Make the Most of Quarantine by Getting Ahead on Spring Cleaning
Let’s face it: Nobody wants to be sitting at home for the next 30-plus days. However, it is our social and ethical obligation* to do just that until we have the curve pushed flat. On the bright side, now is a perfect time to get a start on projects you’ve been pushing off. And if you missed your spring cleaning in 2019, you have few excuses in 2020. Here are some tips on how to make the most of quarantine by getting your house decluttered and clean.
Purge the Garage
There is a good chance that your garage bears the brunt of your hoarding tendencies. We tend to view our garages as free storage space. While it is true that your garage is a great place for seasonal decor and sports equipment, there are things sitting out there that really need a new home. Items you should never store in your garage, according to Jenny Stanley of Family Handyman, include books, pet food, and paint. Even more to the points, you probably have boxes and boxes of clothing, shoes, household goods, and toys that you have zero intention of bringing back into the house. Spend one of your quarantine days with the family going through your discard pile. While you can’t have a garage sale just yet, many organizations will happily take usable goods off your hands and disperse them to people within your community that may have lost their job due to the coronavirus layoffs.
Hack Into Your Home’s Storage Potential
Now that the garage is clean and organized, it’s time to go room by room to clean and declutter. A good place to start is the closets. Give everyone a box and ask them to fill it with clothing that no longer fits. They should also be provided with a second container for items that do fit but are not seasonally appropriate. For these, look for ways to store them without resorting to the garage. You might, for example, store them under a bed. If you have stocked up on food to avoid multiple trips to the grocery store, there are ways to make your pantry more organized even if there is double the normal number of cans and boxes in it. You can add a shoe rack to the door to hold things like spaghetti noodles and canned foods or hang a shower caddy inside the cabinets for long-lasting perishable, such as onions and peppers.
Pretend It Is for Sale
If you are still hurting for motivation, it’s time to play a role-playing game. In this exercise, you will need to pretend that you are about to list your home for sale. Aside from family photos and treasured keepsakes, stage your house the way you would for real estate photos. Prioritize the rooms where you spend the most time, which are where buyers would pay the most attention. Moving.com explains that these areas include the living room, kitchen, and master bedroom.
Clear Out the Kitchen
The kitchen deserves a section of its own since you are likely spending much more time here cooking (and baking) during the first quarantine of our lifetime. If you don’t have one already, designate at least one drawer for collecting junk. You’ll also want to remove excess magnets and papers — even artwork — from the refrigerator. The kids will more than likely protest, so don’t be afraid to use some of the old picture frames you likely found while cleaning the garage to display their works of art throughout the house. You can also use rope and clothespins to create a clothesline gallery in their bedroom.
Even if you’ve recently transitioned to working from home, you, at the very least, can use the time you would spend commuting on taking care of projects around the house. And although there are very few bright sides to our current situation, at least you will have that much less to do once restrictions are lifted and life resumes a normal pace.
Contributed by Alice Robertson
Image via Pexels
* ethical obligation
HOW TO START A CLEANING BUSINESS
On this page I have tried to simplify things for you as much as possible so that the steps are outlined for you, much better than learning the hard way.
You need to keep track of your income and expenses. Please keep your receipts.
A good filing system is crucial. I enter all of my business receipts on a paper tablet and put the receipt in a drawer until I do my taxes.
It's a good idea to scan your receipts monthly. The receipt paper ink that is usually used tends to fade with time or is destroyed with moisture. A good app for your phone is Tiny Scanner if you don't have a flat bed scanner.
Some categories for deductions are:
You will be using a Schedule C from the IRS for business expenses. There is a section for depreciation of equipment and your vehicle. (I am not very good at figuring this out myself.)
You will also have to keep track of your income.
Forms are available at IRS.gov
I use a monthly pocket calendar to keep track of my receipts and mileage.
INVOICING YOUR CUSTOMERS
Collecting Income for Housecleaning
If your business is mostly housecleaning, your customers will probably not require invoicing. Most households just leave you a check. I don't recommend cleaning until they pay you, unless you have cleaned for them for a while and have a good relationship with them.
I did have a customer who was very nice but would often forget to leave a check. I opened a PayPal account at PayPal.me. It was very easy to send a text to collect from your customer. She really liked the convenience of this method. PayPal will charge a small fee from you with each transaction. It was worth it as I didn't want the inconvenience of driving back to the house to retrieve a check.
I simply sent her a text with a PayPal.me address with a number amount. She clicked the link to go to PayPal to pay that amount. You can also send a link with no set amount.
Invoicing for Businesses
You can purchase these paper invoice tablets at an office store or at Walmart - $5.00 or so. If you clean businesses they usually need a monthly invoice for tax records. You have the option of a 2 part invoice or a 3 part invoice.
Computer invoicing is another option. Quickbooks has a monthly fee for online invoicing. Or try the Invoice Machine, they allow 3 free invoices per month. I now use Moon Invoice for my invoicing. It’s only $50. Or use PayPal.me as discribed above.
LEARNING TO CLEAN
See some of my pages here at my website and there are many sources for training. You can do a google search to learn how to clean something or search YouTube for videos. Also check out Pinterest.
YOUR BUSINESS NAME
If you want to appear professional you need a business name to brand your business and become recognizable to others. Before you do anything find an available domain name to use. It is not necessary to buy a domain name first, it is just difficult to find the domain name after you have built up your business and reputation up and then find out someone else already bought that name when you decide to advertise your business.
I did not buy CovertCleaning.com because I had MrsClean.com. Someone else now has CovertCleaning.com so I had to buy CovertOfficeCleaning.com
YOUR DOMAIN NAME IS YOUR INTERNET ADDRESS
Your domain name is your address out on the web. People use it to find you in their searches. It's a bit of a "land grab" out there. It used to be easier to acquire the name you want, but there are so many people out there who thought of your name first, ...and there are computer software robots that snatch names up quickly. You need to be flexible and creative.
First come, first served!
Registering a domain name yourself means that you own and have control of it. You can direct it to wherever your pages are. The “.com” endings are the best choice.
Places to acquire a domain name:
I use GoDaddy. Different companies offer different features. Usually the extras are "A La Cart", you pick which features you need and pay for each.
Most companies that offer web pages also offer an address that is part of their address for free. This is called a subdomain. I use Weebly as my hosting company so my address would be mrsclean.weebly.com. I forward my domain name to this site.
A WEBSITE FOR YOUR BUSINESS
You may want to have a website to give your business an established legitimacy. People like to go online and see what you are all about before they will trust you.
To get a website you have choices:
Free Hosting Sites
Websites building is not difficult with the "drag and drop" editors that they use:
There are other companies too. Compare
The disadvantage of these free sites is :
Pay for a Hosted Account
You pay to put your pages on their computers. The advantage is that your pages are backed up and you can attach a domain name to your site. Some come with a free or very cheap domain. Some offer email with that. Other companies charge for these extras. Some companies limit the number of pages you can have. You need to do some research on this.
Be aware that if you bought your domain name through a company as a hosting package, there can be problems. If you decide to change companies for hosting your pages, they may make it difficult, if not impossible, to transfer or redirect your address. It may be set up that they own your domain! Then you may be stuck there or lose the name or pay "through the nose" to have the rights to your own domain name.
A friend of mine had a $5.00 a month hosting package with Vista Print with a domain name that he had picked out. When I checked who owned the domain name that he paid for, it listed Vista Print as the owner.
You can check who owns the domain name here.
I can also help you with your website - TechConcerns.com
It's a good idea to have a small budget for advertising to gain your first customers. There are a few avenues for gaining customers
Or you can use a Lead Generation business. If you are small I do not recommend Home Advisor, they can be very expensive! They send the same leads your competitors at the same time. Yelp may be more manageable. Or use a custom Lead Generation business who only sends leads to you in your town.
You want to look professional and you need a business card to introduce yourself to your potential clients. This is part of advertising and is deductable on your taxes.
Vista Print has a good deal on your first order and you don't need to be a graphic artist to design the card. They have many templates to choose from.
You could print up some flyers for your business promotions on your own computer, but Vista Print makes it easy for you.
See my Learn More page to find out about free graphic creation programs.
SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION
Facebook and Pinterest are 2 great ways to promote your business. This is something you can learn about yourself or can get help with setting up a business page on Facebook or Google +.
Need help? Contact Rosemary below.
You need to decide what kind of business you will have. This affects your taxes and other legal matters. Here is information about business I found at Legal Zoom:
What is a Sole Proprietor?
"Doing business under your own name with your Social Security number
Here is the link to the IRS small business guide
What is a DBA?
"Sometimes it makes sense for a company to do business under a different name. To do this, the company has to file what's know as a DBA, meaning "doing business as." A DBA is also known as a "fictitious business name," "trade name," or "assumed name."
Once your DBA registration is complete, the company can use the secondary name to open bank accounts, write checks, and enter contracts. If you don't file a DBA and just start doing business under a different name you could face penalties and fines, not to mention the possability of lawsuits.
Sole proprietorships commonly use DBAs because a sole proprietorship's offical, legal name is simply the name of the owner. A DBA lets them use a real business name.
All types of businesses can use a DBA, not just sole proprietorships. LLCs, corporations, and partnerships can all file to get a DBA.
What is a LLC?
"Personal asset protection? Check. Business and tax flexibility? Check. This is a popular choice for many new businesses. Recommended.
A limited liability company, or LLC, is a business entity created under state law that combines characteristics of both a corporation and a partnership. Like a corporation, the owners of an LLC are generally not personally liable for company debts. Like a sole proprietorship or a partnership, an LLC has operating flexibility and is, by default, a "pass through" entity for tax purposes. This means that the LLC does not pay taxes on its profits, but instead, profits and losses are "passed through" to the owners, who must then pay tax on their share of LLC income. (more)
What is the difference between a LLC and a Corporation?
"Although an S corporation shares many of the same tax characteristics as an LLC, an LLC has more flexibility and fewer restrictions on ownership than does an S corporation. An S corporation must not have more than 100 shareholders, all of whom must be U.S. citizens or legal residents. An S corporation is also subject to more formalities, such as holding annual meetings and keeping corporate minutes. On the other hand, LLCs generally are not required to hold formal meetings, but an LLC owner may be subject to higher self-employment taxes than a comparable S corporation owner. That is because an S corporation owner is required to pay self-employment tax only on salary, but not on dividends from the corporation. (more)
"Thinking of raising capital? Hoping to go public? Expect a lot of shareholders? Then this could be a viable option to explore.
More paperwork and more cost but more protection for you
"Businesses use this to avoid being double taxed
Under the Table
People will set up a cash cleaning business without reporting their taxes. I don't recommend this. Someone could report you to the IRS and you could have consequences.
Also how can you deduct that new computer from your taxes?
Check the laws in your area for any business licenses you might need in order to start a professional legal business. Check with the City where you live or where you will be cleaning. You may need to register your business at the city hall.
The local Chamber of Commerce may be of some value and you can benefit by meeting other businessmen in your area. They have offices and buildings that need cleaning too.
TAXES YOU MUST PAY
The IRS is always looking for your money. Stop looking behind you and just pay the tax. You will sleep better when you just accept it. Put aside at least 25% of the cleaning income. You may be able to keep some of that after you use the deductions at the end of the year.
They will expect you to pay quarterly taxes on your cleaning income
Expect a 1099 form from your business customer next January. Hopefully you made your Estimated Quarterly Tax Payments to the IRS.
Some States require you to charge a Sales Tax for cleaning, which means you must collect the Sales & Use Tax from your customers and report it and pay it to the State you performed the cleaning in. This is a good way for them to keep track of your income also.
Some states that require this:
Please check on the State that you work in. They may require that you pay monthly. New Jersey gives you the option of paying monthly or quarterly.
City or Borough Taxes
Some cities require a tax from your business. Please check local requirements from your city hall or consult a tax professional in your area.
These taxes may also apply to your payroll.
I recommend using a tax service or accountant the first year or two so you will know what forms you will need for your circumstances. This is deductable on your taxes.
A Business Owners Insurance policy (BOP) offers three main types of coverage for small businesses:
General liability insurance, or GL, is a fundamental part of cleaning insurance. It could provide protection against lawsuits and other financial liabilities that result from things like accidents or other mishaps for which you’re responsible. General liability* insurance provides protection if you cause bodily injury, property damage, personal injury or advertising injury. - Essential!
(You can pick and choose which coverage you want)
*General liability definition (from Next Insurance)
"General liability insurance can protect your business in the unlikely event of a mishap that someone might blame on your business. It can cover three main types of incidents: bodily injury, personal injury and property damage.“Bodily injury,” in this context, means someone other than you or your employees gets hurt because of something connected to your business. For example, if someone doesn’t notice your “Caution: Wet Floor” sign, slips on a recently mopped floor and breaks a wrist, general liability insurance could compensate him and cover his medical expenses.
“Personal injury” refers to other, less tangible types of damage to someone as a result of your business. For example, maybe you were organizing an executive’s desk and came across information in the papers you’re putting away. After you mentioned something you saw to someone else, you realized you have leaked confidential company information. If the company sued you for damage resulting from that leak, general liability cleaner’s insurance could cover your legal expenses.
“Property damage” refers to a situation where you or your business are to blame for harm coming to something belonging to someone else. As a cleaner, you’re handling other people’s possessions all the time. No matter how cautious and respectful you are, you’re only human! If you accidentally break a mirror, or spill a chemical that ruins a carpet, general liability insurance could pay for a replacement."
As a subcontractor (if you are working for another cleaning service but they do not take out payroll taxes), employers might also require you to carry a certain amount of general liability insurance before you can work for them.
There is also Workers Comp to consider if you have employees. See below.
Dealing with employees can be a challenge. Finding an employee who is dependable is like gold!
Payroll is a consideration when you hire someone to help you. I found that Paycycle was a cheaper service than some others and for a monthly fee you have access to paying the taxes and fees related to employment conveniently for Federal and State taxes.
Quickbooks also has the ability to do payroll on your computer. It is currently 28.00 per month plus 2.00 per employee. A Google search will give you plenty of payroll choices.
Unless you know all about payroll, it pays to have a service. If you mess up by doing it yourself without any training you will end up having to pay hefty fees and penalties. I speak from experience!
Worker's Compensation Insurance
As an employer, you will also be required to have Worker's Compensation insurance, (Workers Comp), which can be a large yearly fee. Call around to some insurance companies for pricing. See Insurance article above this.
Workers' Compensation insurance (Workers' Comp insurance) is a mandatory type of insurance carried by many businesses. Workers' Comp insurance from the Progressive Commercial Advantage program covers medical costs and a portion of lost wages for an employee who becomes injured or ill on the job.
Workers' Comp insurance also protects companies from being sued by employees for workplace conditions that can cause an injury or illness. Workers' Comp insurance is required by law in almost every state. Workers' comp laws are designed to ensure payment by employers for some part of the cost of injuries, or in some cases, of occupational diseases, received by employees in the course of their work.
Workers' Comp Insurance typically only covers injuries or illnesses when they occur as a result of duties performed on the job or while at work. Examples of injuries that may be covered by Workers' Comp insurance include injuries caused by lifting heavy equipment, slipping on a wet or oily surface, or sustaining injury due to fires or explosions.
Workers’ Comp can cost $5000 per year, that’s why I don’t use employees, besides the usual headaches dealing with people who are not dependable.
It's every homeowner’s worst nightmare come true:
You recently discovered that you or someone in your household has head lice. Naturally, your first instinct might be to panic. The thought of something creepy and crawly in your home (and in your hair) is downright upsetting.
Dealing with a lice infestation is also immensely inconvenient, and even expensive. But the important thing is to not panic and to deal with the issue head-on. (Quite literally.)
To help, we're here to discuss everything there is to know about lice removal. That way, you can eliminate the lice from your life - once and for all. Let's begin with the basics!
Understanding Head Lice
You may think of lice as insects - and this is partially correct. Lice are a type of wingless insect. But they’re technically considered parasitic insects. They thrive on warm-blooded animals and live burrowed in hair.
Head lice are the most common and you're likely most familiar with them. In addition to the scalp and hair, head lice can survive on the neck and ears. There are even lice that affect the skin and hair of the pubic regions. These are otherwise called "crabs."
A louse begins as an egg, otherwise known as a nit. Nits hatch into nymphs anywhere between 7 and 10 days after the adult female lays them. In less than a couple weeks, a nymph will grow into a full-size louse.
Human head and body lice need to feed on the blood of a human several times a day to survive. Head lice are often transmitted by sharing hats, brushes, combs, clothing, or towels. They can even crawl onto soft surfaces, clothing, or bedding when hair falls on them. If they can crawl onto a warm-blooded host within 24 hours, they can survive.
Do You Have Lice?
Head lice affect 6-12 million children in the US per year. But that’s not to say that only children get lice. Anyone can fall victim to lice infestation. It doesn't matter how old you are, where you live, or how well your personal hygiene may be.
So, how do you know if you or someone you know has lice?
The most common sign is intense itchiness. But sometimes people don't experience itchiness early on in an infestation. It can often take a few weeks before profuse itchiness occurs and for the signs to become more apparent. Many will experience the sensation of something crawling in their hair or on their skin. Others may develop sores from itching so much.
If you notice small, red bumps on your scalp, body, or pubic area, lice may be to blame. You may find these red bumps on your neck or shoulders, as well.
Lice are most active at nighttime. If you’re tossing and turning at night and are feeling itchy, lice could be the culprits.
Identifying Nits, Nymphs, & Lice
Before going to the trouble of lice removal, you should first determine if you even have them or not. Bed bugscould be the cause of any itchiness or red bumps. You could be experiencing another type of allergic reaction. So, it's important to get down to the bottom of your symptoms and check for lice regardless. But what do they even look like?
Fresh nits are practically microscopic. But within a couple of days, they start to take on the appearance of small, white-yellowish specks.
Once a nit hatches into a nymph, it becomes larger and grayer in color. A nymph will eventually grow as large as a sesame seed.
How to Check for Lice
To check for lice, you'll need to perform a comb-through inspection. First, you'll need rubber gloves and a fine-tooth comb. Have someone shine a flashlight on your hair while inspecting your own hair or someone else's. Or, you can perform the inspection under a bright lamp.
Taking the comb, part your heart into small sections. Check each section of hair from root to tip. Be sure to use the comb teeth to help you check as many individual strands as possible. If you notice small specks in your hair or someone else's, double check with a magnifying glass. You should even check for lice and nits on eyelashes and eyebrows, as well.
Still, nits and nymphs may be too small to detect. If you suspect that your home still has an infestation, check again after a couple of days. You should check everyone in your household. If someone in your home does have lice, you should notify anyone who comes into close contact with them.
See Lice products on our page
Lice Removal for Hair
Discovering that you have lice is not the best news - but it's not the worst, either. You can put an end to this pesky calamity, and we’ll explore some different ways how.
We wouldn't blame you if your first instinct is to jump in a shower and wash your hair and body. But this will do you no good. Clean hair makes it easier for lice to lay their eggs. Dirt and oil make it harder for them to lay their eggs and feed on the scalp. So, the dirtier your hair, the better.
But not washing your hair won’t get rid of them, either. So, what's the best head lice treatment?
Wet combing is the classic, go-to method for lice removal. You'll need to repeat this technique every 3-4 days during an infestation. You should also continue to wet comb up to 2 weeks after the last sight of nits and lice. You'll need:
Before beginning, cover the person's shoulders with a towel or a salon apron. Make sure their hair is completely dry. Then, apply and evenly distribute liberal amounts of conditioner to their dry hair.
Taking the tail-pin comb and hair clips, separate their hair into four sections. Once you do this, you can begin to go to work with the fine-tooth comb. Position the fine-tooth comb as close to the root as possible. Slowly comb from root to tip both on the topside and underside.
Wipe the comb on a towel and see how many lice and nits you were able to pick up. Using the magnifying glass, check to see how many nits and live lice there still are. You can also use the tweezers to pick up individual nits and lice.
You may need to perform a comb-through of each section several times. Before applying the comb, make sure to dip it into the bowl of hot water each time. Afterward, rinse out the hair and wash all tools with warm, soapy water. Give your tools - especially the combs and tweezers - a final soaking in boiling water.
Wet combing is one of the most effective lice removal methods. But it should serve as a supplemental practice. A pediculicide is the best head lice treatment and only a doctor can prescribe them. So, upon discovering that you or someone in your household has lice, call your doctor. They may prescribe or recommend an over-the-counter pediculicide.
There are anti-lice hair shampoo, conditioners, and soap, as well. Using these are not required, however. After removing lice manually, you can apply an anti-lice product to be on the safe side. Still, you don't want to overuse these products, either, as they can contain harsh chemicals.
Natural Lice Killers
After applying a pedulicide, you may be wary of using more chemicals on your hair. Luckily, there are natural ways to kill lice.
If you're wondering how to remove lice eggs from hair naturally, try mayonnaise. It's a tried and tested method and it works by suffocating the lice and their eggs. Lather up the person's hair with mayonnaise and let it soak under a shower cap for a couple hours. Be sure to get behind the ears and the hair on the neck, as well.
Afterward, wash with shampoo a few times over and rinse with hot water. You can even rinse hair with vinegar to help loosen any remaining eggs. But the mayonnaise method is not effective after one use. You may need to repeat this technique for days and weeks.
If you'd rather not use mayonnaise, there are lots of essential oils that can kill lice. Lavender, rosemary, mint, and tea tree essential oils can all work - especially as a combination. If you’re wondering how to remove lice eggs from hair, try neem leaf oil. A mixture of coconut oil and anise is another effective form of treatment.
If your hair is long, you can also kill lice and their eggs by running a flat iron over your hair. However, if you're using a pedulicide or an anti-lice product on your hair, as well, it may dry out.
How to Remove Lice from Your Home
Removing lice and their eggs from where they thrive should be the first order of business. Once you've eliminated them from your hair, it's time to get down to the rest of your house.
What's the best lice treatment when it comes to cleaning out your house? Here we'll explore a few different ways you can eliminate lice from your home once and for all.
Cleaning the Fabric
Again, lice do not survive very long without a human host. But you should still wash all fabric a person has come into contact with nonetheless.
We're talking their clothing, bed linens, towels, hats, and other fabric items they have used. You should machine wash all these in hot water that's at least 130°F. Afterward, you should dry them in a high heat cycle. Run any pillows, blankets, duvets, and quilts in the dryer on high heat, as well.
If something can't go through the machines, send them to a dry cleaner. You can also store them in plastic bags for 2 weeks - no more, no less.
It's rare for lice to infest carpets, floor rugs, area rugs, and curtains. But if you suspect someone with lice has been in close contact with these, vacuum them. You can steam clean them, as well.
After cleaning all the clothing and linens, you'll want to vacuum the mattresses. Give a thorough vacuuming of the seams and creases. You also shouldn't overlook your couch and plush furniture. People tend to lay their heads on the armrests as much as the headrests. You should vacuum underneath the cushions, as well.
Cleaning the House
After cleaning the fabrics and linens in your home, it's time to tackle the hard surfaces.
After vacuuming any and all floor linens, vacuum the floor themselves. Sweep the corners and out from under any furnaces and appliances. Afterward, clean your floors the right way by giving them a thorough mop and shine.
Giving your home a good dusting can't hurt, either. Be sure to dust and polish before sweeping and vacuuming the floors. There are even all-purpose, anti-lice cleaners you can apply to hard surfaces. Go for a non-toxic brand as these won't leave behind any residue or fumes.
To be on the safe side, you should also wash any linens and fabrics that came close to infested clothing. For example, if you hung an infested jacket next to another coat, hat, or scarf, you should wash those, as well.
If your child has lice, be sure to dry any stuffed animals and plush toys on high heat. You can also place them in a plastic bag for a few days.
You should sanitize any hair products, like combs, brushes, and clips, too. Create a solution of hot water and anti-lice shampoo and soak these items in it for up to an hour.
It's also important to clean your car if there is a lice infestation in your home. Remove all belongings from your car and wash all laundered items in a hot water cycle. If something can't go through the wash, wrap it in a sealed plastic bag for a few days.
After removing everything from your car, give it a good vacuuming. Pay close attention to the headrests. Be sure to vacuum the seats, floors, and the dashboard.
It's not uncommon for pets to get lice, as well. If you suspect your pet has lice, take them to the vet. Your vet will prescribe an anti-lice medication or shampoo. You should isolate your pet from the home to avoid spreading the lice. Wash their bedding, plush toys, collars, leashes, and any furniture they sit on.
Burning Down the Louse
Dealing with a lice infestation is quite memorable - and not in the good sense. Luckily, lice removal is easier than you think. By following these tips, you’ll make every louse wish they had never latched onto your hair.
See more on our Get Rid of Lice page.
But surely there are other messes and events that can wreak havoc on your home. Be sure to stay tuned for more cleaning tips so you can handle anything life throws your way!
When was the last time you cleaned your floors?
We’re not talking about the last time you ran your sweeper-mopper across the floor, either. We’re talking about the last time you gave your floors a good, thorough washing. In fact, it was so good, you called yourself the cleaning machine afterward.
... Maybe that wasn't you. And it could be the case that its been ages since you busted out your mop and bucket.
It's okay! Not everyone enjoys cleaning, nor has the time to stay on top of it. But if you're wondering how to clean floors, you've come to the right place. Whether you have hardwood, tile, ceramic, or a combination of all different types of floors - we're here to help.
Say no more to sloshing around warm water and calling it a day. Here's the best way to clean floors the right way!
We don’t recommend using a wobbly mop at home, kids. The sturdier your mop, the more thorough of a job you'll be able to do. Sponge mops are great for small areas while string mops are better at covering larger spaces.
Personally I like a microfiber strip mop - (see Clean Floors page). My favorite is the O’Cedar Tuff Mop. I also like use a Flat Microfiber Mop system for cleaning large areas quickly. (See my Floors page).
The same goes for your broom. If the bristles are falling off or curl upwards, it’s time to for a new one. There's no sense in mopping if you can’t get a good sweeping beforehand. When sweeping, create smaller piles with short, contained strokes.
What about that lone line of dirt that your dustpan always seems to leave behind?
We hate it, too. To combat that obnoxious dirt trail once and for all, wipe it up with a wet paper towel.
Or you can pul out the vacuum and really remove the dirt from crevices and grout lines! This can be the best thing for removing hair, which can be a real bugger to remove if you get it wet.
And that's it for the pre-mop basics!
The O'Cedar Tuff Mop
How to Clean Floors with the Right Cleaning Solution
Mopping may seem pretty straight forward. But the key to shinier, cleaner floors boils down to the type of cleaning solution you use.
So, which kinds of cleaning solutions should you use? We'll explore how to clean floors with the right solution next.
How to Clean Laminate Floors
Some commercial cleaners can be harsh on laminate. If you're wondering how to clean laminate floors naturally, try a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water.
Or you could try a little bit of Fantastik or 409 diluted in your mop bucket. I happen to like to use Murphy’s Oil Soap. Jeff Campbell likes to use a drop of clear ammonia.
For tough stains on laminate, put some jojoba oil on a towel and hold it over the stain. Then, wipe it away with a clean towel and some water.
How to Clean Hardwood Floors
Things can get a bit tricky when it comes to cleaning hardwood. Commercial hardwood cleaners can produce harsh and harmful fumes.
But never fear! If you're wondering how to clean hardwood floors, we've got you covered. First things first:
Standing water is the biggest thing you want to avoid when cleaning wood. Even the smallest puddle can cause wood to warp after a couple of minutes.
The key is to use a spray bottle. What should you fill it with? A 50/50 solution of warm water and vinegar works wonders on wood. If you don't prefer the smell of vinegar, you can add essential oil to the mix. A lemon oil and warm water combination is also a classic cleaning solution for hardwood.
Again I prefer to use Murphy’s Oil Soap diluted in your solution, especially on wood floors.
This method is especially good with a Flat Microfiber Mop System _(see Clean Floors page). I usually wet the pad in water or solution first.
How to Clean Vinyl Floors
What's the best solution for cleaning vinyl floors? A 50/50 mild dish detergent and water solution are great on vinyl. But it's not unheard of for people to use an apple cider vinegar and water solution. Add a tablespoon of mild dish detergent to this solution for tougher messes. Jeff Campbell recommends a drop of clear ammonia in your bucket.
For stains that won't go away, you can apply rubbing alcohol or a baking soda paste. If a cloth can’t break away grime, try it with a soft-bristled scrub brush. I have used a non scratch scrubbier sponge too.
How to Clean Ceramic Floors
Are your floors made of marble, quartz, porcelain, or some other type of ceramic? The best way to clean floors made of ceramic involves a couple of easy tricks.
Try a mild dish detergent-water solution on your ceramic floor. You can add a splash of white vinegar, as well.
When cleaning tile floors, you'll want to use a string mop. A string mop can pick up more water and debris in the cracks between tiles.
Over time, the grout that holds your ceramic floor together can lose its color and durability. If you haven't sealed your grout in a while, you may want to put this on your project list.
Now that you know which types of cleaning solutions you should be using, it's time to get down to business. First, make sure your bucket or sink is clean before filling it. Use warm (borderline hot - don’t burn yourself here!) water to fill it with the cleaning solution. I like the O’Cedar Mop bucket with a strainer basket. You won’t have to touch the water!
Again I like a microfiber strip mop - (see Clean Floors page). My favorite is the O’Cedar Tuff Mop.
After immersing it in the water, wring out the mop. Water should not stand for long periods of time after running the mop over. Large amounts of water can seep through your floors and baseboards, causing damage. The water should dry almost instantaneously.
As you begin mopping, make sure you start in the farthest corner of the room. You'll want to work your way backward and towards the entrance - not away from it. (Otherwise, people will be able to tell your shoe size after the floors dry.)
Mop in small sections at a time. This will help you cover more space with the solution. Mop in a back-and-forth motion along the baseboards without hitting them, (unless you are using the O’Cedar Tuff Mop, good for cleaning the quarter rounds along the floor edges). As you move to open areas of the floor, overlap your previous strokes. Passing over your floor a second time will help pick up any residue from the solution. You can use a scrub pad to wipe away any crusted dirt, tough stains, or grime.
It's important to replace your water as soon as it becomes murky. After the first and second mopping dries, give your floors a rinse mop with clear water.
Dump the bucket out in the toilet or outside and rinse it well afterward. Give your mop a good wringing out and stand it upright. You don’t want to leave it to dry downwards or inside the bucket.
Make Your Floors Sparkle & Shine
Well, there you have it, folks!
By following these tips, you'll not only create more lustrous floors. You can prolong your next mop job, leaving you more time to do the things you enjoy. (So long as you do maintenance sweeping on a regular basis and clean up any spills as they happen.)
See Floors page
If you still have questions on how to clean floors, leave us a comment!
Why be a slave to the banks? You work hard for your money. Keep all that you can,
Many people live paycheck to paycheck. So what happens if you lose your job or have a medical setback? You may want to be in a better position. Pay down your debt!
There is a method called the Snowball effect to pay down your debt.
You can download a free Excel spreadsheet to help you with that:
Here is a video to help you understand.
There is also an "Avalanche Effect" which pays down the debt with the highest interest first. People don't ususally do this because it may take a long time to see any results, but you do save money in the long run.
Download the free spreadsheet
People like to feel safe. Here the cleaning service has access to a business or a family's valuables. The cleaner has to value honesty or they will soon lose jobs and their good reputation.
I recently found $180 cash in a money clip at an office I was cleaning. I was offered a reward for turning it in which I turned down. Now the whole office is talking about me and everyone feels safe! This is of the utmost value to me!!
Your reputation is everything. That's how you gain customers!
Be very careful about advertising on Home Advisor! You only have 30 days to cancel so I am stuck with a bill
How Home Advisor Works
Home Advisor sends leads to you from the people searching for your kind of services on their website. They have many categories available for people who need help with repairs and services to search. They spend a lot of money on advertising to bring people to their website.
The trouble is that Home Advisor also sends the same leads to may other businesses in your area at $35 and up a pop. it is then up to the business owner to call these potential customers to give a bid on the job that they need. Basically whoever responds first will probably get the job. It becomes a feeding frenzy and Home Advisor makes all of that money from each business even though only one business gets the job.
The sales guy knew I only wanted commercial bids for my town of Spartanburg SC and I wanted regular weekly office cleaning jobs. My first opportunity came in for a bid. It was for Greenville, 30 miles away and it was a one time clean! Not good. I only need one commercial job.
I called them to cancel and the guy talked me out of doing it right then, he said he could just turn the bids off. I figured I could think about the things he said for a few days. Well I missed the 30 day cancellation window and now I owe more money even though my credit card gave me a credit!!
I am not happy! You cannot get a customized setting on your bids. You get whatever they want to send you at $35 to $50 a pop per lead even if you don't get the job, beside the $280 sign up fee.
Can you imagine how hard I would have been hit if I had chosen the home cleaning category too? There are many more searches for that!!
They make a killing!
A Better Way
I believe you do better building your good reputation by word-of-mouth advertising or just listing your business on Google My Business for free. Facebook advertising can work too or by advertising on Google with ads. Offer your existing customers a credit or a free cleaning if they find you another regular account.
Or try a private lead generation business that will send only you the leads that they find in your town. Why have to compete with other people over leads. You can pay per lead or a monthly fee.
Save your money unless you are a large company. Home Advisor is not for the small cleaning business.
Do you have the oval toilet paper holders?
It took a few minutes to figure these out. On one end there is a hole that you insert the end of a paper clip into, to release the holder.
Slide old roll off
Slide new one on
Insert the wider side into the left side of holder. It has a black pin.
Push the silver pin in so you can slide it into the hole on the right side of holder.
You are good to go!
Do you have this kind of toilet paper holder?
First push one end towards wall, the end with 1 rod and 1 metal stem catch, (which is the loading side).
The end releases and it pops open.
Take old roll off. You can see the mechanism in this photo.
Slip new roll on, all the way over to the end.
Make sure the rod and metal catch are lined up to the hole in the arm
Push arm to connect.
These reusable sponge cloths are by "If You Care". I bought them at a grocery store called Ingles. They work well, dry out between use so less chance of mildew, and you can put them in the washer 300 times it is claimed.
The dirt and dust rinse right off so you can continue using them.
I like them very much. Stop wasting paper towels! I use them for:
- as a face cloth,
- Cleaning rag for my bathroom sink.
The only thing I need to have changed is a larger size, perhaps an inch or two. They are a little stiff when dry so you need to wet and squeeze them for use.
These cloths are great for no streaks or lint residue. Just dampen and wipe! From Rubbermaid. I got this at Supplyworks.com
If you have a Stainless steel sink and don't want to scratch it, use a drop of Dishwasher Soap and a sponge to remove the coffee stain build up. Apply, then rinse.
If you have a white textured refrigerator, give some Dishwasher Soap a try on a sponge to clean the handle. Works great!! Apply, then rinse.
Wouldn't it be nice to save some money on soap? I have tried different soaps to use in the foam soap dispenser I have at home. Dish soap does not work. Soaps are too thick or thin.
I have found that body wash works best to make foam soap. I like St Ives. Experiment with the ratio of soap to water because different body washes need different mixes. I suggest adding some water first so heavy soap does not lodge in the uptake tube.
Neem leaf oil is said to be good for your hair and scalp. It can also be used to be rid of lice. It is not a poison. It acts as something that interferes with an insect's ability to reproduce, and insects are all about reproducing! They avoid it like the plague!
Well at least the ants in my garden ran away. I did not have any lice to test it on. I am testing it on the fleas on my pets.
Caution. Do not use if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Don't you hate it when you are vacuuming and the staples just do not come up with the vacuum. People walk on them and they get ground into the fibers. Very irritating!
This is the tool that I use to remove them. There are 2 kinds of staple removers. The other one looks like a claw, but that will grab the carpet fibers
You want to use this one, otherwise your nails will break trying to get the staples out of the carpet fibers. Quick and easy.
Some of the offices I clean have been neglected. Not only are phones very dirty, but the computer mice are filthy!
The problem is that people leave their computers on at night and you do not want to activate or change anything on people's computers. The problem is lessened if you pick up the mouse in your hand off the desk to clean it. Make sure that you are not touching the bottom of the mouse. Keep it off any surfaces. Watch the monitor to see if you are affecting anything. It is safer if the computer is powered off of course.
I use a damp microfiber cloth, not wet, with a little Simple Green to rub clean the surface. You may want to use a small toothbrush for crevices.
Of course wireless keyboards and mice are easier to clean. Just find the power button and slide it to off before you clean.
We put in a new sink in the bathroom and the ants found a way in. So I applied this 3 in One oil to the surface of the counter and the ants went away. You may have to reapply in a few days until they learn not to come back. You can also use Liquid Gold.
This lady has a lot of great ideas!
Using Cream of Tarter is a new one to me
I have a house that I clean that looks great until late afternoon when the sun shines into the kitchen through the windows and on the glass kitchen table and the stainless steel appliances.
So for the stainless steel appliance I changed to a 409 cleaner. It seems to work well. As for the glass table top and windows, I will be trying this recipe I got from another blog. Here it is:
Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner
Here is an option for OUTDOOR windows
THE BEST HOMEMADE WINDOW CLEANER:
2 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dish detergent
What you’ll need:
scrub brush with optional, extension pole
water hose with optional sprayer attachment
See more at:
or try this simple cleaner:
Add a spray top to a bottle of club soda