Recent Cleaning Posts

Getting Organized; Cape Cod & Islands

4/14/2016 (Permalink)

This photo shows a job that we did where the bedroom door couldn't open. We were able to help them restore their home back to a safe environment.

There is a reason the DIY shows push storage and organization solutions  during Springtime. It’s because they know that there is no better time than after a long  winter to tackle the task of cleaning or more specifically, getting organized. The start of the new season combined with cold winter days that kept us house bound for months makes it the perfect opportunity to clean out linen and clothes closets as well as other areas of the house that become a catchall for miscellaneous items that no longer have a place in our lives and rediscover areas cluttered with stuff.

Now is the season for cleaning and organizing—for opening the closets and drawers and finally getting rid of some of the things that you no longer use. Before the summer guests start to arrive, head out to a big box store, pick up some storage and organization solutions and start cleaning. Purging is good. It not only creates more space, it can free you from some of the things that may be holding you back.

And if you start a project of cleaning and organizing a room, the basement, attic or garage and find yourself retracting from it or even avoiding it because it just seems like too big of a task to accomplish on your own call our team at SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod & The Islands to help you when you need it most!

Hoarding is a serious issue here in Cape Cod & The Islands

3/21/2016 (Permalink)

When a room gets buried in stuff sometimes it's better to call SERVPRO of help to clean and organize it up.

Many of us are guilty, embarrassed or even ashamed of keeping things longer than we probably should and collecting items that we really don’t need; for some reason, however, we cannot bring ourselves to toss these things out. Does this behavior make us hoarders? More than likely, the answer to that question is no. Many of us use the word hoarding when we really mean to say we have clutter. It is a good indication, however, that we need some storage and organization solutions, to keep the things we love and get rid of the things that are taking up too much space in our homes and our lives. However, if you can not sleep in your bed, bath in your tub or cook on your cook top in your kitchen because of piles of "stuff" it may be a warning that there may be a more serious issue than clutter.

What is hoarding? Hoarding can be described as either the acquisition of or the failure to discard a large number of possessions. This condition impacts approximately 15 million people in the U.S. Hoarding is not bias and effects people of every age, race and financial demographic in our country.  The main difference between hoarding and squalor is even though a room may be heavily cluttered, there are no signs of infestation, mold, rotting food or human/animal waste. As a restoration company that offers “extreme cleaning services,” I have seen hoarding situations.  My number one concern is to be respectful and protect a person's privacy while working through this experience. By the time we arrive on the scene in these homes, the collection of debris has gotten to a point where it is classified as a health issue. If there are pets living in the home, the situation can be even worse.

My team has cleaned properties that were in squalor condition. The person living there had fallen into a deep depression and not cleaned up after himself or his four dogs for at least nine months. In addition to all of the stuff he had amassed, the dogs had not been walked and there was fecal matter…along with bacteria... throughout the home. We came into the home and removed what needed to be thrown out and cleaned everything else to the level of cleanliness to please a health inspector. This is what I call extreme cleaning and it requires the services of a professional company that has the equipment and trained professionals who are "empathetic but not emotionally connected” to the things that need to be removed and the ability to sanitize what is left that has been neglected for an extended amount of time or even years. If you or someone you know needs help there are services.

Extreme cleaning is something that is far beyond day to day cleaning. It is even beyond the spring and fall cleaning most homeowners do when they pull out the furniture and vacuum under it and pull down window treatments to clean them…and the windows, too! If you or someone you know is in over their head with "stuff" that they have acquired or not thrown away we can help restore a safe and health home again. For more information please visit our website.

Dirty Air Ducts on Cape Cod & Islands: May Cause Health Problems

2/15/2016 (Permalink)

Does your air duct system filter look like this one? If it is clogged up with dust and debris like this one you may want to get your system cleaned pr

Health Risks Associated with Dirty Ducts

The risks of having dirty air ducts may be more severe than you might know. Have your allergies been getting the best of you lately and you’re not sure why? Can’t get rid of that nagging cough or cold? When it comes to cleaning, there are a few areas of your home that may get overlooked and one of those areas might be the HVAC system. As a restoration company, we offer air duct cleaning services.

Some Health Effects of Particle Pollution

  • Asthma and chronic bronchitis
  • Acute respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and chest tightness
  • Decreased lung function, experienced as shortness of breath
  • Heart attacks
  • Premature death in people with heart or lung disease

Exposure to particle pollution can affect both your lungs and your heart. Health research suggests that short-term exposure to coarse particles can lead to coughing, minor throat irritation and reduced lung function, while long-term exposure may increase the rate of respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Many of these conditions contribute to work and school absences, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions. Any unexplained allergy-related illnesses could be a sign that your HVAC system needs to be cleaned.

Who is Most at Risk

  • Children, because their lungs are still developing
  • Elderly, particularly those with or prone to cardiovascular disease
  • People with asthma or other respiratory ailments
  • Healthy adults who exert themselves during periods of elevated fine particle concentrations also may be affected because they tend to breathe more while working or exercising.

You can learn more on EPA’s website.

If you are concerned about the health and wellbeing of someone you love, please feel free to contact us for a quote. We are here to help!

Dirty Air Ducts Cost You Money on Cape Cod & The Islands

2/15/2016 (Permalink)

Photo of a air duct before and after cleaning. Notice how much dirt and debris is covering the surface of the duct before just one cleaning.

Like your dryer and furnace your air duct system can cost you more money if it is running inefficiently and that simply translates into you spending more money to heat or cool your home or business. Do you often find yourself wondering, how often should I get my air ducts cleaned? Or is it necessary to clean air ducts? Then you have come to the right place for answers. When it comes to the chores of spring and fall cleaning, we all know that we have to wash the windows, move the furniture, and clean the window treatments. Cleaning the HVAC system doesn’t even make the list because it’s not something we see or notice on a regular basis. A dirty heating and cooling system not only spews tiny particles of dirt, dust, and debris which can cause health issues it can cause clogging of vents which may shorten the life span of your furnace and electronical devices. Hiring a Cleaning & Restoration Company can in turn save you money and give you cleaner air to breathe.

What Makes Air Ducts Dirty?

Beyond the day to day pollutants such as dust and debris there is the question of do you have pets? Chances are their fur is not only collecting under the furniture and in corners, it can be collecting in air ducts as well. Speaking of animals, if there is any evidence that wildlife such as squirrels, chipmunks or mice are nesting in your heating and cooling system, immediately call a pest control company to eliminate the animals. Then a Cleanup Company can come in to remove the deceased animals, their excrement and any affected insulation followed by sanitizing the system. We recently responded to a job for a customer whose tenant was complaining of a strong odor throughout the home. Once we inspected the system we discovered not only to our surprise but to our customer too that over 60 mice had been living within the system and wall cavities of the home for some time. We were hired to cleanup up the deceased mice and their excrement. They were so relieved to finally have a solution to their hidden odor problem while saving their relationship with a good tenant.

If you have a furnace malfunction you can be affected by, in industry terms, a Puff Back. During a puff back event, oil based soot usually covers all areas of the property including drapes, bedding, furniture, clothing, cabinets, ceilings, walls and floors and is extremely difficult to remove. Most times, you will know that you’ve had a furnace puff back! But there are times when it is harder to detect since the soot coverage can range from a light dusting to a concentrated dark appearance especially on horizontal surfaces like countertops. While you may be tempted to clean the affected area, the "dust" will “re-appear” hours later. You can read more about Puff Backs and how to deal with them in a blog posting from earlier this year.

If you are planning to have work done that would include cutting wood such as carpentry it helps to seal off the ductwork during the renovations, but if they weren’t, dust could have collected in the ducts. If you recently remodeled or renovated a room in your home or business and this task wasn’t done the ductwork may need to be cleaned. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.

Post Construction Cleaning: The Finishing Touch for contractors on Cape Cod & Islands

12/1/2015 (Permalink)

The project of the day isn't done until it is clean and ready to use!

Has your home ever needed such a thorough cleaning that you thought it might be easier to just move?Remember how clean everything was when you moved into your newly built house? The new faucets sparkled; the light fixtures gleamed; and the appliances shined. I hate to spoil the illusion but more than likely a commercial cleaning company had come in to ensure that the home was spotless and up to your standards. 

Whenever a builder finishes a new house or even a renovation project, all of the beautiful materials and upscale amenities are usually covered under layers of dust combined with sawdust. Fingerprints typically coat the stainless steel appliances and mar the windows while muddy shoe prints leave a trail across the hardwood or tile floors. Tiled showers tend to have dirt inside them from the installation process and tubs are not ready for bathers. 

Those fabulous white shaker cabinets and beautiful shiny granite countertops that create the wow in a new kitchen renovation may have been selected by a designer and installed by the contactor, but it was the cleaning company who literally put the finishing touches on everything—making them shine and sparkle. 

As a cleaning and restoration company, we are the little elves who come in to do “post-construction cleaning. We are the team who cleans up after the trade workers have finished their jobs. We wipe their fingerprints off the windows and woodwork; we remove the debris collected in the tubs and showers during installation; we wipe down countertops and cabinets—polishing and making them shine, paying attention to the tiniest of details. We wash the floors removing any dirt left behind by the workers who walked in and out of the house during construction. We make it "Like it never even happened." 

Post construction clean ups are just as necessary for commercial projects as they are for residential projects…sometimes more so. Trust me…when you spend $8 million for a commercial project like the Boys and Girls Club of Nantucket…it better look like a 8 million bucks when the people…especially the donors…walk through the doors! 

Post-construction cleaning is an essential part of any project…whether it is residential or commercial. And it is very specialized cleaning—different from routine cleaning or yearly maintenance. As a restoration company, SERVPRO is typically the first one on the scene of a water damage or mold remediation, there to begin the clean up process after the damage. Because we offer post-construction clean up services, we are also the last ones on those water damage and mold remediation projects…polishing, shining, and cleaning…to make it "Like it never even happened."

Six Easy Steps to a Clean Home

9/4/2015 (Permalink)

Clean and decluttered countertops is an instant facelift for any kitchen
As the owner of a restoration company who spends more than 50 hours a week making sure other people’s homes are clean and healthy, I can certainly identify with the axiom, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” A bit of a neat freak by nature, I appreciate a clean home but as the owner of a company, I understand the temptation to look passed the messes, and opt for doing anything else during my “free time.” Over the years, I have had to come up with a plan that balances the need for a clean house with the need to relax and decompress. I offer the following six easy steps to getting a home ready to accept visitors—even a mother in law—without breaking too much of a sweat—or your back.

Step 1 Kitchen Clean Up

Begin with the kitchen. Since this is the most well used room in the house, it is the place where you want to focus your energy. Begin by putting all dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Wipe down countertop surfaces, sink, refrigerator handles and the front of the microwave with a multi-purpose cleaning agent. If it’s been more than a month, go ahead and hit the oven’s self-cleaning button. Bonus Tip: A clean oven cuts down on bad odors and reduces the potential for a smoke out situation, which occurs when previous spills become over heated, causing smoke to stream out of the oven, triggering the home’s smoke detectors.

Step 2 Head to the bathroom

Wipe down the toilet, counter, and sink area with a multi-purpose bathroom cleaner. Clear the counter of any items and put them back into drawers or closets. Hang fresh towels. The mirror takes the most abuse so be sure to wipe that down with a glass cleaner. Bonus Tip: sit down on the toilet and look around; what do you see in your sight line? If you can see it, so can your guests.

Step 3 Dusting

While most homes only need a good dusting once a month, it is a good habit to do some routine maintenance. Weekly cleaning of living spaces should include picking things up off the floor, throwing out old newspapers, organizing the magazines on the coffee table, fluffing pillows and couch cushions, folding throw blankets, and putting shoes away in the closet. When it is time to dust, use a good product, such as Pledge Multi-Purpose cleaner, and a micro fiber cloth, which works much better than paper towels. Bonus Tip: Always spray the product on the cloth and if you fold one micro fiber cloth into four parts, you will have eight clean sides to use throughout the house.

Step 4 Go to Bed

I have always been a fan of making beds—complete with hospital corners. I fondly remember my childhood ritual on Saturday mornings, listening to John Denver while making the bed in my pink-colored room. And though it has been many years since those days, it still gives me great joy to walk into my bedroom and see my bed dressed for success—the center of attention—with crisp sheets and matching comforter set. Making a bed is the single most important chore that can be done in the bedroom. It instantly makes the room look and feel cleaner and neater. Getting your children to agree with this philosophy, however, might prove a bit challenging. Once kids hit the teen years, you may have to pick and choose your battles and one of the easiest battles to give up is to allow them to have their own space, a room that they can decorate and keep however they want. For our family that space was their bedroom. From the pink walls in our daughter’s room—which I may have encouraged—to the ridiculous posters in our son’s room, we allowed them to do whatever they wanted—as long as it was legal—in those spaces. I just kept my opinions about their interior decorating choices to myself, smiled, and quietly shut the door.

Step 5 Trash Talk

It is amazing how much stuff a family can collect over time! It is a good idea to get rid of items that are no longer useful or relevant and taking up space in the basement or garage on an annual basis. For every day trash, however, consider putting three or four neatly organized plastic bins in the garage or a mudroom. It will make the chore of separating plastic, glass, paper, and cardboard that much easier. Bonus Tip: The more you recycle, the less trash you amass.

#6 Suck It Up

Borrowing from Nike’s tagline, “just do it!” The task of vacuuming is just one of those dreaded chores but it has the most significant impact. If you have done the routine maintenance suggested in Step 3, however, the work of vacuuming should be smooth sailing—straight down the halls, in and out of rooms. Start upstairs and work your down. Stick to the high traffic areas and leave areas under the beds and behind furniture for a much more thorough cleaning, when you enlist the help of the other family members living in the house!

Tada! Go ahead and grab a magazine, put your feet up, and enjoy the feel of your clean home.