Cleaning Air Conditioners

Mother and daughter enjoying air conditioning, cleaning air conditioners

It’s summertime. And if it isn’t that hot yet, it will be really soon. If hot weather isn’t in the forecast right now, give it time… it will warm up.

When hot weather strikes, most people work hard to be comfortable, and that means turning down the air in the home, using their trusty air conditioning system. For some, that means 80 degrees Fahrenheit. For others, 70. Others… like it even colder. It’s all about personal preference.

But when your air conditioner doesn’t perform adequately, or even worse, stops completely, panic strikes as the heat and humidity increases.

How can you avoid a sluggish or broken air conditioner? A few preventative maintenance steps can help tremendously. What do you know about cleaning air conditioners?

Keep it simple — and clean!

Any part of your air conditioning unit, whether it is a portable window variety, mini-split, or central air, it’s important to keep all working parts, filters, everything clean of dust and debris.

Cleaning air conditioners mostly means regular inspections, perhaps twice a month, and taking steps to clean dirty areas. If your air conditioner is portable and has a water collection tank, empty it regularly.

What comes in handy for removing dust and debris, especially from filters you can’t remove and aren’t washable, is a can of compressed air, such as you might use for your computer. But remember that when you blow dust off one surface, it will land on another.

And, if you aren’t sure about filter location or any aspect of your AC unit, ask a professional and take notes so you can refer to them in the future.

Call the pros for cleaning air conditioners

As with any electronic and complex piece of equipment, there are limits to what you can do yourself. Consider calling a professional heating, ventilation, and air conditioning company come in annually and perform an inspection. These are usually very inexpensive and, if you ever need repair service, they will respond faster if you are a regular customer (usually).

Once in a while, an air conditioning unit malfunctions or spills over, making a big mess. If that ever happens, it’s time to call your favorite cleaning company to take care of the issue. After all, it pays to call a pro!

How to Wash Dishes Right for Maximum Health

wash dishes, washing dishes, glasses in dish washer

To wash dishes may seem like a pretty easy chore. But many skip a few steps, thinking they can just get it done quickly. Washing dishes is a task that no one really enjoys.

Here are tips to make it easier & more effective when you wash dishes.

Scrape it:  

When getting ready to wash dishes, you do the obvious. You scrape off the excess. Get rid of all the extra “gunk.” The more you put into the garbage can before going to the sink, the better! This is especially true if you are using a dishwasher.

Soak it: 

Don’t think that cold or even warm water will do the trick. You need hot water. Depending on the dishes, perhaps hotter than your hands can handle. So fill that sink with super-hot water but be sure not to burn yourself. You can protect yourself with high-quality gloves.

Soap it: 

Be sure to add the appropriate amount of dish detergent. Usually known as a “squirt”. This helps the hot water to penetrate and remove soils. Without getting too technical, what you are doing is reducing surface energy of the dish water, allowing it to get to work better. You are allowing the water to flow, doing its job.

Splash it: 

When you pull that now-clean dish out of the dishwater, rinse it off and set it aside to dry. When rinsing, if you use soft water, all the better. But if not, consider a special rinse additive to use when you are finishing up the dishes. This helps remove more residue, more hard water minerals and generally ensures a better looking (clean) dish.

Now it’s time to give the dishes some time to recover from the bath you just gave them, and then inspect them to ensure they are really clean. If they are, put them in the cabinet. If not… wash them again!

Breathe Easy with Better Indoor Air Quality

protecting kids and adults from allergies through improved indoor air quality

Can you tell what the indoor air quality is like? In the Tri-Valley, allergies are running really high. Do you want to spread that into your home.

As you start reading this, do a quick exercise. Breathe in, really deep… go ahead, fill your lungs. Feels good, right?

Taking a deep breath of air, especially outdoors after a thunderstorm or when the air is crisp and clean, smells and feels good. It’s refreshing.

But taking a deep breath of air inside, such as in a home or commercial building, can be a different matter altogether. Indoor air quality in building can differ dramatically.

The air you breathe, you innocently assume, is clean and healthy. That may not always be the case, as reports of poor indoor air quality (IAQ) prove that not every indoor environment can be considered healthy.

When indoor air quality is poor, there can be issues for many people. Especially those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and respiratory illnesses, among others. The list can be quite extensive.

Poor indoor air quality doesn’t just mean “stuffy” air, like can build up in a home that doesn’t have sufficient air exchanges. Although that can contribute to poor health, what really causes health concerns is excessive dust, pet dander, pollen, mold, and other pollutants. While these pollutants are often indoors, they can also be outdoors, and you must recognize the effect they have on your health. You may decide to stay indoors after a poor outdoor air quality report on the news.

What you can control, though, at least to some degree, is the indoor air quality in your home.

What can you do? It’s simple. Keep things clean. Change your furnace and air conditioning filter on a regular basis, according to the manufacturer. Use a quality vacuum for your carpet and furniture and use it weekly, and more often if you have a busy household. Those hard floors? They need cleaned as well, as dust can easily build up and become airborne from those surfaces. When you dust surfaces, use a soft cloth that will hold the dust instead of pushing it off onto the floor.

And, of course, have your carpet and furniture cleaned based on the recommendation of your favorite cleaning company. In fact, isn’t it time you had your carpet and furniture cleaned… right now? For a healthier, cleaner home free of allergies, have your flooring and furniture regularly cleaned by a professional.

How to Remove Deodorant Stain and Scent

remove deodorant stain

It can be so embarrassing, especially at a business meeting or social event. When it does happen, you may wish you could crawl into a hole.

What are we talking about? When you raise your arm for something and show off an unsightly deodorant stain on your shirt. You know people notice because their eyes are drawn right to your armpit, and there’s never a hole close enough to crawl in to.

This type of stain builds up over time. When you perspire, some of the deodorant transfers to your clothing and each time you do the laundry, some of it sticks. However, to remove deodorant stain & odor can be accomplished with a few simple steps.

Plan ahead to remove deodorant stains

Before putting your clothes in the laundry basket, spray or rub areas of concern liberally with a product designed for treating laundry spots and stains. This way, your regular laundering will be much more effective.

Pre-treatments

Before laundering the offending garments, fill a sink, or if you have a lot of clothes, a bathtub with hot water and add a small scoop of laundry detergent. Mix it up until completely dissolved. Put the clothes in and let them soak for 30 minutes, and then launder them right away.

Color-safe bleaches

As you would do with pre-treating in a sink or tub, instead of using laundry detergent, add a scoop or two of a color-safe bleach, like OxyClean. Follow the directions on the package and allow plenty of dwell time for the oxidizing bleach to work.

Chlorine bleach

This is a last-resort attempt to remove a deodorant stain. Chlorine bleach, found under the name “Clorox” at your grocery store, is an oxidizer but very aggressive. Use with care. Follow directions on the bottle when you use this type of product either as a pre-treatment or in the washing machine.

And when you need something cleaned you can’t do yourself, such as your carpet, tile and grout, furniture or other surfaces, don’t forget to call Diablo Carpet Cleaning & Restoration. We know how to do it right!

The Dreaded Litter Box

Cute tabby cat using a red, closed litter box.

It’s part of the home that you try to hide. It’s one that you hope no one stumbles across and, of course, hope no one sniffs and notices it is there.

If you have cats, you know exactly what we are talking about. If you have cats, you either train them to go outside (unlikely) or use the toilet (as seen on YouTube) — but most resort to the standard litter box for their feline friends to do their “business.”

As much as you would like anyone else but you to take care of cleaning and maintaining the litter box, if you are the owner of the cat, it’s probably your job to do.

Here are some simple tips to do it faster — and better — and keep things a little more sanitary as well.

Keep it contained

One thing most hate is when the cat (or cats) leave the litter box and bring those tiny litter particles with them, tracking them all over the home.

Placing a cat litter mat under the cat box and some type of carpet remnant where the cats step out on helps reduce the amount of litter tracked through the home.

Protect yourself

Litter boxes are festering tubs of bacteria and other contaminants that need to stay right there in the box. But a cleaning must happen, usually every day, to keep the clumps from taking over and becoming difficult to scoop.

Wear a proper pair of gloves, and even a dust mask, to keep yourself healthy and safe when doing the scoopin’.

Fresh is best

Besides daily scooping, adding some litter every few days is smart. When the litter gets low, add a little more to keep the litter box sufficiently full so your cats can easily cover over their “deposits”. You don’t want to give them any excuse to skip the litter box for a more convenient area to use, if you know what we mean. And each month, empty and completely wash the pan, and add fresh litter.

The inevitable

One thing that cats may do from time to time is “miss” the litter box, creating nasty odors, especially in carpet. That’s when you need some real help, from your favorite cleaning service. Do the right thing. Give them a call today. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Spring Cleaning: Closets

spring cleaning closets, organization, closet cleaning

Although traditionally a spring cleaning chore, cleaning and organizing a closet can be done any time of year.

And no, keeping the door shut isn’t the best solution to a messy, disorganized closet, although it may give you moments of sanity that quickly disappear when you venture inside for that favorite pair of pants you haven’t seen in months.

Here are a few quick tips on organizing and spring cleaning closets:

Empty the closet. 

Take everything out. Put it in organized piles according to type, such as a pile of shoes, shirts, pants, sweaters, etc.

Clean all surfaces in the closet. 

This means a bucket of soapy water and a sponge, some paper towels or cotton cloths. This is a good time to clean the walls, shelves, every surface you can reach.

Inspect what needs to go back in. 

Take a close look at those piles of shoes, shirts, pants, sweaters, etc. Do you need all of them? Are there some items you might discard or donate to charity? Now’s the time!

If you are a seasonal organizer, this could be an opportunity to store away, perhaps in a basement, items you won’t need for the near future.

Restock the closet. 

Give this some thought. Hanging as many items as you can on thinner hangers saves space. Have areas in the closet where you keep items you wear more frequently and other areas for items that you wear occasionally.

Consider garment organizers.

They’re helpful in keeping items separate for seasonal use, or for specific types of events, such as formal occasions. And remember the floor space, which can be used for shoe organizers.

Closets are very important real estate. Take advantage of them and keep them all neat, clean and organized. Imagine… going into a closet that doesn’t scare you as you select your favorite sweater to ward off a cold evening chill. Nice thought, right?

Tile and Grout Floor Care

Tile floors are everywhere, and where there’s tile, there’s also grout to separate it all, keeping everything nice and even, with straight lines.

But a straight line may not always be so… clean. Dirt and grime and other contaminants build up over time and make what was once a beautiful floor look downright ugly. The grout is especially susceptible to soiling and staining.

Just as you would clean any surface, tile and grout floors need special attention. If you keep them clean, following a maintenance schedule, you won’t have to deal with the tough issue of restorative cleaning.

Here are a few simple tips for you to follow in order to keep your tile and grout floors in tip-top shape.

Sweep it

The first step is keep the floor swept. Sweep it daily, which will remove dust and debris and other contaminants that can eventually cause tough-to-remove soiling.

Mop it

Tile floors are very easy to clean and maintain. Use a clean mop and an approved detergent to clean the floor. Some prefer the newer flat floor cleaners. Doesn’t matter the tool, it is how you use it and the products you choose.

Some recommend the use of chlorine bleach, which acts as a disinfectant. The challenge here is remaining residues can create issues, such as being tracked off onto carpet, causing color loss. Be careful with the use of any type of bleach.

Grout issues

The toughest part of a tile and grout floor cleaning job is… the grout. It’s porous, even if sealed, and becomes an eyesore quickly. Purchase a heavy-duty grout cleaner and follow the directions. You will most likely be on your hands and knees, and it takes time to do this right. Apply the product to the grout, allow some reasonable contact time, and scrub – scrub – scrub! Repeat as necessary. Work carefully until the grout looks great again.

When everything is cleaned up, be sure to rinse with a neutral detergent, or just water, and let air dry and inspect. You will find areas need more attention. When you do… get back to work!

Tile and grout cleaning is no easy task, especially when it becomes really soiled. When you find yourself up against an impossible task, do the smart thing. Call your professional cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!

Candles and Scents: Candle Soot Damage

candle soot damage, scented candles, holiday candles

Many people love the warm fall and winter fragrances from scented candles. There are hundreds of scents available, from favorites such as vanilla, citrus, lavender, and more. Some scents smell just like cookies or cakes in the oven. Of course, you don’t get the benefit of eating them!

Yet, as inviting as those scents may be, there are some concerns you should consider as you burn them.

Pollution issues

It’s been noted by various environmental groups and indoor air quality specialists that burning candles can produce pollutants such as acetone, toluene, benzene and others. These are some of the components found in soot, considered a hazard all on its own.

More and more people — perhaps just like yourself — love the smell of these scented candles. Yet put off smoke, even invisible smoke, that can be leaving an unhealthy residue in your home. Remember, soot is the product of material that didn’t totally go through the combustion process of burning. If the flame of your candle isn’t totally blue, no doubt there is soot being produced, and candle soot damage is imminent.

What can you do to avoid candle soot damage?

Choose your scented candles wisely. Opt for natural wax materials, such as beeswax or soy candles, both of which are better choices than wax made from petroleum products. Natural materials may cost more, but are a better, safer and healthier choice.

Make sure your wick is burning adequately. The wick should burn evenly with the melting wax, and curl as it burns. Ensuring the wick is less than ½ inch long when you light it will help.

Burn your candles where there is limited or no draft. Air movement can cause the flame to burn erratically and possibly create more soot pollution.

Don’t burn your candles all the time. Make it a treat. Burn them when you are in the mood for a nice scent in the home.

And when you do have issues with your candles, such as a residue on surfaces in your home, call your upholstery and flooring restoration professional. They can help determine if your candle burning habits are safe!

Prepping the House for Bad Weather– Part 1

Bad weather, prep your house for storms, carpet cleaning

When the bad weather comes, it’s time to turn against the weather.

Prepping your home for storms that are either predicted or that can occur at any time is the best defense against wind, water and related storm damages.

Without proper winter preparation of your home, you may end up inviting wind, rain and snow inside and then calling a restoration pro to clean it all up.

Tip #1: Inspect the Windows

No, not in the glass itself (you can see that easily and would have already replaced broken windows.) Check the weather stripping, the caulking and edges of the glass. Ensure no air is getting in or out. This is easier to check on a windy day. Hold a tissue paper up to the areas you are inspecting to see if there is any movement. If so, repair that area. Replace the caulking or weather stripping if necessary.

Tip #2: Get Climbing…

… up on the roof, that is. But keep it safe! Hire someone if you aren’t able to physically do this yourself or if there is any danger of falling. You (or someone) needs to inspect your roofing materials, areas around chimneys and vents… anywhere that water can intrude and cause problems. Be sure to repair any damage before the weather turns bad.

Tip #3: Clean the Gutters for Bad Weather

Dirty, cluttered gutters don’t do their job very well. Rain can easily turn into snow and ice, and debris in the gutters means they clog up and can cause all kinds of problems for your home. When the leaves stop falling, get out the ladder or hire a pro to ensure your gutters are ready for winter.

No matter what you do, occasionally water, wind and bad weather can damage your home. Do the right thing: Call your disaster restoration pro when his services are needed.