few of our favorite tips for when you have to face
Take advantage of our more than 25 years of experience
cleaning homes. Here are a few of our favorite house
cleaning tips to easily keep your home fresh and clean.
"Circa 1850" TERRA NOVA natur
oil found at Britanique Hardware on Elbow Dr. S.W.
In addition to cleaning
wood floors, Murphy Oil Soap makes a great laundry
pre-spotter, especially on organic stains like grass
or blood. Wet washable, colorfast fabric, add a drop
of Murphy directly to the stain, squish through the
fabric and wash as usual. Visit www.murphyoilsoap.com
for more cleaning tips.
Ceramic tile floors
need to wax.. Just sweep and mop on a regular basis
and they stay clean and shiny. Mop floors with clear
water or just a dash of liquid dish soap. Be sure
to change the water when it gets cloudy. Too much
soap or dirty water will make floors dull or sticky.
Don't use scrub pads on ceramic tile floors or you
might scratch them. Our professional cleaners wash
most floors by hand, cleaning and drying a small area
at a time.
grout may need cleaning with a wax stripper or heavy-duty
cleaner plus a grout brush. Use a bleaching cleanser
on tough spots. Once the grout is as clean as you
can get it, rinse it well. When it's thoroughly dry,
apply a coat of masonry sealer so that it doesn't
absorb dirt in the future.
For mildewed grout in tubs or showers, use a grout
brush with a 1:5 solution of chlorine bleach and water.
Never use bleach in combination with any ammonia-based
product and be sure the area is well-ventilated. When
you've finished cleaning, rinse the area well to remove
all traces of bleach.
Clean colored grout with a heavy-duty cleaner and
a grout brush, but don't use bleach because this may
remove the color from the grout. Be sure never to
use a bleaching solution on colored grout. A masonry
sealer can be applied to clean, colored grout to ward
off future stains.
Hard water spots
Hard-water deposits are alkaline, so
an acid-based cleaner is the best way to clean them.
Phosphoric acid works well and is safe for most surfaces.
Grocery store cleansers with phosphoric acid contain
4 percent to 6 percent acid. You can purchase lime
scale removers at janitorial supply stores that contain
8 percent to 12 percent acid to get the job done faster.
A higher concentration of acid is safe on most household
surfaces as long as you rinse the surface to remove
all traces of the acid after the cleaning is complete.
Let the acid sit for a few minutes after you apply
it to let it work. Tough hard-water deposits may take
more than one application. Scrub the applied areas
with a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge. Make sure
you read any manufacturer's warnings before applying
phosphoric acid solutions to surfaces in your home.
mini-blinds with a damp fabric softener sheet. This
eliminates the static that causes dust to stick. The
same trick works for TV and monitor screens.
vacuuming or sweeping is the best way to maintain
the finish. Then damp mop with plain water or add
just a drop of liquid dish soap. If the floor has
some tough spots to clean, use a white, nylon-backed
scrub sponge. This will keep soil from wearing away
the surface. However, if time and traffic eventually
dull the glossy top layer, you may want to add a floor
finish or wax to restore the shine. Choose any good
commercial floor polish or try a self-polishing, metal-interlock
floor finish available from a janitorial supply. Traffic
areas may need finish applied more often than the
rest of the floor. It's a good idea to keep doormats
at all the entrances to your home, as they will catch
much of the dirt that could eventually damage your
Painted wall cleaning
The type and quality of the paint greatly
affects how you clean a wall and how easily dirt comes
off. Generally, there are four types of paint finishes:
- Baked enamel (most appliance
finishes), epoxy enamel and automotive paints.
These paints are durable and stain-resistant.
Dirt typically cannot penetrate the hard finish.
These surfaces can withstand scouring with mild
abrasives, and can also handle heavy-duty cleaners
and degreasers. With these finishes, be most careful
of scratching or dulling the finish by using harsh
abrasives, steel wool, colored scrub pads and
- General-purpose enamels.
Most often found on interior walls, especially
kitchen and bathroom walls, this surface is stain-resistant
and can handle moderate scrubbing. Do not use
abrasive substances or colored scrub pads, which
can scratch the finish. Use a neutral cleaning
solution and a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge.
Only use heavy-duty cleaners or abrasive cleansers
when you're willing to take your chances on ruining
the paint. If you have latex enamel paints, avoid
leaving them wet for more than a minute or so.
Oil-based enamels are more water-resistant. Keep
in mind that gloss enamels are the most durable
and washable, followed by semi-glosses and then
- Latex flat.
The most common household paint, flat latex is
not as washable as enamels. Heavy-duty cleaners
or hard scrubbing can remove the paint along with
any dirt. Use mild detergents and gentle scrubbing,
and don't let any solution sit on the surface
for more than a minute.
- Exterior paints.
These paints are typically oil-based or latex
and should be scrubbed only with a mild detergent
and then rinsed with a hose. Use a long-handled
brush for hard-to-reach areas or stubborn spots.
Some people like to use pressure washers on the
outside of their homes, but like harsh chemicals,
these can loosen the paint, so use with caution.
Pet hair removal from upholstery and carpets
To remove pet hair from fabric or upholstery,
try a pet rake (a brush with crimped nylon bristles),
velour brush, tape roller or even tape wrapped around
your hand. Use light, even strokes to remove the hair.
Another option is to try the rubber bottom on a clean
tennis shoe or a slightly dampened sponge (as long
as the dampness won't harm the upholstery).
To remove pet hair from carpet, use a vacuum with
a good beater brush or brush roll. Plain vacuums don't
generate enough lift to remove all the pet hair from
Another option for both upholstery and carpets - especially
at the edges where pet hair tends to collect and vacuums
have a hard time reaching - is a "pet sponge." These
sponges, which are used dry, are available at pet
Pet stain removal
up any liquid by putting towels or absorbent rags
over the spot and stepping on them. Start with gentle
pressure and increase it up to putting your full weight
down. Change to fresh rags or towels, until no more
liquid comes up.
For fresh stains, apply a bacteria/enzyme digester
from a pet store, following the directions - it's
the only way to deal effectively with both the stain
and the odor. Bacteria/enzyme digesters work slowly,
so leave the solution on as long as the directions
say. Urine has probably penetrated into the carpet
and pad, so use enough solution to reach as far down
as the stain. Apply the solution, put plastic over
it, and step on the spot several times until the area
is well saturated. Then, leave the plastic on the
whole time the digester is working to make sure the
spot doesn't dry out.
Old or dry stains are hard - sometimes even impossible
- to remove, but try the bacteria/enzyme digester.
If it's a popular accident site, the bacteria may
produce enough ammonia in the course of breaking down
the stains to create a super-alkaline situation that
interferes with its own action. In this case, you
may need to neutralize the spot after the digester
has been working for about four hours. Mix a solution
of one cup of vinegar to a gallon of warm water. Rinse
the area with this solution and apply a fresh batch
of bacteria/enzyme solution.
If the stain or odor remains, call a professional
deodorizing specialist. A complete cure will probably
involve cleaning the entire carpet by extraction and
replacing the pad underneath, if not replacing the
Soap scum in tubs and
soap scum build-up is a lot easier than cleaning it,
squeegee water off shower walls and doors after every
use or wipe them down with a towel. For tile walls
or frosted shower doors, apply a light coating of
lemon oil periodically to help prevent build-up. For
a porcelain tub, apply a light coat of boat or car
wax to the sides (never the bottom) of the tub.
If it's too late for prevention, use a degreasing
agent and lots of elbow grease. Get a good alkaline
soap scum remover at a janitorial supply store or
dissolve a handful of automatic dishwasher detergent
in a bucket of warm water. Cover the affected area
completely and let your cleaning solution soak for
at least 15 minutes. Do it right after a shower when
the walls will be wet. After soaking, use a stiff
scrub brush or a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge
to clean the walls. You may need to soak and scrub
a couple of times to get rid of all the build-up.
Then rinse well with clear water.
Toilet bowl ring removal
earlier you attack this problem, the easier it will
be to remove the ring. A thorough cleaning with a
commercial acid-based bowl cleaner may do the trick.
If the bowl cleaner doesn't work, try using a green,
nylon-backed scrub sponge along with the acid. For
an old ring, use a pumice stone. Wet the stone with
the water in the bowl and rub it on the ringKeep the
stone wet the entire time you're scrubbing. Pumice
stones should only be used on vitreous china toilets
- never on colored, enamel or plastic fixtures. Once
you've gotten rid of a ring, weekly cleanings should
keep it from coming back.
Vacuum and dust mop regularly to prevent
dirt from building up and damaging the surface. Any
wood floor can be cleaned with a quarter-cup of apple
cider vinegar mixed with a gallon of warm water. Wood
floors are best cleaned on your hands and knees because
you should only clean a small area at a time and then
dry it and move on. Never get wood floors too wet
or allow them to dry naturally. Finished wood floors
often can be cleaned just with water. However, the
finish will eventually wear off, and you'll either
have to re-finish the floors or start waxing them.
Spill clean-up from carpet and
A Country Maid
Cleaning Service does not provide carpet or upholstery
cleaning, so we suggest that you contact our affiliate,
ServiceMaster Clean, which provides carpet, drapery
and upholstery cleaning, as well as fire and flood
cleanup. You can visit the ServiceMaster web site
and ask their experts.
Repairing damaged wood furniture
A Country Maid Cleaning Service routinely
dusts and applies lemon oil to wood furniture. We
suggest you visit our affiliate, Furniture Medic,
a furniture repair and restoration company. If you
have questions about furniture restoration or repair,
please feel free to visit the Furniture Medic web
site for expert advice.
Stain removal from clothes
A Country Maid Cleaning Service doesn't
provide laundry service, so we can't expertly address
stains you find on fabrics. However, we can suggest
a web site that may be able to help you. The site
is sponsored by Tide, and can be found at: http://www.laundry.com/staindetective/
Candle wax removal from upholstery, wood or carpet
To remove the wax from carpet or upholstery,
you will need a plain brown paper bag and a steam
iron. Paper grocery bags work well.
1. Cut open the brown paper bag so it lays flat.
2. Lay the brown paper bag on the affected carpet.,
with any printing away from the carpet.
3. Set the steam iron on a moderate setting and plug
it in. Allow it to warm up.
4. Once warmed up, place the steam iron on top of
the brown paper bag over the wax spot. Move the iron
back and forth over the wax spot. The iron should
never come in direct contact with the carpet, only
the paper bag. As the wax warms up it will begin to
absorb into the paper bag.
5. When a dark spot appears on the bag, move a dry
area of the bag over the wax spot and continue to
move the steam iron over the area.
6. When no further wax absorbs into the bag, you have
removed the wax.
To remove candle wax from wood, apply a plastic bag
filled with ice to the spot, until the wax is brittle
enough to crumble off. If some candle wax remains,
place an ink blotter on the area and apply a hot pressing
iron to the top of the blotter.
of Pergo recommend damp mopping at least once a week
and sweeping or vacuuming with an attachment more
often if you are concerned about scratches.
Do not use soaps or detergents because they may leave
a film, dulling the floor. Difficult spots like nail
polish, markers, tar and cigarette burns can be removed
with acetone or nail polish remover. Pergo floors
must never be waxed, polished, sanded or refinished.
Marble and granite floors
polished marble or granite is protected with floor
finish, the finish must be buffed or burnished and
periodically replaced to keep the surface protected
and looking good.
Because marble and granite are sensitive and porous,
they need to be cleaned with a neutral cleaner solution
and then polished dry. Scratched and dull surfaces
can be revived with a marble restorer (available from
janitorial supply stores).
Cultured marble and certain types of granite are stronger
than real marble and stone, but they do lose their
luster after being cleaned for years. Clean with a
spray bottle filled with all-purpose or disinfectant
cleaner and a soft cloth. Always keep the area wet
while working. Never use powdered cleansers, steel
wool, metal scrapers or colored scrub pads on cultured
marble or granite. If the surface is worn and looks
dull even after cleaning, polishing compound may bring
back the glow. A little appliance wax, car wax or
silicone sealer will also help fill fine scratches
and restore the shine.
Most cabinets are factory manufactured
and finished, and even wood cabinets have enough varnish
or other protective coating so that you can use a
cleaning solution. The oil slick that builds up on
cabinets - especially around the handles - is a combination
of kitchen grease, food smears, skin oil and hand
lotion transferred to the cabinet. All-purpose cleaners
aren't equal to the challenge.
If your cabinets are plastic laminate (formica or
other plastic), metal, painted metal or glass, you
can wash them all over with a strong alkaline cleaner,
which is available at a janitorial supply store. Or
use a heavy-duty cleaner from the supermarket. Mix
according to directions and apply the solution with
a sponge. Let it sit a minute or two, then take a
white, nylon-backed sponge and scrub wherever necessary.
Remove the grimy suds from the sponge by squeezing
it into the sink or a slop bucket, never back into
your cleaning solution. Then rinse with a damp cloth
and wipe dry with a terry cleaning cloth to remove
any last traces of scum and leave the cupboards clean
Never use acids or powdered cleansers on cabinets.
A good overall washing once a year should be enough.
Keep a spray bottle of all-purpose cleaner handy the
rest of the time and spot-clean after heavy kitchen
On wooden cabinets, take a gentler approach. To get
off stubborn dirt, wash around all handles and any
other grease zones first with hand dishwashing detergent.
Then wash the entire cabinet, including the handle
areas, with an oil soap solution. Just wipe lightly
with the solution and buff dry immediately with a
terry cleaning cloth. Always wipe dry with any grain
or pattern. Seldom do you need to add any polish because
the surface has its own sheen when clean. If your
cabinets are dull from wear or age, spray furniture
polish very lightly once a year or so to fill in the
pores and bring back some life.
Spot removal from dishwasher
red or black deposits may be caused by iron or manganese
in the water. To remove, start the empty dishwasher
on the rinse and hold cycle; while the machine is
filling, open the door and add 1/2 cup rust remover
from a janitorial supply store to the water; then
allow the cycle to finish.
Cleaning the face of a fireplace is
a project that demands patience. Fireplace stone and
brick may be hard, but they're also porous. This means
it has plenty of tiny holes for soil to accumulate
First, make sure the floor around the fireplace is
well covered with dropcloths. Mix a solution of high-alkaline
cleaner and one ounce of chlorine bleach per gallon
of warm water. . Wet the surface of the fireplace
well with the solution, but don't use so much that
it runs. Dirty water running down the face may cause
hard-to-remove streaks. Then scrub the solution in
with a brush. You should see the suds getting dark
and dirty as the buildup comes off. Rinse well. If
the surface is shadowy, a light cleaning with a phosphoric
acid cleaner may be enough to brighten it the rest
of the way. Don't use any acid stronger than phosphoric
as it will damage the brick or stone.
If the results still aren't satisfying, make a poultice
of heavy-duty cleaner, bleach and diatomaceous earth
and apply it to the areas needing attention. This
should draw out any remaining residue. If necessary,
repeat these steps until you get the result you want.
The color of the brick or stone determines how aggressive
your use of bleach can be. Heavy bleaching will whiten
a dark surface and cause it to look out of place.
You can use a stronger solution on white or light
If you're not comfortable taking these kinds of chances
with your facing, you may want to call in a professional
percent of the dirt in your house walks in through
the door on people's feet. The right kind of mats
placed inside and out of all entrances will help cut
down on cleaning time. Choose professional mats you
see at the entrances of hospitals and supermarkets,
which are available at a janitorial supply store.
They're called walk-off mats because they give the
dirt a chance to be walked off before it gets in.
Walk-off mats are usually nylon or olefin with a rubber
or vinyl back for inside the door, and rubber or vinyl-backed
synthetic turf for outside on the step. They're available
in a variety of colors. To do their job well, both
the inside and outside mats should be four strides
long. Vacuum mats regularly or shake them outside.
Hose them down and scrub with an all-purpose cleaner
as needed. You can also use upholstery shampoo or
a wet/dry vacuum to clean them. It's important to
always hang them until completely dry so that moisture
isn't trapped under the vinyl backing.
If there are any unsealed concrete or mortar joints,
they can bleed off bits of sand and concrete dust
onto surrounding surfaces. You should also make sure
your windows and doors seal tightly. Some utility
companies will inspect your home for free to determine
if you have any cracks where things could be going
out or coming in.
Keep vacuum bags, filters, seals and gaskets in good
repair to prevent fine dust from being blown back
into the air as you vacuum.
Feather dusters typically don't do much but spread
dirt around. If you are using a feather duster on
some surfaces, consider looking at alternative cleaning
best way to clean windows, or any large expanse of
glass, is with a squeegee. It does a faster and better
You need a professional-quality squeegee and a window
wand. If you'll be cleaning high windows, you also
will need an extension pole. The basic process is
simple - apply the cleaning solution with the window
wand and pull the dirt and water off with the squeegee.
1. Mix a capful of ammonia or five drops of liquid
dish detergent in two gallons of water. Resist the
urge to use too much detergent; that causes streaking.
2. Dip your window scrubbing wand or a sponge 3/4
of an inch into the solution, picking up just enough
water to wet the window without flooding it. Wet the
entire window then go back over it once to loosen
any stubborn soil. Last, run the scrubber against
the frame on all sides of the window to pick up any
dirt you've pushed against the frame.
3. Dampen the squeegee blade before you start and
wipe it with a damp cloth between strokes. A dry blade
will skip and jump on the window instead of gliding
4. Tilt the squeegee at an angle so that only about
an inch of the rubber blade presses lightly against
the top of the window glass. Then pull the squeegee
across the window horizontally. This will leave a
1-inch dry strip across the top of the window. By
squeegeeing across the top first, you eliminate drips
5. Place the squeegee close to the frame in the dry
area near the top and pull down to about three inches
from the bottom of the glass. Continue this way across
the window, overlapping into the clean, dry area with
each stroke, and wiping the blade with a damp cloth
after each stroke.
6. Finish with a horizontal stroke across the bottom
and wipe any water off the sill with a damp cloth.
On some windows, it's easier to cut the water off
the frame side as well as the top, and then squeegee
the entire pane using horizontal strokes. Large (picture)
windows should be wet and squeegeed half at a time,
the top half first. Finally, if you're cleaning both
the inside and outside of the window, squeegee horizontally
on one side and vertically on the other, so you can
tell whether any streaks are inside or out.
Large (picture) windows should be wet and squeegeed
half at a time, the top half first.
Finally, if you're doing both the inside and outside
the window, you may want to squeegee horizontally
on one side and vertically on the other, so you can
tell whether any streaks are inside or out.
For all odors,
the first thing you should do is to remove the cause
of the odor.
To remove smoke film from washable surfaces, use a
solution of heavy-duty cleaner or degreaser. A dash
of water-soluble deodorizer from a janitorial supply
store added to the solution will help neutralize the
odor. For smoky windows, add one part isopropyl alcohol
to five parts window cleaner to help cut the oily
Smoke on porous surfaces is a tougher proposition.
Light smoke film on acoustic ceiling tile can be removed
by professional ceiling cleaners, but heavy buildup
usually requires painting or replacement of the tile.
Upholstered furniture, draperies and carpeting can
be wet- or dry-cleaned, as appropriate, after a thorough
vacuuming, with water-soluble deodorizer added to
the cleaning solution to control residual smoke odor.
If you smoke in the home, change the filter in their
air circulation systems often.
Also, make sure you let the sun in to help dissipate
smoke and other odors as you try to eliminate the
cause. Try to increase air flow by opening windows,
turning on fans or even putting particularly smelly
items outside for awhile. You can fill small dishes
with vanilla, vinegar or activated charcoal for an
easy, inexpensive smoke eater. Or, you can purchase
odor neutralizer from a janitorial supply house which
will work more effectively.
Carpet and upholstery
If you have questions
about cleaning carpets or upholstery, visit the experts
Delute the "windex"
You can delute the "windex"
cleaner--half water and half to prevent a build
up (there is a form of wax in the solution)
Some Final Tips:
The product I find good for grease
is "green solution".
The product that manufacture recommend for hard
woodfloor like "BONA"-
swiss formalu needs to deluted, not good for pets.
Using as manufacture
directed--will see footprints after a couple days.
I good also fashion string mop wring out so it is
only damp is good to wash the hardwood floors.
To wash steel appliances use soap and hot water
then rise well dry with a clean terry/soft cloth
according to the grain of the appliance.