The Maids Blog

The Maids Blog

Tips To Keep Your Fridge Looking Fresh

maids_freshfridge_mar2019_website-2-002Tips To Keep Your Fridge Looking Fresh

Your refrigerator works hard. Its handles get grabbed with sticky, germy fingers. Its exterior is covered with reminder notes, photos and precious scraps of artwork. And it gets opened dozens of times of day and rummaged through for everything from quick snacks to dinner essentials. So, it begs one to wonder, why does it hardly ever get cleaned?
It could be due to the simple fact of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Or, it could be we really don’t have a great plan for cleaning the fridge. For example, where do we put all the food? And pull out crispers and drawers really don’t fit in the sink.
Never fear, we’re here for you. Try these tips by The Maids to keep your fridge fresh and clean.

  •  Throw out food that’s gone bad weekly. Quickly go through the contents of your fridge and throw out produce that’s gone bad before adding your new groceries. Jarred items and condiments can last a long time but if they have been in your refrigerator for years, they probably need to go. Always follow the rule, “When in doubt, throw it out.”
  • If it’s drippy, sticky or gooey, wipe it down before putting it back. Condiment bottles like ketchup, Siracha or Dijon mustard are notoriously messy. Give them a quick wipe with a warm washcloth before putting them back. The same goes for beverage containers like milk jugs. Wipe up any drips before they settle on your shelves.
  • Line your shelves and crisper drawers. The easiest messes to clean are the ones that never happen! Use press and seal wrap or plastic mats to line shelves and paper towels or newspapers to line crisper drawers. As a bonus, lining crisper drawers helps absorb extra moisture from produce allowing it to stay fresher, longer.
  • Make a couple of fridge rules. To keep your fridge clutter–free, make rules that eliminate those objects that muck it up – plates, cups and identical bottles of mustard and salad dressings. Open containers are just a bad idea as they can easily be spilled and nearly all condiments can sit in the cupboard before they opened instead of immediately adding to your fridge clutter.
  • Designate at least one night a week for leftover night. It is estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted each year. Pull out your leftovers, including any salad mixes and deli meats and cheeses, and let your family pick their dinner. Not only will you have to throw less spoiled food away, but you’ll save money and time as dinner just needs a quick re-heat! Just remember to label your leftovers so you know they are safe to eat.
  • Store food correctly. Your refrigerator has several different spots in it that were made with particular foods in mind. The door is a warmer spot and should be used for condiments and jarred items. Eggs should go on a middle or top shelf (with the milk), so their temperature doesn’t fluctuate. Store raw meat together (and bagged to prevent juices from spilling) near the bottom. Make sure your produce drawers are set to the correct humidity. Vegetables like humidity, fruit doesn’t!
  • Find an organization system that works for you. Some organizers swear by using plastic tubs and bins to keep like food items together. Recycling items for storage, like empty six-pack holders and egg cartons, have also been found to be handy. Others love to label drawers and shelves, so family members know where things go. If one of these storage solutions makes your fridge life easier, go for it.
    While you are busy keeping the inside of your fridge tidy, let us help keep the outside – and the rest of your kitchen for that matter – clean as a whistle. Our 22-Step Healthy Touch Deep Cleaning System pays extra special attention to the kitchen, like cleaning the sink, inside the microwave, outside your appliances, wiping down cabinet doors, counters, cleaning the floor and loading the dishwasher. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Pet owners: How to keep your home spotless

Pet Owners: How to Keep Your Home Spotless 

For many of us, our furry friends are our best friends. That’s not to say sometimes we don’t have beef with our little bffs. Pets are notoriously messy. Between shedding, dirty paws and house training accidents, it can feel like all we do is clean up after our pets. The good news is you don’t have to choose between the unconditional love of a pet and your love of spotless floors and clean furniture. Follow these tips to get the best of both worlds.

  1. Neutralize Odors. Let’s be honest. Pets carry their own eau de parfum and it isn’t the most welcoming smell when you walk in the door. Use products that help eliminate odors. A good tool of the trade is baking soda. Add a little essential oil to baking soda, geranium is a natural pet neutralizer, and sprinkle it over your carpet and furniture. Let it do its thing for at least a half hour, then vacuum. An enzyme-based cleaner is also a good investment. Many carpet machine manufacturers have pet odor products specifically suited for this purpose. A well air circulated home also does wonders to combat odors. Open a door or window whenever possible.
  2. Arm Yourself. Having the proper tools at the ready makes a big difference when cleaning up after pets. Always, always, always have a lint roller on hand. Not only does it make quick work of pet hair on your clothes but use it on couches, pillows and chairs to tidy up before company comes. Mini vacuums are a plus to get into the nooks and crannies and using them on stairs seriously saves your back. A good vacuum with proper suction is essential. Empty the bin often, check for clogs in the hoses and remove hair from brush rollers.
  3. Wash Soft Items Often.Dog beds, blankets and toys carry some serious funk. Don’t forget to clean these as well. Periodically throw them in the washing machine on the heavy-duty cycle (always follow the manufacturer’s laundering directions).
  4. Be Proactive.Every door should have a washable rug in front of it to eliminate dirt from being tracked in. Keep old towels handy when the weather turns wet or snowy to wipe down your pup’s paws before he gets a chance to get all the way into the house. If your pet isn’t the neatest of eaters, invest in a bowl stand to help eliminate slops and spills.
  5. Stay Vigilant To Control Pet Hair.Pet hair will never truly go away until your pet does, but you can eliminate its build up. Run the vacuum daily over the areas your pet loves to lay. Some owners swear by using squeegees over the carpet to gather up hair. Once vacuumed, spray an anti-static spray on throw pillows and upholstery to prevent new hair from sticking. A microfiber dust mop works great on hardwood and tile floors. Combat hair at the source by brushing your pet often (and outside) to reduce the amount of shedding. And, if you just can’t keep Fido or Felix off the furniture, invest in slipcovers.

The biggest thing to remember is your pet means more to you than a ball of hair or muddy prints. Pets enrich and even lengthen our lives; don’t stress over every mess. Instead, call The Maids. We will leave your home so clean and fresh you’ll think your pet packed his bags and went on vacation. Contact us today for a free estimate.



How to Create a Cleaning Chart for Kids That Really Works



How to Create a Cleaning Chart for Kids That Really Works

Getting the kids involved with routine cleaning chores is the perfect way to teach valuable life skills and get more done around the house. A cleaning chart for kids is a great way to keep track of the chores you delegate and create fun along the way. You’ll find a handy, printable weekly chore chart is a good start, but there are a few things you need to know to make your project a success.

The Right Job for the Right Kid

All children have different skill levels and age is just one factor to consider when matching kids with the right chores. Before you fill out your cleaning chart for kids, review the recommendations below and consider mental maturity, physical ability and level of interest besides age. When you take the time to pick the right job for the right kid, you both have a much greater chance of success.


Most toddlers up to around four years old love to help out with chores so making things fun and exciting is critical for keeping their enthusiasm high. Kids at this age need a visual reminder of their progress, and a sticker cleaning chart for kids is a terrific choice. You’ll probably have to spend more one-on-one time at this age level, but the quality time together and the positive habits you’ll create are worth the effort.

  • Make the bed together
  • Clean up toys and other belongings
  • Gather dirty clothes and put them in the hamper
  • Feed your pets together
  • Help with any messes or spills
  • Dust with Microfiber cloths (skip the furniture sprays)
  • Mop and sweep together (a kid-sized broom really adds to the fun with this one)


Around the ages of four or five, kids still love to help and crave quality time with their parents. The best part about this age group is, with a little hands-on help, most kids can quickly take over their responsibilities with little ongoing supervision. Since this age group is typically more mentally advanced than toddlers, they are motivated by rewards for completing chores. A sticker chart still works great at this age as long as it’s easy to understand and helps kids track their rewards to see how their hard work is paying off.

  • Set and clear the table
  • Help load the dishwasher (for more fun, why not wash dishes together the old-fashioned way!)
  • Cook together (kids love to measure ingredients, stir and other cooking tasks)
  • Put groceries away
  • Keep their room and play areas picked up

Six to Eight-Year-Olds

Children at these ages usually crave independence so keep that in mind when you assign their chores on your cleaning chart for kids. School-aged kids may have lost a little of their “blind” enthusiasm, but they make up for it with their quest for independence. This is also an age group that wants to make up their own minds. Try to assign them chores they enjoy or at least don’t hate! And don’t forget the rewards. Allowances, more tv time and other incentives work great at these ages.

  • Feed and water pets
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop
  • Take out the trash and help with recycling
  • Fold and put away laundry (especially their own)
  • Help with younger children
  • Get the mail (this one seems to be a favorite for all ages!)


Kids aged nine to twelve have a firm grasp of cause and effect, so keep those rewards coming. This age group is also developing an appreciation of routines with clear expectations. Letting preteens help with the scheduling and tracking gives them a sense of ownership and goes a long way toward keeping their interest. While you still want to use a cleaning chart, remember the goal is to get the kids to do their work, so don’t be afraid to change things up. Any of the chores above for younger children will work for this age group, but keep in mind the desire to prove their independence and increasing capabilities are strong. You may be better off giving them chores that require more effort and skill.

  • Help wash the car
  • Load and unload the dishwasher
  • Prepare meals together (don’t be afraid to let them take the lead once they get going)
  • Clean the bathrooms (be mindful of potentially harmful cleaners)
  • Rake leaves, pick up debris and other yard work


Most teens can take on nearly any chore as long as they know how to do it. But with this increased capability comes a hurdle parents must prepare for if they want to keep things rolling. Along with your cleaning chart, you’ll want to monitor your teens’ busy schedules and activities because you don’t want to overwhelm them. Even with the right incentives and good planning, teens can quickly come to resent chores if they feel overloaded. When you plan well and stay tuned-in to your teen’s frame of mind, you can delegate many “grown-up” chores successfully.

  • Change out light bulbs, indoor air filter and vacuum cleaner bags
  • Do the laundry
  • Clean windows
  • Clean out refrigerators and clean other appliances
  • Create grocery lists and help with the shopping
  • Other routine maintenance and cleaning

How Doing Chores Teaches Kids Valuable Life Lessons

Although each age group presents its own challenges, kids of all ages benefit from taking responsibility for chores. Research shows children who are responsible for chores have higher self-esteem, are more responsible and are better able to deal with frustration. These benefits contribute to more success in school and in adult life later on.

The life lessons learned and increased self-esteem experienced by kids who grow up doing chores has a direct impact on their ability to function competently as an adult.

  • Being responsible for chores gives kids an increased sense of belonging. Their contributions to the family teach them that teamwork and helping others is an important part of healthy relationships.
  • Holding kids accountable for their chores increases their perception of themselves as responsible which can lead them to seek more responsibility.
  • Completing chores makes kids feel more competent and gives them a sense of fulfilling their obligations. This sense of accomplishment prepares them for more difficult challenges as they grow up.
  • By teaching children to complete self-care tasks and household chores, parents equip kids with the skills to function independently in the outside world. The increased independence and appreciation of interdependence means kids can build mutually beneficial relationships in adulthood.
  • Working with a schedule and a cleaning chart, kids learn how to prioritize and manage their time. Getting the most important tasks completed in a timely manner is one of the best lessons any child can learn.
  • Holding children accountable for chores means teaching them what is important to you and what you think should be important to them. Hard work, discipline and other elements every successful adult needs are a natural byproduct of this accountability.
  • Not every child will experience accolades at school or in sports. Having them take on the responsibility of completing chores gives them feelings of self-worth they may not find elsewhere.

Making Sure Things Get Done

By making things fun and rewarding kids appropriately, you’ll have a better chance of success. But sometimes you’ll encounter resistance to your well-designed chore chart so here are tips to keep things moving.

Remember, it’s the journey, not the destination. If you want kids to learn those valuable lessons, then “good” has to be good enough. By taking a relaxed approach with your expectations, you can help children become more skilled while they realize it’s okay not to get things perfect.

Start early and build your child’s success. If you’re waiting until you think your kids are ready to take on responsibility, you’re missing the point because they learn by watching and doing. Even very young children can follow basic directions, and they naturally mimic parents’ behaviors. Your kids are more capable than you may think.

Praise even the smallest success. Kids love praise and for younger children that may be the best incentive of all so don’t wait until the chore is complete. Keep their enthusiasm alive by giving them an “A” for effort. Remember how patient and encouraging you were when your little ones were learning to walk? That’s precisely the praise and pats on the back kids need while they learn.

Consistency builds buy-in. You created the perfect cleaning chart for kids. You took the time to assign the most compatible chores and you’ve been patient, understanding and a real team player. Don’t mess all that up by being inconsistent with expectations and consequences. By sticking to your chore schedule, following up when chores are completed and making expectations (and consequences) as clear as possible, you’ll develop the consistency that helps children thrive.


Your Monthly Deep Clean Schedule

We love a clean house, in fact, the cleaner the better. But we recognize while some things need to be cleaned daily and weekly, other chores only need to be cleaned once or twice a year. The problem is, these are BIG chores, i.e., the ones you don’t want to do (who wants to wash windows?). That’s why we created a handy list that breaks up the biggest tasks by month. Once you get into a monthly cleaning schedule those huge tasks won’t seem so daunting.

January: Clean your refrigerator.

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to clear out all the leftovers in your fridge and give it a good disinfecting. Use a mild soap to wash shelves and drawers and disinfect the inside with a vinegar solution or a bleach solution. Allow to dry before putting your food back in.

February: Call The Maids for a Spring Cleaning.

Get a jump on spring and hire The Maids to give your home a top-to-bottom deep clean. The Maids will clear out all the old dust and allergens left over from a long winter and give you a fresh start.

March: Wash all your bedding.

We know sheets should be washed more than once a year but the rest of your bedding (the mattress pad, comforter, pillows and blankets) require it less often. Check all the tags and wash in the hottest water recommended.

April: Clean your vents.

This time of year your HVAC unit gets a little break so use it to clean your vents. Remove each vent and vacuum the opening. Wash the actual vent covers in warm water with a mild soap. The bathtub works great for large return vents.

May: Clean all your trash cans.

The only thing standing between your bin and smelly, slimy garbage is a paper-thin bag, which, let’s face it, doesn’t always withstand all the abuse. Remove the bag (and any solid materials) and spray the inside with an all-purpose cleaner and let it sit for a couple minutes. If your bin is too deep for your arms to reach, use the kitchen sprayer or even the garden hose to spray off any hardened gunk.

June: Organize your storage areas.

Replace broken storage bins and sell or throw out items you’re ready to part with (if you haven’t used it in 10 years do you really need it?). Dust or wipe down shelving.

July: Wipe down all your vertical surfaces.

Horizontal surfaces, e.g. tables, TV stands, etc., usually get some dusting love but vertical surfaces, not so much. Wipe down all your light switch plates, doors, moldings and cabinets.

August: Move your appliances.

You’d be surprised how easy big appliances are to move. Pull them out to vacuum and scrub the floor under them. Don’t forget to wipe down the sides too.

September: Wash your windows.

Like, really wash them. Remove and/or vacuum the screens and sills. Wash both the inside and outside of the windows. If you live in a two-story home and your windows don’t slide-in for easy cleaning, either hire a pro or find someone who’s comfortable on a ladder.

October: Clean out your bathroom vanities and medicine cabinets.

It’s amazing how dust and hair and get inside a drawer! Go through your vanity and medicine cabinet and toss any expired medications and old makeup. Vacuum out drawers and grab some plastic bins to help you organize your toiletries.

November: Wash your curtains.

Dust loves to live on the very top of your fabric curtains. Check the fabric’s label and follow the laundering and ironing directions.

December: Clean your lights.

The days get short in December so your lights need to be as bright as possible. Dust and clean your light fixtures and lamp shades. Unscrew any glass or porcelain housings and wash them in mild, soapy water.


Contact us today to see how we can fit into your monthly cleaning schedule.


Additional Home Services


Through our sister company and business partner- Chinook Services- we offer a wide range of residentialand commercial services in addition to standard housecleaning.  These services include:

  • Window washing inside and out
  • Carpet Cleaning
  • Dryer vent cleaning
  • Pressure washing
  • Gutter cleaning
  • Roof cleaning
  • Handyman services

The photo below shows a Chinook technician cleaning a driveway using an orbital pressure washer.


You can give us a call right here at The Maids at 425-353-8618 (email: and we will put you in contact with Chinook. Or you can call Chinook directly at 425-290-8635 (email:

Visit Chinook’s website at



The Maids' Vacuum


At The Maids, the vacuum we use is state-of-the-art.  Ours is a specialty back-pack vacuum with HEPA filtration.  HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air (absorber)”.  HEPA is an industry-defined-standard by The American Society for Mechanical Engineers.  To meet the standards to qualify as HEPA, a vacuum must be able to capture 99.9% of particles measuring 0.3 microns or more.

Well then- how small is 0.3 microns?  To place it in perspective, the diameter of a human hair is about 100 microns, of a red blood cell about 7 microns, and of an E. coli bacterium about 1 micron.  Most  pollens and other allergens are larger than the 0.3 micron limit.  HEPA-filtered vacuums can capture all of these and more.

Our back-pack vacuum allows us to efficiently vacuum carpets, rugs, and hard surface floors. And by using extensions and specialty tools, it also allows us to edge carpets and reach high places including recessed lighting and ceiling fans.

We don’t move dirt and dust around.  At The Maids, we capture the dirt, dust, and allergens in your home- and remove it!



Steps to Decrease the Amount of Dust in Your Home



We all know that you can’t totally eliminate dust from your home, but you can take some steps to keep it under control:

  1. Leave shoes in the entry way after entering your home. Many of us are a little uncomfortable with this, because we feel it may offend some guests.  It’s your choice, but it will help decrease the amount of soil and pollen brought in from the outside. And don’t forget your own shoes!
  2. Minimize the amount of time that your doors and windows open. It’s nice to have fresh air brought into the home, but fresh air also carries with it dust and pollen. Screens will capture some dust, but far from all.
  3. Change bedding once a week. Bedding is a great place for dust to settle, and it is also a perfect environment for dust mites. So change your pillow cases and bedding every week.
  4. Vacuum your carpeted floors at least once a week, and more often if you have the time. Carpets are also guilty of being great resting places for dust, and also a perfect environment for dust mites.  If you are deciding between carpet and a hard surface floor, the hard surface floor wins hands-down from a dust perspective.
  5. Vacuum your upholstered furniture at least once a week.
  6. Dust at least once a week. Don’t use a feather duster or a dry standard cloth. A feather duster just moves the dust around. Instead use a damp cloth or a microfiber cloth, which will capture the dust. And dust from top to bottom.
  7. Consider air purifiers. They aren’t perfect, but they will help control the air-born dust, and they can be beneficial to those with severe allergies.  Air purifiers have a limited range, so consider one for each room that you spend a lot of time in.


What's In Household Dust?

At The Maids, we consider ourselves experts on dirt and dust. It’s our job to remove them from your home.

First, let’s dispel an urban myth that claims that household dust is largely made of shed human skin cells. Not true.  Although skin cells are present, they are only a very small fraction of household dust.

Well then, what’s in it? Dust can come from only two places- from the outdoors or from indoors. Dust from the outdoors largely consists of particles of soil and pollen granules (allergies!).  On the inside, dust consists of small pieces of fiber from furniture, carpets, and bedding.  The other major component is from organic sources- dander from pets (allergies!), small particles from insects or bugs, and yes, the occasional skin cell. Human hair and pet hair can also contribute to dust, and they are often found associated with fluffy dust (aka dust bunnies).

Below are  two microscopic photos of household dust.




In an accompanying blog we will provide you with some tips for minimizing the dust in your home.  You can’t eliminate dust, but you can take steps to control it.

The Maids Training

At The Maids, we take training very seriously. Of course we train our new employees in our unique system of cleaning.  But it doesn’t end there.  Every day is a training day at The Maids, even for our established employees.  As an example, our Field Managers meet with our Team Leaders every morning in a classroom setting. They review The Maids cleaning system, cleaning tips, safety issues, and much more. And when we do mess up in a customer’s home (yes, occasionally that happens), we use it as a learning and training experience, instead of an excuse for taking someone to the woodshed. Shown below are our Field Managers, Konni and Tracy, working with teams and individuals during the morning preparation period.




Move-Out & Move-In Cleaning

Planning to move?  Few things are more stressful. And then when everything is moved, packed and out of the house, there is still one gigantic task left- cleaning!  Floors, cabinets, sinks, tubs, showers…they need attention. Do you really want to scrub the shower when you have all of the other moving-related activities on your list?

And when you move into your new place, you may be disappointed when you find it is not up to your standards.

At The Maids, we offer move-out and move-in cleaning by our professionally trained teams. One-time cleans, occasional cleaning, or continuing service- no commitment and no contract. We’re here to help.