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Wait! Don’t Clean Up that Spill Just Yet…

Remember when you were young and every toy you owned had to be out and ready for play? Then mom would yell, “Dinner is ready, clean up time” and you only had until the count of three to be done, so you had to get moving. Our moms taught us all about the importance of cleaning up our messes, and quickly, but here at Steamwise we advise breaking the rules and taking a slower approach when it comes to dealing with messes (Sorry mom). Here’s why.

When you spill something on your carpet or area-rug, despite the immediate urge to grab a cloth and scrub it away, you need to take a moment to form a plan. What you spilt is going to dictate how you deal with the issue. Overall, it’s best to not let a spill dry, but here are some more planned approaches for dealing with common spills:

Food Stains

  1. Pick up larger pieces so they do not continue to saturate the area.
  2. Pat the stained area with a clean damp cloth to remove any smaller pieces/crumbs.
  3. Use a new clean damp cloth to blot the stain from the outside in.
  4. If required, spray a vinegar and water solution (one-part vinegar to one-part water) onto another clean cloth and blot the stained area.
  5. If the vinegar smell is too strong, sprinkle some baking soda over the area when it is close to dry and then run the vacuum.

Nail Polish

  1. Pour a small amount of cold water onto the nail polish, followed by 15-20 squirts of hairspray and 3 very small splashes of rubbing alcohol.
  2. Using a small clean scrub brush, brush the stain in a circular motion for 1 minute, applying small amounts of water as you go.
  3. Continue with this process until the stain is no longer visible.

Pet Urine

  1. Create a solution of equal parts vinegar and water.
  2. Slowly pour or spray the solution onto the stained area.
  3. Let the solution soak into the carpet for about 10 minutes and then pat the area dry with paper towel or clean cloth.
  4. Leave the area to dry for 2-3 hours and then sprinkle some baking soda to help further absorb the odour.
  5. Let the baking soda sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum the area.

Gum

  1. Place a handful of ice into a towel or sandwich bag and place it on the gum stain for approximately one minute or until the gum has hardened (larger pieces take longer to freeze).
  2. Use a spoon or butter knife to scrape away the hardened gum.
  3. Depending on the amount of gum, you may need to repeat this process a few times.

White Candle Wax

  1. Use a butter knife to scrap off as much wax as possible.
  2. Place a hand-towel on the left-over wax and iron over the top of the towel until all of the wax has been absorbed.

If you want a little bit of extra help keeping your carpets clean, consider having them Scotchgarded. Scotchgard creates an invisible protective barrier on your carpet, giving you more time to clean up spills before they create a stain.

Interested in having your carpets Scotchgarded or professionally cleaned? Contact us today

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The 10 Common Items We Miss During Spring Cleaning

The flowers are budding and the animals are waking, which means spring has arrived. After a long winter our houses are stuffy, salt and dirt have tracked in for months, and the short days have made early bedtimes more appealing than chores. As the season turns, it is a perfect time to start spring cleaning. It is easy to run through the motions by cleaning out the closets and pantries, throwing out the junk, and running a mop over the floors. But as the world blooms outside, why not make your house bloom too with a deep cleaning? Here are 10 common items that people forget during spring cleaning:

  1. The Fridge: You probably wipe down your fridge's interior shelving regularly, but don't forget about the rest. Pop out the door shelves and bins, and wash in warm, soapy water to get rid of food bacteria and spillage.
     
  2. Kitchen Cabinets: Use a warm soapy cloth to wipe away dust or dampen a cloth with vinegar to scrub any sticky spots. Dust and grime build-up in your cabinets and will float and settle every time you open the door, so clean them a bit more regularly to keep your dishes spotless.
     
  3. Underside of Your Mats: The mat slides around for months in the winter, across the salt and mud we are constantly tracking into the house. That means there is more dirt underneath the mat than you realize. Try vacuuming both sides of your mats for a more through clean.
     
  4. Grout: Your kitchen and bathroom tiles are resistant, but grout is absorbent. It stains easily and bacteria can grow inside. To clean your grout simply mix ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 tsp of dish soap. Apply to the grout, wait 5-10 minutes, then scrub and rinse.
     
  5. Furniture: A thorough clean of your furniture can make it feel like new. Vacuum your furniture all over, and use the crevice attachments in the hard-to-reach spots. Also  launder whatever you can. This will control dust, dirt and fend off bad smells from arising.
     
  6. Kids Toys: Put plastic toys in the dishwasher and plush toys in the gentle cycle to keep them clean and germ-free.
     
  7. Washing Machines: Washers house mold and bacteria which can smell bad and can even cause your clothing to smell. Eliminate any odours by adding two cups of vinegar to the drum and running your “clean cycle” to kill and clear out bacteria.
     
  8. Baseboards and Walls: These areas get dirty and might even contribute to bad smells, but we rarely wipe them down. Use a cloth with warm water and soap to give your baseboards and walls a new shine.
     
  9. Computers: Dust is constantly slipping into the keyboards and openings on our computers. Use compressed air to spray under the keys and into the casing bringing dust to the surface so that you can wipe it away.
     
  10. Your Car: After a winter full of slush, you can’t clean the car fast enough. Scrub out salt to avoid staining and degrading your fabric and be sure to wipe down your seats and mats. Check out our previous blog “5 DIY Auto-Detailing Tips” for more info.

Would you like someone else to scrub those hard-to-reach or forgotten items? At Steamwise we offer many regularly scheduled and deep cleaning options to rid your home of dirt, allergens, and smells, and leave it “spring clean”. Contact us at 1-855-793-3131 to learn more or to book an appointment.

 

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5 DIY Auto Detailing Tips

Our cars sustain a lot of wear and tear. We track in dirt and salt, we spill our food, our dogs leave behind clumps of fur and dirt on the back seat. We scuff the doors and dashboards and, on top of all of this, dust naturally accumulates on every surface. Considering what our cars endure, can you remember the last time you had your car detailed? For many of us, auto-detailing is not part of our regular cleaning schedule but keeping your car interior clean helps to maintain your vehicle and contributes to better resale or trade-in value.

Here are 5 simple do-it-yourself car cleaning tips that will give your car that fresh, new feeling.

  1. Have a Dog? Cover Your Back Seat
    After a long run at the dog park, your favourite four-footed friend will jump into the back seat of the car for a short nap on the way home. Unfortunately, while Fido is lounging in the back, he or she is likely shedding and covering your back seat with wet paw marks. The easiest way to protect your seats is to cover them, allowing Fido to lounge as he pleases without doing any damage.

    Most seat covers are machine washable and can be purchased at your local department or pet store.  
     
  2. Remove Pet Hair with a Squeegee
    Even with a cover on the back seat, some dogs manage to get fur on the seat. These little strands of hair can be a challenge to remove unless you’ve got the perfect tool – a squeegee. Yes, that same squeegee you use to clean your windows is the best way to get dog hair off your seats. Just run the squeegee across the seats in your car and watch the hair come up.
     
  3. Keep Wipes on Hand for Spills and Dust
    The best way to keep spilled food from staining your cars floor and upholstery is to clean it up as soon as possible. You can read our blog on cleaning up food spills for more tips on this topic. If you spill something in the car, remove any chunks as soon as possible and then pat at the spill with a wet wipe. This will help prevent permanent stains and reduce odours.

    Wet wipes can also be used to wipe down the dashboards and around the doors, to help remove any dust or dirt that may have settled there.
     
  4. Clean Scuff Mark with a Magic Eraser
    The Magic Eraser is TRULY magical. These little sponges are great for getting out scuff marks and cleaning hard to reach places, you know, those places where we always seem to spill our drinks or drop food. Simply wet the sponge and use it to scrub away the scuff mark or stain. Magic Erasers are safe on a variety of different surfaces and can be dried out and used repeatedly. We highly recommend you keep one in your car or garage.
     
  5. Line Cup Holders
    Even though they are holding our drinks upright, cup holders always seem to get covered in liquid. Plus, if you don't wipe them from time to time they start to collect dust. Keep your cup holders clean by lining them with muffin cups. Whenever the cups start to look worn or stained, simply recycle them and insert two more.

Does your car need a little extra care to get it looking new? At Steamwise we offer professional auto-detailing at your door. That’s right, we come to you! Contact us at 1-855-793-3131 to learn more or to book an appointment.

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Stains You Should Never Let Dry

It’s happened to us all. After a long day you still feel a bit hungry after dinner and you decide to heat up some left overs to eat while you are watching TV.  You walk into the living room with your food and drop down a little too hard on the sofa and hear a soft splat. A bit of your food has tumbled down onto the sofa and the carpet. What do you do next? Do you need to immediately run and grab your stain remover? Turns out, it really all depends on what you are eating.

If what you spilled is made from 100% natural ingredients, such as vegetables, milk, grains or fruit, you can slide down to another section of the sofa and clean up your spill after you’re done eating. Basically, you have some time before the food or beverage permanently stains your upholstery or carpet. However, if what you are eating includes any heavily processed foods, such as no-name sauces, ice cream, canned soups or if it has any sort of food colouring in it, we highly recommend you put down what you are eating and grab your cleaning supplies. Letting food spills made with heavily processed ingredients set/dry makes it next to impossible to get them completely out, even for awesome upholstery and carpet cleaning professionals like us.  

Food Stain Cleaning Tips

Usually getting food (highly processed or not) out of carpets or upholsteries is fairly easy, if you tend to them before they fully dry. Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Pick up larger pieces of food so they do not continue to saturate the area
  2. Pat the stained area with a clean damp cloth to remove any smaller pieces/crumbs
  3. Use a new clean damp cloth to blot the stain from the outside in. This ensures you are not further spreading the stain.
  4. If required, spray a vinegar and water solution (one-part vinegar to one-part water) onto another clean cloth and blot the stained area. Vinegar is a great natural product that can remove most food stains.

If you find that you are constantly cleaning up food stains, consider having your carpets and upholsteries Scotchgarded. Scotchgard helps to repel liquids, making it easier for you to wipe away spills before they create a permanent stain or damage your upholstery. 
 

What If I Can’t Clean Up the Spill Right Away?

Sometimes you’re not in a position to clean up a spill right away. Maybe you’re in the car on the way to work and you drop some food on the seat. You can’t stop to thoroughly clean up the mess, so what can you do?  Simply do the best you can with what you have around you. For example, remove any chunks of food and lightly blot the stain with a damp clean napkin. Any food particles that you can immediately remove will lessen the colour of possible permanent stains from a spill that dries.

Have a stain in your upholsteries, carpets or car that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Contact us for a free evaluation, our professional cleaning services may be able to remove or minimize the stain.

 

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Say So Long to Dust Mites with These 5 Easy Remedies

While it would be ­­­great to say a permanent “good-bye” to dust mites, we can only ever say “so long”. No matter how many we eliminate, more of these microscopic organisms can always be found living in our mattresses, upholsteries and carpets.  

Even though they are always present in our homes, we rarely give dust mites a second thought. However, for people with asthma, dust mite allergies or eczema, exposure to these tiny nuisances can cause re-occurring asthmas attacks, allergic reactions and eczema flare ups. Additionally, children who are exposed to high-levels of dust mites are more likely to develop a dust mite allergy later in life.

Now, just because you can’t completely eliminate every dust mite from your home doesn’t mean you can’t keep these tiny organisms at bay or that you have to make their stay in your home a comfortable one. Here is a list of our favourite, easy, and chemical free tactics for dealing with dust mites:

  1. Regularly Wash or Vacuum Your Fabrics
    Dust mites thrive in warm and humid places like our bedding, curtains, throw rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture. An easy way to keep dust mites in check is to regularly wash and dry as many of these items as possible in at least 140 F temperatures. Since your body comes into close contact with your sheets for extended periods of time each day you should wash your bedding at least once a week to reduce asthma attacks and allergic reactions. All other washable fabrics should be laundered on a bi-weekly basis.

    Items that cannot be washed, such as wall-to-wall carpet, area rugs and upholstery, should be professionally steam cleaned at least twice a year.  The extreme heat from the cleaning will kill the mites and remove any of the debris left behind from deep within the carpets. In between steam cleanings, vacuuming your carpets and area rugs at least once a week can help remove some of the dust mite debris that can cause health issues for you or your loved ones.
     
  2. Freeze Them Out
    If you can’t wash or professionally clean something, consider freezing it. Simply put the item(s) in a plastic bag and place them in your freezer for 8-10 hours. This deep freeze approach is especially useful for fabric toys and throw cushions.
     
  3. Make Your Own Repellent with Essential Oils
    Luckily, the smells we tend to love are the same smells that deter dust mites. This means you can create a lovely scented “repellent” that not only dissuades dust mites from living in your fabrics, but also leaves your fabrics smelling quite nice.

    To make your own dust mite repellent mix a few drops of clove, lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus into a bottle filled with water and then lightly spray your mattress, furniture and curtains.

    Note: Before spraying your new repellant on any fabric for the first time, be sure to test your solution on a small corner of the fabric.
     
  4. Use Dust Mite Covers
    Dust mite covers completely encase your mattress and/or pillow, keeping the mites inside and away from you and your loved ones. Assuming you wash your sheets every 7 days, your covers only need to be washed every 6-8 weeks.
     
  5. Clean with a Damp Cloth
    When dust starts to accumulate many of us will reach for a dry cloth, an old sock or a feather duster to remove the build-up, but if you want to take on the dust mites, you will need to step-up your game. Instead of using a dry cloth or duster, use a damp cloth so that you can collect the mites instead of dispersing them into the air and allowing them to land somewhere else in your home. You’ll also want to start giving your home a thorough dusting each week to ensure excess dust and dust mites do not have time to build up.

    If you want to take your dusting a step further, add a drop of one of the essential oils listed above into your damp cloth so that the smell of the oil is left behind as you dust.

By consistently following these 5 simple steps you will significantly decrease the number of dust mites in your home. However, if you need help with your dusting, vacuuming or steam cleaning the Steamwise team is here to help. Contact us to learn more about our home cleaning and steam cleaning services.  

 

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8 Simple Ways to Make Cleaning Fun

With the holidays just around the corner, there is a lot of cleaning to get done. Whether you are cleaning to prepare for a Christmas or new year celebration here are some simple ways to make this chore fun.

  1. Turn Cleaning into a Game
    Turning cleaning duties into a game, with a reward for the winner, is a great way to get everyone in the family excited about cleaning. Assign points to each task and then post the list with the allotted points in a common space. When someone completes the task, they claim their points by putting their initials next to the task. The person with the most points at the end of each week wins a prize.

    Tip: To ensure every task always gets done, consider awarding prizes for the person with the most points at the end of each month or even the end of the year.
     
  2. Sing While You Clean
    Singing or even humming while you work, can help keep you focused on a tedious task like scrubbing the bathtub or doing the dishes. If you really want to have some fun, cue up your favourite songs and sing along, your broom or mop can make a great microphone.
     
  3. Multi-Task
    Cleaning takes time, but it does not take a lot of brain power, giving you the perfect opportunity to multi-task. Try calling a friend to catch up or listen to a podcast or audiobook.
     
  4. Clean with Family
    Since a lot of houses are open concept, cleaning can be the perfect time to catch-up with your family. Everyone can be working in a different room but also sharing stories, jokes or advice with one another.
     
  5. Take a Break/Do a Little Each Day
    Cleaning the entire house at once can be overwhelming and exhausting. Instead of trying to tackle it all at once, take a break between each activity and do something you enjoy, just make sure you come back to your cleaning. You can also break down your cleaning list and do a little each day to avoid help avoid exhaustion and boredom.
     
  6. Count Calories While You Clean
    Cleaning is a physical activity. When you are scrubbing, mopping or vacuuming you are actually burning calories. Use your calorie counter to track how many calories you burn while your clean, it might be just enough for you to have that extra piece of chocolate after dinner.  
     
  7. Appreciate Your Hard Work
    Cleaning is hard work, once you are done cleaning anything, take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done for yourself and your family.
     
  8. Reward Yourself
    Sometimes all you need to motivate yourself to complete a daunting task is a little reward. Set your cleaning goals for the day or week and when you complete them give yourself a reward. The bigger the job, the bigger the reward. Based on the reward system, spring cleaning may become your favourite time of year.

Still dreading having to clean the house? Let us handle it for you. The Steamwise Cleaning team is now offering home cleaning services for residents of Northumberland, Peterborough and Quinte, Durham and Clarington. Contact us today to set-up a complimentary consultation for your home.

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Is Clean Really Clean?

Would you say your house is clean? What would you see if you ran a white glove across
your nightstand or across the top of your refrigerator? When was the last time you
cleaned behind your stove or disinfected your kitchen sink? Most people sweep and
vacuum regularly, they wipe down the kitchen counter and brush the crumbs off the
coffee table. Our homes generally look presentable, but rarely are they truly clean and,
unfortunately, a home that is not properly cleaned on a regular basis will accumulate
large amounts of dust and bacteria, which can have negative affects on your health.

Dust can never be completely eliminated from our homes, but it can be well managed.
House-hold dust is a mixture of dead skin cells, fibres from carpets and upholstered
furniture and dirt that is tracked or blown in from the outdoors. While exposure to dust
is not fatal, consistently inhaling high levels of dust can cause irritation of the eyes,
coughing, sneezing, hayfever and asthma attacks. For people living with respiratory
issues such as asthma or emphysema, small increases in dust concentration can make
their symptoms worse. Small children and seniors also tend to be more prone to
developing health issues from consistent exposure to high levels of dust.

In addition to dust, most people are also living with dust mites. These microscopic
organisms live in warm places such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, sheets and
pillows. Dust mites are one of the world’s most common allergens and, if you or
someone in your house is allergic to them, without regularly cleaning the items
mentioned above you can find yourself consistently suffering from an allergic reaction.

Exposure to bacteria can also have negative effects on your health or the health of a
loved one. Funnily enough, two of the places bacteria is most commonly found are the
places where we clean our food and our bodies, the kitchen sink and the shower.
Bacterias found in the bathroom include Gastrointestinal viruses, which can cause
stomach pain and remain on a hard surface for up to a week, and Dermatophitic fungi,
such as Athlete’s Foot, which can be shared by simply walking barefoot in a bathroom.

How to Combat Dust and Bacteria
Regularly cleaning your home can help eliminate a lot of the dust and bacteria that
builds up without us noticing. Here are some weekly cleaning tips:

  • Sweep and mop all tile and hardwood floors, and remember to move and sweep under larger pieces of furniture such as sofas and chairs
  • Vacuum area rugs and carpets
  • Use a damp clean cloth to wipe down table tops and any other hard surfaces
  • Disinfect your sinks, showers/bathtubs and toilets

Every month or so you should also:

  • Dust and mop under bigger appliances (fridge, washer, dryer, etc)
  • Wipe down your walls and baseboards
  • Clean any light fixtures or fans
  • Wash your curtains and wipe down your blinds

You should also have your area rugs, carpets and upholstered furniture professionally cleaned at least once a year. Professional cleanings not only removes dirt, dander and bacteria, but also helps to keep your items looking like new. Not sure if your carpets or furniture require professional cleaning? Turn your vacuum on and place a white cloth over the end of one of your vacuum attachments. Now vacuum one of your carpets or pieces of furniture with the white cloth covering the vacuum. Once you are done look at the cloth. If it is no longer white, it is time for a professional cleaning.

Keeping your home clean will help to ensure the long-term health of you and your loved
ones. However, it can also be a time-consuming task that keeps you from spending time
with your friends and family. The Steamwise Cleaning team is now offering home
cleaning services for residents of Northumberland, Peterborough and Quinte, Durham
and Clarington. Contact us today to set-up a complimentary consultation for your home.

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