How To Clean Painted Walls

Remember how clean your house looked right after the walls were freshly painted* ? Living in your home day in and day out (especially with kids!) can take a toll. Cleaning walls is a big job, but it’s much cheaper than repainting! Follow these steps for how to clean walls and you’ll get that new home feeling back in no time!

Step 1: Move furniture to the center of the room.

Step 2: Gather your tools:spectrum

  • White cleaning cloths
  • Natural sponge (colored sponges can leave dyes on light colored walls)
  • Old sheets
  • Two buckets
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Step 3: Lay down old sheets to catch messes. Avoid plastic tarps – they turn slippery when wet!

Step 4: Remove artwork/pictures from walls and cover nails with a piece of the sponge. This will remind you where pictures were hanging and protect your hands when washing the walls.

Step 5: Mix your cleaning solution in one of the buckets.

For normal soil levels, try a mild detergent solution that consists of:

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • a good squeeze of liquid dishwashing detergent

For more heavily soiled walls, you’ll need a stronger solution. Be sure to spot test the cleaning mixture first to ensure it won’t remove or lighten paint. Add all of the following to your bucket and give it a good mix before you begin:

  • 1 gallon warm water
  • 1 cup clear non-sudsing ammonia
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup washing soda (borax)

Step 6: Fill a second bucket with clean water for rinsing. Be sure to change the water frequently!

Now you’re ready to begin cleaning your walls. Always wash the entire wall, from bottom to top and side to side. If you need to take a break, be sure to do so at the end of a wall, as stopping in the middle can cause “wash marks” (known as the wave effect).

*this method works just as effectively on wallpapered walls!

Just as you vacuum after you dust, if you haven’t had your carpets professionally cleaned in more than six months, you should consider having this done after you finish cleaning your walls. Spectrum Cleaning & Restoration offers state-of-the-art equipment, reasonable rates and our professional guarantee. Learn more at http://spectrumclean.com

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Sweet Dreams: 7 Mattress Cleaning Tips

mattress cleaning tips

Your mattress is a big investment, and should buy you many years of sweet dreams. But sleeping on it night after night, year after year can take a toll, which is why it’s so important to take good care of it. Here are 7 mattress cleaning tips to help you get the most out of your investment:

1. Frame it right – No one likes to sleep on a hard lumpy mattress. Just as our bodies need the support of a good mattress, mattresses also need a proper place to rest. When you purchase a mattress, make sure you also purchase the box spring so that the two pieces will work together as a set.

2. Seasonal spin — Unless specifically told otherwise, rotate your mattress from head to foot when the seasons change. This helps prevent the formation of sleeping “wallows,” caused by the same body in the same spot every night.

3. Flip it — Mattresses should also be flipped when the seasons change. *Pillow-top mattresses can’t be flipped.

mattress cleaning tips

4. Ban bouncing — Kids enjoy bouncing on the bed, but your poor mattress despises this action. Jumping on beds can damage mattresses and box springs, and fracture bed frames.

5. Use protection — Sweet dreams are the goal, but accidents happen. Protect mattresses from messy mishaps with mattress pads or a mattress protector. They’ll absorb moisture and spills before they soak through to the mattress. They are even good for dust and help with allergies.

6. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum — Regular vacuuming will keep mattresses clean and fresh. Remove all bedding from the mattress, and use the upholstery brush to vacuum every surface of the mattress. Vacuuming your mattress removes dust, skin flakes and dust mites.

mattress cleaning tips

7. Clean stains safely — Stains are likely to happen, and when they do, use an upholstery shampoo to remove them.

* FYI — An alternative cleaner, recommended by manufacturers for use on mattresses, is called “dry suds.” Create them by placing about 1/4 cup of liquid dishwashing detergent in a small mixing bowl. Turn the mixer on, and add a few teaspoons of water, a teaspoon at a time. The bowl will fill with foam. Scrape the top layer of foam into a small bowl, and take it to the mattress to use. Rub the stained area gently with the foam, using a sponge or a soft brush; make sure you do not wet the padding beneath. Leave the mattress exposed until it’s completely dry before replacing your bedding.

Spectrum Cleaning & Restoration offers state-of-the-art equipment, reasonable rates and our professional guarantee. Learn more at http://spectrumclean.com

Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to receive all our updates and special offers!

School Gear Cleaning Tips

Now that the kids are back in school, you’re presented with a slew of new things to clean. From backpacks to lunch bags and all the items that come home every day of the week, here are a few handy cleaning tips to help keep things from getting out of control before winter break:

school gear cleaning tipsReusable Lunch Bags should be emptied right after school. This is a biggie! It might take a few weeks for kids to get in the habit, but a note by the most-used entrance (where backpacks are hung up) can help. When kids empty their lunch bag, they can leave the empty bag by the sink.

When you get to it, simply add a drop of liquid detergent to the bottom and rinse it out with warm water.

Wipe it out with a paper towel and then hang the bag upside down over a large plastic cup to air dry. Once it’s dry, go over both the inside and outside with an anti-bacterial wipe and air dry again before use.

Backpacks can get pretty disgusting by midterms. Kids have a hard enough time not school gear cleaning tipslosing things. Keeping their backpacks clean will help them stay organized and feel more in control of their school supplies and their class assignments. Pick one day a week to go through backpacks together. Doesn’t matter what day it is – it can even be over the weekend – but make sure the entire contents get dumped out. Once it’s empty, hand over the anti-bacterial wipes so that they can wipe down the inside and outside of their bags before putting everything back into their backpacks. Older kids can have a bit more privacy to do this on their own, but should be made to show you the before and after – it’ll give them some ownership over their success.

Sports Bags. Getting those duffel bags filled with soccer uniforms and hockey equipment into fighting shape after a week’s worth of practices, games and even a weekend tournament can be seriously intimidating. But bacteria from sweaty, wet school gear cleaning tipscloths can migrate to clean gear, and eventually to your healthy player… who doesn’t want to miss out on the big game because of a nasty cold! First, take everything out of the bag… Even the plastic piece at the bottom. Wipe the inside of the bag down thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Let it air dry, then wipe every surface, inside and out with anti-bacterial wipes. Let air dry again before placing clean uniforms and equipment back into the bag. Repeat at least twice a month to keep bacteria from building up inside the bag.

Entryways. In and out. In and out. Doors get left open. Backpacks get dumped. And as the warmer days of September give way to the cooler temps of October, jackets and sweaters get left in doorways and at the bottom of the staircase, too. It’s enough to drive parents crazy! A few ideas for keeping this area clean:

Get one small, square laundry basket for each little offender. Simply ask that they school gear cleaning tipsdump their stuff in their own basket, rather than on the floor. If they don’t – YOU get to dump it into whatever basket is closest – and you don’t care which basket it goes into. Which means, if it goes into the wrong one…? The sibling who wants it back will have to BUY it back (be sure to put a cap on it!). OR you can keep it for yourself and charge in household chores.

Hang a coat hook at the right height for each child just outside the garage entry door. That way backpacks get hung up outside the entry way, rather than dropped inside. The problem here is the “out of sight out of mind” homework issue. Be sure to remind them to bring their homework binders inside first!

Place a shoe tray just outside the door, to remind kiddos to remove their shoes before they come inside. Instilling a “no shoes in the house” rule will help you keep your carpets clean between professional cleanings.

Click here for a few more ways to stay organized this school year.

Spectrum Cleaning and Restoration offers state-of-the-art equipment, reasonable rates and our professional guarantee. Learn more at http://spectrumclean.com

 

8 Reasons for a Professional Carpet Cleaning

Most homeowners think to schedule a professional carpet cleaning at a few key times, like right before putting their house on the market or just before all the relatives head over to celebrate the holidays. But there are many other times that you probably haven’t considered. Here are eight more reasons it might be time to take advantage of a professional carpet cleaning:

  1. You’re Moving into a New Home. Check to see if the sellers had the carpets professionally cleaned recently. If they have, don’t bother (you don’t want to overdo), but if they haven’t, it’s a good idea to have this done before the movers show up with all that heavy furniture.
  2. You’re Remodeling. If you’re planning to do some remodeling, now is the time to have those carpets cleaned. All the carpet cleaningdust and dirt from a remodel can take a toll on your floors.
  3. You’re Painting. Once you finish painting rooms in your home, have the carpets professionally cleaned to make sure there is no left over paint spills or drywall dust from sanding.
  4. You’re Buying New Furniture. Just bought new living room furniture? Before it’s delivered, have the carpeting professionally cleaned – you’ll have a fresh, clean start for your beautiful new room!
  5. The Seasons are Changing – Hundreds of spring and Fall cleaning tips can be found online. These are the two times of year when homeowners do the heavy lifting when it comes to cleaning… replacing worn window screens and climbing ladders to clean out gutters, in the Spring and having fireplaces cleaned and storm doors replaced in the Fall. Don’t neglect the carpet your family walks on day in and day out!
  6. The Kids are Heading Back to School. After a summer of chasing lightening bugs (and tracking dirt in and out), swimming and sunshine (oily sunscreen and wet towels), you’re ready to get your family organized for the start of a brand new year. That means new backpacks, new lunch boxes and fresh school supplies. Why not get your home’s floors back in fresh, clean shape too?
  7. boxer-puppy-sitting-carpet-9882871There’s a New Puppy! The first thing to tackle with a new puppy is the potty training! Puppies are adorable, but they do a
    number (or two) on floors! As soon as you’ve got your four-legged friend fully trained, it’s time to clean the carpets!
  8. Or… a New Baby! There’s nothing as precious as a new little bundle of joy in the house. But before you know it, he’ll be cruising on all fours. Be sure to have your carpets professionally cleaned before you have a crawler!

Anything on this list you hadn’t thought of?

Spectrum Cleaning & Restoration offers state-of-the-art equipment, reasonable rates and our professional guarantee. Learn more at http://spectrumclean.com

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Back To School: 7 Ways to Start Off on the Right Foot

Believe it or not, it’s that time again… back to school aisles are stocked in store, schools are sending emails, parents and teachers are in states of shock (for different reasons) and kids are soaking up their last moments of summer bliss. After the lazy days of summer, it can be a shock to the system for kids – and parents too. But using this time to organize, clean and prepare will give you a head start for the school year ahead. There are loads of tips to be found online for getting ready for the school year. Here we have compiled a few of the mom-tested and tried-and-true with others that we think stand apart from the rest for being especially unique – and relevant in today’s homes! Give ‘em a try and let us know what you think!

  • Choose a specific spot for backpacks, lunch bags and coats in your entryway. Give each child a hook and/or cubby with their name on it . As much as you want to hang that coat your son throws on the floor… don’t do it! Home Decorators has some great options.
  • Keep homework in check. Want to get the homework done BEFORE they flip on the PlayStation? Try changing the WiFi password in your home every day (make them easy: “GreatJob” or “MomIsGreat” perhaps?). Kids can EARN the password when homework and/or chores are completed to your satisfaction. Works like a charm.
  • Back To School

    source: google images

    Hang a wipe board or task area in a well-used room – typically the kitchen. Include a calendar for after school activities, upcoming tests and days off school. Empower your kids to add items themselves! A few good examples here.

  • Ask your kids: “How have you taken care of yourself today?” This is a great way to remind them that they are in charge of their bodies: the food they eat, their physical health, their choices with friends, etc. When they are small, you can give them examples of how you take care of yourself (“I got eight hours of sleep, I had a banana with my cereal, I walked a mile before work…”). Reward them for a job well done!
  • Designate a cabinet in the kitchen for lunch foods and after school snacks. If you’ve got small kids, make sure it’s one they can all reach. This will help them pack their own lunches and choose healthful snacks to take care of themselves. Don’t forget to include appropriately sized cups and bowls, too!
  • Place a mail tray near the most used entrance to your home. Use this as an in/out spot for school papers and forms that need to be filled out/signed by parents and returned to school. It’s harder to forget these important papers when you have to pass right by them on your way out the door in the morning!
  • back to school

    source: google images

    Install an organizer in the garage to house sports equipment/gear to save time when you’re heading out the door to practices and games. *Add a laundry basket at the base of the organizer for all the dirty uniforms and practice clothes so kids can strip the top layer when they drop their equipment – that way you’ll always know where everything is. Once it’s clean, you can return the basket filled with the clean clothes/uniforms to the garage organizer where your pint-sized player(s) can grab it on their way out the door.

While you’re getting the kids ready to go back to school, and organizing your house to prepare for nights filled with homework and racing from band practice to soccer tryouts and volleyball games, start off on the right foot with a professional carpet cleaning from the pros at Spectrum Cleaning & Restoration! Once we’ve got your carpets looking like new again, we’ve got some great tips for keeping them looking fresh longer – and keeping your home – and your life – organized!

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for specials and more tips on all the ways you care for your home!

 

Carpet Cleaning Preparation Tips: Before the Pros Arrive

You’ve just scheduled a professional carpet cleaning. Awesome – you’re going to love the way your carpets look … and how fresh your house will smell! Many of our customers ask us what they can do to prepare their house before the pros arrive. Don’t worry about moving furniture… we’ll take care of the heavy lifting for you! But there are things you can do to ensure that your carpets look their best and that the technicians work quickly and efficiently. Follow these carpet cleaning preparation tips before the pros arrive:

  • Remove Breakables. Technicians will be careful, but it’s best to go ahead and remove any breakables that might be sitting out on side tables or shelving that will need to be moved. Things like lamps, vases or collectibles should be moved to another room so you can be sure they’ll be safe – and you’ll have the added benefit of a clean surface to dust before you vacuum.
  • Dust and Wipe Down Surfaces. Just as you would normally dust your family room before you vacuum so that you can vacuum the loose dust, you’ll want to wipe down surfaces and dust shelves and tables in any carpeted rooms that will be professionally cleaned. Now is the perfect time to dust those often overlooked areas such as ceiling fans and a/c vents!carpet cleaning
  • Vacuum. It makes sense to run a vacuum over your carpets to remove any loose dirt before the deep cleaning takes place. Besides, you might run across some loose change, an earring or a very special pair of Barbie’s shoes! If they get caught up in your vacuum, at least you’ll be able to pull them out and return them to their rightful owner.
  • Secure Valuables. Most professional carpet cleaning companies are bonded and insured, but you might want to secure any valuables for your own peace of mind.
  • Quick Pick-Me-Up. Pick up small items off the floor such as toys and shoes. It’ll save time when the professionals arrive, and help you feel even more organized!
  • Clear Parking. Make room – in the driveway if possible – for the technicians to park, so that they have easy access to your home.

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  • Plan ahead for Pets. You don’t want your pets running through the house while the pros are trying to clean! Hopefully nice weather will allow you to keep them outside. Otherwise, plan to leave them with a friend or neighbor for a few hours.
  • Play Inspector. Walk through any rooms that will be cleaned and carefully inspect your carpets. Let your technicians know about any special areas of concern, such as spills or pet stains (click here for tips on how to treat spills before they set in).

Once your carpets are cleaned, follow these tips for keeping them fresh and beautiful longer!

How to Treat Carpet Stains Before They Set In

You’ve just spilled an entire glass of your favorite Merlot onto your brand new, white carpet.  What do you do?  Most people know  they’ll need to call in a professional for help, but did you know that your immediate reaction to the spill can determine whether or not it can be removed?  Do you blot it, wet it, scrub it, or leave it alone?  Here are some tips to minimize damage from spills before calling in the professionals:

wine stains

source: google images

Red Wine or Juice Stains: The first thing to do (besides not panicking) is to immediately blot up as much of the moisture as you can using an absorbent cloth or paper towel.  Do NOT rub the stain, but instead gently press straight down with the cloth to absorb the wine.  The point of blotting is to remove the wine without working it further down into the carpet.  Once the excess wine is removed, pour a small amount of water onto the stain and blot again.  This dilutes the wine before it has a chance to set in.  Then call a professional carpet cleaner  – the sooner the professionals come in, the more likely you’ll be to have a positive outcome.

coffee stainsCoffee Stains: While your first instinct may be to scrub the stain, DON’T!  As with red wine, blot the stain gently to prevent it from seeping further into the carpet.  Call a professional for further instructions based on the type of carpet.  Make sure to let them  know if there was cream or sugar in your coffee as this can affect the removal process.  As with wine stains, time is critical.  The fresher the stain, the easier it is to remove.

wax stains

source: google images

Wax Stains: Your favorite candle tipped over, getting wax all over the carpet.  Start by picking out the big chunks with your fingers.  Next, get a brown paper bag (the same one you pack your lunch in) and lay it on top of the wax spill. Heat your iron to a warm setting (not too hot), and place it on top of the paper bag.  Iron over the brown paper bag.  The wax will begin to melt and  stick to the paper bag. Be careful not to iron off the paper bag as this could damage the carpet depending on its material.  Check your progress and repeat if needed. For larger areas, you may need several paper bags to remove as much wax as you can. Once you’ve done this, call a professional to help pull any residual wax.

If you’ve got a busy household, spills are an inevitable part of life. Spectrum can help! Having your carpets professionally cleaned every 6 to 12 months will keep your home fresher, cleaner and healthier  for you and your family. Visit our website for current specials!

How to Extend the Life of a Professional Carpet Cleaning

 

carpet cleaning

source: google images

You’ve just had your carpets professionally cleaned. The house smells great – and your carpet looks brand new! But how can you retain that fresh, clean scent, and keep your carpets looking brand new between professional cleanings? It’s not easy, especially if you’ve got kids and/or pets running in and out all summer long! Here are a few ways to  stretch your hard-earned dollars and extend the life of a professional carpet cleaning:

  1. Drop a Hint to Visitors. Add a small rug just inside the front door for visitors. Set a pair of shoes on it as a reminder of what the rug is for. And don’t forget to follow the rule yourself!

    carpet cleaning

    source: google images

  2. Bring the Outdoors In. If you have a foyer or entry way by the front door, add an indoor/outdoor rug. These are great at collecting dirt and easy to vacuum or rinse off outside.
  3. Keep Food Out. Keep snacks and meals out of carpeted rooms! This is a big one – and a tough habit to change if your family is used to snacking on the couch.
  4. Make it Clear. Clear liquids only! Ditch the soda in favor of water – it’s better for them anyway! And water spills are simple to clean up. Avoid Kool-Aid, Gatorade and other colored drinks from entering carpeted rooms. 

    carpet cleaning

    source: google images

  5. Make it a Habit. Vacuum your carpet regularly (once a week).
  6. Don’t Wait. Clean up spills immediately! Pat, don’t rub, a stain. Then poor cool water over the area and soak up with a dry, clean white towel. For more on how to treat the most common stains before they set in, click here.

You should have your carpets professionally cleaned every 6 – 12 months. In the mean time, changing family habits, like shoes in the house and eating in the family room, can be tough! But it takes just three weeks for a new habit to take hold, so stick with the gentle reminders and you’ll be on your way to cleaner, fresher carpets between cleanings. What’s your hardest family habit to break? Did we forget anything? Let us know – we love to hear from you!

We’d love to help you get the clean, fresh carpet your home deserves! Give us a call at 636.680.5555 or visit our website for a free estimate.

 

 

Welcome to the Spectrum Blog!

Spectrum Clean_Blog

At Spectrum, we help people make the most of their homes. After more than 27 years in business, we’ve talked with countless customers who’ve shared with us their reasons for using our services. We’ve also listened to your questions, comments, and yes, even complaints. We’ve decided it’s time to share those thoughts with all of you. After all, if even one customer is going through a lifestyle change, or has a question about caring for their home, we imagine there are others out there with the same questions and concerns.

The Spectrum Blog is our attempt to provide you with answers, share advice, tips and tricks and a forum for listening to your thoughts on all the ways you care  for your home.
Spectrum Clean_BlogWe can’t thank you enough for putting your trust in us. We know it’s what’s inside your home that counts, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to help you care for it. So for all the transitions, changes and everyday messes that life brings, we’ll continue to bring you both tried-and-true methods and fresh ideas for taking care of what’s most important to you.

Check back often and find out what’s new here on the Spectrum Blog… and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to receive all  our updates and special offers!