Archive for the ‘Residential Cleaning’ Category

How to Clean Your House: How to Remove Stains from Carpets & Floors

Posted on: January 31st, 2014 by Tim David No Comments

Carpet Cleaning

The cold weather brings with it many great opportunities. Winter months are a time for important holiday celebrations. Cold temperatures keep the family in the house struggling to stay entertained. Snow and ice outside often leads to salt, sand, and mud on the inside. But the floors in your home need not pay the cost of the winter season. Whether it is a carpet stain from a New Year’s Eve drop or water spots on the hardwood floor, these suggestions for how to remove carpet stains and how to remove stains from hardwood floors will be sure to have your home as clean as a fresh blanket of snow.

Carpet Stain Removal
The key to carpet stain removal is to remain calm. Level heads will prevail. If you keep in mind the tricks for how to remove carpet stains, then your carpet can be as good as new in no time. The first step in cleaning up a spot is to decide if the result of a single event (e.g., a spilled drink or pet “accident”) or longer term wear. In the instance that a carpet is showing discoloration across a room, instead of in a single spot, it could be due to inadequate vacuuming and dirt build-up. (Perhaps this could be the time to hire a professional carpet cleaner or commercial cleaning services to improve the quality of your home’s upkeep). If the discoloration is in a single spot, you have no need to worry. If you know how to remove carpet stains, then this little spot will not kill the carpet in your entire home.

Follow these easy steps to make your carpet stain merely a spot in history. According to the carpet experts at This Old House, the first step in carpet stain removal is to remove any excess liquid on the stain. You want to take a dry, clean cloth and blot up the spot. (You can lay the cloth atop the spot and stand on it if you are careful not to shift the cloth.) YOU DO NOT WANT TO SCRUB THE SPOT! This will only spread the stain and could damage the integrity of your carpet. Try to blot the excess liquid up as quickly as possible so that you can minimize the size of the stain and so that the stain does not seep into the carpet pad. The next step to carpet stain removal is to identify the source of the discoloration. The carpet experts at Stainmaster argue that each type of stain should not be treated equally.

Food and Drink Stains

Food and drinks are the most common carpet stains. Knowing how to remove this carpet stain can prevent you from having to cry over spilled milk, soda, or wine. After the excess liquid blotted up, you can apply an easily homemade cleaning agent (1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of water) to the spot. You should use warm water in the solution. Leave on the stain for about 5 minutes so that the detergent can break up the stain. Blot up the liquid with a clean, dry cloth. (Do not use the same cloth that you blotted up the excess liquid so that you are sure you are not contaminating the carpet again.) You can use cold water to rinse up any excess detergent. Be sure that you are blotting and not scrubbing. Once the stain is gone you can use a solution (2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 4 cups of warm water) to protect the carpet. This will make sure that all of the detergent is removed and the carpet is back to perfect. (Any lingering detergent will allow dirt and debris to cling to the carpet and will discolor the carpet.) Rinse with cold water and then blot up the remaining debris. For highly trafficked areas, you can set a glass baking dish on a clean, dry towel while drying to absorb excess water.

Oil and Grease Stains

Oil and grease can make for difficult carpet stain removal if you do not know how to remove carpet stains. You want to begin by blotting up any extra oil or grease with a dry, clean cloth as with any spot. You next want to use a non-flammable, solvent-based cleaner or spot remover (which can be purchased at most grocery or hardware stores). Test out your preferred cleaner on an inconspicuous spot, perhaps under a large piece of furniture to make sure that your chosen cleaner does not damage your particular carpet. (If you are unsure which carpet cleaner to purchase, you can call a commercial cleaning service for a recommendation or look up manufacturing recommendations for your brand of carpet.) You might need to soak, rinse, and blot with this cleaner several times. After you have used the commercial cleaner, you can use the same homemade solutions as described in how to remove carpet stains for food and drinks. (Treat those two steps as steps 3 and 4 for oil and grease stains.) This should have the carpet stain removed without too much stress or difficulty.

Dirt and Mud

This is another common carpet stain. This one is a bit unique from the others. This is the only carpet stain that you can allow to dry a bit so that you can use a vacuum to clean up the debris. Once the large bits are cleaned you can use the pair of cleaning agents described in the how to clean carpet stains for food and drinks section.

Pet Stains

Pet stains can be the trickiest to remove from carpets because they often contain strong odors which can linger. These are the most important stains to get blotted as quickly as possible. If these smells get to the carpet pad under the carpet, then you will likely have to have your carpets professionally shampooed. If you are able to get to the stain quickly, you will likely be able to handle this carpet stain removal. After you have blotted up and removed excess liquid, you will want to vacuum up any debris on the sight. Next, you will want to use the two solutions (detergent solution and white vinegar solution) as they are described in how to remove carpet stains for food and drink. After following these steps, you may need to use a commercial cleaning agent that is specially designed for removing animal wastes on carpets. (These products can be purchased at most grocery, hardware, and pet stores. Ask for a recommendation from a vet or animal expert at the pet store.) Remember, you are not just removing discoloration with this stain, you want to remove the odor as well.

Hardwood Floor Stain Removal
Hardwood floor stain removal is quite a bit different than carpet stain removal. In knowing how to remove stains from hardwood floors, you want to fight your initial instincts. You want to dry the hardwood floors with a clean, dry cloth and then wait to follow through on any remaining hardwood floor stain removal. Many hardwood floor stains will disappear if left alone for two days. If the stain persists, then you want to treat the hardwood floor stain depending on the color of the stain.

White Rings

These stains are likely superficial, only in the waxy level of the hardwood floors, and are easy to clean. You can place a clean, dry cloth over the spot and run a hot iron (without steam) over the cloth. You can use a fine steel wool pad and a generous amount of lemon oil scrubbed over the white stain. Or you can use a denatured alcohol agent (available at most hardware stores) and a damp cloth on the stain for a couple of seconds. One of these cleaning methods is likely to work in your hardwood floor stain removal.

Black Rings

These can be a bit more difficult stains to remove from your hardware flooring as these are stains that have soaked into the finish of the floor. Apart from sanding and refinishing this section of your hardwood floors, your best bet for hardwood floor stain removal is to dip a small brush into bleach and rub into the floors. You may need to repeat this action several times before letting this stain dry.

Stains Caused by Other Products

For stains caused by other products, you want to treat the nature of the stain. For hardwood floor stain removal caused by greasy agents, you want to scrub the area with a cloth dipped in cold water with a small amount of ammonia. For hardwood floor stain removal caused by non-greasy agents (such as nail polish or paint), you want to scrub the area with the dish detergent solution described in the how to remove carpet stains for food and drinks section. These solutions (used for the appropriate stain source) should have your floors sparkling like new.

The key to keeping your flooring in pristine condition is to keep it clean and get to any stains as soon as possible. Because the winter months can be such a stressful and busy time for you, this may be the time to consider a commercial cleaning service. Having your floors cleaned can make it easier to spot any dangerous stains, prevent salts and other damaging debris from accumulating, and offer a second pair of eyes in protecting your flooring. You are going to be spending more time inside during the winter months…you just make sure that your house is something that you can enjoy.

If you need professional carpet cleaning services, feel free to contact EHC.

How to Clean Your House: How to Deep Clean Your House From Top to Bottom

Posted on: December 10th, 2013 by Tim David No Comments

Maid Services

There’s no place like (a clean) home!

The holidays are stressful. You have a to-do list that is a mile long: presents to buy, gifts to wrap, shopping to do, and many, many more. You have friends and family to visit. You have office parties to attend. And you are likely to have company over who you want to impress. Amidst all of the work you have to do, you need give your house a deep cleaning. But in the stress and chaos of the holidays, you cannot seem to add any more tasks. But deep cleaning is not about working harder, it is about working smarter.

Because we know you have a lot going on, we want to give you tips for cleaning your home that will make any holiday occasion a smash. Follow these tips on how to deep clean your house through the holiday (or any time) and your home will sparkle.

Pre-Clean: This is the work that can make streamline all other stages of deep cleaning. You can also involve the entire family in this stage of the process.

  • Pickup clutter: Make it a game. Time the kids to see how fast the task can be done within each room. It can be a productive time together as a family. And you can charge the kids with maintaining this throughout the holiday. (Maybe offer a little extra holiday money to entice them. Or ask for a clean house as a holiday gift.)
  • Get organized and tools needed for deep cleaning: By having the necessary tools for each stage of cleaning ready, you can focus on the task at hand. And can streamline your work by gathering all the supplies at once. You do not want to be tempted by distraction when you walk into the living room to get the vacuum cleaner after you have already started. We all know that distraction comes easily to someone who is cleaning. A pre-cleaning strategy can help minimize that temptation.

Clean High (Anything above your head): You want to start high so that as the dust is settling, it is landing on surfaces that have not been cleaned. Nothing is more frustrating as watching a freshly cleaned surface getting contaminated. But as you are reaching for higher surfaces, remember safety first! Use ladders and ask someone to spot you. It is also a good choice to leave the children out of this stage. It is just not worth the risk. Deep cleaning a house is important. Your (and your family’s) well-being is mandatory.

  • Vacuum or dust upper ledges & above cabinets: The cleanliness of your home will be measured by house guests in the kitchen and bathroom. Hygienic and healthy spaces for preparing food are important to people. So if you are inviting them into your home to share food, you want them to confident that the food they are eating is safe. Make your kitchen sparkle from top to bottom by not overlooking the tops of cabinets. Remember: just because it is not in your eye sight, does not mean that it is not in the eye sight of another (taller) house guest.
  • Clean ceiling air vents: Do not overlook the value of cleaning air vents. Having clean air circulating through your house begins here. And clean air vents can minimize the dust that settles on surfaces at eye level.
  • Dust or wash ceiling fans: Ceiling fans can quickly gather dirt and dust. Make sure to clean the fan blades and the base of the fan. Don’t forget to clean the tops of all the blades. (And while you’re up there…you can change the direction of the fan blades so that instead of blowing cool air, the blades will distribute heat. Most fans have a switch on the base.)
  • Dust light fixtures: Proper lighting is necessary for showing off your home’s assets, setting the proper tone, and making spaces inviting and safe for guests. And proper lighting begins and ends with the deep cleaning of all light fixtures. Make sure to clean the base and bulbs of all light sources. If that means taking off bulbs and washing them in soap and water, the payoff is worth it. (No one wants to see last summer’s bug collection through your ceiling lights.)

Mid-Level Cleaning (Eye level): This is the most important level of cleaning because this is what will be most visible to any houseguests. Our cleaning tips will be sure to have them staring in wonder. And because these items are not too high, the family can participate. (Teaching your children how to deep clean your house not only makes your job easier and teaches your child the value of hard work, but it instill the better practices of how to clean a house in your children and can be quality time together to talk about important things going on in their lives.)

  • Wash curtains: Begin here so that your curtains can be washing while the dust is flying. You do now want the loose dirt and debris settling on them, so leave them in the dryer until the room is finished. And the extra light from the window will help your eye catch any problem areas in the room. Natural light can be a blessing when it comes to deep cleaning.
  • Dust bookcases: Make sure to use the proper cleaning supplies when dusting. A high quality cleaning agent can have healthy oils which can elongate the life of any wood and give your furniture an extra sparkle. And make sure to remove all items from shelves before dusting (instead of just dusting around them). You can simply dust the items as you return them to the shelves. Kids can be great at this task. Just make sure to remind them to start high on the shelves and end low.
  • Dust pictures & other wall hangings: You are proud of the pictures and art you have in your home. You spent the time and money to frame and hang all of it. Let your guests see how much these mean to you by making sure to properly clean them. Make sure to clean both the glass and the frame. (This likely will require two different cleaning supplies, but that will not be difficult because you completed pre-cleaning and have both sets with you.)
  • Window washing: You are taking the time to clean your curtains. And this provides you the perfect opportunity to clean your windows. The sparkle that clean windows provide is priceless. (Not to mention that dirty windows are always noticeable.)

Mid to Low Level Cleaning (Waist Level): This is the level of cleaning that we often think of when we clean. These are the items that are most used and deserve a great deal of attention and effort.

Dust all remaining flat surfaces: Remember to start high and finish low when considering these surfaces.
Clean & polish furniture: A good polish can make furniture sparkle and increase its life.
Vacuum & spot clean upholstered furniture: You want your furniture to look fresh and inviting. But make sure that you do this with enough time that any furniture will be dry.

  • Change linens: Wash all linens. Guests can see (and smell) that this has been done.
  • Clean stove & oven: Clean equipment makes cooking easier and foods taste better. This is likely to require some elbow grease.
  • Clean & wipe down sinks & counters: You are likely to do this multiple times. It is worth the investment to teach the children the proper way to sanitize these surfaces. Make sure to use anti-bacterial cleaning agents and fresh towels for clean-up. You do not want to contaminate a surface as you are cleaning it.
  • Scrub showers/bathtubs: This is likely to require a bit of back-breaking labor. Try using cleaning supplies that can cut down on that labor. (For example, if you have hard water, make sure to buy a product that is designed for hard water.
  • Clean toilets: Make sure to clean the inside and outside of the toilet. There are numerous products that can help with the cleaning with each flush. Perhaps the holidays are smart time to invest in one. (You simply drop some of them in the tank.)

Low Level Cleaning (Floor Level): Clean floors are necessary for a sparkling home. Deep cleaning will likely mean doing many of these cleaning tips more than once. (The holidays bring extra welcomed traffic!) These are all tasks that are ideal for participation by children. Sweeping and vacuuming are tasks suitable for all family members.

  • Wash area rugs: Begin here. Throw area rugs into the wash immediately after the curtains. This way they are out of the way for the other cleaning.
  • Vacuum/sweep floors: Make sure to move as much furniture as possible. And keep the vacuum handy for quick touch-ups. A freshly vacuumed carpet is so inviting.
  • Mop floors: Make the floors sparkle so that they reflect all your hard work. Try making the task fun. They make mop-skates so that the task can be more fun.
  • Dust baseboards: This simple task will show your attention to detail. Guests may not even be aware that they noticed it. Instead, they will feel overwhelmed with your talents at deep cleaning.
  • Sweep front & back porches: You want your guests to feel welcomed into your before they even enter. And you want to minimize the dirt and debris that is tracked in when they do come inside. Clean entryways can do both. And having proper floor rugs (e.g., thick mats to gather snow and water or lighter rugs to collect leaves and dirt) can be ideal in getting the most out of your entryway.

We know that these cleaning tips that teach you how to deep clean your house can be overwhelming. There is a lot to do. If you don’t have time for deep cleaning, hiring a professional maid service company will help keep your home sparkling & clean. You know that your house needs a deep cleaning. And are now aware of how to deep clean your house. But time during the holidays, and all year with your busy schedule, is a scarce resource. And what better way to protect that commodity than by hiring a professional cleaning service. Treat yourself to the gift this holiday season that will keep on giving. Or give someone else the gift of a deep cleaning in his or her house. It is sure to be the gift that will not need a return receipt.

Hopefully these cleaning tips will provide you all the tools you need for deep cleaning your home. These cleaning tips are good for the holidays and all year long. A home with deep cleaning is as valuable in May as it is December. By knowing how to deep clean your home, you can set yourself up for holiday success. And give yourself, and your guests, memories that will last all year.

Tips for Selling Your Home Faster

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by Tim David No Comments

If you’re looking to sell your home quickly, invest some time and money back into it before you put it on the market. Below are some ideas to get you started. If you’re hesitant about dropping some dollars on a home you’re selling, consider the long term costs of a sitting property to put it into better perspective.


Adding a new coat of paint throughout your home is an affordable way to freshen up the look and smell of your home. When repainting, stick with neutrals – making sure to tone down any bright colors or dark walls. Window trim, baseboards, ceilings and crown molding should also be touched up.

Not a painter? No problem. EHC offers commercial and residential painting services to give your home professional coverage. Contact EHC for a quote >

Clean Carpets

Deep cleaning your carpets can do wonders for the look of your home. High traffic areas discolor over time and you may not even notice. Spills will also be an eye soar to any homebuyer. Carpets are expensive and having to replace them in a newly purchased home can be a turnoff. Invest in a good carpet cleaner or replace damaged and heavily worn carpet altogether if you can afford it.

Scrub Inside and Out

When you go to sell your home, clean it like you’ve never cleaned before. Show some additional love to your home by scrubbing down all surfaces (to look as new as possible). Powerwash the exterior of your home, patios, decks and sheds to give your home a clean, ready-for-buying appearance. First impressions are everything you know.

Don’t have the time? We can help. EHC offers maid service, power washing and window cleaning services.


You’d be surprised what you can scale down and pack up when getting ready to sell. Decluttering your home will make your home appear more spacious and appealing, and far easier to pick up and move. Here are some areas to start:

The Kitchen

Box up excess amounts of dishes, pots, pans and appliances that aren’t regularly in use or that you can do without for the time being. Commit to using just a couple rounds of dishes and glasses (or whatever looks good in your cabinets) and box the rest. If there are wine glasses or appliances that add to the look of the space display these. What this cuts in functionality also reduces in presentation time (which may happen on the fly).

The Living Room

Pack up books on your shelves leaving a small number for display as appropriate. Same for photos – keep only a few here and there if they add to the space. Pack up DVDs and CDs. Sort through magazines and newspapers and get rid of 95% of them. Remove random items that have found their way into the living room out of convenience.


Closets hide a lot of items we have nowhere else to store or that we want out of plain site. Quite the opposite will be the case when buyers pass through. Clean up those closets and organize them in a way that would appeal to them (not you). Organize in a way that buyers will be able to gage space.

If you’re planning a quick sell within a couple months’ time, minimize your clothing selection down to the bare essentials. Pack up out-of-season clothes, those that you plan to wear again and haven’t, extra socks, underwear, etc.. The less cluttered the closet, the more spacious it will appear.

Rework the Space

Reorganize the functionality of your home to appeal to buyers. For example, your home office might work great for you in the living room, but may not seem appealing to home buyers. Move your office into a spare room or sectioned off space in the house. Be creative too. Try moving your furniture into different rooms and see how you can better transform a space. If it’s appealing to others it will likely be livable for you (even if it is just temporary).

Decorate with Neutral Pieces

Having a distinct style throughout a home can turn buyers away. Reduce the risk of this by decorating your home with neutral pieces that anyone would enjoy.

Fix the Small Things

Patch any holes or cracks in walls and ceilings.
Finding holes or cracks in your home is a huge red flag to homebuyers. They will quickly question whether the home is well maintained or if it has foundation issues and walk away. Patch them up large and small (unused nail holes are also good to clean up).

Outlet Covers

If your outlet covers are noticeably aged or painted over, update with new ones. At less than 50 cents a piece, you could replace all of your outlets in your home for less than $25 (although, you likely won’t need to).

Replace outdated light fixtures.

Do your rooms have yellow, gold-plated light fixtures or ceiling fans that swing as much as the blades? Replace, replace, replace!


Switch out an old, leaky or cheap-looking faucet in your kitchen and bathrooms for newer, nicer versions. This is something that the new homeowners will use every day so a little fix can make a noticeable difference.

Front Door

The front door will be one of the first things homebuyers encounter when walking through your home. Make sure it welcomes a positive impression.

Miscellaneous Fixes

Fix any small or noticeable problems especially near the entrance of the home, and most common areas like the kitchen, bathroom and living room.

Yard Maintenance

No matter the season, keeping a well-maintained yard is important. It’s the first and last thing homeowners will see when visiting the property. Keep lawns mowed and raked, driveways and sidewalks cleared and salted if needed. (Now’s also a great time to pack up that lawn kitsch, if you haven’t done so already.) Trim back any overbearing shrubs and keep toys in the house.

Make the Investment

Investing some time and money to fix up your home is a small price to pay for selling your home quickly. By eliminating noticeable concerns, creating inviting, uncluttered spaces and freshening up what’s already there, you’ll have a much easier time selling your home than if you didn’t.