Kitchen Cleaning

3 Tips for a Cleaner Kitchen In Less Time

Posted on March 4, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

exhausted cleaning kitchen

 

According to the 2014 American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we spend an average of 353 hours each year cleaning.  The kitchen is usually where we spend the most cleaning time.

Here are 3 quick tips to reduce the time you spend cleaning your kitchen.

  1. Spray your food storage containers with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato-based sauces. This will keep your containers stain-free – no more scrubbing!
  2. Throw your kitchen sponges in the dishwasher cutlery tray. They will stay in place there and come out bacteria free.
  3. Purchase inexpensive oven liners (I get mine at Kroger) so that you never need to use toxic oven cleaners.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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5 Steps to A Healthier, Non-Toxic Kitchen

Posted on February 4, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Green Cleaning, Household Tips, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Atlanta House Cleaning Expert

Your kitchen is probably the hub of your home, and where your food is prepared (and often consumed). For this reason, having a healthy, toxic-free kitchen matters. Having a healthy kitchen is about much more than just food, however.

Family breakfast healthy kitchen

Here are a few steps to a healthier kitchen.

1. Store your food carefully.

We should all know by now by storing your food in plastic is not a good idea.  Recent studies show that items advertised as BPA-free might not be as safe as you think. Your safest best is to use glass containers instead.

2. Ditch the coated cookware.

Your non-stick pans might contain teflon and other materials that you do not want to end up in your food.  Instead, try stainless steel or cast iron cookware. For tips on removing burned on food, click here.

3. Use safer cooking utensils.

Heated plastic leaches chemicals into your food. Try healthier alternatives such as wood, stainless steel or bamboo.

4. Use green cleaning products.

For a healthier kitchen, avoid anti-bacterial products.  Use green cleaning products to clean your kitchen and your dishes, and consider the original and extremely effective non-toxic cleaner, steam!

5. Avoid canned foods.

I know canned foods are convenient. Did you know, however, that the components used to line the cans might contain BPA? Do your research and choose wisely.

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Too Funky in Here? How to Get Rid of Home Odors – Naturally

Posted on August 13, 2015. Filed under: Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , , , , |

skunk sells perfumes

Did you know that the air inside your home can be much more polluted than the air outside, even if you change your air filters  And chemical air fresheners only mask odors but do not eliminate them, and might be bad for your health.

Several natural odor-eaters, such as white vinegar, baking soda, and coffee, will do the trick.  These everyday products don’t just hide bad smells, they actually neutralize them. Not only are they inexpensive and environmentally friendly, but they really do work.

If your house is persistently funky-smelling, first consider getting a thorough cleaning by a professional company. Make sure they use green and non-toxic cleaners rather than harsh chemicals such as bleach and ammonia.

After, that, here are a few tips for maintaining an odor-free home:

  • Routinely clean the garbage can with white vinegar and water. Then place about a tablespoon of coffee, a few cloves, and a tablespoon of baking soda in the center of a coffee filter or a piece of cheese cloth. Close with a twist tie to make a sachet, and put it at the bottom of the can to eliminate unpleasant odors.
  • Keep the garbage disposal clean. Insert the sink stopper, fill with a few inches of hot water, add about 2 tablespoons of baking soda, turn on the disposal and immediately pull out the stopper.
  • Keep the bathrooms fresh. Make your own non-toxic air freshener. Combine 2 cups of water, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and about 10 drops of essential oil (your favorite scent) and put in a spray bottle to keep handy in the bathroom.

There’s no need to spend money on air fresheners or perfumed cleaning products when you can keep your home fresh and clean using inexpensive, natural, non-toxic products. Vinegar and baking soda will defeat the funkiest odors. Try them—you’ll be glad!

What our Customers Say

Friendly and Efficient

I always love to come home after they’ve been here cleaning. They use natural products that smell good and get the job done.

Very thorough

Camille did a great job cleaning our house in Decatur last week! Everything looked and smelled terrific!

Love the Service

My friend told me about her neighbor’s business and I jumped at the chance to find someone to clean my house. So every other week, two very nice, polite ladies come and keep my house in shape. My floors are clean, things get dusted and my sink and bathtub do’sparkle’. I feel safe leaving the house while they are there and feel like the cats will still be inside when I get back. The thing I like most is the clean smell that lingers after they leave and that they use organic products. But they will use my products if I ask. I would recommend a detail cleaning first, even if your house is cleaner than mine. I only have them come every other week but hope to have them weekly in the future. I am getting used to a clean house. I don’t have to worry about paying taxes or anything except paying a set fee. That’s great as well.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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5 Steps to Cleaner Home in 2015

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Cleaning Bedroom, Clearing Clutter, Green Cleaning, Household Tips, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

Half of New Years’ resolutions do not last past February 1. Did you look around your home and resolve to get it clean and clutter-free so that it “rises to meet you?”

oprah-house-greets-you

Having a clean home not only holds amazing benefits, it is vitally important to a sense of self worth. Following these 5 steps will help you to get there.

Step 1 – Make your Bed

In his commencement address to graduates of the University of Texas at Austin, Navy Seal Admiral McRaven said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”

Making your bed takes, at most, 2 minutes and can really go a long way towards giving you a feeling of serenity. On the other hand, since the bed is probably the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom, having it untidy and messy is guaranteed to raise your stress level. Even if your day is hectic, at least you can look forward to a tidy, serene bedroom at the end of the day. Doesn’t the thought of it just ease the stress out of your body?

Step 2 – Watch your Hands

Do this exercise for 10 days, and I guarantee you will be on your way to a much cleaner home. Watch your hands – every single time you put something down, ask yourself if you are placing the item in its proper place. If the answer is no, make sure you put it where it belongs. After 10 – 14 days performing this new exercise, you will find your home getting cleaner, almost as if by magic.

Step 3 – Hire a Professional House Cleaner

Get a jump on your resolution – start with a clean slate. This simple step will make achieving your goal of a clean home much easier. By hiring a professional cleaning service to provide a detail clean, you will quickly gain traction on your New Year’s resolution.

One of our clients said we provide the “best deep cleaning in town.”  Another client writes: “Sponge and Sparkle are doing a great job and helping me live in a much cleaner home.”

Step 4 – Clear Clutter

Clutter attracts dust bunnies. If you find the thought of cleaning clutter intimidating, do not attempt it all at once. Instead, work on one room for 15 minutes at a time. Steady, consistent progress is infinitely better than no progress at all. Need help clearing your closet? Click here for our closet clearing tips.

Here’s a quick question to help you decide if you need to keep or toss an item:  “Is it beautiful or useful?” If the answer to is no, this item should be removed as soon as possible. Assign it to one of the following three categories: garbage, charity, or sale.

Step 5  – Learn to Clean Faster

Studies show that each of us spends, on average, 685 hours each year cleaning. That’s almost an entire month! One option for maintaining a clean home is to hire a house cleaning service for bi-weekly cleanings. If you’d rather do it yourself, learn to clean faster. By learning how to speed up the process, you will save untold hours and reduce your aggravation and frustration.

Put these 5 steps into practice, and you will find yourself in a cleaner home before you know it.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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3 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help Clean The House

Posted on August 21, 2014. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

One of the 8 keys to a clean home  is to get your children to help. While some children are more eager to clean than others, getting them to clean does not have to involve a tug-of-war.

 

Atlanta House Cleaning Blog - Kids Cleaning

 

Here are 3 ways to get the kids to help with cleaning.

1. Get Started Early

Think a toddler is too young to help? Think again. In her Growing a Jeweled Rose blog, Crystal Underwood lists 17 household chores that are a right fit for a toddler.

2. Make it Fun

You’ll be surprised to find that your children, especially the younger ones, find some house cleaning chores fun. It helps them feel as if they are “big” to be able to help Mom and Dad. Find other ways to make house cleaning chores a game.

3. Give Rewards

Create a reward system to encourage good work. Be creative. Rewards don’t have to be money, they can be fun outings or treats.

There’s no reason you have to shoulder the entire burden of a clean home. In addition to hiring a professional cleaning service, get the kids to pitch in. After all, they live there too!

 

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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Have Pets? Here are 3 Ways to Keep Your Home Clean

Posted on July 17, 2014. Filed under: Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Cleaning Bedroom, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: |

Simon, the official Sponge & Sparkle cat.

Sponge & Sparkle’s Simon

They’re adorable, they’re loving, and they help us live longer, happier lives. But boy, are they messy!! Their hair gets everywhere, they spread dander, and they track ticks and mites into our homes from the great outdoors. And let’s not mention the dreaded “accidents.”

I’m talking about our cats and dogs, of course.

It is possible to have the best of both worlds – the joy of  having pets and a clean, nice smelling home.

Here are some quick cleaning tips for you if Fido or Mr. Fluffy is “like one of the family.”

Keep your Pets Groomed

The best way to not have shed hair all over the place is to prevent it from happening. Regular baths and brushing will do the trick.

Prevent Repeat Pet “Accidents”

When your dog or cat has an “accident” they mark the spot as a safe place to “do their business.” What this means for you is that as long as their sensitive noses can pick up a whiff of a scent, they will return to the area again and again. To prevent repeat accidents, have the area deeply cleaned as soon as possible.

Don’t Let It Accumulate

Do not let dirt and dander pile up. If you have cats, clean the litter box frequently. You can go low tech (and low cost) by using a bag as a liner so that the “mess” does not leave a lingering smell, or purchase one of the higher end litter box systems.

Hire the Experts

An investment in a professional cleaning service is worth it if you do not have the time to clean. As one of our clients says:

Client Feedback: Best Cleaning in 15 Years

I needed above and beyond the average type of cleaning. Sponge and Sparkle came through beautifully. They cleaned everything everywhere! I have 3 kids, 2 large dogs, and a long haired cat. It was not an easy job! For me it was the best cleaning job I have ever had and I have used housekeepers for 15 years! I am going to continue to use them as my house remains on the market. They’re an asset now I would never let them go! I would recommend them to anyone!…

Friendly to People and Cats

Wonderful Staff – They have done a great job every time. We have had multiple different people clean our house and they all are so friendly to us and our cats! I would highly recommend them.

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Natural Kitchen Cleaning Tip: 7 Ways to Clean with Salt

Posted on July 10, 2014. Filed under: Green Cleaning, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

 

salt-salar-de-uyuni-bolivia

Did you know there are 14,000 uses for salt? Salt can be used for seasoning, medicinal and yes, cleaning purposes.

Salt is a non-toxic cleaning agent, which fits in nicely with the Sponge & Sparkle cleaning philosophy.

Here are 10 ways you can use salt to clean your kitchen.

  1. Refrigerator

    Use a mixture of salt and soda water to clean and deodorize your refrigerator.

  2. Sink drains

    A mixture of salt and hot water poured down the kitchen sink will not only deodorize your drains, it will deter grease buildup.

  3. Greasy Cast Iron Skillets

    Liberally sprinkle salt on greasy cast-iron skillets and use paper towels to scrub away the grease.

  4. Stained cups

    Those troublesome coffee or tea stains will be a distant memory when you mix dish soap with salt and scrub away. You can also soak the stains in a mixture of salt and vinegar.

  5. Glass Coffee Pots

    Swirl salt and ice in your glass coffee pots and rinse thoroughly. The combination will scour away the stains.

  6. Sink Faucets

    Create a 2-to-1 mixture of salt and vinegar. Use this mixture to brighten your chrome sink faucets.

  7. Oven Spills

    For this to work, quick action is key. Sprinkle salt over oven spills. Once the spill is cool, wipe away using a moistened cloth.

Would you like your home sparkling clean the non-toxic way? Give us a call at (404) 633-9652.

 

As our clients say:

My house really does sparkle after the cleaning crew has been there. They do a great job, especially in the all important kitchen. They are always careful with our “stuff”–no breakage in 15 plus years. They are totally flexible when I need to change our regular cleaning day. And they are so very nice and friendly!

 

I always love to come home after they’ve been here cleaning. They use natural products that smell good and get the job done.

 

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

Photo Credit: Photo of Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) by Anijdam

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Cleaning Tips: Where Germs Lurk and Thrive

Posted on June 5, 2014. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Kitchen Cleaning | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

Most of us do a good job cleaning the large surfaces in our home. Are you sure you are getting all of the germs? Here are a few of the surprising places where germs lurk and thrive.

atlanta maid service picture of cleaning ceiling fans

Kitchen Sink.

Given the variety of things you keep in your kitchen sink, it’s no wonder it is one of the dirtiest places on your home. Make sure it is clean and dry.

Toothbrush.

The combination of moisture and heat in your bathroom is a breeding ground for germs. In addition, the spray when you flush the toilet can stick around in your bathroom for up to 2 hours. So, keep the lid on your commode when you flush the toilet, make sure your toothbrush gets dry, and replace your toothbrush every 90 days.

Door Knobs, etc.

Door knobs, oven knobs, kitchen cabinet knobs are all places were germs congregate. On at least a weekly basis, wipe down all of these areas.

 

Remote Control.

Considering the number of times (and the number of hands) on the remote control, a daily wipe down is not a bad idea.

 

Keyboards.

Your computer’s keyboard could also benefit from a daily wipe down. Clean between the keys with a qtip dipped in a little bit of alcohol.

 

Bathtub.

Remember to make sure your bathtub is completely dry after you clean it. If you have a whirlpool tub, disinfect it monthly following the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

Here are a few more places where germs lurk.

  • Salt & Pepper Shakers.
  • Light fixtures.
  • Makeup applicators.
  • Light Switches.
  • Shower Curtain Liner.
  • Your Coffee Maker’s Water Reservoir.
  • Kitchen Sponges.

 

Is your home in need of a deep, detailed cleaning? Call us at (404) 633-9652 or contact us for a quote.

 

As our customers say:

Baseboard, Blinds, all the Surfaces are Spotless.

We have had Sponge & Sparkle for a few years now and I am a fussy homeowner. They do a fantastic job–coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles. Baseboards, blinds, all the surfaces are spotless. And they come on time every time. Great cleaning service.

Judy

Cleaned Every Nook & Cranny

Walking into my house after Sponge & Sparkle had cleaned it was fantastic! They cleaned every nook and cranny, steamed the cabinets, got the cobwebs from our vaulted ceilings – even set my daughters doll on a pillow with a blanket. These folks care about what they do and it shows! They do a fantastic job, are reliable, honest and a pleasure to work with. My house was a mess and they fixed it!

Deb

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

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Steps to a Healthier Kitchen

Posted on May 8, 2014. Filed under: Green Cleaning, Household Tips, Kitchen Cleaning, Safe Cleansers | Tags: , , |

Your kitchen is probably the hub of your home, and where your food is prepared (and often consumed). For this reason, having a healthy, toxic-free kitchen matters. Having a healthy kitchen is about much more than just food, however.

 

Family breakfast healthy kitchen

Here are a few steps to a healthier kitchen.

1. Store your food carefully.

We should all know by now by storing your food in plastic is not a good idea.  Recent studies show that items advertised as BPA-free might not be as safe as you think. Your safest best is to use glass containers instead.

2. Ditch the coated cookware.

Your non-stick pans might contain teflon and other materials that you do not want to end up in your food.  Instead, try stainless steel or cast iron cookware. For tips on removing burned on food, click here.

3. Use safer cooking utensils.

Heated plastic leaches chemicals into your food. Try healthier alternatives such as wood, stainless steel or bamboo.

4. Use green cleaning products.

For a healthier kitchen, avoid anti-bacterial products.  Use green cleaning products to clean your kitchen and your dishes, and consider the original and extremely effective non-toxic cleaner, steam!

5. Avoid canned foods.

I know canned foods are convenient. Did you know, however, that the components used to line the cans might contain BPA? Do your research and choose wisely.

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

 

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Quick Household Tips – Atlanta House Cleaning Blog

Posted on May 1, 2014. Filed under: Bathroom Cleaning Tips, Cleaning Bedroom, Household Tips, Kitchen Cleaning, Safe Cleansers | Tags: , |

by Raina Raflo, Founder, Sponge & Sparkle – Atlanta House Cleaning Experts since 1981

Here are 13 quick tips that work for keeping your house smelling fresh, cleaning your jewelry, reducing the spread of viruses and more.

woman cleaning atlanta house cleaning service

 

Tips to Keep Your Home Smelling Fresh

Lightly spray a bit of perfume on light bulbs to create a lovely scent when the light is turned on.

Drip a few drops of essential oil into the water of your humidifier.  A wonderful natural fragrance will fill your home.

Kitchen & Dish Washing Tips

Spray your Tupperware with non-stick cooking spray before pouring in tomato based sauces and it will remain stain-free.

Throw your kitchen sponges in the dishwasher cutlery tray. They will stay in place there and come out bacteria free.

Purchase inexpensive oven liners (I get mine at Kroger) so that toxic oven cleaners never need to be used.

Laundry Tips

Substitute oxygen bleach for chlorine bleach.  Unlike chlorine bleach, this environmentally safe alternative will keep clothes vibrant without yellowing or weakening fibers, or leaving a bad odor.

You can throw most baby or pet toys in the washer with warm water and all purpose detergent.  Throwing in a towel  along with them will help to get any slime off.

For a nice change, try drying at least your towels outside in the fresh air and sunshine when the weather is nice.

Reuse Tips

Use an empty tissue box to store and reuse those plastic grocery bags.

Save the spare sets of chopsticks from Chinese take-out and use them to stake indoor plants and for paint stirrers.

Miscellaneous Household Tips

Polish jewelry by popping 2 Alka-Seltzer tablets into a glass of water and immersing the jewelry for 2 minutes.

Keeping the temperature indoors at 68 degrees or above and the humidity at 50% may decrease the likelihood of transmitting the flu virus through the air according to a 2007 study by the Mt.  Sinai School of Medicine in NYC.

Try putting Listerine in a spray bottle to deter mosquitoes! I tried this and it really works. Just spray liberally around where you are going to be sitting and wait about 10 minutes.

 

 

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Please click here to get Sponge & Sparkle blog updates via email.

About the author:

Raina Raflo owns Sponge & Sparkle, Atlanta’s oldest and most reputable independent maid and house cleaning service. (404) 633-9652.

Read more Atlanta maid and house cleaning service customer reviews on our site.
Request a cleaning quote.

 

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