Monday, January 20, 2014

                           Change Your Home Air Filter

It has been a while since I posted a blog and I apologize. :)  I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years!

The one part of cleaning most forget about is changing the air filter. We notice in the majority of homes we clean that the filters are rarely checked or changed. We always focus to keep the vents cleaned out specially the return air vent. 

      Regular maintenance of your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is critical to ensure its long life and proper operation. Proper maintenance of your air system can help keep your loved ones safe from extreme temperatures —and may also help save you some money in the long run.

       The last you want during the winter or summer is having your air go out. The air system also referred to as the HVAC system keeps you cool during the summer and warm during the winter. Changing the filter out regularly helps to insure your system has a long life. During the summer it is recommended to change the filter every 30 days. During the colder months you can probably get away with changing your filter every 2 or 3 months depending on the area your in and how much you use your air. 

  I have added some tips in from other sites I read regularly that I thought would be beneficial. 

How to Do It:
Following these steps will make changing your air filter easy. But, always make sure to read your HVAC system's manufacturer instructions to ensure you understand how to properly change the filter.

Step 1. Buy a new filter.Before you buy a new air filter, check your owner's manual to identify the right number or size (it should also be printed on the side of your existing air filter). You should be able to get a replacement filter at a hardware store, or some department stores sell them.

Step 2. Turn off the unit.Be sure to turn off your HVAC unit before attempting to change the filter, for your own safety. If you can't figure out how to turn off the unit itself, you should turn off the breaker.

Step 3. Remove the old filter.Most air filters are located on the right side of the unit. The filter should easily pull out of its slot in the furnace. It's not common, but sometimes filters are found in air vents in your home. If that is the case, you will likely need to contact a professional to change the filter.

Step 4. Insert new filter. Simply slide the new filter into place. There are arrows on the new filter to indicate which side should be facing the outside air.

Remove the old filter and slide the new filter in. 
If at anytime you have trouble be sure to call a professional to help. 

Don't forget it is good to have your HVAC tuned up as well. 

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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Holiday House Cleaning Tips!

Welcome to the House Cleaning Pros Blog and Helping Hands Cleaning Services!

Quickly becoming one of the top cleaning companies on the Gulf Coast!

     The Holidays are here and we are all running around in circles trying to prepare! Sounds familiar im sure lol.  For most of us we plan, plan plan but making the move to get started is the hardest part. We all make lists of everything that we need, call family and friends to make arrangements then comes the hard work of getting the house in order!

     Most of us this time of year have stuff scattered all over the house, cluttered and generally just not clean. As much as we hate to, the best place to start is with all of that clutter. I read a little saying on another blog that cracked my up and I wanted to share it with you!  “You don’t want to put lipstick on a donkey.” That idea cracks me up every time. But it is true. "Lipstick on a donkey is not really the look we are going for."

Lets just jump right in to the nitty gritty and get started!

1] Remove the Clutter: As with most, procrastination is much easier than getting to it but that will only stress you out and drive you crazy. The sooner you start the better but with the Holidays on top of us you just have to make it happen. 

  The best way to remove the clutter for the Holidays is go room by room picking up all of the items you really don't need or use in that room right now. You can place them in a closet until the Holidays are over, place them in a box, the attic or any where that is out of the way. Just remember, the longer you wait the more stressing it can be!

2]  Work room by room: Be sure and work room by room, not just running around like a mad person all over the house. You will go nuts if you try running around frantically. I like to start in a room going clock wise around the room just like when I'm cleaning not to miss a corner. Break it down by room and organize it to make it simpler and less stressing. 

3] Get energized to keep working: The best way I find to get energized while cleaning is with music and not just some slow beat music but higher energy music with a beat. That always gets me moving and keeps me going. Remember to keep working at it once your started. If you stop at any point it is next to impossible to going again. If you have kids or roommates, get them involved with you to make it more fun. You can all dance around to music, play a game etc. The most energizing effect is seeing a room clean! That always motivates me to continue!

4] Holiday Decorating: So, the house is clean, organized and clutter free right ! If not, go back to step one and start over but at this point we will assume the house is ready for Holiday decorating, good food and good times with friends and family! Now that the house is clean it's time for the exciting part of decorating! Go grab your decorations , place them in the living room or biggest room in the house and start from there. I like putting up the tree first for Christmas, it always gets my in the spirit! How ever you like to do it just get the decorations out and get started! 

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

I will keep you updated on my decorations. We are planning on putting up a light show on our house with lights timed with Christmas music! I'm not the most technically advanced individual so we shall see how that comes out!  LOL

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Cold Weather Proofing An Older House

    If your like me and you live in an older house then you know how cold it is in the Winter, even when it isn't really that cold outside lol. I live in the South where we just think it gets cold compared to other areas but living in an older house makes it event colder especially with hardwood floors!

    The winter is seems to be already with us this year, earlier than usual it seems. Weather proofing and insulating your house not only helps with keeping IT warm and cozy but it can also save a bundle on energy bills as well. Windows and doors seem to be the main areas where there are gaps and drafts for cold air to sneak in! It also helps in the Summer months as well to keep the AC bill down. 

   Listed below are several known ways to seal off from the cold and stay warm at nights. Feel free to comment or leave any other suggestions you may have for keeping your house all cozy for the winter. 

Seal  The Window Gaps with Caulk. This also looks a lot better than covering the windows with plastic. If your house is like mine and a lot of older houses the windows are single pain and let a lot of cold air in during the cold months. 

    • 1
      Identify gaps around windows ( It won't take long when you feel the cold air coming in.) You need to seal and insulate all of the windows in your house. When feeling for drafts, you can use a candle. Just light it and hold it near each window. When the flame dances, a draft is likely the cause.
    • 2
      Insert caulk tube into the caulk gun.
    • 3
      Cut off tip of caulk tube with a utility knife.
    • 4
      Gently squeeze gun handle as you move along the perimeter of each window, laying down a solid seal of caulk as you go. This will insulate the living areas of your house. 
      This will also seal the window closed. Be sure to keep something near by in case you need to open the window quickly. Some of my windows are caulked shut and can not be opened. 

    Install Plastic Sheeting on Windows

    • 5
      Wash the inside edge of window panes with warm, soapy water.
    • 6
      Cut double-sided tape with scissors to fit along the inside of window pane.
    • 7
      Peel one side of the backing off of the tape and stick it to the window frame.
    • 8
      Peel off the exposed side of the double-sided tape on the top of the window.
    • 9
      Starting at one of the corners, stick the plastic sheeting to the tape, forming a complete seal. Leave about an inch overlap to be trimmed later. Move slowly across the window, sticking the plastic to the tape.
    • 10
      Repeat for the sides and bottom edges of the window.
    • 11
      Trim excess plastic with scissors or a utility knife.
    • 12
      Smooth out any wrinkles in the plastic by using a blow dryer. Keep the setting on low and slowly pass it over the plastic to shrink it to fit your window.
    • 13
      Repeat this process to seal every window in your house. This will ensure that you will get the most out of your new insulation.

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Soap Scum Removal Cleaning Tip

                  Cleaning Tips For Removing Soap Scum

      Of all cleaning we do on a weekly basis the number one cleaning issue we run across is Soap Scum! It doesn't matter how clean your keep your house, kitchen, bathroom etc. soap scum seems to always be there. Most all of my customers complain about it and ask what the best method is to get rid of soap scum. 

To start with lets discuss what soap scum is and why it seems to mysteriously appear in our bathrooms, kitchens and anywhere you use water and soap. 

Definition: Soap scum is a white or gray filmy layer that covers the surfaces around our showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Soap scum can be found on shower curtains, bathroom fixtures, bathtubs, shower doors, tiling, and more.
Soap scum is actually formed thanks to minerals in tap water that combine with soap and dirt to create a layer of scaliness over the surfaces in our bathrooms. Those with mineral filled hard water are much more likely to have soap scum buildup. Soap scum can be difficult to remove if it's left for too long, because it continues to build up each time the area around it is used. Soap scum that is left to build can sometimes combine with mold or mildew and have other discolorations and odors.
Also Known As: limescale

Back to getting rid of the soap scum after we shower, do dishes etc is a task. The last thing you won't to do is ignore it and attempt to clean it later on! Getting rid of soap scum can really be a challenge and is not something to be ignored or it will just get worst over time!

How to Remove Soap Scum On Your Own

 with good maintenance soap scum usually ( I highlighted this part because this is not always the case.)  will just wipe away, but as with most of us time gets away from us and you can’t find the opportunity to clean which is usually why you call us or another cleaning company in your area.
Soap scum almost seems like concrete when it has not been cleaned on a regular basis. It can find its way on walls, tubs, shower curtains, and under hair care containers leaving stains in its wake. The last part we see quite often. ( Be sure to clean under your hair care products and soaps regularly. )
Once it has hardened and sat for it a while soap scum becomes almost impossible to remove and clean and makes our jobs almost impossible as well!

The best thing I have found to beat soap scum once it has hardened is a magic eraser! If your like me and do not like using magic eraser, get over it lol. They work!
 I had a customer recently tell me she thought those were just a scam and didn't think they would work but after showering her the improvement of her showering after using a magic eraser and cleaning it she was extremely impressed and thanked me repeatedly. 

Below is some info I found on another blog, that I found very useful and interesting. 

Homemade Soap Scum Removers

Note: If any of the cleaning products you purchase contain bleach or ammonia as an additional cleaner, remember these two are highly toxic when mixed together so be extra careful when using either of these so not to accidentally use them together. This is something we are very serious about.
There are many methods and products available for getting rid of soap scum once it has built up. Some of the products we’ll be mentioning might already be in your home.
If they are, that’s great, no extra trip to the store. And no getting sidetracked and then talking yourself out of cleaning it up.
Note: Keep in mind soap scum can be tough to clean- really tough, so if the first cleaning product you try doesn’t work, don’t give up, just move on to the next one.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil (as in lemon furniture oil) will clean well and also prevent further build up.
  1. Apply the lemon oil with an acrylic scrubby in a circular motion.
  2. Wipe away with a soft cotton cloth.
Cloth baby diapers work well for this. Not only will this clean but it will leave you with a fresh scent.


Borax works well as a scouring powder instead of harsher, chemically toxic cleaners.
  1. Just pour the Borax on a sponge and apply to the soap scum with a touch of water.
  2. Circular motions when cleaning soap scum always work better than the back and forth motion many of us use. This can help with some of the tougher jobs.
  3. Rinse well when done.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another non-toxic abrasive that can be used in the bathtub, use in the same manner as the Borax.
  1. Just sprinkle the Baking Soda on the soap scum with a touch of water.
  2. Scrub in a circular motion.
  3. Rinse well when done.
  4. Follow it up with pouring a cup of white vinegar down the drain to clean the drain.

Spray and Wash ™

Some people swear by laundry stain removers like Spray and Wash ™.
  1. Spray the spray and wash liquid on the soap scum.
  2. Leave the spray and wash on the soap scum and leave for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse well.

Laundry Detergent

Powdered laundry detergent works well as a non-toxic cleaner.
  1. Make a 50/50 paste of laundry detergent and water
  2. Work the paste into the soap scum and leave on for 15 minutes.
  3. Scrub in a circular motion.
  4. Rinse well when finished.

White Vinegar

Straight white vinegar can be just as effective at removing soap scum. It's a mild acid and natural deodorizer.
  1. Just spray full strength white vinegar with a drop or 2 of liquid dishwashing detergent on the stain.
  2. Rub lightly to distribute the cleaning solution
  3. Let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Scrub with a plastic scrubby to work away the soap scum.


Ammonia works on the worst soap scum build up but you must wear gloves to protect your hands. Be sure to rinse well and keep the kids away from the ammonia while you’re working.
  1. Mix 1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water.
  2. Spray on the stain.
  3. Let the ammonia work on the stain for 5 minutes
  4. Scrub, and rinse well to wipe away the soap scum.

To sum it up it is best and easiest to just do regular cleaning and prevent the soap scum from forming in the first place. Below are some great tips to prevent soap scum from forming. 

Preventing Soap Scum

Another way to approach the idea of getting rid of soap scum is not only to clean it after it has shown up but to halt or slow its appearance with precautionary measures.
Here are some additional ways to work around soap scum, tackling the problem from a different angle.

Switch to Liquid Soap

Switching to liquid soap is great way to prevent soap scum from forming to begin with. 
That would be the easy way out lol. 
Since liquid soap is not solid it won't stick to surfaces when it dries. But of course, since you are here most likely it is to late unless your one of the lucky ones trying to prevent from having the hard work of removing the concrete off your shower!
Keep this cleaning tip in the back of your mind if you want to avoid having to chisel off soap scum in the future.

Use a Squeegee on the shower, tub and specially the glass shower doors after ever shower!

A squeegee always helps after showering as it can remove most of the water from shower walls and the shower door.
You can pick these up at a dollar store and put one in each bathroom.

Wax the Walls

This one I had not heard about and found on another blog site. But, Waxing the walls and hard shower doors with regular car wax I have read will make the water bead up and slide off, preventing soap scum build up. This makes since of course but I have never thought about it. 
They say this should only be done about once every six months and will also work on the counter tops.

Rain X

Another great product that works well for any problem that water runs on like your walls, shower doors and even shower curtains is Rain X. This is an automotive product, it can be found in most grocery stores within the automotive section.
And of course you can get it in an automotive store. The main purpose of this product is to cause rain water to bead on car windows.
But also works well in the shower.

Epsom Salt

One trick that is easy to use, has many purposes and most people have around there house is Epsom Salt. To keep the soap scum from attaching just add a bit of Epsom Salt to the bath water every time you bath. It easily dissolves into water, not only helps prevent soap scum but it great for your body as well. 
Something about the salt keeps the scum from attaching and will also help soothe away those aches and pains from a long day!

Baby Oil

This is another tidbit that I did not know! When you use baby oil in the shower, spread a bit on the shower doors to keep them scum free. This type of application will help rebuff and repel soap scum, making it harder to cling to the walls.
Just remember that baby oil makes the shower very slippery so reconsider if you have young ones who may slip slide their way around the tub.
Hopefully these tips will come in handy and also to save you some time. Areas that collect soap scum, like showers walls, baths and glass doors are hard to always keep perfectly clean.
It is always good to have different options and there are many tricks of the trade that can help you on your way.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hardwood Floors and Scuff Marks

We all know hardwood floors add value to your home, but cleaning hardwood floors isn't always that easy. Wood floors opposed to tile are softer and are easier to damage with cleaning solvents. Most don't realize that a lot of household and commercial cleaners damage hardwood floors over time.

Scuffs on a hardwood are a very common problem, whether they came from your shoes, kids or pets. You can remove them without resorting to damaging chemicals or cleaners. There are several non damaging tricks you can use to get those stubborn scuff marks up. I have listed a few below.

    • 1
      Wipe the scuff mark with a wet sponge. Take a pink rubber eraser, the kind you used in elementary school,  and rub with the grain of the wood. If this isn't strong enough, you can find scuff erasers at a hardware store. They are just harder rubber. Do not use a plastic or gritty eraser, this will damage wood floor.
    • 2
      Rub a clean tennis ball over the scuff with the grain of the wood. You can put it on the end of a mop or broomstick by cutting an "X" in it and sticking it on the end of the stick. This way you can stand instead of kneel to clean the spot. This is a good technique if you have frequent scuffs.
      (I highlighted this section because this trick tends to be our favorite in the commercial cleaning industry. It works on most marks that are hard to get up) 
    • 3
      Mix baking soda and a small amount of water into a paste. Rub it gently onto the scuff with a sponge or toothbrush. A non-gel toothpaste may be used as well. These are both mild natural abrasives. Work in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Dry it off with a soft towel when the scuff is gone.

      We use a great hydrogen peroxide based cleaner to clean floors but still struggle with scuff marks. The tennis ball method tends to work well. 

      You can use the same tips above on your tile floor as well. Tile floors are a little easier because they are harder to damage than hardwood floors. You can use a magic eraser ( Also perfect for soap scum which I will talk about in another post.) 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweeping versus Vacuuming

     Some people reach for a broom the minute a mess hits the floor. Others drag out the vacuum. Although both sweeping and vacuuming are effective at cleaning up most messes, knowing the differences between the two can make the chore a lot easier. In some situations, a vacuum is best. Other situations call for a broom and dustpan. It all depends on the constitution of the mess and where it landed. 

 There are some interesting face that most don't know when it comes to sweeping. I prefer to vacuum everything as much as possible and rarely use a broom. When sweeping the particulates which is a general name given to a tiny solid or liquid particle or piece of matter. It usually refers to particles in the air (airborne particulates) end up in the air and are not picked up compared to vacuuming them. We use hepa filter vacuums to prevent any dust particulates etc from escaping. 

  The health effects can range from none at all to very serious.

For people with allergies, certain types and amounts of particulates, such as mold spores, pet dander, pollen, or dust mites, may cause allergic reactions. Some people can be allergic to material in tobacco smoke and other combustion byproducts. Asthmatic episodes can occur in some people. Examples of allergic symptoms and signs include nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, coughing, runny eyes, throat irritation, rashes and headaches. In severe allergic reactions, death can occur. Believe it or not some people are seriously allergic to dust. Dust from sweeping can stay in the air for several hours after sweeping getting caught in the air, landing on counters , furniture etc. 

All in all I have found that sweeping as a little as possible out ways vacuuming anytime, If you can, use a hepa filter vacuum but either way vacuuming is always best. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


To start this, the meaning of multitask is:The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes.

 Multitasking refers to the ability of an individual or machine to perform more than one task, or multiple tasks, at the same time. In the field of human resources, multitasking is a popular term that is often used to describe how busy managers or business practitioners are able to accomplish a growing amount of work in a limited time period. The term was popularized in the late 1990s with the increasing move to a 24-hours-per-day, seven-days-per-week work and service culture experienced in the U.S. The term has grown to define people in their roles as employees, parents, family members, and any number of other roles they perform simultaneously as they try to balance business and pleasure in a limited amount of time.

There is an article on NPR that I found very interesting to read. It is rather long but very interesting o read, or browse lol.

So, I know this is kind of an odd Blog Title but I've been doing this a lot lately and sometimes wander how people multitask when they have families, kids etc. I would really like some comments from others on how they multitask their day!

As you all know, I own and operate Helping Hands Cleaning Services, LLC. We are a full services residential and commercial cleaning company that has over the past couple of years kept me running lol. My brother works for and runs Southern Foundation and Repair also here in Mobile, AL. Last Thursday I started helping them 6am - 2pm with remodeling an old Historic home that was built in the early 1900s. I am helping remodel the house as close to its former condition and look as possible. My company will also be doing the post construction clean up as well. 

So, I'm helping with his business, running my residential and commercial cleaning company along with doing some strong marketing for the residential side of the business. This is definitely testing my multitasking skills to say the least. I have learned that as a business owner multitasking comes with the job and if you can't multitask then being a business owner is not for you. For those that multitask work, family, kids etc and make it work I give them props and they deserve a pat on the back. :)

I would love to hear from others on there stories of multitasking our suggestions on how they manage multitasking to make it work for them so please leave comments!!

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