Choosing a Cleaning Service?

Posted on January 21, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Cleaning Industry | Tags: , , , |

Cleaning Concept

Cleaning services are a dime a dozen. There are more than 600 listed in the Atlanta online yellow pages. How do you pick one? Here’s a list of important considerations:

Choose a cleaning company that:

  • Has been in business a relatively long time.
  • Screens and trains every employee.
  • Has loyal and long-term employees who speak English.
  • Learns your preferences quickly.
  • Complies with federal, state and local labor and tax laws and carries sufficient insurance.
  • Brings its own cleaning equipment and supplies.
  • Charges reasonable, as opposed to cheap prices. Reasonable prices are necessary in order to attract and keep quality employees.
  • Uses non-toxic, safe, but effective eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Makes customer satisfaction a priority.

Engaging a reliable, well-managed cleaning service will truly enhance your life.  Choose the right one and you’ll never regret it.

What our Customers Say

Awesome company

These people know their stuff. They perform their work well. timely, great job, live up to the standards and surpass.

Affordable and reliable service

We found Sponge & Sparkle on Kudzu.com while looking for a replacement for our previous and unreliable cleaners. I liked dealing with a privately owned company and found their service prompt, affordable and very satisfactory. Their web site provided a $10 coupon which was nice too. They were very thorough and I appreciated dealing directly with the owner and their detailed follow up on their visit. We will be using them again.

Best in town

Sponge and sparkle is the best cleaning service in Atlanta. i’ve tried others and none are as professional or clean.

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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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Five Ideas for a More Sustainable Home

Posted on January 14, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , |

greenhouse - eco-friendly construction

These days we’re hearing about and experiencing a lot more about climate change-related drought, floods, forest fires, and extreme weather events. While some still doubt it, our modern lifestyles do affect these changes. We also often hear about “Sustainability” and “Sustainable Living.” These terms refer to a range of choices each of us can make in our daily lives to minimize our impact on natural resources and the environment without sacrificing our own comfort or that of future generations. Here are five major ways you can make your home more sustainable:

1. Reduce your Energy Use.

Most of the electricity generated in America is produced by burning fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change. As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. Save energy by changing your air filter regularly—ideally every three months. A dirty filter slows down air flow and makes the system work harder. Also have your system tuned up annually to maximize efficiency and comfort. Installing a programmable thermostat is another important way to save energy.

If you need to replace your home’s heating and cooling system, consider installing ENERGY STAR-qualified equipment. The Energy Star program also certifies the most efficient home appliances, lighting, and windows and doors. Visit http://www.energystar.gov for detailed information.

2. Waste Less Food.

Some sources estimate Americans trash as much as 40 percent of our food supply every year. To minimize food waste, start by monitoring what you throw away. When you shop, plan meals, use grocery lists, and avoid impulse buys. Especially in the summer, when fresh produce is readily available and so tempting, wait until perishables are all used up before buying more. When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires. And eat leftovers!

3. Buy and Use Environmentally-Friendly Products.

Consider the environmental impacts of your purchasing decisions. Take your own reusable bags when you go shopping. Look for locally-produced food. Buy in bulk rather than single-serve consumables when feasible to reduce packaging waste. Buy recycled-content products when feasible. For everyday cleaning, use inexpensive and highly effective white vinegar and baking soda rather than harsh chemicals. Use refillables rather than disposables for liquid soap and other similar household products. Use rags rather than paper towel whenever possible. Buy well-made, durable appliances that will last, rather than less expensive versions that will likely need to be replaced soon.

4. Maintain Durable Items and Reuse More.

By properly maintaining household appliances they will last longer and work more efficiently. Whenever possible, fix an item rather than discarding it and buying a replacement. Repurpose used items. For example, use an old shower curtain liner as a tarp for painting, and cut up old towels to use as rags. Use wide-mouth jar lids as under-liners for your plants. Cut up waste paper to use as note pads. Challenge yourself to come up with creative ways to reuse something before discarding it.

5. Use Water Sustainably.

Less water going down the drain means more water available in our lakes, rivers and streams. Replace your shower heads with water-efficient models and switch to the use of water-efficient lawn and landscaping sprinklers. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and be frugal when washing dishes by hand. Run full loads in your dish and clothes washers.

If you’re remodeling your bathroom, select water efficient fixtures such as those recommended by the WaterSense program. (http://www.epa.gov/watersense/. Old toilets are by far the main source of water use in the home. They can consume as much as 6 gallons of water per flush. By contrast, water-efficient toilets use 1.28 gallons per flush or less, while still providing equal or superior performance.

And if you’ve been buying bottled drinking water, think twice. Almost half of the 50 billion bottles of water currently consumed in the U.S. actually comes from municipal supplies. Transporting the bottles and keeping them cold, and then collecting and processing them for recycling, also burns fossil fuels. If you’re worried about the quality of your tap water, have it tested. Also consider installing a water filter and use refillable containers.

By adopting these practices you’ll be making your home more sustainable and save money too!

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.

Sponge and Sparkle House Cleaning Services

I have been using this agency for 3 plus years and have been delighted not just with their good work and professionalism but how personable their employees are at all times. They are able to accommodate emergencies including cancellations which I am sure puts them at a hardship but do so with a smile and with compassion. Please try them and use their detailed cleaning services at least once and you will be in for a treat. More importantly they use environmentally friendly products that is a huge plus for me.

Satisfaction Guaranteed!

I have been using this cleaning service for at least 22 years. their employees don’t come and go but stay with the company, which gives me a great degree of comfort. If anything is not just right, the owner herself will either come out or send someone to redo it. I feel like they are part of our family! Also they are using “green” products more than ever.

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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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10 Signs You Should Move to Green Cleaning

Posted on January 7, 2016. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning, Green Cleaning | Tags: , , , , |

Carrying Green Cleaning Supplies

According to the Centers for Disease Control, chemicals in and around the home can poison people or pets and can cause long-term health effects. Every 13 seconds, a poison control center in the United States answers a call about a possible poisoning. More than 90 percent of these emergencies occur in the home, and exposure to cleaning products is one of the most common causes.

If one or more of the following signs applies to you, it’s time to seriously think about abandoning the use of chemical household cleaning products in favor of non-toxic products made from natural ingredients:

1. You have children.

Anyone who has a young child knows how innately curious they can be. Sadly, cleaning products are among the most common causes of poisoning among young children. Even ordinary liquid dish soap can be dangerous if swallowed by a child, since many brands contain formaldehyde and ammonia. In addition, children, whose immune systems are still developing, can suffer serious health effects from the hazardous chemicals in conventional products.

2. You have pets.

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, some cleaning products, such as drain cleaners, concentrated dish washing soap, oven cleaners, and toilet cleaners, can be really dangerous to dogs and cats. Your pets could suffer chemical burns if they accidentally lick or are exposed to these chemicals. Of course, we humans are also at risk if we improperly use or handle these products.

3. You have asthma or other breathing issues.

Some cleaners contain compounds that significantly aggravate asthma symptoms. Exposure to these chemicals has even been known to cause otherwise healthy people to develop breathing problems. According to the Environmental Working Group, a highly respected advocacy organization, more than half the cleaning products they tested contain ingredients that can harm the lungs, while 22 percent can cause asthma.

4. You or someone in your household has chemical sensitivities.

Symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, skin rashes, headaches, and more may disappear once you stop using conventional cleaning chemicals, which contain perfumes and dyes, among other chemicals, to which many people have allergic reactions.

5. You care about the quality of the air in your home.

The use of conventional cleaning products can contribute to higher pollution indoors than outdoors. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, many products, especially aerosols, emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that have been associated with a host of health problems including damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system.

6. You care about the environment.

If you care about the Earth’s environment, it’s time to switch to green cleaning. In addition to improving your indoor air quality, you’ll be helping to reduce pollution to our waterways, minimize your impact on ozone depletion and global climate change, reduce waste, and conserve resources. In fact, some products such as toilet bowl cleaners are so caustic that unused product must be disposed of as hazardous household waste in some jurisdictions.

7. You don’t like bacteria.

“Antimicrobial” cleaners actually don’t work any better than regular cleaners. Research reported in Scientific American and elsewhere indicates that some antibacterial products even foster the development of resistant bacteria. For example, after spraying and wiping an antibacterial cleaner over a kitchen counter, active chemicals linger behind and continue to kill bacteria, but not necessarily all of them, and the surviving bacteria develop a tolerance and continue to flourish.

8. You dislike strong chemical odors.

Many household cleaners have added perfumes to disguise the bad odors from their ingredients. The natural ingredients in many green cleaning products are either odor-neutral or have a pleasant odor.

9. You’re budget conscious.

To boost sales, some manufacturers market cleaning products as designed to tackle specific cleaning applications, but the formulations are essentially the same. White vinegar and baking soda are some of the most effective, safe, and least expensive cleaning products around. They can be used to clean bathrooms, kitchens, floors, windows, and more.

10. You want to set a good example.

If you want embrace a healthy, environmentally conscious lifestyle that sets a good example for your family and friends, switch to green cleaning. Your leadership will contribute towards a sustainable future.
Making the switch to green cleaning is easy. Start using eco-friendly products and you’ll soon appreciate how well they work. You won’t regret it.

What our Customers Say

My house is CLEAN!

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.

These cleaners shine!

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!

A tough job, done well

Due to health issues, I have neglected housecleaning in my apartment for far too long. I found Sponge and Sparkle here on Kudzu.com, made an appointment, and they did an excellent job of a really difficult task.

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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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6 Reasons People Don’t Hire House Cleaning Services

Posted on October 24, 2014. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Time Management | Tags: , , |

 

atlanta maid service picture of cleaning ceiling fans
You know you’d like to hire a house cleaning service.

You can’t wait to feel the way our client Judy does:

… coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.

So, what’s stopping you? If you haven’t hired a professional Atlanta house cleaning service yet, one of the following myths is probably getting in the way.

Myth #1 – “They” Will Judge Me

My team is there for one reason – to get your home sparkling clean.  My customers provide the business that I have had since 1981 so that I can employ a wonderful team of Sparklers and stimulate the economy.

In short, we are not judgmental. We are grateful your home needs to be cleaned.

As our client Bantley writes:

I have been using this cleaning service for at least 22 years. Their employees don’t come and go but stay with the company, which gives me a great degree of comfort…. I feel like they are part of our family!

 

Myth #2 – I Need to Clean a Little – First

This myth is related to first one.  A trained, professional house cleaner can get your home top to bottom clean in a fraction of the time. So don’t pile the stress on yourself, call the experts!

Myth #3 – House Cleaning Services are Only for Rich People

This is a uniquely North American myth. House cleaning services are not just for the wealthy. In fact, in most countries around the world, middle class families have a full-time housekeeper (and chauffeur) on staff.

 

As our client writes:

They are always on time, never miss an appointment, and are friendly. I could probably have an individual (instead of a commercial group) for less, but I feel like this is so well-run and reliable that it is worth it. Also, I get the sense that they treat their employees well, which matters a lot to me.

Myth #4 – It’s for Lazy People

House cleaning services are for people who want to work smarter, not harder. What is a better use of 2 hours – spending time with friends and family or cleaning the bathroom?

Imagine – what could you do with an extra 28 days a year? That’s the average amount of time (685 hours) spent cleaning.

Myth # 5 – I Don’t Want People In My “Stuff”

The only time you need worry about security is if you hire a “trunk slammer” and not a professional cleaning service. All of our employees go through background checks and training. In addition, our employee retention is 15 to 20 times the industry average. While the industry turnover is 3 to 4 months, our employees stay with us an average of 5 years – and many have been with us for much longer.

As our client Ann writes:

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!

 

Myth #6 – My Mother Could Do It – Why Can’t I?

Life is much more complicated than it was even 30 years ago. More information, more toys, more choices, a longer commute and a much longer workday means you are juggling more than your parents ever dreamed.

Isn’t it time you stopped measuring yourself against an unobtainable standard?

Make a list of what you are going to do with an extra 685 hours a year and call Sponge & Sparkle at (404-633-9652) to get your home sparkling clean.

You deserve 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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Are These Myths Stopping you from Hiring a House Cleaning Service?

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle, Time Management | Tags: , , |

atlanta maid service picture of cleaning ceiling fans
You know you need a house cleaning service.

You can’t wait to feel the way our client Judy does:

… coming home after a hard week, it is so wonderful to have everything so clean it sparkles.

So, what’s stopping you? If you haven’t hired a professional Atlanta house cleaning service yet, one of the following myths is probably getting in the way.

Myth #1 – “They” Will Judge Me

My team is there for one reason – to get your home sparkling clean.  My customers provide the business that I have had since 1981 so that I can employ a wonderful team of Sparklers and stimulate the economy.

In short, we are not judgmental. We are grateful your home needs to be cleaned.

Myth #2 – I Need to Clean a Little – First

This myth is related to first one.  A trained, professional house cleaner can get your home top to bottom clean in a fraction of the time. So don’t pile the stress on yourself, call the experts!

Myth #3 – House Cleaning Services are Only for Rich People

This is a uniquely North American myth. House cleaning services are not just for the wealthy. In fact, in most countries around the world, middle class families have a full-time housekeeper (and chauffeur) on staff.

Myth #4 – It’s for Lazy People

House cleaning services are for people who want to work smarter, not harder. What is a better use of 2 hours – spending time with friends and family or cleaning the bathroom?

Imagine – what could you do with an extra 28 days a year? That’s the average amount of time (685 hours) spent cleaning.

Myth # 5 – I Don’t Want People In My “Stuff”

The only time you need worry about security is if you hire a “trunk slammer” and not a professional cleaning service. All of our employees go through background checks and training. In addition, our employee retention is 15 to 20 times the industry average. While the industry turnover is 3 to 4 months, our employees stay with us an average of 5 years – and many have been with us for much longer.

Myth #6 – My Mother Could Do It – Why Can’t I?

Life is much more complicated than it was even 30 years ago. More information, more toys, more choices, a longer commute and a much longer workday means you are juggling more than your parents ever dreamed.

Isn’t it time you stopped measuring yourself against an unobtainable standard?

Make a list of what you are going to do with an extra 685 hours a year and call Sponge & Sparkle at (404-633-9652) to get your home sparkling clean.

You deserve 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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Thanksgiving – Why are you grateful?

Posted on November 15, 2012. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle | Tags: , |

What are you grateful for in your life?  I love this holiday  –  taking time to ceremoniously gather together and express our gratitude for the blessing in our lives.

I, of course, am always grateful every day for family, friends, sustenance,  hot water,  etc.

Today I am thinking of the blessing of having this business.  Sponge & Sparkle  has provided not just income for myself and many others, but has been a source of happiness, friendships,  and a focal point for my life.   I know that cleaning is SO important and the framework around which so much in life hangs.

I am also so grateful to be living in a free country where I have to opportunity to start a business from nothing, and to grow it and prosper it for over 30 years, with the help and support of many amazing people  – our office manager Cindy, our hardworking staff,  our generous customers, and  even  my associates in all my professional organizations.

Thank you USA, and our free enterprise system for making all this possible.

So, what are you grateful for? Share your comments below.

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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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Think Cleaning Service Prices are Out of Your Budget?

Posted on March 25, 2012. Filed under: About Sponge & Sparkle | Tags: , |

Picture of an Atlanta House Cleaning Professional - Sponge & SparkleDo you think hiring a house cleaning service is only for the wealthy? Nothing could be further from the truth. You do not have to be Thurston Howell III in order to afford, or benefit from, having your home cleaned on a regular basis.

Here are some points to consider.

1. Are we doing too much?

The work ethic is one of the best things about America, and yet it can sometimes cause us unnecessary stress. In many developed countries, it is customary for a middle class family to have a full-time housekeeper. (The same is true for many “underdeveloped” countries). Yet in America, many people think that having a maid service come in a twice a month is a sign of sloth.

2. What are the emotional costs of an untidy home?

Do you feel free to entertain whenever you wish? What is the first thought that comes to mind when an unexpected guest wants to drop by? If you are avoiding socializing because of the state of your home, what is being able to spend time with friends and loved ones in your home worth to you?

When you clean your home yourself, every smudge or stain can lead to recrimination. It’s a reminder of jobs undone, things you said you would keep in order. When a professional is cleaning your home, he or she passes no judgment, and has no emotional ties. His or her job is to clean thoroughly, as fast as possible.

3. Who does it best?

When you hire a professional cleaning service (which means they have employees who have been screened and trained) you benefit from their expertise. Since cleaning is what they do all of the time, they have a system, checklists, the right tools and materials to get the job done right.  A cleaning job that will leave you exhausted and take you several hours can be completed by professionals in a fraction of the time – and done right!

4. Who is accountable?

Have you ever had the experience of being so exhausted in the middle of scrubbing an area that you took a break, only to end up not finishing the job? When you hire a professional cleaning service, this simply does not happen. Professional cleaning services have standards and guarantees – they are accountable to you, and must finish the job.

5. Is a house cleaning service really out of your reach?

The hundreds of clients who rely on us to clean their Atlanta homes are not billionaires, but they know that the time they save and the peace of mind they experience is worth the small investment.

As they say:

We’ve been using Sponge & Sparkle for over a year now. I enjoy coming home from work to a clean, fresh house. Full review

We have used Sparkle many times over the last several years and they always exceed our expectations. Great customer service and very reasonable prices. Full review

… the best cleaning job I have ever had and I have used housekeepers for 15 years! Full review

great customer service skills. I have used sponge and sparkle for over 3 years and have recommended them to friends. Full review

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

6. Are you asking the right question?

Instead of saying, “I can’t afford a house cleaning service,” try asking “How can I afford a house cleaning service?” You may find items you routinely spend money on that are nowhere near as important to you as having a clean home.

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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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Hiring an Atlanta maid service? Ask this question!

Posted on June 21, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

When you are interviewing Atlanta maid services, be sure that one of the questions you ask is “Do you have workman’s comp insurance?

In Georgia,  businesses are required by law to carry workman’s comp on their employees.  (This is also true in most states – Texas is an exception).  Workman’s compensation insurance  is expensive, and sometimes house cleaning services may cut corners by letting their coverage lapse or never buy it to begin with.   Also, sometimes companies might say they have it when they don’t,  so you want to actually see their certificate of insurance before their visit is scheduled.

This is for your protection and any legitimate company will happily supply this to you; it is a standard request.

If you hire someone to clean for you who is not covered under WC, then you are leaving yourself ridiculously vulnerable.  She may be the sweetest  person in the world but if she injures herself in your home and  she can’t work for a while  and/or pay her bills,  and maybe doesn’t even have  health insurance – her options are limited, and  what else can she do but sue you?

At Sponge & Sparkle, we carry workman’s compensation on all of our employees, and will gladly provide proof of coverage.


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.

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