Tuesday, November 29, 2005

With the snowy weather settling around already, there are a few winter tips for making life a bit easier. All of you in the southern states can retreat to the patio and bask in the 75º sun with you glass of ice tea. The rest of us are cuddled up around the fireplace in warm blankets.

Speaking of fireplaces have you cleaned the chimney yet? A quick way to clean the glass fronts of a wood burning stove is to carefully scrape it with a single edge razor blade making sure to put plastic down on the floor to prevent stains. Then use our Bi-O-Kleen and Red Scrubbie Pad to remove the rest. Wipe on the Bi-O-Kleen concentrated, wait 30 to 45 minutes then scrub with a dampened Red Scrubbie Pad.

I receive quite a few emails asking for easy ways to clean and dry a dog's feet after he comes inside from the wet, snowy outdoors. Place an old towel on the floor. Then grab a good sturdy bowl adding a small squirt of our Liquid Dish Soap. Fill the bowl part way with warm but not hot water. Your pet will love the warmth on their cold feet. The dish soap, which is safe for pets because it does not contain the usual harmful chemicals of other dish soaps, removes the mud and caked on snow. Then dry with the towel.

The best prevention for winter time blues is to kick your shoes off at the front door! Do this year round to save wear and tear and cleaning bills on your carpet. Yes it is a hard habit to adapt. People who have made the switch have written back with buckets of gratitude. It's worth the effort and will save hours of agony removing carpet stains. The best product I have ever used for cleaning stains is our Ion-A-Clean and that is why I sell it. It is also is wonderful for people with chemical sensitivities. It is an all purpose cleaner as well yet contains no chemicals or harsh cleaners.

Save on your heating bills this winter by keeping the blinds closed in rooms that you don't use often like formal living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms. The cold air draws the heat out of your home.

This article may only be reprinted giving full credit to Mary Findley and her website at http://www.goclean.com. Copyright @2005 All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Time is tight, cookies need baking, kids demand attention and your home screams for a thorough cleaning. Where do you start? Make a list and check it twice. Write down your holiday activities including what needs to be baked, cleaned, rearranged, disguarded or ignored. Remember that commitment you silently made to spend more time with your family this holiday season? A good hard look at your list quickly reveals what you can eliminate to free your time this holiday season.

A list also helps prevent those last minute "I forgot to wash the tablecloth" catastrophes. Check off each chore as you complete it. A computer spreadsheet program allows you to quickly rearrange that schedule so priorities or do ahead projects make the top ten. Keep the master copy to use again next year and work from a second copy.

Starting mid November make double meals twice a week. It only takes a few extra minutes to throw together 2 meatloaves or double a casserole or favorite chili recipe. Freeze the second meal for a homemade "fast food" meal. It's faster and healthier than heading to the local drive through.

Now comes the tough but essential part to give you added time during the holidays. Make a commitment to run errands nor more than twice a week. It takes at least 30 to 40 minutes just driving to and from a store. Keep spare rolls of tape, paper, glue, screwdrivers and pliers within easy reach.

This is the time to multitask: if you go to the garage take a load of laundry. When you head out to the store, take out the garbage. Get three days worth of dinner out of the freezer in the garage. Pay attention to the trips you make and do double duty. You'll save a couple hours a week simply by combing trips around your home.

It is impossible to speed clean a cluttered home. Put on some calypso music and start decluttering. Fast moving music takes the burden out of this job. Besides you'll find yourself dancing to the beat and the exercise is wonderful! Small children love to dance so let their imagine run free. Get the entire family involved in decluttering. If the kids want holiday cookies they need to pick up after themselves then let them help.

If you serve finger food rather than a sit down dinner, purchase good sturdy, oversized plates so your guests have plenty of room to place napkins, silverware and their glass on the plate while they walk to a chair. A sturdier plate balances better in a lap as well. Think twice about serving things like chips, popcorn or things that crumble like crackers or cookies. Not only do they leave grease stains in fabric, but they are often dropped and crushed into the carpeting or hard flooring and they find their way into the crevices in furniture, all of which can take hours to clean.

Place extra coasters along window sills etc where people linger to talk and often put down a glass. Keep a look out for glasses left behind and pick them up quickly to prevent spills. Use burning candles sparingly perhaps on the buffet or main dinner table only. Extinguish them right after dinner. Fires often start because a candle is moved during the evening and placed close to a flammable item.

After guests leave, straighten up before retiring for the night. You will spot any stain that might have been missed. Our Ion-A-Clean can be sprayed on a stain and left until the next day. Ion-A-Clean is ionized water and will not cause damage to any surface. The negatively charged ions "peel" away the stain from the fabric making removal easy.

You are welcome to download my free stain removal guide. It does come in handy all year long and especially during the holiday season.

Buy a large size carpet sample to place at your front door. Carpet does a great job cleaning the bottom of shoes. Then put a non rubber backed throw rug just inside the door to catch what the carpet sample missed. Rubber backed throw rugs leave yellow stains on surfaces especially when they get wet. Make sure the throw rug is light in color. Otherwise the dye will seep into your carpet. Hold the throw rug in place with non skid padding you find in most department stores. It should not yellow like the rubbed backing on rugs.

Speed clean your home like a pro: That cup of coffee can wait. You don't have to answer the phone unless you are expecting a call and it won't hurt a thing if the mail gets left in the box for another hour. Stay focused when you clean. You pick up speed while cleaning. Stop to do laundry and you just lost 15 minutes regaining your speed, if you can even do that at all.

Next take a serious walk around your home. If a room isn't to be used during the holidays, thoroughly clean it early in the season then shut the door. It will keep clean for a month until the hustle and bustle pass. Each evening after dinner clean one kitchen counter top, a shelf in the refrigerator, the microwave etc. Go through your refrigerator before the holidays and get rid of anything that has sprouted legs and is doing the two step by the light of a 20 watt bulb.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Holiday Cheer
By Mary Findley copyright@2005 all rights reserved

Please be careful this holiday season of candles. Many contain lead, which emits toxins in your home. The black smoke also plays havoc on walls, which takes hours to clean. All too often I receive an email from someone whose home has received fire damage from a candle sitting too close to a lamp shade, fabric furniture or placed on a holder attached to the wall. Please take extra caution where and how you burn candles. If children of any age are present, keep lit and unlit candles out of their reach.

Look for lead free and smokeless candles. Soy candles are my favorite. They have a long burn time, light scent and don't leave black soot on anything. They are more expensive but your lungs will thank you and if means spending 3 or 4 less hours cleaning walls, your arms will also thank you!

Place a holder under all candles. Candles sweat whether they are burning or not. The dye from the candles stains whatever surface they sit upon, especially wood and it does not come out.

When company comes for dinner or a social gathering, avoid serving foods and particularly drinks with red, purple or orange coloring. For a complete stain removal guide head to www.goclean.com and print out my free stain removal guide.

Here are a few handy tips for holiday parties. Store a dampened mop just outside the door going to your garage. If a spill happens it is ready to clean the spill. Keep a few terry towels in a plastic bag under the sink along with a spray bottle of your all purpose cleaner, a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide to remove red dye stains (not everyone heeds my warnings,) your liquid dish soap for greasy food stains and foaming shaving cream for most other food stains.

Next have a bottle of seltzer water handy if you serve red wine. Make sure guests use saucers for coffee cups and hand them a large napkin with each glass of wine. Be sure to keep coasters handy on all tables and surfaces and see to it they are used.

It is perfectly fine to ask guests to remove their shoes at the door. Do let them know ahead of time. The mud, slush and so forth carried in on shoes plays havoc on carpeting. The heels of shoes leave scratches in wood floors. Place a neutral colored throw rug just inside the door for shoes. Any color in a rug will transfer to the carpet or linoleum flooring.

If you are expecting small children or guests with pets purchase several plastic table cloths. Turn one upside down on a bed or sofa where the little ones or pets might rest. Then place a terry towel on top of the table cloth. The towel catches any "accidents" and the table cloth prevents the liquid from saturating bedding or furniture. Then place one underneath children's chairs at a meal. Shake the table cloth outside after a meal, the birds will love the leftovers, wipe clean and return to your guests within seconds without the worry of stained carpet.

Look for Mary's book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Cleaning" coming to bookstores in Jan, 2005