are painted, you will still have to clean them, but there won't be any need to use some polish on them after the fact. Make sure that you are utilizing a cleanser that is designed to be used on kitchen cabinets like the ones you have. In other words, don't use a cleanser that is not designed for painted surfaces if your cabinets have been painted. By the same token, use caution not to utilize an everyday cleanser on varnished or natural wood, as it could do harm to the wood itself. Once you know which product to use, simply follow the directions on that particular product and you can enjoy clean kitchen cabinets after just a few hours worth of work.

Conclusion

When it comes to house cleaning, the kitchen cabinets are something that often gets overlooked. They are not typically included in your everyday touch-ups or even your weekly cleaning projects. However, you should take care to ensure that you clean your kitchen cabinets at least annually. Most people prefer to do it a couple of times a year to keep them in good shape and prevent too much build-up from forming on them. As long as you follow these simple steps, you should be able to get them clean without having any trouble. You should even be able to do it in a relatively short amount of time. 

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Get Rid of Grease and Dirt With Oven Cleaning Tips

oven cleaning

Ever wondered why pests such as roaches find your oven to be a great home? For starters, it might be the nook and crannies that provide places to hide and breed. While it may happen as a result of the above, the reason why pests inhabit your oven is that of food particles and grease. Leaving the situation as described above is definitely unhealthy. One thing you need to remember is that pests do carry disease-causing pathogens. If they inhabit your oven, be sure they will scurry over your dishes and kitchen surface looking for food. Want to prevent this? Start maintaining high standards of hygiene by engaging in oven cleaning.
 
Here are oven cleaning tips you need to incorporate and keep your kitchen pest free:

Start by formulating home oven cleaning products

Cleaning an oven is one of the most time-consuming chore every homeowner dreads. Yes, you have just finished baking an apple pie, a few brownies or a cake. You are tired and all you want to do is lie down and take a nap. Once your nap is done, you pour yourself a glass of milk and munch on a few brownies and cookies. While doing so, your mind is trying hard to remind you about the mess in the oven but you are trying to subconsciously bury the thought.
 
To make your work easier, start by making your own oven cleaning products. Why? Not only will you save money but you will get to use allergy-free elements which are great for those with sensitive skin. This does not mean that commercial cleaning products are bad but chemicals used in their formulation could be harmful to the user especially when they come into contact with the skin.
 
One of the simplest home cleaning products is a mixture of a bicarbonate soda/baking soda and a few tablespoons of warm water. By letting the solution sit overnight on the oven rack, the grease and other dirt will lift and become easy to remove. Add white vinegar in the morning to ensure better results.

Safety first

One thing every homeowner seems to forget is safety especially when it comes to oven cleaning. First and foremost, make sure the oven is powered down and if necessary, unplug from the wall socket. You need to ensure the oven has cooled down before cleaning. The skin is sensitive and some of the agents used during cleaning may be corrosive. To prevent damage to your hands and fingernails, it’s wise to ensure protection. For starters, when working with chemicals, ensure proper ventilation. The only way to do so is by opening the windows. Make sure that your children are occupied with art and craft supplies. They should either be playing around the backyard or coloring in the study room.
 
For your safety, wear protective clothing. Rubber gloves help to protect your hands. Don’t forget a mask for your face. It eliminates the chances of you breathing in any fumes. You need to avoid the heating elements. Cleaning the elements will result in damage preventing your oven from working normally. Once you are done the cleaning, always leave the oven door open for a few hours. Not only will this allow proper drying but will ensure all fumes are removed.

Use the right techniques

For best results, you have to incorporate the right techniques. Start by removing the shelves. Scrap any food residue with a blunt tool to prevent chipping the paint from the racks. Remember the home made solution you prepared earlier, this is where it comes in handy. Using a sponge, apply the solution on the bottom, sides and door panel. Avoid the heating elements and door seals. If you opt for a commercial cleaning product, follow the instructions provided.
 
Leave the cleaning solution to sit for 30 minutes or an hour. This will allow the dirt and grease to loosen making cleaning to be easier. Furthermore, it eliminates the need of scrubbing or using a lot of effort. After the hour has elapsed, take a medium bristled brush, scrub the sides, bottom and door panel. Always pay attention to problematic areas. Once you are done, wipe off any excess cleaning solution with a microfiber cloth. Rinse the cloth several times to avoid spreading the dirt on the cleaning surfaces. You can also use crumpled newspapers.

Never use the self-cleaning system

Today, modern ovens are engineered with a self cleaning feature which is advertised as the best way to remove grease and other stains. One thing you need to know is that the feature uses extreme heat in order to remove the grease and grime. This will result in temperatures rising to 1000 degrees F finally causing damage to the elements and fuses. As a result, you will end up incurring more expenses in terms of replacing your oven and repairing other electrical components.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have the best oven cleaning tips at hand, you can begin eliminating the grease and grime from your oven. Not only will this ensure your oven stays clean ready for another baking session but it will keep away pests such as roaches. If you opt for commercial cleaning products, buy those that come packed in a spray bottle. Furthermore, they should be fume free.

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Tips for Getting Rid of Dust Mites

dusting

Dust mites cause allergies and you need to get rid of them now, right? Well, getting rid of dust mites from your home isn’t that easy. Apart from the fact that you cannot see them, they also adapt very well to the humidity and warmth found in homes. They also breed fast and if you happen to have pets in your home, then they become carriers as well as hosts for dust mites.
 
Dust mites in their lifetime produce waste that is over 200 times of its own body weight. That is not good news for us because our bodies are allergic to their waste. It causes itching, breathing difficulties, nasal congestion, watery eyes, and coughing. Finally, the allergies cause you to experience poor sleep because you find yourself waking several times during the night. To honest, you can never eliminate them from your home. However, you can take several steps to keep their numbers at a minimum.

Tips for Getting Rid of Dust Mites

1. Wash Bedding

Warm and moist bedding are one of the best habitats because of the dead skins we shed while in bed. The dust mites find these dead skin flakes to be a great source of nutrition. The good news is that dust mites do not like it when you expose them to dry air, high temperatures, or low temperatures. Machine-washing bed sheets at 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit is a great way to do that. Next, if you got a tumble dryer, you can spin-cycle them until they are fully dry. If you do that on a weekly basis, you will have dealt the dust mites a major blow.

2. Anti-Allergy Mattresses and Covers

Most experts estimate that a mattress on average is home to over 10,000 mites and in extreme cases, over a million. Irrespective of the exact figure, you can be sure even the cleanest mattress will have some dust mites has these tiny monsters. It's just not possible to keep a regular mattress free of dust mites. However, there are measures that you can take to make sure your body is not exposed to their decaying body matter and feces.
 
That is where a hypoallergenic mattress or anti-allergen mattress comes in handy. The hypoallergenic mattress is designed to kill the dust mites that come to live in it. The more affordable ant-allergen covers create a barrier between you and the mattress. They prevent your body's dead skin flakes and sweat from getting into the mattress. That starves the dust mites and keeps them from breeding excessively. It also helps act as a barrier separating your body from the dust mites in the mattress.

3. Don't Make Your Bed

Did you know that making your bed in the morning aids the dust mites to survive? Well, I guess that's good news to those of us who do not like to make our beds in the morning. Leaving the bedding as they are when you wake up allows the moist air that was trapped inside and in the fabric to escape.  Since dust mites absorb their water from the air, it means forcing them to live in dry bed sheets dehydrates them fast. They will either migrate to more moist environs or die.

4. Don't Use Feather Pillows and Duvets

Feather pillows are comfortable and that is why we easily rest our heads on them for eight straight hours. Unfortunately, they are not easy to wash, the dust mites love the comfortable, and moist environment the feathers provide. To have a greater control on the dust mites, we need to invest in a hypoallergenic pillow. The same goes for a feather duvet. It's comfortable for you and the mites. If you want to give the dust mites a hard time and make their number plummet, you need to get rid of the feather duvets.  Replace them with hypoallergenic duvets that are inhabitable to dust mites.

5. Cleaning Carpet or Using Hard Flooring

Carpets are one of the biggest breeding grounds for dust mites. Apart from the fact that they are mostly warm and dump, they are also full of pet dander and dead skin, which is food for the dust mites. The solution to minimizing the presence of dust mites in carpets is to vacuum it regularly. Do it at least every two weeks and use HEPA, (High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting) Vacuum filters to protect you. The HEPA are not 100% effective against dust mites but they can help to protect you. The other alternative is to use sprays and treatment to kill the dust mites periodically.
 
If you want to eliminate dust mites, you should consider using hard flooring. Dust mites hate the feel of the cold hard floor because it is both dry and cold. They have nowhere to hide and cleaning the guard flooring even with a mop soaked in detergent is enough them. Dump the mite invested carpets and replace them with hard flooring in the trash and you will have rid your floors of dust mites.

6. Control Humidity and Temperature

Something you need to know about dust mites is that they enjoy living in places whose temperature range between 24°C to 27°C (75°F to 80°F) with a relative humidity of 70% to 80%. If you subject them to anything outside of that, they may not die but they will be forced to look for another comfort zone.
 
In that regard, you can try to keep your home temperature to about 70°F (21°C), which is normal for humans. Unfortunately, for dust mites, that is a little bit cold. You will save money as well as keep the dust mite population low. Next, you need to keep the humidity of your home to less than 50%. Dust mites love it when it gets closer to about 70%. Use an electronic humidity monitor and use a dehumidifier or air-conditioning units to bring humidity levels down to 50% relative humidity.

7. Pets

Pets are the biggest culprits when it comes to spreading dust mites. They lie on the carpets, jump onto seats and run into your bedroom. It can be difficult to control dust mites even with through cleaning if you cannot control the pets. Make sure you wash the pets regularly and keep them away from the bedroom. Train them to keep off seats, especially the dogs. If possible, make a kernel for them to sleep in the garage.

Conclusion

Overall, dust mites can be controlled if you keep the carpet clean. You can get professional carpet cleaners to do the job for you. To make the whole dust mite control campaign successful, do it all at once. Clean the bedding, carpets, pets, and curtains. If you believe the infestation was massive, get rid of soft furnishings and cushions. That will allow you to get a head start. Otherwise, one item can easily transfer the dust mites to the rest, more so if you have pets at home. We hope this article has been informative and you now know what to do.

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