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A Better Life Starts With Your Cleaning Supplies

 

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Have you ever felt like some of the cleaning supplies that you use make it hard to breathe? That you need to wash the area you just cleaned because it feels or looks like there are chemicals still on it? Have you ever been concerned that the cleaning supplies you use aren’t safe for your pets or small children?

This month we celebrate Earth Day and I feel like this is the best time to talk about natural safe cleaning supplies. It is important to be educated with what cleaning supplies you are using in your home.

There are many benefits to using natural cleaning supplies. You can have a healthier home, purer environment, safer products, better air quality, knowledge about your products, and spend less. You can reduce the number of harmful chemicals being released into the waterways and into the air. Switching even one of your cleaning supplies such as a household cleaning spray to a natural product can reduce the chance of developing asthma.

If you do a little research, you can find some good recipes for making your own cleaning supplies. Most of the recipes only require between 2-4 ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. If you have lemon, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar, olive oil, and baking soda you could start right after reading this article. A few good recipes for natural cleaning supplies come from http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/make-your-own-natural-cleaning-products/

In our industry we are constantly looking at what type of cleaning supplies are on the market.  I had the great privilege to meet with the creators of Better Life cleaning products. In 2008 they created a new line of plant-derived, non-toxic, environmentally friendly cleaners that would defy expectations for safety and performance. They have some of the best cleaning supplies which I have personally tested against the standard store brands. I would recommend the All Purpose Cleaner (Whatever), Wood Polish (Oak-y-Dokey), and the Floor Cleaner (Simply Floored). For more information visit http://www.cleanhappens.com/

Consider taking a few minutes to change your cleaning supplies. It will be worth it to change even one product in your home. Let us know if you would like us to come in and do a cleaning with your natural cleaning supplies. Neatly Clean would be happy to use any special cleaner you leave out for us during your clean.

Spring Cleaning Projects To Add To Your “To Do” List

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Spring will be here before you know it, Punxsutawney Phil the groundhog said so. Your house has been closed up all winter with the dust, pet dander, and flu germs. It is time to open up the windows and start spring cleaning. Here are a few tips on what to do when tackling your spring cleaning projects.

Spring cleaning is important because it means addressing the dirty places and items in your home that don’t get done during a maintenance cleaning. Kitchens and bathrooms are the two areas in your home that need the most spring cleaning. These things do not need to be done weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. These are the cleaning items that need to be done just once or twice a year like in the Spring or Fall.

The number one request for the kitchen is washing the tops and fronts of the kitchen cabinets. Start at the top of the kitchen cabinets where most people have decorations and fake plants. You should remove each item and soak them in Dawn dish soap and water. The Dawn will remove any grease and dust build up on your decorations without being abrasive. Try this on the fake plants as well and then set them outside to dry. The best products to use on the cabinets depend on what finish is on them. If the cabinet is made of wood, then use two capfuls of Murphy’s oil soap in a bucket of warm water to wash and dry the cabinets. All other finishes should be able to handle a gentle all-purpose cleaner.

Another spot in the kitchen would be spring cleaning the appliances. Pay attention to the refrigerator. Remove all items from the refrigerator and throw away items that are past the expiration date. You can then organize the shelves by produce, meats, and condiments. To clean the shelves use an all-purpose cleaner and water or a natural vinegar and water. Do the same thing for the freezer side.

Spring cleaning a bathroom is another area highly requested to clean. The areas to focus on in this room is the buildup in the bottom of the tub. Also clean the fronts of the bathroom cabinets and wash the walls, especially around the area of the toilet. Don’t forget to replace the liner in the shower.

Here is a list below of spring cleaning projects to add to your “to do” list.

  • Wash baseboards, doors, and trim throughout your home

  • Dust all light bulbs

  • Wash light fixtures and fans

  • Wash bedding and blankets

  • Vacuum curtains

  • Wash outside and top of kitchen cabinets

  • Clean the inside of the refrigerator

  • Clean the inside of the oven

  • Scrub shower and tile floor grout

  • Wash outside of bathroom cabinets

  • Wash walls ( high traffic areas)

  • Sanitize salt and pepper shakers

  • Sanitize remote controls

  • Clean inside garbage disposal

  • Wash pet food stations

If it seems too overwhelming visit Neatly Clean’s booking page and let us take care of your spring cleaning needs.

Tips To Remove Unwanted Cold And Flu Germs In Your Home

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You spent your entire holiday vacation either getting over the cold and flu, or taking care of someone who was infected by it. Congratulations – your house is now full of unwanted germs! If you aren’t careful, you could infect other loved ones or yourself all over again. The battle against cold and flu season is a tough one, but with a few helpful cleaning tips, you can annihilate those nasty germs.

Start with the laundry:

Any sheets, pillows, and blankets that the infected person was in contact with needs to be put into the washing machine. Do not forget the couch pillows and throw blankets used to cozy up with while resting.

Also, think about the towels and wash cloths from the bathrooms. The number one towel to make sure that you remove and replace is the hand towel.

Everyone loves comfy clothes when they are sick, but pajamas, sweatshirts, etc. that were worn during that time need to be laundered right away.

All laundry should be cleaned at a “hot” temperature to kill any lingering germs. A commonly forgotten hiding spot for germs is your laundry baskets. To completely disinfect them, simply mix 1/3 parts vinegar and 2/3 parts water in a spray bottle, and spritz the bottom and sides of the baskets.

Everything you touch:

Once your clothes are in the wash, start making a list of everything in the home that was touched. You will need to sanitize every door knob, all of the switch plates, remote controls, fridge and cabinet handles, faucets, and toys.

Other items to consider disinfecting are the mouse, keyboards, touch screens, and cell phones.

Lastly, think of any surfaces that germs may have come into contact with, such as bedside tables, countertops, table tops and chairs.

What you put into your mouth:

Many clients forget about sanitizing the toothbrush. The best way to eliminate cold and flu germs would be to soak the toothbrush in a sanitizing mouthwash, denture tablets, or boiling water for two minutes. Another idea is to put it in a cup of hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. It would also be worth going to the store and buying a new one so that you have a clean slate with a germ-free toothbrush.

The dirtiest area:

The bathroom should get extra TLC, especially if the person who was sick had a cold or the flu. Some areas that will need special attention are the toilet, countertop surfaces, faucets, light switches, door knobs, and hand towels.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to remove lingering germs throughout your home in one afternoon of focused cleaning. If you don’t want to tackle the cleaning, just give Neatly Clean a call at 309-948-6700. We would love to help!

3 Organizing Tips That Will Change Your Life

calendarIt’s a new year! If you had time to reflect on last year, you may find that you would love to do some things better. Maybe you want to be a better person, have a better attitude, be more kind, get better sleep, but over and over I hear, “I want to be more organized in my life”. Here are 3 organizing tips to point you in the right direction.

Declutter your living spaces:

How can you stay organized if you have piles and piles of stuff sitting in corners and on top of tables? Tackle one room at a time. Do not overwhelm yourself thinking you can organize every closet and room in a day. The easiest way to eliminate is to buy three bins. Mark them as: Keep, Donate, and Throw Away. Stick to the plan and discard them immediately. Give every item you keep a home. Organized people keep order by storing things properly and by labeling storage spaces.

Creating a monthly calendar and centralized work area:

Now that your rooms are decluttered you can start planning. Buy a large dry erase board and hang it somewhere easily accessible. Start by writing your own appointments: hair, dentist, doctor, girls night out etc. Next add other individuals in the house. Give each person their own color. This way appointments will not be missed and you wont overbook yourself.  As you get better organizing the appointments you can add other schedules to the board. A great example would be a dinner menu or a cleaning schedule for the week.

Using technology can also make organizing even easier. Use a synchronized calendar app, where every member of your family can enter new updates, schedules and tasks that everyone can see. Doing this avoids conflicting schedules and keeps everyone informed of each other’s activities and whereabouts. The best one to currently use(and for free) would be google calendar. You can set this up in minutes.

Organizing Emails and Passwords:

Thirteen hours — 28 percent of our workweek —  is what the average person dedicates towards reading, deleting, sorting and sending emails, according to a report from the McKinsey Global Institute. Start organizing by reviewing all of your emails. If you haven’t read any subscriptions, blogs, or online publications in three months, it is time to unsubscribe from them.

Individuals have on average of 90 online accounts. That is a lot of passwords! Keep a record of your login in and passwords in an offline document. Get in the habit of updating the document as soon as you change or add a new login.

Now that you have some organizing tips, remember to start small. Be proud of what you accomplish and keep moving forward. If you need help with getting other things done while you organize, like house cleaning, please call Neatly Clean at 309-948-6700.

Is Your Home Holiday Party Ready?

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When preparing for a holiday party, you should focus on the following areas in your home: kitchen, entryway, bathroom, and living room. Most of your guests will be socializing in the kitchen area. It is usually where most guest linger, since this is where the food is usually presented.

When cleaning the kitchen:

  • Clean fronts of the kitchen cabinets(remove sticky food splatter or hand prints) and shine the handles
  • Make sure the kitchen countertops are cleared off and only set out the food or drinks applying to the party. This will keep the kitchen appearing neat and organized.
  • Cleaning and shining your stainless steel sinks, faucets, and appliances adds a little extra to making your kitchen sparkle. Neatly Clean uses Weimann Wipes to clean the stainless and then buffs the appliance with a soft microfiber to really make them shine.

If it is appropriate for your holiday party, have guests remove their shoes in the entryway. Prepare an area in the entry, perhaps with a bench or shoe rack where guests can sit and take off their shoes. This will keep dirt, snow, and salt from tracking into your living areas. Also, try and empty the coat closet prior to the party to make room for your guest’s coats, gloves, and hats.

Make sure before the holiday party that you tidy up your bathroom. Mostly the sink, toilet, and floors will be noticeable to your guests. Remove any extra clutter from your sink area and most importantly empty your garbage.  Be sure to set out fresh hand towels and nice hand soaps for the event. A decorative holiday candle or air freshener is the best way to keep the area smelling fresh and clean.

It is important that your guests feel comfortable at your holiday party. When preparing the living room area, start by removing extra clutter and knick knacks from your end tables. Arrange the furniture making sure that there are places for your guests to set their drinks and plates. While moving the furniture, make sure to vacuum underneath and inside of the cushions. An Area usually forgotten would be the lighting. Double check the lamp shades removing any dust or pet hair from them.

After a holiday party, the biggest clean-up will be the floors, mostly in the areas where the food and drinks are presented. It would be best to have this area over hard flooring (tile, hardwood etc.) and not carpeting, since you can clean up spills and food easier than on a carpeted area.

If you don’t have the energy for this task, Neatly Clean Inc. would be happy to do it. Just visit our booking page at http://neatlyclean.com/book-appointment/?zip=.

5 Tips On How To Be On The “Best Guest” List At A Holiday Party

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Soon the holiday party invitations will be pouring in. You don’t want to be the talk of the party in a negative way, so here are a few tips to help guide you through this hectic holiday season.

You receive an invitation to a holiday party, now what? Let’s play the “if” game.
 
– If you know for sure that you will be attending the party, respond within one or two days after receiving the invite.
– If you are unsure about going, say no. It is better to give the host an answer right away instead of no response at all. If you change your mind, or your plans change, check in with the host at least a week prior to the party to make sure there is still room for you to attend.
– If you only have enough time to make an appearance, make sure that you stay for at least 30 minutes. If you can only stay for 5 to 10 minutes, it would be more polite to not go.
– If you replied yes, but now you can’t go. Let your host know immediately. A phone call is the best solution, but if that is not possible, send a text. As a last resort to make contact, send the host an email. Keep the explanation short. Let them know that you are unable to make it now, and that you are very sorry to miss it.

When should I arrive, and what do I bring to the holiday party?

Make sure you never arrive early for a party unless you ask the host if they need any help before the party begins. Otherwise, it makes it very difficult for a host to entertain you while adding the finishing touches. A good time to arrive is around 15 minutes after the start time indicated on the invitation. If you are going to be over an hour late, let the host know in advance.

Bring along a small gift for your host. Carla McDonald from the blog The Salonniere suggests that you should bring something a little different. For example, Instead of flowers, bring your host a potted herb plant with a note that says, “Always a great Thyme”. Another unique idea suggested by Michelle Bachman and Seri Kertzner from Little Miss Party, is to put together a morning-after kit. In a neatly wrapped newspaper, combine the following items: pancake mix, two mugs, ground coffee, and Advil. Last, but certainly not least, give the host a cleaning gift certificate from Neatly Clean along with a note saying, “We always enjoy your holiday parties! You worked so hard preparing for such a fun night. We want you to take a break, and let someone else handle the dirty work.”

What if I don’t know anyone? How do I start a good conversation?

Sometimes you get invited to a holiday party and you don’t know anyone. Always walk in with a smile, your arms relaxed (not crossed), and an open mind. Keeping your arms uncrossed will make you appear more approachable. Try finding a group of three or more to join. If you don’t know how to start a conversation, begin by making a statement about the party. “Isn’t the food amazing? Don’t you think they did a great job on the decorations?” If you need more topics to discuss, ask the person questions like: “What are your holiday plans? What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?” Most people love talking about themselves, and like to recommend interests that they are passionate about. They will leave the conversation feeling good about themselves, which in turn, will make them feel good about you.

How do I exit the holiday party properly?

Don’t let your goodbye drag out too long. Let your host know you had a great time, and that you are sorry you have to leave so soon. Let them know that you can’t wait until you get together again.
If you need to leave earlier than everyone else, make sure that you let the host know earlier in the evening that you only have up to a certain time before you have to go. This will help later on when you need to leave at that time. You also don’t want to be the last person to leave the party. Do not apologize for staying too long. You don’t want the host to feel like they have to say “No, please stay!” Just thank the host and leave.

Everyone has that friend or family member that sneaks off without saying goodbye. This is called “Ghosting.” According to the Lizzie Post from Awesome Etiquette, Ghosting is never OK. The only time that you can possibly do this is at a large gathering where you won’t be missed, or where the host will ask you to stay for another drink.

Follow these guidelines to make each holiday party a huge success! Your host will definitely add you to Santa’s “Nice List.”

3 Organizing Tips That Will Change Your Life

The weather is getting colder and we are hearing from more and more clients that they need to catch up on cleaning their closets and organizing their lives again. The holidays will be hear before you know it and October is the best month to get ahead. Here are a few tips that will change your life.

Over the Door Shoe Organizer:

This is an easy buy from Target or Walmart. The clear plastic pockets work the best so you can see the items that you are organizing. This works great for a food pantry where you have tiny snack bags, spices, or candies. Another area would be in a children’s room for their small army men, Barbie’s, and little toy pieces. Also in a laundry room you can keep your cleaning supply bottles and sponges organized.

Using Technology to Organize:

Trusting technology can be difficult but here are two great apps that can really change the overflow of junk mail and help organize your e-bills. Filethis.com (which is free) will help you gather your financial documents into one spot, making it so you can quickly access them. The other app, Paperkarma.com( which is $2 a month), will put an end to the junk mail. They can help get rid of the credit card offers and unwanted catalogs.

Start New Organizing Habits:

Every time you take out an article of clothing from your closet, put the hanger back at the same end of the rod. Collecting them all in one spot means never having to look for an empty hanger again. Another great habit is to throw away unwanted mail as soon as you bring it into the house. This will save you time later and also keep your counter less cluttered.

Just making the smallest changes in your everyday life will make you feel less anxious, keep your house in better shape, and give you more time to do other things. Neatly Clean can also help give you some extra time. You focus on organizing and leave the cleaning to us. Call us today at 309-948-6700 or visit us at www.neatlyclean.com

What to do this 4th of July Weekend in the Quad Cities

Sometimes it’s hard to get away from house cleaning and enjoy summer. I recently asked my clients in the Quad Cities what they would rather do besides clean their house this 4th of July weekend. The top three answers were:

  1. Spend time with my kids
  2. Take a vacation
  3. Relax and Swim

The best answer that made me laugh out loud: “ I would rather cut my grandma’s toenails then clean my house this 4th of July weekend”

People are busy this summer. Work takes up too much time and most people spend late nights and/or weekends cleaning the house. No one wants to do this during the summer especially over the 4th of July weekend. Stop cleaning and read below where you and your family can enjoy some events in the Quad Cities over this long weekend.

One of the best blogs for the Quad City area, hands down, is http://quadcity.citymomsblog.com/ . They always have great tips on meals, parenting, and especially what is going on in the area. One recent blog was on the best swimming areas this summer. Check it out: http://quadcity.citymomsblog.com/2015/06/19/your-guide-to-qc-area-splash-pads-pools-and-beaches/. This might be something to consider doing on Friday July 3rd during the day if the weather stays nice.

Obviously the fireworks show is what most of us do over the 4th. A great source to find out where there are parades and events prior to the fireworks would be at: http://www.visitquadcities.com/news/2015-major-festivals-special-events-calendar-795 and of course http://wqad.com/2015/06/25/fireworks-displays-set-for-july-3-and-4-in-and-around-the-quad-cities/.

If you are a more adventurous family, you might want to check out http://riveraction.org/qcwt. Word of advice, check the water height before thinking you can paddle your way through the water trails.

Whatever you do decide to do, house cleaning or cutting toenails should not be apart of your weekend!