Guest Post: Invaluable Tools for Cleaning Up After Children

Invaluable Tools for Cleaning Up After Children

1297273471Cleaning up after your kids can feel like a full-time job. That’s because most often, especially when parenting two or more, it is. The good news is with the right tools on hand you can significantly cut the cleaning time and even get the kids to help out with basic household clean up.

1. Baby Wipes – Keep a container on hand in every room in the house, in the diaper bag, and in the car for easily clean up. Clean faces, sticky hands in surfaces with a single swipe. Since they are safe enough for baby’s bottom, as your kids grow they can grow in their ability to help clean up little messes independently.

2. Hand Sanitizer – While washing yours and your little ones hands with soap and water is always the best defense for spreading germs, when a sink just isn’t available, opt for hand sanitizer instead. Keep a small bottle on your key chain, in your diaper bag and in your car for easy access. Monitor the kids carefully when using it so you can be sure that they rub their hands together properly and let their hands dry.

3. Bucketless Mops – Mops designed with reusable containers attached to them make laminate floor clean up a cinch.  Simply squeeze the trigger to spray your floor with the cleaning material of your choice and you can quickly mop up nearly any mess. Once the map pads are nice and gritty, remove and throw it in the washing machine. For a deeper clean opt for a steam mop that kills bacteria without the use of chemicals.

4. Handheld Vacuums – There is hardly a thing handier then a handheld vac. From cleaning leaves and dried mud up from the entry way to clearing crumbs off the countertop, floor, and table, handheld vacs allow you to clean up the mess without making a bigger mess  as you try to carry crumbs over to the trash can. Added bonus? The kids love to use it.

5. Steam Vac-   At one point or another, your child’s bodily fluids are going to hit the floor, literally. Whether it’s a potty training mishap or a case of the stomach flu, forget calling the carpet cleaning professionals and clean up quickly – even in the middle of the night – with your very own steam vac. Having one on hand will save you time, money and effort.

Cleaning up messes is part of life. Make this part of life a little easier to keep up with by having the tools on hand that can save you time and energy as you tackle your children’s messes both big and small.


With over 20 years of experience in the nanny world as an award-winning nanny, agency director, and parenting author, Michelle LaRowe is considered a leading industry expert. A mom herself, she loves to educate parents and nannies on the importance of quality in-home childcare. Find out more by visiting @eNannySource on Twitter. 

Make Your Floors Shine With These Hardwood Cleaning Tips

Hardwood Floor Cleaning Arcata

Hardwood Cleaning Tips to Make Your Floors Shine

Hardwood Floor Cleaning ArcataHardwood cleaning can be difficult, when a nice sheen on your hardwood floors is what you are aiming for, it can sometimes feel impossible. This feels especially applicable when the ‘tried and true’ methods either leave you with a layer of ammonia water drying on the floor or force you to go back over the cleaned floor with a dry rag. Now while this will get your floors clean, it might not always restore the glossy surface that shows off the beautiful grain of your floor. We want to use a product that not only cleans off the surface of the floor but restores the glossy look of the original varnish. If you have floor mats over your hardwood, then you will want to get those clean too as you do not want to put dirty mats back over a newly cleaned and varnished floor. So checking out links like as well as other similar websites for these products, can help you get what you need so your floors are always looking great.

My preferred cleaner that I use on the job is Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner, although some people might not like using it because of the perceived harm of chemicals such as 2-Propanol, or Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether. Well I’m here to tell you these complicated chemicals aren’t nearly as bad as you would think! For starters, this ‘2-Propanol‘ is really just everyday Isopropyl alcohol, and in hardwood cleaning applications, this is extremely useful (and safe) in the dissolving of oils, gums, and resins that have been deposited onto your floor from normal everyday use. Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether, whose proper chemical name is simply 2-Butoxyethanol, is also not nearly as hazardous as the name sounds, as it is used in such applications as paints, inks, leather protectors, oil dispersants, degreasers, liquid soaps, cosmetics, lacquers and varnishes. The combination of the 2-Propanol and 2-Butoxyethanol in Bruce Floor Cleaner allows us to not only strip the oils and resins off the surface of the floor (with the 2-Propanol), but restore a nice shine to the floor as if you had applied a new layer of varnish (with the 2-Butoxyethanol).

Now, Bruce is not the only brand of floor cleaner that uses these two chemicals, and those are not the only two chemicals that will give us the desired results, but it is one that is widely available, and the one that I use out on the job cleaning houses. I use a 5 step method in hardwood cleaning, repeating each step as necessary before moving onto the next:

  1. Sweep the floor with a regular broom to get the bigger debris off the surface.
  2. Re-sweep the floor, focusing most of your time on the cracks between floorboards and the edges around the baseboards. At this point: TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF! This keeps you from tracking dirt and debris back across the floor.
  3. Wipe entire floor with dry cloth, or use a microfiber dust mop to get the fine particulate matter off the wood surface
  4. Spray a small amount of floor (about 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep from where I stand) with Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Floor Cleaner or similar hardwood cleaning solution
  5. Wipe with a microfiber or cloth mop (NOT a ‘wet mop’) WITH THE GRAIN OF THE FLOOR, always moving your body backward, so you never step on the newly wiped areas. This way even if there are streaks on the floor when it dries, it will only blend in with the grain of the floor, and there will be no foot prints anywhere on the floor!

After using your new technique for hardwood cleaning, and before walking on, or using the floor, you will want to wait for it to dry (only 10-15 minutes, as there is very little liquid on the floor) at which point the floor will still be quite slick, but dry to the touch. At this point if you turn the lights on in the room and get down near the floor you can see the glossy finish that you just restored, and check for areas that you either missed the first time around or areas that need extra attention.

Hardwood cleaning can be difficult when you do not have a plan, but with these steps your floors will retain their shine and be less prone to scratches! With only a few minutes of hardwood cleaning a week, your floors will remind you that a beautiful home starts from the baseboards up.

Also see


Guest Blog: Cleaning Tips to Reduce Smells

Reduce Smells With These Simple Cleaning Tips



Living in a stinky home is not pleasant. Not only can grime buildup stink, but it can also cause breathing problems and even worse longer lasting health problems. However traditional cleaning chemicals can cause breathing problems as well. What can you do? Try to clean green with these simple tips:

  1. Dishwasher smelling foul? Sprinkle in a handful of baking soda before your next load or between loads.
  2. Remove the musty smell from sponges and loofas by soaking them overnight in four tablespoons of baking soda to one quart of warm water. Let them dry in the sun and they have new life!
  3. Stave off bad smells in your refrigerator and freezer by leaving an open box of baking soda in your refrigerator all the time. Swap it out every month for optimum scent control.
  4. Keep your trash can or recycling bin fresh smelling by sprinkling in a dash of baking soda every time you empty it. Also works great on big outdoor trash cans and helps keep the flies away!
  5. Keep your closets from smelling musty and giving your clothes the same smell. Leave a container of baking soda in the corner of your closet and change out every few months to keep your clothes smelling fresh. Add a drop or two of essential oils for an even better scent.
  6. Stinky gym bags? Sprinkle in a dash of baking soda to drive away smells.
  7. Clean out ashtrays and remove the lingering smoke smell by scrubbing with baking soda.
  8. Get the stink and stain out of plastic containers and lunch boxes with vinegar. Wipe with undiluted vinegar and let sit overnight. For tough stains let the container soak in a half and half solution overnight.
  9. Clean and deodorize the oven with vinegar. Soak the oven with undiluted vinegar and let it sit for several hours or overnight. Then rinse well. For tough stains you can scrub them with baking soda.

Using baking soda and vinegar to clean can be a great way to cut through the grime and stink without further aggravating the problem. Try some of these easy cleaning tips in your home and see if you can breathe easier.

Author Bio:

This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @


Guest Blog: Cleaning Up After a Leak

Cleaning Up After a Leak

plumbing leaks

When the plumbing in your home develops a leak it can mean a big mess. I know because that has happened to me several times over the years. Each time there was a new kind of mess to clean up. Thankfully I had the internet and I was able to get some help. I looked around at so many different plumbing sites, and the key thing I was looking for was just someone who would be reliable and help me to get my life back in order after the problem was fixed. There were very few sites who showed what skills and qualifications their plumbers had. One example I found was on this website: but unfortunatley for me they are based in Australia.

Here are some issues you may face when leaks spring up in your home:

In the Bathroom

The bathroom is a hot spot for leaks. There is just a lot of plumbing going on there! If there is a pipe you can think of in the bathroom than my home has had a leak there. I don’t know if the warrantee ran out or what, but what can go wrong does go wrong at my house.

The first bad spot to face was the bathtub faucet leaking. It was just a constant drip dripdrip that drove me crazy and hiked up my water bill. I figured it would be easy to fix; just a new washer in the fixture. I had done it before in my old home, so why wouldn’t the same thing work in my new home? Of course, things did not work out that easily. The faucet was too old to fix and had to be replaced. It was not just a matter of screwing off the faucet and shoving a new one on. Oh, no that would have been too simple. Instead the tile around the faucet had to be broken and removed, the wall behind that had to be cut out and some of the piping even had to be replaced.

What a hassle! After the plumber had replaced the faucet and left I was staring in horror at my ravaged bathroom. Where would I shower now? Upstairs I suppose. Thankfully I was able to get the bathtub redone and back in good condition but it cost me a pretty penny. For one leaky faucet!

Another leak that sprang up in the bathroom was under the sink. The cabinet around the sink hid the evidence for a while, but when I pulled out a dripping wet towel I knew something was wrong. The hot water hose that connected to the bathroom sink had rusted and corroded over time. Now it was leaking but I couldn’t get it off to replace it. Another call to the plumber and my sink was fixed. I was able to catch the leak before it did major damage to my cabinets, but there was still some warping damage done. Not to mention all the towels that needed to be rewashed and dried. I am so grateful that we have plumbers in the area that on hand for emergencies! It is likely you will find a plumber like this in your area, we have found one example of a website who offer similar services to point you in the right direction –

The final straw and biggest mess came due to a major mistake on my part. One Fourth of July I left a single firecracker in the bathroom. There are, of course, matches in the bathroom as well to light the scented candles. That combination proved disastrous when a person I shall not name decided to light the firecracker before thinking about where he would throw it. Into the toilet it went and a moment later the crack boom of shattering porcelain echoed through the house.

You would think that a crack in the toilet wouldn’t cause that much of a mess. Well, you would be wrong. That auto refill feature is a pain in the neck. Just for your information you cannot patch a toilet either. Glue and waterproof tape do not work. We ended up having to take out and replace the whole toilet but not before water had gotten everywhere: in the crevice between the bathtub and the floor, under the cabinets, and out into the bedroom carpet.

It stunk. It wasn’t even dirty toilet water and it still stunk. You can imagine the smell. Gag. I called out the big guns and had it all professionally cleaned. I was not going to risk smelling that stink for any longer than was necessary. Getting it out of the carpet was my number one priority as the carpet can hold on to a lot more liquid than you would think.

In the Kitchen

Moving on, the kitchen is another leak hot spot. My leak happened under the kitchen sink. Once again the cabinets hid the leak until it had become a disaster. This time the stink factor was the tip off. The faint whiff of something off turned into the stench of rotting within a day or two. We finally found the culprit by literally sniffing it out. Removing the sticky, stinky, and wet items from under the kitchen sink revealed that the connection between the garbage disposal and the drain had gone awry. Smelly, rotten, and wet food particulates sprayed across the entire area every time the dishwasher or disposal ran. The cabinets had softened to a mushy pile of pressed wood, rotting through with an unbelievable stench.

Again the professionals were called in. I can’t even imagine doing the clean up on that myself! Fully gloved and masked, they tore out that section of the cabinets and cleaned the cement beneath. The pipes had to be fully replaced, of course, and I bellied up for a new disposal while we were at it. After everything was in ship shape again the cabinet was replaced and we had our nice, scent free kitchen back. Moral of this story is to catch the leak early! Then you won’t have to replace everything like we did. If you do find a link just look up a company in your local area. For example, just searching ‘Plumbing company London‘ can give you hundreds of results.

In the Garage

My horror story about the garage is not as bad as a friend of mine’s. She left on vacation for two weeks and came back to find out her hot water heater had exploded and her entire garage was covered in a thick layer of mold. Ew!

My problem was not due to the water heater, though I know they can be a big leak danger. Mine was due to the air conditioning unit located above the garage. One hot summer the drainpipe got clogged up and the drip pan could not handle the overflow. Water dripped from the garage ceiling and turned a flat ceiling into a threatening bubble of dampness. Thankfully I was able to get everything out of the way before it collapsed onto the floor.

After getting the air conditioner repaired I called out cleaners to make sure the water damage had not spread to more of the ceiling and to clean up the parts of the carpet that had been damaged due to the water. I also had to get a Garage Door Opener Repair too as the water had affected the motor but it was easy to fix. I did not want to get into the fiberglass insulation either. After replacing the ceiling everything thankfully went back to normal.

As you can see, leaks can cause a lot of damage to your home. Even small ones. You need to take water damage seriously as it can lead to all kinds of health risks and complications. Call in professionals to help you with clean up and make sure the job gets done right.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

Cleaning Cartoons

Carpet Cleaning Cartoons we have found on the net.

More to come in the near future.

Window Washing Cartoon

Carpet Cleaning Cartoon 1

This cartoon reminds me of a Arcata Carpet Cleaning job we did. You never know what you will find behind a couch when you move it.

Hot Spots for Dirty Carpets

Hot Spots for Dirty Carpets

If you have carpets in your home then you know there are certain areas that get dirtier than others. These frequently trafficked areas are often the sites of big stains and just an overall dirty look. You can prevent stains in these areas through various methods, mostly through regular carpet cleaning. So, if you’ve just bought a new vacuum cleaner after reading some reviews on a website like, here are some helpful tips to help with your cleaning routine:

  1. Entrances – Your doorways are often the site of many stains. Mud, snow, leaves and so on are easy to drag in on dirty shoes. You can prevent these stains in various ways. One way is to insist on the removal of shoes when entering the home. Another way is to add welcome mats to cut down on some of the stains. You can also have a tiled or wooden entryway to prevent carpet stains in that area. Yet another way to prevent stains is to lay down carpet protection or a rug in those high traffic areas. All these ways can help cut down on the dirt that is brought into your home.
  2. Hallways – Hallways are often a high traffic area, especially in the center. Fight the wear and staining by laying down a long, thin rug or carpet protector.
  3. Stairs – Stairs are another high traffic area. You can cut down on stains on the stairs by avoiding carpet altogether or getting a carpet protector for that area. Often times there are also many spills on the stairs. Prevent food or drinks from being transported up stairs to avoid these stains. Vacuum carpets on stairs frequently to cit down on wear.
  4. Dining – The last place that gets a lot of stains is the dining area. Having your table on top of carpet is a recipe for spilled foods and drinks. Not only this but you can compliment a dirty carpet with dirty upholstery to create a dining room of mess and mayhem! Some carpet cleaning services such as carpet cleaning Hagerstown area can specialize in carpets and upholstery to keep your whole room clean from spills and splatters. However you might also have a large rug under the table. Many carpet cleaning services can clean these too! Oriental rugs look great and prevent the carpet from acquiring stains, however, you will then need to get the rug cleaned. Luckily, there are people like the Sunny Isles Beach Oriental Rug Pros at hand offering their services to get Oriental rugs looking as good as new. Tablecloths also help to prevent drips off of the corners of tables onto carpets.

As you can see, although there are many areas that can get stained there are also many ways to prevent these stains and wear from occurring. Use wisdom on how to best protect and clean your carpets and they should last you a long time.

Author Bio:
This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping @

Home Cleaning Services

Home Cleaning Services Referrals

Although we do not provide in home cleaning services at the moment, we are staring this blog and will add to it in the coming weeks. We also can help you with a few referrals and suggest some reading on deciding how to chose this service.

Call our front desk for our current home cleaning services referral list. 707-442-3229

For Home Cleaning Service Rates please read this.

Myths About Carpet Steam Cleaning Revealed

Myths about your carpet cleaning and the facts of steam cleaning.

carpet steam cleaning

Have you carpets seen better days? Do you need to contact a company like A to Z Carpet Cleaning? Or are you hesitant to look into professional cleaning companies?

Most misconceptions about steam cleaning for carpets and upholstery originate from inexperienced cleaners failing to extract all the water and therefore leaving the carpets soaking wet. If you need Carpet Cleaning in rancho santa margarita then rest assured, the professionals know that extracting the excess moisture from the carpets is one of the most important steps to cleaning them.

Myth: ” Well the carpet doesn’t look dirty, so it doesn’t really need to be cleaned.”
Fact: Many carpets can hide dirt, so even if your carpet looks clean, there may be abrasive soil particles wearing at your carpets. This can cause loss of fiber protection or color and other permanent damage.

Myth: “I’m so worried that water from steam cleaning will ruin my carpets, and cause mildew”
Fact: Carpet manufacturers actually recommend hot water extraction, or ‘steam cleaning’, as their preferred method of carpet cleaning. When steam cleaning is done right, the water left from the steam is not enough to actually do harm. Another issue is that many cleaning companies use high-residual detergents that remains in carpets long after the cleaning is done. This actually attracts soil, which makes your carpets dirty faster.

Myth: “Carpet cleaning is really cheap”
Fact: You shouldn’t select a cleaning company solely based on price. Lots of companies will advertise a low price to hook a customer and then sell them ineffective goods at high prices or give them low quality service. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Myth: “I was told to wait as long as possible before cleaning my carpets, because they will never look the same again or I will have to clean them very often.”
Fact: Manufacturers recommend getting your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months by professionals (like those that do carpet cleaning in Lexington, to name one example). If you wait too long, it may result in permanent damage that no cleaner will be able to fix. Finding that happy medium between your wallet and your carpets is important, so maybe throw a rug down in high traffic areas to take the brunt of it.

Myth: “Using water to clean my carpets can cause it to mold, split seams, or shrink.”
Fact: This can only happen if the cleaner leaves the carpets extremely wet. Modern steam cleaning equipment is specifically designed to remove all excess moisture and leave only what the carpet fiber itself will absorb. A professional carpet steam cleaning company will properly use this equipment so the water doesn’t even touch the carpet backing, padding, or the floor underneath.

Myth: “My carpet/upholstery is white, so it has to be dry cleaned.”
Fact: A lot of people think that anything white has to be dry cleaned. This is, for the most part, untrue. A professional in any field will test the fabric and know what he or she is doing, use the proper method of cleaning to remove the maximum amount of soil and residue and will do so without harming the upholstery fabric or carpeting.

I hope this article was helpful. For more useful information about carpets check out some of our other articles, like Worst Carpet Messes for Parents or the Hot Spots on your Carpet

Carpet cleaning white carpets, and how to keeep them white.

Carpet Cleaning White Carpets and how to keep them White.

 This month has been a month filled with white carpets. So I thought I would suggest some tips that can help you keep them that way.

 1. Making sure your family and guest takes off there shoes before entering the room or house will help keep the carpeting white, however you may want to keep your socks on. Going barefoot on a plush carpet may feel nice, but after time, the oils from your feet will soil your carpet. But this only works if you change your socks once in a while, that could be counterproductive,  and quite offence to family, and pets.  You also could get what Frank Zappa called “Stink Foot” Of course I believe my dog Toby would like me to have a stinky sock laying around. I degrees.

2.  Keeping floor mats runners on your white carpeting will prolong cleanings and shadowing of your high traffic lanes. But you may ask yourself, If I have carpeting why do I need to by more rugs to protect it? I ask my self that same question, but if gives you chance to interior decorate and display oriental rugs. But stay away from plastic matts, their gaudy. I remember my parents did this in the 70’s to protect their awful multicolored shag.

3. Spills happen, so when they do, keep some good spot remover around. I suggest Spot Shot Instant Carpet Stain Remover. I have been using it for years, and you can find it in most drug stores.

4. Call us, and have your carpets serviced regularly.

So owners and landlords don’t need  to worry, because with A-1 Cleaning’s carpet steam cleaner, dirt doesn’t stand a chance, even on white carpets!


Appointment Etiquette

Appointment Etiquette
In our busy lives, making appointments is essential to staying organized. I’m sure most people have some sort of calendar where they keep important events; birthdays, doctor’s appointments, dinner with your parents, etc… you get the point. Keeping these appointments is also important, as time is a precious commodity that cannot be replaced once it has been wasted, some companies use software similar to mobile service management software to keep appointments with customers. Software that can be used to help arrange appointments has come a long way. For example, LeadJig is a company that can use its expertise in hyperlocal marketing to target and set one-on-one appointments with its client’s most qualified prospects. Financial companies who are looking to use services like this can go now and take a look at their site, but this is just one example of just how far appointment software has come in recent years.

It is well known that people who are always skipping appointments or showing up late very quickly begin to lose the respect of others. Everyone who has ever stood waiting for someone else knows how disrespectful it can feel, like their time isn’t valued by the other person. And it isn’t always about keeping the appointments, either, but just being mature and letting whomever it is know that you won’t be able to make it. Today, communication is fast and reliable, and all it takes if a phone call to the other party to enable you both to utilize your time better. Even if the appointment may not seem important to you, that time may be precious to someone else, and so you should cancel properly if you are not able to make it. Don’t think it so unimportant that it does not merit a notice or apology.

You might have scheduled those appointments prior to knowing them or by doing a quick Google search using search terms like “dentures clearwater” or something similar. Therefore, if you do have to cancel an appointment, you should do so in a sincere and apologetic manner. When dealing with office appointments, you should try to cancel twenty-four hours in advance if at all possible. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but when other appointments could be scheduled in your place, it is polite to give as much warning as possible.

Appointments are an important part of anyone’s life. Whether you are swamped with work or just use your calendar to remember your dentist appointments, keeping track of what you have to do is a must. No one can keep every appointment they make in life, but it’s polite and respectful to let the person know if you won’t be there.

It must be a relief for such people, however, that there are some sites (like these days that can help find a dentist on weekends or even on an emergency basis. So, even if they couldn’t remember their appointment dates, they can take a sigh of relief. But yeah they must inform the person they have an appointment with – in case they wouldn’t be able to show up on the appointed date.

This is a courtesy announcement from A-1 Cleaning Service. When making an appointment, please make sure that the water and electricity are on, and cancel 24 hours in advance if you know you won’t be able to make it. Thank you for your business, and we hope to hear from you!

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