Cleaning Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors can be finicky to clean, and with a few myths to how to clean them.

The 2 most common myths that I have heard is that you cannot use vinegar on the floor or hot water. Vinegar, if used sparingly, is a great dirt lifter and cleaner. It is important as mentioned to use only a little. Too much can over time remove the finish. Hot water, also, is a great cleaner. However, you want to only have your mop damp. Getting hardwood floors too wet can damage them. If you do get it too wet, dry immediately.

Naturally Clean has been cleaning hardwood floors for about 10 years, and we clean a lot of them on a daily basis. Here is our approach to cleaning hardwood floors.

What you need is, a vacuum with a soft hardwood floor attachment, a bucket and a microfiber flat mop and access to hot water.

Vacuum the floor thoroughly and don’t forget the corner and edges. When ready to wash the floor, dip the mop into the hot bucket water, but be sure you only get it damp. Mop the wood floor following the grain of the wood with even back and forth strokes. This will give you a streak free finish. If your floor is streaking, more than likely, the bucket water is dirty or the mop cloth is. A wood floor that looks cloudy is the result of product being used previously on the floor. To remove a product that was used on the floor will require that the floor be washed with more water. Wash the floor thoroughly but immediately dry it. Again, follow the grain.

If you need assistance in cleaning your floors or just need some tips, Naturally Clean is here to help.

Cleaning Laminate Flooring

Cleaning Laminate Flooring

Cleaning laminate floor is much easier to maintain then their counterpart, hardwood flooring. Both need care when cleaning them but laminate flooring can be less challenging in the sense they don’t streak as easily.

What you will need:
-a vacuum with soft flooring attachment
-a bucket
-a microfiber mop

First vacuum the floor from corner to corner with the floor piece attachment. Do not use an upright vacuum that has adjustments for hard floor cleaning or a power head. These have a tendency to scratch the floor.

Fill up bucket with warm water. You do not need much water. The mop cloth should only be damp. At Naturally Clean we only use warm water and nothing else. However, some practices do say that you can include a bit of vinegar and soap. It really depends on the laminate itself. Adding a bit of vinegar or soap won’t hurt it. But see what works best for your floors.

When mopping follow the grain of the wood. This prevents streaking. And always have a clean mop and bucket water. A dirty mop cloth and bucket water will also result in a streaky filmy floor.

Laminate flooring are sturdy and do not scratch easily. They also need no waxing or polishing. If a touch stain does get on them you can use a soft scrubby pad and gently rub the stain.

How to Remove Candle Wax off Floors

How to Remove Candle Wax off Floors

I have always been nervous burning candles in my home. Although, they create a warm and relaxing ambiance in your room, they can be unsafe if left unattended or create havoc if candle wax spills onto your carpet or floors. Here is a tip from Naturally Clean if wax spills on your carpet or hard wood floors.

Hardened Candle Wax on Carpet
-take a brown paper bag and cut it so you can lay it flat
-lay the paper bag over the wax on the carpet
-warm up the steam iron on a moderate setting
-once warmed up move the iron back and forth over the wax. Do not have the iron come in contact with the carpet. The wax will absorb into the paper bag once the wax warms up.
-keep ironing the wax area until all the wax has been removed.

Hardened Candle Wax on Wood Floors

-fill up a plastic bag with ice and place it over the area where the wax is.
-leave the iced bag on the area until the wax becomes brittle enough to come off
-you can also place an ink blotter on the area and apply a hot iron to the top of the blotter if some candle wax did not come off. Again, do not have the iron come in contact with the wood.

Cleaning Tips from Naturally Clean

Naturally Clean has been in the home and office cleaning business for over 15 years. We have definitely collected a number of cleaning tips that we would like to share with you over the next few blogs.

Kitchen Cabinets – although cabinets these days are protected with a varnish or over protective covering, you do not want to use anything abrasive on them or any acids. A good washing with soap and water should do it. If you need something stronger for built on grease, choose an alkaline based cleaner which is designed specifically for grease. Always spray on the cloth and never directly on the surface.

Toilet bowl rings – toilet bowl rings is a constant issue Naturally Clean deals with. The best way to prevent toilet bowl rings from developing is to clean your toilet weekly. As soon as you see rings forming clean right away. When you let them sit for too long they start to get absorbed into the porcelain. A natural way to remove them is to pour a jug of vinegar into the toilet bowl water and let sit for a few hours, and then scrub. If the rings are very bad, use a pumice stone.

Lessons I have Learned

Being in the cleaning business for over 20 years, I have learned many things. I have learned skills in operating a business, managing staff and building good working relationships as well as learning about who I am as a business owner and as a person. Here are just a few valuable lessons I have learned over the years.

1. The customer is always right. No matter how much you want to express your opinion…don’t.
2. Think before you speak. Be a thoughtful listener and speaker. This builds trust and connections with staff and clients
3. Be confident! Yes, you need the skills to sell but when you believe in yourself and your product it will help you to succeed.
4. Know that there is always a solution to a problem. You may have to be creative about it but there is a way to make it work
5. Keep your integrity. Being an all-natural cleaning business and being passionate to our mission, I have been in the position to compromise our beliefs to being truly green. I have, in the past, been asked to use compromising products, like bleach and windex. I believe when you do this you breach a trust and respect of your clients, staff and to your business ethics.

Stories of being in the Cleaning Business

It is rare when I can spend a Saturday at home just lounging around. Usually my weekends are kept busy buzzling about town doing errands, cleaning house and completing work. In my leisure time this weekend, I spent it with my iPad thinking of new ideas for my blog. Many thoughts danced through my mind to what I could write about in the next coming weeks. It was when reminiscing about the many funny and intense moments since being in the cleaning business, that I was overcome with chuckles. I knew in an instant that I just had to share some of them.

I thought all was going well with this team in terms of getting along. I had paired my strongest team leader with a fairly new cleaner. In the reviews of her work form other cleaners she was doing well. The two cleaners worked together about 5 times and I did not receive any feedback on her performance form the team leader so I just assumed all was going well. Then I got the call. They were at their last house of the, and it was a huge home in a very quiet cul de sac. When I picked up the phone I heard a screeching voice, yelling that she is walking off the job, that she is done, that she can’t work with her and that she can’t stand when someone is constantly following her around checking her work. In the middle of her screeching, the other call comes in. It is the team leader, she is crying frantically and anxiously, and tells me her story. Of course the 2 stories do not match. According to her, she was doing her job by checking to be sure that all tasks are completed thoroughly. The other cleaner was not happy about this and did not like being checked up on. The cleaner then started calling her names and said some horrifying words…like I hope your fall down the stairs and break your leg. She was flailing her arms and waving clutched fists at her while screaming offensive things. As she spins off in her car, she flips the team leader the bird while still screaming hysterically. And to top it off, neighbours were outside watching the whole incident.

I do have a strong instinct of which story was more plausible, but it is not my position take sides but to listen and to find solutions to the problem. Being fairly good at conflict resolution, I was able to calm and direct each cleaner to continue on with the day. Of course each one of them had different cleaners they worked with for the rest of the day, and business continued on as usual.

Men and Household Chores

I gave my dad a surprise visit the other day. As I walked in the aging front door, and entered into the solarium, I saw my kneeling father with a duster and broom in hand sweeping up a jumble of dirt from the tiled flooring. This image warmed my heart and brought a smile to my face knowing that my dad, a recent widow, was keeping up with the domestic chores. My father, possibly because of my mother, is a tidy and clean man. I am not sure if he takes complete pleasure in domestic work but it is in his character to keep an orderly and clean home.

Seeing my dad in his role as domestica, it made me ask if men actually enjoy domestic work or is it completely out of necessity or is it even a thought. We all know the stereotype that men are not domestic creatures. They are the breadwinners and housework is a women’s role. In recent surveys conducted the consensus is that men still contribute less to unpaid work generally because they work longer hours. However, even when out of a job, men still manage to do way less housework then woman.

According to the Time Magazine Use Survey data released by the Bureau of Labour Statistics claims that on an average day, 83 percent of women and 65 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management. In another survey men ranked high in Scandinavian countries in contributing to the domestic duties of a home. While Japan and Italy ranked one of the lowest.

Overall statistics reveal that there is still a huge gender gap in where men are still not sharing their equal weight when it comes to domestic work.

Good for you dad, for being a rarity.

Seven Sins of Greenwashing

Ever since the birth of the, eco-friendly era, there have been small businesses to big corporations that make claims that their businesses are completely ‘all natural, eco-friendly, green’,etc. Many fall short and are vague about their level of ‘eco-friendliness. This misleading claim to promote a product or business as ecofriendly is called ‘green washing.

Although some businesses are true to making a step forward in going green. There are way too many other businesses that use the term as a convenient slogan. As consumers we are constantly bombarded with advertising campaigns saying, improve your air quality, detox your life, save the ocean, etc. Greenwashing has made it challenging for consumers to comfortably know when statements are true or if they are being stretched.

Terra choice an environmental service that has tested more than 2,000 self proclaimed environmentally friendly products in North America. What they found was that only 25 out of the 2,000 were truly eco-friendly. In other words, 98 per cent of products with labels ‘natural or ‘environmentally friendly are actually making false claims.

The report by TerraChoice is very informative and I have included the link for people who want to become more aware of the ‘Seven Sins of Greenwashing.’


How to teach kids to clean!

How to Teach Kids to Clean!

Having to clean up after your kids can be an endless chore. Just as you have cleaned up the clutter from one room and moved onto to the next, you return to find what you had already cleaned to be a band new mess. This endless cycle is for sure frustrating and trying.

Helping your little ones learn to clean at an early stage can be easy. Here are some simple strategies.

Motivate kids to get involved – The key to getting your kids involved in the cleaning is to think about what motivates them. It is for sure that kids love to play, so why not make cleaning fun and playful. Turning on music, sing some songs together, do a little dance, makes any task less of a bore and even cleaning can be fun when it’s time spent together.

Start slow and keep it age appropriate – Giving a two or three year old a list of chores to complete is unrealistic. A child does not have the attention span or focus to remember a list of chores nor to keep them from what they really want to do, which is play. Keep it real and start slow. For a smaller child give them one thing to do, and show them visually on how to do it, and then praise them for a job well done. Once they have mastered the one chore, then you can build on that.

Give them a choice- Children who are given a choice of chores do them better and more happily. Making a child complete a task that they totally dislike will discourage them from wanting them to do it. Giving a choice will give them a sense of power and build their self-confidence.

Work together as a family – One of the best motivators for a child is to work together with an adult. From a child’s point of view, it’s downright lonely to be sentenced to clean a bathroom each afternoon after school. By forming a cleaning alliance, it speaks that we are all in it together which can also motivate a child.

Keep your expectations realistic – I know we all think we have the right way of doing something but this way of thinking can add an element of conflict. Encourage kids to clean by praising them for a ‘good job’ no matter on how it is done. An 8 year olds vacuum cleaning skills will get better with age and practice.


Many Uses of Baking Soda

In our recent blog on the many uses of vinegar, I was surprised to learn all the uses that vinegar can be used in the garden. Now in my research on baking soda, I have come to discover how baking soda is useful in the garden. Here are some ways.

Sweeten Tomatoes – To sweeten your tomatoes, lower their acidity, and discourage pests, sprinkle baking soda lightly on and around the soil they are in.

Use it as a Natural Fungicide –   Just mix 4 tsp of baking soda and 1 gallon of water. Put solution on a cloth and rub the mixture for black spot fungus and also on grapes and vines when fruit first begins to appear.

Use as an Organic Pesticide – Make a safe and organic pesticide spray that can kill insects harmful to plants, like aphids, while not harming beneficial insects. Take 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix with one third cup of cooking oil. Use about two teaspoons of the mix with one cup of water and put into a spray bottle.

Magnificent Blooms – If you have flowers that thrive in alkaline soil, baking soda offers a simple way to get them to bloom magnificently. Geraniums, begonias, and hydrangeas get a huge benefit from being watered with a slight, weak amount of baking soda.

Powdery Mildew –Powdery mildew can cause major problems in gardens with high humidity.   It affects many plants like zinnias, impatiens, squash and cucumbers and roses. Mix 1 tbsp. of baking soda, 1 gallon of water, 1 tbsp. of vegetable oil and 1 tbsp. of dishwashing liquid.   Mix and put in a sprayer.  Use it weekly and when it is not sunny.

Get Rid of Pesky Bugs and Ants – by sprinkling baking soda on the soil in your garden, you can keep away rabbits, roaches, silver fish. For ants, sprinkle it on top of their ant hill, wait for a bit and then add some vinegar. The ants will ingest this and die.

Kill Cabbage worms.  Mix equal parts of baking soda and flour and dust plants such as broccoli, cabbage and kale that are attractive to cabbage worms.  The worms will eat the mixture on the leaves and die in a day or so.  Repeat the process as often as needed.

Smelly Compost – To prevent the acidity from building up and keeping the smell of a compost area down, put baking soda right on top of the compost pile.

As a Weed killer/preventer.  You can use baking soda or vinegar to kill any weeds that start sprouting out of cracks and from growing new ones. Just pour baking soda full strength onto cracks in a patio or walkway.