Cleaning, Community, DIY, Hacks, Holidays, Home maintenance, Kitchen, Organization, Tips

How to Load a Dishwasher

dishwasher (2)

General Suggestions

  • Refer to your owner’s manual for any special instructions.
  • Make sure your items are dishwasher safe before washing.
  • Skip the pre-rinse! Modern dishwashers don’t require it. Do scrape off any large chunks of food that may clog the filter. If your dishwasher is going to be sitting before running, pre-rinse to prevent smells from forming.
  • Place items soiled-side down to maximize cleaning.
  • Ensure proper spacing between items. Be careful not to set dishware on or against the prongs, as they may cause water spots.
  • Placing glassware at an angle will prevent water from pooling on the base. Be sure to arrange glasses carefully so they do not collide and break.
  • Secure lightweight plastics, as they may melt if they touch the heating element.
  • Choose quality detergent and keep your rinse aid dispenser full. Always store in a cool, dry space and use any powdered detergents within two months of opening to maximize use.
  • Run the sink faucet until the water gets hot so the dishwasher will start with hot water.

Silverware

Spoons and forks should be placed in the rack with their handles facing down, while knives should be placed with the blade down, minimizing risk of injury when loading/unloading. Vary the silverware in each compartment so the utensils don’t nest within one another. Make sure slender items cannot slip through the rack so they do not block the sprayer arm.

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Dishwasher Don’ts

Don’t wash kitchen knives in the dishwasher. Detergent and the force of the water can dull knives.

Don’t wash wooden cutting boards or spoons in the dishwasher. The heat can warp them and the wood may splinter or crack.

Don’t wash insulated mugs; it can compromise the mug’s insulation.

Don’t stack items. It makes it more difficult to efficiently clean the entire load.

Don’t wash cast iron, brass, bronze, copper, china with gold leaf, or anything hand-painted in the dishwasher, as detergents contain abrasive particles and can leave residue..

Don’t wash nonstick pans, though some are dishwasher safe and will be marked as such.

Don’t wash stoneware in the dishwasher. Stoneware is porous and will absorb the taste of the detergent and the wash (5).

Don’t wash stainless steel with silver. Stainless and silver will react when combined with detergent, leaving pitting on the silver and possibly spotting the stainless.


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

References & More Information

Ettiene, Coryanne. “6 Things to Never Put in the Dishwasher (And How to Clean Them!).” Better Homes & Gardens, www.bhg.com/kitchen/appliances/cast-iron-wooden-spoons-and-other-items-that-cant-go-in-the-dishwasher-281474979547595/.

Exhume, Michaelle. “The Biggest Mistakes You’re Making With Your Dishwasher.” Good Housekeeping, 30 June 2014, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a24839/dishwasher-mistakes/.

Forte, Carolyn. “How to Get the Most Out of Your Dishwasher.” Good Housekeeping, 21 Mar. 2018, www.goodhousekeeping.com/appliances/dishwasher-reviews/a22031/dishwasher-tips-0306/.

“How to Load a Dishwasher.” Consumer Reports, 5 June 2017, www.consumerreports.org/dishwashers/how-to-load-a-dishwasher/.

Kirchhoff, Herb. “What Happens to Silver-Plated Flatware If You Wash It in the Dishwasher With Stainless Steel?” Home Guides | SF Gate, SFGate.com, 9 Dec. 2018, homeguides.sfgate.com/happens-silverplated-flatware-wash-dishwasher-stainless-steel-88507.html.

Roberts, Julissa. “How to Care for Your Pizza Stone – Article.” FineCooking, www.finecooking.com/article/how-to-care-for-your-pizza-stone.

Bathrooms, Cleaning, DIY, Home maintenance, Recommended Products, Spring Cleaning, Tips

Q&A: Pink Slime

pinkslime

Question: What is that pink slime invading my shower, and what can I do about it?

Answer: Ah, yes. Your friendly, neighborhood Serratia marcescens. This ‘pink slime’ is an airborne bacteria that thrives in damp environments, and chows down on your soaps, shampoos, and other fatty substances. The bad news is, because it’s airborne, there’s not much you can do to eliminate the issue. Fortunately, this bacteria is generally harmless to your health, and we can help you minimize growth with these tips.

afterBecause this bacteria thrives on moisture, the key is to dry your environment as thoroughly as possible and keep soap residue at bay. We recommend running your ventilator while you shower and for at least 30 minutes afterwards. Since it feeds on soap scum and residue, keep your shower fresh with an after shower spray and keep up on routine maintenance. Dry the shower after each use as best as you can — if you have glass walls, using a squeegee to dry the glass can be helpful. Make sure you allow all cloth and plastic shower curtains to hang dry outside the shower, as they are common places for the bacteria to thrive in trapped moisture, and clean your shower curtain periodically to refresh.

In showers with grouted tile, an unfortunate cosmetic side effect to the bacteria is grout-staining. Maintenance is key because the ‘pink slime’ can work its way into the grout and leave your shower tinted. Keep the staining under control using a scrub brush and a bleach or hydrogen peroxide cleanser (check to be sure it’s safe to use with your fixtures first) can help lighten any staining. Abrasives, such as Barkeepers Friend and Bon Ami, can help break through any build-up. However, unsealed grout and areas where the bacteria is allowed to hang around for long periods of time can require regrouting and sealing to mitigate.

While harmless to most people, in hospitals, the presence of the bacteria was linked to pneumonia and urinary tract and open wound infections in some. An expert at North Dakota State University suggests chlorine to control the growth. Many water systems are already treated with chlorine, but if you’re using a charcoal filter, you may be removing that from your water.

All else fails, we’re always happy to help!


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

Sources & Additional Resources:

Anderson, Jessica Cumberbatch. “The Other Pink Slime Lurking In Your Home.” The Huffington Post, 7 Dec. 2017. www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/03/pink-slime-shower-gunk_n_6793586.html.

Huber, Jeanne. “Why Did My Grout Turn Pink?” The Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2017. www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/why-did-my-grout-turn-pink/2017/03/31/0bb5e8c8-0fea-11e7-9b0d-d27c98455440_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a27bfc413e71.

“Pink Mold in Shower? How It Got There and How to Get Rid of It | Bob Vila.” BobVila.com, 19 Mar. 2018. www.bobvila.com/articles/pink-mold-in-shower/.

“Red Substance in Tub, Toilet Is Bacteria.” NDSU Agricultural Communication, NDSU Extension Service, 2010. www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/newsreleases/2010/aug-9-2010/red-substance-in-tub-toilet-is-bacteria/.

Bathrooms, Cleaning, DIY, Hacks, Home maintenance, Tips

Q&A: How to Clean Your Shower Liner

showerliner

Question: How do you clean your shower liner?

Answer: Throw it in the washing machine with some vinegar, et voilà!

To clean your shower curtain, remove it from the hooks and throw it in your washing machine with a 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 your usual load of detergent. For extra kick, we add 1/2 cup of baking soda or Borax. Run on cold water and hang to dry — no spin cycle necessary for plastic liners! To help prolong its use, remove it from the shower after each use to dry and prevent trapped moisture. While we still replace ours periodically when it stops coming clean in the wash, our current shower liner is several years old and holding up wonderfully.


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

Additional resources and solutions:

Barber, Trish. “How to Wash Shower Curtains | Reader’s Digest.” Reader’s Digest, 23 Feb. 2017, www.rd.com/home/how-to-wash-shower-curtains/.

Gibbs, Karen B. “How Often You Should Clean Your Shower Curtain – and the Right Way to Do It.” TODAY.com, 17 Feb. 2016, www.today.com/series/how-often-should-you/how-often-you-should-clean-your-shower-curtain-right-way-t73991.

Smith, Lauren. “Yes, You Can Clean Your Shower Curtain … Even If It Has Mildew.” Good Housekeeping, 21 Mar. 2018, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a22024/heloise-spring-cleaning-eliminate-mildew/.
Cleaning, DIY, Hacks, Home maintenance, Kitchen, Tips

Q&A: How to Clean Your Dishwasher

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Question: How do you clean the interior of your dishwasher?

Answer: By checking the ‘nooks and crannies’ of your appliance and clearing the drain.

Before you clean your dishwasher, be sure to clear your disposal. Run hot water down the drain while running the disposal. You can pour a little dish soap as it’s running to clean and deodorize the disposal area, but some people prefer baking soda and vinegar, lemons, or ice.

If you have noticed a lingering funk or small particles sticking around on your dishes, check the trap and clear the drain. Remove the bottom rack and check around the drain. Many units have a cover to protect the drain and help strain out large debris, and you may need to remove this to access the drain area.

In many dishwashers, the sprayer can also be lifted and cleaned under. You can also use a wire, paper clip, or similar to clean out the holes in the sprayer arm, if necessary.

To clean the interior of the unit, place 1-2 cups of vinegar in a bowl or large measuring cup on the bottom rack and run a wash cycle to clean it. It will smell like vinegar while it’s running, but it fades quickly.

For additional deodorizing, you can run a second rinse cycle with approximately 1/2 cup baking soda sprinkled throughout the bottom. Typically, though, a good clean out and rinse does the trick!

Don’t forget the seal and exterior of your machine — lots of gunk gets trapped around the seal!


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

References:

Gibbs, Karen B. “How Often You Should Clean Your Dishwasher – and How to Do It.” TODAY.comwww.today.com/series/how-often-should-you/how-clean-dishwasher-t17946.

DiClerico, Daniel. “How to Clean a Dishwasher.” Consumer Reports, www.consumerreports.org/dishwashers/how-to-clean-a-dishwasher/.

Smith, Lauren. “10 Smart Ways to Get More Oomph Out of Your Dishwasher.” Good Housekeeping, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/g2877/dishwasher-tricks/.

Leisure, Local, North Carolina, Tips, Travel

Save Your Saturdays: Weekend Travel

blueridge

A client recently told me that, while they loved the country and always longed for long swaths of land, he couldn’t imagine spending every Saturday maintaining it. Instead, they chose a home with a modest plot (and hired us for their interior!) so they could maximize their family time.

Only 48 of the 168 hours each week are on the weekend, when most of us are able to enjoy our family time, and 14-16 of those hours are spent sleeping. If you have children, the Saturday opportunities are limited. Make the most of your and save your Saturdays.

One of our favorite ways to spend our reclaimed time is travel. New experiences and memories promote family bonding. Also, travel is a scientifically-proven stress-buster and mood-buster, and it promotes creativity and wellness. We are huge promoters of shopping and living locally, and there are some incredible local destinations to explore when you take back your time and save your Saturdays.

Planning a weekend getaway? Here are some great resources for travel in North Carolina:

The Official Travel and Tourism Website for North Carolina
Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Top-Rated Places in North Carolina
Travel & Leisure’s North Carolina Travel Guide
Fodor’s Travel North Carolina Travel Guide
North Carolina Travel – lonely planet


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

Bathrooms, Cleaning, Home maintenance, Kitchen, Laundry, Recommended Products, Tips

How to Care for Your Home After Illness

allergy-cold-disease-flu-41284The 2017-2018 flu season has been challenging, and many clients have been asking what they can do to around their home to keep illness at bay. Preventative methods such as periodic disinfection and hand-washing can be helpful defenses against the spread of illness.

To help prevent the spread of the flu and other viruses, make periodic disinfection part of your cleaning routine. Be certain to follow the directions for your chosen disinfectant. Focus on shared spaces and objects, particularly areas that are frequently used.

Some household items are shared by many family members, such as cell phones, remote controls, and computers.  Light switches, door knobs, handles are touched frequently. The kitchen sink, cutting boards, and sponges harbor bacteria and should be disinfected frequently. In bathrooms, focus on your toilet and the surrounding area, the tubs/showers, and sink basins. Bed linens, blankets, towels, and stuffed animals should be washed in the hottest water the material allows after illness.

Most importantly, to prevent the spread of illness, wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Many hand-sanitizers have also proven effective against the flu.

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What disinfectants do we recommend? Our preference is Lysol or Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, but there are many on the market that can accomplish similar results.

Click here to check out disinfectants recommended by the Environmental Working Group. Interested in more recommendations? Bestseekers has several recommended products here.


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.

References:

Chodosh, Sara. “How bad this flu season really is-and what you should do about it.” Popular Science, 30 Jan. 2018, www.popsci.com/how-bad-flu-season-2018#page-4.

“De-Germing Your House: Words to the Wise.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 21 Jan. 2011, www.cbsnews.com/news/de-germing-your-house-words-to-the-wise/.

Fields, Lisa. “Your Home Cleaning Hit List: What to Disinfect.” WebMD, symptoms.webmd.com/cold-flu-map/cleaning-hit-list.

“Is your house hit with the flu? 7 cleaning tips to keep it from spreading.” TODAY.com, www.today.com/home/how-protect-flu-cleaning-tips-your-house-t121435.

Bathrooms, Cleaning, Home maintenance, Laundry, Tips

Q&A: How Dirty is Your Bath Towel?

how dirtyQuestion: How often should I wash my bath towel? I mean, how dirty is it if it only dries a clean person?

Answer: After three uses, if dried completely.

A microbiologist from the New York University School of Medicine found that our bath towels are a breeding ground for bacteria, the moment we first use them to dry ourselves. If the towel stays wet, the bacteria continue to breed rapidly because bacteria loves warm, wet environments. Allowing the towel to dry between uses does extend time between washes, but should be washed every three uses.

And if it smells? Definitely overdue for a wash. Read about disinfecting smelly laundry or laundry post-illness here.


Whether you have a cleaning question or want to discuss services, we are happy to help! Contact us or complete our quote request form for more information.