House cleaning had it's own professional organization starting in 2003, the Association of Residential Cleaning Professionals (changed two years later to Association of Residential Cleaning Services International). This has been a great source of information and training for myself. www.arcsi.org
In the 1980s, house cleaning companies proliferated around the country. And the industry professionalized. One of the key developments was the working out of efficient cleaning methods by Jeff Campbell and his Clean Team company in San Francisco which they turned into a very influential book, Speed Cleaning, in 1985. It has influenced my own cleaning methods.
We live in the age of superbugs. Getting the flu can be a severe experience. What has caused this problem? One of the main reasons is the free proliferation of antibiotics, resulting in resistant strains of bacteria. As a cleaner, I follow recommended hygeinic routines to reduce germs and control their spread in your home.
In the 1970s the entrance of a large number of women into the work force started to dramatically change women's role up to that time as "homemaker". Many women were no longer home all day to supervise cleaning help. So there arose a need for professional cleaning services that could simply be contracted to do the cleaning.
In this season of winter flu, it's especially important to minimize the spread of germs in your home. Here are good practices that house cleaners including myself follow related to this:
>Wearing a set of rubber gloves while cleaning the kitchen and another set while cleaning the bathroom
>Usng different cloths and tools for kitchen and bathroom (to avoid cfoss-contamination--different kinds of germs in kitchens and bathrooms)
>Careful attention to main touchpoints (handles, doorknobs, light switches) in the kitchen and bathroom.
Being a professional housecleaner for over thirty years, I've seen a lot of changes in the profession.It's interesting to think about those changes, which are a reflection of changes in the culture.
When I was a boy in the 50s and 60s there were no housecleaning services. Middle class homes had maids, mainly African-Americans or other minorities, who were employees of the households they cleaned for. Rates were much lower and it wasn't uncommon for a maid to work in a home 5 days a week. This is part of the history of race relations in our country.
Next installment: the 1970s.
Blue Spruce Cleaning has been a green cleaning company using nontoxic cleaning products since 1992. For the routine cleaning, there are plenty of green products out there that work well. But for those heavier cleaning chores finding effective nontoxic products can sometimes be a challenge. I work hard at finding effective nontoxic cleaners and have pretty much covered the bases. Two exceptions at present: oven cleaning and very dirty grout--but I keep experimenting. I'll let you know if there is a cleaning task that a more conventional cleaner would be the best choice for.
Here's another great product from Norwex. It's called Descaler. This is for the brown or white mineral deposit that builds up at the base of bathroom and kitchen sink faucets and handles. It works beautifully. (Not for stone and you need to be careful around chrome.)
Shower grout is one of the harder items to clean in a home. One reason for this is that grout is porous and so dirt and other discoloring agents can go deep into the grout. A second reason is that there are several ways that grout gets discolored. It could be from mineral deposits, from soap scum or body oils, from mold, or from some combination of the three. And each source requires it's own cleaning solution. But with care and some experimenting that discoloration can often be remedied.
It's a simple idea that has worked for me for many years. Rather than letting them accumulate all over your home, have a box that you toss in all those magazines, mailings, mail pieces, miscellaneous papers that you want to get to but don't have time for now. At the end of December go through the box and get rid of what you're no longer interested in. Chances are you'll toss out most of it!