Monday, June 27, 2011

Tip Tuesday | The Guide to Dishwashers

What is it about dishwashers? They were created to make life easier but most fail miserably. Unless they are fresh off the lot, most units leave stuck on food and grime; which serves only to infuriate me, and many of you. Two weeks ago after yet another load of dishes came out half clean; I decided to implement a dishwasher user guide. Since implementing this guide and having my roommates and I stick to it diligently, there has been a marked improvement with our ten year old dishwashers’ performance.

1) Rinse, Rinse, RINSE- This cannot be said enough. Dishwashers are dishwashers, and they do not possess the power of steel wool. In our house there was one person- who shall remain nameless- who would consistently put dishes in the dishwasher with food still on them. Aside from wanting to lay a barrage of expletives on this person, this makes more work than necessary; and in my opinion is a big no no. Old dishwashers especially appreciate a good rinse.

2) Leave enough space for the water to work its magic. Although it may seem easy to hide away all the dishes in the dishwasher and hope and pray they come out clean; this just makes for a headache. Along with rinsing, this is the second most crucial rule; we double space on the bottom rack so that the water can get to all the cups on the top rack. And someone said to me “well don’t you do more loads?” The answer to that is no. Just think of all the dishes that need to be rewashed and how much water that ends up using. Save yourself the aggravation and double space.

3) Clean the dishwasher- simple but so often overlooked. Once a week- usually Mondays- we run the dishwasher empty; to allow it to self clean. Between the dirt, grime and grease- dishwashers go through quite a lot. Giving them a cycle to just clean has done wonders for our old unit.

4) Use a good dishwasher detergent. I have found that many leave a residue that is unsightly and has a propensity to build up; but Cascade Pure rinse formula, hasn’t failed me yet- it’s an oldie but damn is it a goodie!

Adhering to these guidelines has made our lives a whole lot easier; and proves that all those fancy detergents are a waste of money- and useless. All it takes is a little extra TLC; so now instead of cursing the dishwasher Every. Single. Time. we go to unload- we now rest easy knowing that our dishes are coming out clean. If you have an old unit that isn’t performing like it used to, give these tips a try. And if they don’t work, well then it might be time for a new dishwasher.

Music to Clean To

When I first started cleaning houses, I cleaned in silence- no music whatsoever; and I would find myself slowing down by midday. There were days when I would fall sorely behind schedule.

And then I was gifted with a new iPhone; and I began downloading music mixes, albums and podcasts to listen to throughout my day. Almost immediately my days started going by faster; I even had a client mention that I seemed to moving at super speed.

Mondays are the day that I share my music pick with you.


Recently I have completely fallen in love with Raphael Saadiq’s new album Stone Rollin’; this album is infused with old school soul and RnB flair. With almost every song completely worthy of a solo dance party or sing along; and I’ll tell you that I have found myself vulnerable to both with this album!

Stone Rollin’ is the eponymous track for the album and it does not disappoint; funky, upbeat and perfect for a sing along! I highly recommend this album to carry you through the week!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weekend Warriors- Weekend Cleaning Tips Round Up

Happy Friday everyone! This is mine, along with many others, favorite day of the week. You could say my week was interesting. I had a client of mine, deadbolt the door to which I have a key; and although she couldn’t leave work to come and let me in, she really wanted her house cleaned that day; so she offered a solution- breaking and entering. Hand to my heart, it was her suggestion. I’m not usually up for anything illegal in the daylight much less climbing through a clients' window at 11:30 in the AM; but I could see my money waiting on the counter. And you know what? I wanted it. So this week marks my first ever B&E! Mom would be so proud.

The things I do for money…

Anyways, it Friday- the gateway to the weekend; and although today I want nothing more to do with cleaning; this weekend will see me cleaning my own home (leading by example you could say). For those of you with cleaning on the agenda, here are a few tips and tricks from around the web to help you with whatever your task happens to be.

*Before you start your very own Saturday clean-athon, complete with a dance mix make sure you know what’s in your products. This guide from Cleaning Naked is a must read, if you are conscious of chemicals in your cleaners.

For those weekend warriors endeavoring large tasks like washing the walls- I know you’re out there; this concise how to from Mrs. Clean is a goody. Offering a tool list and step by step guide; she even accounts for a 15 minute break, while the drop towel dries. I like this lady!

And for you outdoorsy types, who want to use the weekend to linger and lounge on the lanai; clean your patio furniture with this guide that I found on Love to Know Cleaning. I use this website as a constant reference.

And after we’ve all successfully scratched our cleaning itch, we should enjoy ourselves a drink. Because it is after all, the weekend!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Product Review- Green Works by Clorox

Cleaning every day gives me an opportunity to test out various products on a consistent basis; and gage how well a product works over time. Call me crazy, but when I buy a new cleaning product or gadget, I get excited. And when a product is effective, the excitement becomes unpalatable.

I have been using Green Works by Clorox for almost a year now and it would take a whole lot to get me to switch; having already switched and returned to Green Works a number of times. What I like about this product is that it’s a true multi-surface cleaner. While some other multi-surface cleaners claim this, in my experience they have left streaks on mirrors or residue on fixtures. But, with Green Works I am able to move seamlessly from cleaning the tub to shining the mirror and polishing faucet fixtures with ease- this makes a big difference when you are cleaning 4 houses in a day.

I find Green Works offers value to the customer; quite simply because it works so well, I end up using less; one bottle of concentrate last me a whole week or twenty houses. I clean most full sized kitchens with two capfuls of Green Works concentrate diluted with two cups of water; and from start to finish it cuts grease and leaves things sparkling- not streaky. However, in the nature of full disclosure I will tell you that for a really grimy kitchen or bathroom, you might consider doubling the amount to four cups water to two capfuls of Green Works.

What I enjoy most about Green Works is the smell; it’s subtle and inoffensive- it leaves a home light and fresh smelling. This is very important to me because some of my clients have aversion to strong perfumes; and because I clean all day, and heavily scented cleaners give me a screaming headache by the day’s end.

I give Green Works my professional stamp of approval; rating it high for value, effectiveness and scent!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Music to Clean To

When I first started cleaning houses, cleaned in silence- no music whatsoever; and I would find myself slowing down by midday. By this time my coffee would have worn off and my daydreaming about days end would start to overcome me. There were days when I would fall sorely behind schedule. Initially I thought it was because I wasn't hydrating or eating enough; but after remedying those situations I was still lagging.

And then I was gifted with a new iPhone; and I began downloading music mixes, albums and podcasts to listen to throughout my day. Almost immediately my days started going by faster- I even had a client mention that I seemed to moving at super speed.

Now that I have been cleaning for some time, I don't even know how I did it without music- it is essential to this type of work to have something to keep energy levels up.

This mix is my current music obsession; it is the newest mix by the Magician, a producer based out of Belgium. I love the slow build into a full on dance party- ending perfectly on a high note. This is my go to for mid mopping dance breaks! Take a listen and let me know what you think!

What music do you listen to while cleaning? I am always looking for new music to add to daily rotation!

Green Cleaning with Baking Soda

Baking soda 001

I love a good green cleaner- for my own sake and for that of the environment; but oftentimes the green way isn’t the most effective way. In my own home this isn’t too much of a problem; but when cleaning homes for a fee (and not a small one either) people come to expect sparkling clean. As they should. However, there are some natural products that have proven themselves able to stand up to their chemical laden counterparts. Baking soda is one of them.

Baking soda 002

The uses for baking soda are long and storied, helping keep hundreds of refrigerators fresh as a daisy; but my favorite use for this double threat is in the bathroom on vanities, sinks and tubs.

I moisten the vanity with a wet cloth and then sprinkle generously the baking soda. Then I spend 10 minutes having a solo dance party in the mirror- what would cleaners do without iPods?? After which, I wipe off the baking soda. Once everything has been wiped and down, I then rinse with water and dry with a micro fiber cloth.

Baking soda 003

This process takes no longer than when using the traditional non green product- and the results are the same. And although I was once told never to make promises, I promise your bathroom will sparkle. Go green!