Regular house cleaning is easier. And healthier. Here are the best tips from cleaning professionals on Thumbtack.
Not all cleaning products will make your chest hurt when you breathe. And according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they’re bad news when they do. Common household cleaning products like ammonia and chlorine bleach are actually considered organic pollutants and tend to stick around your house long after spring cleaning ends.
Be nicer to your body (and the planet) by using natural cleaners like baking soda, hot water, white vinegar and lemon juice to clean your home. They do just as good of a job and don’t require a hazmat suit to use.
Don’t neglect to clean the stuff you use most, even if it’s easy to think, “It’s just going to get gross again tomorrow.” Scrub the soap scum off your shower doors in less than five minutes with baking soda and salt. Run hot water and white vinegar through your washing machine, and pour a cup or two (plus baking soda) down the garbage disposal to neutralize any odors.
Then go for the small stuff. Round up kitchen appliances and take them apart for a deep cleaning. Soak any detachable parts in your sink with hot soapy water, while you wipe the rest down with an all-purpose cleaner and a paper towel.
Cooking gets your kitchen walls and cabinets sticky with grease and steam. Regularly wiping down walls and stainless steel surfaces like your vent hood with a mild detergent will do the trick. But if you wait and the grime builds up, you’ll need a heavy-duty solution.
Fill a bucket with cold water and just a splash of an ammonia-free cleaning alternative like Simple Green. Then use a damp sponge to wipe away the build-up, drying the clean area with a paper towel.
"Before starting, you should do a smaller test,” says Thumbtack Top Pro David Tello, owner of Freedom Cleaning in Grand Prairie, Texas. “You want to know what a product is going to act like before you use it, especially if you’re using something on wallpaper or paint.”
Built-up dust and grime make screens fragile and attract allergens. If you want to keep the outdoors out, keep your screens clean. If a screen is only a little gross, rolling a lint brush over both sides of the mesh should do the trick. If the lint brush isn’t hacking it, try a vacuum.
When a screen is totally caked in dirt, use warm water and a drop or two of dish soap to wipe it clean. For best results, take your screens off for cleaning twice a year.
Coming home should be nice. It shouldn’t make you sneeze. To cut down on allergens, keep your home free of dust and dander. Take a microfiber cloth or feather duster to your bookshelves, window sills and side tables. If you have a dog or cat, know that pet hair builds up fast — on your floor, bed, couches, ceiling fan and even in your air vents.
“A lot of professional cleaners will rotate high dusting and low dusting,” says Thumbtack Top Pro Paige Rounds, owner of MaidPro Wichita in Wichita, Kansas. If you have pets (or hay fever), ask your cleaner to dust the whole house, including problem areas, every time.
You get home from work with just enough energy to cook a quick dinner, but not enough to actually wash the dishes. You’ll get to them tomorrow (maybe). This kind of thinking is a trap. The longer you leave your dirty dishes, the faster they stack up, the more dish detergent you’ll use and the longer each plate will take. It also makes it more likely you’ll get ants and cockroaches. Save yourself the hassle and get to the pile as soon as you make it.
Your carpet is nice. Let’s keep it that way. Here’s what not to do: soak stains in tons of product or water. More product doesn’t equal a better clean. In fact, over-soaking your carpets will cause mold and mildew to grow beneath the surface. Instead, dampen a rag with eco-friendly carpet cleaning product or a homemade mixture of hot water, dish soap, white vinegar and baking soda and dab at the stain until it lifts.
Just because water runs in your shower every day doesn’t mean it’s “self-cleaning.” Save yourself, your roommates and your family members a lot of ick by dedicating 20 minutes a week to cleaning the bathroom. If you share your bathroom, create a shared cleaning schedule so you’re not the one holding the toilet brush every week.
Many professional house cleaners offer a flat rate based on one of three things: square footage, price per room or price per hour. You might pay more based on how big your house is, how many bathrooms you have, the kind of cleaning you want (in general a deep cleaning will cost you more) and the kinds of products the cleaner uses.
There will be an obvious difference in price between a standard house cleaning — which includes sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, and light cleaning of bathrooms and kitchen — and post-event cleanup after a 22-person Thanksgiving.
If you’re unsure, sharing photos of your space or requesting a free walkthrough is a great place to start.
Cleaning your home the right way sometimes means letting someone else clean it. Find house cleaners, carpet cleaners and other pros on Thumbtack:
Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you pros right for the job, with prices.