• dusting a piano
  • cleaning a kitchen
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  • cleaning tile
  • high pressure deck cleaning

Living with Pets in Evanston, Il

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One of the most persisent issues homekeepers who live with pets face is animal hair- on floors, furniture, and clothing. A good way to keep hair off you and your furniture is to provide a designated spot where your pet is welcome to rest. Dog and cat beds offer comfortable alternatives to furniture. Still, pets often want to  join you on sofas and beds. Place an old towel or sheet wherever your pet likes to rest. When tidying up, just pick up the covering, shake it to remove most of the hair( do this outside), and toss it in the washing machine.

Here are a few ways to remove pet hair according to Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook:

  1. On carpeting, vacuum several times a week using full suction. Use a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
  2. On wood or other hard floors, use an electrostatic mop. They’re more efficient than vacuums since they don’t blow the hair around.
  3. On clothing, use a tape roller. Loop a ribbon through the handle and hang one from the doorknob inside closets throughout the house so they’re always ready.
  4. On upholstery, use the vacuum’s upholstery tool or get a hand vacuum with a motorized beater-bar attachment. Lint brushes designed for clothing and fry sponges, sold at pet supply stores, also work well. 
  5. You may need to try a few of these methods to find the right one for you, says a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il. 


Spotting Guide for Carpets

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The number one rule of spot removal on carpet is to always keep several bottles of club soda on hand to use on spills on any kind of carpet. If you spill, follow this advice:

*Blot up as much moisture as you can- laying old towels over the spill and standing on them is a great way to start.

*Scrape up any solids.

  • Pour club soda on the spill. don’t be afraid to really pour it on. The carbonation in the soda will “bubble up” the spill so that you can blot it up. again, cover the spot with clean, light-colored towels or rags and stand on them. This will help to absorb the spill. continue to pour and absorb until all color from the stain has been blotted up and the towel is coming up clean.
  • Follow up with a good carpet stain remover.
  • When you spot-clean carpet, never rub, as it will only spread the stain and will cause abrasion to the carpet fibers.
  • Thttp://Dialamaidusa.comhis is a good general cleaning method for most spills and definitely will not cause any damage. All of the above are suggestions from Linda Cobb’s Talking Dirty.

Candle Burning Tips

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Here’s how to keep candles burning bright and clean.

  • Cut wicks to 1/4 inch in length before lighting. The longer the wick, the larger the flame, the more the soot.
  •  Protect candles from drafts, which can create a large flame that can shorten the life of the candle, as well as cause it to melt in a lopsided manner,( which can eventually cause it to collapse).
  • Protect candles from light and heat. Placing them on a sunny windowsill or in an overheated room can cause them to soften and droop.
  • Keep wicks centered in pillar candles. Off-center wicks can cause uneven burning, leading to spills. To recenter, extinghttp://Dialamaidusa.comuish the flame, then insert a spoon handle alongside the wick and press it back into place.
  • Limit burning time of pillar candles. Pillars should burn for approximately the same number of hours as the diameter measures in inches. For example, a candle that’s 3 inches wide should burn for no more than three hours. Otherwise, the wax is likely to pool around the wick and bury it, ruining the candle. You can burn tapers as long as you want if they are not smoking or dripping excessively.
  • If a wick is drowning in its own wax, score the candle with a sharp knife all the way around, 1/2 inch from the top. cut the candle through, taking care not to sever the wick. All of the above suggestions are in Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook and promoted by DialamaidUsa.com

Lighted Candle Precautions

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Scented candles are great for effect in the home but  they definitely bring on  soot. Soot can damage walls,  curtains, dishwashers, refrigerators, etc.  Besides the soot, candles can also be a health hazard. Most scented candles are made from paraffin wax, (a petroleum product), and many of the fragrances are synthetic hydrocarbons. One study that tested soot particles from 30 randomly selected candles found traces of benzene, acetone, styrene, lead, and other toxins.  

Your safest option is to avoid using candles inside your home- burn them outside on your deck or patio instead.

If you can’t resist the ambiance scented candles provide, use the following guidelines to minimize risk:


       Look for products that use only natural essential oils for fragrance.

  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to 1.4 inch at all times and keep them out of drafts- a low, steady-burning flame produces the least amount of soot.
  • Long-burning candles tend to flicker more. Instead, use two identical candles-burn one for an hour, and then extinguish it and light the other one.
  • Avoid jar candles that have a narrow mouth, which can restrict airflow and make flames flicker.
  • Synthetic carpet fibers collect soot particles. Vacuum carpets and rugs frequently using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Regular vacuum cleaners will just spread the soot.
  • Use a high-efficiency filter on your forced hot-air or air-conditioning system, and replace it regularly.
  • Open your windows and doors to let in fresh air frequently.
  • Try 100% beeswax or soy candles-they burn cleaner and produce less black soot.

Food Storage in Plastic and Glass Containers

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Lidded plastic containers are convenient for leftovers, soups and other foods to be stored in the refrigerator and freezer. they can be washed in the dishwasher, on the top rack only. Do not, however, heat food in plastic, even plastic labeled “microwave safe,” and always let hot foods cool before putting them in plastic. When plastic is heated, it may leach potentially dangerous chemicals into food. Throw out or recycle visibly damaged, stained, or unpleasant-smelling plastic containers due to some concern that chemicals may also leach from scratches. Do not reuse plastic containers intended for one-time use, such as yogurt tubs.

Lidded glass containers are ideal for storing all sorts of foods, in the pantry, the refrigerator, and even the freezer. they are preferable to plastic containers because they are easier to clean, particularly when it comes to greasy residue, and will last for years, making them a much more economical choice. Before subjecting any class container to the extreme temperatures of the freezer or oven, however, be sure it is intended for this purpose. Brands such as Pyrex, for example, are specially designed for use in the freezer and oven. Ordinary glass will crack. If in doubt, leave it out. Most glass containers, unless they have a metallic trim or finish, are safe to use in the microwave, says a 40+year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il

Golden Rules Of Wiping Up

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Wiping up hard surfaces around the house is a basic part of the weekly cleaning routine. Any surface that is moisture tolerant can be wiped using these guidelines.

  1. Always start with the mildest cleaning product before moving on to stronger products or stronger concentrations of a cleaning solution.
  2. Some cleaning products are designed to be used full strength, while others are meant to be diluted. Always read and follow label directions. Use only the recommended amount: more will not guarantee a cleaner surface- it will only leave behind residue that can actually attract dirt and grime.
  3. Most detergents work best in warm to hot water, but be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions on the product label. If you’re cleaning a surface you have treated with wax, use tepid water.
  4. When using a spray cleaner, always apply the spray to the cloth rather than to the surface being cleaned. This prevents drips and will keep the spray off areas where it doesn’t belong.
  5. Don’t overwet surfaces. With the exception of bathtubs, bathtub surrounds, showers, and outdoor surfaces such as decks and patios, all of which are designed to withstand moisture, you should wipe surfaces with well-wrung cloths. Cleaning with excessive amounts of water can cause finishes to fail and surfaces to warp.
  6. Rinse surfaces with a clean, damp cloth and polish them dry with another clean cloth.

All of the above guidelines are recommended and found in Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook as well as being used by Dial A Maid Usa

Cleaning and Caring for CD’s,

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Here are some suggestions on how to care for your CD’s, at least until they become obsolete.

  • DO NOT touch the surface of a CD. Use only the outer edge and the center hole when you need to handle it.
  • NEVER wipe a CD in a circular motion. It can, and usually does, cause micro-scratches. If you do not have a CD cleaning kit , available at electronics and music stores, then wipe the disk gently with a soft, water-dampened, lint-free cloth. Start in the center and work your way to the outer edge. Fight the urge to wipe in a circular motion.
  • If the CD still skips after you wiped it with a dampened cloth, then combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake well and spray the disk lightly. Then, with a dry, soft cloth, wipe it from the center outward in straight strokes.
  • There’s a rumor going around that peanut butter will clean CDs. Forget it. We could not find any technician to confirm this crazy idea. Just use the baking soda and water on your disks and be very gentle while wiping them.

Don’t throw out cardboard shoe boxes. Paste attractive, contact paper on them and use them to store your CD’s. If you use clear, see-through, plastic shoe boxes, you can see which CD’s are stored inside without opening them up.

Refrigerator Grill Cleaning

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As a refrigerator pulls the heat out of the storage cavity, it vents it slowly and evenly into the kitchen through condenser coils. A buildup of dust around these coils acts like insulation and keeps the coils from releasing heat, which shortens the life of the machine.

These coils, which look like bedsprings, are usually at the bottom of the refrigerator, under the grill, although they also may be located at the top or in the back of the refrigerator.  Twice a year, or more if you live in a particularly dusty climate, clean the coils, either by vacuuming with the crevice attachment or by using a refrigerator coil brush, a long, thin brush capable of getting into tight areas, available at home centers and hardware stores. Be sure to shut off the power at the circuit breaker or fuse box beforehand.

By cleaning your refrigerator coils periodically,  you will ultimately  extend the life of your refrigerator.

Window Treatment Cleaning

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Window Treatments are not just  decorative: they allow you to control the amount of light coming in, says Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook. They are essential to avoid the bleaching of furniture or the sun’s staining of wooden floors- as well as the degree of privacy. All window treatments should be dusted monthly. Deep cleaning techniques depend on the material you’re treating.

For Fabric Vertical Blinds,Window Treatment Cleaning,  close then so they lie flat. Dust with the dust-brush tool on the vacuum, set on low suction. To spot clean, take down the slat and lat it on a flat surface. Blot the stain with a sponge dampened with mild dishwashing liquid and tepid water. Treat heavy stains with a commercial upholstery cleaner. Once a year, have a professional clean your blinds using a dry ultra-sonic technique, look up under “Window Treatments- cleaning and repair”

For Honeycomb Shades, Window Treatment Cleaning, dust monthly with a feather duster or the dust-brush tool on your vacuum, set on low suction. Spot clean with a white cloth dampened with tepid water and mild dishwashing liquid. Blot only: do not rub. Once a year, have a professional clean the blinds using the injection/extraction method, check under “Window Treatments- Cleaning and Repair”

For Pleated Shades, Window Treatment Cleaning,  dust them monthly, using the dust-brush tool on you vacuum, set the suction on low. Regular vacuuming is the only way to clean these shades.

For Wood Blinds and Shutters, Window Treatment Cleaning, close the slats so they lie flat. Working from top to bottom, dust with a feather duster, a lamb’s wool duster, an electrostatic cloth, or the dust-brush tool on you vacuum, set on low suction. Close them in the opposite direction and repeat. Wood blinds and shutters should not be exposed to steam or moisture in a kitchen or bath. Twice a year, wipe each slat with a slightly dampened cloth, then dry. 

If anyone in your family has Allergies, Dusting and Cleaning of any type of Blind that you may have, is absolutely necessary.


Waxing Wood Furniture

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Waxing may seem like a fussy housekeeping from another era, but it’s actually a shortcut to cleanliness, says Martha Stewart in her Homekeeping Handbook. Both paste and liquid wax, (sometimes called polish), repel dust and water, shielding surfaces from dirt and spills, while also adding a soft luster that helps preserve almost any material, from plastic and fiberglass to silver and concrete. Since pure waxes cannot be spread, they contain other ingredients, although pastes have a higher percentage of wax than liquids. Most waxes are suitable for more than one job, but none works on every surface. Before choosing a wax, read the label carefully to ensure it will work with the surface you are waxing. It’s wise to do the same with metal polishes, which are each formulated to restore the luster to specific materials. 

1. The first step for the correct way in waxing wood furniture, is to wipe the wood surface with a soft cloth dampened with water and mild dishwashing liquid, to clean it. If a piece is especially dirty, use a mild solvent like mineral spirits or odorless paint thinner. Test an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t damage the finish. If the finish is unchanged, dampen a soft cloth with the solvent- use it sparingly- and rub it over the wood.

2.  The next step in waxing your wood furniture, is to apply a paste wax, such as Butcher’s Wax, which is available in hardware stores and supermarkets. Use a cotton rag folded into a square pad. Paste wax which is solid and comes in a tin, contains a blend of waxes, usually carnauba and beeswax and a mild solvent, like mineral spirits or turpentine, to soften the wax. Apply a thin, even coat to a few square feet at a time, covering every inch of wood. 

3. Allow the wax to dry for ten to twenty – five minutes. If you don’t wait long enough, you’ll wipe the wax right off. If you wait too long, it will be difficult to buff out. In that case, simply add more wax to soften the existing coat. 

4. Buff with a clean cloth, turning it frequently, and try to remove all the wax. When the rag slides easily rather than drags, you’re all done.http://www.dialamaidusa.com , a 40+ year old Residential Cleaning Service in Evanston, Il, says if you follow the above suggestions, your furniture will last for years to come.

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