It’s said that a clean house provides peace of mind, and this has never been truer than in the present moment. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, cleanliness and sanitization are more critical than ever—not just outside the home, but inside as well. To help you clean your home effectively and efficiently, we asked seven Diamond Certified Expert Contributors in the house cleaning industry to provide their tips.
Gathering supplies is often half the battle with house cleaning, which is why Pat Belardi of Molly Maid of Marin, Berkeley and West Contra Costa County recommends having your cleaning supplies organized and conveniently located. “You’ll be surprised how far a little organization can go toward facilitating ease and efficiency when cleaning,” she says. “For example, you can organize your bathroom cleaning supplies by putting them all in a single bucket or similar container. Keep your ‘bathroom bucket’ in a cupboard or, if you don’t have space, a closet or garage area. Having everything you need located in a single container will put one less obstacle in your way and give you a head start.”
When disinfecting surfaces in the home, most people simply spray a disinfectant product and immediately wipe it up. However, according to Sandy Willis of Molly Maid of S. Silicon Valley, this overlooks a couple of key aspects. “Before applying disinfectant, you should first clean the surface with soap and water,” she explains. “This initial cleaning will get rid of most of the germs before following up with disinfectant to finish the rest of them off. It’s also important to give the disinfectant time to set so it can fully break down and eliminate the germs. Look at the instructions on the bottle—they should tell you how long to let the product sit before wiping. Typically, this will be between five and 10 minutes.”
Prevent damage to sensitive surfaces.
While materials like marble, travertine and bamboo are known for their aesthetic beauty, their sensitivity leaves them susceptible to damage from improper cleaning methods. One example of this is marble countertops, which are susceptible to damage from acidic substances like citrus fruits, tomatoes and vinegar. To avoid permanent stains on your marble countertops, Liliana Reyes-Avalos of The Magic Mop, Inc. advises prompt cleanup following the use of such substances. She also warns to make sure you’re using an appropriate cleaning product. “Many homeowners are switching to natural cleaning products, which is great, but these often contain vinegar and similarly acidic natural substances that are harmful to natural stone. That’s why you should always find out if a cleaning product is appropriate for the application surface before using it.”
It’s understandable that natural surfaces like stone and wood are vulnerable to damage, but even a resilient, manufactured 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.
To learn more about cleaning stainless steel appliances, watch Mr. Gooden’s full Expert Contributor video below:
Minimize microwave cleaning.
Anyone who’s had to clean a microwave that’s coated with hardened residue knows how difficult it can be. Jennifer Young of Elite Pro Home Cleaning shares a simple procedure that makes this task much easier. “First, fill a glass bowl with water and add two tablespoons of distilled white vinegar,” she instructs. “You can also add some lemon juice to give it a fresh scent. Put the bowl inside the microwave and set it to run at high power for about seven minutes. This will generate steam inside of the microwave, which will loosen any hardened residue. Instead of having to scrub, you’ll only need to perform a light wiping and the residue should come right off.”
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 Maids, 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.
Set your house cleaner up for success.
Hiring a professional to handle your house cleaning is a great investment. To get the most out of house cleaning services, David Liu of Anita’s Housekeeping Referral Agency recommends being present at the initial cleaning. “We find that when a client is present during the initial cleaning, it helps clarify things for the housekeeper and leads to greater long-term satisfaction with the service. This includes doing a walkthrough beforehand to explain expectations and another afterward to assess the work and address any concerns.” By setting your house cleaner up for success at the beginning, you can establish a clear line of communication and minimize the chances for ongoing issues.