Saturday, May 9, 2015

SPRING CLEANING OVERHAUL: One project at a time

  • De-clutter
      • Recycle extraneous paperwork
        • Clear out the files in your home office
        • Streamline the junk drawer in the kitchen
        • Toss old magazines & newspapers 
    • Donate rarely worn clothing / gently used toys
    • When is the last time you've thought about tossing stained & worn linens?
    • Have you tackled the spice rack in the kitchen, recently?
    • Donate/ recycle books, CDs, DVDs, & video games
  • Dust
    • First, vacuum thoroughly
      (to prevent kicking up dirt onto newly dusted furnishings)
    • Dust your ceiling fans, window sills, & ledges with the extending microfiber duster
    • Wipe down your table tops, picture frames, and wood furniture with our magnetic microfiber towels
    • Vacuum again to collect newly fallen dust
  • Sanitize
    • Spray Ask Cindy's Glass Cleaner onto your reflective surfaces to dissolve grime
    • Use 3 parts water, 1 part liquid all-purpose cleaner/sanitizer and a white terry cloth towel to cleanse and degrease your non-porous surfaces (counter tops & tables)
    • Use 2 parts water, 1 squirt of clear dish soap and a white terry cloth towel to remove any sticky residue from sanitizer
    • Remember to wipe down the bottoms of winter shoes & boots before you store them away as the seasons change
Products mentioned in this blog:

      Sunday, March 22, 2015


      When you first tackle cleaning your bathroom, what do you do?
      1. Assemble a cleaning caddy with all of the supplies that you'll need
        + Clear, neutral dish soap
        + 3 containers of warm water
        + Total, all purpose cream cleanser
        + Fresh scented all purpose liquid cleanser
        + Vacuum
        + Grout brushes (plus optional extending pole for better leverage)
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        + White terry cloth cloth towels
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      2. Change your shoes to non-slip cleaning booties
      3. Open any windows in the vicinity/ turn on the overhead fan for air circulation
      4. Lay down plastic or a trash bag outside of the bathroom door to place supplies on
      5. Clear the floor of all rugs, decorations, trash cans, accessories
      6. Vacuum the floor thoroughly to pick up all hair and debris! (this step ALONE will make a HUGE difference and save TONS of time)

        Tackle the details next!
      7. Dip your grout brushes into a 1 to 1 mixture of warm water and all-purpose cream cleanser (preferably with a bleach component)
        *be careful if the area outside of the bathroom is carpeted*
      8. Scrub your grout lines in smooth strokes (continually dipping into the scrubbing solution), while letting the brushes do most of the work.
        - Use the large grout brush (attachable pole available) on open spaces
        - Use the smaller grout brush on edges, corners, and behind the toilet tank
      9. Mix 2 parts water, 1 part all-purpose liquid cleaner
        - Dampen a terry cloth cleaning towel in the mixture and wipe your floors vigorously, applying pressure to remove any stickiness
      10. Mix 1 squirt of clear, liquid dish soap with 3 parts warm water
        - Dampen a terry cloth cleaning towel in the mixture and go over the floors to remove any cleaning residue left behind
      11. Dry your floors thoroughly with a terry cloth cleaning towel and stand back to admire the shine!

      Sunday, February 22, 2015


      If you're located in the Northeast, the snow has piled up like soot on a non-dusted ceiling fan. As temperatures drop, they have the potential to freeze your motivation to clean up your home.
      Fight the urge to hunker down while the dirt piles up!
      1. Prevent your pipes from freezing by keeping your thermostat at 55 degrees or higher.
      - This is a step to prevent you from cleaning up pools of water (among other things) should your pipes burst.
      - On average, the coolest comfortable home temperature is 68 ° F. If you keep your home at 68 ° F during the day, you could save up to 6.2% on your heating bill. Just think, for every degree above that temperature, your heating costs will go up!
      - If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

      2. Think salt stains your driveway... how about your carpet?
      - Not only does salt collect in your carpet fibers, it also stains hardwood and tile floors. Once salt water drips off of your winter boots and dries on your floors, you're left behind with unsightly stains and a chalky residue.
      - Prevent this by taking off your shoes at the door and laying them on Ask Cindy's Terry Cloth Towels to absorb moisture and prevent floor staining.

      - If your floors are already affected, steam clean your carpets and use a freshly scented all-purpose cleaner/water solution on your tiles and a clear dish soap/water solution on your hardwoods. ALWAYS MAKE SURE TO DRY YOUR FLOORS!!

      3. Warm, Dry air = DUST! DUST! DUST!

      -Here's the key to a clean home! .... Wait for it .... TOUCH EVERY SURFACE :).
      When you tackle the dust in your home it is no different. You should dust the blades of your ceiling fans, tops of books, window moldings, wall sconces and other light fixtures. These actions will brighten things up and improve your air quality!
      - Dust with a micro-fiber towel for the ultimate results!

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      4. Clean your windows
      - In the cold, dark winter, daylight is a precious resource. Sooty, grimy windows will inhibit your access to sunlight and cloud your vision of the wintry landscape. Especially if you have a fireplace and/or burn candles, a layer of soot will form on the inside of your windows and the panes.
      - The best solution to begin the process is a mixture of clear dish soap and water. Use this solution, along with Ask Cindy's White Terry Cloth Towels to scrub away the soot and debris. Then SEAL IN THE SHINE with Ask Cindy's signature Glass Cleaner! It delivers a non-smudge, non-streak, sparkle.
      5. Are your kitchen walls & ceiling yellow with grease and food debris??
      - If you live in an apartment setting and change habitats every 1-2 years, you are lucky in terms of dirt build-up. However, for those of us who own homes, we have to worry about years of grease on the kitchen ceiling and splatter on the walls.
      - The key to removing grease and keeping the paint on the surfaces is this: soft microfiber. Use a clear dish soap/water solution with An Ask Cindy Thick & Thirsty Microfiber Towel.
      - These towels offer an un-beatably gentle & effective clean. Please don't continue to scrub if discoloration/peeling occurs and don't forget to dry your surfaces post clean!

      Sunday, January 18, 2015


      During the cold season, the flu is undesirable #1! Help curb the spread of sickness in your home by targeting your most touched surfaces!
      Door knobs & locks
      - Every time you enter/exit your home or any individual room, chances are that you're touching a door knob and/or turning a lock. Any surface that you're touching constantly, without having just washed your hands, is a perfect breeding ground for germs.
      Light switches & surrounding plates
      - Unless you can "clap on! clap off!", light switches are some of the most touch heavy surfaces in your home.
      Cabinet handles & drawer pulls
      - Not only do these surfaces accumulate germs, they also have a tendency to accumulate sticky, greasy debris due to their locations in kitchens & bathrooms.
      Stair railings
      - These surfaces are regularly touched by hands, and possibly other body parts if you choose to slide down them :). In other words, never cleaning them = GERM CITY
      Toilet flushers
      - Just think: you touch the flusher before you wash your hands, after doing your business.
      Faucet handles
      - You also touch the faucet handle in the bathroom before you wash your hands... and then again afterward. If they aren't cleaned, touching them feeds into a cycle of hand contamination.
      Soap pumps
      - Cleaning these will help to prevent soap scum buildup and the transference of germs, especially if you don't wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Also, if you pump out soap for children, an unclean pump will dirty your hands.
      - An everyday scenario: touch your phone, scratch an itch, touch your phone, eat, touch your phone, take out the garbage, touch your phone, shield a sneeze, touch your phone, blow your nose, and touch your phone again! Enough said.
      Computer mice & keyboards
      - This category includes desktops, laptops, and tablets. That means that not only are these items potentially dirty from activities inside the home, but also have the ability to track in outside germs.
      Remotes to electronics
      - If you've ever cleaned these before, I'll be thoroughly impressed! On television, I've seen people scratch with these items. If life imitates art, please clean these regularly & thoroughly!

      Each of the items described above is a hard surface, therefore cleaning should be painless. When disinfecting these high-touch surfaces, follow these steps:
      **Do not spray cleaning solutions directly onto surfaces!** Dampen cleaning towels with solutions to prevent dripping/liquid damage.
      Using a neutral and clear colored liquid dish soap, squeeze a few droplets into 1/4 of a pail of warm water, to create the perfect cleaning solution.

      Use a multi-surface disinfectant liquid cleaner. Search for labels that advertise a 99.9% kill rate of bacteria that includes Salmonella, E.Coli, and certain strains of Influenza. Several items also contain a non-astringent odor eater to freshen the home without harsh fumes.
      Polish stainless steel faucets & drawer pulls
      Spray the polish directly onto a lint-free towel, then wipe the surface and enjoy a powder free, smudge free finish.

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      Each of these cleaning solutions will work best with
      Ask Cindy's Premium Terry Cloth Towels!
      - Lint-Free
      - Absorbent
      - Durable
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      Thursday, January 1, 2015

      Let’s Clean House with Cindy!

      (Key tips for cleaning household furniture & decorations)

      (How to: clean your hall tree)
      Cleaning Steps:
      1. Using Ask Cindy’s fine, non-scratch, ultra-thick microfiber towel, dust this unit from top to bottom. Don’t forget the hanging hooks and hinges. Remember to flip your towel to the other side once dust particles are clearly covering the cloth. These towels are detailed dusting magic! Dust particles are held firmly in place!
      2. Using a neutral and clear colored dish liquid soap, squeeze a few droplets into 1/4 of a pail of warm water, to create the perfect cleaning solution.
      3. Using an Ask Cindy white terry cloth towel, dip one end into the soap and water solution and ring it dry. Target smudges and fingerprints. Wipe and clean with the wet end of your towel. Dry immediately using the dry end of the towel.

        - Pour a dollop of (lemon scented) BLEACH FREE grease cutting cleanser onto the damp end of your white terry cloth towel. Specifically target marks, smudges, and tough residue with this super effective scuff remover! Don't forget to rinse with clean, clear water. Dry with a fresh towel.
      4. SMILE at your glittering Ask Cindy finish!

      Sunday, December 21, 2014


      Based on my many years of being involved with residential and commercial cleaning, it never ceases to amaze me when a customer is surprised when I explain the requirements of an initial cleanup.
      Most homeowners have a mindset of spray & wipe, when connecting with house cleaning tasks. Surface cleaning allows one to get an immediate burst of appreciation, but only when they first see it. A reality check eventually takes place once items in a home are rearranged, or surfaces are inspected in a detailed way. The unsightly discoveries are unacceptable, now what! Quality vs. Quantity: The new possibility, for house cleaning tasks.
      I always walk in with 5 cleaning principles:
      1. Knowledge: Investigate cleaning how-to’s, because every surface and furnishing must be appropriately cleaned.
      2. Create a cleaning plan for your tasks.
      3. Select your cleaning tools and solutions with serious consideration.
      4. Move forward knowing that the initial detail cleaning of room(s) or items is an investment of time.
      5. There are no shortcuts; only improved cleaning techniques will lead to efficient acts for eliminating dirt.
      My basic point is, when you’re involved with cleaning restoration (after things no longer look nice), the initial clean can be intensive. At this point, your cleaning tasks require labor, time, and insightful how-to’s.
      There is no way around these principles, especially during the initial cleanup. After the initial cleanup, maintenance doesn’t require the same level of intensity. This is especially true if maintenance commences right away. Expressions like, unbelievable and wow, can be yours! Clean is always a vivid presentation in a home.
      Let’s face it, you get out what you put in! Ask Cindy’s 5 cleaning principles are required for a good cleaning result. While the surface spray & wipe approach will show some immediate improvement, the unsanitary layers beneath the surface will begin to show through very shortly. Over the years, people have shared that they were prepared to have certain items replaced. Ask Cindy’s housecleaning principles have renewed household appliances, light fixtures, furnishings, and so much more. Clean is clean!
      By the way, we are not talking about magic here. Ask Cindy joins process and housecleaning knowledge, yielding outstanding cleaning outcomes. Reading forward, your home can experience a visible difference. Happy reading!

      Monday, December 15, 2014

      COMMONSENSE CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE (A focus on public spaces)

      My grandmother, a domestic goddess, once told me that as she carried me around when I was a toddler, I was always fussy about things being just so. Well, I assure you that I have not changed. Some might even refer to me as finicky. I have simply never gotten comfortable with passable :-).
      Today, as I go with my family to different places, I am very particular about where I will eat, sit to watch a movie, utilize a public restroom, and so forth. While I don’t want to ever be considered anti-social, I do not accept inept cleaning standards.
      When a public place is dirty, I speak up, seeking out the owner, the manager or a supervisor. What Ask Cindy knows for sure is that if you make a knowledgable and deliberate effort to clean, doing so will successfully eliminate dirty circumstances.
      A cleaning schedule for any public facility will have every surface and appliance item on a cleaning checklist. Ongoing cleaning frequency eliminates the guesswork for eradicating settled germs and bacteria. Anyone can keep objects clean with proper technique and sanitizing solutions. This type of cleaning applies to public restrooms, restaurants, classrooms, and offices. Also, as a society, we must demand higher standards for public facilities. Microorganisms cultivate in petri dishes, not human beings. Public spaces that are dirty are just offensive and smelly.
       It is not acceptable for proprietors or managers to offer dirty restrooms and dirty common areas in public establishments, especially, as we patronize these places. When we let them off the hook unchallenged, we are saying that we are agreeable to these circumstances.
      Now, the question might be, can we expect anyone to walk the walk? Yes, it can be challenging, but a determined approach with well trained staff investigating public activity within and around a public space restroom(s) busy periods will establish ongoing cleaning frequencies. This is the starting point for cleaning success.
      When my company was contracted to clean the anchor property, Sports Plus (300,000 sq. feet) located in New Roc City, in New Rochelle, New York I realized after reading their utilization plan for this space that we would need additional housekeepers to police the bathrooms and garbage pails throughout the facility. I highlighted this piece of information in my bid/proposal. After all, in order for me to do my job well, the client needed to understand what it would take to prevent smelly bathrooms and overflowing garbage pails throughout this high trafficked public arena.
      Our other cleaning responsibilities included the cleaning of two on-site restaurants, a retail store, two food concession stands, a professional ice arena bleachers, locker rooms, entrances, offices, interior walkways and hallways, elevators, shower stalls, locker rooms and many video games/consoles with acrylic fronts.
      Under Ask Cindy’s watch, every item in the space was on a schedule for cleaning. The operations manager was so impressed with this passion for clean, and realized how this due diligence would make his job easier. Our company’s bid sheet beat out 26 other cleaning companies. Ask Cindy was a diligent cleaning operation. Naturally, I would spend time on site during all shifts to live the housekeeping experience first hand. Management by walk around will always correct any miscalculations related to the tasks at hand. I was determined that the operations person would not have to micromanage Ask Cindy or my staff pertaining to cleaning tasks. This type of dignity made America the beautiful!
      Established cleaning frequency is all about the culture and usage of a space; when a cleaning service bids on a job, a study of how the space is used must be done. After all, public spaces are utilized differently. A personalized cleaning plan for a specific space or venue is the only successful approach for eliminating dirty bathrooms, floors and so forth.

      1. The janitor’s closet must be clean and organized at all times. This point sets the tone for organized cleaning.
      2. Daily cleaning of public bathrooms should be done with bleach and germ eliminating products. The best germ killer is a bacterial enzyme eradicator. It should be used inside public toilets and urinals after the general cleaning and sanitation process. This will eliminate remaining organisms. Surprise, unpleasant odors will disappear, as well.
      3. Now, what about the cleaning cloths that are used in these areas? Disposable cleaning cloths is the only answer. This will prevent cross contamination. By all means using a different cloth for the many different surfaces with its many sides is the right thing to do.
      4. Automatic air fresheners should always be in place.
      5. The bathroom mop should be dedicated for the bathroom floors only. The mop head must be washed clean nightly. My standard is that all mop heads in my company’s operation must be clean to the naked eye and stored upright for air-drying. Mop head changes should be scheduled.

      6. The broom that sweeps the bathroom floor is labeled and dedicated for bathrooms only. Using the same broom and mop for all areas only cross contaminates.
      7. Light fixtures, interior walls, paper towel boxes, toilet paper holders, urinals, bathroom stall walls and doors, entrance and exit doors, should all be on a cleaning schedule. I state to my staff, if we do not clean an item, then you must want the client to do it! This always comes with a smile.
      Cleaning and maintenance of public areas is dirty work. Clearly written schedules of the required work, with realistic timelines, functional ergonomic tools, and appropriate cleaning chemicals, will navigate one through cleaning tasks. Cleaning and maintenance with a common sense approach, requires good work ethic, discipline, ergonomic equipment, safe cleaning solutions, and a comprehensive plan.

      Overall, public spaces are dirty and these undesirable circumstances negatively impact our sensibilities. Let’s ask business proprietors to keep their space(s) clean. As consumers, it is advantageous to both sides!