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.
1. Start Your Party with a Clean Slate
This may seem like a no brainer, but for good summer party clean up mojo, this is the best place to start. You really will have a better experience if your house (and kitchen in particular) is in good shape before-hand. Empty the dishwasher, empty the trash, clean up all the pre-party prep, and make room in your fridge for leftovers.
Piling dirty dishes on top of dirty dishes is a recipe for a whole string of sad faced emojis!
2. Take Your Party Outside
If possible plan most of your activities outside. Garden parties and backyard BBQ’s can be pretty magical, and outdoor surfaces like grass and concrete clean up much easier than carpets, you’ll probably end up needing to do some carpet cleaning Florence, SC if you keep the party indoors! Just use the indoors for bathroom visits.
If you have a really large gathering, consider renting a porta-potty (a one day rental is under $200). Better a great big whopping mess in something that gets hauled away than one in your own bathroom!
Pick Up While You Party
Where possible, try to stay on top of the cleaning as the event progresses. Make sure you enjoy your own party, for goodness’ sake!
But the key to cleaning up any party and any spill is being prepared and acting quickly. Keep an active eye (and hopefully you have some help with this) for taking care of anything urgent right away. We recommend having good general purpose DIY cleaner on hand:
- 1-Tbsp white vinegar
- 1-Tbsp dish soap
- Fill the rest of your standard 32 oz spray bottle with water (filtered is preferred)
“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!”
Removing Water Rings
Annoying water rings in your wooden coffee and end tables? Next year, try to have enough coasters for everyone. If you’re feeling crafty, try these supercool DIY coasters. Clever, right? But for now, here are a few solutions for removing white water rings.
- Create a gentle abrasive by mixing a teaspoon of salt with a few drops of olive oil. Rub it gently into the ring until the spot is gone. Massage some furniture polish into the surface to finish….. or
- Try rubbing a bit of non-gel toothpaste onto a water ring, then buff with a clean cloth. Or substitute full-fat Mayonnaise for the toothpaste; leave it on for at least an hour before wiping clean and buffing.
Lip Color Smudges
“Dahling, you look mahvelous!” But your lipstick can leave an ugly mark on cloth napkins. Start by scraping them clean, then apply a few drops of mineral spirits, working them in with a brush. Rinse with rubbing alcohol and repeat until you’re in the clear.
Launder with an enzyme detergent to dissolve leftover residue.
Candles can definitely set the mood, but ruin it just as fast.
If candles drip on your lovely wood furniture, warm the spilled wax with a hairdryer, and wipe it away with a cloth. Any remaining residue can be cleared off with a mixture of one part vinegar and one part water.
Candle wax on carpets? Use this simple and easy trick for saving your carpets:
Cleaning Up Broken Glass
To clean up broken glass without initiating a trip to the ER, arm yourself with rubber gloves. Pick up the biggest pieces of glass first, and, oh, don’t forget to check under the furniture.
We recommend using something like a handheld vacuum to clear the rest of the area as glass can stick to brooms cause problems for bare feet later. Finish by pressing a slice of bread against the ground to pick up the smallest fragments. Dryer lint can also be used to round up small fragments in hard to reach areas.
Cleaning and Removing Coffee Stains
Don’t despair at the sight of those dark roast stains. Even dried stains can generally be lifted. Follow these Good Housekeeping guidelines:
1. Sponge the stain with cool water or soak the item for about 30 minutes in cool water.
2. Pretreat with a prewash stain remover.
3. Launder. If it’s safe for the fabric, add chlorine bleach to the wash.
1. Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with two cups of cool water.
2. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution.
3. Blot until the liquid is absorbed.
4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the stain disappears.
5. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.
1. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent.
2. Blot until the solvent is absorbed.
3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until the stain disappears.
1. Blot up as much of the spilled coffee as possible.
2. Use plain water or mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
3. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with plain water or the detergent/ vinegar solution. Apply a little bit at a time, blotting frequently with a dry cloth until the stain disappears.
4. If using a detergent/vinegar solution, sponge with cold water and blot dry to remove the solution.
Coffee and Cream
If there’s cream (or milk) in the coffee that caused the stain, be sure to use an enzyme laundry detergent when washing the stained item.
As adults we all know why schools don’t allow gum in class. It’s notoriously difficult to get out of things like carpet and upholstery, some of the most cherished and expensive stuff in our homes. Here’s how to de-gum like a pro:
Cleaning Stainless Steel
Remove baked-on food from appliances with Barkeepers Friend Liquid or Biokleen. Always wipe stainless steel dry in the direction of the grain. If cleanup leaves your stainless steel streaked, rub a little olive oil over it and buff with a soft cloth. Read our deep cleaning spring blog for tips on how to clean your refrigerator.
When the dishes are done, the floor is swept, and the house is quiet, it’s time to put your feet up and give yourself a pat on the back in the form of a huge slice of cake or one of these signature summer cocktails.
In fact, might as well make it a double!
So, here’s to Summer Parties! Keep the good summer vibes by being prepared for the after party!
Karen & The Cleaning Crew
PS What after party clean up tips have worked for you? Leave a comment below & share the love.
PPS Over your head with house cleaning? We can help with either our One Time Cleaning or Maintenance Cleaning. Call the office for a simple, no-hassle phone quote.
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 using 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- Microfiber window scrubber like this one from Amazon. You can add a pole if needed.
- Next you’ll need a squeegee.
- Or, you can grab a combo like this.
- While any 5-gallon bucket will do, a 3-gallon wide format works best. Just a few drops of Mrs. Meyers All Natural Dish Soap will make a perfect window cleaning solution.
- Lint-free microfiber cloth or lint-free cotton rags
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.
~ The Cleaning Crew
PS. Have any window cleaning questions? Or, have a few window cleaning tips of your own? Leave a comment below!
#1 Sugar and Spice Natural Room Spritzer from Small Measures at Design Sponge
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- Combine lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar in a spray bottle.
- Stir in water to the mixture.
- Spray solution onto tile and grout.
- Allow cleaning solution to sit for 5 minutes.
- Scrub dirt/grime away using sponge or large scrubber.
- After scrubbing, wash with water.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other natural recipes we’re collecting and sharing:
We find that using effective natural cleaning products in your home is the best way to keep your home environment clean and healthy. And we get asked all the time what products we use to care for our clients’ homes. Here are the 5 cleaning products and 12 cleaning tools we recommend for you to keep in your own Natural Housecleaning Kit.
What are the benefits of creating your own Natural Housecleaning Kit?
- Safer for your family and animals
- Better for the surfaces in your home
- Cost effective and environmentally friendly
5 Non-toxic and Ecologically Friendly Cleaning Products
kleen – All-purpose household cleaner
- Baking soda – Natural deodorizer
- Bon Ami – A mildly abrasive cleanser
- White vinegar – An all-purpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner – See our Glass cleaning recipe
12 Top Cleaning Tools
- Bucket/caddy – All purpose to store products
- Two plastic cups – One for storing you small tools and the other for rising shower walls or pre-soaking pumice stones
- Rubber gloves – Perfect to protect your hands
- Microfiber cloths – Perfect for dusting
- Cloths – Best to have a bag of soft clean cloths and rags for all cleaning purposes
- Paper towels – For messy cleanups
- Kitchen brushes – Scrubbers & bottlebrushes
- Sponges – New and old
- Scouring pads – Blue scratch pads
- Pumice stone – For scrubbing the oven and the porcelain in the bathroom
- Putty knife – To clean tight spaces
- Toothbrush – for all those hard to reach places…the best tool in the kit!
Less Is More
For routine housecleaning, less is more. You actually need very few products to clean any given room. Although there will certainly be instances where specialized cleaners are necessary, the above list of products will suffice for most tasks.
Gather your materials in a bucket or caddy so you can transport them from room to room as you work, making your products and tools accessible and housecleaning more efficient.
An all natural housecleaning supply kit can also make a great gift
This time of year always seems to bring with it many invitations to gatherings. This year add to your gift giving list a all natural housecleaning supply kit. It’s the perfect homemade gift for a lovely bridal shower, birthday, or special holiday.
You can make your house sparkle with just a few simple supplies, many of which are already in your cupboards. Happy Cleaning!
Fight common household smells with DIY Natural air fresheners, warmed on the stovetop or strategically placed around your home:
DIY Natural Air Freshener on the Stove Top
On the stovetop, combine cinnamon sticks, citrus, and cloves in a pot of simmering water.
If you are cooking and want to reduce cooking odors, simmer 1 TBSP of vinegar in a pot of water.
Too hot to simmer fresh scents on the stovetop, try one of these ideas:
Natural Air Fresheners
- Baking soda or vinegar with lemon juice in a small bowl will absorb odors around the house
- Having houseplants helps reduce odors in the home (you may recall our blog about houseplants that help clean the air!)
- Keep fresh ground coffee on the stovetop
- Grind up a slice of lemon in the garbage disposal
- Place bowls of fragrant dried herbs and flowers around the room
Let’s use cloth towels instead of paper towels! House cleaning with cloth towels is an important change to incorporate into any sustainable lifestyle. Cleaning this way is important for more reasons than you may think! Here’s why:
- Paper towels use a whole stream of resources from the trees that compose them to the packaging and fuel necessary to ship them.
- Depletion of resources and harmful emissions are significant causes of deforestation and global climate change.
One study reported that one paper towel dispenser contributes 4.6 tonnes of CO2 to global warming over the course of five years.
If you have to buy paper products, it is important to choose options that are made from recycled material and don’t waste as much material. But, the best choice is to eliminate the paper towel all together and reuse washable fabric alternatives.
1 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup of baking soda
* Place your towels in the washing machine, using the hottest water available. Add the white vinegar.
(Do not add detergent, fabric softener, or any other products at this time. Run the washer.)
* Leave towels in the washer and refill again with HOT water and half-cup of baking soda.
Run through another entire wash cycle.
* Dry the load in the dryer using a high heat setting. Towels should be thoroughly dry when you pull them out. If they’re not dry, put them back in, or move towels immediately outside and hang them in the sunlight.
Now your towels are fluffy, soft, fresh and clean!
What towels are best?
*Huck Towels – for absorbing
*Microfiber Cloth – for dusting and sensitive surfaces
*Cloth Napkins – picking up spills
*Other assorted cloths for cleaning including cut up old shirts, old cloth diapers/inserts or old socks (for younger kids to use in cleaning and polishing)
Cloth towels may use more resources in the manufacturing of each one but the ability to wash and reuse makes them a much more durable choice for your home than disposable paper. Make a difference by making the switch!
One of our first posts was a recipe for homemade soft-scrub. We are pleased to introduce a new variation on soft-scrub to our all natural house cleaning recipes. This recipe is designed to make the the toughest house cleaning jobs go quickly.
This recipe’s biggest difference for our original soft-scrub recipe is the addition of Borax, and the omission of white vinegar. We found that the vinegar broke down the baking soda over time, compromising the cleaning power of the scrub. Our new recipe works great for scrubbing out showers, sinks, and tubs, anywhere you would normally use Softscrub in your housecleaning routine. To add extra kick and some fizz, use in tandem with our Lemon Lift Off! counter top spray. Here is the recipe:
The Cleaning Crew Soft Scrub II
- 1/2 cup Borax
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/4 cup liquid Castile soap
- 3-4 TBS of water, or enough to make a paste
- 15-20 drops of essential oil of your choice. Some nice options are: lemon, orange, pine, bergamot.
Stir all ingredients, and store in a tightly sealed jar or container
Spring is upon us once again in lovely Southern Oregon, and as spring cleaning commences across the Rogue Valley, we are happy to share two simple, economical, and all-natural window cleaning recipes to brighten up your view of all the spring activities underway.
Club Soda Window Cleaner
The first DIY is so simple and inexpensive, it can hardly be called a recipe, but it works so well we had to share!
You will need:
That’s it! Yes, this really works. Even on water stains, the carbonation acts as a dissolving agent. The best part: absolutely no smell, and streaks are not an issue. Let us know what you think!
Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol Window Cleaner
The second recipe is a simplified version of our multipurpose glass and surface cleaner. This recipe is great for the bathroom, as it also serves as a disinfectant, thanks to the rubbing alcohol.
You will need:
16 oz Spray Bottle
1 Cup distilled vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 Cup rubbing Alcohol
Combine vinegar and alcohol in spray bottle, and fill the rest of the way with water. We haven’t tried this with club soda instead of plain water yet, but we are guessing it would make this solution even more powerful. If you beat us to it, let us know how it works out, we would love to hear from you!
If you liked these tips, you might also enjoy reading about our Good, Better, and Best All-Natural, Homemade Glass Cleaners.
And as always, we invite you to check out the ideas we are collecting on our Window Cleaning Pinterest Board:
Our latest natural house cleaning recipe:
This recipe has quickly become my number one go-to cleanser in the kitchen. The grease cutting power of this cheerfully colored concoction is amazing.
Stuck on bits of food and grime on the stove top? Spray a bit of Lemon Lift Off!, let sit for less then a minute, wipe, and done! Works great as a spot cleaner on my linoleum floor, appliances, and cabinet doors.
16 oz Spray Bottle
2 cups Lemon Vinegar
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
Water to fill
Combine the vinegar and the rubbing alcohol first, and then fill the rest of the way with water. If you prefer a lighter solution, cut the vinegar down to 1 cup instead of 2.
Directions for making the vinegar can be found here:
This stuff works better than any of the store bought brands I have tried, and best of all, its inexpensive and easy to make, and does not contain harmful chemicals.
Not recommended for granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, or glass, as the lemon oil leaves faint streaks on shiny surfaces. I have not tested it on wood, caution is recommended.
Happy House Cleaning!
White vinegar is an excellent all natural house cleaning product. Not only is it non-toxic and inexpensive, it has a multitude of uses, and can be scented naturally with citrus peels. Classic and cheery, the scent of lemon is a favorite.
Occasionally I make lemon juice ice cubes; to be stored in Ziploc bags in the freezer for use later. This is a great time to make lemon vinegar, but you can also layer lemon peels and vinegar in a mason jar as you go.
1: Remove all inner pulp from lemon (or any citrus) rind
2: Pack loosely into a 1 quart Mason Jar
3: Pour distilled white vinegar over rinds, leaving about 1/2 inch at top. Gently push rinds down to remove air bubbles if needed.
4: Let sit for 1-3 weeks.
5: Use to add a delicate scent of lemon to your house cleaning routine.
So far my favorite use for this bright yellow and mildly scented vinegar has been in a recipe for a DIY counter top cleanser and disinfectant spray, stay tuned for the recipe, coming soon!
For ideas and inspiration on other homemade cleaning recipes, check out our Pinterest Board: