Summer Party Clean Up Tips


summer party clean up tips

We’re all familiar with that sinking feeling. You know the one, where all the good vibes from throwing that epic summer party begin to disintegrate into the realization that you’re going to have to start cleaning up.

Been there, right?

That moment is the very definition of “dread,” unless, of course you’re in the minority that absolutely loves cleaning. To you we say, “Rock on, you lovers of cleaning, Rock on!”

To the rest who have a distaste for cleaning ranging somewhere on the scale from slight frustration (“I really, really don’t like cleaning up other people’s messes”) to white-hot boiling rage (“I think I may just hurt someone here!”), we understand, and we love each and everyone one of you – and don’t want you to go to jail after throwing that epic summer party.

That would suck.

So, here at The Cleaning Crew, we’ve got your back! Follow these Summer Party Clean Up Tips to take that not so awesome task of party clean up and make it feel just a little more like a party and a lot less like a wake.

Summer Party Clean Up Tips

Summer Party Clean Up Tips

The Basics:

1. Start Your Party with a Clean Slate

“Hey, you guys! The bathroom’s over there…the trash cans are right here…and the drinks, well, you already know where the drinks are!”

Summer Party Clean Up Tips

Advanced:

Make Your Bathroom a Clutter-Free Zone


Have a really tiny bathroom space? Or, a tiny budget? Our friend Kathryn at Do It On a Dime, has these suggestions:

Expand Storage Capacity of under-sink CabinetsBathroom-Pull-out-Shelves

Take advantage of all the room under your sink (and save yourself some stooping and reaching) with sliding drawers. Check out Living Locurto‘s super-smart ways to organize under the sink.

hanging basketConsider the Ceiling

If your quarters are tight and space is already limited, look up. Take advantage of vertical real estate by hanging a multilevel fruit basket for additional storage. When placed in the shower, the open rungs of the three-tier hanging basket allow loofahs and bath toys to dry over the tub. Or suspend the basket in an unused corner and stock it with lotions, treatments, and scented sachets. An idea that might keep your bathroom better stocked is to make sure you have the best home energy quote to save money. I hear Money Expert provide a fantastic range of quotes that should save you money.

Don’t Hide the T.P.tp

Two conundrums you’ve probably experienced: 1. You’re in your bathroom and you realize you are out of toilet paper. 2. You’re in someone else’s bathroom and you realize they are out of toilet paper. (Do you uncomfortably search your host’s cupboards or sheepishly go ask for help? Skip scenario one at least and always keep ample rolls in a nearby urn, bin, or basket.

There’s no end to Bathroom Organizing Ideas! These are meant to give us a kick start.

Do you have more bathroom organization ideas to add? Leave a comment below!

* BONUS RECIPE: SUPER DUPER TUB SCRUB *

bath

Along with a little scrubbing power from a sponge, we love this simple and effective Tub Scrub. It leaves tubs and sinks sparkling clean and does a great job removing soap scum.

  1. 1 cup baking soda
  2. 4 tablespoons water
  3. 2 tablespoons liquid castile soap (We like Dr. Bronner’s Fair Trade & Organic Castile Liquid Soap)
  4. Add baking soda to a glass container with a lid.
  5. Add castile soap and water, stirring until it’s toothpaste consistency.
  6. Using a wet sponge, work this cleanser into tubs surfaces, letting it sit for a few minutes
  7. Rinse with hot water.

If you don’t use all the cleaner in one use, you can save it in a covered container. If it dries out, just add water until it forms a paste again. You might even free up enough space to add some extra furniture to your bathroom. I hear that a friend decided to Buy Oak Bathroom Furniture Here and was not disappointed.

Have Bathroom Organization Tips of Your Own to Share?

Add a tip or two in the Comments section below!

Let the Sun Shine In – 6 Cleaning Tips for Windows!


Are you a window cleaning ninja? Or, do you find it just a little intimidating? After all, there seems to be a never-ending stream of sources to conspire against a crisp view out our windows: fingerprints from kiddos, nose bumps from Fido, and grime from cooking. You care a lot about the presentation of your windows, so much so that you invested in elegant Folding Arm Awnings for the exterior of your house. But does that mean you should be hiring services such as NICK’S Window Cleaning every week?

Never fear! The Cleaning Crew’s got your back. Here are 6 time-tested window-cleaning tips to get those windows sparkling and streak-free, not to mention moving you closer to Window Cleaning Ninja status!

1. Clean Those Window Sills & Tracks!

Knowing how to clean window frames and sills properly will not only keep them looking great but will also keep them in better working condition to extend the life of your windows.

  • Use your vacuum’s soft bristle brush to vacuum the window’s interior track. While you’re at it, you may as well vacuum the whole interior frame. Use a dry, soft bristled paint brush to sweep dirt out of any hard to reach crevices.
  • Dip the another paint brush into soapy water and use this to swish any stubborn dirt out of the crevices. Follow up with a quick rinse with the damp, clean rag.
  • The good news: Regular dusting will help prevent dirt from collecting.
  • The bad news: Windows are natural dust magnets. Eventually you will have to repeat the process.

3. Create Your Own Window Cleaner

Windows get dirty, but you don’t need to reach for chemical cleaners to return them to a sparkling shine. Here at The Cleaning Crew, we’ve been Glass Cleanerusing natural, nontoxic ingredients for decades. For windows, we recommend the following vinegar solution!

Using a 32 oz spray bottle,

Add the following ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol (70% or higher isoprophyl content)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 to 10 drops of essential oil (we like mint), depending on how much fragrance you want.

Fill the rest of the way with water, shake well.

We use either all cotton rags or a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.

4. When You Clean Windows Makes a Difference

The best time to wash windows is on a cloudy or overcast day. Although you might be thinking you can work on your tan, cleaning windows on a sunny day dries cleaning solution more quickly and can cause streaking.

Your best bet is to choose a cloudy day or work when the temperature isn’t above 70°F outside. However, if you’re wanting to hone your window cleaning skills, try cleaning in the direct sun, when the glass is hot and your solution is evaporating fast on glass! Treat it as a competition and you’ll to sharpen your window washing skills! You might try using the super swirl squeegee technique to dry glass immediately after you’ve finished scrubbing window and you’ll end up with a brilliant streak-free shine.

5. Mind Your Window Woodwork

Over time, excess water and cleaners can cause damage to the framed wood areas of our mirrors and windows. What to do?

  1. Avoid spraying too much cleaner at once. Instead spray the window in small sections working from the top down to the bottom of the glass. Try to avoid allowing the solution to pool at the bottom of the window.
  2. Use a spare rag or microfiber cloth to remove any excess water or solution.

6. How to Achieve Professional Streak-Free Window Cleaning Status

Want to get serious about your window cleaning? Then take a few tip from the pros.

Equipment:

Technique:
A long detailed step by step written description won’t help you near as much as watching it done! This guy’s a little boring, but he knows his stuff!

Now, get out there and let the sun shine in!

Remember, we’re committed to helping our neighbors achieve amazing results cleaning their own homes. But, if you need the help of a professional, we’ve been providing superlative window cleaning for more than 27 years!

For the month of May we’re offering a Window Cleaning Special.

Get $25 off minimum $100 job.

Click to Redeem Coupon

~ The Cleaning Crew

PS. Have any window cleaning questions? Or, have a few window cleaning tips of your own? Leave a comment below!

4 Natural Recipes with 4 Ingredients or Less



We love natural winter recipes and we’d like to share our Top 4 Natural Recipes with 4 ingredients or less!

#1 Sugar and Spice Natural Room Spritzer from Small Measures at Design Sponge

Ingredients (4)

  • 3/4 cup of ethanol
  • 10 drops clove or nutmeg essential oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon or anise essential oil
  • 10 drops vanilla essential oil

Place the essential oils in a 4- to 8-ounce jar. Add 3/4 cup of ethanol (I used vodka), and top off the bottle with distilled water. Shake, spritz and enjoy!

 

#2 Vanilla and Orange Simmering Potpourri Recipe from Tipnut

Ingredients (2)

  • Vanilla (a few drops)
  • Orange peels

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the the vanilla drops and orange peels, boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer all day. Set a timer for 30 minutes so that you remember to top up water as needed.

 

 

 

If you like the simmering potpourri and the room spritzer, you might like our other posts on Homemade Scents.

#3 Homemade Hand Sanitizer from Homemade Mommy

Ingredients (4)

  • 2 Tbsp Aloe Vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1/8 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops Thieves Oil

Combine the ingredients in a 2 oz. squeeze bottle adding a bit of water to thin the mixture out.  You want the mixture thin enough to coat your hand.

 

#4 Homemade Grout Cleaner from A Mom’s Take

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Stir in water to the mixture.
  3. Spray solution onto tile and grout.
  4. Allow cleaning solution to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Scrub dirt/grime away using sponge or large scrubber.
  6. After scrubbing, wash with water.

 

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other natural recipes we’re collecting and sharing:

Follow The Cleaning Crew, LLC’s board Natural Cleaning Recipes on Pinterest.

Spring Cleaning Inspiration


Summer is nearly in full swing once more in Southern Oregon, and while some folks have already completed the yearly ritual of clearing out the closets and deep cleaning the house,  others are still contemplating the task ahead.

We are always happy to take on the bulk of spring cleaning for our clients, and we are just a phone call away. However, if you are tackling the job yourself, or would like to brush up on organizing tips and ideas before cracking open the overstuffed closets and drawers and shaking out the dust of winter,  we have searched the web for articles to help motivate and inspire.

1) Housekeeping.org – a great blog with plenty of links to  useful articles, some of which include information on homemade housecleaning products, right out of the pantry. Good stuff.

2) Motherearthliving.com – Another great blog, focused on using common, inexpensive, and safe ingredients for house cleaning, such as lemon, salt, and vinegar.

3) Oprah.com – And last, but not least, a step by step breakdown of completing the entire house in 8 hours or less, though this of course will depend on the size of your house, and the level of grime and clutter. I am a bit suspicious of the 8 hour promise in this article, but included it anyway, as dusting walls and ceilings and  airing mattresses  are mentioned; very important  for reducing the presence of dust and allergens in the home.

If you are short on time and energy for spring cleaning,  don’t hesitate to give us a call, we are happy to  help!

As always, we tailor our housecleaning services to each situation, and specialize in accommodating the particular needs of our clients.

We wish you the best in your spring cleaning endeavors!

Homemade Softscrub named in Top 10 DIY Cleaning Recipes


The Cleaning Crew’s Natural Homemade Soft Scrub Recipe was recently included in the Top 10 DIY Cleaning Recipe list compiled by Nicole on her wonderful blog, Live In Art. 

Nicole’s blog is well worth checking out! … She has plenty of  interesting articles in addition to this great collection of cleaning recipes.

If you have favorite recipe, or ideas on improving this one, we would love to hear from you!

 

Check out ideas for natural, homemade cleaning products on our Pinterest board:
Follow The Cleaning Crew, LLC’s board Homemade Cleaning Products on Pinterest.

DIY: Multipurpose Glass & Surface Cleaner


All natural homemade multipurpose cleaner

All Natural Cleaning Product Recipe from The Cleaning Crew:  Elisa’s Minty Multipurpose Glass & Surface Cleaner

This recipe is a the latest version of the Homemade Glass Cleaner we shared a few months ago. It has quickly become one of our favorite all natural homemade  cleaning products. Easy on the environment, your health and your wallet.

Not only does it work wonders on glass and mirrors, it’s a great disinfecting all-purpose cleaner in the kitchen and bathroom and other high traffic areas in need of germ busting action. The addition of mint essential oil leaves behind a refreshing and invigorating scent, and makes cleaning more fun.

You will need:

homemade multipurpose cleaner

  32 oz spray bottle

If you are re-using a bottle,  make sure it has been well rinsed (how to clean used bottles).

Add the following ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol (70% or higher isopropyl content)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 to 10 drops of mint essential oil, depending on how much minty freshness you want.

Fill the rest of the way with water, shake well.

Optional:

Mark the bottle to each fill line as you add each ingredient, this will make refilling the bottle much quicker the next time. Or, simply add the recipe to the label.

We really like peppermint or spearmint essential oil, but of course you can add whatever essential oil you like.

To spread the minty goodness, spray and wipe with a dry or slightly damp cloth.  Use in the kitchen on counters, sinks, appliances, and linoleum or tile floors. Use caution on wood floors, as the alcohol may dry out the wood finish over time. Use a mild solution of plain old white vinegar and water on wood floors, instead. The same thing applies to wood cabinets, or any other wood surface. Using this once in a while for spot cleaning is fine, but repeated use over time can cause the wood to dry out.

Elisa’s Minty Multipurpose may also dry out unfinished slate or stone surfaces if used to often, but we have found it to be REALLY effective at pulling off build up on these types of surfaces. We suggest using it occasionally, when you want a really good, deep clean. For daily cleaning, use a mild all purpose soap, such as Mrs. Meyers, diluted BioKleen, or vinegar and water.

For the bathroom, use on mirrors, chrome fixtures, sinks, counters, tub and shower, toilet, and linoleum or tile floors.

We do not suggest using this solution on  delicately painted or lacquered surfaces, it is best on nonporous and durable surfaces. Keep in mind the drying properties of rubbing alcohol when deciding what surfaces to use this on. Feel free to post a question on our blog if you would like advice, as well!

A great big Thank You to Elisa for creating this wonderful recipe for our clients!

Happy house cleaning from all of us at The Cleaning Crew!

 

Natural Homemade Softscrub Recipe


We are always looking for the most eco-friendly house cleaning products possible and we have a wonderful new recipe to share!

Our latest homemade all natural cleaning product recipe is a bleach free version of Soft Scrub. We could not believe how quickly it cuts through soap scum and grime, and it rinses much quicker and cleaner than the store bought versions, which usually sticks to the surfaces and requires rinsing and wiping repeatedly, a huge waste of water and time.

I added tangerine essential oil, and it was like scrubbing my shower with a big juicy tangerine. So lovely I was sad when the job was over! You can use whatever essential oil you like, or none at all. Here is the recipe:

All Natural Soft Scrub

  • 1 1/2 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup BioKleen All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner (or liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronners)
  • 2Tbls white vinegar
  • 10-15 drops of  essential oil

Mix the baking soda and BioKleen in a bowl until it is thoroughly blended. I found that a fork is the best option for this step. Do not add the vinegar until the soap and baking soda are thoroughly mixed, or it will explode with fizziness!

 

The next step is adding the white vinegar and mixing until you have a nice creamy paste.Finally, add the essential oil of your choice, but keep in mind the scent of the liquid soap you are using. Because BioKleen has a light citrus cent, a citrus oil like lemon, tangerine, orange, or grapefruit will blend nicely.

If you want a different type of scent like peppermint or tea tree, I would suggest using an unscented liquid castile soap. If you do decide to make this with BioKleen, make sure it is their concentrated all-purpose cleaner, not the all-purpose they sell in a spray bottle. Most health food stores carry it in the household supply section, but if you can’t find it a good liquid castille works great too.

homemade softscrub

The final product, ready to scrub!

This recipe does not create a lot of suds. This was a little strange when I first started cleaning my shower, but my misgivings were quickly laid to rest, as the built up grime came right off. (I had been saving it up for just this occasion;).

Almost all of the recipes that I found online also added 2 tablespoons of water; I opted not to do this because I like a thicker paste. Also, I like to store my scrub in a glass Mason jar, as essential oil will break down the polymers in plastic. Adding water does make the scrub looser which allows it to be stored in a plastic bottle with a squirt top, but I just scoop a bit out of the jar when I am ready to use it.

Many of recipes I have found for this stuff use liquid castile soap, but as I did not have any on hand I used one of our favorites, Bi-O-Kleen All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner. This stuff rocks! By far the best grease buster I have ever used that does not have nasty chemicals in it. Also has a nice light citrus scent, and this worked great paired with the tangerine essential oil. I made this recipe for the first time years ago with castile soap, but I don’t remember if there are any differences. Maybe the next batch I will try out the castille again, but I think it would be hard to beat the scrubby wonderfulness of this recipe.

If you decide to try this out, we would love to hear about your experiences! Also, if you would like to see a recipe or idea covered in our blog, let us know. Better yet, please feel free to share your favorite recipes or tips with us, we love to hear from our readers!

 

Update: We are learning that shelf life is limited by the interaction of baking soda and vinegar. The two ingredients counteract each other over time, making it less and less effective the longer it is stored.

 

Good, Better, and Best All-Natural Homemade Glass Cleaner


House cleaning with natural products is becoming more important than ever to many people, both to maintain healthy homes and a healthy planet. The Cleaning Crew, LLC focuses on using natural products because we believe it is the right choice and we find that many of our clients value eco-friendly house cleaning as well.

With this in mind we have been trying out a few new house cleaning recipes, starting with a variation on an old standby of vinegar and water glass cleaner, something that I have come back to time and time again despite the occasional test run of store bought glass cleaners. This simple recipe has proven to be a great combination of economy and efficiency. Keep reading for an updated version of this recipe that has become a new favorite  glass cleaner for The Cleaning Crew, LLC.

Good Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 c. filtered water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Combine  vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and mist surface evenly. Use lint free cotton cloths for the best results on glass. This basic solution is best suited for light cleaning on most surfaces.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this simple vinegar and water solution, and planned to go on using it for the rest of my cleaning days. Never mind that it takes a little bit more elbow grease than the smelly blue stuff, and never mind that its really only effective for cleaning glass and other slick surfaces, I still loved it for all of its earth and people friendly simplicity.  Also, it costs just a few pennies to make, always a nice bonus!

However, about a year ago I came across a suggestion to add rubbing alcohol to the mixture, and my oh my, what a difference! My appreciation for homemade, natural cleaning products has reached an all time high! The boost of rubbing alcohol elevates this humble glass cleaners effectiveness and provides disinfecting properties as well. My mirrors and other shiny surfaces sparkle like they have never sparkled before, and counter tops and faucets handles are squeaky clean, nary a germ to be found!

Better Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 c. filtered water
  • 1/8 cup rubbing alcohol (70% or higher isopropyl content)
  • 1/8 cup white vinegar

 

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle, and use lint free cotton cloths to clean and polish. Also works great for stainless steel and other slick surfaces, or for light cleaning on most surfaces.

We are careful not to use the alcohol and vinegar mixture on delicate painted or lacquered surfaces, but counter tops, sinks, appliances, door knobs, and any other durable and high traffic areas are fair game.

Best All-Natural Glass Cleaner (from Crunchy Betty)

I have included the Crunchy Betty recipe below:

The Best Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

  • 1 c. filtered, very hot water
  • 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/8 c. rubbing alcohol (at least 70% isopropyl, if not more)
  • 1/8 c. white vinegar

Instructions: Boil your water and let it cool just a bit. Add cornstarch to your spray bottle, and then the hot water. Shake well to dissolve. Add the rubbing alcohol and vinegar, and shake again. Every time you use this, you’ll want to shake it up to avoid clogging the spray nozzle with undissolved cornstarch. Use liberally and happily. Smile.

Don’t ask me how, but something amazing happens with the addition of cornstarch to the mix. I have never seen anything like the polishing power of this recipe, it is amazing! We wondered if the cornstarch would leave a residue on other surfaces, like counter tips and stainless steel, but this is not the case. After a frenzy of house cleaning  with this stuff, everything comes up sparkling, and the disinfectant action of the alcohol is a welcome addition. I still keep a bottle of just vinegar and water for really delicate surfaces, but rarely is it called into action, as most of the daily house cleaning occurs in areas with durable surfaces.

Bleach now sits in the very back of the cleaning supply cabinet, only pulled out for areas with high germ populations. Since my house is regularly cleaned and low traffic, this means the bathroom. Although bleach kills a larger spectrum of germs, rubbing alcohol is less corrosive to the skin and lungs of  soft and pink mortals like ourselves, and it kills many germs. Of course you don’t want to expose alcohol to flame of any kind, but I don’t find myself going out of my way to make sure this doesn’t happen.

When I need a boost in the cleaning power of the glass solution, a dash of Bon Ami works wonders, especially on stainless steel appliances as long as you are careful to go with the grain. In the course of researching this article, I discovered that bleach breaks down fairly quickly into harmless components, mostly oxygen and table salt. Who knew? I certainly didn’t, and although I still prefer to use bleach as little as possible, I don’t feel as guilty about the eventual result of my bleachy house cleaning choices.

We hope that you try one of these recipes and would love to hear what you think! Do you have a favorite homemade house cleaning solution? Please let us know!

Enjoy more ideas about Window Cleaning on The Cleaning Crew, LLC’s Pinterest board.