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Business Cleaning Services Hamilton Universal Cleaners Inc

How to GREEN are Green Products

When it comes to cleaning your home, you can’t go wrong when using green cleaning products. But many homeowners often find it difficult to determine regular cleaning products from green ones. After all, what determines whether or not a cleaning product is green? Here at Universal Cleaners, we only use green cleaning products, and we’d like to share a few tips with you about choosing eco-friendly products to clean your home with.

Understand that there are Many Green Products

From toilet bowl cleaners to moping products, there are many green cleaning supplies for you to take advantage of. In fact, did you know that North Americans spend around $600M each year on cleaners? And this is just the monies they spend on products that are supposedly eco-friendly.

Purchase from Retailers You Trust

Although many cleaning products claim to be eco-friendly, this doesn’t mean they are. This is why you should always purchase your cleaning supplies from retailers you trust. More importantly, purchase the products from companies that go to great lengths to prove how green their products really are.

ALWAYS LOOK FOR THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATION

Next, you’ll want to make sure the products you are investing in have certification of some sort through a third-party. There are two primary third parties that you should look for approval from, including EcoLogo and Green Seal. When purchasing cleaning supplies that have been approved by these parties, you can rest assured that they are eco friendly. In order to receive certification through these two entities, a product must go through extensive industry-standard cleaning tests. All ingredients must be disclosed as well as the possible effects if the product was to be ingested.

Furthermore, products that are friendly to the environment will have went through testing that ensures they don’t have negative effects on the planet, including both human and nonhuman life. The products must be biodegradable, and they can’t be acutely toxic to fish or algae. Additionally, there is a limit on the amount of phosphorous that the products can contain. And lastly, the products must be packaged in containers that are recyclable.

 

If you’re looking for green cleaning products, your best bet is to invest in ones that have the Green Seal. And don’t forget that when taking advantage of Universal Cleaners cleaning services, your business will always be cleaned using today’s latest environmentally-friendly cleaners.

How to: Clean Ceramic Floors

Ceramic tile floors are a popular flooring option. They’re durable, but like all floors, they need care and cleaning. Here are some smart tips on how to clean tile floors.

Sweep or vacuum your tile floors a couple of times a week. Sand and grit can dull and scratch the surface. Once you’ve removed the dirt, you’re ready to mop. Mix a mild detergent with hot water and apply with a rag or chamois mop instead of a sponge mop. A sponge mop pushes dirty water into the grout and soils it. Change your bucket of cleaning solution often so you won’t have a dirty mop that leaves a cloudy film of dirt on the floor. If you do end up with a hazy film on your tile floor, remove with an all-purpose cleaner. Make sure it’s non-abrasive so it won’t scratch the floor. You can also make your own cleaner by mixing lemon juice or vinegar with hot water. Apply it to the floor and then buff dry with a clean cloth. You can use a towel that you push over the floor with your foot.

 

One of the most important things in knowing how to clean tile floors is keeping the grout clean. Dirty grout equals dingy-looking floors. Grout is porous and easily absorbs dirt, grease and other materials. Spray the grout with a commercially prepared grout cleaner. You can also use a mild bleach solution. It’s a good idea to wear gloves when using these types of products. For deep stains, allow the cleaner to sit for 10 minutes. Use a toothbrush or other small scrub brush to scrub the grout.

 

For stubborn grout stains, mix a paste of baking soda and water. Apply it to the stain, let it sit overnight and then scrub with a nylon brush. Don’t use a metal brush as it will scratch the tile. Let the grout air dry, then put on a silicone-based grout sealer to resist future stains and dirt.

Here’s how to clean ceramic tile that has been stained. For coffee, tea or juice stains, wash the tile surface with hot water and detergent, then blot with hydrogen peroxide.  For grease stains, wash with club soda and water, or a commercial floor cleaner. For ink stains, soak a cloth in diluted bleach and lay it on top of the stain. Leave the cloth until the stain is gone. Rinse thoroughly when done.

 

Knowing how to clean ceramic tile floors properly will keep them looking lovely and help them last for years.

How to Deodorize your Home

Learn how to deodorize your home using the following tips.

Treat the Cause Not the Symptoms

One common mistake many people make is masking the odor. While your candle warmer or favorite room spray may spread pleasant scents when used, you need to actually remove odors from your home if you want it to smell nice all of the time.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to learn how to deodorize your home.

How to Remove Odors from Your Home

Surely you’ve heard the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This adage holds true when it comes to figuring out how to deodorize your home. The best way to maintain a pleasant smelling house is to create a regular cleaning routine and stick with it.

To actually deodorize your home, you can sprinkle baking soda on floors and furniture and vacuum it up. Baking soda neutralizes odors instead of just masking them. Note: If you have pets, you’ll want to make sure they’re not in the room until you’ve vacuumed up the baking soda as it can make animals ill.

In addition, you want to look at other ways you can minimize smells such as:

  • Leaving gross shoes and sneakers outside or investing in foot odor products
  • Washing your pets when they’re dirty and keeping bedding and litter boxes clean
  • Taking out the trash regularly and cleaning your trash cans when they begin to smell
  • Washing dishes on a daily basis
  • Keeping sink drains free of food debris
  • Replacing your kitchen sponge before it starts to stink
  • Maintaining a clean refrigerator
  • Doing laundry on a regular basis
  • Keeping sporting and fishing gear outdoors or in the garage
  • Tossing out unrefrigerated produce or other foods before they spoil
  • Opening windows (when the weather is nice) to air out your home
  • Leaving your bathroom door open after showers so the room gets some ventilation
  • Making sure no one in the family is leaving food, dirty dishes or piles of smelly laundry in his or her room

What if You Can’t Remove Odors from Your Home?

If you’ve tried deodorizing and have directly treated what you thought to be the source of the smell, you may be dealing with a more serious issue than a stinky trash can or stale laundry. Foul odors that hang around could be a sign that mold is growing somewhere in your home.

A simple clean won’t do the trick when mold is involved. Instead, you’ll need to contact a professional that’s equipped to deal with this issue. And don’t put off getting help with mold control. When left to linger mold can cause serious health issues, including headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, allergic reactions and aggravation of asthma symptoms.

Spring Cleaning: Windowsills & Tracks

Use the following how-to guides to keep your windowsills, frames and tracks worthy of the shiny glass they support.

How to Clean Windowsills

Like baseboards, windowsills attract their fair share of dust. Additionally, if you’re lucky enough to live in a climate that allows you to open your windows often, your sills maybe covered with gummy smudges and fingerprints.

You’ll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • microfiber cloths

Fortunately, cleaning windowsills isn’t difficult, and it’s not a very time-consuming task either. Therefore, it should be fairly easy to work this chore into your regular cleaning schedule.

  1. First, wipe the windowsills with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any dust. If you still have residue left, you can move on to the following steps.
  2. In a spray bottle, mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid with warm water.
  3. Spritz a microfiber cloth with your solution until it’s dampened.Note: It’s especially important to apply your cleaner to the cloth — and not the windowsills themselves — if you have wooden window frames. Oversaturating wood can damage the finish or paint. Worse yet, too much liquid could cause the wood to warp.
  4. Gently wipe the windowsill and the frame. For heavier smudges, apply a little bit of pressure with your fingertips.
  5. Wipe your windowsills down with a dry microfiber cloth.
  6. Now that the windowsills are clean, maintain by dusting weekly or every two weeks as part of your routine house cleaning.

How to Clean Window Tracks

Even if you never open your windows, dirt, dust and dead insects will find a way into your window tracks. Because of this, you should make cleaning the tracks a part of your housekeeping agenda during your fall or spring cleaning.

If the dirt or dust in your window tracks is loose, you can use a vacuum cleaner attachment or a small crevice tool to clean it out. For packed on grit, however, you’ll need to put a little more elbow grease into the process.

You’ll need:

  • Vacuum with crevice tool
  • Plastic putty knife
  • Disposable wipes
  • Microfiber cloth

Follow these steps to clean window tracks when the dirt is really caked on.

  1. Prepare the area by using a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool attachment to clear out any loose soil, dust bunnies or expired insects.
  2. Use a disposable wipe to remove soil build up from the center of the track.
  3. Wrap a disposable wipe around a plastic putty knife and angle knife to clean the crevices and corners.
  4. Wipe the track dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
  5. Repeat as necessary until all of the dirt is removed.

Make sure your sparkling windowpanes aren’t dulled by dirty surroundings; dedicate a few minutes each week to cleaning windowsills and tracks. The overall effect will be worth it in the long run.

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Cleaning Tips for Allergy Sufferers

Anyone who suffers from allergies can tell you: they’re for real. And the allergens inside the house, like molds, house dust, dust mites, and pet dander can be just as intense as outdoor triggers like springtime pollen.

To help allergy-proof your home and reduce the symptoms of hay fever and allergic asthma, The Mayo Clinic recommends a weekly house cleaning routine that includes:

  • Damp-mopping hard floors
  • Removing dust from all surfaces including easy-to-forget ones like ceiling fans, windowsills, window frames, and the tops of doors

Another tip: Keep your house cooler (70⁰ F or below) and drier (relative humidity at 50% or below) to create indoor conditions less hospitable to dust mites and mold spores.

For other tips to reduce allergens, you might consider replacing moldy shower curtains, switching out horizontal blinds for more washable roller-type shades, and hiring a contractor to install a vented exhaust fan above your kitchen stove.

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Your Changing Season Cleaning Checklist

As the seasons changes so should your cleaning strategies. Here are some of the most important tasks to check off your list to keep your home clean and organized.

Ceiling Fans

Are your fans turning in the right direction to properly circulate air? Rotating the airflow on ceiling fans during summer and winter will not only help create a more comfortable living environment, but also allows you to adjust your thermostat in order to reduce energy consumption and lower monthly utility bills. For a cool, summer breeze effect during the warmer months, fan blades should rotate counterclockwise in order to force the air down. In the winter, ceiling fans should run in reverse or rotate clockwise at a low speed, to pull air up and redistribute warm air throughout the room. Today, most ceiling fans include remote controls that make rotating the direction of the fan blades easy. If your fan does not have a remote, shift the switch or button on the base of the fan.

Air Filters

Changing your air filters is crucial to the proper performance of your HVAC system and protecting your family’s health. Air filters significantly affect your homes indoor quality. Dust, pet hair and other allergens often get trapped in your home’s HVAC registers and air vents. Additionally, if moisture is present, it is possible that spores from microbiological growth, such as mold, can be released into the home’s living space. As a general rule of thumb, replace air filters every thirty to ninety days. If you have pets or suffer from asthma and allergies you may need to change your filters more frequently.

Mattresses

To help alleviate allergy triggers, use an upholstery brush to vacuum mattresses in order to remove dead skin cells, pet dander and dust mites. Additionally, improved technology has enabled us to stopping flipping mattresses; however, to prolong it’s life and to prevent sagging and body impressions, it is important to rotate the mattress every three to six months. Do not forget to rotate your box spring while you are at it.

Fridge and Pantry

Next, turn your attention to the refrigerator and toss out any food that is expired. Remove all of the items and give the shelves and drawers a good scrubbing with a natural cleaning solution, such as vinegar, to sanitize the surface before replacing them. Then, inspect all items in the pantry and discard those that are expired. Pay special attention to spices and baking goods, which are not used as often.

Bathroom

One area of the bathroom that is often neglected is the shower curtain and liner, which can harbor soap scum, mold and mildew. While different factors come into play, such as ventilation and how many are using the shower, it is important to wash the shower curtain and replace the liner between three months and one year. For a greener approach, wash the curtain on a gentle cycle with mild detergent and ½ cup of distilled white vinegar and hang dry.

Wardrobes

The changing of the seasons should be your cue to evaluate what’s in your closet. You are more likely to wear what you can see. Accordingly it is important to swap out seasonal clothing, storing items you don’t need and hanging or folding ones that you do. Organizing and rotating your clothing will also enable you to see what you have and identify classic pieces that you will want to preserve. Sort clothing into keep, donate and toss piles to help declutter at the same time.

Safety First

Finally, your bi-annual cleaning ritual is a great time to test and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

9 Ways to Spring Clean your Home from the Pros

There is something wonderfully fresh about a home that has just been given a thorough seasonal cleaning. In addition to making our homes look more organized and welcoming, this type of cleaning also makes them healthier by removing accumulated dust, dirt and bacteria. If you want your family to enjoy all the benefits of spring cleaning but worry about the amount of time it will take, these 9 tips will help you have the best spring cleaning experience ever!

One: Assemble Durable, Functional Supplies

Avoid frustration during cleaning by gathering the supplies you will need before you begin. Remember to choose basic, multi-purpose supplies to make the entire cleaning process fast and easy. You will need:

  • A supply of microfiber cloths and mop pads. These tools are absorbent and able to attract and hold dirt, instead of just pushing it around
  • A good HEPA filtration vacuum with attachments for upholstery, crevices, drapes and an extender wand
  • Vinegar solution, baking soda or a non-abrasive and natural cleanser, like Bon Ami
  • Steam mop for hard surface flooring and tile
  • Lemon oil for polishing wood

Two: Plan For Efficient Cleaning

Avoid creating extra work by cleaning from top-to-bottom, so that any dust and dirt that falls from walls or furnishings will be picked up with the final vacuuming. Likewise, always begin vacuuming or mopping floors opposite to the doorway where you will exit so that dirt is not tracked over freshly cleaned areas.

Three: Use Tools Effectively

Make short work of wiping down walls and ceilings by swiping them clean with a microfiber mop. The long handle and wide mop head will allow the microfiber pad to quickly wipe away cobwebs from those high corners while you stand safely and comfortably on the floor. In addition, you can use it to easily dust behind heavy furnishings, instead of dragging them about.

Four: Window & Window Treatments

Remove curtains and put them into the dryer on a cool setting to freshen them and remove dust. While the curtains are in the dryer, make the windows sparkle by washing the glass, sills and frames with vinegar and water and using a clean microfiber cloth to buff them dry. Don’t forget to wipe the blinds with a damp cloth to remove accumulated dust and grime.

Five: Lampshades and Decorative Items

Use your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to easily remove dust from lampshades and soft decorative items.

Remove wall art, framed pictures and mirrors from the wall. Wipe them clean with a dry microfiber cleaning cloth and then wipe the wall down, too, before rehanging them. It is important to never spritz any type of cleaner directly on framed pictures, mirrors and wall art, because the moisture can seep through the frame and ruin the photo or artwork behind the glass.

Six: Cleaning Floors

Clean the floors of your home quickly and completely with these tips:

  • Vacuum carpets thoroughly using the edger attachment to clean the seam where the carpet meets the baseboard.
  • For large area rugs, remove the furniture on one half, then roll that section of rug up out of the way, vacuum thoroughly beneath it and then unroll and vacuum the surface. Repeat with the other side.
  • Use a steam mop to clean hard surface floors, like tile, hardwood, vinyl and laminate.

Seven: Mattresses & Upholstery

Working from the top down, vacuum mattresses, box springs and upholstered furnishings with the bristled, upholstery attachment, taking extra care near seams, welting, tufts and pleats.

Eight: Furnishings

Using your microfiber cleaning cloths, wipe down all furnishings as you clean each room. Fine woods will look lustrous and smell wonderful when buffed with a bit of lemon oil after cleaning.

Nine: Appliances

Spritz your vinegar solution onto a microfiber cloth to clean the exteriors and tops of kitchen and laundry appliances, then buff to a shine with a second, dry microfiber cloth.

Use the microfiber mop to dust behind appliances like the stove, washer and dryer. If possible, pull the fridge away from the wall and vacuum the back of the appliance thoroughly to remove dust and dirt.

How to Make a Daily Cleaning Schedule

Your daily grind can make it challenging to keep your house clean and tidy. At the same time, it’s much more enjoyable to relax and unwind in a clean home. But where will you find the time to keep up with your housework throughout a hectic week?

Believe it or not, it’s possible to incorporate a daily house cleaning routine into your busy weekly calendar. How? By creating a housework schedule. Assigning specific chores to certain days of the week allows you to break down what may seem like an overwhelming task, so that you’re left with manageable cleaning jobs.

Take a look that the following house cleaning checklist for an example of what a little strategic planning can do for you.

Monday: Clean the Bathrooms

Your bathroom probably needs a little TLC after the weekend, so go ahead and get this chore out of the way early in the week. Save the heavy-duty cleaning, like scrubbing grout, for the weekend and focus on smaller aspects of the bathroom. Clean your toilet and get rid of all the toothpaste marks on the sink and mirror. You may also want to freshen up the linens in your bathroom.

Tuesday: Dust and Vacuum Common Areas

Dust, dander and the pet hair can all build up if left unchecked, so be certain to make time in your daily housework schedule for fighting fluff and fuzz. Lightly dust surface areas in your living room, dining room and bonus room. Remember to hit ceiling fans and blinds, and don’t forget to sweep cobwebs from the corners. Afterwards, run the vacuum to bust any dust that’s fallen, using an upholstery attachment to clean drapes and furniture.

Wednesday: Scrub the Kitchen

Naturally, you’re making sure your countertops are wiped down after meal preparation and you’re washing dishes on a daily basis, so those are two things you’ve already worked into your daily house cleaning routine. Today you’ll also focus on the other areas in the kitchen. Wipe down the refrigerator door and handle, along with the stovetop and your cabinets. Additionally, toss any expired food that’s in the fridge, and check your trash can to see if it needs to be cleaned.

Thursday: Tidy Your Entryway and Bedrooms

If you’ve organized your mudroom, it shouldn’t take too long to clean it up. You’ll probably just need to do a bit of tidying, followed by a quick sweep or vacuum. That means you have ample time to fit the bedrooms in your daily house cleaning routine.

Ask family members to pick up their bedroom floors, making sure toys, shoes and clothes are all put away or deposited in the laundry room. Then, do some light dusting of surface areas as you tidy items on desks and dressers. Afterwards, have family members take turns vacuuming the floors in their rooms.

Friday: Clear the Clutter from Your Mind

You’ve worked hard all week and stuck to your daily routine. Take a night off to veg out in your tidy home. You deserve it! If you must clean, toss the bedding in the laundry. That way you can relax with a book or movie as it washes and dries.

If you live with roommates or family members, make sure you get them involved in the daily house cleaning routine. Don’t forget to check chores off your house cleaning checklist so you can enjoy a feeling of accomplishment. And if you miss a day every now and then, don’t worry. Life happens, and you can always pick up where you left off next week.

Have You Been Cleaning your House in the Wrong Order?

When you clean your house, do you randomly start in one room and then move to the next with little rhyme or reason why? If you do, you’re not alone.

However, it’s important to map out a plan of attack when it comes to cleaning house. If you don’t, your cleaning won’t be as efficient. Additionally, planning your cleaning makes the task more manageable.

So what’s the right order for cleaning house? Take a look.

Clean the Most Difficult Room First

The bathroom may be one of the smaller rooms in the house, but it’s also more time-consuming when to clean. You not only have to wash the shower and tub, but there’s also the toilet, the sink and all those little fixtures that need to be scrubbed and polished.

Because cleaning the bathroom is so time and labor intensive, it’s a good idea to make it the first room you clean. Afterwards, all your other chores will seem easier. Additionally, if you save the bathroom for last, you may be so tired when you get to it that you abandon the task.

Up Next: Dusting and Organizing

Now you’ll want to tackle the dusting throughout your house. Why? When you clean, all that dust has to go somewhere, right? Typically, that place is on the floor. And if you clean the floors before you take on the dusting, you’re just going to have dirty floors again.

Make your way throughout the house using a duster, dust mop and a vacuum cleaner. You’ll want to be certain you get those easily forgotten areas such as ceiling fans, baseboards and blinds. As you dust surfaces like the tops of coffee tables and dressers, take the time to organize disheveled areas.

Move on to Mopping and Vacuuming

Now your floors are covered with dust, so it’s time to clean them. First, vacuum throughout the house first. You’ll want to do this even on hard-surface floors, as vacuuming is much easier than sweeping and has the same end result.

Afterwards, you can mop or clean your floors as needed. In rooms like the bathroom and kitchen, you may need to mop the floor each time you clean your house. Floors in other rooms, however, might not need to be cleaned every single time unless there have been spills or pet accidents.

Final Course: Cleaning The Kitchen

If you regularly wipe down the counters and tackle spills when they happen, cleaning the kitchen should be fairly easy. After all, the floor is already clean.

To clean your kitchen, simply wipe down the outside of your refrigerator, cabinets and appliances. Next, clean your stovetop, microwave and sink. And that’s it for the kitchen. Easy, right?

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Prevent Germs from Spreading

We may well be on our way to Spring but cold and flu season seems yet to let up. These cleaning tips from Universal Cleaners are sure to help you prevent the spread of germs in your home & office.

Clean Contact Points

The first step to figuring out how to prevent germs from spreading is knowing the main contact points in your home and office. These are going to be areas that are frequently touched or handled by multiple people. Some of the most common touch points at home and work are:

  • Door knobs, handles or locks
  • Light switches
  • Stair rails
  • Faucet and toilet handles
  • Refrigerator handles and stove knobs
  • Remote controls
  • Copiers and scanners

During cold and flu season, you’ll want to clean these surfaces more often than you would any other time of year. You can use a handheld steamer to kill germs if you have one. Alternatively, you can clean surfaces using disinfectant wipes.

If you’re concerned about contact points at work, ask the office manager to speak with the cleaning staff to ensure they’re paying extra attention to common points of contact during cold and flu season.

Be Mindful of Shared Items at Home

You can’t exactly quarantine family members if they happen to get sick. However, you can figure out how to prevent germs from spreading in your home. Here are some tips to help you do so:

  • Wash communal throws or afghans weekly during cold and flu season. If someone in the house is coughing or sneezing, wash these items immediately.
  • Clean bedding daily until the sick person is better. If he or she has a fever, you’ll want to wash the bedding immediately.
  • Don’t share bath or hand towels, and make sure toothbrushes aren’t coming into contact with one another.
  • Keep tissues around so that any family members who are ill can cover their mouths or noses when sneezing or coughing.

Teach Your Children (and Co-Workers) Well

Some general guidelines you might want to share (and use yourself) include:

  • Keep your hands clean by washing often. The CDC recommends scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds. Teach children to time this by having them sing the entirety of the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Don’t share food or drinks.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Politely keep your distance from people who are sick.