Author Archives: minch

Caring for Granite Countertops

Granite countertops are a much-desired amenity in a home, and for good reason – they add value and a certain elegant appeal to any kitchen, and are a durable material that will remain beautiful for years with proper care. At Minch Professional Cleaners, our employees are all thoroughly trained in the unique cleaning procedures that must be taken in order to preserve the beauty of your granite tabletops and other fixtures. While our professional cleaning service in Bucks County and surrounding regions will take excellent of all your home’s unique fixtures, we’ve compiled some tips to help you maintain the longevity and luster of your granite tabletops on your own as well!

Perform Daily Care

The best way to make sure that your granite countertop stays as shiny as the day it was installed is to make sure you clean it daily. Luckily, granite is relatively low-maintenance as a material, so it shouldn’t take very long – all you need is warm water and a little bit of dish soap or detergent (use antibacterial if you often use it for food prep of raw meat, eggs or other foods that can contain contaminants). You can wipe the countertop down with a soft cloth or paper towel, but avoid scraping at any “stuck” stains with steel wool or another abrasive material, so that you don’t risk scratching the surface (although granite is very durable and should be scratch-resistant). In addition, although well-sealed granite should repel most fluids, make sure to take care of spills quickly, just in case.

Beware of Hot-Bottomed Dishes and Pans

Stone can warp or change color after repeated exposure to very hot temperatures, and you should be sure to put down protection before placing a hot item on your granite countertops.

Use Degreasers for Heavy-Duty Cleaning

If you’ve neglected your countertops for a bit too long, be sure to invest in a quality stone degreaser made specifically for granite. These products will dissolve dirt and grime without also causing damage to the stone beneath, allowing your granite countertop to be restored to its former glory with relative ease.

Stone poultices/powders are also available to get rid of deep oil stains, but can take off the top layer, thus diminishing the shine. However, marble polish can then be used to restore the gleam.

Remember to Reseal Your Countertops Periodically

Granite isn’t the most porous material, but after some time it can definitely end up absorbing liquids, which leads to discoloration. Luckily it’s relatively easy to reseal a granite tabletop; you can ask your tabletop supplier or a home improvement store for the right type of sealant, which is simply poured on your deep-cleaned countertop, allowed to penetrate the surface for 5 or 10 minutes, then buffed dry and left untouched for 12 hours or more.

For more tips on keeping your home and all its fixtures spic and span and long-lasting, be sure to subscribe to our blog!

5 Tricks for an Allergy-Free Home

Allergies may be known as a springtime affliction, but in reality it seems as if we’re not safe from pollen during any of the warmer months of the year. Allergens may be a small price to pay for beautiful blooms and gorgeous greenery, but after over ten years’ experience in the cleaning business and a lifetime of the seasonal sniffles, we’ve come up with some tricks to keep your home allergen-free so you can enjoy your summer with minimal allergy symptoms. Keep reading to learn the best ways to hold your own in the battle against pollen, pet dander and other household allergens.

1)      Invest in a HEPA filter

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which go in your vacuum cleaner, are proven to trap 100% of pollen and 99.9% of all other allergens, as well as dust. Experts widely regard this tool as the best way to rid your home of particulate matter. In the meantime, if you don’t have a HEPA filter, try dusting before you vacuum, rather than as a separate measure or after; when you dust, you inevitably leave some material to drift to the ground, which a vacuum can then pick up.

 

2)      Brush your pets regularly

After the chill of winter gives way to spring and then summer sunshine, your pet starts to lose its heavier winter coat to help cool down during the warmer months. The end result is, of course, more pet hair to remove from your home, as well as dander, a trigger for many people’s seasonal or general allergies. To help avoid the spread of dander in your home, brush your pets one to two times a day with a fine-bristled brush to contain the loss before it has a chance to infiltrate your home and air filters. Consider laying an old towel where your pets sleep, and make sure to lint roll it daily and wash it several times a week.

3)      Get those hard-to-reach places

Dust is not stationary, and if you miss it in the corners of rooms, between the wall and furniture, under your bed, under your stove and in other spots where you might not think to clean, it can easily drift down to infect your living space and cause your symptoms to flare back up. Swiffers and Wet-Jets can reach ceilings and hard-to-reach fixtures (don’t forget the tops of fan blades!) and vacuum extensions can take care of the floor beneath furniture.

 

4)      Avoid letting clutter accumulate

Clutter provides dust, dander and pollen with an excellent place to hide. Particulate matter will cling to any surface, and piles of boxes or clothing can become a hidden source of allergens in your home. Put away your things as often as possible instead of letting them sit out to reduce the total amount of available surface space for dust to settle on.

 

5)      Wear a mask when you clean

Whenever you embark upon an allergen-ridding mission in your home, don’t forget to wear a face mask to avoid accidentally inhaling the very materials you’re trying to avoid. Go for a walk after cleaning the house as well; it will give any residual particles the chance to settle.

 

Allergy season can be overwhelming – let Minch Professional Cleaning Services, LLC, a premier cleaning company in Bucks County, lighten the load for you. Call us at 267-202-4412 for a free estimate on house cleaning, or check out our website for more information on what we offer.

Surprisingly Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products and Where to Find Them

Ecologically safe, non-toxic cleaning products have been with us for decades – remember your mom scrubbing with baking powder?? – but thanks to the Green movement of the last ten years or so, these “eco-products” have grown more and more effective, affordable and readily accessible. They’ve also grown broader in scope, with everything from furniture spritzers to wet wipes being touted as reformulated to be sustainable and safe. We may have 25 years of experience cleaning homes in PA and NJ, but some of these products were even new to us!  If you’re interested in household products that are guaranteed safe for use in homes with pets or small children, take a look at our list of some products you can now find made with new “green” formulas.

Surface Wipes

Surface wipes no longer have to be caustic and fill your office or car with a chemical smell. Instead, you can now buy them in biodegradable versions with “aromatherapeutic” scents like lavender, lemon and aloe, made with all-natural ingredients. These are great for wiping down your desk or keyboard, or using on your dashboard and steering wheel in your car. You can usually buy these at any store like Target or Walmart.

Furniture Cleaner

For furniture materials that require a little extra care, such as wood, lacquer and upholstery, experts generally recommend using a formula designed specifically for use on these materials. Unfortunately, furniture cleaner can be made with materials that are unsafe for pets or children, which makes them something you may want to avoid having in your home. Archer Hard Goods, however, makes a furniture spritzer that is plant-based and “people safe, plant safe, child safe, pet safe and marine safe.”

Cleaning Solutions

They may be a little on the pricey side, but with Wholefoods’ Eco-Scale system, where all Wholefoods products must list their full ingredients and are rated and 3rd party verified, it’s easy to find cleaning solutions that are guaranteed safe for your home. Wholefoods only accepts products in the scale’s range of orange (no phosphates, chlorine or fake colors), yellow (100% natural fragrances and minimal safety concerns) and green (100% natural, non-petroleum ingredients). Cleaning solutions in particular are an important substance we use quite often to sanitize our kitchens and bathrooms, so following these standards could help you ensure you aren’t using a cleaning solution that’s damaging to both your health and the environment. Increasingly, other grocery stores and drugstores will also carry reasonably priced, eco-friendly brands as well.

Drain Cleaners and Decloggers

Yep, you can get these in a green version, too! Drano and other industrial-strength drain cleaners may be very effective in clearing clogged pipes, but many people worry about having them in their homes because they are notorious for being made with dangerous chemicals that aren’t safe for the environment. Citra-Drain is an “enzymatic” cleaner that uses organic substances instead of super-caustic chemicals to break apart grease, oil and soap residues.

For more surprising and interesting tips and advice on housekeeping, visit our website or call our cleaning company located in PA and NJ for a FREE estimate on house cleaning.

Easy Steps to Prepare Your Backyard for Summertime

It’s hard to believe summertime is FINALLY here!  I dont know about you but to me it seemed like winter was never going to end.  That was way too much snow for me!  And now that the sun is shining bright, it is time to get ready for summer cookouts and gatherings.   But, before you go ahead and invite everyone over to enjoy the weather, the backyard probably needs some sprucing up.   So here is a list of a few quick things you can do to help prepare for warm sunny days filled with loved ones and fun times.
Purchase new patio furniture
  • If your patio furniture didn’t make it through the winter, consider replacing old or worn furniture with something new. Or, if you don’t have patio furniture, purchase a set so that you can take advantage of your pretty outdoors this summer.
Update cushions and umbrella
  • If your furniture frames are in good condition but your cushions are looking a bit worn or out of style, simply replace your cushions or add a new umbrella to your space.
Accent pillows
  • If your furniture and cushions all made it gracefully through the winter, consider yourself lucky! Take this opportunity to update your overall look and feel by adding a few fun and stylish outdoor accent pillows to your seating.
Add a planter box with flowers
  • Beautiful flowers always add a pretty touch to your outdoor space during the summertime. Adding planter boxes, either window or stand-alone ones, can give you extra space to decorate with a colorful array of fresh blooms this summer.

Solar lights  

  • Light up your pathways with pretty solar lights this summer. Not only are these super simple to install, but they also won’t increase your electric bill!
Party lights
  • Add a little sparkle around your deck with a pretty set of stringed party lights! From caged string lights to colorful jewel-toned lights, these can truly add sparkle to your deck while reflecting your own personal style.
Protect from pests
  • Don’t forget to protect yourself and your guests from pests! A simple citronella candle works, but pretty citronella tabletop torches are available in a variety of styles and colors to suit your personal preference.
Fan
  • If you have outdoor electricity and an overhang, install an overhead fan to keep you cool on hot summer days! If that doesn’t describe your outdoor space, you can always bring a standing fan outside to help keep you cool.
Outdoor rug
  • Another great way to spruce up your outdoor space is to add a decorative outdoor rug! Rugs come in a variety of styles and colors to fit your outdoor needs.
Add a fire pit
  • If digging a fire pit isn’t on your summer to-do list, you can still stay warm on cool summer nights and roast marshmallows over a pretty fire pit you bring home from the store.
Sweep, power spray and restain your deck
  • Take a moment to sweep off your patio or deck and then use a power sprayer to get the remaining winter dirt and grime off. If you have a wood deck, consider restaining and resealing it if necessary. (Lowe’s, $299)
Clean patio furniture
  • Spring cleaning can do wonders for your home and your soul, so don’t forget to clean your outdoors, too! Grab the kids and a few rags and clean off all the dirt, grime and cobwebs from your patio furniture. (Lowe’s, $5)

Hope this helps get you all ready for Summer 2014!

Spring Cleaning Made Easy!

How to spring clean in easy steps. My house is usually tidy, but I hate to think of the smudged windows and dusty corners. So this month, my focus around here (my house) is going to be spring cleaning. It needs done baby!

I thought I would share how to spring clean in easy steps, after all, it looks like a big job! There are two ways to do this.

A. You can clean one room at a time, or
B. You can accomplish one chore at a time.

This year I am going with one chore at a time. I don’t have many full days at home, so the idea of having several smaller jobs to do, verses one huge job at a time, sounds much better.  I’m making a check list (did you know that you can print this page? look at the bottom for a green button) of each job and plan to share once a week how things are coming.

How to spring clean in easy steps:

  • Find a large box or two, three, four, how many-ever you think you will need. These are your donate/garage sale boxes. Trust me, you will need them!
  • Clean out all closets. They tend to be the worst and it feels really good to see open areas in formerly full closets. Stop by next week and I will talk a little more about cleaning out closets.
  • Clean all light fixtures and ceiling fans. Unless you have a crazy huge chandelier this is a fairly quick job and clean lights make the room much brighter.
  • Take down all washable curtains and window hangings. If they are not washable, consider a dry cleaner, hanging them on a line, or putting in the dryer to fluff. (no heat) If your window treatments are too big/heavy to take down, put a soft brush on your sweeper hose and gently sweep. Always read the care tags on window treatments.
  • Wash your windows and dust or wipe down any blinds or shades you may have hanging. A soft brush on your sweeper hose works great for this as well. Once your windows are clean, even more light can come in and it’s just makes the house look great!
  • Dust your walls. This is fast and simple with a dusting swiffer that you use on your hard floors. Use this time to dust all hanging wall decor, photos, paintings, etc.
  • Furniture. Sweep couches, dust headboards, desks, entertainment centers, bookcases, end tables. Wipe down your kitchen table and chairs as well as the formal dining table if you have one. Use this time to organize your desk. If you have a crafting center, organize it as well. If you have bed-skirts, use this time to wash them (always read care tags first!) and also sweep your mattress. Your mattress can hold a lot of dirt and dust.
  • Kitchen: clean out refrigerator, stove, sinks and dishwasher. Pull everything off counters and wipe them and the back splash down with soapy water.
  • Clean out kitchen cupboards. For me, this is a huge job. Probably a day by itself. But they are very dirty, (big job remember?) so they will get done. One at a time, everything comes out, the inside is wiped down and everything goes back in. At the end all cabinet fronts get washed down, with soapy water. My pantry gets included in on this job.  If you have a space above your top cupboards take everything down and clean the tops as well.
  • Floors: If you can, pull out furniture and sweep behind it. Use a hose and sweep around the edges of the room.
  • Bathrooms: Tub, shower, sink, toilet and cupboards. Use this time to go through your medicine cabinet and  throw out all expired medications. Here is a wonderful detailed list for cleaning your bathroom.
  • Laundry area: Wipe off tops of washer and dryer, use a vacuum and sweep out your dryer vent and behind both washer and dryer if possible.
  • Keep in mind while you are cleaning, if you find something you forgot you had, toss it into one of your boxes; if you forgot you had it, you won’t miss it!
  • Toys, Let the the kids help with this one. Mom kept and still keeps for the younger ones, a box for donate items. Explain to your kids that some children don’t have any toys to play with. Let them go through and pull out items they no longer play with, to donate.
  • And it’s springtime. Time to pull out those summer clothes, try to find some that actually fit, (lol) and put the winter ones up. Make this fall’s job easier by donating clothes you no longer wear. For kids, chances are, they won’t be able to wear the stuff this fall, so store for another kid or get rid of them.
  • Finally, gather all your boxes up and deliver to the nearest GW, or thrift store.

 

It’s still a big job. And considering the time I have, it will likely take me all month. But being able to spring clean in easy steps rather than seeing a huge job, always helps me stay motivated. That and I really like checking things off my list! :)

Do you spring clean in easy steps? Or do you like to tackle all-day jobs?