MINT HILL, NC – When it comes to cleaning the inside of your house, spring is generally a time to tackle some of those lesser-performed chores that often fall to the wayside. Cindy Rochon from White Tulip Interiors recommends wiping down kitchen and bathroom cabinets, ceiling fans, baseboards, trim, doorknobs and light switches – surfaces that are rarely subject to more than a cursory surface clean.
“People tend to dust or wipe them here or there, but they don’t really clean them,” says Stephanie Hill of Hill’s Cleaning Service. “Baseboards, doorknobs, light switches – those are big areas where people don’t think to actually scrub.”
One place that indoor and outdoor cleaning intersect is the windows. “A lot of people with spring cleaning like to do windows inside and outside, including windowsills and the inside of tracks,” says Hill. “Some people don’t even do that but once every few years, unfortunately. It’s one of those things that you don’t think about or you don’t have time to do, and then you look and realize, oh those really need to be done.”
Although it may not strike you as part of a regular cleaning routine, changing your air filters can have a long-term impact on the cleanliness of your home. “You should change your air filters regularly, but if you don’t do it regularly, definitely do it in the spring!” says Rochon. “When you change out your filters, it cuts down on dust immensely. For our clients that have especially dusty homes, I also recommend an extra air purifier. I swear by those! I have two running in my house constantly, and I have very little dust!”
If spring cleaning your own home is starting to sound tedious, it definitely can be. According to Hill, time is one of the main reasons people consider hiring a cleaning pro, especially for a big spring clean.
“A lot of people don’t have time to clean their house regularly much less ‘spring clean’ their house,” says Hill. “People have good intentions, but they’re still going to the store and doing their laundry, and they’ll start cleaning, but it has to be done in stages. By the time you get A, B and C done, it’s time to do A again, and you never get to all of it. Just to get the house picked up and even start cleaning it is a lot for some people – it’s completely overwhelming to think about getting to things like fans and light fixtures.”
Another advantage of hiring a pro is not having to worry about obtaining all the various cleaning supplies you’ll need to get the job done. “We bring all of our own stuff,” says Hill. “Sometimes you may not even know what you need. You don’t know what’s going to be efficient. There’s so much stuff on the market now and so much you can do – some people get really overwhelmed. With us, you don’t have to think about that.”
A professional cleaning service may also offer important protections. “We do guarantee our cleaning,” says Maid Pro General Manager Roxanne Green. “If the customer is not happy, we’re not happy. All our employees are background checked, insured, and bonded. That definitely separates us from some other cleaning companies. If someone isn’t insured or bonded and they break something or happen to fall down and hurt themselves, the client is going to be responsible for it. We’re very safe and cautious in our clients’ homes, and we’re also pet-friendly.”
“Cleaning services know what they’re doing,” says Rochon. “They have a system down, and they know how to get the house as clean as possible with the right chemicals and the right products. Sure, you can do it yourself, but it would take a lot of time, you may have to buy supplies, and you may not be as thorough as a professional.”
Hill’s Cleaning Service’s regular cleaning service includes bathrooms (showers, tubs, toilets, sinks, mirrors, fixtures, floors), kitchens (counters, top, and front of stove and fridge, inside and outside of sink and microwave), and dusting, vacuuming and mopping throughout the house. They also empty trash and change bedsheets. Their “spring” or “deep” cleaning includes several services that go above and beyond their regular cleaning: damp wiping blinds, baseboards, chair molding, and cabinets; dusting cobwebs from corners, fans, and light fixtures that are reachable; and disinfecting doorknobs and light switches.
Maid Pro doesn’t offer a specific “spring cleaning” service because every clean they complete checks all the boxes on their 49-point check sheet, which includes things like cobwebs, ceiling fans, blinds, fronts and backs of doors, dusting, and vacuuming. In response to the pandemic, they’ve added what they term “high point touch disinfecting,” which includes sanitizing all “high touch” areas like doorknobs and cabinet handles. For clients in search of a more customized cleaning experience, they offer many add-on services down to things like organizing closets and dressers, washing dishes, or doing loads of laundry.
“49+1!” says Green. “I’m always telling my cleaners that on the way out the door. Go above and beyond. Maybe the inside and outside of that sliding glass door isn’t on your checklist, but you’ve got ten extra minutes. We like to put those extra touches on the client’s house. They’re paying for a service, and we want to provide them with that extra clean.”
While it’s tempting to have your home professionally cleaned just once or twice a year, Green encourages all potential clients to consider recurring services. “ A lot of people want the one-time, painless, deep clean,” says Green, “but we actually offer recurring services. Our “one-time clean” price is our highest; we offer discounts for frequency. You get the same deep-cleaning but cheaper prices.”
Moreover, hiring a professional cleaning company may not be as expensive as you think. “In the long run, it’s worth it,” says Rochon. “I have heard from clients that they always thought they couldn’t afford it, but they just bit the bullet and did it, and it was the best thing they’d ever done because it was done the right way all at one time.” Like Green, Rochon encourages clients to consider regular cleaning services. “If we come in every two weeks and clean the house, it never gets to that point of being really bad again,” she says.
Having your home cleaned regularly gives you a leg up on the competition when you decide it’s time to sell. “When it comes to resale, you want to present a clean house,” says 1st Choice Properties Owner Anna Granger. “It’s huge. If the house is clean and decluttered, it gives the buyer the impression that the house is well taken care of. No matter if it’s baseboards or windows or closets, it does make a difference. You don’t want to give a potential buyer any excuse to pass your house by.”
Like Green and Rochon, Granger doesn’t think you need to wait for spring – or for when they want to put their home on the market – to clean house. “Don’t pack it all into spring,” she advises, “and don’t wait until you want to sell. Stay on top of it. If you spread it out and don’t let yourself get behind, then when you’re ready, it’s not a huge task.”
Ready to hire a pro to help with your home? Call or text Stephanie Hill at (704) 713-7428. Maid Pro East Charlotte (located at the corner of Lawyers Road and Highway 51) can give estimates over the phone at (704) 612-8120. White Tulip Interiors can be reached by phone at (724) 272-9893 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow them on Facebook @whitetulipinteriorspgh.
When it comes to cleaning the outside of your home, Chris McKinney of Bucket Brigade Power Washing says the first step is taking a good look at your property. “The first thing to do is walk around your property and see what’s going on,” says the 20-year career firefighter who does exterior cleaning on his days off. “I go to so many places, and I get to one side of the house and see something drastic, and they say, ‘I’ve never even looked at that side of the house!’ Once you’ve done a survey, you can come up with a game plan of what needs to happen.”
Your game plan, says McKinney, starts at the top – literally. “Inspect your roof, and clear loose debris, which can become a breeding ground for mold and algae,” he says. “When you do that, it’s not uncommon to discover holes or cracks that need repair as well.”
After you’ve covered the roof, work your way down. “A lot of people don’t understand how important it is to clean your gutters in the spring,” continues McKinney. “Gutters full from the fall can not only disrupt water flow but freeze and pull away from the house when we get colder temperatures.”
“It’s always good to keep your gutters cleaned out so they don’t back up and cause further unseen problems until it’s too late,” agrees Travis Rogers of TR Handy Services. “Soffit and facia rot can easily be caused by gutter backups. Most of the time you won’t notice it until there is extensive rot.”
Next, check your bushes and other foundational plants. Overgrown plants are more than just an aesthetic concern; when they grow too close to your house, they can restrict airflow and create algae, moss, and black streaks on your siding. If you’re going to tackle the siding yourself, McKinney gives this tip: use a 70/30 water/bleach solution but don’t let bleach dry on any surface. “If they don’t follow that one precaution, they’re going to cause damage,” cautions McKinney. “It has to go on wet, it has to stay wet, and it has to be removed.”
Lastly, don’t forget to inspect your windows. “One of the biggest things on the windows that people miss is the screens,” notes McKinney. “When you look on that windowsill, you see all that dirt and grime and algae and mold because no one ever takes their screens off!”
If all of that sounds like a lot of work, that’s one of the main reasons to hire a pro like McKinney or Rogers, who handle all types of exterior cleaning. “There is no secret to the pressure washing business,” McKinney chuckles, “But I can probably do your whole house in an hour and a half,” he continues, “ and you have the whole weekend to yourself. DIY-ing a professional cleaning on your house is going to take you the better part of the weekend.”
Another advantage to hiring a professional is knowing they’ll do the job right. “A lot of folks don’t understand what pressure washers do,” says McKinney, who says many DIY-ers who purchase or rent pressure washers make the mistake of using the highest pressure possible. “Your house doesn’t require high pressure. What pressure washers like myself do is use high volume but low pressure. Your average homeowner probably gets a press washer that’s 2.5 gallons per minute. Ours are 8 gallons per minute.” “It’s always best to hire a professional to get the best results possible,” agrees Rogers. “They have the right equipment and experience to take care of your spring projects.”
While it’s tough to stomach sacrificing a weekend or a few hundred dollars to clean a house that doesn’t look dirty, McKinney is adamant that you shouldn’t wait until your house is visibly dirty to call in a pro. “The key is to get ahead of it,” he says. “I clean a lot of houses where people will say, ‘The house doesn’t even look dirty!’ But when the whole house is black and green – that’s not the time to call a pressure washer.”
“Spring is a great time to get your house, driveway, sidewalks, etc. washed,” says Rogers. “All the mold and mildew buildup from the winter months make your property look bad. It’s important to keep up with your deck, too; even though it’s treated wood, all the weather will break it down eventually.”
“I get a lot of feedback from people wanting their house washed who say it’s too expensive,” says McKinney, who can complete an average exterior cleaning for $160-$200. “It’s funny the things people will and will not spend money on,” he continues. “I have far more people who want their driveway done than their house, but a little maintenance goes a long way. It’s like tires on your car. I hate to pay for it, but it’s vital maintenance.”
A clean and well-maintained exterior can even help with resale value. “Back last spring, I had this older lady call me and say I’m interested in having my house washed and the driveway washed,” recalls McKinney. “Turns out she’s had her house up for sale for almost four months with no one interested. We pressure washed everything. She called me a week and a half later, and she had four people bidding on the house, and she sold for over asking price! She swore up and down it was the pressure washing.”
“Usually pressure washing by itself is not the secret,” says Anna Granger, owner of 1st Choice Properties, “but it’s always good to make a good first impression when people walk up to your house when you’re trying to sell. Having a clean driveway and walkway can make a big difference, and the outside is usually a reflection of the inside.”
If you need help cleaning the exterior of your home, you can reach Chris McKinney at Bucket Brigade Power Washing at (704) 238-3117 or find him on Facebook @911getclean. Travis Rogers of TR Handy Services can be reached by phone at (704) 780-5690 or on Facebook @T.R.HandyServices.
Ready to sell your sparkling clean home? Call Anna Granger at (704) 650-5707.