10 Places Around the Home You Can Clean With Vinegar (And 8 Places to Avoid)

Vinegar is one of the most eco- and budget-friendly cleaners around. While it packs a potent smell, you can put together your own mix of 1:1 vinegar and water, and add a few drops of your favourite essential oils to produce a customized cleaner with a boost of fresh fragrance

10 places around the home you can clean with vinegar and 8 places to avoid

Also, while the smell is quite pungent, it is far less irritating than bleach, thus providing a great germ and dirt-fighting cleaning bleach alternative. Often dubbed the miracle cleaner by dirt and germ-haters, here we offer ten places around your home that you can clean with vinegar, and eight places to avoid doing so.

10 Things You Can Clean With Vinegar

First, let’s look at ten places you can clean with vinegar:

1. Kitchen sink

Vinegar is great for cleaning your kitchen sink, as it is food-safe. Once the cleaning is finished, you can rinse the smell down the drain.

2. Stovetop 

Vinegar is very acidic, so it can cut through greasy messes on stovetops. For extra buildup, spray the vinegar onto the surface and then let it sit for about fifteen minutes before wiping it away.

3. Sheet pans 

Sheet pans start to look discoloured as they get older. You can use a half cup of baking soda with a half cup of white vinegar on your sheet pans for thirty minutes to create a bubbly cleaner that makes short work of greasy stains. Rinse it away with hot water. Then, scrub any remaining stains with a scouring pad.

4. Pots and pans 

If you have messes stuck onto your stainless steel or enamel pots and pans, boil vinegar and water in them for about five minutes. This will dissolve the stains, and then you can toss them in the dishwasher or sink to finish washing them.

5. Microwave 

Pour equal parts vinegar and water into a microwave-safe bowl, and then run it in the microwave for about five minutes. This creates a potent steam that loosens the remains of microwave accidents. Wipe away the residue with a clean sponge.

6. Coffee makers and tea kettles 

Get rid of mineral buildup in your coffee maker and kettle with equal parts vinegar and water mixture. Just fill the reservoir, and run it like you would when making coffee or boiling water for tea to descale the reservoir. Dump the vinegar mixture in the sink, and repeat with fresh water to rinse away the residue.

7. Blender/food processor 

Give your half-and-half water/vinegar mixture a whiz in your food processor or blender before cleaning and rinsing the parts.

8. Cloudy wine glasses 

The instant evaporation of vinegar rids you of watermarks on wine glasses caused by minerals. Use undiluted white vinegar to remove those tell-tale marks, and then rinse with hot water.

9. Plastic cutting board 

Plastic cutting boards are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Water and white vinegar will kill the germs, as this mixture is a powerful natural disinfectant that is food-safe.

10. Spice grinder 

Stainless steel spice grinders leave behind oils that can ruin the purity of your spices. Strongly fragrant seeds like cumin or spicy ingredients like dried hot peppers are particularly potent. You can wipe your spice grinder down with white vinegar and then let it dry to thoroughly remove the fragrant oils.

8 Things to Avoid Cleaning With Vinegar   

No matter what you read about the safety of using vinegar as a natural cleaner, there are still several things that are not very vinegar friendly. Here are eight things you should never clean with vinegar:

1. Knives 

The term “please take your knives and go” shows you how vital knives are to cooking. To care for your knives, only use dish soap and warm water to clean them. Anything else, especially vinegar, can corrode them and make them dull.

2. Marble and granite countertops 

It’s not uncommon to assume that because vinegar is natural, it will be safer to use on your marble or granite countertops than countertop cleaners. However, the acid in vinegar is very harmful to natural stone.

3. Ceramic tiles 

Do not use vinegar on your ceramic tiles. Instead, use gentle dish soap. When you are concerned about germs, vinegar is not the answer. Your antibacterial dish soap is the safest bet to kill germs and bacteria and avoid damaging ceramic surfaces.

4. Eggs 

If you slosh eggs while cooking, never wipe them up with vinegar. It actually causes a reaction that hardens the eggs, thus making it much harder to get up the slime.

5. Wood 

Earlier, we mentioned using vinegar to clean plastic cutting boards, but you should never use it on wood. Also, always avoid using pure vinegar if you want to clean greasy messes on delicate wood furniture. Instead, make a half-and-half mix of oil and vinegar to create a natural wood-safe polish.

6. Dishwasher 

This one is controversial because many people swear by vinegar as the ultimate dishwasher cleaner. However, they can’t see the corrosive effect the vinegar is having on the rubber parts of the dishwasher. Vinegar is very harmful to rubber, causing it to crack and shrink. This messes up the integrity of the dishwasher, causing issues from malfunctions to leaks. 

7. Device screens 

Your computer monitor and device screens have a protective coating that vinegar will damage. It’s safer to use isopropyl alcohol if you are worried about germs. However, because these devices are so expensive, stick to what the manufacturer recommends for cleaning and care.

8. Washing machine 

Never add a dash of vinegar to your laundry in the hopes of killing germs and reducing odours. Doing so is very harmful to your washing machine. Only use products made for laundry to remove stains and odours from clothes.

These tips will help you to maintain the things that are vinegar-safe, and clean and protect everything else from damage.

Maid4Condo’s house cleaning services offer expert cleaning for every surface in your home. For more information, you can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

How to Clean Kitchen Floor Grout

Kitchen floors are hard enough to keep clean without worrying about that tiresome grout between your tiles. Most people don’t have time to get down on their hands and knees to scrub kitchen floor grout, which is why it starts to look dingy over time. 

How to clean kitchen floor grout

While it’s easy to keep putting off cleaning your grout, eventually, you’re going to have to tackle it. When you do, you’ll be happy to have some useful hacks. Here, we share our grout-cleaning tips from the cleaning services that Toronto trusts to keep their homes clean.

Consider the Type of Grout

Believe it or not, there are actually different types of grout. To make things a little more complicated, it can also be hard to tell what type of grout you’re contending with in your home. Here are the different types of grout and how to spot them:

  • Sanded grout: Sanded grout tends to be more common in kitchens, as it is used in high-traffic areas. It can feel and even look sandy. It is the most difficult to clean because there are so many tiny places for dirt and grime to build up between those grains of sand.  
  • Unsanded grout: Unsanded grout is smoother and, as a result, easier to clean.   
  • Epoxy grout: This is less commonly found in kitchens, especially for floors. It is designed for areas exposed to a lot of water, like the bathroom or laundry room. It is also the easiest to clean.

If you are unsure about what kind of grout you have, a good rule of thumb is that the grainier the grout looks, the more likely it is sanded. It is important to avoid getting too aggressive with your scrubbing, as this can loosen the little bits of sand.

Consider the Age of the Grout

Next, consider the age of the grout. Older grout is more likely to break apart as you work, while new grout is tougher and can withstand a bit of scrubbing. While you want to follow the instructions below for all tile floors, a newer floor tends to be more resilient. As a result, if the grout is extra filthy, it can stand up to a more aggressive approach if need be.

The Scrub-Free Method

Scrub-free grout cleaning is not only easier on you, but also on the grout. You can create your own grout cleaner by filling a spray bottle with ⅓ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of liquid dish soap.

You can then spritz it onto the grout lines and let it do its job for ten minutes. Lastly, wipe it up with a clean towel or wet mop. You can also try a second round if it isn’t as clean as you expected. 

The Professional Method

If you find your homemade cleaner doesn’t work, or your grout is looking worse for wear, you can try the professional method. This is a one-two-punch approach that calls for some scrubbing. It’s a gentle scrubbing, though, not an aggressive scrubbing. The tool of choice is a toothbrush. 

Believe it or not, professionals still prefer a homemade cleaner. However, their mixture is a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water combined in a trusty spray bottle. Spritz the grout with the mixture, and then use the toothbrush to gently loosen the dirt. Wipe away the residue with a microfiber cloth. The results should be noticeable. If not, give it a second try. 

Be Careful as You Clean

Avoid damaging the grout with these tips:

  • Don’t scrub: The less scrubbing, the better. Although instinct tells you it takes scrubbing to remove the kitchen grime, this is actually the best way to damage the tiles. Remember, you might have to use the scrub-free method a few times to see results, but it is the safest way to remove grime, damage-free.
  • Don’t use high-friction tools: We’ve heard of all kinds of aggressive methods to try to clean grout, including wire brushes and even sandpaper. As we mentioned, however, you’re not going to remove dirt, but instead, remove little bits of grout by being too aggressive.

    So, if you decide to use a tool, stick with our recommendation and use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
  • Avoid harsh chemicals: Our homemade cleaning solutions are just as effective as the products you buy at the store. The one key difference is that they don’t contain harsh chemicals like bleach. As a result, you are less likely to damage your tiles and eat away at your grout.  
  • Avoid “dousing”: It might seem like you need to douse your floors with tons of your homemade cleaner, but this is not the case. You just want to lightly spritz the grout to see the best results. The wetter the grout, the more damage you cause.
  • To whiten: If your grout looks dingy and grey, this calls for the whitening approach. Use a teaspoon of cream of tartar (which you can find in the baking or spice aisle at the grocery store) with a squirt of lemon juice as a spot tester. It should be the consistency of runny toothpaste.

    Smear it on a less noticeable area covered with grout and let it sit for about five minutes. Wipe it away with a clean, damp cloth to see if it works. If all seems well, carry on with the rest of the floor.
  • Avoid scrapers: The scraper might seem like a good workaround to the wire brush, but again, you should avoid anything that will wear down the grout. A scraper is very likely to cause damage and even remove an entire chunk of grout. 

These hacks will protect your grout while keeping it clean.

Bleach: The Big Guns

Although we advise against using bleach, if all else fails, you can bring in the bigs guns as long as you stick to these steps:

  • Mix: Use three tablespoons of powdered bleach with warm water in a bucket.  
  • Protect: Bleach is harsh, so be sure to wear gloves, and don’t touch your face or eyes as you work.
  • Apply: Apply the mixture to the grout with a clean cloth or sponge.
  • Wait: Wait for about ten to fifteen minutes.  
  • Rinse: Rinse away the bleach with clean water and a sponge.  

If you don’t like using bleach, hydrogen peroxide is an excellent substitute. It is much safer and has equal cleaning power for grout. You can make a paste with hydrogen peroxide and baking powder, and apply it to the grout for added cleaning power. Let it sit for about ten to fifteen minutes before you wipe it away with warm water and a clean sponge. 

If you still have trouble keeping your kitchen or home clean, then Maid4Condo’s professional cleaning services in Toronto are ready to help. You can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

14 Tips for Minimizing Your Post-Holiday Party Mess

When you are the host with the most among your group of friends, you are also the one left with a party mess to deal with. Since the holidays are party central, you want to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario with a post-holiday party mess plan in place. 

14 tips for minimizing your post-holiday party mess

In this article, we’ll discuss 14 tips for minimizing the mess so that you can maximize your fun.

1. Create a party zone

The more guests you have in your home, the more unruly the mess becomes. Try to create a party zone by closing off rooms that you want to keep off-limits. This will reduce the rooms where you’ll likely find empty glasses, cigarette butts, leftover food, and who knows what else. 

While it can be challenging to keep an eye on everyone, closed doors usually mean off-limits to most people, so this is your best defence. Also, have all the party-friendly decorations, drinks, food platters, etc. in a central area, so it helps contain the messier aspects of the party in that one space.

2. Consider the smokers

If you have a no-smoking policy, let guests know where they can smoke, whether it is your balcony, front porch, or backyard. Set up large, noticeable ashtrays to encourage them to put their butts out in a designated area. 

Since it is winter, they most likely won’t want to linger outside for too long. If you want to be extra nice, though, you can consider setting up a few chairs with a table for your smoking friends.

3. Keep the dishwasher going

Before guests arrive, empty your dishwasher so you can load it as you go. That way, if you are using glasses, you can keep filling the dishwasher and run it once it’s full. This plan can make life easier and also reduces the risk of broken glasses from people leaning into a crowded counter or table.

4. Think single-use

Now, before the term gets you up in arms, we are with you. We want to reduce waste, especially plastics. However, there are a lot of products available today that are recyclable, including napkins and certain types of paper plates. 

If you use these items, they will make life easier, and you can also sleep easier, knowing you aren’t contributing more garbage to your local landfill.

5. Create a trash zone

Consider placing trash bins strategically in the party zone, as most Torontonians have an innate trash alarm that causes them to look for trash cans to dispose of garbage. Setting up your trash zone in the kitchen will also allow people to toss their used napkins and single-use items in the appropriate recycle bins. Most guests will do this instinctively.

6. Use tablecloths

Tablecloths save the step of wiping down tables, while protecting wood from glass rings. You can find some festive paper tablecloths during the holidays, or use your table linens. Paper is great because you can leave discarded paper plates, napkins, and food on the tablecloth and just wrap it all up and toss it. 

7. Think easy

Choose easy everything whenever you can. For example, there are disposable options, LED candles that won’t spill wax all over the place, and finger foods that require napkins but not necessarily plates (although this can increase the risk for spills). There are also stemless wine glasses that are harder to knock over, champagne and white wine that won’t stain, and so forth.

8. Tidy up as you party

As you mingle, look for things that you can quickly tidy up. Remove abandoned glasses and plates, full ashtrays, empty bowls and liquor bottles, etc. that you can clear in the kitchen, throw in the trash, or place in the dishwasher. Don’t get carried away. Just casually look for opportunities and avoid deep cleaning. 

Actual cleaning will make guests feel uncomfortable and also take away from your fun. Keep your sink filled with soapy water, so you have a place for dirty dishes and glasses when the dishwasher is full.

9. Be prepared for spills

Spills are bound to happen as revellers get into the spirit of the holidays, or more likely, the spirit of the holidays get into them! Be prepared with cleaning supplies, clean cloths, etc., so you can act fast to avoid stains.

10. Remove area rugs

If it’s not too much trouble, consider removing area rugs until the party is over. It’s a lot easier to wipe up spilled wine from hardwood or laminate flooring than it is to try to remove stains from carpets.

11. Provide coasters

Cover your table, coffee table, and side tables with several coasters to encourage people to use them. This will prevent rings from forming on your wood furniture. Coasters are a must if you have expensive furniture, heirlooms, or antiques that will be ruined by rings.

12. Co-host your party

Co-hosting is all the rage these days. Friends join forces to make organising the event a less stressful experience. When you co-host, you have a partner to help manage the mess, corral guests, and generally share all the duties that come with hosting. With two people hosting, you split the chores, so you can both have fun.

13. Send leftovers home with guests

Having too much food comes with the territory. It also takes up a lot of time to store everything away. As the night winds down, lay out some “take out” containers and encourage guests to help themselves to the leftovers. 

While not everyone will be interested, people who are feeling a little peckish after their drinking or who don’t want to contend with food the next day will be grateful to have something to help them recover from the night.

14. Call a maid service in Toronto!

The holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, even if you are hosting. If you call in the pros for your post-holiday cleaning, you can actually relax without worrying about the mess you’ll have in the morning.

At Maid4Condos, we are your post-party angels, ready to swoop in and erase all signs of messes. Think of it as your reward for being generous and inviting everyone to your place. Problem solved. 

If you are simply too tired to deal with the post-party cleanup, Maid4Condos is the maid service that Toronto trusts to put everything back in order. For more information, you can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

Are You Cleaning These Commonly Overlooked Areas in Your Kitchen?

Your kitchen is a busy place where dirt and germs accumulate pretty quickly. Although you are hopefully cleaning your kitchen often, especially after prepping raw meat, there are so many areas of your kitchen that might not be cleaned as thoroughly or as often as they should be. 

Are you cleaning these commonly overlooked areas in your kitchen?

Here, we look at the most commonly overlooked areas of the kitchen that you should be disinfecting and cleaning more often.

Frequently Touched Surfaces

Your kitchen is filled with often-touched surfaces that you are likely not cleaning. 

Cabinet handles, appliance knobs, touchpads, light switches, and more are all touched day in and day out by hands which are at higher risk of transferring dangerous bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses like salmonella, listeria, and E. coli. 

Because you are handling raw food, all of these surfaces need to be wiped down with a disinfectant wipe daily.

The Sink and Faucet

The faucet is another frequently touched surface that is probably covered in all kinds of germs and bacteria. Your entire sink, surrounding counter, and faucet need to be washed daily. 

In fact, 45% of home sinks test positive for E. coli or coliform bacteria. That calls for disinfecting cleaning solutions, whether it is disposable wipes or a spray cleaner with paper towels. 

When you consider how much spray and splash there is from a sink possibly contaminated with bacteria, it just makes good sense to take the time to disinfect the sink, faucet, and surrounding area every day.

Sponges and Dishcloths

Although sponges and dishcloths reduce paper waste from paper towels, they are not intended to be used repeatedly without being washed. These items are even more likely to have coliform bacteria than the sink. 

After using them, you should clean them thoroughly with an antibacterial dishwashing liquid and warm water, and then leave them to dry away from the sink, so they don’t get recontaminated before the next use. 

If you also use items like scrubbing brushes, toss them in the dishwasher after you use them.

The Fridge

Wiping down the fridge handle is just the start of cleaning the fridge. Inside the fridge, there are all kinds of residue (both seen and unseen) that leave behind bacteria that can live in cold temperatures. 

Most people don’t wash fruits and vegetables until they are used, which adds bacteria and pesticides into the mix of the dangerous substances lurking in your fridge. 

There are also other products like raw meat, fish, and poultry, which all carry their own germs and bacteria. While it’s unrealistic to recommend washing the inside of your fridge daily, always clean up leaks that you notice immediately with an antibacterial wipe. 

Also, you should pull out the drawers and clean them in antibacterial dishwashing liquid, and wipe down the shelves monthly.

Cutting Boards

Regardless of what your cutting boards are made of, they also harbour bacteria. They should be washed after every use to remove food debris and bacteria. 

We recommend having two or three cutting boards, with one used for raw meat, fish, and poultry, one for fruits and vegetables, and another for bread. This helps avoid cross-contamination. 

Boards should be washed with hot soapy water and then thoroughly dried to avoid bacteria growth. Another recommendation is to choose dishwasher-safe cutting boards so you can sanitize them after each use.

Small Appliances

All small appliances should be thoroughly washed after each use. They can also harbour bacteria that can make you sick. For example, that milk frother and espresso machine can have germs from milk products, as well as yeast and mould. 

For more complicated appliances, take them apart at least once a week to get at every surface. Some parts are dishwasher-safe, so read the manufacturer’s care guide to get the best clean possible. 

This includes appliances like can openers, mini-blenders, food processors, etc.

Reusable Grocery Bags

All kinds of debris, leaks, germs, and bacteria are left behind in your reusable grocery shopping bags. 

They should be washed after each use to remove bacteria that can lead to contamination the next time you shop. 

You should consider having designated shopping bags (especially for meat) to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. It’s also a good idea to keep cleaning supplies in a separate bag. If this seems like too much work, most shopping bags can be tossed in the laundry.

Countertops

You probably clean your countertops, but the question is, how well? You might have a safe habit of cleaning after each food preparation, but what about before? You never know what bacteria or germs have been left behind from things you toss on the counter like dirty dishes, mail, handbags, cell phones, lunch boxes, and more. 

All of these things can carry germs and bacteria. Before you begin food preparation, wipe the area of the counter where you work with a disinfecting wipe, so you know you are working from a clean, germ-free surface. 

Also, do a thorough cleaning of your entire counter once a week, including under your small appliances. 

Move everything away so you don’t miss a spot. Don’t forget that questionable area between the stove and countertop and fridge and countertop. This is the perfect place for mould to grow and for germs and bacteria to fester.

Spice Shakers

You often use salt, pepper, and other spice shakers while you whip up a batch of your favourite foods. You don’t always wash your hands before you grab the shaker, exposing them to germs and bacteria. 

Get into the habit of keeping the shakers you use out on the counter clean, and then disinfect them after your meal preparation is done. 

This will reduce the spread of germs and bacteria from meal to meal. This is especially important for shakers not kept in the pantry or cupboard, as they are exposed to all kinds of splashes and spray daily.

As professional cleaners, Maid4Condos knows to hit all the right areas for a thorough kitchen cleaning to keep your kitchen germ-free. Click here for a free quote. You can also call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

10 Spots People Forget to Clean When They Move

When you move into a new home, you might not be thinking too much about the people who lived there before you. After all, moving is an exciting time that keeps you so busy that your mind is often on other things. 

10 spots people forget to clean when they Move

Although you might have done a thorough job of cleaning your home before you moved out, you can’t be 100% certain that the ex-residents of your new home weren’t as careful.

In fact, there are a lot of areas that people miss or simply choose not to clean before they leave. Here, we look at the ten most common spots people forget to clean when they move.

1. Dusting everything

Dust accumulates quickly. The former residents might have dusted, but the move had open doors for a few hours that let in dust and debris that has now settled throughout your home. 

Start at the ceiling and work your way down, using a damp cloth, so you don’t send most of the dust up into the air. A static microfiber cloth also works well to contain the dust as you clean. Once you’re finished, you can sweep or vacuum the floors which are next on our list.

2. Sweeping and cleaning the floors

You’d think this is a given. When you consider all the foot traffic that takes place on moving day, though, even if the former resident cleaned the floors before moving, they tracked in a lot of dirt loading the truck. 

To make sure your floors are spic and span clean, you want to first sweep hard-floor surfaces like wood and tile and then use an appropriate cleaner to disinfect the floor. If you have carpeting, you want to do a good vacuuming. 

Also, unless the landlord or previous owner provides proof they had the carpets professionally cleaned, you might want to consider hiring a steam cleaner to come to remove stains, pet dander, and odours.

3. Dusting and cleaning the walls

Walls are often not noticeably dirty until all the art is off the walls and the room is empty. If the former residents did wash the walls, they probably did it before moving day, which means there can be missed spots, dust, and cobwebs hanging around once the room was cleared out. 

You might even find that they left hooks, nails, and tacks in the walls. Remove these first, and then fill any holes with putty. 

Keep in mind that you’ll have to paint to hide the puttied spots. Wipe down the walls first with a duster or dry clean cloth, and then tackle any marks or dirt with an all-purpose cleaner.

4. Wiping and disinfecting kitchen and vanity cabinets

Kitchen and vanity cabinets have a bit of an ick factor. You should clean the doors and handles with a good disinfectant spray to get them nice and clean. The insides will probably require cleaning as well. 

You can vacuum out crumbs on shelves and in drawers, and if you like, lay down some shelf paper to give them a nice finished look. Other areas that might have cabinets would be pantries, utility rooms, and laundry rooms/closets.

5. Missing light bulbs

This isn’t cleaning per se, but many residents will sneak off with the lightbulbs for no good reason. 

Be sure to bring a few boxes of eco-friendly light bulbs along so you can either replace burned-out or inefficient light bulbs or any lightbulbs that are mysteriously missing. It will really make you feel at home when you have the type of light you prefer. 

6. Polishing windows, mirrors, and glass doors

Dirty windows, mirrors, and glass doors really take away from a new home. Windex works well to get windows, glass, and mirrors to sparkle. Clean windows let more natural light shine into your home, which makes it feel more cheerful. 

Mirrors with smudges or other messes are unpleasant, and dirty glass on features such as glass doors in the living room or shower stall can increase that ick factor.

7. Dusting and cleaning window sills and baseboards

These are finicky, less noticeable areas that the former residents likely didn’t even have on their cleaning checklist. These areas can get unexpectedly grimy and will require a good cleaning with an all-purpose cleaner. 

It will take a good spritz and a clean rag or scouring pad to get rid of some of the dirt, especially if these areas haven’t been cleaned in a while.

8. Disinfecting the bathroom

A bathroom can look sparkling clean, but still harbour tons of germs. Again, the ick factor is ten times worse in the bathroom. 

You want a good bathroom-disinfecting cleaner that kills 99.99% of germs before you use the bathroom. Every part of the room needs to be thoroughly wiped down. 

We’d also recommend replacing the toilet seat, and we’re sure we don’t have to explain why. Don’t miss a thing. 

Attack the toilet inside and out, the tub/shower, walls, sink and faucet, counter, mirror, inside the medicine cabinet, and, last but not least, the floor.

9. Cleaning inside the fridge and oven  

The outside of the fridge and stove might look nice and clean, but again, you want to disinfect all the surfaces to make sure you get rid of foodborne germs left behind. Also, you really want to deep clean the inside of the fridge. 

Use a good disinfecting cleaner to wipe down all the walls and shelves in the fridge. Take out the drawers and wash them in the sink. 

For the oven, if you’re lucky, it will have a self-cleaning option. If not, use a good-quality oven cleaner to remove all the food debris and grease from a thousand meals.

10. Disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

Door knobs, light switches, and outlet covers are always especially germy and often have a greasy buildup. 

You can wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner, then use an antibacterial wipe to kill the germs. It will make you feel a lot better when all these surfaces look clean.

At Maid4Condos, we always recommend our deep, move-in cleaning services that Toronto depends on to provide 100% peace of mind. Click here for a free quote. You can also call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

16 Items You Didn’t Know You Could Clean in a Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is a life-saver, sparing you having to do the dishes every day. However, this handy little kitchen appliance can do a lot more than just wash pots and pans. As professional cleaners at Maid4Condos, we love sharing our best home-cleaning hacks with our clients to help make your life easier. Here, we look at 16 items that you didn’t know you could clean in a dishwasher.

Which are the items you should not clean in a dishwasher?

1. Plastic footwear

If you wear your trusty plastic flip-flops around the house only, you can keep them clean and remove germs and odour-causing bacteria by running them through the dishwasher. The same goes for those Crocs of yours.

2. Hairbrushes and combs

If you use many hair care products, your brush can become a sticky, gummy mess. You can toss plastic combs and hairbrushes in the dishwasher to get rid of the gunk. You’ll find your brush doesn’t pull or tug as much when you brush your hair because all that sticky build-up is gone. This saves your hair because it causes less breakage.

3. Hubcaps

Take out the top rack to make room for your hubcaps. If you like to have shiny hubcaps, this is the easy way to do it without the back-breaking bending and squatting.

4. Microwave plate

This makes sense, but you likely never think to do it. If you aren’t the best at mopping up microwave spills (especially when it starts to look gross), then this is the best place to clean it.

As an added tip, you can make short work of those sticky, gross microwave walls by placing a bowl of water and sliced lemons in the microwave for a minute or two. The steam will break down that caked-on mess, so you can wipe it down easily. Then, pop the plate back in and you’re ready for the next boil over.

5. Shower caddies

Shower caddies build up soap scum and mildew over time. This can also lead to mould growth. To keep your shower caddies nice and clean, they can be run in the dishwasher. Both plastic and metal products are fine, but you’ll have to hand-dry metal to make sure it doesn’t rust.

6. Soap dishes

It might seem odd that a soap dish would get “dirty”. After all, it’s just soap collecting in the dish, and what could be cleaner than soap, right? Wrong. Soap actually carries bacteria, which can build up in the soap scum that collects in the dish. Many soap dishes are made from porcelain or plastic, thus making them dishwasher-safe.

7. Pet toys

Dog slobber and kitty claws are packed with germs and bacteria. You want to keep your pet toys clean to remove germs that can make people sick. This works for plastic toys that aren’t hollow. Never put anything in the dishwasher that can collect water, as the water can make your dog sick due to mould.

8. Smaller fridge shelves

Depending on the size of your fridge shelves, you can remove the upper rack of the dishwasher and give the shelves a good cleaning. Things like drippy sauce bottles, leaky milk cartons, and spills leave a sticky mess in the fridge that you really don’t want near your food.

Do this when your fridge is a little emptier, so you can slide out the shelves without having to take everything out of the fridge and then put them back again.

9. Gardening tools

Plastic and metal gardening tools can be washed in the dishwasher. Just avoid putting anything in there that is made of wood. You also have to dry metal items so they won’t rust.

10. Children’s toys

If your kids are sick, then tossing their plastic toys in the dishwasher using the sanitizing setting is an excellent way to avoid spreading germs.

11. Sports equipment

From stinky baseball caps to shin guards and from mouthguards to knee pads, most sports equipment can be deodorized and washed in the dishwasher.

12. Kitchen sponges and scrubbers

If anything is a germ carrier in your home, it’s your kitchen sponges and scrubbers. As long as your scrubbers don’t have a wooden handle, these trusty cleaning items can be tossed in the dishwasher for a good rinse every now and then.

13. Vent covers

Vent covers attract dust like crazy, which then gets blown back into your home. As long as they aren’t the fancy wooden kind, they can be washed in the dishwasher and wiped dry.

14. Glass light covers

Glass light covers from your light fixtures can also be washed. They are really no different than washing a bowl, as long as they aren’t too big to fit inside.

15. Vacuum attachments

Plastic vacuum attachments, including the ones with brushes, can be cleaned in the dishwasher. This way, you aren’t spreading germs and pollutants like pet dander as you vacuum.

16. Switchplates

After your family survives a bout of cold or flu, pop the most-used switch plates in the dishwasher to remove the germs and viruses so you don’t reinfect yourself.

If you need help keeping your home clean, our team is ready to help. Not only do we know tons of home-cleaning hacks, but we can also help you avoid needing to use them often. For more information, speak to Maid4Condos today by contacting us online. You can also reach us by phone at 647-822-0601.

14 Bathroom Organization Hacks

Most bathrooms are sorely lacking in storage space. Meanwhile, you have tons of personal care items, medications, hair appliances, beauty tools, etc., which makes it a nightmare to find space for all of your stuff. We know this also leads to a big mess on your tiny counter space for a double-whammy of frustration getting ready in the morning.

Bathroom organization tips

Here, we offer 14 bathroom organization hacks to help you triumph over the mess and keep your bathroom in a tidier state.

1. Get organized

Storage 101 calls for organization to help you keep everything in its place. If you have many finicky items like toothbrushes, scissors, tweezers, clippers, zit cream, swabs, makeup remover pads, etc., you can use things like mason jars or kitchen containers to stand them upright and keep them handy. By standing things upright, you narrow the space they take, so you can leave them on the counter.

Organizing your bathroom makes it a lot easier to clean it in the future, saving yourself a lot of hassle ahead of time, and making it easier to keep your bathroom clean longer due to the reduced clutter.

2. Utilize wall space

Consider any wall space you can use. You can add some shelves and then use them for the things you don’t use every day, but often enough that you want them nearby. A perfect example is directly above your toilet.

You should also have at least one wall at your vanity that can be used for shelves or hanging organizers. A great place to shop for storage ideas is your local office supply store. For example, hanging file holders make an excellent slot for items like shavers, smaller hair appliances, and brushes.

Other types of organizers combine shelves and little drawers, which are ideal for makeup removal pads, cotton balls, swabs, eyebrow pencils, and eyeliners.

3. Use the door

The back of your bathroom door is ideal for hooks where you can hang towels, your robe, or things like towels. It is also a great place to hang a shoe tree where you can slip in items like hair care products, hairdryers, and moisturizers.

4. Over-the-toilet cabinets

There are several different styles of bathroom cabinets designed specifically for placement over the toilet. This is ready-made storage with shelves and cabinets that allow you to optimize your bathroom space.

5. Use plastic drawers in your cabinets

Brands like Tupperware make plastic caddies with several drawers. Measure the space under your vanity, and then shop around for one that fits. This allows you to tuck away far more items, as everything is contained neatly in the drawers. This is a great place for the things you don’t want to be exposed to guests, but that you use every day.

6. Install some hooks

Hooks can be added to the inside of your vanity doors or on walls. They can be used for all kinds of things, not just towels. Simply hang see-through bags on the hooks, and then fill them up with whatever you want. The see-through bags are important so you can find what you need quickly.

7. Organize drawers

If you have drawers in your vanity, use organizing trays to keep things neat and free up space. You can also find stackable trays that allow you to have two layers of storage for things like brushes, curling irons, hair products, shavers, makeup appliers, etc. Another excellent source for these types of organizers are places like hobby stores and kitchen shops.

8. Use magnets

Magnetic strips can be placed inside the medicine cabinet or on vanity doors to hold small metal tools like scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, bobby pins, and hair accessories. Anything small and metal can be secured on the strip.

9. Use baskets

Baskets are great for storing things like cleaning products under the toilet or extra toilet paper.

10. Use the toilet tank top

The top of the toilet tank is another good spot where you can put a basket or two for things like clean face cloths, toilet paper, and larger appliances like hair dryers.

11. Install a shower caddy

Shower caddies fit over the showerhead. They are very easy to install and are ideal for all your shampoo and conditioners, shaving cream and shavers, hair treatments, body wash, soap, and poof sponges.

12. Think “tiers”

Look for little counter caddies that give you more bang for your buck. Two- or three-tiered counter caddies are popular for kitchen counters, so go to your local kitchen shop and look for options.

13. Raid your local kitchen shop

Come to think of it, you should head to your local kitchen shop to find some inspiration as well. Like business supply stores, they have storage products for finicky items such as spice racks, utensil organizers, dry goods containers, and more.

14. Use the floor space

Use every inch of floor space you can, and find storage solutions with the same footprint. Think tall and narrow, and you might be surprised at the types of shelves and cabinets you can find.

Just because a bathroom is small doesn’t mean you need to suffer every morning. These ideas can help free up space and ensure that everything you need is within reach.

If your bathroom always seems to be a mess, why not hire a professional bathroom cleaning service? For more information, speak to our team at Maid4Condos today by contacting us online. You can also reach us by phone at 647-822-0601.

The Pros and Cons of Residential Cleaning Services

Hiring residential cleaning services is not something most people enter into lightly. It is a serious consideration based on your needs, the time you have to do your own cleaning, the cost, and of course how much you absolutely hate cleaning! Although we are professional cleaners ourselves, at Maid4Condos, we do understand how hard it can be to decide if you should hire a cleaning service.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of residential cleaning services?

In fact, we maybe know better than most that there are advantages and disadvantages to hiring residential cleaning services. Because we clean for a living, we know some insider benefits you might not consider, and have also heard of some scary cons based on our customers’ past experiences! So, here we offer an objective look at the pros and cons of hiring a cleaning service to help you decide.

The Pros of Hiring Residential Cleaning Services

Since we are a little partial to the idea of cleaning services, we’re going to start with the pros!

  • Time saver: If you find you are either spending several hours a week cleaning your home, or are not cleaning your home at all because you don’t have time, professional cleaning services are a godsend. First, you really should be cleaning weekly because it helps reduce all the dirt, dust, and grime packed with allergens, germs, and bacteria.

    So, right from the start, if you don’t have time to clean, you should be. Second, if your only precious down time is dedicated to cleaning, life can become tedious, as you will never have time to do the things you love. Thus, if you are short on time or are spending the spare time you have cleaning, you really should consider a cleaning service.

  • Health: Building on the above point, dirty and even messy homes have a higher buildup of the allergens, germs, and bacteria that make you sick. Professional cleanings are thorough, removing all the irritants and pollutants in your home. If you have allergies or asthma, you can greatly reduce your symptoms if you have regular cleaning services.
  • Thorough cleaning: Professional cleanings are thorough. As a result, your home remains spic and span longer. We can clean weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly, while you keep things tidy on your own in between cleanings. This contributes to time-saving and health as well, so you have all three benefits working together for a happier, healthier home.
  • Reduce stress: Even people who are more Oscar than Felix in their cleaning habits (retro reference to a classic movie, and a nod to those who get it), living in a state of constant mess is not good for the mind. Living in a disorganized, messy home is unsettling and can increase stress levels, which is very bad for your health and general well-being. Cleaning services keep things neat and tidy, so your mind is calmer.
  • Get up and go: Cleaning takes energy you might not have. If you are sick, have issues with your back, or have mobility issues, then professional cleaning services tackle the jobs you can’t handle. In fact, cleaning can actually irritate several issues from back pain to carpal tunnel syndrome and sciatica to tennis elbow, so we can help avoid chronic pain.
  • The right equipment: Cleaning solutions, vacuums, sponges, mops, buckets, and more make quick work of cleaning. They are also very expensive. Cleaning professionals have the right equipment to get the job done right, and all of these things are included in the price. So, while you might think cleaning services are too expensive, they can often save you money based on your personal time and investment in the proper cleaning solutions and equipment.
  • A cleaning regime: As mentioned above, time can be difficult to set aside for cleaning. When you hire a cleaning service, they keep a cleaning schedule based on your needs so your home is always dirt-free no matter how busy you might get. Also, the more regular and frequent your cleaning services, the easier it is to keep your home clean and the more affordable it becomes.

The Cons to Hiring Residential Cleaning Services

Now onto the cons. We are being very honest about these common complaints from our customers based on their past bad experiences:

  • Some cleaners don’t do the job properly: This is a typical situation when you hire a cleaning service without the experience or integrity to perform the tasks you hire them to perform. This is frustrating and is a reason many people give up on cleaning services. We say phooey to those services that give the rest of us a bad name. The good news is that you can hire us and be completely satisfied, or at least use online reviews to find the service that will make you happy.
  • It can be expensive: Although cleaning services can save you money, if you aren’t careful, it does get expensive. Avoid this issue by speaking to your cleaning service, and come up with a schedule that will cost the least while still getting the job done.
  • Theft: This is another problem you might fear if you don’t hire the right company. Always go for companies with experienced, bonded, and insured cleaners, so you never have to worry about this issue.
  • Damage to your stuff: This is very rare when you deal with a reputable cleaning service. We take care of your belongings like they are our own because our business is built on trust. Just like stealing, you need to hire a company with a good reputation and that is bonded and insured. If something does happen, they will cover the costs.
  • You find yourself cleaning anyway: Yep, this is common, but also necessary. Most people use a cleaning service to keep their homes clean, but still have to tidy up. Cleaning is the real hard work using solutions and disinfectants to sanitize, while tidying is putting things away, hanging up clothes, throwing out magazines, etc. So really, it might feel like cleaning, but it is the little things you need to do for peace of mind.

When you are ready to hire residential cleaning services, we are here to help. Speak to our pros at Maid4Condos today. You can reach us at 647-822-0601.

10 Helpful Tips for Packing Your Clothes and Shoes for Moving

Whether you are moving in or out of your condo, packing is a pain! It’s also frustrating, messy and boring to boot. However, if you have a plan in mind, you can make short work of your packing, so you’re ready to make your move.

Packing tips for your clothes and shoes while moving

One of the biggest challenges is packing your clothes and shoes. Believe it or not, there is a way to pack other than tossing everything in garbage bags. Here we offer 10 helpful tips to make packing a whole lot easier.

1. Purge as you work

A big mistake we all make when packing clothes is packing stuff we haven’t worn in years. Now is the best time to sort through everything and toss what you no longer need. Not only does it make it easier to unpack at your new place, but it also means you have less to load and unload onto the truck.

Anything you haven’t worn in over a year is most likely not going to be worn again. So look for the items that see little time out on the town and put them aside. Also look at stuff that is out of date, out of shape, or that no longer fits and toss them as well. Consider selling the clothes in good shape online or giving them to a friend. Throw out anything that is torn, and put the rest in a bag for donation well before your moving day.

2. Keep things in their drawers

For clothes stored in dresser drawers, instead of trying to just jam and pile your clothes into a suitcase, leave them where they are. Tape the dresser drawers shut and just move the entire dresser as is. If this is too heavy, another option is to pull out the drawers and cover them with a garbage bag and tape so you can move the drawers and dresser separately. Then you just have to remove the wrapping and slide them into the dresser at your new place. You can do the same for hanging clothes in a wardrobe. Just tape the doors securely closed and you’re good to go.

3. Lay, roll or fold clothing

For clothes stored in the closet, there are a few options. You can take the clothes, hangers and all, and lay them neatly in a suitcase or box. However, the best way to avoid wrinkles is to either fold or roll your clothes. Some people prefer the rolling method as it’s not as fussy and it tends to take up less space.

4. Consider a clothing rack

A quicker way to manage clothing on hangers is to transfer them onto a portable clothing rack. They come on wheels so you can roll them from closet to closet, transfer the clothes to the rack and then roll them out to the moving van. Make sure to lock the wheels once loaded onto the truck. Also, if you have access to shrink wrap, shrink wrap the entire rack to protect the clothes in the move.

5. Use garment bags

For your best clothes, make sure you put them in garment bags to avoid ruining them. It’s easy to soil your clothes during a move and garment bags allow you to either place them on a clothing rack or move them as is and avoid getting them dirty.

If you don’t want to invest in garment bags, large garbage bags work well. Cut a small hole in the bottom center of the bag to accommodate the hanger hooks and then slide the top of the bag down and over your clothes. Voilà, cheap and cheerful garment bags. You can then pull the drawstrings of the bag at the bottom to seal them up.

6. Sort by season

Packing by season allows you to have your clothes organized from the moment you move in. Depending on the time of year, pack the clothes you won’t need for a while in handy large, lidded plastic containers you can either slide under your bed or place in a storage area.

7. Use vacuum bags

Those vacuum storage bags work wonders to make the most of your suitcase space. You can place items such as seasonal clothes or bulkier sweaters in the vacuum bags, suck out all the air and then stack them either in a suitcase or plastic moving boxes. Just remember you shouldn’t store them in the bags beyond six months or else they’ll damage your clothes.

8. Use shoe boxes

With any luck, you’ve kept your shoe boxes. They make it much easier to move shoes as all the pairs stay together and you’re less likely to lose a shoe. Just be sure to seal the lids with tape or large elastic bands. If you didn’t keep your shoe boxes, you can actually buy plastic ones, usually at the dollar store or online. They’re actually worth the investment as they’ll last forever and provide the perfect storage solution when you move in.

9. Invest in hanging shoe racks

Another smart investment is hanging shoe racks. These handy little organizers will make the most of the space in your new closets. Load up the racks with your shoes, and then hang them on your clothing racks or lay them in the back of your car.

10. Pack boots on the bottom

If you are packing all your shoes in one box or suitcase, always place larger, heavier shoes like snow boots or men’s dress shoes on the bottom and then make your way up to lighter footwear like sandals on top. This will avoid damaging and squashing your more delicate favourite strappy shoes.

Although packing is a pain, these tips will make life easier, while also helping to protect your clothes. Plus, you’ll find it easier to unpack at your new home. Once you move out, don’t forget to arrange a move-out condo cleaning Toronto tenants expect.

If you’d like to know more about packing clothes and shoes for moving, call Maid4Condos at (647) 822-0601 or contact us here.