Cleaning a fireplace is usually one of those items that is overlooked, even in a deep home cleaning. It is important to regularly clean the fireplace as the leftover build up from fires can become toxic and can potentially harm your family.

 

Cleaning the inside of a Fireplace

Wait at least 24 hours since the last time the fireplace has been used.

Supplies Needed:

  • Plastic tarp
  • Old Towels or Sheets
  • Apron
  • Handheld Broom and Dust Pan
  • Vacuum
  • Trash Bags

STEP 1:  Prepare the Area

Lay a plastic tarp around and in front of the fireplace area. If you do not have a plastic tarp, old towels will do. Also, make sure to wear an apron and protective gloves. You may also want to wear old clothes as soot and dirt can be difficult to get off. If you have furniture close by it may also be a good idea to place sheets or towels over the surfaces to protect it.

STEP 2: Remove debris

First take out any metal grates that may be in the fireplace. Next, take any wood, tinder, or debris from the fireplace. We suggest wearing protective gloves to do this. Using a handheld broom sweep any dirt, debris or soot up and place it in a waste bin.

STEP 3: Get the small bits!

If necessary use a vacuum to pick up any remaining ash. Then throw away the debris into an outside bin.

Spot Clean the Brick on a Fireplace

Supplies Needed:

  • Cream of Tartar
  • Water
  • Old Tooth Brush
  • Rag

STEP 1: Make your mixture

Mix two tablespoons of cream of tartar with a little water to make a paste.

STEP 2:  Apply

Spread the paste on the brick with an old toothbrush. Then wait for ten minutes to let the paste sit.

STEP 3: Wash

After ten minutes use warm water and a rag to wash off the paste. If necessary apply more past and repeat steps.

Detailed Cleaning of Larger Brick Areas

Supplies Needed:

  • Baking Soda
  • Dish Soap
  • Tooth brush and/or larger scrub brush
  • Dish Cloth

STEP 1: Make your paste

Make a thin paste that is easy to spread by mixing 3 tablespoons dish soap with a half cup of baking soda. You can add more dish soap if the paste is too thick.

STEP 2: Dip and Scrub

Dip the scrub brush into the paste you have just made. Make circular motions on the brick surfaces inside and/or outside of the fireplace. When all brick surfaces of the fireplace are covered, let sit for five minutes.

STEP 3: Rinse!

After the paste has sat for five minutes, rinse the paste off with a cloth and warm water.

STEP 4: Repeat

Repeat from step one as needed.

Cleaning Fireplace Glass

Supplies Needed:

  • Stove Glass cleaner
  • Soft Dish Clothes (3 or more)
  • Water

STEP 1: Check before you start

Be sure the glass has already cooled and that the inside of the fireplace has been vacuumed and cleaned out.

STEP 2: Spray

Get one of the clothes damp with warm water. Spray some of the stove glass cleaner onto the damp cloth.

STEP 3

Next rub the cloth over the fireplace glass focusing on the stained areas. Once again, use circular motions as well as back and forth motions. You may need to apply some pressure to get hard stains to come off.

STEP 4

Continue to apply more cleaner to the cloth and continue circular and back to forth motions until all stains have been removed.

STEP 5

After all stains have been removed take a new damp cloth and wipe the surfaces clean.

STEP 6

Lastly, take your last clean cloth and dry the glass so that there are no streaks.

That’s it!

Cleaning ann oven usually involves harsh chemicals that create fumes and an unsafe environment for your family. We detailed a safe way to clean your oven with everyday products you likely have already in your home. All you need is a few items and a little elbow grease! I will list two options depending on the type of oven you have in your home.

How to Clean a Self-Cleaning Oven

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • Water
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponge
  • Vinegar
  • Small Brush and Dust Pan
  • 2 or 3 Gentle Clothes

STEP 1

Choose a time when the kitchen is not being used. Open windows and possibly doors to ventilate the room so that fumes do not bother family members. Make sure you will be home for the length of the self-clean. (The average self-clean cycle can last 3 to 6 hours)

STEP 2

Remove the oven racks and any other objects you have inside the oven. Set them aside. Place oven racks in the sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to soak. Vinegar and hot water can also be used as a soaking solution.

STEP 3

Turn on the oven’s self-cleaning mode. The oven door should then lock. If the oven door does not lock, place tape over the door or use another barrier to make sure that family members will not be able to open the door. During a cleaning cycle the oven will reach between 800 and 900 degrees Fahrenheit. The cycle will turn any food and grease into gray ash.

STEP 4

Wait at least two hours after the oven’s self-cleaning cycle has finished in order to let the oven cool down. Once it has cooled completely, sweep any ash out of the oven with a small brush and dustpan. Next use a damp cloth to wipe the oven clean. You can use a vinegar and water solution to dampen the cloth.

If the oven is extra dirty you may need to continue reading and scrub the oven with the solutions below under “Non-Self Cleaning Oven”. If the oven is now clean, continue.

STEP 5

After you have let the oven racks soak, scrub any extra food or grease off of each rack with a sponge. Rinse the racks and dry them with a clean towel. Then place them back inside the oven.

STEP 6

Clean the seals of the oven as well as the exterior oven door with a gentle cloth and hydrogen peroxide. This can also be done periodically to keep the door clean. And that’s it!

How to Clean a Non-Self-Cleaning Oven

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

  • Baking soda
  • Rubber gloves
  • Water
  • Rubber gloves
  • Damp dishcloth
  • Plastic or silicone spatula
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar

STEP 1

Remove the oven racks and any other objects you have inside the oven. Set them aside. Place oven racks in the sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to soak. Vinegar and hot water can also be used as a soaking solution.

STEP 2

Remove the oven racks and any other objects you have inside the oven. Set them aside. Place oven racks in the sink with warm water and a few drops of dish soap to soak. Vinegar and hot water can also be used as a soaking solution.

STEP 3

Make a baking soda paste. Mix ½ cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water in a bowl. Usually, 3 or 4 tablespoons of water make a great spreadable paste.

STEP 4

Use a sponge to spread the baking soda paste over the interior surfaces of your oven. Make sure to be aware of heating elements. This would be a great time to put on those rubber gloves in case your oven is full of grease and grime. The baking soda paste may turn a brownish color which is perfectly okay. Make sure to get all the nooks and crannies.

STEP 5

Let the paste sit in the oven overnight or approximately 12 hours.

STEP 6

Use a damp gentle cloth and wipe out the oven. You may need to use a plastic or silicone spatula with a little bit of elbow grease for those hard area.

STEP 7

Now fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray the areas you still see baking soda. This will create a reaction and the baking soda will foam, making it easier to remove.

STEP 8

Do a final wipe down, removing the last bit of foam and solution from your oven. Use a clean damp cloth and possibly more vinegar to make the surfaces shiny.

STEP 9

Place the clean oven racks back inside the oven.

That’s it!!!

VINEGAR

Vinegar is by far one of the most versatile cleaning agents. Use it to remove soap scum from the shower. Mix it with borax to get rid of hard-water rings in the toilet. Tape a bag of vinegar to your shower head and leave it overnight for an easy, sparkly clean; or add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar to your dish soap to eliminate grease in the kitchen.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE

You use your toothbrush to clean your teeth, but don’t forget about cleaning your toothbrush. Let it soak in hydrogen peroxide for a few minutes to get rid of any lingering germs. Hydrogen peroxide is also useful on many hard surfaces. Use it to scrub your toilet, trash cans, shower, mirrors and doorknob. You can even mix it with equal parts water for a safe and effective solution for mopping the bathroom and kitchen floors.

LEMONS

The acid in lemons makes them a great natural cleanser. The juice is great for disinfecting kitchen countertops and cutting boards. Cut a lemon in half and scrub your bath and shower to remove soap scum. And if your shaving cream has left a rusty ring in your bathtub, use your lemon half to scrub it away.

VODKA

Do you have a mold and mildew problem in the bathroom? Skip a trip to the store, and pull out some inexpensive vodka from the liquor cabinet. Spray it directly onto the mold and mildew, and wait 15 minutes. Then use a cloth or small scrubbing brush to wipe it clean. And don’t forget to save a little for an after-cleaning celebration!

TEA

More than a favorite beverage, brewed tea can be used to clean windows, mirrors and countertops. Spray on your bathroom surfaces just as you would any typical window or surface cleaner. Then, keep your bags to hide in the back of the fridge. They will actually work to deodorize it. And if you need to remove the scent of onion, garlic or fish from your hands, cut a bag open, and wash your hands with the leaves to remove the odor.

SALT

Remember that miracle lemon that cleaned the tub? If your dirt stains are particularly stubborn, add some salt to the lemon, and scrub the surface of your bathtub, sink or toilet. Once your salt solution has done the trick, just rinse off any pulp and leftover residue, leaving your bathroom perfectly clean with a lemon-fresh scent!

BAKING SODA

Perfect for cleaning counters, sinks, drains, the toilet bowl, soap scum, shower doors, shower heads, and well, pretty much anything in the kitchen and bathroom, baking soda is one cleaning agent you don’t want to be without. For most kitchen and bathroom surfaces, a simple paste made of baking soda and water will do the trick.

DRAIN CLEANER

Though it is not a natural cleaning solution, exactly, a drain snake is an eco-friendly way to clean out the main source of drain blockage: hair. And if you don’t have a drain snake, you can still avoid pouring harsh chemicals down the bathtub drain by unwinding a wire hanger, hooking the end, pushing it down the drain as far as it will go, and pulling up hair that is keeping the water from draining properly.

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How to Clean Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is always hard at work cleaning your dishes, but what cleans the dishwasher? Often times dishwashers operate for years without receiving the attention that they need and required in order to continue to run efficiently and not fall apart. Out of all of the things in your house, often times this one is neglected. Here is a list of things you will need to get your dishwasher looking new:

Sponge
Distilled white vinegar
Baking soda
Screwdriver (if needed)
Dish soap
Toothbrush (for small to reach areas)
Microfiber cloth
Stainless steel cleaner
Multipurpose cleaner
Instructions
1. Empty the dishwasher. Cleaning the dishwasher while it is full just won’t work.

2. Remove the racks and and other compartments that can be removed from the inside of your dishwasher.

3. Wipe the bottom of the door and any dishwasher grates that you might have (the bottom part underneath the door). Often times dust and crumbs will accumulate here because water cannot reach there.

4. If you have a filter in your washer, it’s a good idea to clean it periodically.

5. Wipe the door seal and by soaking a cloth in vinegar, then wipe around the door seal. Make sure to get into the small areas with a toothbrush or Q-tip also soaked in vinegar.

6. Clean the utensil rack with a soapy toothbrush or dish brush. Then rinse and wash off the top and bottom racks of your dishwasher and put them back into the dishwasher.

7. Run an empty cycle with vinegar, this will help to remove hard water deposits and clean any other areas you may have missed during your cleaning. You can add 2 cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and run the dishwasher. Stop the dishwasher halfway through the cycle, and let the vinegar stand on the bottom for about 20 minutes. Turn on and complete the cycle. * Please note that vinegar is acidic and should be used with caution.

8. Clean and polish the exterior, sides, and all buttons on the panel with a cleaner that is made for the type of surface that your dishwasher has, such as a stainless steel cleaner or an all purpose cleaner.

9. You’re all done! Repeat once a month or as needed. Now it is time to move on to other tasks in your home.

6 Things You Might Not Be Cleaning Often Enough

If you are like most people when it comes to house cleaning, the kitchen counters and the bathroom sinks get a lot of attention, but you are probably overlooking a few areas that could use a little more cleaning love.

To make sure all areas of your home are getting the attention they deserve, make sure to mix things up the next time you put the cleaning gloves on and give these six areas a good scrub
down:

1. Fridge
How Often: Clean it monthly!
The first step is to get rid of everything that is gross or questionable. If possible, keep everything else in a cool place while you scrub away, cleaning the inside of your fridge.
Remove the shelves and place them somewhere where they can warm up slowly. If you wash them too soon, while they are still very cold, hot water might crack them. While you are waiting for the shelves, start wiping down and scrubbing the inside walls.
Once the shelves are at a decent temperature, place them in warm water and scrub away. Dry the shelves thoroughly and then place them back in the fridge.
Now that your fridge is clean (and empty at the moment) this would be a good time to use your organizational skills when placing your food back in the fridge.

2. Door Knobs
How Often: Clean them weekly!
The door knobs in your home can be one of the dirtiest and most germ infested areas in your home. In addition to that, they are one of the most touched surfaces in your home, which increase the likelihood that any germs will be easily spread. Take an all-purpose disinfectant and spray the entire knob. Use the cloth to wipe away and remove the spray, dirt, and germs.

3. Ceilings
How Often: Clean them every 3 months!
Wait, what? Clean the ceiling? Yep! If you haven’t looked up at your ceiling in a while, take a few minutes to do so. If you see only a few cobwebs, take an extended duster and wipe them down. Don’t have a duster that extends? Take a broom and wrap it with an old t-shirt to get those webs.
If you have more than just a few cobwebs, you have to put a little more effort into you cleaning. Find a good all-purpose cleaner and a sponge. Test a spot on your ceiling to make sure the paint does not discolor with the cleaner you have selected. If you cannot get areas on your ceiling to come clean, it might be time to freshen it up with a coat of paint.

4. Shower Curtains
How Often: Clean them monthly!
Have you ever accidentally brushed up against your shower curtain while taking a shower? Did it feel slimy? That’s because your shower curtain is always working hard on building up a layer of soap scum.
If you have a cloth curtain, you can wash it in your regular laundry cleaning process. If you have a vinyl curtain, you might be able to still use your washing machine, but you likely need to put it in the wash by itself. Add one cup of white vinegar to the load and start the cycle on hot.
If your curtain is still gross after washing it, then toss it and get a new one.

5. Toothbrush Holders
How Often: Weekly
Oh boy, this can be one of the dirtiest places that rarely gets cleaned. You take care to make sure your toothbrush is clean, but what about the tooth brush holder? That area does a great job at catching all of the bacteria and sludge that come from your toothbrush. You can quickly and easily clean your holder by running it through the dishwasher or by hand scrubbing it with hot water and soap.

6. Pillows
How Often: At least every 6 months
Ah, pillows are great. But did you ever stop to think about how dirty they can get? If they are not cleaned occasionally, they become a paradise for bacteria to flourish. First, you need to check the label on your pillow to make sure you can run it through the washing machine. Also, be sure to toss two pillows in at a time, that way your machine will stay balanced during the cleaning cycle. Run your pillows through the rinse cycle at least two times, so that it get rid of any detergent residue.
Toss them into the dryer until they are dry.

Have a home in Scottsdale that could use a good cleaning? We can help with that. You can call us or schedule online to book your background check house cleaning team in the Scottsdale area and through the Phoenix Valley.

Make Your Home a Dust Free Zone

Arizona is known for a couple of different things: Scenic views, great weather, but a lot of people forget about or unlimited amounts of DUST! When it comes to house cleaning jobs, it is almost always best to attack them at the source; with dust this is nearly impossible. Household dust is mostly comprised of dirt, skin flakes and textiles fibers; add to that living in the desert and you have a perfect storm. Unless you plan on getting rid of all your clothes, we suggest talking this issue in a more socially acceptable and efficient way.

First thing is to pick you tools: You’ve probably seen a feather duster before, yes they look fancy and are probably a lot of fun to play with, but they only move dust around instead of capturing it. Instead, get yourself a damp soft cloth or a microfiber duster, these will capture the dust and keep it from going everywhere. A vacuum would be another thing to have handy, a lot of surfaces are better of vacuumed than to dusted.

Now that you have your tools up and ready it is time to get to cleaning your house. It is better to go in with a plan, don’t just dust anywhere, follow a path through your home and stick to it. it might as obvious, but it is always better to go from top to bottom. Another good practice is to move through the room clockwise or counterclockwise, this way you make sure you do not miss any spots. Do not forget to get to those hard to reach places as dust likes to accumulate especially in those hard to reach spots.

The truth is that no matter how much time you spend doing house cleaning, dust will keep coming back week after week. There is no practical way to keep 100% of the dust reappearing later next week, but there is a number of different things you can look for that can keep your home dust-free for a longer time.

Your A/C not only maintains your home at a comfortable temperature but it also maintains the airflow in your home, make sure that your air filter is well maintained. A clean air filter will reduce the amount of dust that makes it back to you living spaces.

As I mentioned before, dust is made in a large percentage of skin flakes and fabric, what better place to find these than your bed. Your bed sheet need to be changed and cleaned on a regular basis, this will keep the amount of dust coming from you bed in check.

A lot of the dust coming into our homes comes from outside, a mat in your front door or just inside of your home will keep a lot of the dirt in your shoes from coming into your home. Of course make sure to clean this mat every once in a while.

Of course you can always the professionals from Queen of Maids help you out and handle your dust for you. Either way follow these simple tips and be sure that your home will look and feel more clean.

Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the most important place to deep clean.  You wash dishes and wipe down counters daily but the rest of it might get put on the back burner, literally. Here is how you can make sure not to miss a thing.

Daily Dos:
First, you have to take care of the daily jobs, and then you can get to the deep clean.
Wash the dishes in the sink, wipe off the counters off and unload the dishwasher.

Oven-on:
Now the fun begins! To start, turn on your self-cleaning oven. Make sure to check it when you are done and get rid of the excess ashes of food debris at the bottom. No one needs those.

Organize:
Take everything out of each cupboard. Place all items on the counter and wipe out each shelf. Now you can start to decide what to keep and what to get rid of. Make piles of trash and donation, then place the rest of the items neatly back inside the cupboards.
Now lets hit the drawers. We all have those junk drawers we are procrastinating. Get rid of anything you are not using and de-clutter! Make sure to wipe them out before placing any items back into them.
Then, it is time to tackle the fridge and freezer. Throw away anything that is freezer burnt or questionable. Wipe down all surfaces and wash drawers in the sink that are removable. Dry all surfaces and place items back inside the fridge/freezer.
Tip: to get rid of sticky food left behind mix vinegar with dish soap and wipe clean

Under the Sink:
Make sure everything is labeled. Refill any products that are running low. Wipe out area and let it dry completely before placing products back. Run your garbage disposal with half a lemon and hot water. It will give your kitchen a fresh smell.

Almost done:
Turn off your oven and sweep up any mess you made with the ashes. Then mop! Makes sure to pay special attention to corner and baseboards. Also, pull out any appliances that can be moved in order to get underneath.

This sounds like a lengthy process and it is! Try listening to some music to pass the time, or just give us a call!

Spring Cleaning is right around the corner! Don’t know how to begin your attack on all the house cleaning?

Here is a check list to make sure you cover all your bases and don’t miss a thing!

Kitchen
• De-clutter your counters and get rid of unnecessary kitchen utensils and tools
• Wipe down top and front of cabinets
• Wipe down backsplash
• Clean inside of oven
• Clean microwave and toaster oven
• Clean refrigerator
• Vacuum under all appliaces
• Clean out pantry and get rid of unwanted food
• Sweep
• Mop

Living Room
• De-clutter anything you don’t need, want or use
• Dust all cobwebs
• Vacuum couches
• Sweep/vacuum/mop/shampoo floors
• Wash curtains and blinds

Bedrooms
• De-clutter clothing, shoes and anything unneeded
• Wash all bedding
• Flip mattress
• Vacuum/sweep/mop/shampoo floors

Kids and Pets
• De-clutter broken toys
• Disinfect toys
• Bathe pets
• Wash water/food bowls

Bathrooms
• De-clutter toiletries, cabinets and drawers
• Wash Shower curtain
• Clean tub and toilet
• Sweep/mop floors

Laundry Room
• De-clutter cleaning supplies you don’t need
• Clean washer and dryer inside and outside
• Sweep/mop floors

All around the House
• Clean all ceiling fans
• Wash windows and mirrors
• Change batteries to smoke detectors
• Wipe down walls and baseboards
• Clean air vents

If this still isn’t motivating you to get it all done- Let us take it off your hands!

Change the way your linens smell

Here’s a quick 4 step process to infuse lavender into your bedroom.

1. Mix things up.

Make a batch of homemade laundry detergent (it only takes a few minutes).

2. Infuse with yum!

Add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil and mix well into your detergent. Make sure to break up clumps with a fork so the oil is even distributed throughout.

3. Get clean.

Wash your clothes, bedding, linens or anything else you want to smell wonderful with two tablespoons of this lavender infused detergent.

4. Soften.

For the last step, add ¾ cup of vinegar (with a few more drops of lavender oil) during the rinse cycle. It acts as a fabric softener, which leaves your sheets fluffy and soft.

Enjoy!