Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Part 2 of Indoor Allergies

In the last blog we talked about winter/indoor allergies. Indoor allergies are caused by several sources. Regular cleaning provided by Grime Solvers can help reduce allergies and improve your air quality and comfort in your home.

Controlling Dust Mites

Dust mites allergens are a major contributor to asthma and allergy symptoms. They can be found throughout the house, but thrive in bedding and furniture. Here is how regular cleaning can help reduce dust mites.

Bedding should be washed weekly in hot water (130° F) and dried in a hot dryer. Encase your pillows, mattress, and box spring you can buy zippered allergen-proof covers. Regularly washing allergen-proof covers can help control dust mites.

Vacuum and Dust Regularly

We can help you keep dust mites to a minimum by dusting and vacuuming at least once a week. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter. A damp mop should be used on wood or linoleum flooring to help collect dust. If you have ceiling fans, they should be cleaned thoroughly at least once a week and furniture should vacuumed regularly especially if you have pets.

In extreme situations, you may want to consider removing the wall-to-wall carpeting in your home and replace it with wood floors and throw rugs that can be regularly washed or dry-cleaned.

Hiring Grime Solvers to frequently and thoroughly clean your home can help reduce the affect of allergens and save you time, ultimately helping to improve your health and comfort.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Indoor Allergies

Now that winter is here we’re spending more time indoors and indoor allergies can start to become a problem particularly in the coldest part of winter. Closed windows mean that fresh air can’t circulate into your home. Allergens build up in the indoor stale air making your allergy symptoms really act up.

Indoor allergies (“perennial allergic rhinitis” [PAR] or often called “nasal” allergies) occur when allergens that are commonly found indoors are inhaled into the nose and the lungs causing allergic reactions.

With no fresh air circulating, the sources of your allergies are trapped in your home. There are some rather obvious allergy triggers such as dust, but then there are also some less common sources you may not think of like airborne cat or dog dander, dust mites and mold spores.

Your heater can be a source of comfort but it can also be a major source of allergens. Here are some simple steps you can take to maintain your heating system and reduce allergens:

Change your Filter
Be sure to change the filter on the blower for your air conditioner or furnace every month. If it's possible, install a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

Clean Your Heating Ducts
A professional duct cleaning service can remove the dust and allergens from your heating ducts. It’s a simple process but it does require a professional. Regular cleaning of your home’s duct work can significantly improve air quality.

In the next blog we’ll talk about how professional cleaning from Grime Solvers can help reduce allergens in your home.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Commercial Cleaning

Did you know that Grime Solvers also does commercial cleaning? Grime Solvers has been commercial cleaning for over 25 years. Many businesses don’t know what to look for when hiring a commercial cleaning firm. The cleaning firm you hire reflects on your place of business. If a client enters you business and it’s not clean, that could result in lost or damaged business relationships. This can be avoided by simply hiring a professional office cleaning company to clean your office one, to two times a week. But, when hiring a professional office cleaning company, there are a number of important factors that you must keep in mind.

Does the company have a good reputation? Where you referred to this company by a friend or colleague, or did you simply pick them out of a phone book? Although this doesn’t mean they won’t do a good job, it is also important to hire a company that you can rely on, and that has an established reputation. When evaluating a cleaning company make sure they can provide solid references that you can check out prior to entering into a contract.

Once you find a reputable office cleaning services make sure they are fully licensed and insured. This protects your business' equipment and property from theft or damage.

Make sure you are clear about what you would like the cleaning company to do, how often you want items cleaned and what you expect. Communication is important.

Everyone has different cleaning needs and finding the right company to work with you to get desired results is important for your business.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick Clean Up

Every once in awhile, and particularly around the holidays, you might get a phone call from a relative or friend that they’re just going to pop in for a visit. But, even with 30 minutes notice, you can get your house into a presentable shape. Here’s how:

First figure out where in your home you will entertain your guests. These are the rooms that you’ll want to focus on straightening up. You can close the doors to any other rooms that won’t be used and skip cleaning them.

Now the most important step is to de-clutter. Grab a large empty plastic container or laundry basket or even a trash bag. Gather all the unwanted clutter and put it into which ever container you choose and put it into the closest. You can sort it out later

The next step is to clean the bathroom that your guests are likely to go into. Grab some disinfecting wipes and quickly clean the sink. Take another wipe to clean up the toilet and give it a quick scrub with the brush. Next give the floor a quick wipe if it has dirt or stray hairs on it. Make sure you’ve enough toilet paper, grab a clean bar of hand soap and hang clean hand towels.

Next is to clean the living/family room. Wash all table surfaces, straighten up pillows or throw blankets on couches and chairs. If you have enough time, put a little polish on a dust wipe and quickly wipe end tables and your coffee table.

Use these simple, quick and easy steps and you too will have a clean house in a matter of minutes. Your guests will be amazed how clean you keep your home.

Another option is to hire Grime Solvers to provide regular cleaning in your home. This way, you don’t need to rush when company comes over.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dirtiest Places in your Home

Since we are cleaning experts at Grime Solvers we often get asked what the dirtiest things we clean are. You would be surprised to find out that some of the dirtiest things in your home aren’t traditionally what a cleaning service would clean, their personal items that you would never think of.

1. The toothbrush holder, most people have them but rarely clean them. Bacteria from your mouth often end up in toothbrush holders after your rinse off your toothbrush. The result is often a load of bacteria and germs in the bottom of the cup. Make sure your run your toothbrush holder through the dishwasher monthly to eliminate the germs that can spread illness in your family.

2. The kitchen sink is consistently said to be the dirtiest place in your home. Food often sits in the sink resulting in germs and bacteria. But other related kitchen items can be just as dirty; these include kitchen sponges and dish towels. These items help to clean up the mess of food spills and they often stay damp. This is a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure you launder your dishtowels weekly and run your sponges through the dishwasher every so often. This will reduce germs and extend their life.

3. The remote control is the key to entertainment for your family but with everyone touching it and kids putting it in their mouths and since we are often eating while watching TV it can get very dirty. However it often is never sanitized from the time you purchase your TV. Disinfecting cleaners can be purchased that are safe for electronics and they should be used on things like keyboards and remotes once a month. Make sure you check with your electronics manufacturer before you use a cleaning spray.

It really makes you think about all of the germs hidden in and around your home. Call Grime Solvers for a truly thorough cleaning but also make sure you’re taking care of the dirt you don’t always see and think of.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cleaning Stainless Steel

Stainless steel appliances are a beautiful addition to any kitchen. They can also help increase your home’s value but it’s important to maintain them. Stainless steel is generally easy to care for. However, there are certain precautions that should be taken when cleaning these appliances particularly to make sure that you don’t scratch the surface.

Here are a few simple steps to keep your stainless steel looking clean and new

1. Cleaning with plain water

For everyday cleaning needs use warm water and a cloth. This is the least risky option for cleaning stainless steel. Dry it with a towel or cloth to prevent water spots and don’t forget to wipe in the direction of the polish lines.

2. Adding a mild detergent, (dish washing liquid)

You can add a mild detergent to water for slightly tougher cleaning jobs. Always rinse it thoroughly with warm water to prevent staining and spotting and then dry surfaces with a towel to prevent water spots.

3. Using glass cleaner to remove fingerprints

Fingerprints can be removed with glass cleaner or household ammonia. Some newer types of finishes resist fingerprints. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry.

4. Using stainless steel cleaner

If your appliances suffer from some mild staining or scratching, or they just lack sparkle and shine, a stainless steel cleaner may be a good option. Cleaners made for stainless steel are perfect for minimize scratching and removing stains. They also can polish stainless steel surfaces back to their original shine. Each cleaner has its own directions but it’s important to rinse thoroughly to remove the remnants of the polish.

5. Green Options

If you don’t want to use chemicals try some of the items listed below for those pesky fingerprints and smudges. Apply any of the items below to a lint-free cloth and wipe down your surface. Follow up with a clean dry cloth to bring appliances to a mark-free shine.

Olive Oil (just a dab)
Mineral Oil (Baby Oil)–Just a dab
Club Soda (especially good for removing streaks and heat stains)
Rubbing Alcohol

Take just a few minutes each day to keep your stainless steel appliances looking like new.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Taking Care of Carpet

One of the biggest determinants of whether your house looks clean is your carpet. Even if a house is kept sparkling clean; a dull, dingy carpet will make it feel dirty. Keeping your home looking great involves keeping your carpet looking great too. Proper care of your floor prevents damage, extends its life and keeps it looking new for years.

A good way to keep carpets cleaner is to keep outside dirt from getting in. Encourage everyone to leave their shoes at the door. Why remove your shoes? Take a closer look at the bottoms of those shoes and you'll find oil, dirt and who knows what else.

Vacuuming regularly also helps to extend the life and look of your carpet. Vacuuming on a regular basis helps keep the everyday dirt from building up in your carpet and since carpet wear is more from everyday use not from stains this can make a big difference. It can also help with allergies and asthma by picking up dust mites and other allergens that live in your carpet.

You can also rent a hot water “steam” cleaner to refresh your carpet by deep cleaning the ground in dirt out. If you’re worried about chemicals in your carpets, just run them with clean water; they’ll still get out most of the dirt.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on cleaners, or if you want to take the green friendly route, there are several household products that work great to get out stains. If you have a greasy stain, try putting baking soda on the stain and letting it sit for several hours. This should soak up the stain and you can just vacuum away the excess particles. If a stain requires more scrubbing, you can mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts water and scrub. Just remember to clean it out well so you’re not left with the smell.

Stains can also reappear if you don’t get the pad of the carpet clean enough. To get out the deep down dirt, use lots of water when cleaning. Then, put a large amount of paper towels and a heavy object of the stain and let it set overnight. This will suck up any leftover dirty water that may have stayed in the carpet.

Before you try cleaning a carper on your own, please follow the proper cleaning instructions provided by the carpet manufacturer. Carpets made of natural fibers, such as wool or that are made with the need for special care from a professional. If you’re not sure if you should clean your carper on your own, contact a professional carpet cleaner.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tips for Cleaning Your Oven

With all the holiday cooking you will be doing it bound to happen, something boils over or spills while you cooking in the oven. And you can’t do anything while the oven is still hot so you have to wait until it cools to begin your cleanup.

Due to modern technology, oven cleaning is no longer the arduous task it once was. For our grandmothers, it was a day long chore and a lot of elbow grease. Below I have listed a few steps to make oven cleaning a little easier.

Know Your Oven Type
Before you can clean your oven, find out what type you have to prevent damage. Oven manufacturers often equip them with a continuous clean mode. Some ovens are called self-cleaning, which is, of course, is not completely true. But, they certainly make the job easier.

Self-cleaning ovens assist you by making spills easier to clean Run the self-cleaning cycle for your oven as often as you need to. It reduces almost any spill to a powdery gray pile of ash that can easily be wiped away at the end of the oven's cleaning cycle using a damp cloth. Some ovens, during the clean mode, will produce smoke and or fumes, so be sure to open windows and ventilate well. You may need to wash down the oven door and frame with a gentle cleaner to remove soil residue.

Continuous cleaning ovens have a special surface that has a rough porcelain layer that is supposed to burn off food gradually as use your oven. These ovens do not let food harden and become difficult to remove so they can be cleaned with a little soap and water.
Regular non-self-cleaning ovens need to be cleaned each time the oven is cooled off. In most cases wiping up any spills with a hot, wet cloth will work just fine. If you do this each time, food will not build up or burn onto the oven surfaces.

Some people prefer to cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil, but you'll need to make sure that no vents are blocked if you choose this prevention trick.

At least 2 to 3 times a year you will need to do a more comprehensive oven cleaning. Buy oven cleaner, rubber gloves and be ready to scrub. Follow the directions on the can and be sure to ventilate well. Instructions vary depending on the brand of cleaner but generally, spray the oven and in 6-8 hours it will be ready to clean-up with a little elbow grease. Be sure the oven is completely rinsed of cleaner residue before you cook.

One green friendly you may want to try is just add baking soda to a spray bottle as a gentle abrasive that also soaks up grease and oily stains.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Removing Stains From Grout

Removing stains from grout can be one of the most difficult cleaning chores in your home. Here are a few tips from Grime Solvers on cleaning tough grout stains.

First, you’re going to need the necessary materials. Here are some items you may need to tackle this tough job. Rubber gloves and a mask are necessary items, particularly if you’re using bleaches and harsh chemical cleaners. If you’re using harsh cleaners make sure you open windows for proper ventilation.

A brush with strong bristles can also help the job go quicker. Some recommend a grout cleaning brush, a toothbrush or a denture cleaning brush. Whatever you choose your going to need to put some elbow grease into the job to get out stubborn mold and mildew.

Steam cleaners are gaining in popularity as a great tool for cleaning tile and grout. The combination of high temperatures applied with pinpoint accuracy allows homeowners the ability to steam stubborn grout stains away.

Bleach pens allow you to target the cleaning power of bleach right to the stained area. The bleach pen applicator is the perfect size to get into the grout lines to apply bleach right where you need it.

After shower spray cleaners if you have heard the saying a best defense is a good offense, then you should try these preventative shower sprays. You apply the spray right after your shower to areas that are prone to mold and mildew. The sprays prevent soap scum and mold from growing so you don’t need to scrub as much.

Grime Solvers offers residential and commercial cleaning services in Northern Virginia. Hiring Grime Solvers is allows us to keep up with your cleaning chores so you don’t need to spend hours scrubbing the mold and mildew. Call us today for a quote.