Posts Tagged ‘clean home’
As being a homeowner, and having carpet floors, you will at some point say “ should I just get hardwood floors. As beautiful as hardwood floors are, they don’t come cheap. Hardwood floors are often the most expensive to install, but they will have a long-lasting power and will be the best for your investment in the long run. However, having real hardwood floors can be a lot to maintain. The following is a guide for everything you need to know about maintaining your hardwood floors.
It can be super easy to forget about your floors, due to loads of laundry you have piled up, or your busy work schedule. Managing your hardwood floors should only take about 20-30 minutes per day depending on how much you have throughout your home. Wood floors are more sensitive than you think. To properly manage your wood floors, they need to be swept, mopped, and dusted on a regular basis. This is required to help maintain their shine. When mopping, be careful not to use any harsh chemicals or too much water. Chemicals and too much water will end up causing damage to your floors. Vacuuming is also a good way to manage your floors but you have to vacuum with caution. When vacuuming, don’t use your old vacuum cleaner, set your vacuum on to the bare floor setting to minimize your chances of ruining your floors.
Your next step is to clean your floors monthly with wood cleaner. A wood cleaner is meant to keep your floors healthy and shiny. Using certain wood cleaners will help maintain their strength and help them look absolutely stunning year-round. When cleaning your floors with wood cleaning, make sure you are wiping the same way that the wood grains run. This will increase the results by making sure you are getting all the dirt and oil out of the cracks and crevices in the flooring. The wood cleaner also helps prevent discoloration. You can also check for discoloration by lifting up rugs that you have laid out on your floors. You will be able to see a color difference, if you notice a color difference, then your floors have probably been damaged by the sun. To protect your floors from the UV rays of the sun, you can pull your drapes or blinds during the peak sunlight hours.
No matter how much you take care of your hardwood floors, you will always need to get some professional help sometime down the line. The reason you may need some help with your floors is due to your floors needing deep cleaning, a sanding, and even some refinishing treatments. Deep cleaning is used to attack dirt, oil, or grime that builds up over time. Sanding and refinishing treatments finish the job to make your floors look good as new. Some good habits to get into include when moving furniture, make sure you lift everything so you aren’t scratching your hardwood floors.
The best way to make sure that you are getting the most out of your hardwood floors is to take good care of them every day. Use the wood floor cleaner guide above to help you create and stick to a good schedule to ensure that your wood floors are getting the right maintenance they need.
As a vacation rental cleaner, you never know what you are going to walk into once the guests have checked out. Your first impression of the guest can go one of two ways. The first way you are going to walk into the house and the guests have completed the checkout list that the owner has provided. If this is the way that you walk in, your clean is going to go great and you normally won’t have problems. The second way is that you are going to walk in, the rental is going to be completely used, and nothing is done on the checkout list. If you walk into a super used rental, your clean is going to be tougher, and you are usually going to be there longer than intended.
Having Checkout Suggestions
When guests check out of a vacation rental, Moxie Girl leaves a complimentary checklist for the guest to follow to make our clean and arrival so much easier. Some of our suggestions include stripping the beds or starting towels in the washer, starting the dishwasher, and taking out the trash. Just by doing one of these simple tasks can make a Moxie Girl’s cleaning go so much smoother. When we walk into a vacation rental, and the guests have left the place without doing any of the checklists, then the cleaner stresses once they get there debating on how the cleaning is going to take them.
Not using Checkout Suggestions
When guests check out of a vacation rental and don’t use any of the checklist suggestions, it can make our job so much more stressful. I’ll give an example, here at Moxie Girl, when cleaning a vacation rental we sometimes encounter a same day turn, which means the cleanings need to take place in between a guest checking out that day and new guests arriving the same day. When cleaning a home that is same day flip you’re on a time crunch. So, when guests leave a bunch of towels, and bedding used then we are responsible to clean all of the laundries, but with guests starting a load of laundry it makes our cleaning go a little smoother and can cut an hour or so off the cleaning time. Another suggestion for guests is picking up and taking all their trash out, by doing this it doesn’t take up our cleaning time, and we have more time to focus on the resetting of the home and getting the vacation rental ready for their next guest. So next time you stay at a vacation rental, keep your cleaners in mind and partake in the check out suggestions.
Looking for a cleaning company to service your vacation rental needs? Contact us today for a FREE Consultation!!
It’s that time of year again…we wait with great anticipation for the monsoon season here in the Valley! Monsoon storms often bring us much needed (and heat-relieving) rain, as well as spectacular displays of lightning, high winds and blowing dust. Okay, maybe we don’t look forward to the crazy wind and walls of dust so much…
If you’ve ever owned a home in Phoenix – especially one with a pool – you already know that monsoon storm clean-up can be a huge chore. While you might postpone clean-up for a few days at your personal residence, vacation rental homeowners don’t enjoy the luxury of procrastination if guests are due to arrive.
Because these storms can develop rather quickly, it may not always be possible for the vacation rental homeowner – no matter how well-intentioned – to guarantee that the outdoor areas of their rental property are going to look exactly as pictured when guests arrive. Vacation rental home hosts should always make their guests aware of the storms that can occur in this area of Arizona, and the effect they may have on the appearance of the outside of the property.
Now, this is not an excuse to not TRY to make sure everything at your vacation rental home is as perfect as it can be. In fact, there’s a lot you can do prior to these storms that will help keep your vacation rental looking its best, while at the same time ridding yourself of additional potential problems during the monsoon season.
Work With Your Guests
Aside from alerting your vacation rental guests to the possibility of intense storms during their visit, it’s also a great idea to ask for their help in keeping your property and equipment safe from storm damage.
Outdoor umbrellas should always be closed when not in use. Leaving an umbrella open during a monsoon says, “Goodbye and good luck, umbrella! I’ll be replacing you tomorrow.” Ask your guests to be sure to close your umbrellas unless they are sitting under them (which they shouldn’t be, during a monsoon!)
Landscaping and pool umbrellas aren’t the only casualties of monsoon winds – downed power lines also become a thing during this season. If your guests see downed power lines on or around your property, advise them to call 911 immediately. Oh, and DON’T TOUCH the downed power lines! (Astounding to think a guest might decide to pick up a live power line, but you never know.)
Guests should also be reminded that any floating items for the pool (toys, loungers, etc.) should be stored securely when not in use.
For more great information on Phoenix-area monsoon weather, check out these other Moxie blogs:
Monsoon Season and Your Vacation Rental Home
Wildlife and Wild Weather- Things You Should Know About Summer in Phoenix
Attention to Landscaping
A professional landscaper will always advise thinning large trees and removing any tree branches that appear unstable – and this is particularly important before and during the monsoon season.
The winds created by the monsoon storms can be severe, easily breaking branches and even uprooting entire trees, so it’s crucial you be proactive in keeping your vacation rental’s landscaping as least vulnerable as possible to wind damage.
Also keep in mind that anything picked up by the wind has a really great chance of coming down in your pool, creating additional clean-up!
And Speaking of Pools…
Summer in Phoenix is the best time to have a pool – but it can also seem like the worst! Moxie Girl recommends a reputable professional pool service such as Aquaman Pools to take care of the pool at your vacation rental home.
If left unattended, foliage and other debris are blown into your pool can cause your pool pump and filter to work overtime, affecting their efficiency and lifespan – trash and leaves can also permanently stain some pool surfaces. So it’s best to “get the big stuff” out right away, if possible. Your guests may be of some help here – especially if they want to swim after a storm – if you provide a skimmer and a brush for them to use.
Check out our conversation with Chad Nikkel, owner of Aquaman Pools, for more summer tips for vacation rental homes with pools!
Don’t Forget the A/C Filters!
They should be changed monthly anyway, but during the monsoon season changing the filter in your vacation rental home’s cooling unit is an absolute must. Dirty filters negatively affect your unit’s performance – and summer is definitely NOT the time to have sub-standard cooling in your vacation rental!
Moxie Girl Leads the Way in Valley Vacation Rental Care
Find out how putting Moxie Girl in charge at your vacation rental home can help you reclaim your time! Moxie Girl services over 100 vacation rental properties throughout the Phoenix area. CLICK HERE for a free consultation.
Moxie Girl is growing! If becoming a Vacation Rental Assistant and caring for some of the most beautiful vacation rental properties in the Valley sounds like your type of gig, we’d love to hear from you. TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF!
With the vacation rental industry booming all over the U.S. – and the world – you may be wondering which vacation rental sites offer the most ‘bang for the buck’ for you, the vacation rental homeowner. New short-term rental platforms are popping up frequently nowadays, with many marketing to “niche” demographics such as the LGBTQ community, guests traveling with pets, and family vacationers.
But since you may be just starting out as a vacation rental homeowner, we’ll take a look at what is considered to be three of the most popular vacation rental home listing platforms and what they have to offer in relation to their fees.
Airbnb has become synonymous with vacation rental bookings – kind of like the “Kleenex” of facial tissues. (No one says, “I need a facial tissue,” do they?) Founded in 2008, Airbnb currently has over 100 million users and over 640,000 hosts! According to data from SimliarWeb.com, Airbnb is ranked second only to travel giant Booking.com.
Airbnb has no fee to join or list entire properties, private and shared rooms. Guests booking on Airbnb pay 6-20% of the total booking fee, which keeps the AirBnB site up and running. Hosts (that’s you, vacation rental homeowner) pays 3-5% of the total booking fee to cover transaction costs (credit card fees).
HomeAway and its umbrella of companies (which includes VRBO and vacationrentals.com) boasts over 1 million listings in over 190 countries, giving vacation rental homeowners and managers the opportunity to expose their properties to over 44 million travelers each month!
Guests booking vacation rentals through HomeAway can expect to pay a service fee of 6-12% of the total booking. As host of a HomeAway vacation rental, you have the option of paying a fee of 8% per booking total or you can become a subscriber for an annual fee of $499 and enjoy fee-free bookings all year! A subscription makes loads of sense if you expect your vacation rental to gross over $10k in bookings annually!
While this website ranks #1 as an overall online travel agency, Booking.com doesn’t specialize in vacation rental homes, but this portion of their business is rapidly growing making it an exciting option for listing your vacation rental. Booking.com is already hugely international, with 5 million+ short-term lodging rentals in over 225 countries!
Hosting fees are definitely higher than Airbnb or HomeAway – expect to pay in the range of 10-25% per booking, depending on the location of your vacation rental. However, there are no sign-up or subscription fees for hosts. Also, guests booking through this site pay NO booking fees for your vacation rental, making this platform very popular with travelers!
Multiple Platforms = Maximum Exposure
Yes, you can use more than one platform to list your vacation rental property. There are even some services you can join that make it possible to have your listing(s) posted simultaneously on multiple sites of your choosing, decreasing your “admin” time and increasing your exposure to potential guests.
Many vacation rental homeowners will initially list the properties on multiple sites and “pare them down” later if they start seeing the majority of their bookings consistently coming through only one or two sites.
Do Your Due Diligence!
Of course, there is much to consider beyond the fees when deciding on a vacation rental listing website. It’s up to you, the vacation rental homeowner, to read the details provided on any rental platform to make sure you understand everything you are agreeing to when listing your property.
Let Moxie Girl Help!
With everything you have to accomplish in running a successful vacation rental property, wouldn’t it be nice to have a between-guest cleaning team you can count on? Moxie Girl is a leader in the care of vacation rental properties of all sizes throughout the Phoenix area. Click HERE to find out how Moxie Girl can help you reclaim your time by letting us handle your turns!
It’s almost that time… Feasts with family and friends, sharing a glass of wine and lots of hugs (we hope)! We finally have an excuse to bust out the “good stuff” in preparation for the holidays – elegant table linens, fancy guest towels and special occasion outfits! But even the most refined gatherings are chock full of opportunities for spills. And if your family and friends are like mine, forget about it! Spills are inevitable – and holiday stains are the worst! Never fear, Moxie Girl is here with some great solutions for these common but tough-to-remove stains.
Eat, Drink, Hug. (Repeat)
The “greatest hits” of holiday stains are usually due to one or more of these activities. Eating and drinking, of course, are the mainstays of any holiday get-together. It’s also “splurge season” so we’re likely to be diving into a lot of rich foods, full of greasy, saucy or buttery goodness. Then there’s the wine… Mmmmmmm….holidays and red wine – they just seem to go together.
I always hope there will be at least ONE person I want to hug anywhere I go. I also hope they’re wearing stay-put lip color. Unfortunately, we’ve all had the experience of a hug leaving a mark on our clothing. Heck, I’ve even dropped my own lipstick during application and had it skip down my entire outfit before it landed on a new turquoise blue bathroom rug. And it wasn’t even a holiday!
Read on to get the heads up on how to save your good stuff from stains! Whether a holiday stain occurs on a garment, linens or even upholstery, keep this blog handy and you’ll know just what to do.
First, is it Dry Clean Only?
Because if it is, you should probably let a professional dry cleaner handle this problem. This goes for any item, garment or table/decorative linen. Now, since it’s a holiday, it may be a minute before you’re able to get to a drycleaner – so to keep the stain from getting any worse, scrape off any solids. No rubbing! Take the item to your dry cleaner as soon as you’re able, point out, and let the dry cleaner know what caused the stain.
If you use a home dry cleaning kit, apply the pre-treatment provided (according to product directions) before putting the item in the dryer bag. I’m so-so on the home kits, myself. In addition to a residual odd smell, I haven’t had a ton of success using them to try to remove stains.
Washable Garments and Linens
For oily stains such as from meat, gravy or butter, scrape any solid bits from the fabric. Do not rub during this step – rubbing will only push the stain further into the fibers of the fabric. Pre-treat the stain with your favorite laundry product, if you have one – or try a little Dawn dishwashing liquid. Gently scrub your choice of pre-treatment into the stain – an old toothbrush is great for this task! Let the pre-treatment sit for 15 minutes then wash in the hottest temperature safe for the item. Check the stain before drying to make sure it’s gone.
If necessary repeat the pre-treatment and wash again, BEFORE drying. Drying the stain will only “set” it, making it permanent!
Lipstick can sure be a tough one, with its oil/wax and pigment components. Lift or scrape (do not rub) any chunks of lipstick from the item. Chunks? Of lipstick? Mhmmm. This can definitely happen if you drop your tube of lipstick and it skips down your entire front side and hits your new turquoise blue bathroom rug…
Take care of the oil/wax component of the lipstick stain by pre-treating the same way you would for the oily-type stains mentioned above. After pre-treatment, it’s time to tackle what’s left of the pigment portion of the stain. Use an oxygen-based bleach, safe for most colors and fabrics, mixed with a gallon of cold water. Check directions on your bleach bottle, but usually, 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water is about right.
Submerge the stained item and soak. You can check the stain periodically, and keep soaking until the stain is gone and then wash as normal. Again, check that the stains are gone before drying. Repeat the pre-treatment and washing, if necessary.
Red, Red Wine
You’re singing that song now, I’ll bet – at least the chorus.
For FRESH red wine stains, removal is easy as long as the item is able to withstand boiling water. Do not use this method of wine stain removal on a ‘dry clean only’ item unless you are truly making a last ditch effort to save it.
Locate the wine stain on the item and pull the stained area tautly over an appropriately-sized mixing bowl, or other fairly deep but also large-mouthed vessel. (I’ve done this for tiny stains using a large, plastic drinking tumbler.) The bowl should be big enough so that you have a few inches of unstained fabric around the edge of the stain but inside the diameter of the bowl. Use a large rubber band to secure the fabric over the bowl. Pour boiling water through the stained fabric into the bowl, taking care not to splash. Once you’ve flushed out the stain entirely, launder the item as you normally would.
Now, if you’ve got a wine stain that is not so fresh, it’s far tougher to remove but I’ve had luck with this technique. Mix small but equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dishwashing liquid – start with a half teaspoon of each. If you think your stain is going to be particularly tough to remove, mix two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part Dawn dishwashing liquid.
Lay the item on a flat surface and put an old towel under the area of the stain so as not to transfer it to another part of the garment or item. Rub the hydrogen peroxide and Dawn mixture into the fabric, gently, with your fingers. Start in the middle of the stained area to keep from making the stain bigger. Thoroughly saturate the stain with the solution and let the item sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with the hottest temperature water safe for the item. Hopefully, your old wine stain is gone, but if not repeat the process before drying!
Carpet and Upholstery Stains
If you have a stain on vintage or silk upholstery, stop right there and call a pro if you care about the piece! For other carpet and upholstery, as with garments and linens, scrape or lift solids from the stained area. Do not rub!
For these next steps, be careful to not over-wet your carpet or upholstery. Always do a “test” spot treatment in an inconspicuous area of the furniture or carpeting for color-fastness before treating the actual stain. If anything weird goes on in the test spot, stop and call a pro! If your test spot looks normal, proceed.
If you have a carpet cleaning product on hand, use a clean white cloth or a paper towel and treat the stain according to directions on the product packaging.
No carpet cleaning product on hand – or just hate chemicals? Try a tablespoon of Moxie Girl favorite, Dawn dishwashing liquid mixed with 2 cups of hot water. Add a tablespoon of ammonia and mix. Blot solution on carpet or upholstery with a clean sponge and then a dry towel. Repeat until the stain is gone. Using a fresh clean towel dampened with warm water, “rinse” the stained area to remove soapy residue which could attract more dirt later. Avoid the area and let it air dry completely.
Moxie Girl hopes these tips help you stay stain-free through the holiday season and all year long. Check our blog frequently for more helpful tips and fun features on all sorts of Moxie topics!
With Moxie Girl’s increased focus on specializing in the care of vacation rental homes, we’d like to introduce you to our friends at Going GreenHouse! Going GreenHouse offers solutions for all your residential cleaning needs and more importantly, they share our love for natural cleaning products and satisfied clients!
April, founder and CEO of Going GreenHouse grew up in Chandler, AZ, and holds a BS in Finance from ASU WP Carey School of Business – which, in her words, led to a “very boring” career in Pension Administration. These days April is busy running her own thriving business but still makes time to be heavily supportive of the Tammy D Foundation, participating in as many of their fundraising events as possible. For more info about the Tammy D Foundation.
April is also proudly featured in the KNOW Phoenix book for 2018, which is “a community of women-owned businesses that you should KNOW and do business with, in Phoenix. These women are true rock stars of their professions, do tons of charity events and support other women without judgment,” says April. We say, nice!
Moxie Girl recently had the opportunity to ask April a few questions about Going GreenHouse. Read on to find out why we recommend this fantastic local company!
Moxie Girl: The Going GreenHouse website – which is awesome, by the way – states that you started your company because you realized the chemical cleaners you were using in your own home were making you sick. How quickly did your company plan come to action? Were you “solo” to start with?
April: I was inspired by my corporate job to do something that allowed me to have a flexible schedule as well as an active lifestyle. I started cleaning the homes of friends and family on the weekends. After about 9 months of doing that, I had enough business to quit my full-time job.
I was solo for the first couple of months, but I realized that in order to get more done I would have to hire someone to help me on an as-needed basis. I was referred to a family friend, Lisa. I asked if she wanted to help me out and she said sure. Lisa is about to celebrate her 7 year anniversary with us! She is now my full-time office manager and the “yin to my yang” when it comes to running the business and that’s a nice balance to have.
MG: Just based on his photo, I totally want to hang out with Crew Leader, Damani, for happy hour. How many employees does GGH currently have, and what’s most important to you when you are adding to your team? Any plans for growth?
April: Haha – we caught Damani in a rare moment with that pic! He is usually pretty quiet and reserved, if you can believe that. Damani is more of an animal guy than a party animal. In fact, more than a handful of clients have written us thank you cards and given us 5 star reviews – from their pets – because he is so good and loving towards all animals!
We have 15 on our team currently and Going GreenHouse is always looking to add awesome people. The more team members, the more business we can schedule, after all!
When hiring, the main things I look for are punctuality, reliability, teamwork, and positive attitude. A positive attitude, especially, will get you a long way in my book! This means if you accidentally damage something at a client’s home or if you get negative feedback, you take responsibility, own it and find a way to correct it without getting upset or taking it personally.
MG: GGH seems to have a special relationship with your clients, as well as with their pets. Do you find that clients are more willing to trust (and are less likely to feel “judged” by) a cleaner when they know that person is also an animal-lover and/or a pet owner?
April: I do think that most people are concerned about how their pets feel about the new people in their homes because pets are part of the family too! We have cat and dog treats at the ready just in case we need to make friends fast! It is important to us that everyone in the family is comfortable with our being there.
As far as being judged, I think that people naturally feel like they are being judged especially if they haven’t been able to maintain their home for one reason or another. I have had clients that apologize the whole time I am performing a consultation and I tell them a few things…1. We are no-judgment cleaners 2. They’ve got better things to do than cleaning their homes, like spending precious time with family or working on their own businesses. 3. A needy home is job security for us, so we can’t be mad at that! We love to see a fabulous turnaround on a house when we finish!
MG: Are there any particular or unusual challenges your clients present that you feel GGH excels in dealing with?
April: I always tell my referral partners to send me their pickiest clients. We use a very detailed checklist to manage client expectations, plus we have an electronic file for each client for any special requests or pet peeves. I do an on-site consultation prior to every single first service to make sure we capture every client’s specific needs. We value communication and send a feedback e-mail after every service to keep our communication fresh. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee so if any client is unhappy, we will send a crew back ASAP to remedy whatever was missed. Also, each month our team members earn gift card incentives based on the positive client feedback they receive. The people I hire are natural people-pleasers and genuinely care if the client is happy.
MG: What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received from a client?
April: We are affiliated with the Tammy D Foundation, which pays us a discounted rate for us to clean homes of women battling breast cancer. We usually have 5-10 of these clients on our schedule each month. Going GreenHouse sends a crew of 2 people to their home for 2 hours to do whatever household chores they need to be done. These women are by far our most grateful clients and when they send me a testimonial they usually make me cry because I am so moved by the generosity and care of my employees. Our crews take a special interest in making sure these ladies are comfortable. They go above and beyond and even become close, personal friends with some. It’s a really special bond and I’m proud to be able to facilitate it and proud of my crews for having such huge hearts that they use their own money to bring treats and gifts to our Tammy D clients and otherwise go out of their way when they can do something special for these ladies.
MG: I know using natural/chemical-free cleaning products is very important to you. How did you – and do you – decide on specific products for use at Going GreenHouse?
April: We are always trying new products! If we don’t love the way something works, we will continue researching by following blogs, asking clients and doing web research. We also do a lot of ‘trial and error’ in our own homes to find out what works best! We had a hard time finding a great “green” stainless steel cleaner for many years and had resorted to using olive oil. Olive oil does work, but it can be messy which of course is not ideal. We finally found one that we love from “Earth-Friendly Products” that we found on Vita-cost.com.
The Going GreenHouse slogan is “Building a relationship with your family, your pets and your home” – and they mean it! From one-time services to regularly scheduled cleanings, Going GreenHouse is the eco-friendly, all natural answer to your residential cleaning needs. Get a free quote – visit or call 602-476-9321 today!