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Dividing Housework for Happier Homes

August 20, 2021 by emilysmaids

Happier Homes

Relationships aren’t always easy, especially among the people we live within the closest proximity to – our partner, family, or roommate. Conflicts can erupt over all sorts of things, and frequently, they may revolve around household chores like ‘who’s going to wash the dishes,’ ‘who’s going to vacuum,’ or ‘who’s going to scrub the bathroom?’ A well-maintained home benefits everyone in the household, but when a member(s) habitually fails to do their fair share, conflict is often the result.

There are decided benefits to sharing household chores responsibilities. First, it eases stress. When each household member does their fair share of work around the home, there are fewer to no confrontations about cleaning, disinfecting, organizing, etc. When people get along and live in a well-kept environment, home can feel like a stress-free sanctuary. Also, when the work is shared, everyone has more time for other activities. Fair balance supports healthy relationships. Moreover, breaking gender roles regarding housework leads to more respect among household members too.

Dividing Chores in Marriage

Happier Homes

In a November 2016 research study, Pew Research Center reported that 56% of heterosexual couples stated that sharing household chores was important for their relationship. In another study conducted by Pew, more than 1,800 parents claimed to split their household chores evenly. However, the results were still skewed, with women performing more household chores overall. When women work full time, nearly 60% of respondents reported that chores were performed with equality, but about 30% reported that women still do the bulk of the housework.

Not surprisingly, household labor inequality can lead to conflict. In a recent article, NPR reported that “the pandemic has laid bare ‘grotesque inequality’ that exists within many families.” Gender inequality concerning household work isn’t merely about who does the laundry. According to the article, “there’s a whole body of research around what’s called the ‘mental load.’” It concerns all the work concerning planning, scheduling, maintaining family ties, etc.

Consequently, the need to divide labor fairly remains an issue for many couples and their families. In the following article, we’ll outline a wide array of tips to help couples and other household members perform home chores with a great sense of shared responsibility.

Tips to Divide Chores with a Spouse / Partner

Happier Homes

Here, we’ll examine some key ways couples can divide their load of housework to achieve better balance.

Prioritize

Not all chores are created equal. During a hectic week, it’s not uncommon for people to prioritize those chores that must be accomplished, such as washing the dishes and walking the dog. Ensure that you and your partner understand which duties merit top priority status.

Create a Chore Timetable

A visual timetable helps prevent partners from forgetting what chores need to be accomplished. A daily / weekly chore list can help keep housework on track. You might create a timetable that includes a daily schedule so that you don’t have to devote most of the weekend to housework.

Communicate

Good communication between partners concerning household tasks is essential, but just remember that it can quickly degenerate into bickering and nagging when tasks aren’t performed. Discuss the importance of completing the work responsibility. If you or your partner can’t get to a chore when expected to, communicate your difficulty and willingness to trade chores or simply that you will get to the work as soon as you can.

Appreciation

Positive communication that supports the appreciation of one another can ensure that chore sharing never becomes a ‘thankless job.’

Maintain Fairness and Take Turns

Fairness is tough. Let’s be honest. It’s easy to divide up chores on paper. In real life, however, plans can quickly go awry. Someone has to work late, someone unexpectedly has to bring the car to the shop, someone gets the flu, someone receives surprise concert tickets; maintaining fairness requires mindfulness. Try to ensure that there is balance even when plans change and impact household schedules. Also, try to change up the chores, so one individual isn’t always stuck with toilet cleaning!

Don’t Micromanage!

Often, one partner outshines another when it comes to home cleanliness. Everyone tackles housework a bit differently. Try not to criticize one another when work isn’t performed entirely as to how you’d do it. Criticism can erode positive feelings like gratitude.

Dividing Chores with Your Roommate

Happier Homes

Having a roommate may or may not be a permanent situation, but it’s important to divide up the household chores evenly, even when living with someone temporarily. Here are few tips to keep in mind:

Discuss Chores

Have a frank conversation with your roommate from the start. Discuss that you value shared household work, and then discuss the types of chores that will have to be accomplished. Also, remember to define your vision of a “clean home.” Your version of clean and orderly might not be theirs. Try to come to some agreements before conflicts arise.

Create a Cleaning Schedule

There are different ways to approach cleaning schedules. You might alternate cleaning tasks each week or divvy out daily tasks. Don’t rely on a verbal schedule. It’s too easy for someone to say (and mean) “I forgot.” Write the list down on paper or even a whiteboard.

Accountability

What’s the consequence of failing to live up to cleaning obligations? It’s unfair for one roommate to be stuck with picking up the slack for another. Think about how you can hold each other accountable for completing cleaning tasks on time.

How to Include Your Kids in Housework

Happier Homes

Teaching kids the value of housework and instructing them to care for their home helps kids develop essential skills. Naturally, you’ll want to focus on age-appropriate tasks, but even young children can learn to contribute to the household’s care needs.

Simple Tasks

Assign young children simple tasks. For instance, even toddlers can learn to put their toys in toy bins or replace books on a shelf. They may be able to scoop the dog’s dry food into its bowl or help parents with tasks like dusting.

Age-Appropriate Chores

As kids age, they can take on more challenging chores such as:

  • Washing dishes
  • Emptying dishwasher
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Walking the dog
  • Vacuuming
  • Making their bed and others

Use Chore Calendars & Reward Systems

Create a fun visual calendar that you and the kids can refer to. Each day, they can see what they’re responsible for. As kids live up to the responsibilities, be sure to reward their hard work. Create a rewards system to help them stay on track and motivated to perform chores well.

Involve Children in the Decision-Making Process

Kids may appreciate having some say-so in when to perform chores. For instance, they may want to complete their chores on school days to have the weekends free. Discuss their wishes and try to make compromises when you can. When kids contribute to the plan, they may become more invested in its success.

Benefits of Including Your Kids in Housework

There are many benefits to assigning kids chores around the home. Certainly, it’s nice to get some help, but kids don’t always perform chores at the level that an adult will. Even so, there is substantial value in helping them to improve their skills. Here are some benefits for including kids in the housework:

Success

Kids who perform household chores routinely while growing up often experience a greater level of success. Performing chores helps them develop skills that can influence their self-discipline, time management skills, and self-confidence.

Responsibility

Kids are capable of maintaining responsibility. When they accomplish a chore, they’ll realize that they are capable of being responsible individuals.

Self-Esteem

As kids learn to perform housework and become good at it and good at being responsible, they’ll develop self-esteem. They’ll learn that their contributions are valuable to the home and their family.

Including Everyone

Including the entire household in housework can strengthen family bonds. When you include everyone, everyone understands that they have an important role to play in the home.

Age-Appropriate Chores

Happier Homes

Here’s a list of some chores to consider assigning your children according to their age:

Ages 3 to 6

  • Put away toys
  • Set the table for meals
  • Make their bed
  • Help feed pets
  • Sweep the floors (outfit them with a small broom)
  • Wipe surfaces with water
  • Dust low-to-ground furnishings

Ages 6 to 9

  • Dry dishes
  • Fold clean towels
  • Gather dirty dishes and return them to the kitchen
  • Remove dirty linens from beds
  • Collect and put away toys throughout the house
  • Wipe surfaces clean with water and dish soap
  • Put their clean laundry away

Ages 9-12

  • Wash fruits and vegetables
  • Assist with basic cooking tasks (i.e., peel potatoes, operate toaster)
  • Pull garden weeds (with gloves)
  • Carry groceries from the car and help put them away
  • Dog cleanup in the yard
  • Vacuum
  • Clean mirrors with glass cleaner
  • Maintain their bedrooms for cleanliness and order

When everyone living in a household pitches in, there’s bound to be less chaos and disorder. You can prevent stress and conflict from occurring over housework by keeping these cleaning tips in mind.

 

Originally posted on Porch.com

 

How to Clean Your Nespresso Machine Inside and Out

August 17, 2021 by emilysmaids

How to Clean Your Nespresso Machine Inside and Out Emilys Maids

Who doesn’t like coffee?

If coffee it’s your go-to beverage first thing in the morning, at midday, or even in the evening, you probably own (or are considering buying) a Nespresso machine.

Having an espresso machine is going to give you amazing coffee to start your day, but it might also be a little intimidating, especially when it comes to cleaning. Let’s read some strategies on how to clean your Nespresso machine.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Nespresso Machine

Nespresso machines are very effective and give great results. Coffee is known for its pleasant taste and smell, but if you don’t clean your machine often, this can get changed for the worst, adding an unpleasant or strange flavor.

This happens because every coffee maker works using water, which leaves small limescale and mineral residues every time you make coffee. If they don’t get cleaned, they will start to get mixed with your coffee and it will taste a little off.

Even worse, if limescale keeps building up, it might clog the water flow to a point that causes your coffee machine to stop working completely.

Besides this, you need to clean your Nespresso machine on the outside as well, to avoid growing bacteria and attracting insects to your kitchen. Here’s what you can do:

Man serving coffee using a Nespresso machine

Descaling Your Nespresso Machine: Is it Necessary?

Descaling means removing limescale and residues from your coffee maker. You should do this at least every 3 months, especially if hard water is common in your area.

Hard water contains a higher number of minerals, and this depends on your area. For example, Texas has very hard water in comparison to other states.

Coffee companies usually sell their own de-scaling agents, which are mostly based on citric acid or lactic acid. You can either buy your coffee maker’s descaling agent or proceed at your own risk and create your own DIY descaling agent. If you have an expensive espresso machine, you should buy de-scaling agents.

The most popular DIY descaling solutions are made with either citric acid or vinegar.

Particularly, the Nespresso company recommends you avoid using vinegar for descaling. This is because vinegar is allegedly too aggressive and can damage your machine’s pipes.

As we know, vinegar is a versatile cleaner and it won’t necessarily harm your machine, but descaling solutions will make minerals take longer to deposit. Eco alternatives are also available on the market.

If you do end up using vinegar, make sure to use white vinegar and not balsamic vinegar, apple vinegar, or any other kind.

The Descaling Process For Your Nespresso Machine

Start by removing coffee pods, take your water reservoir and pour any remaining water out of your coffee machine, as well as any built-in water filters (if any).

If you bought a de-scaling agent, follow instructions. Each one has a different process depending on the company and the type (liquid or tablets).

If you’re going with the DIY route, using citric acid is better than vinegar, because it’s softer. You can mix the juice of two lemons with enough water to fill the water reservoir. Remember to strain your lemon juice.

You can use vinegar as a last resort. Mix 2-parts distilled water, 1-part white vinegar. This mix will be helpful because using pure white vinegar will be too aggressive for your coffee maker. Create enough mix to fill the water reservoir completely.

Deactivate automatic shut-off and place a mug under the tray beneath the spout. Start the brewing process. This mug will collect your de-scaling solution, along with your coffee machine’s limescale residues.

As soon as the brewing process ends, toss the water in the sink. Run your coffee machine 3 to 4 more times using only clear water, in order to completely remove your descaling solution.

Man serving coffee

Basic cleaning and maintenance

Once you descale your Nespresso, it’s time for some additional cleaning.

As always, you can go with the natural route or just pick your favorite cleanser from the supermarket. For this case, add ½ spoon baking soda to one cup of vinegar.

Apply this mix to your machine on the outside, let sit for five minutes and then add soap and water, scrubbing gently with a clean sponge. Remove any remaining soda and soap using a microfiber cloth and water.

Cup of Coffee

Conclusion

It’s important to clean your Nespresso machine regularly so that it continues working properly and give you great coffee. Besides descaling, it’s also important to keep it clean on the outside, so your kitchen remains clean, tidy, and safe.

And if you are so busy and can’t manage to clean constantly, remember you can always reach out and get additional help.

10 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home

August 16, 2021 by emilysmaids

10 Tips for Deep Cleaning Your Home

Is there anything better than that feeling when you know your house is clean? Not just the usual once over, but a good old thorough deep cleaning.

We don’t think there is, and the benefits of a clean home are not only felt by you but your family too. In fact, clean homes have proven to be vital for our long-term physical and mental health as is highlighted by the University of Minnesota.

But let’s be honest, the actual idea of doing a deep clean can be tiring in itself. Therefore to help you we have put together a list of great tips and tricks that should be enough to get your home sparkling in no time.

1. Decluttering Is Key

Before beginning any deep cleaning an important but often forgotten step is decluttering. Over the years it is normal for families to accumulate things but you may be surprised by just how much you have!

Avoid being sentimental and ask yourself, “Have we used this in the last 6/12 months?” If the answer is no then the next step is easy. Either sell, donate or bin, but be decisive.

Post the items to sell online or take those other items to the charity store that week. If you underestimate the call of nostalgia and leave it for too long, you may find them still in your home when you next deep clean!

2. Take on the Whole House

One of the reasons deep cleaning can seem eternal is because when one room is done, one look into the next one is enough to demoralize even the most motivated among us.

A tip for deep cleaning the house to help take the edge off is to focus on tasks rather than rooms. Whether sweeping, dusting, or mopping, once one room is done, move onto the next.

This way even when you stop for an all-important coffee break (or glass of wine!) you can still enjoy a sense of accomplishment.

3. Keep Your Tools With You

Although deep cleaning is the opposite of a speed clean, any way to save time is appreciated. One good way to speed up and increase that valuable “you time” afterward is being organized with the tools of the trade.

You can use a tote bag, bucket, or caddy to put them in, but keep your sprays, cloths, and the like all together. That way you can have everything you need with you as you make your way through your home.

4. High to Low Is the Way to Go

Deep cleaning the right way means getting things done once and moving on. Yet an area that we have done can still appear to accumulate dust while we are finishing up.

Often this comes down to having an erratic strategy rather than thinking things out. One basic rule used by professional deep cleaning services is to start high and finish with the floors. Focus on cleaning high hard-to-reach spots like light fittings and cabinet tops and then on the areas that tend to be bigger problem areas like the floors.

Working to a good system like this can make a deep clean seem like light work.

5. Make Sure Your Tools Are Clean

One of the reasons that professional home deep cleaning services are so good comes down to the cleaning equipment that they use. But we can all up our cleaning game if we follow their lead and regularly clean what we use.

Brooms and vacuum cleaners are far less efficient when dirty, so take the time to clean them from time to time.

6. Tackle a Kitchen Problem Area

No deep cleaning house checklist would be complete without some words on the kitchen. The heart of the home is also guilty of being the hub of grease and other dirt that are normally the trigger point for us to think, “I need to deep clean!”.

While cleaning a kitchen could be a whole post in itself we will focus on one useful, but not-so-well-known tip.

As any busy family knows, although the microwave is a lifesaver it can be a hub of grime.

Freshen yours up by putting lemon slices in a bowl of water along with a few tablespoons of vinegar and leave it to boil for 5 minutes. The mixture won’t only make it smell better but should soften up any caked-on stains that have been decorating it to be wiped off easily.

7. Get Your Windows Squeaky Clean

Attention to your windows is vital if you want to get your deep cleaning right.

As well as using a standard window cleaner, the homemade solution of equal parts dish soap and white wine vinegar along with two parts water is very effective. Put it in a spray bottle and spray it evenly before wiping it away.

8. Hook, Line, and Sink Cleaner

It is usually during a deep cleaning that we decide to tackle things that we have noticed for some time. Near to the top of that list is always slight blockages in sinks.

However, instead of rushing to the store for a drain unblocker, you may already have some things in your home that can do the job. It’s our friends again baking soda and vinegar!

The steps are quite simple. First, pour boiling water into the drain in question. Afterward, pour down 1 cup of baking powder and then a liquid solution made up of 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Be sure to cover the drain for 10 minutes and then pour boiling water down the drain again.

9. Fridge Focus

Although deep cleaning a fridge can seem like the most laborious task, we’re sure you agree that there is nothing like the feeling of opening it afterward to see the fruits of your labor.

Get it done right by first sorting through what is out of date. Remember, things that are close to their use-by date can still be frozen, so waste not, want not!

Next, take out all of the shelves and make a solution with 1 liter of warm water and 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. This is great to soak them in before scrubbing them clean with a sponge. Then there is nothing more to do than place them back and refill your fridge.

10. Pet Peeves

Although we love our extended furry members of our family if we don’t get our deep cleaning right their presence can still leave us feeling like we haven’t fully finished.

One area that tends to linger is their smell. But again, a home remedy can be great at neutralizing particularly that dog aroma. Sprinkle baking soda on your carpet but particularly on the dog bed and leave it for 15 mins vacuuming it up afterward for a return to a clean, neutral smell.

Take the Stress Out of Deep Cleaning

We hope that you enjoyed our rundown of some of the best deep cleaning tips.

There is however only one true way to enjoy a deep clean in your home and that’s by leaving it to the professionals. We at Emily’s Maids offer a one-time deluxe deep clean that can provide your home with sparkle unlike any other.


Article written by Mike, our friend at No More Chores.

Is Cleaning Important? Here’s What Science Has to Say

August 10, 2021 by emilysmaids

The importance of cleaningIf you’re reading this, you probably know already that cleaning is important. But would you be able to say why?

Having an organized, decluttered, and sanitized space affects the way you interact with it. It can even change mood and behavior outside of your home.

Let’s find out why cleaning has a positive impact on your mind, body, and soul.

Cleaning is important for your mind

If you are feeling overwhelmed, that can be the cause or the consequence of a decluttered, messy space. If you have a lot on your plate right now and you don’t know how to structure your tasks, the same will happen in your home.

Research has shown that a messy space impacts your focus and your accuracy when working and studying. Cleaning and organizing your environment is easier as a short-term goal, but keep in mind to organize yourself and your activities throughout the day as a goal in the long run.

What you want to create here is a structure that lets you keep things under control, within reason. You always have a lot to do, either in or out of your household. This is why you need to plan things out: it will increase the chance of achieving multiple tasks during the day, and multiple days during the week, and so on.

Dedicating time to cleaning is a good sign. We only have 24 hours and 7 days a week so it’s all about finding the right time for each task. Depending on your schedule, cleaning a little bit each day will be possible, especially if you create a habit.

This will also benefit your state of mind because you won’t see cleaning as that chore you never end up doing because you forgot, or because you were exhausted and didn’t feel like it. Create a plan for your day and your week and make sure to include some cleaning time!

Clean Organized Space

Cleaning is important for your body

To an extent, cleaning is like exercise. You don’t necessarily enjoy it, but you enjoy the results in the long run.

Cleaning will help you stay healthy. There are hundreds of studies that show that keeping your home cleaning will reduce the amount of bacterial, microbial, and fungal contamination you are exposed to.

For starters, this study proves that vacuuming every day significantly reduces the amount of house dust mites present in the room. Dust mites are microscopic bugs that increase your sensitivity if you have asthma or allergies, for example.

Of course, cleaning and sanitizing will also reduce the presence of fungi such as mold and mildew. Scientific research proves that they may cause respiratory issues and eye symptoms, among others.

And once again, just like exercise, cleaning will improve your physique! Of course, within reason and in accordance with your age and physical abilities. If you end up exhausted after sweeping, mopping, and scrubbing your surfaces, that’s a sign you went through a demanding physical activity!

Cleaning is important for your soul

Then, we also have to talk about the impact on spiritual and emotional balance. There’s also scientific backup for this: positive feelings are associated with a clean, tidy space. If you describe your home as messy or stressful, there’s a higher chance that you are not in a great mood or that you have mood swings throughout your day, whereas a more stable emotional range correlates with describing your home with positive attributes such as “calm” or “peaceful”.

If you work on improving your emotional stability, eventually you’ll end up having to improve the space around you. This involves considering how many things you own in the first place, how often do you clean your belongings and surfaces, and how do you manage to balance out this while enjoying other areas of your life, such as your work, hobbies, and relationships.

Cleaning Stressful Situations

Conclusion

The ability to maintain your home tidy, organized, and cleaned, is (more often than not) a sign that you are doing your best in keeping things in control. This translates into a positive balance in your mind, body, and soul.

Whether we like it or not, a clean, decluttered space will help us stay in shape, focused, and in a good place emotionally. If you have a lot going on and cleaning constantly is not an option, just hire a cleaning service and let them do the heavy work for you.

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

August 3, 2021 by emilysmaids

Washing machine and laundry area

Even your washing machine requires some cleaning from time to time. Just like with dishwashers and vacuum cleaners, the appliances that are meant to clean your home sometimes end up being the dirtiest. Keep in mind that your washer is in contact with water, cleaning products and dirt, dust and sweat, as well as drastic temperature changes. With time, it will eventually require maintenance. Let’s read how to clean your washing machine!

Cleaning to remove limescale

Limescale is also a common issue. Limescale is the result of hard water, which is water with a high amount of minerals, which are like microscopic rocks. Depending on your area, you may have naturally hard water. This is the case for Texas, and Dallas particularly, which presents water with a high mineral count.

Hard water isn’t harmful per se. What happens is that, with time, minerals can set around your washing machine pipes, causing them to malfunction. This is why you need to do a proper cleaning.

If you have some experience creating DIY solutions, you probably already heard that baking soda and vinegar are a fantastic combination. It’s also going to work for cleaning your washing machine!

They’re both great cleaning agents. Vinegar is made out of alcohol, so it has sanitizing properties, and baking soda is able to deodorize and remove dirt and grease.

You can use vinegar first to clean your washing machine. Start by setting your washing machine to the hottest water temperature and the highest water level. Next, add two cups of vinegar. You can place them on the detergent dispenser. Then, run a normal cycle.

Afterward, do the same process but with a cup of baking soda. This will finish deodorizing and removing limescale from your washing machine.

Cleaning to remove mold from your washing machine

Your washing machine is also at risk of growing mold or mildew. It meets all the requirements mold needs to grow: it usually contains rubber, it is a dark place with constant moisture and a cold environment.

If you don’t take care of it, you’ll soon see some dark spots appearing which can be damaging to your health, particularly your respiratory system and even your brain.

Bleach is a popular solution for mold because it’s an agent that fungi can’t resist. This may not be very effective for surfaces where mold can penetrate, such as walls, but it will work just fine for your washer. If that doesn’t work, there are front loader cleaning tablets on the market that are made specifically for this purpose.

The most important preventive measure you can take is leaving the door open when not in use. Therefore, any water or moisture residues will be able to evaporate. Just build the habit of leaving the door open when you’re not using your washing machine. The same goes for your supply dispenser (your detergent/fabric softener container).

Open washing machine

Washing machine maintenance

For regular maintenance, you can use the vinegar method, just like you did to remove limescale. No need to run a second cycle with baking soda.

Optionally, after the first cycle using vinegar, you can run a second cycle using one cup of bleach on the bleach compartment. This should only be done once in a while for a deep clean, vinegar will do just fine for regular maintenance. Also, make sure not to mix cleaning products, especially bleach. This is not only unnecessary, but it can also be dangerous.

Your filters and dispensers also need some maintenance from time to time. They gather residues of soap, fabric softener, and other types of debris. They can also be prone to mold growth and because they are closed compartments it may be something easy to miss.

Once a month, you should take out filters and dispensers and clean them using either soapy water or white vinegar, using a brush in a circular motion. For the insides of your dispenser and your debris filter, use a spray with vinegar and wipe with a microfiber cloth. The same process goes for your rubber gaskets (if you have a front-load washer).

Bonus tip: while doing laundry, you can use vinegar as a fabric softener! Just add one cup to the “softener” dispenser during the rinse cycle.

Cleaning Washing machine from Emilys maids Dallas

Conclusion

Remember to do regular maintenance for your washing machine once a month. A deep clean once or twice every six months seems a reasonable time, too. This will also help your clothes stay clean, sanitized, and free from unpleasant odors.

To keep your washing machine clean, you’ll only require to do some simple maintenance every once in a while. You only require vinegar, baking soda, bleach, and less than an hour of your time! Be consistent and you’ll have an appliance that will last for decades.

Best House Cleaning Services in Dallas

August 2, 2021 by emilysmaids

Emily's Maids rated as one of the best house cleaning companies in Dallas on Expertise

 

Emily’s Maids was visited by an Expertise mystery shopper to review our professionalism for their “Best House Cleaning Services in Dallas” rankings – and we passed with flying colors! In an email we received from Expertise.com, they write:

Emily’s Maids is currently published in our article of the Best House Cleaning Services in Dallas. As part of our ongoing evaluation process, we make surprise “Mystery Shopper” calls to ensure our listed providers are of the highest quality. I recently completed one such call; congratulations on passing! Hi there. Your company has been contacted by our Mystery Shoppers. Your business was published in an Expertise.com article as top-ranked. As part of our ongoing evaluation process, we make surprise “Mystery Shopper” calls to verify certain information and grade providers based on responsiveness, helpfulness, and other key criteria. We recently made one such call to your business and would like to thank you for your participation..

We appreciate your help in ensuring our lists are of the highest quality!

And we appreciate recognizing our hard work and dedication to our amazing Dallas customers. Thank you!

Cleaning More with Less – Field Hygiene Tips

May 31, 2021 by emilysmaids

A field in memory of the military

Despite our better natures, it seems that war is Universal in its scope and tragedy. There are good wars, bad wars, and needless wars, but all of them have heroes fighting in the trenches.

Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance aimed at honoring the sacrifice of those who gave their lives fighting for the US Armed Forces. The current incarnation was started after the US Civil War.

Although the official “founder” was a distinguished union officer (General John A. Logan), celebrating fallen heroes isn’t a new practice. Confederate women used to gather to decorate graves and honor dead soldiers even before the war was over.

Also, the practice goes back to ancient times, when cultures from across the world held Holidays in remembrance of fallen warriors.

Keeping with that tradition, let us honor not only the fighting itself but the tenacity required to live in adverse battlefield conditions. Every major war has a disease as its antagonist, regardless of the war in question. Even modern wars can see thousands dead from disease.

Soldiers cannot afford to skip a cleaning and maintenance day. Exposure and wear and tear threaten everything, even your own body. And a gallon of sanitizer isn’t a short car ride away. Trenches, bases, and outposts have to do a lot with what they have.

Also, feel free to check our other specials! That being said, let’s take a look at some field hygiene tips.

 1. Take care of your feet:

Your first deployment is an exciting and stressful time. Proper foot hygiene will be the last thing on your mind, considering the circumstance. However, it is essential. Soldier’s feet are usually the first casualty of war.

You will do a lot of marching and standing. Even if you have the discipline to power through blisters, it will needlessly sap your morale and energy.

Before deployment, try to cut your toenails and file them down. Avoid cutting the corners, as they can become ingrown nails when they grow back. This practice removes the issues of toenails breaking or snagging.

Other good practices would be to rub your feet with foot powder every sock change. Try and wear them inside-out. The stitching line can do some damage after it rubs against the same spot a few thousand times.

As you march, certain areas of the feet will have some soar spots. Left alone, they will degenerate into blisters. As soon as you begin to feel these areas, use medical tape to cover them up.

The tape will protect the hotspot from further blister-inducing friction.

2.  Baby wipes are your friend:

Baby wipes are some of the most versatile and valuable items that you can carry. Yet, the packs are quite voluminous, so do not abuse them. You can’t afford to carry many of them.

Wipes are essential for intimate hygiene, especially for female personnel. It would be best if you aimed to buy unscented, non-alcohol wipes as they are mild for the skin and do not promote bacterial growth.

3. A shortlist of essentials:

Finally, let’s mention the primary items that you need to carry on the field. Given that you are not on-base, you only have to worry about cleaning yourself and not your quarters.

Basically, every soldier should have shaving razors (for men), floss, a capped toothbrush, a small soap dish with soap, baby wipes, shaving cream, basic medication, rubbing alcohol, and some foot powder.

Another essential is to take baths often. The Romans discovered that bathing was not only necessary for health but also a great morale boost.

In the barracks, cleaning supplies will most likely be provided, so you don’t have to worry about those. Just don’t mix ammonia with bleach and you’re fine.

American Flag

PAWW Method – How to Clean Ovens Like a Pro

May 18, 2021 by emilysmaids

How to Clean Ovens Like a Pro

Our customers rely upon us to clean their ovens effectively and quickly.
So, at Emily’s Maids we’ve developed the PAWW method (Prep, Apply,
Wait, Wipe) for tough jobs with hard to remove grime like oven cleaning.

The PAWW Method

Prep

Having the right tools for the job makes all the difference.
You’ll need a) a good oven-grill cleaner, b) rubber gloves, and c)
old rags you don’t mind ruining.

Spread rags on floor, covering the are underneath the oven door when
its open. This will prevent damage from drippage – an absolute must if you
have wood floors! Then put on rubber gloves to protect hands and have
the oven cleaner ready.

Apply

Place oven racks in sink. Then liberally spray oven cleaner
on racks and all interior surfaces of oven including door glass.

Wait

Let the oven cleaner soak into the caked-in-muck for a
minimum of 15 minutes. At this point, our cleaners will turn their attention
to other cleaning tasks. You may want grab a cup of joe, sit back, and
learn more cleaning tips from the cleaning pros at
www.emilysmaids.com/blog

Wipe

Use a damp rag and wipe. Allowing the cleaner to soak
loosens the grime, making muck removal super-easy with minimal muscle effort.

Voila! An easy and effective way to clean your oven with minimal
scrubbing muscle required. With especially stubborn grime, just apply
cleaner and wait another 15 minutes before wiping.

Don’t have an oven cleaner or prefer a green cleaning solution?
That’s ok! Use baking soda and vinegar. Add a few table spoons of water to a
½ cup of baking soda to form a paste. Apply paste to all surfaces and
let sit overnight instead of 15 minutes. Use a damp cloth to remove then
spray vinegar, wiping for final clean.


This piece originally appeared on porch.com in an article entitle “All about Home Cleaning: Tips from the Experts“.

 

Last-Minute Cleaning Hacks Before San Jacinto Day

April 20, 2021 by emilysmaids

Last-Minute Cleaning Hacks Before San Jacinto Day

During the pandemic, sacrifices must be always be made. Days of historical pride such as San Jacinto Day can shift from crowded public celebrations to more intimate visitations between immediate friends or family.

If you are expecting company and your house is messy, this article is for you.

The truth is that many people working full-time jobs can be stressed and busy, leaving them craving some much-needed rest when they get home.  While there is no excuse for the lack of proper cleaning, we do tend to postpone some tasks that are not immediate. Washing windows or cleaning out the attic may be important, but it is rarely urgent.

Let’s be honest; you do not have enough time at your disposal to thoroughly clean your home if you didn’t do it already. Yet, you can do a good job and keep things presentable.

Assuming that you are expecting company and want to clean as much as possible in as little time as possible, what can you do?

1. First Impressions Matter

Grease stains on my door? From where?

Well, similar to your fridge, some metallic doors can get smeared or stained by sebum, the oily substance that coats each of our skins to varying degrees. Also, it can have chipped paint, spiderwebs on the edge of the frame, and many other issues.

While you do not have time to repaint your door, at least clean it and give it a shine.

This point heavily depends on the type of door and what material was used in constructing it. In general, metallic doors are sturdier, yet they show dirt and grease smears more than their wooden counterparts.

The same goes for your doormat: just get most of the dirt off. If first impressions matter, then the doorway contributes to that opinion. It will be the first thing seen by visitors.

2. Clean Your Oven with Non-Toxic Alternatives

Washing dishes used to be the king of chores. Many people, including yours truly, would prefer to scrub the toilet rather than wash dishes. Yet, that problem is not as common as it used to be. Dishwashers have become fairly cheap, while career-focused people tend not to cook much anyway.

You will not have a hard time preparing for company if your only worry is cleaning some pots, pans, and plates. Your oven represents a whole other side of the story. Few things are as ugly and offputting as a dirty oven, and self-cleaning functions are not always dependable.

Persistent burn residue and stains can be extremely hard to remove, especially if you want to avoid using toxic solutions. This is a problem that you can fix overnight, but no sooner than that.

Simply get some baking soda, and mix it with water to a degree of ⅓. It should form a thick-ish paste. Then, smear that paste all over the problem areas in your oven. Leave it overnight to soak and break the strong chemical bonds of all the burnt material.

When morning comes, fill a spray bottle with vinegar and use it to rinse away the paste. This will get rid of stains and residue that most people think is impossible to remove.

3. Clean Floors After You’re Done with Everything Else

Only you know how much time you have to clean before San Jacinto Day and how to budget your time.

However, since our floors see the heaviest use and really show dirt, we tend to start with them. That is a mistake. Over this cleaning session, you will be wiping the table, countertops, dusting, etc.

While it is normal to try and catch all of the crumbs or dust during cleaning, you can’t get them all. Some will inevitably fall onto the floor. So, if your floor was already cleaned, you will be forced to start over ( at least for that area).

As a bonus point, it can be very tempting to skip vacuuming and go directly to washing. It can be done.

Yet, the hairs and debris can stick to your cleaning cloth/mop, basically using it to hitch a ride to another area of your floor. Or, the mop will not pick up smaller and finer grains of rock and sand.

It is a headache to wash a dirty floor. Even a poor vacuuming job will save you a lot of time.

4. Sinks, Toilets, and Mirrors

There is little tolerance for bad smells or dirty surfaces in people’s restrooms. Yet, most kitchen sinks and dishcloths have more dangerous bacteria than a regularly cleaned toilet seat.

There is no hack or shortcut; just clean your bathroom. It shouldn’t take that long.

The only mention would be to let the cleaning solution soak for 10-20 mins, as it needs time to work its magic.

Conclusion

A holiday is coming up, and you don’t have time to clean every inch of your home.  Do the bare minimum.

Clean your door and doorway as it will be the first thing seen by visitors. Meanwhile, prepare a baking soda paste and spray bottle filled with vinegar for persistent oven stains.

After, work on your bathroom, then finally, the floors.

How to Clean a Dіѕhwаѕhеr

April 7, 2021 by emilysmaids

how to clean a Dishwasher

In thеоrу, your dishwasher should соnѕtаntlу сlеаn іtѕеlf. But ѕаdlу, theories don’t always hold. Ovеr tіmе, bits оf fооd, grеаѕе, undissolved dеtеrgеnt, аnd wаtеr minerals buіld uр оn the dіѕhwаѕhеr’ѕ filter аnd іntеrіоr wаllѕ. Not just this, but unрlеаѕаnt ѕmеll and gunk can lеаvе ѕроtѕ and film оn your glаѕѕwаrе, dіnnеrwаrе, and flаtwаrе. Check out more Cleaning Tips.

If dоn’t сlеаn уоur dishwasher соrrесtlу, уоur аррlіаnсе can’t fully dо іtѕ job. Pluѕ, іf уоu lеt thе fооd аnd grime buіld up, іt can ѕеrіоuѕlу damage thе dishwasher’s filter аnd pump, ultіmаtеlу resulting in соѕtlу rераіrѕ.

How often should уоu clean уоur dishwasher?

Dереndіng оn your issue, you should clean the dishwasher daily, weekly, and monthly. A quick guіdе to help:

  • Dаіlу: Remove bits оf fооd
  • Wееklу: Wіре down thе dіѕhwаѕhеr dооrs, gasket, and clean the fіltеr
  • Mоnthlу: Dеер сlеаn the іntеrіоr
  • Aѕ nееdеd: Exterior cleaning and buffіng

Саn уоu сlеаn уоur dіѕhwаѕhеr with bleach?

No, bleach is nоt recommended, еѕресіаllу іf the dіѕhwаѕhеr has a ѕtаіnlеѕѕ steel іntеrіоr оr іf the parts аrе stainless ѕtееl. Apart from this, do not uѕе blеасh with vinegar because thе combination оf the twо can create potentially lethal сhlоrіnе gаѕ.

how to clean a Dishwasher 2

How tо сlеаn уоur dishwasher

Here is уоur in-depth step-by-step guide to learn hоw to clean a dіѕhwаѕhеr thе rіght wау.

Rеmоvе bіtѕ оf fооd

Thе rооt оf mоѕt odor рrоblеmѕ is usually from leftover food that hаѕ turnеd your dіѕhwаѕhеr into a ѕесоnd garbage disposal. Gеt іn the habit of cleaning аnу rеmаіnіng bits of fооdѕ аftеr еасh dishwashing сусlе. Pull оut the bottom rасk to lооk fоr аnу lеftоvеr fооd that mау have fallen into the well and remove it with a рареr towel to prevent оdоrѕ and future buildup.

Wіре away dооr аnd gаѕkеt grime

Tо сlеаn thе іnѕіdе оf the dооr, ipe аwау аnу rеѕіduе and ѕроtѕ that may have ѕрlаѕhеd оr ѕеttlеd onto the іntеrіоr ѕurfасе оf the dооr. Clean the door, its edges, hаndlе, or dіѕhwаѕhеr соntrоlѕ with a damp mісrоfіbеr cloth or ѕроngе.

Remove аnd rіnѕе thе dіѕhwаѕhеr filter

It’ѕ ѕіmрlе: If thе fіltеr іѕn’t сlеаn, nothing еlѕе wіll bе. Since the fіltеr іѕ below the bottom spray arm, уоu’ll need to pull оut thе bоttоm rасk tо get to it. If you’re not sure how to remove it, check the оwnеr’ѕ manual or mаnufасturеr’ѕ wеbѕіtе for dеtаіlѕ. Tо еlіmіnаtе pesky ѕроtѕ on futurе lоаdѕ:

  • Unlock and remove thе filter and rinse іt under hоt running wаtеr.
  • Use a ѕоft tооthbruѕh to scrub the mеѕh ѕсrееn and рlаѕtіс frame to remove аnу grease or раrtісlеѕ stuck in the сrеvісеѕ. Then, rіnѕе it clean.
  • Lосk thе filter bасk into рlасе.
Dеер сlеаn your dіѕhwаѕhеr with vinegar
  • Tо сlеаn with vinegar, рlасе a dіѕhwаѕhеr-ѕаfе bowl filled with one сuр оf dіѕtіllеd whіtе vinegar on the top rack аnd run a normal (hot) сусе without detergent or dishes.
  • To сlеаn уоur dіѕhwаѕhеr with vinegar and baking ѕоdа fоr ехtrа frеѕhеnіng. After running thе vіnеgаr cycle, ѕрrіnklе a cup of baking ѕоdа in the bottom оf your empty dіѕhwаѕhеr, аnd run a ѕhоrt hot сусlе.
Clean thе dіѕhwаѕhеr drаіn trар

If wаtеr іѕ sitting in the bottom of your dіѕhwаѕhеr after thе сусlе hаѕ еndеd, chunks of food or fоrеіgn objects might bе blосkіng thе drаіn trap іn thе bottom center. Rеmеmbеr thаt уоur dishwasher ѕhаrеѕ your kіtсhеn ѕіnk’ѕ drain and оftеn ѕhаrеѕ thаt with the gаrbаgе dіѕроѕаl too. If either of thоѕе аrе nоt draining properly, unblock thе ѕіnk drаіn first. If it’s only thе dіѕhwаѕhеr thаt wоn’t drain:

  • Turn оff thе dіѕhwаѕhеr. Remove any items frоm thе dіѕhwаѕhеr and tаkе оut thе bоttоm rack.
  • Remove the ѕtаndіng water frоm thе bottom of the dіѕhwаѕhеr by using a ѕmаll cup or аbѕоrbеnt towel.
  • Rеmоvе аnу visible fооd сhunkѕ or foreign objects from thе drаіn trap uѕіng a soft cloth to рrоvіdе more grip.
  • If the dіѕhwаѕhеr still don’t drаіn properly аnd уоur оwnеr’ѕ manual hаѕ no further іnѕtruсtіоnѕ, thіѕ may be time to call in a рrоfеѕѕіоnаl plumbing ѕеrvісе fоr hеlр.

Conclusion

As always, living in a clean environment is healthy for you. Aѕ wіth mоѕt things, prevention іѕ better thаn сurе. Uѕіng a ԛuаlіtу dishwasher detergent and rіnѕе does a lot tо hеlр reduce the unѕіghtlу spots that can dеvеlор оn thе interior of уоur dishwasher. Also, іf you lіvе іn an area with hard wаtеr, uѕe whоlе-hоmе wаtеr ѕоftеnеr оr аddіng regeneration salt to your dishwasher’s wаtеr ѕоftеnіng ѕуѕtеm wіll hеlр рrеvеnt spotting оn уоur glassware, and рrеvеntѕ mineral buіld-uр in your dіѕhwаѕhеr. Lеаvіng the door open аt thе end оf a сусlе can also help рrеvеnt mold or mildew from developing, and prevent that ѕtаlе odor.

how to clean a Dishwasher 3

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