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Northern Connecticut Maid Service Blog

Keeping Your Chimney Clean and Safe


Keeping Your Chimney Clean and SafeOn these cold winter nights, there’s nothing like getting cozy in front of a roaring fire.

But you have to remember that regular inspection and cleaning is critical to keeping your stove or fireplace in safe operating condition.

Cleaning the good old fashioned way is impossible without the proper tools. Professional chimney sweeps use chimney-sweeping brushes and extendable rods. You can use the same brushes and rods. Plastic sheeting and drop clothes are essential for protecting your home interior.

A chimney cleaning brush must be the proper size for the chimney. Too wide and the brush may get caught and fail to clean properly. Too narrow, on the other hand, and the brush will still fail to clean the walls as it will lack the proper friction. The correct chimney brush will fit the inside diameter perfectly.

A face mask and eye protection are a smart idea. Long pants, long shirtsleeves, and heavy gloves are also essential.

Be sure to cover the front of your fireplace with plastic and tape it in place or close your wood stove doors. Additional plastic, drop clothes, old sheets or even newspaper will protect the floor around your hearth and surrounding furniture. Lay more material, from the front door of the house to the wood-burning appliance, to protect your floors as you walk in and out.

Removing the spark catcher or flue cap allows complete, unrestricted access to the chimney from the roof level. From inside the house, fireplace or stove doors may also be removed to safeguard the glass and allow more work space in some cases.

The most common chimney cleaning method involves extending a brush, at the end of a rod, down the chimney flue with a swirling motion. Once the brush reaches the bottom, it is reversed, swirling again to the top of the chimney. Each cycle of the brush will knock more creosote loose. When fresh soot and creosote fails to appear on the removed brush, the chimney is again visually inspected to ensure completion.

To clean from the bottom of the chimney, rods must be used. The same circular movement of the chimney brush, pushed to the top of the chimney, will clean the clinging creosote residue. However, this method is more awkward and it also makes it harder to avoid making a mess around the wood stove or fireplace.

With diligent inspections, proper wood burning practices, and periodic chimney cleaning, your wood stove or fireplace will last nearly forever. Not only will you keep it looking good and burning efficiently, but the fire will stay exactly where it’s supposed to be – inside the fireplace or stove, keeping you warm.

Need some help around the house? Give Maid Brigade of Central Connecticut a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Tips for Cleaning Your Refrigerator


Tips for Cleaning Your RefrigeratorIt may not be your favorite task, but it’s something that has to be done.

Cleaning the refrigerator.

Here are some tips to help keep your fridge clean and safe.

First, remove all food before starting. Even if you’re only using natural products, you don’t want to be reaching around objects. Having an empty fridge makes the process so much easier, and removes the possibility of contamination.

The next thing to do is to take out all of the removable parts, such as shelves and drawers. Fill a basin with warm water and regular dishwashing soap and leave these parts to soak before wiping and rinsing them off.

Wipe all surface areas with a combination of dishwashing soap and warm water. You will want to use a microfiber cloth or a good quality sponge. These will not fall apart and leave little particles behind in the fridge.

For stubborn stains, mix a small amount of baking soda with a little water to produce a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and leave it for an hour before wiping it with a damp sponge or cloth. The baking soda should loosen the stain, making it easy to wipe away.

To deodorize a smelly fridge, dab lemon juice or vanilla extract onto a cotton ball or sponge and leave it in a corner of the refrigerator. After several hours remove the cotton ball or sponge and your refrigerator should smell clean and fresh.

To reduce the hassle when kitchen-cleaning time rolls around, there are a number of quick and easy ways to maintain the cleanliness of your refrigerator on a day-to-day basis.

The first thing to do is to regularly check through the items in the refrigerator and throw out anything that out of date. Moldy foods can contaminate other items.

Clean up any spills as soon as possible. Spills can drip onto other foods, and can cause bad smells – especially if a bottle of milk leaks.

To absorb strong odors, keep a small plastic box filled with baking soda at the bottom of your fridge.

Remember, disinfectants – like bleach – should never be used inside refrigerators. As with other kitchen cleaning products, any disinfectant that comes into contact with food could make people ill because of the strong chemicals they contain.

Need some help around the house? Give Maid Brigade of Northern Connecticut a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Getting Rid of the Smell in your Washing Machine


You just opened your washing machine and caught a whiff of something other than freshly washed clothes.

Sounds like it’s time to clean your washing machine!

Many people will say to use bleach, but that isn’t a good idea. Not only is bleach a toxic cleaner, but it is also bad for septic systems, which need a certain amount of bacteria present to break down matter.

The following instructions will allow you to kill mold, mildew, and keep odors at bay in your front load washer – using only natural ingredients.

All you’ll need are white vinegar and baking soda.

The vinegar will disinfect, helping to kill mold and mildew. The acidity of the vinegar will help dissolve soap residue in the wash tub and can also be helpful in dissolving lime deposits in pipes (if you have hard water). The baking soda cleans soap scum and deodorizes if you have a smelly washer.

Your HE washer probably has a cleaning setting, but before you even begin that, you’ll need to do some detail work.

The gaskets at the front of the machine (they are usually gray and rubbery) are notorious for growing mildew. They also tend to be a magnet for hair, especially pet hair.

You can clean the gasket by spraying vinegar into the folds and then rubbing them down with a cleaning rag that has baking soda on it. The baking soda makes it a bit more abrasive and reacts with the vinegar once contacting the surface that you’re cleaning.

If you have a lot of mold and mildew, apply peroxide following the baking soda and vinegar. Peroxide kills mold. Alternatively, you could scrub the inside of the gasket with an old toothbrush.

Once you’ve cleaned the gasket, make sure to give the door a good wipe-down, too.

When you’re ready to run the cleaning cycle, sprinkle 1/3 cup of baking soda into the drum of the machine. This is just an extra odor-fighting boost. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser, and turn the dial of your machine to the cleaning cycle. The cycle should take from an hour to an hour and a half.

To try to keep your washing machine cleaner all the time, make sure you leave the door open all the time. This is even more important for front-load machines than for top-loading ones, because they become smelly quickly.

In addition, don’t let your clothes sit. In order to ensure that your clothes – and the machine don’t get a funny smell, it’s best to remove the clothes immediately after they’re finished washing.

You should also wipe your machine out regularly. You won’t want to spend the time or resources to do a full cleaning on your machine very often, but if you give it a quick wipe with a dry towel after you are finished with your laundry for the day, it will stay fresh much longer.

Don’t just think about the inside! You’ll want to keep the outside of the machine clean as well. Between the dryer dust and laundry detergent residue, the outside of the washing machine can get gross pretty fast.

Need some help around the house? Give us a call at 860-645-6243 and we can help you out!

Cleaning Up the Freezer


Cleaning Up the FreezerHave you looked in your freezer lately? Does it look like something exploded in there?

Cleaning the freezer isn’t necessarily a pleasant one, but it doesn’t have to be too painful.

You’ll need a large cooler, rubber gloves, mild dish soap, hot water, vinegar, a sponge, a wash cloth, paper towels or a dish towel, baking soda, and a toothbrush.

The first thing you’ll want to do is turn off your freezer. Either switch it off or unplug the unit — whichever is easiest. Empty any ice trays into a bowl and place in the cooler. Then soak the trays in a sink full of warm, soapy water.

You’ll then want to take out all of the frozen food and put it in the cooler.

Remove and wash all of the detachable drawers and shelves. You’ll want to let the units come to room temperature before cleaning to avoid cracking. Once they’ve warmed up, wash them in a sink full of warm, soapy water. It’s best to use fragrance-free dish soap if possible to avoid transferring any scents back to the freezer, which can be picked up by food. Rinse thoroughly and set aside to dry.

The next thing you’ll want to do is make a solution of equal parts hot water and vinegar or one quart hot water with two tablespoons of baking soda. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and liberally spray the inside of the freezer.

Wipe out the freezer with a sponge or dish cloth and reapply the cleaning solution as needed. For stubborn, stuck-on food particles, spray your cleaning solution on a paper towel and place it over the sticky area. Let it soak for 10 minutes and then wipe it away. If necessary, use an old toothbrush to gently scrub the area.

Don’t forget to wipe down the freezer door and the surrounding seal! You may also find a toothbrush helpful here.

After you’re done washing it out, dry the inside of the freezer thoroughly with a paper towel or dish towel. After the inside of the freezer is completely dry, replace the shelves and drawers.

Now you’re ready to replace all the food and ice. Take a look through your frozen foods as you place everything back in the freezer. Throw out anything that has developed freezer burn and organize your remaining frozen foods by priority.

Don’t forget to turn the freezer back on!

Need some help around the house? Give us a call at 860-645-6243!

Living a Greener Life


Living a Greener LifeYou want a clean and fresh home, but you don’t want all the chemicals. You also want a healthier life.

Here is some advice for how to make your life a little greener.

Most of the conventional cleaning products we all grew up with are petroleum-based and have dubious health and environmental implications. Instead of opting for cleaning products that annihilate everything in their path, there are plenty of natural products and methods that keep a house clean and fresh-smelling without the toxic side effects.

As the health and environmental impacts of conventional cleaning products become more thoroughly understood, more and more brands of healthy, green, and effective cleaning products have started hitting the. But if designer labels aren’t for you, home-mixed cleaners can get the job done and then some. Vinegar and baking soda can be used to clean almost anything. Mix in a little warm water with either of these and you’ve got yourself an all-purpose cleaner.

It is not uncommon for the air inside a home or office to be more toxic than the air outside. This is because of the presence of toxic materials and substances and the fact that homes and buildings are better insulated than ever before (which is a good thing from an energy standpoint). Keeping windows open as often as possible allows fresh air in and keeps toxins flowing out. This is especially important when cleaning your home.

The antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaners that many people think are necessary, especially during cold season, don’t clean hands better than soap and water, and also add to the risk of breeding “super germs,” which are bacteria that survive the chemical onslaught and have resistant offspring. The FDA has found that antibacterial soaps and hand cleansers do not work better than regular soap and water, and should be avoided.

Do you know the powers of baking soda? Baking soda not only removes those strange smells coming from your fridge, it’s also a great odor-eliminator for your carpet. Just sprinkle on a little baking soda to soak up some of those odors and then vacuum it up.

Skip the store-bought air fresheners and instead try boiling cinnamon, cloves, or any other herbs you like. Fresh chocolate chip cookies also create a friendly aroma. Also, plants may not make your house smell different but are good for filtering interior air. Pretty much any broad green leaf plant will do.

When replacing your cleaning products, don’t just throw the old ones in the trash. If they’re too toxic for your home, they won’t be good for the drain or the landfill either. Many communities hold toxics and electronics recycling days and will take all of these off your hands. Throwing chemicals in the trash or down the drain means they might end up back in your water supply and come back to haunt you.

Conventional dry cleaners are the largest users of the industrial solvent called Perchloroethylene, or perc, which is toxic to humans and also creates smog. The two most common green drycleaning methods are carbon dioxide cleaning and Green Earth. Seek out cleaners that use green methods. If you do take clothes to conventional cleaners, be sure to air them outside before wearing them or putting them in the closet.

Imagine what’s on your shoes at the end of the day. Bringing that stuff into the house is not good, especially for kids and pets – who spend time on floor level. Keep the sidewalk out of your home with a good doormat or a shoeless house policy. Less dirt also means less sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming, which means less work, water, energy, and fewer chemicals.

For people don’t have the time to clean their own homes, fortunately there are an increasing number of green cleaning services – like us – out there to help get things spic and span.

Ready to live a greener, healthier life? Give us a call at 860-645-6243 and let us help you out!

Getting a Sparkling Clean Oven


Getting a Sparkling Clean OvenHave you looked inside your oven lately? Does it need a little TLC?

You’re in luck! You can clean it with just a few simple things that you already have in your kitchen.

So grab your baking soda, vinegar, rubber gloves, and cloth and get to work!

The first thing you’ll want to do is remove the oven racks, pizza stone, oven thermometer, and anything else you have in the oven.

Next in a small bowl, mix half a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Adjust the ratio of both as needed until you have a spreadable paste.

Next, spread the paste all over the interior surfaces of your oven, steering clear of the heating elements. The baking soda will turn a brownish color as you rub it in. It also might be chunkier in some places than others, which is fine. Coat the whole oven to the best of your abilities, paying attention to any particularly greasy areas.

Allow the baking soda mixture to rest for at least 12 hours, or overnight. Meanwhile, clean your oven racks.

After 12 hours or overnight, take a damp dish cloth and wipe out as much of the dried baking soda paste as you can. Use a plastic or silicone spatula to help scrape off the paste as needed.

Put a little vinegar in a spray bottle and spritz everywhere you still see baking soda residue in your oven. The vinegar will react with the baking soda and gently foam.

Then take your damp cloth and wipe out the remaining foamy vinegar-baking-soda mixture. Repeat until all the baking soda residue is gone. Add more water or vinegar to your cloth as needed while wiping to really get the oven clean and shiny.

Once that’s done, replace the oven racks and anything else you keep in your oven, and you’re done!

Spring Cleaning Your Outside


Spring Cleaning Your OutsideSpring cleaning isn’t just for inside your home. It’s for outside as well.

A good place to start is with your dirty windows. Winter storms can leave a nasty residue all over that glass, much like the slushy, sludgy roads can make your tires look gross.

You’ll want to tackle your screens first, in preparation for those perfect, sunny, breezy spring days. Take the screens off and take them outside for a gentle bath with a hose. If they’re especially gross, you might want to rub them with some soapy water and a brush.

Start with the outside windows before doing inside or you won’t be able to tell whether they’re actually clean or not.

Cleaning the gutters is another important task to complete in the spring. Once you’re on that ladder, you’re going to need to get rid of all the leaves, twigs, and other gunk that’s made a home in your gutter.

Before you start organizing the garage, you’ll need to assign and arrange areas. Perhaps there’s a hobby area in one corner and workshop equipment in another. Decide where these will go, then move on to figure out how to store everything. Installing cabinets, shelves, racks and hooks may help immensely. Use boxes, baskets, and old plastic storage containers from the kitchen to organize everything.

Make a junk box for things that are mismatched or you want to keep “just in case.” However, don’t hesitate to toss anything you can.

Once you venture outside, take a look at your fences. Rot is the biggest thing to look for in a wooden fence, along with loose rails and any kind of wobbly parts. If it’s been a few years since the wood has been treated, it’s a good idea to check to see if bugs have gnawed their way around, too.

With a metal fence, you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any holes or places where it’s pulling away from the ground. This could make for unwanted two-way traffic.

I’m sure it feels like you just raked, but you’ll need to get rid of the soggy, old leaves choking your flowerbeds and grass. Weed your flowers, driveways, and sidewalks and trim your shrubs.

Spring might mean a fresh coat of paint for your house. Weather can really take a toll on a paint job. If the taupe that came with the house just isn’t cutting it color-wise, you might want to finally try out the red door you’ve dreamed of. Maybe get a new mailbox to freshen things up.

This may also be a good time to look into borrowing a pressure washer to wipe away all the grime. Certain kinds of siding can’t take the pressure (same goes for peeling paint), so make sure you’ve got the right type. A pressure washer can also come in handy for greasy driveways, decks, and walkways.

Spring is the perfect time to get your poor, neglected patio, or deck in shape. Banish the dirt and cobwebs with a broom first. Then wash and re-stain the deck. If you have plastic furniture, break out the hose. Let your grill re-enter your life. You’re going to need a degreaser and a wire brush.

Ready to get outside and get cleaned up? Let us worry about the inside of your house. Give us a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Spring Cleaning Shortcuts


Spring Cleaning ShortcutsWhen you have the time, go back in for a thorough, deep clean but in the meantime, here are some ways to clean your home quickly.

You want to do some spring cleaning, but you are on a tight time schedule.

When you have the time, go back in for a thorough, deep clean but in the meantime, here are some ways to clean your home quickly.

When it comes to carpeting and rugs, target needy areas. There are sure to be high-traffic zones and stains that have been bugging you forever. Give the rest a quick (but still substantial) once-over.

Moving onto the windows, focus on the exterior, where the most dirt builds up. Don’t sweat the detail work. For best results, choose a wind-free, overcast day as gusts will cause you to get sprayed and sunlight can leave streaks.

A quick steam will revive your curtains and knock out the odors. Most fabrics, from velvet to silk, can be steamed.

You may not think about it, but your mattress could also use a little bit of spring cleaning. You can refresh a mattress with baking soda while its cover gets a thorough washing. After washing the sheets and blankets, give them a nice a tennis-ball tumble or hang them outside for some fresh air.

When you do your upholstered furniture, first hit every inch of the frame and the cushions with a hand vacuum. After that, swipe them clean with a dry cleaning sponge and lint roller.

Need some help ? Give us a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Getting Your Home Organized


Getting Your Home OrganizedEveryone has at least a bit of clutter somewhere. Maybe the children’s bedrooms, your home office, the attic, or the garage?

Here are some tips for getting yourself organized.

The first thing to do is to find a place for every item. One reason things pile up on counters, tables, and floors is that they have no “home.” Storing items in the room where they’re used helps ensure they get put away when you’re done, and usually it’s best to store similar items together. If it’s something you use frequently, make sure the storage place is easy to access.

The next thing to do is play clutter cop. The better you are about keeping things out of your home, the less likely things will pile up inside. Take freebies. It’s nice to get a T-shirt or coffee mug, but will you really use it? Enjoy it? If not, decline it. Or let’s say you’re a voracious reader. You could buy books – but why not borrow (and return!) them from your public library? Always look for ways to block unneeded items before they cross your threshold.

You’ll also want to do some detective work. Periodically scan your home for clutter hot spots, and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there. Once you understand the problem, you’ll find it easy to devise a solution.

Hold off on container shopping. People love to go out and buy containers, but getting organized does not start out with a shopping trip. Go shopping for storage items only after you’ve done some decluttering – to understand the scope of the problem, the specific cause, and an appropriate solution.

Have a bunch of duplicates? Toss them! Throwing out duplicates is one of the easiest ways to quell clutter. Anytime you get something new, get rid of something like it that is old.

If you’re a doting parent, it’s not easy to discard a child’s creation, but if you’re serious about minimizing clutter, you must. You could always take a picture of your child with the creation, letting that be your keepsake. Of course, if your child creates something truly special, you’ll want to keep it, maybe even display it in your home.

Weed out your wardrobe. Odds are your closet is full of clothes that are rarely worn. Did you know that we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time? Sort through your clothes, and your children’s, at the end of each season. Does a particular garment no longer fit, or maybe it’s uncomfortable? Toss it into a box. Then take the box to a favorite charity or a consignment store. One key to decluttering is getting rid of things, not simply rearranging them.

Look for simple clutter control solutions. Often, there’s an easy solution to even stubborn clutter problems. Put a hook by the front door, so you can hang your keys up every time you walk in the door. You could also use a lazy Susan turntable for organizing pantries or laundry rooms. To add storage space in a crowded room, consider adding a shelf just below the ceiling.

You can also think about making home organization “kits.” Buy some clear plastic shoebox-sized containers, and use them to create kits where you store all the items you need for a particular task. For instance, you could create a shoeshine kit, a bill-paying kit, a manicure kit, and so on. That way, you can easily find everything you need to accomplish everyday tasks.

Stick to a schedule. Some spaces, like kitchen counters, need daily decluttering. Others can be tackled weekly or monthly. When that time comes, be systematic. Take all the items in a defined area (a cabinet, a desk drawer), and spread them out so you can see what you’re facing. Be patient – effective decluttering takes time.

While we may not be able to help you decide what to keep and what to get rid of, we can help you keep your house neat and clean.

Need some help keeping your home neat and clean? Give us a call at 860-645-6243.

Cleaning Your New House Before Moving In


Moving to a new home can be very exciting, but it can also be a lot of work.

While you may not feel like doing it, cleaning the house before you move in is very important.

You may want to start with the kitchen – since people’s cooking smells still linger long after they’re gone.

Starting with the stove, remove all elements and clean this area. If you’re using a brush, make sure you use a brush that won’t scratch the surface. Soak the metal trays and racks in a sink full of hot, soapy water while you clean the rest of the stove.

Next, take a look inside the oven, and if need be, apply an oven-cleaner. Most take approximately 20 minutes to work. This gives you time to do the rest of the stove. Make sure you clean under the hood and use a grease-remover if you find the regular cleaner isn’t getting off the tough stuff.

Once you’ve cleaned the top and front of the stove, remove it from the wall and clean beneath it. And if possible, clean the sides, too, along with the front panel and temperature dials.

Next, tackle the refrigerator. Hopefully, it’s been cleaned out, but even if it has, it’s always a good idea to clean it well, including removing the drawers and bins and washing them out. Wash the inside walls and shelves, removing anything that can be removed and washing it separately in the sink or bathtub.

If the fridge has been unplugged, wipe down the inside or clean it thoroughly if it needs it. I suggest unplugging the fridge if it hasn’t been and letting it warm up before cleaning it. This will make it easier to clean. Also, use a soft cloth as anything harsher will scratch the surface. Don’t forget to check the freezer.

Move the fridge out from the wall and clean behind it, then on top and its sides, too. Dust and dirt also gathers on handles and along the plastic sealing that encases the doors.

Use a mild cleaner to clean the inside of cabinets, especially if they’re painted or lined. If they aren’t lined, consider using a liner to ensure that the insides are ready for your dishes. Lining paper can be purchased at any home store.

Clean the top of cabinets and cabinet doors. If the surface is wood, use a wood cleaner or a mild soap. For grease-stains, use baking soda and water. Make a paste and apply it, letting it sit for a few minutes. Also clean handles and inside drawers.

Counters usually require less work, just make sure you clean between cracks using a putty knife to remove any debris. Clean backsplashes with a mild cleaner or baking soda and water.

Clean and rinse the sink well. Sink odors can be removed by mixing baking soda and water together, then pouring it down the drain.

You don’t necessarily need to clean the walls, unless they are visibly dirty. Also, if it’s a house that has been occupied by small children, look for fingerprints closer to the floor and around light switches and corners. A great solution for sticky spots is to apply a small amount of fabric softener to a sponge then rub it on the area. Whatever has stuck to the wall will disappear. This also works really well for removing wallpaper or paper borders.

If possible, steam clean the carpets. If they have already been steam cleaned, you probably just need a thorough vacuum. If the previous owners if they had any pets, you may want to protect against possible fleas, especially if you have pets of your own.

For hard floors, sweep the floor well, making sure to clean under heating vents and under appliances. Use a mild soap to clean its surface.

Don’t have time before the big move? Give Maid Brigade of Northern Connecticut a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

How to Clean Your Dishwasher


The thought of cleaning your dishwasher may be an odd one (shouldn’t it already be clean?), but it is something you need to remember to do every so often.

Over time, dishwashers can collect food debris, soap residue, and inexplicable gunk that needs to be wiped away to ensure your dishes are getting a proper shine.

When you’re ready to dig in and get your hands dirty, make sure you have the proper tools and some spare time to tackle this task. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find lodged inside and notice a real difference once you’re done.

You’ll need distilled white vinegar, baking soda, a sponge, a screwdriver, hex wrench, or other tool, toothpick, dish soap, microfiber cloths or soft rags, a toothbrush, and a stainless steel or multipurpose cleaner.

The first thing you’ll need to do is empty the dishwasher. Wait until after you’ve run a cycle, then completely empty the dishwasher.

Next, remove the racks and check the spinning holes. Make sure the holes in the spinning arm are clear and open so that water can run through them freely. Use a needle nose pliers, a toothpick, or some other small pointy tool to remove any debris that has built up in the holes of the spinning arm. Be careful not to scratch the spinning arms.

You’ll next want to wipe the bottom of the door and the dishwasher grate. In some dishwasher models, the bottom of the dishwasher door accumulates debris because water cannot reach there. Wipe this off. Then inspect the grill or grate in the bottom of the dishwasher where the wastewater collects, and remove any food particles that are clogging the grate. Wash the grate area with warm, soapy water.

If you have one, you’ll also want to wash the filter. If you do have a filter, remove and disassemble the parts in your sink. Make sure you have a tool on hand that works to remove the screws properly. Set your screws aside in a safe place so that when it comes time to reassemble, you aren’t hunting around for them. Using a soft toothbrush, wash the filter parts with a baking soda paste or warm, soapy water. Reassemble and replace all parts.

The next thing you’ll want to do is wipe the door seal. Soak a damp cloth in vinegar, then wipe around the door seal. Get into the tiny, tighter areas with a toothbrush or Q-tip, also soaked in vinegar.

Don’t forget to clean the utensil rack! Check the utensil rack for any stuck-on food pieces, and remove them with a soapy toothbrush or dish brush. Rinse. Wash off the top and bottom racks of your dishwasher and return them all to the machine.

Finally, run an empty cycle with vinegar. To remove hard water deposits and catch anything you may have missed in your earlier cleaning, add two cups of vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher and run the dishwasher on a Low or Energy-Saving cycle. Stop the dishwasher halfway through the cycle, and let the vinegar stand on the bottom for about 20 minutes. Then turn it on and complete the cycle.

On the outside, clean and polish the front, sides, and all buttons on the panel.

You’re done! Do this once a month – or as needed – for a sparkling clean dishwasher.

Need some help around the house? Give Maid Brigade of Northern Connecticut a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Making Cleaning Fun


Making Cleaning FunWhile everyone wants a sparkling house, getting there can be a chore.

Want to make cleaning the house less of a chore? Here are some tips for making it more fun.

Create a theme. Parties and special events often have themes that make them special. By adding a simple theme, you can turn chores into fun. Pick something like a pirate adventure them. Everyone in your family can dress up in leftover Halloween costumes, and you can play music and talk like a pirate while cleaning. Make cleaning silly and you’ll forget that you’re actually working.

You could also make it a race. Time yourself and try to beat last week’s time. If a competitive person, this can be a great way to get motivated. Challenge your kids to see who can make a bed the fastest and give a prize to the winner – maybe they get to pick the next movie for family movie night.

If you’re getting the whole family involved, set up a few trash bins around the room you’re tackling and have family members take turns trying to throw trash or other items you’re getting rid of into the bins. This can be fun in its own right, but for a little extra motivation, you can award the person who makes the most baskets a prize.

Next, head outside. There’s plenty of work that needs to be done outside as well. Get some fresh air while tackling yard work. Have the kids help rake up leaves and then have fun jumping in the piles before scooping the leaves into garbage bags. In the winter months, getting the kids to help shovel the driveway is easy when you promise they can use the extra snow to make igloos and snowmen when the shoveling is complete. And teach them how to garden by starting with easy tasks like weeding and watering.

You could also, have everyone remove their socks and shoes and tear up old towels so that everyone gets their own pair of “skates.” Fill up the sink or a bucket with soap and water and have everyone dip their skates into the soapy water before putting them under their feet and gliding around the room. To dry the floor, grab an oversized towel and have everyone jump on board, single file to create a cleanup choo-choo train.

One of the best ways to make cleaning fun is to make it entertaining. Play music or putting on a movie while you all fold laundry. In the same way music can motivate you to workout harder, it can also pump up your chores. After all, who hasn’t used their mop handle as a microphone? Put on some upbeat tunes and dance around the house while de-griming. You will be done in no time.

Who’s ready for some fun?!

Don’t have time for this kind of fun? Give Maid Brigade of Northern Connecticut a call at 860-645-6243 and we’ll help you out.

Cleaning Hacks to Simplify Your Life


I’m sure you feel like there are never enough hours in the day to clean everything that needs cleaning. Here are 10 cleaning hacks to make your life easier.

Cleaning Hacks to Simplify Your Life

1. To clean your air vents, get a rag and spray it with some cleaning solution. Wrap it around a knife and go to town on those tiny slits.

2. Use canned air to blow out the dust and debris out of your exhaust fans. Remember, exhaust fans are a common cause of household fires!

3. Have nail polish stained carpet? Pour rubbing alcohol on it and rub it out with a microfiber cloth. Rubbing alcohol can also take acrylic paint out of clothing.

4. Need to get pet hair out of your carpet? Use a squeegee!

5. Have a lipstick stain on your clothing? Spray the spot with hairspray, let it set for 10 minutes, dab with a damp washcloth, and wash as normal.

6. Drop some paint on the floor? Use pimple pads to wipe them up. The alcohol in them softens the latex.

7. Lamp shades looking a little dusty? Use a lint roller to get the dust off.

8. That shower head is looking a little dirty. Pour distilled white vinegar in a plastic bag and fit it over the shower head. Secure with a rubber band. Let it soak for an hour, then remove the bag and wipe away with a cloth or paper towel.

9. To clean out those dryer vents, break out the vacuum! If you have pets, you’ll want to do this even more often to prevent fires. It will also speed up the time it takes to dry a load

10. Glitter gets everywhere! Dab it up with some play dough!

Need a little more help? Give us a call at (860) 645-6243 and we’ll help you out!

The Benefits of Green Cleaning


You’ve heard about green cleaning, but maybe you don’t know much about it.

The Benefits of Green CleaningWhat are some of the benefits of cleaning your home the green way?

One of the benefits is a healthier home.

If you go green, the person cleaning will no longer absorb the chemicals into their skin or breathe them in. These health benefits extend to family members who are no longer breathing in cleaners lingering in the air and sitting on surfaces.

Studies have shown that using a household cleaning spray, even as little as once a week, raises the risk of developing asthma. Using green cleaning products can reduce the chances of developing asthma, which is the most common chronic illness and the leading cause of school absences due to chronic illness across the country.

Another benefit is a more pure environment.

When you use many cleaning products, harmful chemicals are being released into the environment. Changing to greener methods helps reduce pollution to our waterways and the air. It also minimizes your impact on ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals. Many green products also use recyclable packaging which minimizes waste.

The products are also safer.

Conventional cleaning products pose risks, such as chemical burns to the cleaner’s skin and eyes. Green cleaners aren’t corrosive and meet strict standards regarding inhalation toxicity, combustibility, and skin absorption.

The air quality in your home will be better.

Most people can’t stand the stench of strong chemical odors. Many green cleaning products -- including store bought and ones you can make at home -- include pleasant natural essential oils. You could think of cleaning with green products as aromatherapy.

Green cleaning is also less expensive.

For home cleaning, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, etc. can do the trick for less than buying conventional cleaning products. Why go out and buy products when you can use things you already have in your pantry?

Investing in green products also makes sense for companies. The cost of environmentally friendly cleaning products has become much more competitive, while cleaning in an environmentally sound way reduces the risk of sick days for employees and the risk of fires and chemical spills.

There are also fewer antibacterials in green cleaning.

We’re now told by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that washing with antibacterial soaps isn’t any better than regular soaps, and the American Medical Association (AMA) says that the frequent use of antibacterial ingredients can promote bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent found in many soaps, may mess with your hormonal system and thyroid. However, most green or environmentally friendly cleaning products don’t contain antibacterial agents.

With green cleaning, you’ll also have more knowledge of the ingredients.

Government regulations don’t require ingredients to be listed on any cleaning products. This is another reason you should make your own products at home. That way, you’ll know exactly what the ingredients are in your cleaning recipes.

As concerns for health become more prevalent and people become more aware of the harsh effects cleaning chemicals are having, they’re going back to basics and looking for greener ways to clean.

With Maid Brigade of Northern Connecticut, you can enjoy peace of mind that we’ll provide a clean and healthy home for you and your family. Maid Brigade is a national franchise that has been in business for 25 years and is the only Green Clean Certified house cleaning company in the world! This means that the cleaning equipment, products, and processes we use are approved by Green Seal and safer for you, our maids, and the environment.

As the experts in green cleaning, we use only natural and environmentally safe technology and equipment that leave no harsh chemicals in your home. Our maids are certified and properly trained to efficiently use our green cleaning products and procedures in every home cleaning – the only ‘truly green’ house cleaning experience in the area!

Want a clean and healthy home? Give us a call at 860-645-6243.