Monday, November 24, 2014

Keep life simple: 3 cleaning tips for saving time, energy and money

It is officially the holiday season. Time to simplify.  There is no need to finish this year feeling like you just ran a marathon at full speed.  The season of late autumn and winter begs us to move to a slightly less vigorous drum beat.  

Keeping with the vision of a simple and happy holiday season- here are our 3 top time and energy savers for your cleaning

1.  Save Time:  One cleaning towel - has 8 cleaning sides

   Save time by using your towels more effectively.  Folded correctly, a cleaning towel will have 8 clean surfaces.  So as you clean around your home, you can cover a huge amount of space without having to change towels.  More time to play and less need for a drawer full of towels

    Tool:  A quality microfiber or good cleaning towel
    When picking your towels: Think quality over quantity
    We use quality microfibers, 16x16 terry cloth towels and 18x24 cotton hand towels- for floors

     Here's how to fold your towels: Take your cleaning towel or microfiber and fold it in half. Now fold in half again.  You will have a neatly folded towel 1/4 the size of your cloth.
   As you clean, flip over, then unfold and flip again.  Keep going until all 8 sides have been used.
   Another cleaning efficiency tip is to hold your hand flat as you clean to maximize your working motion

2. Use Less Cleaner:  Use the two towel method

   The two towel cleaning method is incredibly quick, simple and leaves your surfaces clean, residue free and dry.  Effective use of microfibers in cleaning has the potential to remove germs without leaving behind soap that will attract more soil.  This is a huge bonus on time saving.  Not only will you maximize your cleaning but you won't be chasing your cleaners around, which if left behind will give you more soil/ or RESIDUE and twice the work.  Less is more rules!!!

    Tools:  Microfiber, water, friction and a drying towel
    Here's how to use the two method:
    Get your microfiber damp- with just hot water.  Have another towel just for drying.  Fold both towels as shown above.
    This two towel method is perfect  for light soil, water based soils and for containing your dust.
    Rug back and forth over your surface first with the damp microfiber, follow up directly with a the drying towel. Work in small section.
  This cleaning process uses fiction cleaning (elbow grease) microfiber technology and maximal removal of soil and water  - hint the soil goes into the towels and out of your home
    Continue to flip your towels so you are always working with a clean towel.

3. Minimize your cleaners:  Use one cleaner for lots of different cleaning chores

      For greasy surfaces or surfaces with soap build up use:  Dish washing liquid
   My grandma Lois used to say, don't waste all that good soapy water when you are doing dishes- put it to good use. 
   Your dish washing cleaner is a powerful de-greaser, it is usually neutral in pH, highly concentrated (which saves you money) and you already own it!  Brilliant- more with less!!! 
   Tool:  Dishwasher cleaner- the kind you clean your dishes with.
    Want to use a safe dishwasher cleaner?  Click here and go to Environmental working group to find the safest.
   Here's how to get the most cleaning out of one cleaner:  
   Using the two towel cleaning method and the folding towel as shown above.  Substitute the hot, lightly soapy towel for the wet towel above.
     Dip your cleaning towel or microfiber into the hot bubbly water, now rinse it off with hot water and ring it out.  It is important to use very diluted dish washing soap unless you are going to fully rinse.  Wipe counter tops, appliances, around the light switches, painted walls- clean areas where there is a need for de-greasing or deeper cleaning.
   Cleaning tip:  To remove soil you must break the surface tension.  Using elbow grease or as it is now called- friction cleaning, along with a little time gives you hugely improved results over the old fashion method of overkill called the spray and wipe method.
   Always follow your cleaning a with a good dry toweling.  

Wishing you all simple, happy and delicious holidays!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The 5 essentials of Residue Free Cleaning

Before getting out of bed this morning I was thinking about the traits of residue free cleaning.  Normally I do yoga first thing in the morning but today all I could think about was residue free cleaning.  Who does that?  Me I guess.

When I make cleaning presentations it is usually under the title of green cleaning.  But I rarely actually do a presentation on green cleaning.  Instead, I almost always talk about residue free cleaning.  Green cleaning and residue free cleaning are close cousins but residue free is more of a philosophy than a product or tool.

As a professional cleaner of 23 years and counting we have learned a wee bit about cleaning.  Our style of cleaning- or residue free cleaning as we call it, comes from in insane amount of experience, researching, witnessing, the always helpful school of hard knocks, and a slightly odd amount of time thinking about cleaning.

So without further a dew... drum roll... here are the 5 essentials of Residue Free Cleaning:

1.       Awareness:  knowing what you are cleaning or attempting to clean in the first place is where you start.
          Questions: What is your surface?  What is your soil?  How did it get there?
    Example:  Let’s say you have white deposits on a glass shower door in a shower with travertine walls.  Your soil is most likely hard water deposits and soap scum. Your stone is both acid and scratch sensitive.
    Hint:  Most hard water removers are usually strong acids and will etch your travertine shower.  If you try to scrub off the deposits you may scratch your travertine.  This little bit of awareness can save you big bucks by not having to re-polish your travertine after it is damaged

2.      Practicing prevention:  If damage or soil can be prevented up front then by all means do that!
     Questions:  Could this soil have been prevented and how? 
           Examples:  Taking off shoes, using effective and clean entry mats can reduce the overall soil of a house by 76%!!  It benefits your indoor air quality, minimized your dust and dirt and helps all flooring last longer!  Another example would be to have rinsed and dried your shower each day- this would have minimized any white deposits on your shower walls.
           Hint: An ounce of prevention will save you a ton of time, energy, money and damage.

3.      Start with the mildest and safest means:  When you use the safest, mildest procedure and products your damage to both you, surface and environment is greatly reduced.
Questions:  What is the very mildest and safest way for me to start?
 Often, we find our clients using what we would consider a restorative cleaning product for daily maintenance.  These products tend to be aggressive, potentially dangerous, over kill and often damaging to your surfaces.  
      Hint:  Maybe all that is needed is a good vacuum or dust.  If you do need to clean start mild, you can always improve your system or increase the strength of your cleaning if the mild means doesn't work.  You will find with the right system mild cleaners usually do the trick so start here and then call for help if it doesn't.
       Example:  In the case of the hard water deposits in your shower… prevention rules. But if you do find yourself with hard water deposits, abrading off with a non scratch pad and a non acidic / mild abrasive product is the way to go.  Try baking soda or bon ami.  We use a product that contains sea shells which does require our elbow grease but works wonders.

4.      Break the surface tension:  In our culture of cleaning today, chemicals rule.  But the chemical part of cleaning is only part of cleaning and not the whole equation.  The goal of cleaning is to remove from the surface what doesn't belong on the surface- such as hard water deposits- without doing any damage- to persons, surfaces and environment.
  Question:  How would I remove dried oatmeal from my cooking pan?
    Hint: There are many parts of breaking surface tension
             Know what the characteristics of your surface.   Is it scratch, heat, acid, or bleach sensitive?
             Remove the big stuff- vacuum, scoop up or blow off the big dirt
             When cleaning, implement these four parts of cleaning
a.       Heat:  Heat usually elevates the cleaning power of your cleaner.  By mixing your concentrate cleaners with hot water you can usually use milder cleaners and get way more cleaning power.
b.       Time:  Leaving your cleaner on the surface/soil for a while helps it break the surface tension-            
c.       Agitation:  This is a lot like elbow grease.  In our company we have zillions of different 
                                types of agitators.  Our best agitators are:  microfibers or terry cloth towels, non scratch pads, brushes- natural hair and nylon, neoprene squeegees.
Chemical:  And finally we come to the cleaner.  Did you know water is a very effective cleaner?  Paired with the agitation and technology of a microfiber, it is brilliant!  You don't need a zillion cleaners but you do need a neutral cleaner, an acid, an abrasive cleaner and sometimes a high alkaline cleaner- that is pretty much it.  
    Tips:  One of my favorite neutral cleaners is fragrance free, natural dish washing liquid.  Did you know most hand soaps and dish washing liquids were neutral- meaning they had a pH of right around 7.  Another great little product is your baking soda- it works as a wonderfully mild and safe abrasive.  Vinegar makes an effective acidic cleaner- just don't use it on your travertine shower- it will etch the heck out of it!!!  And as far as alkaline cleaner- start with your dish washing liquid- you will be amazed how go of cleaner they usually are.

5.       And finally and this may be the most important part of residue free cleaning:
    Leave nothing behind!!!  
Question:  What am I leaving behind?
Hint:  Aim to leave nothing behind: soil- chemical- moisture
           Do no harm to people or surface
3 Tips:
a.       Don't spray cleaners into the air- the mist will go places you don't want or expect
b.        Always rinse after applying cleaner- cleaners left behind can make your surfaces re-soil faster.  They also can become food for bacteria and molds.  Residues left behind can give you a false shine and they muddy your surfaces.  And of course they might accidentally end up in us people.  Clean surfaces that have no residue will be clear - the essence of your surface will be apparent.
c.         Always dry your surfaces- nobody likes to go to bed wet and neither does your surfaces.  By rinsing and drying you are removing extra layers of both soil and cleaner.  Dust won’t stick to your surfaces when they are dry and you will have residue free surfaces.

And there you go: the 5 essentials of residue free cleaning.  You will find a residue free home will be healthier, stay cleaner longer, it will save you money and time and it is much better for the environment, for the cleaner and for the surface itself!! Not bad for a little bit of cleaning

     I am now free to go about my day.  My cleaning writing brain is now residue free!!

May your homes be happy, healthy and residue free,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Ounce Of Prevention blog- Where did it come from?

    This blog, an ounce of prevention, was created after numerous phone calls from stressed clients.  The stress came from damaged done from cleaners or restorative chemicals- damaged that could have totally been prevented with just a smidgen of help.  And so I created this blog.  I wanted to give that smidgen of help to prevent what could be prevented.

   This afternoon, I'm working on an upcoming presentation for Piece County's Cancer Survivor Conference.  My class will be all about prevention.  Preventing stress and unnecessary chemical exposure.  In our world of speed and ease, sometimes our health gets lost in the dust.  If a splash of prevention will alleviate even a speck of stress or damage I will talk until the cows come home.

    As I'm gathering my key points, a lovely lady called me today.  As we were chatting, she shared with me her own frustrations with "normal old" cleaners.  She had used a "household" chemical that ended up causing her to be over exposed to a nasty little chemical - which gave her asthma!  This is not uncommon and actually a pretty high insistence in the cleaning/restoration/building industries.  While on the phone, she also told me about a friend who lost her eye from working with a toilet bowl cleaner!  I would love to say, these are rare incidences but I can't.

   What is true is that we have all gotten so used to using chemicals in our food, on our bodies, to clean with to paint with, to make and to create with that we are not weary any more.  These products that are sold in our grocery stores, just a couple isles down from our food, must be safe...Right???

   Here is what I know:  
      We as a society use way too much chemical to get most jobs done- needlessly
     These chemicals are usually over kill for the job- too aggressive and too dangerous
     We have stopped using systems and physics but now rely only on the strength of chemical to get the
               job done
      Many chemicals:
               especially cleaners, pesticides, paints, disinfectants and fragrances are sprayed into our air
      Chemicals get accidentally mixed together all the time
      We are habitual by nature and become desensitized to what we are around all the time
      The labels, which are not great but still helpful, are rarely read or followed
      Safety measures are rarely implemented
      Change takes effort and so finding safer alternatives gets put on the back burner of our long to do lists
      We forget to ask questions about our chemicals- what, why, how, when, where????
      We apply lots of chemical and then leave them behind....
       We don't know where to start or how to use safer products and so we give up

    I'm not against modern improvements and our business is based on using chemicals to assist our work.  But what I am against is not pausing those few seconds to ponder our next step. It is in those precious seconds of questioning our next move, of listening to the little voice within, of pausing to ask for help that makes all the difference in the world.

   If you can, please come visit my upcoming presentations. 
                  If you cant, then I ask you a favor?...

 Before you use a chemical in your home or on your body...

1.  Pause - learn to pause and ask questions
             What are you using?
              Why are you using it?  How long have you used it? How do you feel when you use it?
              What is it?  What is in it?  What is that?
              Have I read the label- do I understand this product?
              Is there a better, safer, milder product or way to go forward?

2. Practice Doing no harm- always use the mildest and safest way
             Is this product safe for me, the environment, the material I'm working with?
             How am I using it?  Did it get into mouth, get on my skin or into my lungs?
             Is there a safer way?  Can I prevent needing this product?

3.  Leave nothing behind!  
            What is lingering behind?
            Did I remove this product-completely?
            How do I feel?

4.  Go outside and breathe
           Unplug for just a second and go outside.  Breathe in fresh air, look at the sky, the trees the water
           We typically spend 80-90% percent of our time indoors
           Our homes are usually 2-5 times more toxic than the outdoors.
           Sometimes our best solution is to look at life from a new angle.

Hope to see you on Sept 13th!  As always, wishing you a healthy, happy and residue free home!


What is that odor?

    In the great race of life, sometimes things get a bit...well ...ripe.  When you find your house smelling not quite as fresh you would like, pause, just a moment and rethink your next move.  I know there are a lot of commercials nudging you to spray a magical solution that will make your world all roses or lemons or pine fresh again. 

   The commercials advertise:  "Just spray our  ___________  on your  __________  and no matter what stench exists, your life will be happier-fresher-smoother."  hahaha   

    Oh, if life were really that simple.  Of course it isn't and if you take a little pause maybe your good old fashioned common sense will kick in.  

   We as living creatures,  should breathe healthy air- it is kind of essential.   We don't thrive from breathing in chemicals.  

   The 1st 3 steps in odor removal:  
    1.  Pause!  Don't panic!
    2.  Investigate, go CSI on discovering- what is the source of this stench?
    3.  Remove the source of this unpleasant smell. 

   Yesterday, I was in our 2nd bathroom and was a bit horrified by the odor I smelled.  So I yelled for Dallas-my husband- that is kind of like pausing isn't it?  He was busy but did suggest I check the drain in the tub and run a little water.  (This bathroom doesn't see much shower activity- hint hint)  I did run water in that drain and sure enough that is where the stench was coming from.  All it needed was a good flushing. Spraying brad x all over me, my shower and home was not near as effective at removing this odor as was running a little water.

Here are some possible odor locations worth checking next time your nose goes on high alert:

8 Odor Sources to check: 
      Beware this list isn't to be read before dinner...
   1.  Drains- Unused drains can become quite irksome
                        Over used drains call also become quite irksome- hair and soap build up

    2.  Rotting produce- There is nothing as bad as a rotting potato on top of your microwave
                                         I guess rotting garlic isn't that great either
                                         Food that travels, will hide where you would least expect it...

   3.   Trash bins- sometimes things get thrown away with a little too much time before trash day.  A fish wrapper will get mighty flamboyant by about day 3

   4.  Grease filters- when was the last time you cleaned your grease filter over your stove???

   5.  Dirty diapers, litter boxes and pet accidents- these are rarely a good dinner smell.  Babies and kittens are super cute- what comes out the other end... well....

   6.  Moldy socks, moldy towels, moldy anything- dig deep and see what hides under beds, in corners, seals to dishwashers or washing machines.  
    Make sure to check against exterior walls - closets, behind beds or furniture with little air flow - condensation forms here and this is a common area for unexpected mold growth.

    7.  It could be cleaning issue.  Soil, bacteria, soap, mold all come together to for a bio-film on your home- clean it up.  Check pets beds, bathroom's, walls, blinds, under refrigerators etc...

   8.  Sometimes you just have a case of stale air. Make sure your home is getting renewed, fresh air everyday.  And on the flip side make sure the stale/stagnate air is being venting out

   OK my work is done for the day.  But keep this in mind, when a company recommends you should spray their chemical/product everywhere, what they are mainly doing is selling you a lot of chemical!!!

  Happy investigating!  As always, wishing you a healthy, happy and sweet smelling home.
         Denise Frakes

Monday, July 7, 2014

The unexpected discovery from hard water deposit experiment

   Have you ever stumbled upon an unexpected gift while searching for something completely different? This is what happened to me.  While trying to find a solution for our clients, to prevent hard water deposits in showers, I got a huge bonus.

    In our business, we clean a lot of showers and hard water deposits go hand in hand with showers.  Those deposits have an irritating habit of just hanging around, drying up, leaving white deposits and then bonding to soap to create a lovely little chemical bonding called: soap scum!!  

   Was it possible to prevent or at least minimize those pesky hard water deposits?  We tried a test at our own home.  We purchased a shower filter, installed it and waited to see if it would work.
   What happened next was an unexpected gift.  

    Let me back up a bit.  For years, I had dry skin on my hands-in between my knuckles.  And if you know me, you would also know I tried pretty much everything (healthy) I could think of to get rid of my dry skin. I took omega 3 oil.  I ate avocados, flax seeds and walnuts. I drank lots of water and I put on lotions, oils and I still had dry skin.  Until...drum roll... we tested the water filter to remove hard water deposits.  

  The filter we use is also designed to remove the chlorine.  After, less than two weeks of using this filter, my dry skin disappeared.  And to this day, I have not had one bit of dry skin between my knuckles.  Unless, I use a high alkaline soap/cleaner but that story is for another day.

  I am not a shower filter expert.  The only thing I can share is what I have used.  And by the way, shower filters are not very pretty. A shower filter is just a filter that goes between the wall and your shower head.  But with all the products we use for beauty- this little not so pretty addition, is a good addition.  I should also mention I also noticed an improvement of my hair and all my skin.

   I don't know if you will get the same results I did but I have a hunch if you are sensitive to chlorine as I probably am, a good shower filter might prove helpful.

  And to answer our original question, would a filter prevent hard water deposits? I'm pretty sure it does.  We don't have any noticeable hard water deposits in our shower, but we also rinse, dry each day and don’t live in Gig Harbor- which is notorious for its hard water deposits.  I also can tell you this, if I did live in a home with an abundance of hard water deposits, or if we were on well water, or if I had dry skin I would give a good shower filter a try. 

 As always, wishing you a healthy, happy and residue free home.

  If you would like more information on the shower filter we use or how to get one, please just give me a call or e-mail me.

A simple but effective method to clean up life's little messes

  Life is abundant and sometimes abundantly messy.  Finding safe and effective ways to clean up life's little messes is the topic for today's conversation.  Recently, we were cleaning for a client, N.O. (our client). While at her home, she shared with us her brilliant way of cleaning up kitty surprises.

 Even though this recipe was specifically used for cat pee, I believe it would work equally well for puppy pee, baby pee or probably any other spill or leak your home may be blessed with.  

  Carpet spills are deceptive.  What you see is not always what you have.  If the visible spill is the size of a tennis ball- chances are it is 5-10 times larger on the backing of your carpet.  It is like magic but not the good kind.

  Over the years, we have found a lot of spotting usually leads to a lot of residue left behind. When we clean, our hot water reactivates the spotting residue and we become surrounded by dense patches of soap/foam. 

    This soap residue is not what you want!  It will attract more soil, it will become food for bacteria and you most likely still have some of the original spill/leek left behind.

  Thanks to this recipe,
from N.O, we think you will be amazed at what a beautiful and effective job can done to clean up life’s little surprises, leaving nothing behind!!!  Love it!!!
         N.O.'s Recipe for pee clean up (or most any other spill)

1. Find the spill/spray/pee spot- the sooner the better!! 
    Hint: Try not to accidentally step in fresh spill when stumbling out of bed first thing in the morning.

2. Blot up as much as possible
    Press down on spill with very absorbent material such as...
             paper towels, terry cloth, diaper etc
Hint: Do not rub fabric back and forth - you will damage the carpet fibers

3. Spray spot with either club soda or fresh water
      N.O. said the original recipe was to use club soda- which she used for a while but then just switched to water and hasn't noticed much difference.           

   Hint: There is a bubbling reaction with the club soda and baking soda- you may want to try both ways.

4. Next cover spill with baking soda 
   N.O. puts enough to completely cover carpet so you can't see the carpet any more.
Hint: Let the baking soda completely dry. 
       The pee/spill will travel up into the baking soda/water mixture and out of your carpet!! 
5.  When your baking soda is completely dry - vacuum it all up - completely. 
Hint: This process may need to be done a couple times for big spills.

Why I like this recipe... 
   * Baking soda is usually already in your pantry, deleting the need for a special cleaner
   * Baking soda is a non toxic- mineral with a pH of about 8.5
   * The spill gets wicked out of your carpet instead of absorbing into the pad
   * Baking soda is wonderful for absorbing moisture and odors
   * There won’t be any residual soil attracting soap/foam left behind

Good luck with life's little messes.  May the abundance of joy and love you receive from your messy family far outweigh any unwanted residues left behind!

As always, wishing you and your family a healthy, happy and residue free home!

Note:  I'm using our client's initials N.O. because I want to give her full credit but do not want to publish her name all over the world. 

            On behalf of all families with little messes we thank you N.O.!!!!   

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Does cleaning contribute to prosperity?

 Is there a correlation between a well kept home and prosperity?  I'm going to give you my 25 years experience plus two cents on the subject and let you decide for yourself.

  The shift of how a home or room feels after a deep and through cleaning is almost palatable.  The rooms are clearer, fresher and feel expanded.  I breath deeper- I think we all do.  My mom and I have had countless conversations about how a good cleaning uplifts our spirits and seems to calm our anxieties.  After so many years in the cleaning business, doing my own personal cleaning and helping others "clean out" I no longer question the shift a good cleaning gives, but is prosperity another bonus to a well kept home?

   If I ran a bar or a gambling business chances are my accounts receivables would need constant minding.  Checks would bounce; payments would get lost in the mail or be eaten by the family dog.  I don't have such a business, I have a cleaning business and I have no accounts receivables problems.  After over 23 years of running a cleaning business I think we have only had 2-3 jobs that never got paid!  This is unheard of in other businesses where cleaning isn't the service.   

   Maybe we are just incredibly lucky, which I truly believe we are, but there is more than just good fortune at work here. Our clients are thoughtful, prosperous and pretty organized.  They take care of their homes, families and surroundings.  And they take care of the companies who take care of them.  Are our clients and friends prosperous because they take care of their homes or is having a well cared for home part of being prosperous?

  It's probably a little of both (plus a lot of hard work, persistence and wisdom).  When our homes are clean and well organized we are calmer, waste less time and almost always save money- by not buying twice.  On the flip side, maybe because we are prosperous, we appreciate and treat our blessings a little more thoughtfully. Perhaps our mindset is one of gratitude for what we have earned and received.

  In the art of Feng Shui, having a clean and de-cluttered living space is fundamental to having healthy and vibrant energy flow.  If you have energy and flow in one part of your life...maybe it truly does carry over into other parts of your life.  And when you are prosperous in your work, maybe this energy carries over into all parts of your life.  

 This summer, if you want to add a bit of prosperity to your life consider adding a splash of cleaning, a dash of gratitude, a smidgen less stuff and see what flows your way. 

As always, wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous home,



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How to prevent moldy toes, soap scum on your skin and an ugly shower!

       Showers are part of everyday life.  But do you ever wonder why our skin doesn't have the same chronic soil conditions as our showers:  mold, soap scum, hard water deposits and itty bitty dust bunnies?

    The only reason we don't have soap scum on our tummies and mold between our toes is because we rinse and dry our skin with every shower. If we didn't and treated our skin as we treat our showers, we would have a bad skin epidemic on our hands!  Well, maybe not an epidemic but we would definitely be itchier humans.

3 miraculous things happen when we rinse and dry our showers after each use:

      1.  Hard water deposit build up is minimized
      2.  Soap scum build up is minimized as is mold food
      3.  Less moisture means less mold, mold thrives in moist areas!

      My husband was just telling me about a conversation he had earlier this week.  Our client was wondering if you could in fact clean a shower with mild cleaners- neutral pH.  The answer to that depends on when you clean.  If you rinse and dry after each shower, then you can use the very mildest of products because nothing has set up.  Think about your kitchen dinner dishes and a meal of eggs, pasta or oatmeal.  If you rinse as soon as you are done eating, the process is quick and easy.  If these foods sit up over night, we all know they can turn into concrete!  Soap scum is like concrete on steroids!

     In cleaning, most damage is done by using too aggressive of cleaners or scratching pads (green pad).  Not only do we damage our beautiful showers by what we use to clean, we also damage ourselves.  The cleaners we usually buy to clean our showers tend to be dangerous to our lungs, skins and eyes, they are often acidic, high alkaline or very reactive like bleach.

     Did you know an acidic cleaner will eat away most grout joints and damage many natural stones?  Did you know mixing acids and bleaches cause caustic gasses?  Did you know showers tend to have poor ventilation but most cleaners want you to use in a well ventilated area! 

     The secret to being healthy, having a beautiful shower, minimizing your family's chemical exposure and keeping your shower in great shape is easier than you think.

     5 tips for the incredibly effective daily maintenance of a shower!

1.      Before you turn on your shower - turn on your exhaust fan!                                                             
         Let your exhaust fan run a full 60 minutes after your shower
           This step removes the humidity from your shower that can lead to mold
           Keeping the relative humidity down in the NW also pays big dividends for healthy homes.

2.   After showering
         Rinse the walls, door and shower pan with water
            Hand held shower heads are perfect for this step
            This step removes the soap and personal care products you used from your shower

3.   After showering
        Dry off your showers with either a towel or squeegee.
        If you only squeegee, you will be re-depositing the soap down the walls, into the grout joint and onto your shower pan- creating a surprisingly thick build up of soap scum.
       I personally like to dry with a towel as it gets the details better and I can dry fixtures off at the same time.

4.  Open up shower doors or curtains to let air flow.
     If you close up your shower tight, this will greatly delay your drying- if not stop it completely.

5.  Use the mildest means possible to clean!
      And when you clean your shower: use mild cleaners!  A good choice is a neutral stone and tile cleaner.  Another product which works wonderfully is dish washing liquid.  Dish washing liquid usually has a neutral pH and is already a product you have on stock. (Make sure to dilute or you will have bubbles galore!)
     Also, use a microfiber, wash mitt or wash cloth and rub your shower to break the surface tension- releasing the soil/soap from the walls.

    In our family the rule of thumb is:  Last one in dries the shower.  This daily process takes minimal time and effort but pays huge- gigantic- enormous benefits in the long run!  You will have a squeaky clean shower.  Your shower will last much longer and look better.  You will not need to use or even buy those harsh shower cleaners and on cleaning day- cleaning your shower is a snap!

   If you need help getting your shower back to clean, feel free to call on us.  We specialize in cleaning natural stone, tile and grout.  With our 23 plus years of cleaning experience we can get your shower back to beautiful!

  As always, wishing you and your family a healthy and happy home!

Denise Frakes
Co- Owner of Blue Sky Service: Stone and Tile Care
Certified Healthy home specialist
Residue free and green cleaning specialist

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fresh Air Does a Body and Home Good!

    It is here!  It is beautiful!  It is spring, sunshine and fresh air!!  In the northwest, I believe we should require mandatory sunshine days.  We have snow days but wouldn't a free & unexpected day to go be outside in the early spring be even better?  As I look out our office window I see blue skies, flowering cherry trees and a slight breeze moving the branches of our fir tree.

    Some of the best things in life are simple, effective and free to all.  This spring weather is one of those freebies.  Besides going outside and absorbing all this wonderful weather, this fresh air is also a major benefit to our homes.  Just like us, our homes need to breathe, the fresher and healthier the air the fresher our homes.

   Over the winter we close our homes up tight to keep our heating bills down and our homes warm but now it is spring.  Open up your windows and let the fresh air in.  This is one of the single most important steps you can do to create a healthy home.

  Anytime you are cleaning, doing construction, crafts, cooking, laundry, sitting or standing... open your windows.  Our exhaust fans remove stagnate and contaminated air but opening up a window brings in new life. 

  Our homes are a lot like balloons whatever expands the balloon stays in the balloon.  In the case of our home, this could be a huge variety of chemicals, particles, germs and who knows what else.  Open your windows let the trapped odors and wayward molecules out and in this same process you will let the sunshine, fresh air and new life in!

  As always, wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous home & life,



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cleaning: A seasonal solution to being stuck, fatigued or bogged down

Spring: The season of new beginnings and cleaning
     It is funny if you think about there actually being a season for cleaning but spring is truly the season to clean.  From cleaning out your digestive system, to cleaning out your garden beds to cleaning your home- tis the season.

    There is a freshness and gift to new beginnings.  Traditionally we do this on the 1st day of the new year.  But seasonally, spring is the time of vibrant abundance and a lightness of spirit.   Who doesn't feel better when the sun shines, the birds start singing and the flowers begin to bloom?

    If you are feeling stuck, fatigued or bogged down with life, consider cleaning to be a solid solution.  Both in space clearing and feng shui the process of cleaning and de-cluttering is an essential and fundamental part of creating a new and prosperous flow in your life.

    Cleaning not only makes you feel good but it is truly good medicine for your spirit.  For me, after 23 years of professional cleaning, there is not one ounce of doubt about the power of cleaning.  Cleaning, deep and especially mindful cleaning, gives you energy!  You have probably experienced this after we have cleaned for you, or even after you do a deep cleaning to your refrigerator or closet.  When the cleaning is done, your breath is deeper, richer and more expansive.  Ideas come quicker, you feel lighter and the weight of the world seems to lift a bit.
    This season, start again.  Clean out your home, your darkest and most cluttered areas.  Look to your forgotten spaces and those spaces that nag at you or are ever present on your to-do list.  Clean out your procrastinations.  Physically clean something like your shower or garage.  Now, write out your wishes and set your new intentions for the new year.

   Use the gift of cleaning and spring as a jump start your health and life's abundance.  This seasonal practice will pay in joyful dividends all year long!  

    Wishing you a happy, healthy and most prosperous spring season!!
              Denise Frakes

Friday, February 21, 2014

3 tips on a Friday night

    I hope this post finds you all happy and healthy.  2014 finds us thankfully very busy and appreciating all your support, referrals and return business.
   Tonight as I was pondering this past week, I decided to share with you 3 topics that show up over and over.

1.  Toilet bowl cleaners tend to be extremely acidic!  This means if you have an acid sensitive stone on your bathroom's floor, the marks around the base of  your toilet may not be from the men in your home.  I'm afraid many men and boys get blamed for the strong acids we buy to clean our toilets.  Acid cleaners can etch acid senstive stones- toilet bowl cleaners are usually extremely acidic!!
   (acid sensitive stones:  marble, travertine, limestone, and onyx)
    Here is the fix- apologize to your men and buy neutral toilet bowl cleaners.
    They are not common- if you have any trouble tracking down a neutral cleaner- e-mail me and I will get you set up.

2.  If one glug of cleaner is good two glugs is not better.  The goal of the manufacturing industry of  cleaners is to sell cleaners- as much and as often as possible.  If you know me, you probably have heard my ongoing message about over cleaning and leaving product behind.  But here is an important tip.  The dilution and instructions for cleaning are intended to maximize the efficiency of the manufactures products.  If the manufacture says add 1 cup of cleaner per gallon of water do not add 2 cups of cleaner!  Overkill is a waste of both money and product.
     Here is the fix- read your labels and follow directions.  More is not better it is just more.

3.  Save a load of money and minimize your chemical exposure.  This is perhaps my favorite tip of the night.  Do not spray cleaners into the air.  Not only is this a huge waste in product and ultimately your money but it also fills your home and business with unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals.  If you can smell your cleaner - you are breathing it in.
   Here is the fix.  Never spray chemicals into the air. Spray on a towel and then use or get a flip top applicator top and pour out.  This little tip will save you lots of money and minimize chemicals all over your home!

Just a couple thoughts on Friday night.
     Wishing you all a happy and healthy home,