Posts Tagged ‘House Cleaning’
Washers and dryers at vacation rental homes sure take a beating! It’s not uncommon for the use of these two appliances in a vacation rental home to be 2-3 times that of a washer and dryer in a regular residential dwelling, especially if guests have access to the laundry room. The increased usage of the vacation homes washer and dryer should be met with more frequent maintenance and cleaning to keep them performing their best – and avoid pricey repairs and replacements.
With the cost of a professional appliance repair person ranging from $45-$100 an hour and parts marked up at least 100%, it’s in your best interest as a vacation rental homeowner to regularly clean and maintains these appliances – and even be able to do a little troubleshooting on your own!
Check Your Connections
When performing maintenance on your washer and dryer, be sure to check all the connections for water and power. Cords, hoses, connections should all be in good repair – no kinks, frays, tears, or holes. If you do notice anything amiss here – and you’re not confident in your repair knowledge or skills in this area – it may be best to call in a pro, just due to safety concerns.
Abusive practices, such as overloading the washer and not cleaning out the dryer lint trap after each use, will cause problems sooner or later. Especially if your vacation rental home guests have access, be sure to post instructions for proper use!
Hard Water Blues
The need for a stepped-up maintenance and cleaning schedule for your washer and dryer is even more important if your vacation rental property has “hard” water – that is, water with high mineral content. While it’s safe to drink, the dissolved calcium and magnesium in hard water can leave behind a film in your washer, and this film can attract and hold dirt from the laundry. Ewww.
Washing Your Washer
Cleaning your washer is really pretty easy, and doesn’t require any fancy supplies. In fact, baking soda and vinegar are the only two things you’ll need besides a spray bottle and a cleaning cloth! We found a great set of instructions for both front loading and top loading washers that walks you through the cleaning process, step-by-step. Check it out here!
Your Dryer Needs to Vent!
Seriously. A clogged dryer vent causes inefficiency and undue stress on your dryer leading to higher utility costs and machine breakdown – but a clogged vent could also cause a fire! In a typical residence, dryer vents should be cleaned annually, but since the dryer in a vacation rental home is generally used more frequently (think of all those towels!) you may want to check your dryer vent 2-3 times a year.
In the Phoenix area, you can find a professional to clean your dryer vent starting around $69. If you’re into the DIY lifestyle, we found this very informative video that not only shows you how you can tell if your dryer vent needs cleaning, but leads you through the actual process!
Even with regular maintenance and cleaning, there’s always a chance that one day, they just won’t work. Rather than rushing to call in the repair person, there are some basic troubleshooting tasks you should do first, if possible, such as checking the power to the laundry area. You certainly don’t want to pay an appliance repair person to tell you your electrical outlet is bad, or you’ve thrown a breaker. Checking all connections to the appliance itself should be at the top of your list.
If your problem does truly seem to be the appliance itself, your owners manual should include a troubleshooting guide – and many manuals can now be found online for your convenience. Even if your appliance is under warranty, the warranty company will want to walk you through these steps before a repair is scheduled.
Don’t forget the outer surfaces of your washer and dryer – these appliances should look as fantastic as the rest of your vacation rental home. Wipe them down regularly (Moxie Girl recommends Truce All-Purpose!) for a clean shine and fresh scent!
Moxie Girl is Here to Help!
Moxie Girl brings years of experience to caring for your vacation rental home and we are here to help. Whether you’re looking for professional between-guest turns, or just need some helpful tips, Moxie Girl has what you need. Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION, and check out our blogs, past, and future!
Even if you’ve never considered operating a vacation rental home, if you plan on selling your existing home this year, it may interest you now – at least temporarily. Phoenix is currently enjoying a robust housing market, but even “robust” can have its highs and lows. Historically, more homes in the Phoenix area are sold in the spring and summer months than in the fall or winter. Moxie Girl founder, Amanda Thomas, believes that if your home has been on the market for a while, but hasn’t sold by October, temporarily converting it to a vacation rental home while it remains on the market may make a lot of sense.
The idea of temporarily operating the home as a vacation rental makes even more sense if the home you have on the market is considered “luxury.” Instead of sitting vacant while still requiring regular maintenance to keep the home tour-ready, your home could be bringing you income instead of just expense allowing you a bump in cash flow!
“Fall and winter months here in Phoenix are booming in terms of vacation rental home bookings, but sales of luxury homes are less during those months than the rest of the year,” says Amanda, “so it may be much more profitable to put off your sales listing for a few months and let the income from temporarily operating the home as a vacation rental cover the expenses you’d be incurring anyway, even if the home sat empty.” Bonus: Having regular guest activity on your property can also help deter break-ins, as well as help you keep an eye on home systems that could malfunction and go unnoticed on a vacant property.
Moxie Girl has previously explained the benefits of continuing to operate your vacation rental home through our brutal summer months, vs. “shutting it down.” You can easily apply some of this information to the subject of temporarily operating your for-sale home as a vacation rental vs. leaving it vacant while it sits on a slower market. Pay special attention to Myth #3 in our blog “Summer Vacation Rental- Moxie Girl Debunks the Myths.”
We’ve also got some useful information about setting up a vacation rental home in the best and most efficient way! Check out these blogs:
“Laundry 101 for Vacation Rental Homes”
“How to Set Up a Vacation Rental Home Kitchen”
In an attempt to crack down on short term rental properties acting as “party houses” Governor Doug Ducey recently signed HB2672 into law which affects the licensing and reporting requirements necessary to operate a vacation rental anywhere in the State of Arizona. Get the details HERE!
From vacation rental home conversions to regular, between-guest care of established vacation rental, Moxie Girl has vast experience in the Phoenix area vacation rental home industry! CLICK HERE to see how Moxie Girl can become your vacation rental specialist!
We are always looking to add the newest member to our Moxie Girl team, too! Moxie Girls (and Boys!) enjoy flexible scheduling and physically active work in a fun, supportive environment, with plenty of opportunity for growth! CLICK HERE to introduce yourself and learn more about becoming a Moxie!
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!
The real estate market is HOT right now! Low inventory, plus an increase in buyers has allowed home owners to increase their asking prices. We were recently contacted by a couple who has a condo they wanted to get on the market FAST. The condo had been a vacation rental, but the couple wanted to take advantage of the higher selling prices. They knew the condo needed to be cleaned out, but since they both work during the week and they have a new baby, their time is limited and they decided to ask for help getting their home ready to sell.
The couple called us asking if we had availability the next day to help them clean out and stage the condo. Luckily, we had two people available first thing the next morning (it must’ve been fate!).
When our team arrived, we found the condo looked pretty good, but definitely needed a good cleaning out. We focused on keeping only what was necessary to stage the condo to sell. We kept the cute dishes in the kitchen cabinets, but removed all the left behind canned food, spices, and coffees. We boxed up all the bottles of soap, shampoo, and cleaning supplies from the storage closet, and replaced them with stacks of extra towels and sheets to make it function as a linen closet. Before we left, we gave the condo a thorough cleaning (including inside cabinets and drawers), made the bed, and fluffed every pillow in the place.
Our team was there for about a total of 6 man-hours,and the client’s investment to get the condo ready was under $200. We learned a couple days later that they received a FULL PRICE offer the day it was listed.
We’d say that choosing to have Moxie Girl help get the condo ready provided an excellent return on their investment!