7 House Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

pets

We love our furry friends and wouldn’t trade them for the world. But, if we are honest, it does make keeping our household clean a bit more difficult. Between the fur, slobber, nose prints on windows, and muddy paws… it’s a wonder we can ever get our houses in Tip-Top shape. While having a loving companion is more meaningful than having a clean home, we feel that you can have both. Here’s 7 house cleaning tips for pet owners to keep you as well as your fur babies happy! 

1) Use a lint roller on more than just clothes

These handy tools are also great at removing hair from lamp shades, comforters, furniture, and throw pillows. 

2) Wipe off those muddy paws at the door

Before those dirty paws even have a chance to track dirt into your home, keep a good quality mat outside your door as well as just inside the door. Also, keeping a basket nearby with some old hand towels will do the trick as well. We think the best new invention is probably the dog paw washer. Just add water then move your dog’s paws up and down between the soft rubber bristles. Clean paws come out and the dirty water just gets emptied into the sink. So easy!

3) Invest in an automatic vacuum 

All pet owners know the need to vacuum constantly. Besides dog hair, dirt, leaves and other debris easily get tracked into your home after a romp around the yard.  It feels like as soon as we are finished vacuuming, we can probably do it again. This is where an automatic/robot vacuum can come in handy. It can run while you are out of the house or asleep at night.  

4) Cover it up

If your fur baby has a favorite place to lounge or nap, grab an old sheet or blanket and cover up that area. It will help with fur, pet stains, and even help with preventing odors from getting into the fabric. Then when guests come over, toss that sheet in the wash and the couch underneath will still be looking good! 

5) Messy eaters

One place always in need of a good scrubbing is around their food and water bowls. Purchase a rubber or washable mat to place underneath the bowls to  contain any mess and protect your floors.

6) Shiny windows

Nothing distracts from the beautiful sunshine pouring in through the window than a bunch of slobber or nose and paw prints. It only takes a moment to clean them, so try to get in the habit of wiping down windows with a glass cleaner, or vinegar and water mix, to keep your windows sparkling.  

7)  The beauty of an outdoor rug

Outdoor rugs are made in so many pretty colors and designs nowadays. They are even great for inside. If accidents happen, just take the rug outside to hose it down. 

At the end of a hard day, we know the feeling of just wanting to come in and snuggle with your furry friends. Showering your pets with love is way more important than stressing over a clean home. But, by following these few tips we think you can enjoy not only those slobbery kisses but a clean home as well!

 

Freshen up your Outdoor Living Area

 

 Now that summer is in full swing and we begin to gather in small groups, we can turn to getting our outdoor areas in tip-top shape. Here are some helpful tips to effectively turn our outdoor areas into a place we want to spend some time entertaining friends and family.

Outdoor Living Area
1)  Whether you have a deck or patio, move all outdoor furniture, plants, decorative items out of the way so you can sweep off all debris. This is also a great time to either mop or even re-seal surfaces.
2)  If you have a patio, take some time to pull up those weeds peeking through the cracks. You may need to use a weed-killer if their roots are particularly stubborn.
3)  Before moving your patio furniture back into place, take some time to give it a good wash. For items with an aluminum, powder-coated finish, use your garden hose to gently spray off any debris. Then use a mixture of water and a mild dishwashing detergent to wipe off the rest of the dust, debris, and grime. Use a soft cloth or brush but do not scrub too hard, since you do not want to put any nicks in the finish; this could lead to corrosion. Use a gentle touch. Rinse thoroughly. You can also use this same method on teak furniture. Just be sure to apply a teak sealer, after it has completely dried to protect the wood. For wicker furniture, use the same solution of water and a mild dishwashing detergent. A toothbrush works great for getting into all of those nooks and crannies. If your furniture has cushions, this same mixture works great! Make sure to read any special instructions for laundering if there are any. Make sure to stand the cushions up in the sun so that they dry completely.
4)  Clean outdoor light fixtures next. Using a mixture of water and dishwashing detergent, wipe down all of the surfaces. Then use a glass cleaner to clear away any residue. Replace bulbs at this time.
5)  Shake out all outdoor rugs and welcome mats, rinsing with a hose if necessary.
6)  Clean the doorwall inside and out with a glass cleaner or mixture of 50% water and 50% white vinegar in a spray bottle. Don’t forget those window tracks! A toothbrush works great. Screens can be removed and given a gentle wash with the garden hose.
7)  A pop of color goes a long way! Grab your flower pots and fill them with a mix of annuals, trailing vines, and grasses for an instant patio makeover!
8)  Now, to freshen up those flower beds. If you are in a hurry, the fastest way to get them looking crisp and clean is give the beds a good raking to remove leaves and other debris that might have collected. Then add some fresh mulch. A 3 inch depth of mulch is recommended for keeping weeds away.

Every Day Touch-Up Cleaning

When it comes to keeping your most frequently-touched surfaces cleaned and sanitized, the CDC recommends starting with these items:

  • Doorknobs and handles
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Toilets
  • Sinks

 The CDC recommends first cleaning any dirt and grime with soap and water and then sanitizing the surface. To sanitize, use diluted (1/3 C. Bleach to 1 gallon water ) chlorine bleach (as long as the solution is safe for the surface) or 70 percent alcohol.  Be sure to follow directions for dwell time for the disinfectant you are using, as allowing disinfectant to sit on a surface is of primary importance in order to kill germs.  While it is nearly impossible to do a full deep-clean on our house every day, if we focus on these most frequently-touched surfaces, we can go a long way to preventing the spread of germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Here are some special tips for other frequently touched items:

How to Safely Do Laundry

When doing laundry, including clothing, bed linens and towels, the CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves and washing your hands with soap and water as soon as you remove the gloves to help stop the spread of germs. Also, don’t shake laundry — this may disperse germs through the air. “Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions,” the CDC says. “Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.” And don’t forget to clean and sanitize laundry hampers because germs can linger there.

How to Clean and Sanitize Electronics

Being inside our homes all day, every day, we are bound to be using our electronics much more frequently. For cleaning electronics such as laptops, tablets, phones, keyboards and remote controls, the CDC says to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you can’t find any instructions, you can usually use an alcohol-based wipe or spray that contains 70 percent alcohol.  Be careful not to saturate electronics such as keyboards and remote controls.  Wet a rag then dab sanitizer on surface and allow to dry. 

These tips will ensure a safe and thorough cleaning of your most frequently-touched items. 

Cleaned + Sanitized = A Healthier Environment

Our Mental Health during the Coronavirus Outbreak

At Elite Home Cleaning, we wanted to take a moment to share with you some important information the CDC has posted on their website. During these trying times, we as a society, need to take special care of our mental health. It is also important to look out for one another and talk to each other about how we are coping. We hope you find this information helpful. We will continue to post information that we believe will serve our community and valuable tools that we hope you will find useful.

From the Center for Disease Control:

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and  the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

  • Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
  • Children and teens
  • People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
  • People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website.

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, get plenty of sleep, avoid alcohol, eat balanced meals..
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.

Reduce stress in yourself and others

More support for COVID-19

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Sharing the facts about COVID-19 and understanding the actual risk to yourself and people you care about can make an outbreak less stressful.

When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them.

For parents

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
  • Excessive worry or sadness
  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
  • Poor school performance or avoiding school
  • Difficulty with attention and concentration
  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
  • Unexplained headaches or body pain
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

There are many things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.
  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset. Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn how to cope from you.
  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media. Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.
  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.
  • Be a role model.  Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

For responders

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:

  • Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

For people who have been released from quarantine

Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include :

  • Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine
  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious
  • Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during quarantine
  • Other emotional or mental health changes

Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine. 

A Clean Home is a…

Have you ever heard that a clean home is a happy home?  Well, we have found some proof as to why.  Let’s just not leave it at that.  A clean home can also mean a more productive and more harmonious home for us to live in.

Cleaning has been found to have positive effects on our mental health by helping us gain a sense of control over our environment. The physical activity can also have a calming effect on our mind. It can elevate one’s mood and provide us with the satisfaction of a job well done.  A study published in the journal Mindfulness found that participants who engaged in mindfully washing the dishes— meaning they took a moment to inhale the scent of the soap and to allow their skin to absorb the warmth of the water — reported a 27% reduction in nervousness, along with a 25% improvement in “mental inspiration.”

Decluttering and organizing our homes has become increasingly popular. However, creating an organized, clutter-free space should not be just a trend. It has real value when it comes to our mental health, productivity, and overall well-being. Organized spaces are proven to reduce stress, improve happiness, and even improve your eating and exercise habits. Studies show that reducing clutter correlates with an increase in productivity at home and in the workplace.

“The University of California gathered thirty couples for a study on stress hormones. Those who described their house as messy or chaotic showed increased levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone produced in response to stress. The study also found that women were more adversely affected by clutter than men. The evidence shows that decluttering and other housekeeping reduces cortisol levels and are healthy habits to adopt. But the benefits of a clean home also extend to your physical well-being.”

A clean home doesn’t just affect the parents. Children can reap the benefits as well. If you have children, you would think that they love messes and despise anything to do with chores.  However, research shows that if their bedroom and other family spaces are cluttered, they will have a hard time focusing and can tend to feel more agitated or stressed. This shouldn’t all fall on the parents though. We all know that children need boundaries and instilling good habits at a young age will carry them through adulthood. This includes being taught how to keep their spaces clutter-free and clean. Keeping a clean home gives them a safe and healthy space where they can play, do homework and sleep.  

A quick and very effective way to begin creating a more peaceful environment for your children is by limiting the number of possessions your child has. We know this can be hard. If your child is having a difficult time parting with items, try getting storage cubbies or stackable drawers for their closet. Have them keep their most favorite items out on their dresser and help them to organize the rest out of sight. If they can clearly see the items they have on display, they will know that each item has a designated space in their room and they will be more apt to help with keeping their rooms tidy. While some kids don’t clean their room because they don’t feel like it, most others just need a little help in getting their spaces organized so that the task isn’t so overwhelming! This will not only lead to a more relaxed, peaceful environment for your child, but will give them a sense of accomplishment, ownership, and self-confidence. 

The relationship between a clean house and mental health is one that should be important to your whole family. We all love a cleaner, more organized home and we typically feel more at ease with less clutter. When you consider the overwhelming benefits—better physical health, improved mental health and a cleaner, healthier environment, it’s easy to see how keeping a home clean can keep minds more calm.   

If you need help getting your home in order, Elite Home Cleaning is here to help. Whether it is one-time deep clean to get your cleaning routine kick-started or on a more frequent basis to give you back some time with your family… we are here to help you create a cleaner, healthier, more productive, more organized environment for your family!  

4 WAYS A CLEAN HOUSE CAN BENEFIT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH 

  1. INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY 

An organized, and clutter-free, space leads to less distraction and more focus, which in turn produces more productive results

  1. INSPIRES SELF CONFIDENCE

There is a great deal of pride, and satisfaction, that comes from maintaining a clean and organized home. You will have a visual reminder every day that you did this! Whether the organizing and cleaning is done by you, or hired professionals, you took charge and gained control over your home environment. 

  1. REDUCED ANXIETY LEVELS

The outside world, especially today, has a lot going on. These pressures create raised levels of anxiety and stress because there is so much we do not have control over. But, what we do have control over is our own personal space at home. We have a little microcosm all our own that we can create order within. When you keep a clean and orderly house, you will have a visual reminder every morning when you wake up, and every night when you go to bed, that there is order and you do have control. The peace that comes from this will carry with you out into the world.

  1. CREATES A MORE HARMONIOUS ENVIRONMENT

Does your spouse blame you for misplacing things? Do your children fight over missing toys? A clean and organized home where “there is a place for everything and everything is in its place” can lead to a more more calm and relaxed space for your family. Just make sure to have every family member playing their part in maintaining their own spaces. It should never fall on just mom! Everyone should have ownership.

 

4 QUICK TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOME TIDY ON A DAILY BASIS

 

Whether you clean your own home, or have professional cleaning technicians do the job, there are small things you can do on a daily basis that will help maintain your home between cleanings.

  1. LEAVE SHOES AT THE DOOR

Create a shoe “drop zone” in the garage or right inside the door. No sense bringing in more dirt from the outside world

  1. CHOOSE ONE ROOM TO CLEAN/TIDY EACH DAY

Set a timer for 15-30 minutes and choose a space to clean/tidy each day. This will reduce the stress of trying to tackle the whole house in one day 

  1. MAKE YOUR BED

It only takes a couple of minutes, but the sense of neatness and order is a great way to start the day

  1. WASH THE DISHES AFTER EVERY MEAL

An empty sink feels great! Plus, it is a lot less work to clean up after one meal then a whole day, or more, of meals

 

How often should we be cleaning? What science tells us about cleaning our home.

While we may have different opinions about what constitutes a “clean” home, there are some standards to consider, if only for your health’s sake.

Bacteria and microbes consisting of viruses, soil, fungi, bacteria, animal dander, pollen, sweat, and skin cells all invade our homes on a regular basis. According to research in Popular Science, the life span of a germ varies greatly depending on the bacteria and the surface. E. coli (intestinal bacteria that can make you sick) can live for a few hours to a full day, while the calicivirus (a.k.a. the stomach flu) can live for days or weeks. We can’t always see these teeny tiny nasties, and if we saw them under a microscope I’m sure we would all be quite mortified. So how often should we be cleaning certain areas of our home? It is probably more often than you think.  Below you will find some important guidelines:

How often should sinks be disinfected?

Every day. Even if they look clean, sinks can become covered with invisible bacteria very quickly. The bathroom sink accumulates fecal matter (from washing your hands after you use the bathroom). Also, bacteria from food, like E.Coli and Salmonella, can contaminate the kitchen sink. Clean them daily to keep these spaces clean and healthy.

How often should floors be vacuumed and/or washed?

One to two weeks. Carpets and rugs should be vacuumed on a weekly basis. More often if you have pets in the home. This will help to keep dust, dirt, and allergens from being kicked up into the air. Hard surface floors should be swept and mopped 2-4 times a month based on the activity in the home. Kitchen floors should be cleaned more often as this is where meal prepping and serving is done.

How often should sheets be changed?

Once a week – Beyond dust, bacteria and fungi, along with the dirt and oils sloughed off during sleep, can cling to sheets and your skin. This can lead to skin conditions. To keep your bed clean, change your sheets once a week, or a minimum of every two weeks, and wash them in hot water.

How often should bathrooms be cleaned?  

Once a week at least.  Bathrooms will need the most attention. It can host a whole swarm of unwelcome bacteria; E.coli can be found within six feet of the toilet and in the sink. To keep this space as clean as possible, disinfect the toilet at least once weekly and scrub sinks daily. Tubs should be cleaned, at the very least, every other week. And don’t forget fabric shower curtains and liners. They should be disinfected on a weekly basis to avoid a build-up of mildew. 

How often should towels be changed out?

It depends on the room. Bath towels can become covered with fungi and bacteria (including staph and fecal) and if your towel doesn’t fully dry, that bacteria can grow.  Ideally, try to swap out your bath towels every other day. For kitchen towels, washing once a week should do the trick. However, if you have handled raw meat and wiped your hands on a towel, throw it in the wash immediately. Better safe than sorry!

How often should sponges be swapped out?

Every few days. A kitchen sponge can get pretty filthy, pretty fast… with billions of bacteria on every square inch! While most of the bacteria isn’t harmful, it is important to wash these frequently. Soap and water washing won’t do the trick, instead drop them into boiling water for 2 minutes or place them in the microwave for 2 minutes while damp every couple of days, and replacing them when they deteriorate.

How often should doorknobs be wiped down?

Once a week (in some rooms). Though doorknobs can accumulate a lot of bacteria, they need only need to be washed once in awhile. However, doorknobs in the bathroom and the kitchen are used much more frequently and should be disinfected about once per week, especially if there’s an illness in the house.

Following these important guidelines will help ensure a cleaner, healthier, and safer home.  Please feel free to contact us regarding your cleaning needs and cleaning questions.