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Lower Hudson Valley Maid Service Blog

How Often Should a Toilet Be Cleaned?


Quick Answer: More often than you think!

Do you cringe at the thought of cleaning your toilets? Not many people enjoy cleaning bathrooms, but like it or not, they should be cleaned at least once a week. The best recommendation for the toilet is to clean it even more frequently, especially if your bathroom sees a lot of traffic or you have hard water.

Bathrooms – and toilets in particular – are known for harboring germs. Cleaning and disinfecting helps protect against those germs. When waste in a toilet mixes with flushing water, microscopic particles are sent into the air then land throughout your bathroom. This happens most directly on toilet seats, lids, and other nearby surfaces.

Raise your hand if you store your toothbrushes in a pretty cup on the sink counter! Get your household in the habit of closing the toilet lid before flushing to protect your nearby sink and surfaces. You will still need to carefully disinfect your seat and lid, but this small step will drastically cut down on the spread to the other areas of your bathroom!

A 2013 report in the American Journal of Infection Control stated that “toilet plume” could contribute to transmitting infectious diseases. More recent studies assert the risk of contracting Covid-19 from toilet plume is also possible if you use the same toilet as an infected person.

Hard Water May Also Be a Problem

Even some toilets which are cleaned frequently may not always look clean. For example, if you have hard water, this creates brown stains underneath the rim of the toilet bowl that can be stubborn and hard to remove.

These brown stains are actually due to a buildup of calcium, magnesium, and other mineral deposits in your pipes. These deposits settle in and around your toilet’s siphon jets. When clean water from your toilet tank flows into the toilet bowl, the siphon jets help to move it around, getting rid of waste. However, if those jets are surrounded by grimy mineral deposits and buildup, there is a good chance the pressure from the water alone will not get rid of them.

If the deposits are not too bad, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or an abrasive cleaner like Barkeepers Friend or bathroom cleaners like Scrubbing Bubbles and Kaboom should do the trick. If the deposits are more challenging, pumice stones are very effective at removing them though if you choose to use a pumice stone, I want to warn that it is crucial to wet both the pumice stone and the area with the jets and keep them wet. Otherwise, you risk scratching the porcelain. Frequent cleaning of the inside of the toilet will definitely keep the challenge of the hard water to a minimum.

Safe Cleaning Tips

Keeping a toilet clean is essential to your health. You do not want to jeopardize your health when cleaning your toilet either, so I have put together some safety recommendations:

  • Wear gloves. Always.
  • Use a disinfecting cleaner and spray it on all parts of the toilet – we are talking tank, flusher, bowl, base, inside, outside, under, and behind. Remember the plume!
  • Be sure to let the disinfectant sit wet on the surfaces for the number of minutes on the label – typically between 3-10 depending on the product – before you start physically cleaning. This is key because the number of minutes listed on the product label is the amount of time needed to kill the germs.
  • Don’t use reusable cleaning cloths. With the germs in and on a toilet, it’s safer to use paper towels. And don’t be stingy -- use as many as you need so you aren’t reusing soiled portions of the cloth. You can’t clean with dirty.
  • After you clean the toilet, be sure to clean the toilet brush you used. If not, the next time you use it, it will be dirty. (Again, you can’t clean with dirty!) One way to do this is to soak it in a container filled with disinfectant for at least 10 minutes and then let it air dry. (You can even add the disinfectant to the now clean toilet) and let it soak in the toilet for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to let it air dry.

Let us know if you have any questions about cleaning your bathroom or any other room in your home. Call us at 914-741-0552.

Contributed by:
Robin Murphy, Maid Brigade Environmental Disinfection Specialist

What is Electrolyzed Water?


You may be just be hearing about Electrolyzed Water recently, but it’s been around for more than half a century.

It’s called a miracle liquid for good reason: its scope ranges from being used as a medical device to killing bacteria from sushi. It treats water systems and foot fungus. It disinfects swimming pools and hospital bedding. It is counted on for postharvest processing of fruits and vegetables and keeping Tokyo taxicabs passenger safe. And it does all this safely and effectively.

In recent years it’s become popular in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, food production plants, and hotels – environments where health and safety is paramount. Now that it’s being introduced for home cleaning, it’s helpful to understand what it is, how it works and why it’s so good.

Just Add Salt

Electrolyzed Water is made when ordinary tap water is combined with small amounts of food-grade salt and zapped with low levels of electricity. The result is two different products, a highly efficient cleaner and degreaser that contains NaOH (sodium hydroxide) and a powerful sanitizer/disinfectant whose active ingredient called HOCl (hypochlorous acid).

The technology works when the salt (sodium chloride) and water solution is charged. The chloride is converted to HOCl, otherwise known as hypochlorous acid, and the sodium, when chemically bonded with water (H2O), produces sodium hydroxide. That substance has the ability to break down dirt in a way that ordinary cleaning products just can’t.

Do Try This At Home

Electrolyzed Water is perfect for cleaning grease and oil in the kitchen, body oils in the bathroom, light switch plates, door frames and many more areas as well as killing pathogens such as the bacteria, viruses, and fungi you don’t want in your home.

It is also completely toxin-free since it’s created without the addition of dyes, fragrances or phosphates

It’s worth noting that the hypochlorous acid, has 80 to 200 times the disinfectant power of chlorine bleach (but not the ability to bleach furniture or clothes). This is also crucial when eradicating bacteria or viruses in the home since the powerful solution renders them useless.

Don’t be put off by its acid-bearing name, however. Hypochlorous acid is the same substance that our white blood cells produce to keep us healthy, acting as our body’s ability to fight disease. In fact, its gentleness and effectiveness are so good that hospitals regularly use it to treat wounds, and it is also approved by the FDA for use in human and animal healthcare products, as well as organic crop production.

Not Sold In Stores

You won’t find Electrolyzed Water in a store as it has a short shelf life since its active ingredients dissipate rather rapidly. It’s made to use, not sit on shelves. There are home versions available online that make weaker solutions, though the EPA-registered generators used industrially produce it in bigger quantities and have control over the strength.

Advantages of Using Electrolyzed Water

The trend toward using Electrolyzed Water as a way of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in commercial settings has been growing in the United States in recent years.

It is especially popular in places where vulnerable populations exist, such as nursing homes and hospitals. And it is ideal for the home setting, too, particularly during a pandemic.

Not only can Electrolyzed Water clean and disinfect your home better than even the toughest cleaning products on the market, it keeps you, your family and your pets safe too.

Here are some of its major advantages:

  • Safe for people and pets
  • Non-toxic, non-flammable, and biodegradable
  • Highly effective at breaking down grease and grime; doesn’t bond to dirt like conventional cleaning chemicals
  • Doe not irritate the eyes or respiratory system
  • Kills bacteria, viruses and fungi
  • Can even be used to wash fruit and vegetables
  • Leaves no chemical residue
  • No rinsing required
  • Replaces other cleaning products including glass, all-purpose, floor, appliance, stainless steel, stone and tile, bathroom cleaners and more.
  • It rapidly breaks down into salt water
  • Does not cause harm to septic and sewer systems

If you are interested in finding out more about Electrolyzed Water, don’t hesitate to contact us at 914-741-0552.

Contributed by:
Robin Murphy, Maid Brigade Environmental Disinfection Specialist

Should I Hire a Company to Clean My New House Before I Move In?


Moving into a new home is exciting but unless you’re purchasing a newly built house, the property you move into has naturally been lived in before and is therefore not “new.” (And if it is newly built, there’s dust and other residue from the contractors).

For this reason, it’s worth considering hiring a professional cleaning company to get rid of the dirt and grime left by those who were there before you and prepare your home for “move in condition” before the moving truck is unloaded and the furniture has been arranged.

Moving is also known to be a stressful time. There is so much to do and it can certainly be overwhelming. Hiring a professional cleaning team can take at least some of the stress away from you, the new homeowner. As a result, you’ll be confident that your new home is safe for you and your family to unpack and move into.

But Won’t the Seller Leave It Clean?

When a family is moving out of a home that is being sold, “broom clean” is often a term used in real estate contracts to describe the condition in which a seller or renter must leave that home.

While there isn’t any legal definition of the term, “broom clean” homes are at a minimum cleared of the previous owners’ personal items and the floors have been swept clean.

For renters, a property should be left in good condition so that their security deposit can be refunded, but for home seller, the catch-all phrase doesn’t come with the same ramifications. In our experience, unless there are stipulations in a closing contract, the cleanliness of most vacated homes is more a gesture of goodwill than anything.

The Difference Between “Broom Clean” and Move-In Clean

When we are asked to conduct a “move out cleaning,” it is commonly more than just simply sweeping floors and removing cobwebs, although when you compare it to deep cleaning, it’s the difference between a car wash versus an auto detail.

When someone hires us to do a move-out cleaning, our work usually involves dusting surfaces, vacuuming baseboards, floors and carpets, cleaning kitchen sinks, countertops, appliance exteriors and cabinet doors; cleaning and disinfecting all bathroom fixtures, including sinks, toilets, showers, tubs and mirrors; dusting and vacuuming the inside of closets, and finally, dusting any blinds and light fixtures that are remaining in the house.

But a move-in cleaning is a much more detailed cleaning of the home. This is especially important during this time as the pandemic continues to remain a threat to all of us.

The general idea is to rid the home of any previous dust and dirt. It’s easy to look at a new home and assume that it’s spotless, but there are often places in a house, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, where grime tends to reside and even once clean, all high touch surfaces are in want of disinfection.

It’s best to start off with a fresh, clean, sanitary space in which to unpack. In any case, the dirt you’ll create afterward will be your own.

Typical Move-In Cleaning Tasks

There are certain tasks that all professional cleaning companies should complete when a client is moving into a new property. They include the following:

  • Handwipe all woodwork, including baseboards, moldings, sills, window and door frames
  • Clean and vacuum all closets and built-ins
  • Dust all ceiling fans
  • Vacuum all floors, stairs, carpets and rugs, including the interior of closets and mop all floors
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces in the bathrooms including the inside of vanities and medicine cabinets
  • Dust/wipe all light fixtures
  • Clean and disinfect all laundry equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect all kitchen surfaces including inside and outside of cabinets and drawers, the inside of the oven, refrigerator, freezer and dishwasher
  • Clean and disinfect all light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles and other high touch areas throughout the home

If construction of any sort, including painting or floor sanding, has been done to the home before the move-in, the cleaning company should add the additional task of removing the dust to their work schedule.


It’s a good idea to plan the move-in cleaning in advance. Ideally, there will be time between when you sign your closing documents and your moving trucks arrive. When time doesn’t permit, buyers who are using a professional cleaning company that is insured and is able to provide a certificate of insurance can often successfully arrange with the sellers for access to the home before the closing. If that isn’t possible, proficient cleaning services will organize the cleaning tasks and work with the moving company so everyone gets their job done the right way while minimizing any inefficiencies.

Have you hired a cleaning company to deep clean your new home? If so, I’d love to hear about your experience. And as always, if you have any questions, we are just an email or phone call away. Maid Brigade (914) 741-0552.

Do Feather Dusters Actually Work?


Are you forever searching for the right type of cleaning tools to keep the dust bunnies at bay? Let’s face it, dust is an inevitable part of our lives and unless you live in a bubble, there’s no way you’ll avoid it altogether.

There are lots of tools on the market to get rid of dust. They include microfiber cloths, wands and gloves, lambswool dusters, duster vacuums, and cans of compressed air for those hard-to-reach spots like computer keyboards.

For heavily trafficked areas of your home, it’s always a good idea to wipe them down on a regular basis with a good quality cleaning cloth. However, if your home is generally clean and you want to stay on top of the daily dust that accumulates in every household, I’m going to recommend something that many people who consider themselves to be professionals scoff at -- but only because they haven’t had firsthand experience with one: a feather duster!

While a lot of people might think that using a feather duster is old-fashioned or an outdated idea given the amount of readily-available cleaning products on the market, I’m telling you, they can really work wonders in your home. Many people think discount feather dusters don’t actually remove the dust at all and that the feathers just move dust to other surfaces or into the air to then settle.

That’s a misconception, at least if you use the correct feather duster, one made of high quality ostrich feathers. You see, ostrich feathers contain filaments that grab onto the dust instead of dispersing it to other areas of the home.

There are other feather dusters on the market, some that contain chicken feathers or that mimic ostrich feather dusters, but they don’t do anything close to the same type of job.

I recommend using a high-quality duster with black feathers, which are known for their soft and fluffy texture. These black feathers come from the mature male ostrich, and they serve as insulation for the bird and are very different from the flat, smooth outer feathers that are common to flying birds.

And I’m not the only one to recommend ostrich feather dusters; they are used by museums and art galleries throughout the world, as well as high end automakers to prepare their cars before paint application.

What is Dust?

To understand how feather dusters can do the job of combating dust, it’s important first to know what we’re dealing with. This is especially important if you or someone else in your home suffers from household allergies.

Dust, for the most part, consists of sloughed-off skin cells, hair, clothing fibers, bacteria, soil particles, and yes, dust mites, among other things. We also bring it into our homes from outside and if you have pets, they will do the same.

Ways to reduce the level of dust in your home include the use of air purifiers, which utilizes HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, using dryer softener sheets on furniture and other surfaces, and washing bed linens on a regular basis.

What Makes Ostrich Feathers So Good?

Ostrich feathers carry a natural negative charge that attracts dust particles, which have a natural positive charge. Plus, because they are large birds, their feathers are often quite long and perfect for picking up dust. Many ostrich feather dusters can range in length from 10 to 28 inches.

For common household dusting jobs, like cleaning around desks, shelves and tables, it’s best to purchase a small ostrich feather duster. Larger ostrich feather dusters are ideal for reaching dust near ceilings and other open areas.

How to Get the Best Results from a Feather Duster

To get the best results when using an ostrich feather duster, you should pull the feathers along as you dust the surface using a steady, even stroke. You should then come to a dead stop and allow the dust to attract itself to the feathers by means of static electricity.

Once you’ve dusted a specific area, you can shake the duster on to the floor and vacuum later or bring it outside and give it a good shake.

It is worth noting that if an area is extremely dusty, meaning that dust has accumulated in that particular area for months, it’s a good idea to wipe it down with a wet cloth first or vacuum it. Then, you can use the ostrich feather duster to pick up the remaining dust.

You can use the ostrich feather duster to remove dust build-up on things like faux greenery and even rustic wood or stone surfaces. If you’re dusting around ornaments, this dusting feather comes in really handy as you won’t need to move a thing, a major time-saver.

Where to Find a Good Ostrich Feather Duster and How to Clean One

You can find high-quality ostrich feather dusters online or in stores such as Home Depot, Walmart and others. Just be sure that when you are purchasing an ostrich feather duster that the feathers are soft and flexible.

Aside from the fact that it’s very effective and efficient, another great thing about using an ostrich feather duster is that you can use it over and over again. As long as you take good care of it to make sure it’s free of oily residues, one can last several months, if not years.

You’ll know based on how it feels when it’s time, and then all you need to do is simply recommend that you wash it in a sink of warm water with some dish detergent added to it. Gently swish the feather duster around a few times, rinse it with warm water until the water is clear, and blot it dry with a soft towel.

Place it in a vase or a jar to dry with the fluffy side up. You could also use a hair dryer on low and blow dry it for about 2 minutes.

The end result is a nice clean, fluffy ostrich feather duster that will last you for years and save you money in the long run.

Let us know if you’ve used an ostrich feather duster to keep the dust mites away. And as always, if you have any questions, be sure to let us know.

​Should you Hire an Individual House Cleaner or a Team?


When you are looking to hire cleaning help for your home, you have a choice between employing one person or a cleaning crew.

Would you rather count on one person to spend time taking care of the household chores would you prefer multiple cleaners to collectively give your home the once-over it needs?

There are differences between the two but as far as which is better, I’d say the answer is: it depends!

It depends on you, your personality, and your preferences. It also depends on the cleaning person or team. What works well for one person or family versus another really depends on the people involved and there’s really no one right answer.

If you’ve never hired a house cleaner or cleaning service before, the task can seem a bit daunting and quite frankly, a bit scary too, especially during these times. To help prepare you to make the decision between a single house cleaner or a cleaning team, I’ve outlined a few things to think about to find what will work best for you.

Management Style

If you’re serious about cultivating a consistent relationship with your house cleaner, and are comfortable giving direction and feedback, then hiring one person might work well for you. You’ll give that person instructions on what needs to be done on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, and as time goes on, and if it’s a good fit, the cleaning person will adapt to your management style and know and provide exactly what is expected from you.

If you prefer to have a less hands-on role, bringing in a team of house cleaners where you more typically communicate with the supervisor who then managers the other cleaners may work well for you. And while it’s not uncommon for there to be a language barrier, if you don’t share the same language, hiring a team that has a leader or works for a company who can clearly communicate with you, is a plus.

Housekeeper vs. House cleaner

If you’re looking for a housekeeper as opposed to a house cleaner (yes, there’s a difference), you housekeepermight want to choose an individual to carry out those housekeeping tasks.

They usually include such things as laundry, ironing, washing dishes and other chores that generally take up more time than you’d think and are often difficult to get to if you’re a busy parent and professional.

Since that person will have a more consistent presence in your home, you’ll no doubt have formed a good relationship with the housekeeper and trust her to do the right thing.

If a top-to-bottom cleaning of your home is necessary on a regular basis, it’s often easier to use a team of cleaners who focus on housecleaning chores as opposed to the housekeeping tasks. They usually have a system and a checklist to be sure that the routine tasks and details get taken care of consistently.


The time it takes to clean a home varies and depends on a number of factors, including the size of your house and the tasks you assign the cleaner or cleaning team.

It also depends on the efficiency of the cleaning products and tools that are being used and the thoroughness of the individual house cleaner or team.

Generally speaking, however, it will take an individual cleaning person longer to clean your home. Of course, that can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on whether you are in the home while the cleaning occurs and if it is an inconvenience or not.

When using a team of cleaners, two to three people are usually assigned to the job, which means that it won’t take as long to complete.


If getting your home cleaned on a regular, consistent schedule is important to you, you’ll need a Cleaning team with vacuumsreliable cleaner to do the job, whether that’s an individual house cleaner or a team of cleaning professionals.

Before choosing either, think about the times when the house cleaner may be sick and can’t clean your home. Unless she has a back-up cleaner available to help, you’ll have to wait until she recovers before she’s able to come back into your home. And if he or she does have someone to fill it, that person won’t be familiar with your home.

A team of cleaning professionals has more workers so going that route may be the better option for you. Even if one isn’t available, the other(s) will be so you can stick to your regular house cleaning schedule.


Having an individual house cleaner take care of your needs can be a real advantage, as I’ve pointedCleaning maid out above. But what if you’re sick or you need to skip a visit or several visits because you’re on vacation?

Those types of scenarios can also inadvertently affect your cleaning person’s financial livelihood.

If you need a quick cleaning of your home at the last minute, or a change in your schedule because you are having a party or your mother-in-law is coming for a visit, your cleaning person may not be able to switch gears because of other clients already booked into that same time slot.

Leaving the house cleaning tasks to a team of cleaning professionals who have more resources at their disposal may be the way to go if you find yourself frequently in such situations.

Cleaning Supplies

While a cleaning team will typically bring their own supplies and tools with them, most individual house cleaners will come into your home expecting to use the cleaning products that you already have. In that case, make sure you are stocked up on the necessary supplies as well as clean vacuum bags.

And given the precautions that house cleaning professionals must take these days, it’s also important that they have the appropriate personal protective equipment, and while most everyone is wearing a mask, you may want to be sure to have clean, disposable gloves and shoe covers so everyone is protected.

We hope these tips will help you make the decision that’s best for your lifestyle and personal preferences. If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at

Contributed by:
Robin Murphy, Maid Brigade Environmental Disinfection Specialist

Is it Safe to Have House Cleaners in Your Home During the Covid-19 Pandemic?


Since the onset of the pandemic, families are spending extra time indoors and either the dust bunnies are multiplying more quickly than before or maybe we are just noticing them more!

The idea of having an outside cleaning person or service help tackle the house cleaning tasks and put your Image of cleaning supplieshome back in order (and then help keep it that way) can be a convenient solution, but trusting them to be inside your home can be difficult for some.

Currently, most states consider cleaning and disinfecting as an essential service, meaning that cleaning services are free to enter a home or office, but the decision to have house cleaners in your home during the Covid-19 pandemic is a personal one.

If you are feeling that it’s time to get outside cleaning help, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks so you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy home that is cleaned safely by someone else.

Maintaining a Clean, Healthy Home is Good for You and the Prevention of the Virus

Numerous studies have shown that keeping a clean, tidy house is good for your mental and physical health.

  • A build-up of dust, grime and germs can weaken your immune system, trigger allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as affect the quality of your sleep.
  • The risks are even greater for people with weakened immune systems.
  • But these days, it’s also important to maintain a clean home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
  • When your home is clean and tidy, you will also feel a sense of calm and harmony, knowing that everything is in order.

10 Questions to Ask:

While there’s no guarantee that anyone, including a house cleaner, is free of Covid-19 or any other harmful virus, there are things you can do that will ultimately give you peace of mind and more importantly, keep you safe.To make the process as stress-free as possible, here are 10 questions that you should ask your current house cleaner or cleaning service or one that you are about to hire.

1. Are daily health checks conducted on everyone entering your home?
Under normal circumstances, this would have been a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but these are extraordinary times and this simple procedure will give both you and the cleaning staff some peace of mind

2. Are the cleaners equipped with masks and other protective personal equipment (PPE), such as fresh pairs of disposable gloves? And if so, will they be wearing them when they arrive at your home and right up to when they leave?
It’s important to know this in advance in case a cleaning person arrives at your doorstep without the proper equipment. In most cases, professional cleaning companies are supplying their workers with the required PPE but if they aren’t, you should consider providing them with it.

3. Do the housecleaners know how to “don and doff” disposable gloves?Image of cleaner removing gloves
Protective gloves are an important piece of safety equipment for the cleaning company employee. When they are donned properly, they protect the worker from exposure to hazardous substances, including viruses like Covid-19. It’s important to know that the cleaning staff who come into your home know how to “don and doff” properly. This includes checking for any tears prior to wearing the gloves and ensuring that they fit securely. Taking the gloves off is equally important to protect against cross contamination and the cleaning person should know the proper technique when doing so.

4. Do the cleaners know how to change linens properly as well as handle dirty laundry the right way?Image of laundry basket with clothes overflowing
To avoid possibly releasing any contaminants into the air, dirty laundry and linens should not be shaken. The CDC recommends that laundry be washed in the warmest appropriate water setting and then dried completely.

5. Are cleaning tools disinfected after use in other people’s homes?
If new cloths are not used every time a home is cleaned, consider supplying the house cleaner with your own newly purchased cloths. Even when cleaning cloths are laundered, contaminants may still remain.

6. What kind of disinfectant will be used? How it will be applied? Is it effective against the virus responsible for Covid-19?
If the disinfectant is on the EPA’s list of products approved for use against Covid-19, you should ask about its active ingredients and if it is safe to use around young children and pets if they are part of your family. If the product needs to be wiped as opposed to air-dried, will sanitary cloths be used? It’s also important to know if the staff is aware of the proper dwell time of the product, i.e. how long it stays wet in order to kill a virus or other contaminant.

7. Are the cleaners wearing a fresh pair of disposable shoe covers in your home?
If not, you may want to think about supplying these to the cleaning staff. According to a recent CDC report, the virus can travel on shoes, so it is wise to be extra vigilant.

8. Are the cleaning people following social distancing policies in your home?
This is equally important if you plan to be home. You, like the cleaning staff, should also practice approved social distancing guidelines. And when that’s not possible, always wear a mask.

9. If you are using a company, do they have a sick leave policy in place?
You will need to know if the company provides flexible sick leave and time off to its employees if they are sick. This is important to be sure that cleaning staff are covered financially if they don’t work because they are feeling ill.

10. Do they ask all clients about the state of their health?
This eliminates the potential risk of spreading the virus between different clients’ homes if they have been exposed to coronavirus or other illnesses.

If you’re in doubt about resuming your regular cleaning service, we’re confident that these tips will help you make the best decision. Let us know if we can be of further help as you navigate these difficult times.

Contributed by:
Robin Murphy, Maid Brigade Environmental Disinfection Specialist