Back to School Organization Tips

back to school organization

*This blog is updated for 2017. The original blog can be found here.

Start the 2017-18 school year off right with these back to school organization tips.

Get Organized

Between the kids being home and trips to the park, lake and pool, there’s a good chance your home has been overtaken by “summer” stuff. As the kids head back to school, take the time to create a renewed sense of organization and order, whatever that means to you.

One of the best pieces of advice we can give is to go through your home, one room at a time, clearing out what you can. Torn inflatables? Toss them! Clothing that your kids have outgrown? Donate them! School supplies from last year? Keep them! Decluttering and subsequently organizing your home can help ensure a successful academic year.

Set Up a Homework Station

Creating a dedicated space in your home – whether off the kitchen or in their own bedrooms – can help kids improve their focus and develop proper study habits. This should be far away from TV screens and other distractions. Make sure they have access to plenty of pencils, sticky notes, scratch paper, and a computer if they need one.

Don’t forget to outfit him/her with a comfortable chair – homework requirements tend to only grow in volume the higher the grade level. A great tip is to invest in an electric pencil sharpener. Otherwise, be prepared to put up with pencil shavings all over the house, not to mention the mad search for a mechanical sharpener at homework time.

Designate a Command Center

An organized command center is essential for all things school related – backpacks, jackets, sports gear, lunch boxes, permission slips, crafts, textbooks, and on and on. It should be somewhere in the main-traffic-part of your home. In the kitchen or entryway are both good options. The closer you get to the “drop zone,” the better.

A chalkboard or whiteboard wall calendar is a must, and one that’ll ensure everyone knows what’s on the agenda for the week. Other things to consider for your command center include dinner menu, shopping list, schedule/routine, and in/out file storage for school papers. We recommend having one file for each person in the household.

Schedule to Have Your Carpets Cleaned

Make professional carpet cleaning part of your back to school organization routine. Carpet Cleaning Service AZ can help give your kids a clean and healthy environment to do their homework each night. In addition to professional carpet cleaning, we are proud to offer superior air duct, upholstery, and tile and grout cleaning services. Call 602-633-2015 or go online to schedule a time for us to come to your home.

When Pet Accidents Happen

pet accidents

There are few things better than coming home from a stressful day at work to an excited dog or cat. More than just a furry, loyal companion, pets bring happiness and laughter to our lives. However, as most pet owners can vouch, accidents are bound to happen from time to time – especially if he/she is still perfecting their potty training skills. Fortunately, the pros at Carpet Cleaning Service AZ know a bit about rescuing solid carpets, rugs and upholstery.

Cleaning Up Pet Accidents

Your best defense is to blot up as much of the accident as you can using paper towels. The trick here is to do it as soon as you notice the mess. If solid, pick up using doggy bags, paper towels or a recycled grocery bag. Then, put a few drops of Dawn dish detergent and a little water on the area, applying pressure with another paper towel.

If you notice a mess that you believe happened earlier in the day, spray the area with vinegar and baking soda, and let sit overnight. Mix one cup distilled white vinegar with one cup water and two tablespoons baking soda in a spray bottle. Don’t be alarmed if the area bubbles; it simply signifies that the cleaning agent is working.

If you have a puppy or senior dog, you’ll definitely want to add this mixture to your cleaning arsenal! Store-bought pet odor and stain removers use the power of enzymes to do the work. Enzymes are proteins that help kick off natural chemical reactions at the molecular level.

Most are safe to use on carpets, furniture, wood floors, and clothing when used as directed. One of the best products available is Nature’s Miracle Advanced Stain and Odor Remover. There is no need to rinse this product. Simply let it do its job, dissolve, and dry. Always follow manufacturer directions.

Protecting Your Carpet

If they can smell their or their friend’s personal scent, pets will be attracted to the “accident zone,” where they’ll continually make fresh messes. To prevent future accidents, it’s important to get rid of any odor completely. You can do this by hiring a professional. Carpet cleaning professionals are specially trained to effectively remove pet odors and stains from carpets, bringing it back to a healthy state.

Professional Air Duct Cleaning Benefits

air duct cleaning

Through normal occupation in a home, we generate a great deal of contaminants including dirt, dust and dander. These contaminants are then pulled into your HVAC system, where it recirculates throughout your home 5 to 7 times per day, on average. Allergy and asthma sufferers, as well as young children and the elderly may be more susceptible to this air.

Air duct cleaning can address this issue.

Air duct cleaning, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), refers to the removal of dirt, dust, and potential biological contaminants from various heating and cooling system components including the supply and return air ducts, registers, grilles, diffusers, and coils.

Professionals use specialized tools to dislodge dirt and other debris found within the ductwork, then vacuum them out using state-of-the-art, industrial strength vacuum cleaners. All components of the HVAC system should be meticulously cleaned during this process to obtain a noticeable difference.

The benefits of air duct cleaning are various and include:

#1. Improved Indoor Air Quality

Although dirty ducts don’t necessarily mean unhealthy air in your home, they may contribute to larger health issues, especially for people with respiratory health conditions (e.g., asthma or COPD). Pollutants entering the air can also trigger sneezing, coughing, and sinus congestion for chronic allergy sufferers.

#2. Increased Energy Savings

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 to 40 percent of the energy used for heating and cooling a home is wasted because of drafts, air leaks around openings and outdated equipment. Ductwork exhibiting a heavy build-up of contaminants can restrict the flow of air, causing it to work harder to heat or cool your home, resulting in a decreased level of efficiency.

#3. Remove Unpleasant Odors

Pets, paint fumes, pungent foods – they call all make your house have a distinct smell. Even an accumulation of dust and debris can lead to a musty smell. Every time your heating and cooling system is running, these odors recirculate in the air. Professional air duct cleaning helps to eliminate all odor trapping particles, leaving your home smelling fresh.

To learn more about the benefits of air duct cleaning, or to schedule service with a certified technician, contact Carpet Cleaning Service AZ at (602) 633-2015.

Professional Carpet Cleaning Benefits

carpet cleaning benefits

Your carpet is an investment. Protect it with professional carpet cleaning. Here are four professional carpet cleaning benefits.

#1. Improves Your Health

It’s important that you vacuum at least three times a week with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. However, vacuuming may disturb settled pollutants (e.g., dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, and dirt) causing them to become airborne. Professional carpet cleaning eliminates these contaminants; improving your and your family’s health.

#2. Eliminates Carpet Stains

Professional cleaning when coupled with a high-quality protectant, refreshes the performance of stain resistant carpets, creating a barrier around the carpet fibers that allows most spills to be removed before staining can occur. Another great benefit to professional carpet cleaning is that spots are less likely to reappear.

#3. Removes Odors

If your house is pet friendly, then you may already know that accidents happen. Pet urine and feces can be one of the most difficult smells to remove from carpet fibers. However, a combination of immediate action, professional grade enzyme solutions, and deep cleaning can get your carpet looking and smelling like new in no time at all.

#4. Extends Carpet Life

The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends having your carpet professionally deep cleaned once every 12 to 18 months. Keep in mind that this recommendation is a general guideline only and can vary based on your particular circumstances. Some homes may need this service every 6 to 12 months.

To learn more about the many benefits of carpet cleaning, contact Carpet Cleaning Service AZ at (602) 633-2015. Our exclusive three-step cleaning process incorporates the highest quality, professional grade cleaning solution, which will leave your carpets cleaner than you ever imagined possible.

No Shoes Policy: Leave Them at the Door

no shoesIn many parts of the world, it’s customary to take your shoes off before entering a home, leaving them in a designated spot outdoors or just inside the door on a mat or rack. Although this custom is not yet widely accepted in the United States – many consider it rude, uncomfortable or at best, an inconvenience – there are actually several good reasons for implementing a no shoes policy in your home.

Consider the following:

Bacteria

We’ll just get straight to it: Your shoes pick up bacteria that is spread throughout your home when you wear them inside. In a study conducted by the University of Arizona, researchers found more than 440,000 units of bacteria had attached themselves to the bottom of a pair of shoes, which had only been purchased two weeks prior. Moreover, researchers found that over 90 percent of the time, this bacterium was effectively transferred to clean tiles after trekking over the surface area.

Dirt & Grime

Bacteria aside, shoes also bring in a lot of dirt, pollen, sand, and grime. This requires you to clean more frequently, which in turn requires you to use a) more electricity (running the vacuum), and b) more cleaning products. The best way to keep dirt and grime out of your home is by nipping it at the source! When you enforce a no shoes policy, you’ll keep your home clean without spending more time on household chores, while ensuring your family’s health.

Wear and Tear

More dirt and grime on your floors, whether tile, hardwood or carpet, means more wear and tear. Wear and tear that can cause you to need to replace your flooring prematurely. An expense we’re sure you’d rather do without. Extend the longevity of your flooring material by simply kicking off your shoes when you come home from the park, store, work or school. You will also be helping the environment by keeping your old flooring out of the landfills. It’s a win, win.

Now for some shoe storage ideas:

  • Cubbies
  • Baskets
  • Boot tray
  • Shoe racks or shelves
  • Cookie tray filled with stones
  • Pinterest has countless DIY shoe storage ideas

Don’t forget to place a sign on the front door announcing your no shoes policy to avoid catching anyone unaware. Are you overdue for professional carpet cleaning or tile and grout cleaning? Contact Carpet Cleaning Service AZ at (602) 633-2015.

Your Guide to Spring Cleaning for Allergy Relief

spring cleaning

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Springtime has a natural uplifting energy to it. With winter ending, we’re given the benefit of longer, sun filled days. However, for many, springtime also means allergy time. If you or a member of your family suffer from allergies, you may want to consider the opportunity spring cleaning provides to get some much need allergy relief. Here are some steps to help you get your spring cleaning started.

Step #1: Purge

There’s really no way to get around this step. Clutter is an obstacle to reaching a healthy environment. Dust and other allergen causing particles love to hide under, in, and around excess belongings. Start by deciding what stays and what goes (using our advice below). Make sure items that stay have a home. If you run out of space, try creative alternatives like decorative boxes, and furniture with built-in storage.

How to decide what stays and what goes?

If it’s something you love – it’s a keeper.

If it’s something that you find really useful – it’s a keeper.

If you used it today, yesterday, and last week – it’s a keeper.

If you pull it out to find it covered with layers of dust and cobwebs, then it’s probably time to let it go. Toss broken and expired items. Donate items that you either have too much of, haven’t used in some time or that don’t serve a useful purpose.

Step #2: Clean

Dust & Vacuum: Dust first, then vacuum. Wipe your surfaces first using a microfiber cloth and a combination of water and vinegar. This grabs the dust, rather than just push it around. Vacuum once or twice a week using a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. At least once a year, have your carpets professionally steamed cleaned.

Bedding: Wash your bedding and blankets in hot water on a regular basis. Once a week is ideal. Make sure the water is at least 130˚F. That’s hot enough to kill dust mites. Because they’re dust proof, using hypoallergenic bedding can minimize discomfort as well.

Air: Hypoallergenic or HEPA filters are now sold for vents throughout your house to help ensure a high level of indoor air quality. These filters drastically reduce the dust, pollen, mold and bacteria in the air moving around your home. They can be found at any local home improvement, hardware or big box retailer.

Control Mold & Mildew: Having your bath and/or kitchen tile’s grout professionally cleaned helps reduce mold. Clean these areas regularly. You can also spray your shower walls daily with a shower spray to keep them clean and mold-free. Allow wet/damp clothes and towels to dry before throwing them into your laundry hamper.

Step #3: Contact Carpet Cleaning Service AZ

Partner with Carpet Cleaning Service AZ to create a healthy home environment this spring. We use professional spring cleaning techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to provide a level of cleaning that simply cannot be duplicated with home or rental steam cleaning machines. We provide carpet, air duct, upholstery, indoor air quality, tile & grout, dryer vent and other related cleaning services. Contact us today for a free quote.

Home Allergens: Is Your Home Making You Sick?

home allergens

Comfort. Security. A place of refuge. Favorite family memories. Dorothy was spot on when she said: “There’s no place like home.” But what happens when you literally feel ill at home? One obvious reason for this is the surprising number of hidden home allergens. Chances are, if you’ve been experiencing some discomfort in your own home, you could suffer from allergies or asthma.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 1 in 5 people suffer from allergies or asthma, for which there is no obvious substance causing the distress. Common allergy symptoms include wheezing, coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and a scratchy throat. In more severe cases, home allergens may cause rashes, low blood pressure, and breathing problems.

The following home allergen sources could be causing you distress.

Cleaning Supplies

When it comes to cleaning supplies, it’s easy to pick up the first one you see, never giving a second thought to its ingredients. However, if your allergies worsen shortly after cleaning, you could be allergic to the chemicals in today’s cleaning products. Cross anything with noxious odors, such as ammonia, and products that produce particulates including air fresheners and ozone generators off your shopping list.

Carpeting and Upholstery

Dust mites, pet dander and pollen love carpets, as well as area rugs and upholstered furniture. Our advice? Vacuum weekly, using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to trap unhealthy particles, keeping them out of the air you and your loved ones breathe. Likewise, it’s best to have carpets and upholstered furniture professionally steamed cleaned every 6 to 12 months, depending on the level of traffic they get.

Bedding

Life carpets, area rugs and upholstered furniture, dust mites and pet dander love bedding. Recommended standard practice is to wash your blankets, sheets, and pillowcases weekly in water that is at least 130˚F. Using organic, hypoallergenic bedding can minimize discomfort as well. You may also want to try using an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter to keep the air in your bedroom cleaner.

HVAC Systems

It’s a fact, poor indoor air quality can aggravate asthma and other respiratory illnesses, making an allergy sufferers symptoms worse. Standard recommended practice is to replace your home’s heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) filters once per month, as well as have your air ducts cleaned once every five years, in order to keep the air circulating through your home as clean and as fresh as possible.

Prevent Game Day Stains

game day stains

In a little less than a month – on Sunday, February 5, 2017 – all of America will be keeping score during the big game between the winners of the AFC and NFC. As you finalize your guest list, and browse Pinterest for game day snack ideas, it’s also a good idea to think ahead to an endeavor that includes an array of activities including carpet cleaning and protection as well as furniture arrangement.

Well Before Kick Off

Clean Thoroughly

Don’t wait until the Friday or Saturday before Game Day to ensure your home is ready to receive guests. In addition to vacuuming, mopping, and dusting, don’t forget to have your carpets and upholstered furniture professionally steamed cleaned and protected. The Saturday before the game, disinfect the remote control, vacuum the speakers, and ever so gently dust your television screen using a microfiber cloth until you no longer see any dust or smudges. You can also save this for Sunday morning.

Rearrange the Furniture

Since your guest’s attention will be focused on the television, you may want to consider arranging your furniture in a semicircle facing the screen, so that no one’s view is hampered. You may also want to consider temporarily relocating anything breakable, such as family heirlooms and personal collectibles, so guests can move freely without fear of knocking something over. Not enough seating? Place some over-sized cushions on the floor so floor sitters will be comfortable.

Prevent Stains from Setting In

High quality stain protection is a game changer…seriously! Odds are that someone is going to spill something during the excitement of a touchdown. Protectants and deodorizers, when professionally applied will protect your carpet and upholstery by resisting spills, therefore preventing stains and odors from setting in and ruining your game day fun.

Tackle Game Day Stains

Wing Sauce: Dilute one tablespoon dishwashing liquid with two cups of warm water and apply to the stain (saturating it). Using a clean non-patterned cloth, blot – never scrub – the stain until it has disappeared. Repeat the process using cold water and then allow to dry. Repeat as necessary.

Cheese: If you happen to get cheese or cheese sauce on your carpets or upholstery, make sure to soak it as quickly as possible, using the same technique for wing sauce removal. If the stain is relatively new, soaking it for half an hour should be sufficient, but if its older it may require more time.

Barbecue Sauce: Scrape off any excess barbecue sauce from the carpet or fabric using a spoon for a fresh stain or a butter knife for an older one. Once you’ve done that, continuously apply cold water to force the stain away; then when most of it is out you can blot dishwashing liquid into it. Work your way from the outside of the stain to the middle to prevent it from spreading. Rinse and repeat as necessary.

Holiday Decorating Guide

holiday decorating guide

The holiday season is officially upon and, as the classic song goes, it truly is “the most wonderful time of year.” All the tidings of comfort and joy mixed with scents of gingerbread and fresh pine decorations are instant reminders of the season. Speaking of fresh pine, if you’ll be decorating with real greenery rather than artificial, you’ll want to read through the following holiday decorating guide which discusses how to keep it looking its best.

Select the Freshest Tree Available

Step one is to buy the freshest tree available. This will ensure maximum needle retention therefore keeping your carpets and tile floors clean longer. When shopping for a tree at one of the many lots available throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area, ask the lot attendant for details on when the tree was harvested, and where it originated from. If their shipment is older, ask when a new shipment of trees is expected to arrive, and if possible make your purchase then. It’s also a good idea to have the attendant make a second, clean cut, as well as trim the branches at the bottom of the trunk. Finally, you will want to avoid bruising the trunk.

Find the Perfect Setting for Your Tree

When setting up your tree, keep it away from heat sources such as direct sunlight, heaters or fans, heat vents or fireplaces, as these will speed up the drying process. If possible, lower the room temperature, and/or use a room humidifier. This will slow the drying process, resulting in less water consumption each day, and reducing fire risk. In addition, the National Christmas Tree Association (NCTA) recommends using holiday lights that produce low heat, like miniature or LED (light emitting diode) light sets, which will also reduce fire risk. These holiday lights are generally inexpensive and cost pennies to run – making them a win, win.

Replenish Your Tree’s Water Supply Daily

As a rule, a tree will absorb as much as one quart of water each day per inch in trunk’s diameter, so make sure you’re using a reservoir-type tree stand that holds at least a gallon of water. The NCTA recommends using one of the following four tree stands: a center pin stand, a two-piece stand, a four-bolt stand, or a “clamp” stand. When topping off your tree’s water supply, plain tap water is fine, and temperature doesn’t matter and will not affect water intake (despite popular belief). Although not necessary, you can also add a preservative to help keep your tree fresh and reduce needle loss. Preservatives can be found at your local nursery or tree lot.

Pre-Soak Fresh Garlands and Wreaths

If you plan to buy fresh garlands and wreaths this year and want to ensure they remain fresh through the holidays, pre-soak them for 24 hours, beginning as soon as you get them home. Simply place your greenery into the tub, fill with water (until the wreath and/or garland is completely submerged), and let soak for 24 hours. Once the time has elapsed, drain the water from the tub, and prop the greenery up so that all of the water can drain off. Once dry, place in an area where you will have plenty of room to spread its needles, after which time you can hang it or drape it wherever you’d like. Your greenery should look and smell as fresh as the day you bought it.

Dispose of Fresh Greenery Responsibly

Once the holidays have come and gone, don’t just toss your fresh greenery to the curb, where it will take up landfill space. Recycle it all! Most cities, including Phoenix, have programs in place that collect trees, garlands, and wreathes and turn them into mulch for local parks and green areas. You will find tree drop off areas all over town beginning as early as December 26th. On Saturday, January 7, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Phoenix residents can also drop off their trees to be recycled at the “I Recycle Phoenix” festival.

Holiday Cleaning Tips

holiday cleaning tips

It’s amazing how quickly time flies, isn’t it? At Carpet Cleaning Service AZ, we can hardly believe its November, let alone the fact that it’s nearly holiday time again! With only 16 days left until Thanksgiving, 48 days left until Christmas, and 55 days left until we ring in the New Year now is certainly the best time to begin thinking of ways to make your home merry, bright, and clean.

Here are some holiday cleaning tips that we hope will help you make the most of the quickly approaching season.

Prioritize Your To-Do List

Your holiday to-do list is probably endless…am I right? Just the thought of finding time to clean in the midst of holiday baking, shopping, decorating, etc. can cause unnecessary stress. Prioritizing your cleaning to-do list means that you’ll get the most important rooms (i.e., kitchen, bathrooms, living room, dining room, entry way) out of the way before the holiday, and your guests, arrive.

Rearrange Furniture (as needed)

Your regular floor plan, and furniture placement may not accommodate a host of people, which is why a little rearranging may be needed. Rearrange furniture in a way that creates intimate conversation areas as well as allows for unhindered traffic flow (you don’t want anyone tripping). Set up a table with drinks and appetizers in the living room or den. The less people in the kitchen, the better.

Freshen Your Carpets

Carpets are like sponges – they absorb everything that settles on them. If your carpets aren’t looking or smelling their best, we highly suggest having them professionally steamed cleaned, before your guests arrive. Be mindful that some carpets can take up to 24 hours to dry, so you’ll want to have them cleaned well in advance of turkey day, or any of the other holidays coming to a home near you soon.

Safeguard Your Floors

Did you know when you get your carpet, tile & grout, and stone floors professionally steamed cleaned, you can opt for an extra layer of protection? Your floors will be protected from stains of all kinds; so while you can’t stop red wine, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie spills from happening, you can protect your floors from stains that set in. Ask us today about our high-quality protection options.

Enlist Help

If you’re a type A, you might be inclined to do all the planning, decorating, baking, and cleaning yourself. However, things will run much smoother and be less stressful if you enlist help from your family – and don’t forget Carpet Cleaning Service AZ. When people ask to help, it’s because they truly want to, so take them up on their offer – no matter how small or large the task.

Cook in Advance

You don’t have to trade family time for a 5-course meal. Many vegetable side dishes, casseroles, and desserts can be made in advance and either kept refrigerated or placed in the freezer until the big day. Pinterest has some phenomenal turkey and ham recipes that can be cooked in the crockpot thus eliminating the need to slave over a hot stove when your friends and family are gathered near.