Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Professional House Cleaning Procedure

photo provided by photobucket

I found this in my files while purging them this morning,this article is not myslef, I found it on the net a long while ago,but it's neat to see how someone else went about their business professionally cleaning.

Dress comfortably and always wear tennis shoes. You will be getting into showers and tubs full of chemicals & want your feet protected.

As soon as you get to (the house), unload your stuff into entryway or utility room: cleaning caddy with supplies (Tilex, Comet, Glass Plus, Pledge, Murphy's Oil Soap, rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, Mr. Clean, Lysol liquid, Liquid Gold, Endust, Clorox in a spray bottle, ammonia in a spray bottle, plastic cup for rinsing showers); mop bucket with rags (5+ for kitchen & baths, dust rags, 2+ larger rags/hand towels for drying bathrooms, roll of paper towels, duster, baby bottle brush, rubber gloves, old toothbrushes, Scotch pads, old Walmart bags); dust mop; sponge mop; & vacuum cleaner with fresh bag. Bring yourself a cold bottle of water and a few healthy energy-boosting snacks (like Snickers -- just kidding!).

First: The "Walk Through" -- Whiz through their house and do a general pick up. PUT ALL CLUTTER AWAY!! Housecleaners often mistakenly think that people don't want their stuff being moved, but this generally is not true! Put it all up! If they had time to do it, they wouldn't hire you! Just stash it in a place where they're likely to find it. It won't be the end of the world if they have to make a phone call to you to locate an item. I have only hired a housecleaner one time -- $150 for a "deep clean." When I got home, bathrooms were shining, floors vacuumed, & furniture dusted; but... the same little bit of junk was still out! The bed was even still rumpled sloppily, just like I had made it that morning. Ugh, I didn't want to look at that "stuff" when I walked in the door! No one does! So, for example, if you're cleaning for a bathroom clutterbug... put all those cosmetics and toiletries in a drawer or find an empty basket and load it. Don't worry about what the inside of drawers, closets, etc. looks like too much; just stash the stuff that's in sight (within reason -- I'm not saying to junk up their closets! Just don't be nitpicky about what can't be seen!). I can't ramble enough about getting the clutter out of sight!

Also, about the "walk through" -- grab all laundry & pile in designated hamper or laundry room (we didn't deal with people's laundry, just cleaning), load dirty dishes into dishwasher, empty all small trash cans into large one, and keep an eye out for cobwebs/dustbunnies/really grimy things that need attention (somehow my $150 cleaning lady missed the huge spot on the wall by the trash can where my toddler had splattered yogurt!). By the way, we didn't strip beds and change sheets except in special circumstances, and then we charged $5 extra per bed. Same with windows.

After all is tidy, go around with your duster (you may spray with Endust -- NOT Pledge -- too oily!) and hit the blinds, ceiling fans, and cobwebs. Use your baby bottle brush on the lampshades. Spray Endust on your dustmop to reach ceiling fans and high cobwebs. Basically, get all the up-high dust down.

Grab all the small rugs, bath mats, etc. and take outside to shake and air out while you do the house.

After the general decluttering and de-dusting (not the deep dusting...yet), grab your caddy and a couple of rags and head to the biggest bathroom...

Remember, all this time, think... ENERGY!!! You are moving at the speed of lightning at all times. The law of inertia...

In the bathroom... move all stuff out of your way! Put it on the floor in the hall, out of the bathroom. This includes knick-knacks on counter, toothbrush holder (which can be put into dishwasher, BTW), bathtub toys, shampoo bottles, etc. Get that vanity, tub, & toilet cleared off. Then sweep out the whole bathroom with your dustmop. Get into every nook and cranny. It's easier to deal with all that hair now, while it's dry.

Now glove, then spray everything down with Tilex, then sprinkle with Comet. Wait a few seconds, then go to town on that vanity/counter/sink. Use elbow grease and a rag to get it glimmering. Suds up the whole counter, faucet, etc. Then rinse, rinse, and rinse again. Do not leave one speck of Comet residue!! Rinse VERY well!

Continue on with tub, shower, and toilet same way. Suds up everything (I mean every square inch), scrub, and rinse well. Particularly your first time in a house, the shower is going to be awful -- soap scum, etc. Bust it! You can do it! SCRUB! Use your Scotch pads! Use the old toothbrush! If needed, rinse the shower out and hit with Clorox. If that doesn't clear the grime, next time shoot it with straight ammonia (but NEVER combine Clorox & ammonia -- dangerous fumes!). Nothing impresses people like a sparkling bathroom.

Use your rinsed out rag to wipe door frames, door knobs, light switch & outlet plates, towel racks, shelves, etc. Squirt with Clorox if needed.

When you're done with the tub & shower, hit the toilet... from tank to base. Get your face down in that toilet. Stick your rubber gloved hand in there with your rag and scrub every inch in that bowl. Work your way out all around outside of bowl and base. Squirt Clorox around the base if needed. Use a toothbrush. Don't worry about sloshing water on the floor; you'll get it up in a little bit. Do the seat, tank, lid, etc. Squirt Clorox on the bolts for the lid, too & use the toothbrush there. Don't leave a single hair or speck of grime.

When all is shining (and smelling like Clorox!), dry it all with a larger rag. This is an often neglected but important step. It really brings on the shine. Dry the vanity & sink, paying special attention to getting the chrome shiny, then the shower, tub, & toilet. Then pour a little Lysol (liquid) into the toilet bowl.

Now spray the mirror down with Glass Plus (the best -- if you can't find it, and I haven't been able to lately, settle for Windex). Use a double thickness of FLAT paper towel and get the mirror shining and streak free. Now use that damp paper towel to further shine the faucet (if needed after drying) and wipe all the "stuff" that you set in the hall. No "stuff" gets put back in without being wiped -- the shampoo bottle & everything. When all is in place, wipe the trash can clean and then coat it with a little Pledge or floor wax so it won't be so tough to shine next time.

Now... back to the toilet bowl with Lysol. You will use this to clean the floor. Clean the floor from the toilet?!? If you did the job right, that toilet should be just as sanitary as the kitchen sink! Get your gloves back on, stick your rag back in the commode, and get it all Lysoled up. Wring, then get to work on the floor and baseboards (farthest from the door first). If the toilet water gets too grimy, flush, refill with Lysol, and continue on...

Wipe your way out of the bathroom, then put all those yucky used rags in an old Walmart bag.

Now head to next bathroom(s) and repeat procedure.

When all bathrooms are glimmering and you are feeling good about your work, but just a little tired, go take a big swig of water, have a snack if needed... then motivate yourself to face the kitchen!

You should have already gotten the kitchen clutter- and dish-free during the walk through, but if not, do it quickly. If the dishwasher is at least half full, go ahead and run it. Spray the sink down with Clorox and sprinkle on Comet. Let it sit for a second while you down the Snickers (ha ha ha). Glove and scrub the sink. Just use a rag if you can get by with it. If it's worse, dig out the old toothbrush and Scotch pads. Get the sink shining, then rinse rinse rinse. Rinse your rag out well, then hit the counters. Move and clean under EVERYTHING, no matter how bad of clutter bugs these people are (you must have considered that when you bid the job!). Wipe everything -- the canisters, cookie jar, can opener, knick knacks, etc. When you're done with the "ragging," finish shining up the appliances & knick knacks with Glass Plus and paper towels. Don't forget microwave, inside and out. I once forgot someones micro interior, and it dawned on me that evening. I went back to the house with Glass Plus & paper towels to do their microwave. They thought I was weird, but great! Get the stove & oven door glistening (leave inside of oven alone, unless that's in the "contract." Leave inside fridge along, too; but definitely hit the top/sides/door). One of the first place people check for dust is top of fridge. Hit it with your rag. Also Glass Plus the glass patio door and front screen door, if applicable.

Occasionally you will want to hit the cabinets and woodwork with Liquid Gold and an OLD dust rag (that can be trashed when done). This looks & smells great and is really impressive. Do it once every month or two. Be careful though, it is OILY and will ruin a lot of things. Spray your rag carefully (like over the trash cans) and try to wipe it on evenly.

Get the kitchen sparkling as well as you did the bathrooms. Step back and look to make sure you didn't neglect something obvious. Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees when cleaning. Don't forget to empty trash & put a new bag in.

Now fill your mop bucket with hot water and Mr. Clean (a couple of caps full). Dust mop & mop the kitchen. Go ahead and do any other tile or laminate floors, like the entryway and dining area. If they have hardwoods, use Murphy's & hot water unless they insist on vinegar (find out during the initial estimate visit). I think vinegar is harsh for hardwoods, but their builders tell them to use it so they do. Respect the client's wishes. One tip about hardwoods -- you must use only a very slightly damp sponge mop, or there will be streaks galore! Squeeze that mop out half to death before mopping. You won't have to mop the woods every time; every other just run over with a dustmop sprayed with Endust.

After the floors are mopped, dump the water outside or down the disposal side of sink. Then dry the sink and shine it up with rubbing alcohol on paper towels (tip: once you generate enough empty alcohol bottles you can use them to store your vinegar, Murphy's, Lysol, etc. to save room in your caddy. Use old rinsed out Tilex bottles for Clorox & ammonia).

Now to the rest of the house... the easy part!

You've already picked up the clutter, so it just needs a good dusting and vacuuming. First, use a rag to hit the washer and dryer (don't forget gunk under washer lid), clean the utility rm sink if applicable, and wipe the obviously dirty baseboards, door frames, light switch plates, etc. You don't have to do all these every time, just alternate them; and always get the nasty looking ones. Check for grimy wall spots or other obvious filth.

Now grab your Glass Plus & roll of paper towels. You're going to dust EVERYTHING that can't be hit with dust rag & Pledge -- including but not limited to picture frames & glass, knick knacks, TV screens, lamp bases, glass inserts in coffee tables, etc. BTW, don't ever spray directly onto TV & computer monitors and framed art; dampen your paper towel, then wipe. Use a systematic approach to each room and get into the habit of working your way around and missing NOTHING!

After you have Glass Plussed the entire house (don't forget glass screen doors or patio doors and window inserts in doors), grab your dustrag and Pledge. Saturate the cloth with Pledge and hit everything that didn't get Glass Plussed. I rarely spray the Pledge onto furniture; just spray both sides of the cloth (I like those yellow cloths with red seams you get near the auto detailing supplies at WalMart). Pick up EVERYTHING and wipe every object and under every object. Even if they are clutterbugs with a million knick knacks... pick up every single one and dust thoroughly. Jump up on a chair and hit the top of the bookcases (your sneaker soles should be clean after standing in the shower scrubbing & rinsing!). Dust EVERYTHING!!!!

After all is dusted, clean, & sparkly... gather all your junk and set it right outside front door. Get all trash including your used paper towels and take it out. Bring the rugs & mats back in, fluff pillows, check bathrooms for Comet residue, and do your final walk through BEFORE vacuuming. You want to vacuum your way out of the house and leave nice systematic vacuum tracks (not your sneaker tracks) that will impress their socks off!

When you are satisfied that this house is nigh perfect, then start farthest from the front door & vacuum vacuum vacuum. Do not vacuum AROUND things... vacuum UNDER things. Pick up chairs, move furniture & toys, etc. Vacuum every square inch of carpet that you can possibly get to (it would be very wise to wear a back brace at this time), including stairs. Use your hose & attachments to hit the part where carpet meets wall and immovable furniture and do windowsills, etc. as needed. Right before you leave a room, make pretty little even vacuum tracks all across the floor so that it looks GREAT (By the way, you want to leave all blinds open and all doors open so that the sun floods the dustless rooms and they just come in and walked through mesmerized by the beauty!). Vacuum your way right out the front door, and don't forget to lock it! (I even pull my plug from the entryway floor -- I never step on vacuumed carpet!).

Now, isn't that inspiring?!? I think I'm ready to hit my house!

If there is any confusion about what I wrote or you have further questions about specific situations... feel free to ask. I'm sure I've dealt with about everything in my house cleaning experience! Pet hair, filth, huge clutter bugs, etc. Just consider the personality and needs of the client and go the extra mile to really impress them. Add special touches that no one else thinks of. And, oh, yes, I forgot ... we DID put a chocolate on their pillows! Andes mints!! (Before you vacuum, of course!)

The Happy Homemaker

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