Most people think of spring as the season for cleaning, but there’s another time of year when it’s even more important: the holidays. As summer’s vibrant pulse recedes to the calm cadence of autumn, it’s time to break out the standard seasonal décor (gourds, anyone?) and get your house spick and span in preparation for the influx of visiting friends and relatives.
The problem with house cleaning, however, is it’s a deceptively simple task, which is why people often get into the habit of using inefficient or just plain incorrect methods. To shed some light on a few of these home hygiene hiccups, we’ve asked six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to provide their house cleaning how-tos.
Start with the basics. When cleaning a room, it’s easy to get distracted (and even disoriented) while moving haphazardly from one corner to another. That’s why Stanley Costa of SonoMarin Cleaning Services, Inc. suggests cleaning in a systematic fashion to make the process easier and ensure better results. One basic rule is to begin cleaning at the top of the room (removing cobwebs and dusting high shelves, for example) and work your way downward, which will help you avoid having to redo things like cleaning the floor. Another helpful technique is to start at one corner of the room and clean in one direction all the way around so you don’t forget anything.
Use an appropriate product for the surface you’re cleaning. While materials like marble, travertine and bamboo are known for their aesthetic beauty, their sensitivity leaves them susceptible to damage from improper cleaning methods. Most conventional cleaning products are extremely acidic, which can cause etching and dulling on surfaces like high-end floors and countertops. If you’re unsure about which product to use on a high-end surface in your home, Theresa Peterson of Quality Cleaning Maid to Order says you should do your research before attempting to clean.
It’s understandable that natural surfaces like stone and wood are vulnerable to damage, but even a resilient, man-made material like stainless steel can be subject to gradual wear from improper cleaning. According to Milton Gooden of Good & Clean Co. Inc. there are a couple of products you can use to clean a stainless steel surface: a household substance like olive oil or a store-bought stainless steel cleaner. After doing a preliminary clean with vinegar or a mild detergent/water solution, apply your product with a microfiber towel. Avoid using a sponge, steel wool or linen cloth, as these can leave surface scratches. Additionally, make sure to move your towel in the direction of the grain rather than in a circular motion.
Be proactive about cleaning your shower. Due to the continual presence of moisture, a shower provides an optimal environment for mold and mildew to grow. To minimize this problem, Jennifer Young of Elite Pro Home Cleaning offers a couple of simple tips. First, maximize ventilation by running the vent fan while bathing and keeping the bathroom window open so steam can escape. A further proactive measure is keeping a squeegee in the shower and using it to wipe residual moisture off the walls after bathing.
Another common problem in showers with glass doors is the formation of water spots, which can become permanently etched into the glass over time. To prevent this, Jim Wu of Optimum Cleaning Services suggests applying Rain-X to your shower doors. A water repellent typically used on car windshields during the rainy season, Rain-X causes water to run off glass surfaces rather than stick to them. With the regular application of Rain-X to your shower doors, you can stop water spots before they start.
Plan for periodic deep cleanings. While visible surfaces in the home tend to get regular attention, when it comes to hidden or hard-to-reach areas, it’s often a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” However, according to Ernie Andrade of All Bright Maintenance Services, neglecting these areas can lead to sanitation issues, especially in places like the kitchen and bathroom. A good way to avoid this is to hire a house cleaner to perform deep, detailed cleanings on a seasonal basis.