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Give the Gift of a Clean Home This Mother’s Day

With Mother’s Day less than a week away, many mothers are preparing for a nice brunch or dinner, accompanied by the usual gifts, such as, candy or flowers. While candy and/or flowers may be very nice gifts, if you happen to want to think a little outside of the box for your gift this year, why not give your mother the gift of a professionally cleaned home.

If you happen to live in the Boulder or Denver areas, contact Clean Conscience today to set up an appointment. While I can’t speak for anyone else, I know my mom would take a nice clean house over flowers any day. To all of you moms out there, have a very happy Mother’s Day!

Time for a Spring Cleaning?

It is hard to believe it is already the first of April. That means it has been over a week since the official start of Spring, it also means it is probably time to start the dreaded spring cleaning.

After a long Colorado winter, a thorough spring cleaning is most likely in order. Unfortunately, many people may not have the time or energy to accomplish this, sometimes formidable, task. Many times, you may not even know where to begin. Well, here are a few tips to help you get your home “spring-clean”.

“Welcome Mats”- A good step to keeping your home clean is to keep the dirt outside. Unfortunately, even the mats used to wipe the dirt off your feet need to be cleaned after a long winter. So, shake them out, hit them with a broom, or wash them. They’re the first line of dirt-defense.

“Vacuum/ Shampoo Carpets”- Even though everyone may have wiped their feet thoroughly on those welcome mats, there is still a good chance any carpets in the home may have taken a hit this winter. Vacuuming and/or shampooing your carpets will help get out any winter dirt or germs that may have traveled in on someones boots.

“Dust, dust, dust…”- After a long winter of having all of the windows and doors closed, there is going to be a decent amount of dust somewhere in your home. Even if you dust fairly regularly, the tops of cabinets, fans, and baseboards; may still have collected a shocking amount of dust.

“Light Fixtures”- An often overlooked spring cleaning task, is cleaning light fixtures. Luckily, a step-ladder, a rag, all-purpose cleaner, and a few minutes is all you really need for a light fixture to go from grimy to shiny.

“Wash the Walls”- Even though most dust and soot eventually falls and settles somewhere, there may still be some on your walls. Sponge wash them and dry with a cloth, and you may be surprised just how dirty they got over the winter months.

“Bring in the Pros”- Of course, you could always save yourself the trouble of having to clean yourself, by calling the professionals at Clean Conscience. If you happen to live in the Boulder or Denver areas, you can set up an appointment and have Clean Conscience do your spring cleaning for you!!

Safely and Naturally De-Ice Your Walkway

ICY STUFFIt is now the middle of January, two weeks into the new year and all across the country many people have been, and will continue to, deal with bitter cold weather and snowy/icy conditions. It’s the time of year when many of us get a chance to burn off those holiday pounds by shoveling or pushing a snow-blower. And, while shoveling and snow-blowing may get rid of the bulk of the snow in your driveway or on your walkways, they won’t take care of the ice which can be a slipping hazard. The answer to that problem is deicers. Unfortunately, the most common deicer (salt) can be hazardous to your pets, plants, and driveway/walkway.

Luckily, there are several safe and natural deicers that can handle the job of making your driveway/walkways slip-free. Listed below are a few examples of alternatives to salt which are safe, natural and effective.

 

“Kitty Litter”- If you happen to own a cat, or know someone who does, this is an effective way of keeping your footing on those icy surfaces. While kitty litter won’t actually melt the ice, it does create traction for a far less slippery surface.

“Coffee Grinds”- This effective no-slip solution can be found in just about any kitchen in the country. The dark colors of the coffee will also help absorb more heat and therefore help with the melting of the ice.

“Organic Salt-free Deicers”- If you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks, salt-free organic deicers, work just as well as salt but won’t harm your pets or plants.

“Alfalfa Meal”- This may actually be the most effective all natural deicing solution. Not only will it create great traction and assist in melting the ice, it is also often used as a fertilizer, so no worries about it coming in contact with your plants.

 

While some of these may not work as quickly or effectively as salt, they are a safe and natural alternative.

 

Cleaning Up the Messes of Winter

The cold, wet weather of winter also means, cold wet messes in your home. Every time you, a family member, or your pets come in from the winter streets and sidewalks, you are also dragging in whatever snow, sleet, salt or slush that may be present into your home as well. Luckily, this article from Enviro Maids, has tips on how handle those winter messes being brought into your home.

How to Handle Winter Messes

Snow, sleet, and ice not only make for slick road conditions, they can also cause quite the mess inside your home. Floors and carpetsHow to Handle Winter Messes, January 2015 usually take a beating this time of year largely due to family members walking through the house in snow-covered boots and tracking in rock salt and other melting materials. As we get ready to tackle another long New England winter, we’ll share our tips on how to keep the winter elements outdoors where they belong and out of your home.

Stop Moisture and Muck at the Door

While a “Welcome” mat is a great way to greet visitors and adds a warm touch to your home, you’ll want to store yours away during the winter months and replace it with one that’s more utilitarian. Look for rugs with firm bristles that guests can use to scrape the salt, dirt, pebbles, and grime from the soles of their shoes. Rugs made from coir — a natural fiber extracted from the husk of coconuts — is a popular material used in outdoor rugs and is an eco-friendly option. Once you have your heavy duty outdoor rug in place, you’ll want to add a super-absorbent rug in the entryway of your home. Look for ones made from cotton and microfiber to soak up any moisture.

Shoes Off, Slippers On

Get family members into the habit of taking their shoes and boots off immediately upon entering the home. Place a rubber-backed absorbent mat or a metal boot tray in your mud room or foyer where kids can deposit their footwear. The mat and tray help to collect any moisture that melts off footwear, avoiding a messy puddle on your floors. Have a basket or bin handy to keep everyone’s slippers within reach. What about house guests? Unless you’re very close to the person paying you a visit, you may feel awkward asking them to remove their shoes. In addition to the outdoor and indoor mat, on nasty weather days, lay a walking mat in the main entrance way. This extra-long, narrow mat (usually 10 feet long) extends into your home helping to remove any remaining residue.

Wet Outerwear

What kid doesn’t enjoy frolicking in the snow, especially when they’re treated to a day off from school? Between snowball fights, snowman building, and making snow angels, your young one’s jacket, pants, and clothing will likely get wet. Have a coat rack or hooks where each child can hang their coat, scarf, and gloves up to dry. If they have an easily accessible place to put their wet gear, they’ll less likely be tempted to drop them on the floor or on furniture.

Keep a Mop Handy

As much as you try to avoid tracking in snow, dirt, and moisture into your home, accidents are bound to happen. In addition to creating a slipping hazard, slick spots on your floor can damage certain types of flooring materials. Hardwood floors are especially vulnerable to winter damage. According to the websiteImpressionsHardwoodCollection.com, water and hardwood shouldn’t ever mix. Water that’s left for long periods of time can cause damage to hardwood floors, including warping and staining. Keep a mop handy so you can quickly remove any excess moisture from your floors. Another enemy of wood flooring is rock salt and sand. Rock salt is the mineral form of sodium chloride and when left on wood can leave spots and a white film on the surface. In addition, the abrasive texture of salt can cause tiny scratches in the wood finish. Vacuum or carefully sweep any salt, sand, or other winter debris immediately and wipe with a damp cloth to remove any traces of residue.

Clear Walkways and Steps

Before entertaining guests at your home, be sure to clear the walkway and steps of as much snow and ice as possible. Doing so will help create a safe surface for them to walk on, as well as help to keep the amount of slush and moisture they track into your home to a minimum.

Move/Renovate, the Green Way

Do you happen to be moving to a new place, or renovating your current home? If so, you probably need to remove or replace several items. Before you just throw out any of these items, take a look at some ways you can move/renovate the green way. In this article from Green Cleaning Magazine, you are given tips on how to do just that. Check it out, and make sure your next move or renovation is made with the environment in mind.

 

Moving or Remodeling? Clean Up Green

eco moving

It doesn’t matter if you are moving to a new house or you are just renovating your living area, there are always some possessions that need to be removed for good. Why not be environmentally conscious in this process?

Indeed, moving or renovating can be an overwhelming experience that involves a lot of planning and effort. Here are some tips for cleaning up green in the process.

Hire a Green Mover: If you are hiring a commercial moving comoany, choose a mover that offers eco-friendly solutions. Check ahead of time on their website to see if they have options for donation or recycling. Choose a trustworthy company that also has green ethics and responsible attitude toward the environment.

Divide and Conquer: If you decide to manage the process alone, consider a few important factors. Before going straight to the dump to dispose of your items, inspect the clutter. Divide the unnecessary into different categories:

1. Recycle: Decide what can be reused from other people. Household appliances usually have longer life. If they still work properly, at the moment you are replacing them, set these items aside. Clothes, books and furniture can also be added in to your donation list. Of course, they should be in good conditions.

2. Donate: Research charitable organizations or ask friends, family, and acquaintances if they could use the items. You probably know someone who might benefit from your unnecessary possessions.

3. Sell: Have you ever heard the popular saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” You can try and sell some of your items. Organize a garage sale. If you don’t have time and you want to quickly remove the clutter, visit a second-hand shop or offer them on an appropriate site on the internet, such as Craig’s List. An alternative to the online selling is the “freecycle” network. This is the fastest way to get rid of your junk, because everybody loves getting free stuff.

4. Trash: The final frontier.

Be sure that you label everything, especially if you are moving. Your home will be filled with boxes and it’s useful to be able to quickly identify their contents. Another useful sorting tip is to keep the items from one category in a separate room from the rest.

Lastly, the best way to have less to recycle is to stop purchasing things you don’t really need. Next time you go to the store you should not randomly buy stuff. In this way you will save money and you will preserve the environment.

Taking Care of Those Forgotten Chores for the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us, and if you happen to be planning on entertaining guests this season it’s time to start getting your home into tip top shape, which means tackling some chores that you may often forget about or just choose to put off. The good people at Enviro Maids, have compiled some tips on how to take care of some of the more common, “dreaded chores”. Tasks such as, cleaning out and disinfecting your trashcan, taking care of soap scum, and cleaning stainless steel appliances are a few of these forgotten and/or dreaded chores which are discussed. So, check out this article and get your home as clean as possible for this years holiday parties.

 

Easy Ways to Tackle those Dreaded Chores

Kitchen trash can

Your kitchen trash can is one of the most germ-filled surfaces in your home. WebMD reports that the average trash bin has 411 bacteria per square inch! Traces of food and liquid can sometimes leak through plastic bags, leaving you with a stinky, icky mess. Give your trash can a good cleaning once or twice a month to prevent mold, mildew, and a petri dish of bacteria from covering its surfaces. Spray the inside and out with a cleaning solution and scrub; rinse and let completely dry before lining with a plastic bag.

Soap scum

Unsightly and stubborn to get rid of, soap scum is notorious for being one of the most dreaded cleaning tasks. Soap scum is a combination of mineral deposits, soap residue, body oils, and dirt. Tipnut.com shares a couple of ways to get rid of the cloudy, stuck-on mess:

  • Mix ½ cup of boiling water (be careful!), 1 ½ cups of white vinegar, and a squirt of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the surfaces of your shower and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub with a nylon cleaning brush and rinse.
  • Wet the surface to be cleaned with hot water and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda onto a damp sponge. Scrub the trouble spots using a circular motion; rinse and repeat as necessary. For stubborn areas, try adding a bit of white vinegar to the baking soda.

Window blinds

Over time, dust and grime can accumulate and stick to your window blinds. What makes this task so tedious is trying to clean each of the slats. To remove dust, simply slip an old sock onto your hand and using your thumb and fingers, run your hands over the slats. For stuck-on grime, mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water and follow the steps above.

Chandelier

Need to brighten up your crystal chandelier and remove the cobwebs? It’s not as bad as it seems. The pros at Goodhousekeeping.com suggest first covering the table or surface directly below your chandelier with a drop cloth. Next you’ll need your favorite glass cleaner and two cotton gloves or two old white socks. Spray the glass cleaner directly onto one of the gloves and wipe each area; use the other glove to dry and remove any remaining residue.

Stainless steel appliances

With so many different hands going in and out of the refrigerator throughout the day, chances are your stainless steel refrigerator is constantly covered by fingerprints and streaks. Goodhousekeeping.com has an easy fix:

  • Prepare a solution of 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 1 quart hot water
  • Using a microfiber cloth, rub the detergent solution onto the marks in small sections, going with the grain of the stainless steel.
  • Rinse with clean hot water, and dry immediately.

Buffing with mineral oil is also a great way to remove streaks

De-crumbing the toaster

If there’s a burning smell coming from your toaster each morning and the bread you’re toasting isn’t the culprit, chances are it’s the leftover crumbs lingering at the bottom that’s the problem. Cleaning your toaster is one of those chores many simply forget about. To clean your toaster oven, Realsimple.com suggests:
Placing a small oven-safe dish filled with water inside the oven and heating the dish at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. The moisture will help to soften stuck on gunk. Unplug the oven and remove the crumb tray and the rack; dump out the crumbs. Use a plastic spatula to gently get rid of stuck-on bits. Wipe the inside with a damp cloth; wash the tray and rack and dry. Done!

A Few Alternative Cleaning Solutions

If you’re against traditional cleaners and into saving money, chances are good you’ve tried to come up with some alternative cleaning solutions for your home. While items like vinegar, lemons, and baking soda may be common knowledge for the experienced DIY cleaner, there may be a few items lying around your home you weren’t aware could handle certain cleaning tasks. Here are a few examples of some of the more unusual natural cleaning solutions from the good people at Green Cleaning Magazine.

 

5 Unusual Natural Cleaning Solutions

Unusual Cleaning Solutions

Are you fed up with buying expensive products that sometimes don’t manage to do the trick at all? Is your space under the kitchen sink full of bottles with warning signs that make you wonder if washing off a stain isn’t also washing your health?

Don’t dismay—here are 5 ideas for green cleaning that uses safe, everyday products as effective cleaners:

Alcohol: you might be surprised that alcohol is a great cleaning tool. It is useful in many areas—from disinfecting and cleaning to defrosting windows. It does wonders in cleaning bathroom and toilet areas, making sinks shine and disinfected.

It is the weapon of choice when it comes to ink and permanent marker stains. It is also effective on cleaning mirrors and tiles. Remember that although this product is getting more and more reputation, it is still not largely found in the cleaning aisle of many supermarkets. If you are familiar with it and want to give it a try, it might be necessary to do a little research on where to find it in your country.

Cola: believe it or not, the liquid joy of millions of people around the globe actually has great cleaning potential. One of the most well-tested uses is toilet cleaning—just pour the drink, wait for an hour, scrub with a brush and then flush for sparkling result.

Cola is also great for removing rust and refreshing objects, due to its phosphoric acid ingredient. Are you a coin collector? Consider soaking the pennies in the drink to make them shiny as new.

Vinegar: a true champion when it comes to natural cleaners. It is well known for usage to combat mold, mildew, and a ton of bacteria that can be harmful for human health. It can disinfect glassware, washing machines and coffeemakers. After proper soaking, it can free the showerhead from any mineral deposits. Combine it with some baking soda to make an effective drain cleaner.

Lemon: great for cleaning, disinfecting, and deodorizing countertops. It can easily remove stains off many types of surfaces, glassware, and cookers. We are all aware of smells that can linger on our skin for days, such as when dealing with raw fish. Lemon can remove the odor easily. Try dropping a lemon slice in your garbage disposal, too, for a fresh smell.

Toothpaste: a truly unexpected usage of common toothpaste is as a cleaning agent. It can be used to shine up bathroom and kitchen chrome. It does wonders in polishing silver and cleaning CDs.

Get Organized this Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, the holiday season is just about here. The holidays can be an extremely joyous time, filled with laughter and spent with loved ones. However, along with all of the fun, laughter, and family, this time of year can also be incredibly stressful. Organization, is one way you can help yourself cut-down on the stress this year. This article, from the good people at Enviro Maids, has several tips that will help you get organized, to take away some of the stress that comes along with the holidays.

 

Stress less this holiday season with our organizing tips

Organized gift-giving

Gift-giving can be overwhelming especially if you have lots of people to buy for and don’t seem to have enough time to get all your shopping done. Not to mention trying to figure out what to buy the person who has everything. Help make gift-giving a pleasurable experience with these gift organizing tips.

  • If your extended family has grown over the years, gift-giving can get out of control and expensive. Consider drawing names so everyone focuses on buying for just one person, or agree to buy gifts for only the children.
  • Shop early to avoid last-minute frantic shopping or expedited shipping fees
  • Not sure what to buy your teenage nephew or picky best friend? The pros at Reducethechaos.comsuggest using the Amazon.com “wish list” feature. Ask friends and family to pick items from Amazon.com they’d like to receive and have them save the items to their “wish list.” Once their list is completed, they can share it with others via email, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
  • When you come up with a great gift idea throughout the year, be sure to jot it down or type it in a spreadsheet. This way, when the next holiday season rolls around, you’ll have a list of ideas ready.
  • Stock up now on tape, wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift bags so you’ll have your gift wrapping station set up.
  • Wrap gifts as soon as you purchase them or wrap a few gifts each day to avoid having to wrap heaps of gifts at the last minute.
  • Shopping online saves you the hassle of having to fight for a parking space, navigating large crowds, and standing in long lines to pay. If you do visit a brick and mortar store, shop during non-peak times: early weekday mornings or during the early evening hours.

Organizing Holiday Meals

  • Plan your holiday menu as far in advance as possible. The extra time lets you tryout recipes and stock up on non-perishable ingredients in advance.
  • Not sure what to make or want to try a different recipe? Search websites such as Allrecipes.com or Pinterest for endless inspiration.
  • Cook and freeze items ahead of time.
  • Ask family members to contribute by bringing an appetizer, dessert, or side dish
  • Not a fan of cooking? Have the meal catered

Organized Cleaning

  • Stagger your cleaning tasks. Trying to get your entire house or apartment clean in one day is overwhelming.
  • Ran out of time and guest will be arriving the next day? Don’t panic, focus on cleaning the rooms and areas of your home guests will actually be using — the bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
  • When preparing food, spray pans with non-stick spray before cooking to cut down on the scrubbing and soaking time later

Other tips:

  • Make a list of all the things you’d like to get done during the holiday, then edit the list, keeping only the tasks you can realistically accomplish.
  • You can’t do it all; delegate whenever you can.
  • Leave some space in your schedule to take a break and to relax.

Prep Your Home for the Winter

With just over a month before winter is officially here, it’s time to start thinking about prepping your home for the cold winter months ahead. With the holidays soon approaching, now is probably the best time to start winterizing your home. If you are not entirely sure what you should be doing to prep your home for this winter, this article from Enviro Maids, has some great tips on how to get your home clean and safe for the frigid months ahead.

 

Daylight savings time ends, now the winter home prep begins!

Smoke and carbon monoxide detector test

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) urges homeowners to check their lifesaving devices once a month to make certain they are working properly. Consult the instruction manual for your particular model for important instructions. The NFPA also recommends replacing fire and carbon monoxide detectors every 10 years.

Furnace tune-up

Have your furnace checked by a professional once a year. If you haven’t gotten it done already this year, now is the time to get it properly inspected. Also, according to Popular Mechanics, replace or clean your furnace filters once a month during the heating season. Dirty filters can block airflow resulting in an increased energy demand — putting a strain on your furnace and on your wallet. The type of filter you choose is also important. Certain filters do a better job at trapping debris. Popular Mechanics recommends an electrostatic filter for its ability to trap around 88 percent of debris. Another great choice is a genuine HEPA filter which can remove at least 99.97 percent of airborne particles.

Switch your fan in reverse

Ceiling fans often take a vacation during the winter. After all, most people use them to keep cool in the hot months. But did you know that your fan can actually help keep your home warm during the winter AND reduce your energy bill by up to 10 percent? When fan blades spin counterclockwise, they produce that refreshing breeze that cools you down in the warmer months; when the blades spin clockwise, they create an updraft that pushes the warmer air that collects near the ceiling back down. Most ceiling fans come with a direction switch on the unit; simply flip the switch, set the fan on low and enjoy the toasty warm air.

Fight stormy weather with storm windows and doors

Swapping out your screens for storm windows and doors is a tedious task, but well worth it; doing so helps to seal out drafts and prevents the frigid outdoor air from creeping indoors.

Clear your dryer’s vent and ducts

In addition to cleaning the lint filter after every drying cycle, the NFPA recommends taking the time now to check that the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and that the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating. Be sure to clean accumulated lint out of the vent pipe, as the lint that collects in the pipes and the ducts outside your home are common causes of dryer fires.

Chimney check

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), have your wood burning fireplace inspected annually by a certified professional. The professional will sweep your chimney, remove creosote buildup (a residue that builds up on the chimney’s inner walls and can cause chimney fires) and check for any structural problems. Even if you don’t use your fireplace often, it still should be inspected before lighting it to make sure objects such as bird’s nest haven’t blocked the inside.

Seal up leaks

When the temperature dips and the winds start to howl, any leaks or cracks around your windows, doors, vents, or pipes become noticeable. Uncomfortable drafts can be remedied by installing weather-stripping or caulking windows and doors, and sealing electrical outlets. Caulk inside and out, if necessary, to prevent heat from escaping.

Other miscellaneous tasks:

  • Flip your mattress to ensure even wear and to extend the life of your mattress; if you have a pillow-top mattress, rotate it instead. Also take this time to thoroughly vacuum your mattress and box spring.
  • Make sure all heating vents are opened and unblocked. Check that large pieces of furniture such as couches aren’t blocking baseboard heating elements. Move couches at least a foot away to ensure even heat distribution.

Have Clean Conscience, Clean Your Fridge

Recently, we posted an article which discussed the importance of maintaining a clean and organized refrigerator. With the holidays fast approaching, cleaning out your refrigerator is as important as ever. Needless to say, many people have more than enough on their plate already when it comes to preparing for the holidays. 

If you are planning on hosting this holiday season, give yourself a break and hire Clean Conscience, to get your home clean and ready for the holidays. While you are getting the rest of your home prepared for the holiday food and festivities, don’t forget to have Clean Conscience, clean out your refrigerator for the abundance of holiday food which will be filling it up.