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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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.
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Have Pets? Here Are A Few Housecleaning Tips

Posted on October 1, 2015. Filed under: Atlanta House Cleaning | Tags: , , |

Cat and cat hair

We love our pets—they’re family. They’re adorable and give us unconditional love, but they can be messy, too. Pets can shed on everything, track in mud, spread dander, and even bring home ticks and fleas. And sometimes, we even have to deal with their “accidents.”

For the many of us who can’t imagine living without a dog or a cat, here are some tips to address pet-specific cleaning issues:
Grooming is Key

Capture shedding fur before it hits your couch. Dogs and cats absolutely love being brushed, so do it often and you’ll eliminate excess fur all over the house. Cats will also suffer fewer hair balls with regular brushing.

Prevent Repeat Pet “Accidents

When your dog or cat has an “accident” they mark the spot as a safe place to “do their business” and 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

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. Buy odor-absorbing litter and odor-absorbing powder to keep the litter box area smelling clean and fresh.

Wipe Them Down

Keep a rag handy to wipe dirty paws after coming in from a walk. If kitty likes to roam in the woods, wipe him down with a damp cloth to ensure he doesn’t bring home poison ivy. And always do a tick and flea check, even when using flea medication.

Check Air Filters More Often

Even with frequent brushings, hair and dander still circulate so be sure to clean or change your heating and cooling system air filters frequently, especially in the spring, which is prime shedding season.

 

Taking a few extra steps to deal with our pets can ensure a clean, sparking, fresh-smelling home for everyone.

What our Customers Say

Spectacular

Sponge and Sparkle was recommended to me by my Sister in law. She loves them and I see why! I have a home that I am trying to sell. 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!

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.

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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How to Choose the Right Rescue Dog

Posted on February 27, 2014. Filed under: Household Tips | Tags: , , |

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

The time has come to add a canine companion to your family.  The options are endless, but you can narrow them down substantially to getting a rescue dog.

Adopt a Rescue Dog

Adoptapalooza 2013

Why a Rescue Dog?

One reason to choose a rescue dog is this: they need a home. Even if they are in caring, “no kill” shelters, dogs do best in a home environment surrounded by love. Other reasons for getting a shelter dog include the fact that they are typically healthy, with vaccinations, spaying, and neutering, and they are far less expensive than a dog from a breeder or puppy mill.

Dogs are Living Beings

When choosing a rescue dog, it is important that you make sure to choose the right rescue dog. Dogs are living creatures, and you don’t want to have to send one back because you have a poor match.

Assess your Situation

Before you go to the first shelter, assess your family situation. By assessing your situation, you can narrow your choices to find a dog with the lineage, temperament, energy level and age to fit in with your family.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I home a lot, or will the dog be left alone for long periods of time?
  • Do I have little children or am I planning to have children soon?
  • What kind of flooring and furniture do I have and what type of dogs may fit best into my home?
  • Do I have time to house train?
  • Do I have other pets?
  • Do I do a lot of entertaining?
  • How often do I vacation?
  • Do I have a budget for shots and veterinary appointments?

Assess the Shelter

Don’t just drop by the nearest shelter to choose a dog. Carefully decide which shelters you will visit. Ask your friends and family, and call the ones in your area.

These questions will help you determine whether you have chosen the right shelter:

  • What is the shelter’s return policy?
  • Will they allow me to take the dogs for a walk so that I can see how well we get along?
  • Does the shelter provide medical and behavior information?

Let An Expert Help

It might be worth your while to take along a trainer or someone who is familiar with dogs. Tell them ahead of time what you’ve determined by following step #1 – what type of temperament, breed and energy level you are looking for. The trainer will be able to see things about your new dog that you might not notice.  This could save you, your family, and the shelter dog a lot of stress and heartache.

Don’t Be Hasty

It’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of getting a new dog or puppy and not taking steps to make sure you do what is best for yourself and for the dog. As much as it is important to fall in love with a dog immediately, a dog or puppy that is chosen hastily could end up being unpredictable, and that affection could go away just as quickly.

Be Willing to Walk Away

What if, in the end, you determine adopting a rescue dog is not for you right now? There is no shame in changing your mind. You can always volunteer or donate to a shelter instead.

Share Your Experience

Have you fostered or adopted a pet? What were your experiences? What advice would you give?

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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 Adoptapoalooza in Union Park – September 2013.

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House Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

Posted on May 30, 2013. Filed under: Cleaning Bedroom, Green Cleaning, Household Tips, 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.”

Grooming is Essential.

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.

A Little-Known Way to 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.

Stay on Top of It

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.

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!…

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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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