Cleaning the dishwasher

Cleaning the dKitchenAid-dishwasher-1dishwasher is as important as cleaning the toilet!

For many of us the dishwasher is THE time saving machine that washes our dishes day after day. Many of us think because we are cleaning our dishes with hot water and soap and then often giving the dishes a hot sani rinse then our machine should  be clean… wrong!

Inside the machine there are lots of places for dirt to gather and germs to grow into fungi and mold which can be dangerous to us all. Think about the rubber gaskets and the filters, the rotating arms which can gather dirt and get blocked., mold and fungi can grow and be left on our eating utensils!!…so cleaning the workhorse of a dishwasher is essential not only for our health but for the life of the machine

If the machine is dirty it can’t really be expected to get our dishes and glasses clean and odor free. A regular 15 minute cleaning will keep you and you machine healthy!

First of all empty the dishwasher. Take out the rack and inspect for damage. A rusty rack will just cause problems later so you may need to replace. Check all the wheels and clean with hydrogen Peroxide if needed.Take out the silverware holder and wash with hot soapy water.

Next check the spinning arms. Check they are rotating well. If not scrub around where they are attached to the dishwasher. Check the arms to make sure no food is encrusted on them and the holes are free of debris. If you find the holes blocked, remove the arm and rinse until the debris is removed.

Your dishwasher has two filters: an upper and a lower one. The upper filter is directly beneath the bottom spray arm and can be removed by gently turning it counter-clockwise. If you’ve never cleaned this filter before, be prepared to be disgusted: this is where soap scum, greasy residue, and mildew like to hide. Clean it by washing in hot, soapy water and scrubbing with a soft toothbrush if needed.

The lower filter is the screen-like mesh on the bottom of your dishwasher. Remove any food particles you find there, and give the screen a quick scrub. Be careful if you’ve ever broken or chipped a glass in the dishwasher, because this is where the shards will be.

Next the gasket, that’s the rubber that seals the door. Like cleaning a refrigerator gasket use hot soapy water and a toothbrush and scrub the gasket all around making sure you get into the folds of the gasket. The corners by the bottom of the door and along the hinge of the door are where a lot of mold and gunge can build up.

Clean the outside door.

Now you have got rid of any potential mold and germs you can run the dishwasher with a cup of vinegar. I do this once every 4 – 6 weeks. With an empty dishwasher with all the racks returned choose the longest and hottest cycle. I always run my hot faucet when I first switch on the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher for about a 2 minutes the open the door and pour a cup of vinegar into the machine. Run for 5 minutes then open the door and let it stand for 5 minutes. Repeat this 2-3 times then let the dishwasher run the cycle. When you are doing the run and stand cycle be prepared for the vinegar fumes!!. The reason I do it this way is so there is any build up in the machine it can soak and be fully removed.

A though cleaning of the dishwasher 3-4 times and year and using the vinegar every 4-6 week will keep you and you machine healthy. Using the correct amount of detergent…not too much and keeping the door slightly ajar when the machine ids not in use will help the build up and growth of mold.

Happy cleaning!!






Spring Cleaning appliances

Spring cleaning appliances should be part of the spring cleaning ritual. C9618780-The-inside-of-refrigerators-Full-of-fresh-food-refrigerator--Stock-Photoleaning the refrigerator, dishwasher, stove, washing machine, dryer and vacuum cleaner are an essential part of the process. Cleaning appliances not only mean that they are clean and sanitary but also they help increase the lifespan of the machines.

I don’t know about you but my refrigerator often looks like a pack of wild animals have ravaged it and I am forever reorganizing it and wiping the shelves, but at least twice a year it is a good idea to completely empty it and thoroughly clean it ….not only for the health of you and your family but for the health of your refrigerator..

First start by emptying the refrigerator and throw what needs to be thrown away, then store other food in coolers. Switch off the refrigerator and pull away from the wall. Whilst it is away from the wall clean the wall and floor behind…it is normal for it to be disgusting!!!

Take out all the shelves and bins and wash them in hot soapy water, rinse and dry. Next with hot soapy water wash the walls, top and bottom of the inside of the refrigerator…. not forgetting the inside of the door. Dry with a soft cloth. Next with a toothbrush  and hot soapy water scrub the  gasket seals around the door. Don’t forget the door hinges, use the toothbrush on these too. Wipe them dry.

Re- load the refrigerator with the shelves and bins. Line the bins with paper towel for quick clean up….and close the refrigerator for about an hour so it gets down to temperature before you put back the food.

Close the fridge door and spray the exterior with all-purpose spray. Clean the top first, then wipe the rest of the exterior from top to bottom. Be sure to get the underside of the handles, too.If you have Stainless steel then make sure you wash the door first before you apply your favorite polish…if you don’t have a polish lemon oil works just fine!

Finally and importantly clean the coils .Depending on your model, the coils may be on the front at the bottom, or on the back. Using the vacuum’s dust attachment, suck away all of the dust bunnies that have built up there. Don’t be embarrassed if your coils look awful: with two  dogs, my fridge coils are terrifying even though I clean them at least twice a year. This final step will help extend the life of your refrigerator.

Happy cleaning






Spring Cleaning: Part 2

Spring cleaning makes use tackle the jobs wSpringCleaning-Headere can’t get to on a regular basis and also those jobs we don’t like to do. A necessary chore …..but little things make for a sparkling house…

In part 2 of the Spring cleaning’s a list to help..

  • Walk around the house, use a damp soft cloth and wipe down all the switch plates, get all the grime and germs built up over time.
  • Look up to the ceiling, in the corners, do you have cobwebs? You can buy a fancy brush or just slip an old sock over the broom handle and secure it with string to get dust and cobwebs between the walls and ceiling.
  • Chandeliers. Use a feather duster or a hairdryer set on low to remove the  dust…if the dust is stubborn use the following formula: one part vodka to five part water in a spray bottle, spray the chandelier and use a blow dryer to dry, then polish.
  • To clean fans if you don’t have a fan brush, use an old pillow case, slide it over each fan blade and wipe clean, the dust will be caught inside the pillow case for easy clean up.
  • Artificial plants look great but are real dust traps. To clean them, wash them in the sink or shower, and then leave outside to dry. Either just use water or a little dish soap and water…you will need to rinse if you use any soap.
  • Windows…Using white vinegar and water ( 25% vinegar to 75% water) and a cotton towel wash the windows removing all dirt and pollen. Next take scrunched up newspaper to buff the windows dry.
  • Check all the filters in the house. Air conditioning filter, water filter in the refrigerator, dryer filter in the machine and don’t forget the outlet on the roof, make sure it is not blocked.
  • Clean the blinds with a duster or put an old sock over you hand and run your hand over each blind.

Spring Cleaning…Doing those things we don’t like to do

Spring cleaning..doing the things we don’t like to do….it’s that time of year,again ..time to get into detail with the cleaning…Here’s a guide for  how to do the things we don’t like to do!

Spring has finally arrived! If you can open the windows and let the fresh air into your home.  This will give your house an instant breathe of fresh air.

Here is a handy guide to getting your Spring Cleaning done effectively.

In the bedroom

Wash the bed…the mattress pad, pillows, pillows cases, sheets, comforter, bed skirts. Wash according to the instructions.

Either flip the mattress or if you have a pillow top dust the mattress with baking soda, leave whist the bedding is laundered then vacuum up with a small hand vacuum….spray with Febreze or (as I prefer)a lavender room spray before you make up the bed.

Pull out the night stands and get behind, pull out the bed and get under and behind the headboard.

Clean the blinds and the sills..dust the basebords and the lampshades.

In the bathroom

Wash the bath mat, shower curtain and lining. If the lining is moldy replace it. Toss all old toiletries, check expiration dates on all medication and clean the inside of the medicine cabinet. Also check your toothbrush, this should be replaced every 3 months!!

Clean inside the draws and cupboards of the vanity and reorganize.

In the kitchen

Purge the fridge, with a trash can next to the fridge throw out open bottles of condiments, jar of grill marinade from last summer and any spoiled food. Remove all the glass shelves and bins and wash them with soapy water. Don’t forget to get the grill at the bottom of the refrigerator, the  handles and the door front. Clean the fridge seals with an old tooth brush and toothpaste!  A fresh box of baking soda will help absorb odors.

Next the oven, burned on food at the bottom of the oven can give off odors and smoke. If the oven has a self-cleaning cycle, switch it on even for a short time ( 2 hours), then wipe out once it is cool. Make sure you take the racks out before you self-clean. If your oven does not self -clean, try spray the bottom of the oven with ammonia, leave for 5 minutes the shake baking soda over the stain and add a few drops of white vinegar. It will bubble!!..then wipe with a scrub sponge and rinse with a wet sponge or cloth.

To clean the garbage disposal, add ice cubes and run the disposal. This is noisy but will break up the grease, and then run hot water through the disposal unit… add lemon peel, this will give a nice smell.

Next time we will tackle  hard to reach corners and cobwebs, fans, chandeliers, windows and artificial plants

Cleaning the Closet

closet cleaningCleaning the closet is definitely one of those chores which needs courage!

Cleaning the closet and keep it organized should be done at least twice a year. So now it’s out with the warm sweaters and boots and in with the shorts, tanks and summer clothes. If you have space, store your winter clothes in totes ready for next season.

Before you do that you need to be ruthless and get rid of clothes that will not be good for next season.

Organizing your closet needs time, so set aside some time, have a clear work space, and put on some music you can sing to!!

Don’t empty all your closet at once…start section by section. Cleaning and purging can be overwhelming.

Have three spaces, piles or bins…Keep, Donate, Throw.

Inspect each piece of clothing and decide which pile it belongs in…

If in doubt try it on and see how you feel in it. A general rule of thumb is, if you haven’t worn it this season it is time to throw away or donate.clening closet 2

So Section by section sort through your clothes, shoes and purses. If you are storing your clothes in totes for next winter, fold and store similar clothes together and label the totes.

Once you have sorted the winter clothes it is time to sort out the Spring summer clothes. If you didn’t sort these before you put them away, then go through the Keep, Donate, Throw process.

When you start to put your spring and summer clothes back in the closet, hang as many as you can.

Try this idhome-organization-tips-and-ideas-1ea I found on Pinterest…… put all the hangers on the rail backwards…then once you have worn that garment place the hanger forwards….that way you can see clearly what you are not wearing and consider whether it still belongs in your closet..


Cleaning the Office: How to Keep Flu Bugs at Bay

office coldsCleaning the office during flu season will probably reduce absenteeism in the work place. Simple cleaning tasks for all the workers can keep germs away and productivity up!

If you have turned the door handle, switched the light on or used the microwave in the break room, chances are you have come into contact with more germs than found on an average toilet seat….sounds gross, I know…some of the most germ ridden places can be found in the office in places you would not expect…and most are easy to clean in minutes a day to keep the germs at bay. So educate your employees to do some of these things on a regular basis to keep the office healthy.

Here are eight cleaning tips for the office during flu season.

1. Keep your desk clean.

Cleaning the surface of the desk, the telephone and the computer equipment with a Clorox disinfecting wipe at the end of the day can help reduce germs. Clean the keyboard by turning upside down and shaking the crumbs and dust out, then wipe with a Clorox wipe. If you are suffering from a cold make sure you put all the tissues in the trash can, not littering the desk, and be kind to your fellow employees and dispose of them each night before you leave.

2. Wash your hands

Whilst hand sanitizer can be effective for a quick clean, there is nothing like good old soap and water. If your hands becoming greasy, hand sanitizer will be ineffective.  Wash with soap and water, then use hand sanitizer if you need to.

3. Try not to eat at your desk

Now days most people do eat at their desks due to work pressures or so they can get their work done quicker. Research has shown that a short break at lunchtime can be counterproductive, plus eating at the desk can also increase the bacteria on desks and keyboards….you are also less likely to properly wash your hands after you eat so keyboards, phones and the desk can become greasy and bacteria laden.

If you have to eat at your desk, wipe down the desk afterwards with a disinfecting wipe and then take a minute to wash your hands!!

4. Regularly Disinfect Communal Areas

Viruses and respiratory bugs can scatter throughout a workplace in as few as four hours and hide in the most unexpected areas. Harmful bacteria thrive in refrigerators, microwaves, faucet handles, water fountains, light switches, vending machine buttons. If you have a cleaning service make sure they are extra vigilant cleaning and disinfecting these areas. If not a community effort is needed to help cut down the number of cold and flu germs spreading from one coworker to another. Cleaning these shared areas can help cut down contamination.

5. Clean Carpets Regularly

A business should probably have their carpets cleaned at least every 4 – 6 months to ensure a healthy working environment. Carpets harbor all sorts of allergens, dirt, and dust mites. Regular professional carpet cleaning will kill bacteria and remove trapped pollutants. Not only will clean carpets make the work environment more attractive, but help with better indoor air quality. Regular cleaning will also help prolong the life of the carpet….so a good investment!

6. Avoid the Kitchen Sponge

A shared kitchen sponge is probably one of the worst germ catches in a communal kitchen. Using paper towels to dry your lunch utensils is a much healthier option. Using an antibacterial or bleach spray and paper towel to clean sink and surfaces will keep the germs at bay.

7. Sneeze Vampire-Style

If you have a cold or are starting with flu, be careful how you sneeze. An unprotected sneeze can infect people 6 foot away. So like we teach our kids, sneeze vampire style….. into your elbow, covering your nose and mouth.

8. Stay at home if you are sick

If you wake up with a fever, sore throat and sneezes you should really ask yourself if you should be at work. It may seem heroic to be there even when you are sick, but if half the office comes down with the flu because of you, you may not be the hero for long!

The Royal Maid Service offers residential and office cleaning in Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Dunedin.  When cleaning your office we take the same care and time as we do as if we were cleaning your home.

Call for a free no obligation on site estimate, 727 773 0400


Cleaning up after a Cold or Flu

So is you live near me in Clearwater or Safety Harbor, Florida, you have seen the crazy weather, cold then hot,cold then colder. And lets face it when you live in Florida you become a bit of a wimp to the cold weather….All my staff are getting colds and flu…. My last blog talked about cleaning to prevent colds and flu, but what if it happens and someone gets the bug and you continue share the love, passing it around to each family member…. sound familiar? Well today we are going to talk about Cleaning up after colds and flu, to break the circle of sharing.

Clean the bedroom


Cleaning linens and towels after colds and flu

The first place to clean is the bedroom. Generally when someone is sick they stay in bed..they sweat  and sweat germs into the bed linens! Wash all bed linen in as hot as you can water and if you can, dry them in the dyer to kill any germs. Leave the mattress bare for a few hours and open the windows to air the room. Spray the mattress and pillows with Lysol to doubly kill the bugs. If you can put the pillows in the dryer on hot for 15 minutes this will also help to kill germs.

Collect all tissues and dispose of them in a sealed bag, disinfect the trash can and all the areas you may have touched, phones, television remotes, books, iPad… The evil bacteria and viruses can survive up to two days on hard materials!!

Clean the Bathroom

bathroom sinkClean the bathroom,making sure you get all the light switches, toilet handles, faucets. Wash all hand towels, bath towels, bathrobes, PJs that have been worn whilst you were sick, in hot water and dry in the dryer if you can.

Don’t forget that toothbrush.. A toothbrush is home to all sorts of bacteria and viruses. Plunge the toothbrush into boiling water for a minute, or soak it in alcohol-based mouthwash. Dentists recommend a new toothbrush every three months anyway, so when in doubt, throw it out.

Open the windows throughout the house, let the fresh air in.

Clean the kitchen

kitchen-416027_640In the kitchen, disinfect all the surfaces, and again wash all dish towels. Disinfect you sponge by either washing it in the dish washer or putting it in a bowl of hot water and putting it in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Then be diligent about cleaning and disinfecting areas I mention in my last blog to keep it out of the house.


Cleaning to prevent colds and flu

It’s true you can clean to prevent colds and flu…read on….Here is what The Royal Maid Service recommends…

Here in Clearwatcold and fluer Florida , it is cold, not as cold as further north but for us Floridians 50 degrees is cold. What’s more, in Florida we can be 50 degrees one day and 75 degrees the next, so with the cold and flu season in full swing we want to try to prevent an outbreak in our homes. We can clean to help prevent colds and flu….In addition to the general cleaning we need to continually disinfect and kill germs in all areas and things that our hands come in contact with every day.
I am not usually a fan of throw away wipes but for this job I am, as you don’t want to spread germs which may be on a cloth to other areas. I would suggest Clorox wipes, and plenty of them!!

“As an antibacterial disinfectant, Clorox® Disinfecting Wipes with Micro-Scrubbers kills 99.9% of viruses*, bacteria, staph†, E.Coli‡, salmonella§, and strep**. As a cleaning product, its texture and thickness handles bigger messes and disinfects 2x the surface area of other disinfecting wipe.”
Think of all the places we touch and clean them…..Regularly. For the season this needs to become part of the cleaning routine!

Use Clorox wipes to clean:

• Computer keyboards and mouse
• I pad screens
• Telephones, both cell phones and land lines
• TV remotes, kids gaming remotes, garage remotes
• Door Handles
• Light Switches
• Backs and seats of regularly used chairs
• Refrigerator /freezer handles
• Toilet handles
• Draw pulls in the kitchen and bathroom
• Steering wheels and controls.

In addition be super vigilant cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces regularly to prevent germs.  If a member of the family starts to sneeze, teach them to sneeze “vampire style”, that is sneezing into the crook of their arm instead, sneezing without protection…sneezing straight out can project viruses up to 6 feet!!

And it goes without saying but vigilant hand washing and hand sanitizer where required goes a long way to preventing the spread of colds and flu.

Preparing for the Holidays & Guests



See Full List

  1. Organize and clean out the pantry: restock holiday stables, lots of healthy snacks for younger guests and toss expired or items you will never use
  2. Create a guest basket for the guest bathroom. Fill with travel size soaps, shampoos, lotions aspirin, and other goodies people may forget to pack
  3. Pull out the fold-away cots and/or the air mattress to test it out before its a crisis
  4. Clean out the clutter especially in guest rooms and common areas. As a parent, now is a great time to have kids go through old toys – before the new ones arrive.
  5. Start a family calendar to keep track of guests, holiday festivities and more
  6. Put a fresh coat of paint on common walls and frames.
  7. Not used to kids? Take a few moments for some basic child-proofing. Put knives and scissors out of reach, place priceless breakables away.
  8. Plan and organize holiday cooking and recipes – make sure you have the ingredients and the right tools for the job.
  9. Give your entry way a quick makeover – paint the door, replace the weather stripping, add some plants.
  10. Update the kitchen – tighten cabinet doors and replace your knobs.
  11. Re-caulk the showers. Even the cleanest shower will look brighter with fresh caulk.
  12. Decorate before company. Put up the lights – pull out the boxes, put away your day-to-day decorations. Having the house ready, puts everyone in the mood.
  13. Get help! Handymen and cleaning services (like Royal Maids) can help make the holidays less stressful.
  14. Remember to take a few moments for yourself and most important enjoy the holidays.




Need More inspirations – check out the following sites: MyStatesman, She Knows and Remodel With Merrick. Images from Pixabay and Foodies Feed.

Quick House Cleaning Fixes

oil and chopping boardEven if you take advantage of the great house cleaning services Royal Maids offers,  there is still a lot to do between visits or for the little things not covered in the cleaning package (like cutting boards and silk flowers).   You want to not only keep your house clean, but everything in it too.

Here are twelve great quick house cleaning fixes for keeping those little things in life running smoothly and looking great in the process.

  • Once every six months or so give your wood cutting boards a good oil-down with vegetable oil. Let it stand overnight and wipe off the residue in the morning. The oil keeps the board from staining.  By implementing this quick fix just twice a year, your cutting boards will last you for years to come.
  • Do you have lint on your dark colored clothes?  You can remove it by adding a cup of white vinegar to the wash and don’t put towels in with the shirts. Save towels for their own separate loads. Keep your black shirts looking great and fade-free longer by washing them inside out.
  • Cleaning silk flowers is easy: just put them in a paper bag with some salt and shake. The salt will absorb the dust and leave your flowers looking like new.
  • Spray your Tupperware with Pam or a similar non-stick cooking spray before pouring in a tomato-based sauce and there won’t be any stains! This fix also works well if you cook eggs in the microwave.
  • To remove stuck-on food in your casserole dish, fill it with boiling water and add a few tablespoons of salt or baking soda. Let it stand overnight if necessary. In the morning, empty the water and salt mixture, rinse, and wipe dry.
  • To remove rust from baking pans, scour them with a cut potato dipped in powdered cleanser.
  • Do you have brown grease marks on your pots, chrome burner rings, etc.? You can soak them in ammonia overnight to get rid of the stains. In the morning, empty, rinse, and dry with a soft cloth.
  • To remove a water stain from a glass vase, simply fill with water and drop in a couple of Alka Seltzer tablets. The plink, plink, fizz action not only calms your stomach, but cleans your glassware too!
  • Get rid of the smell of garlic on your hands by rubbing them on stainless steel. Weird, but true!
  • Boiling a cup of water in your microwave oven will loosen the stuck on food particles and all you have to do is give it a quick wipe for it to be sparkling clean again.
  • Use liquid body wash in the shower instead of soap and never deal with soap build-up again. (That’s one trick the soap makers won’t tell you.)
  • Blood stains? No problem.  Get them out fast by using hydrogen peroxide.  It’s cheap, easy to find, and gets the job done.

There are a dozen tips for today.  Are you going to rush out and try them?  What housekeeping tips can you add?