Life is busy and in the time of Covid-19 our households can be quite chaotic. Just keeping up on the normal cleaning tasks and doing laundry is time consuming. Sometimes we overlook the little things that could use some cleaning love! Cutting boards are one item that could use disinfecting from time-to-time and some tips on how to tackle that. In this article, we discuss tips for disinfecting cutting boards. Just another way to keep your home and family safe and healthy!
Disinfecting Cutting Boards
With less eating out and more eating in, our kitchens and all of its tools are definitely getting a good workout. Cutting boards are an item used almost daily. Since many cutting boards are made from porous materials like wood, bacteria can take hold if not thoroughly cleaned. While they may get washed in the sink with the dishes, there are a few things you can do to make sure that they are being thoroughly disinfected.
Wood Cutting Boards
Wash the cutting board with warm water and Dawn after every use. Rinse thoroughly and be sure to allow it to dry completely. Never soak a wooden cutting board or run it through a dishwasher as it can damage the wood and warp it. After it has dried completely, spray the board with a mixture of 1-part white vinegar to 4-parts water. Allow it to sit for a minute or two, and then rinse with cold water. Again, allow the board to dry before storing away.
For stubborn stains or odors on wood boards: After a good cleaning, sprinkle some coarse salt on the board. Kosher or sea salt both work great. Then take a lemon that has been cut in half. Scrub the salt all over the board using the lemon, flesh side down. Let the solution sit for up to 5 minutes, then rinse off the board with a clean sponge and running water and let dry.
Plastic and Glass Cutting Boards
Most plastic and glass cutting boards can be run through the dishwasher and is a great way to thoroughly clean them. For an added layer of disinfecting, without using bleach, use a solution of 1-part white vinegar to 4-parts water. This step should be done after the board has already been cleaned. Spray the solution on the board and allow it to soak for at least five minutes and then wash again with Dawn and water. Remember, even though plastic is non-porous, bacteria can find its way into the cuts and grooves made by knives.
For stubborn stains on plastic boards: Make a paste using 1-part baking soda, 1-part salt, and 1-part water to scrub away those stubborn stains with an old sponge or toothbrush
- Use two different cutting boards for meal prep. One that is used strictly for raw meat and the other to be used for cutting ready-to-eat food like fruit, vegetables, and breads. This eliminates the chance for cross-contamination.
- Discard old boards when they have become too worn or are exhibiting cracks and excessive knife marks.
It’s not something we often think of doing but giving our washing machines a proper cleaning/sanitizing a couple times a year will go a long way towards keeping the appliance in working order. Not to mention, it really will do wonders for how effective it is at laundering our clothes and linens.
While some tutorials may recommend using bleach, we have opted to share with you an effective technique that can produce the same results without the harshness of working with bleach.
Tools you will need:
- Plenty of clean rags (we prefer microfiber)
- Old toothbrush
- White cleaning vinegar
- Baking soda
- Spray bottle
For Front-Load Washing Machines:
1) Before tackling the drum, soak any removable parts at this time in a 2 to 1 vinegar solution. Vinegar is great at breaking down soap scum, hard water deposits and it disinfects at the same time. Rinse these items with clean, clear water and dry with a soft cloth.
2) Next, use the spray bottle filled with white vinegar to clean the rubber gasket that surrounds the drum. Liberally spray the area and allow it to sit for a minute or two. You can use the old toothbrush to really get in those nooks and crannies. Then use a clean damp cloth to wipe down the gasket. (The rubber gasket often accumulates hair, mildew, pet hair, and soap scum. So, tackling this area is very important.)
3) Next, add a few clean cloths to the drum to be run through the cleaning cycle. (Many manufacturers suggest never running the cycle on an empty drum.) Set the washer to the highest water level and the hottest temperature. Add 2 cups of white cleaning vinegar to the detergent dispenser. Allow it to run through a complete cycle.
4) Next, run one more cycle. This time add 1/2 cup baking soda directly in the drum. Set the water to the highest level and hottest temperature and let it run through the cycle completely.
5) When the cycle is complete, remove the clean rags from the drum. Then take a fresh damp cloth and wipe down the inside of the machine.
6) Keep the washing machine door open for a couple of hours so that it can dry out thoroughly. This is a good habit to get into as it can inhibit the build-up of mildew!
7) Now, give the outside of the machine a good wiping down. Using a damp cloth wipe the top and front. Make sure you don’t use anything abrasive on the glass or enamel as it can scratch the surface.
For Top-Load Washing Machines:
1) Before running the first cycle, spray down the nooks and crannies at the top of the drum and use a cloth or toothbrush to loosen up any residue.
2) Next, set the washer to the highest water level and hottest temperature. Throw in a few clean cloths to agitate with the cycle. (Many manufacturers recommend not running the washer while empty)
3) Add four cups of vinegar directly to the wash cycle. After the cycle begins, pause it and allow the vinegar/water mixture to sit for 45-60 minutes.
4) During this time wipe down the top of the washing machine with a clean damp cloth. Be sure to get around all of the knobs as well! Use the old toothbrush to give the fabric softener and bleach dispensers a good scrub. It’s amazing the amount of scum that builds-up in these areas!
5) After 45-60 minutes restart the wash cycle.
6) After the cycle is complete run a second cycle but use 1 cup of baking soda instead.
7) After this cycle is complete, use a lightly damp cloth and wipe the entire drum down.
8) Be sure to leave the door open for a couple of hours in order for the drum to dry out completely. This will inhibit any mildew from growing!
Quick tips to help keep your washer clean for longer:
- Transfer wet clothes from washer to dryer as soon as the cycle is done. The longer damp clothes sit in the washer, the greater chance there is for mildew to grow.
- After removing clothes from the washer, allow the door to the drum to stay open for a couple of hours to thoroughly dry out.
Our way of giving back to those in our community who give so much!
Elite Home Cleaning is excited to announce our monthly drawing for a Free Home Cleaning. As a way to say thank you to the community who has supported our family-operated business for over 16 years, we are delighted to provide someone deserving with the gift of a sparkling clean home!
To honor those who have given so much of themselves this past year, this month we are asking you to nominate a nurse, or other hospital worker, who goes above and beyond. Please email your nomination to email@example.com by January 31st. In the email please tell us the name, address, phone number and occupation of the person you are nominating. Also, please tell us how a free home cleaning might make a difference to them.
On February 1st, we will randomly draw a name and that person will receive 2.5 hours of cleaning time in their home (Valued at up to $200).
Please note:The person you are nominating must live within our service area: Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy, Shelby Twp, Oakland Twp, and Auburn Hills
Home Cleaning will be valid for 2 months after contact date.
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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY
An organized, and clutter-free, space leads to less distraction and more focus, which in turn produces more productive results
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
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.