Five Easy Secrets to Shine Your Home or Office

Window washing and de-cluttering tips, plus 3 cleaning “secrets” that will give you the most sparkle in the least time.

Window Washing

Inside and out, nothing makes your home or workplace sparkle like clean windows. In winter,window cleaning allows in the maximum amount of lightto brightenyour home or commercial space. In sunniermonths, streaks and grime on dirty windows become more noticeable in the sunlight. You may have gotten used to the film of dirt on your windows, so take a close look. Sparkling clean windows will make a great first impression on newcomers.

If you have time to do it yourself, Atlanta residential and commercial window cleaners Sunshine Window Cleaning, suggest using a simple squeegee and homemade cleaning solution. Window cleaning products sold in the grocery or hardware store tend to attract dirt more quickly than solutions you can mix up yourself. Your biggest investment should be in stable ladders that will prevent falls and are the right height to reach all windows, interior and exterior.

This is a task a professional window washer can do more thoroughly, safely and in much less time.  Go here for a free estimate for Atlanta residential or commercial window cleaning.

Clean out the Clutter

From Sarah Aguirre on About.com

Start with the entrance then the second most-used room and so on until you have done all rooms one by one. Label 4 big boxes or bins with these 4 categories:

  • Trash– include any item that you do not need or want, but that cannot be donated or sold. Damaged and broken items should be included in the trash if they are not worth someone buying and repairing.
  • Give Away – Be generous. Think about the uses someone else might get out of the items vs. the use it gets in your home buried in cabinets or closets. You could sell this stuff at a garage sale but they are very time-consuming. Giving to a charity frees up your time for a better use.
  • Storage– Put items in here that you cannot part with but do not need on a regular basis. Make an inventory of the items as you box them. Group similar items together. Get tips on proper storage forout-of-season clothing.
  • Put Away– These are items that you will need, but not every day, like tools, specialty cleaners or holiday decorations. Monitor yourself don’t keep anything that is no longer truly useful. Try to come up with a convenient storage solution for what you do keep.

Shiny Sink 101

From FlyLady.net

A clean sink is the central factor that will keep your whole kitchen cleaner and more in order. Here’s the formula:

  • Run some very hot water into the sink and fill it to the rim. If you have a two-sided sink, only do one side at a time. Then, pour a cup of household bleach into the hot water. Let it sit for one hour. Now, pull the plug with a pair of tongs. If you don’t have tongs, then scoop some of the water out of the sink into the other sink and use your hand to pull the plug. Make sure you wear gloves so the bleach doesn’t irritate your skin, and don’t get the bleach water on your clothes.
  • Rinse your sink well.
  • Use some powdered cleanser (Comet, Ajax, or baking soda) and scrub your sink. Be sure to rinse ALL of the cleanser from the sink.
  • Take a sharp edge, such as a butter knife, and clean around the rim of the sink, just like you would clean dirt out from under your fingernails.
  • Clean around the faucets. You may need an old toothbrush or dental floss.
  • Use Windex or car wax to polish your whole sink to a lustrous shine.
  • Now, every time you run water in your sink, take your clean dishtowel and dry it out (I lay out a clean one every night as part of my before-bed routine). Before you know it, you will be doing this everytime you leave your kitchen! No more water spots. You will have a clean and shiny sink!

Eventually this should inspire you and the rest of the family to clear the counters and keep the rest of the kitchen clean and tidy as well!

Scrubbing Bathrooms, Shower Doors and Tiles

From Real Simple Magazine

Bathrooms are an easy cleaning target because their small size and hard surfaces guarantee big results in a short time.  Another reason to attack your nasty grout and soap film is that if they’re ignored for too long, mold and mildew can seep into the grout, and there may be no way to remove it. A buildup of soap scum can discolor ceramic and stone tile.

Step 1: Spray tile walls with an all-purpose cleaner, then go at them with a stiff-bristle scrub brush (Bar Brush, $9, oxo.com). For heavy soap scum, mold, and mildew, use a stronger cleaner, like Marblelife Maxout Tile and Grout (from $10, marblelife.com). When it comes to grout lines, Leigh Gansberg, director of housekeeping at the Carlyle hotel, in New York City, swears by the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge ($3, walgreens.com). Just dampen it and rub it over the grout, the cleaner is inside the sponge. If you prefer an eco-friendly version, try the Stain Eraser ($17, goclean.com).

Step 2: Use glass cleaner on shower doors or, if you’re dealing with serious soap scum or hard-water spots, undiluted white vinegar that has been heated to boiling. Use a microfiber cloth or, for gentle abrasion, a no scratch scrubbing sponge. A trick for shower-door tracks: Pour a little vinegar into the track, let sit for a few minutes, then rub with the scrub brush and towel-dry. No need to rinse. After a shower or two, the vinegar smell will be gone.

Shine Metal Surfaces with Baby Oil

From Sandra Redmon, Molly Maid UK

Here’s a way to add a lot of sparkle with minimal effort or cost.  Most baby oils’ key ingredient is mineral oil, which is a byproduct of the distillation of gasoline from crude oil. A super-thin layer of this liquid plastic can definitely shine up dull metallic surfaces.

Start by removing dirt from chrome or stainless steel surfaces like faucets, sinks, and appliances with a cotton cloth dampened with warm water, and allow the surfaces to dry for a minute or two before proceeding.

Next, take a dry cotton cloth and apply just a dab of oil – too much and your surfaces will begreasy and more likely to attract future dirt.

Rub the surface evenly – the oil should spread easily and your shine should come through without too much elbow grease. Wipe away excess oil and buff, using a paper towel or another clean cloth.

Atlanta Gutter Cleaning vs. Football This Fall — You Decide!

Fall brings ideal weather for football, golf, tennis, fall festivals, apple picking and almost any outdoor activity; including gutter cleaning in Atlanta metro! If you’d rather not drag out the ladders yourself this year, Atlanta residents have many alternatives. You can install a modern system designed to reduce gutter clogging or hire a professional, bonded & insured gutter cleaning service. But first, why should you do gutter cleaning at all?

Why Take Time for Gutter Cleaning?

  • Buildup of debris in your gutters causes water to seep into areas where it causes damage to wood, shingles, basement, even inside walls and ceiling. These repair costs will be expensive.
  • Prevention saves money. Clogged gutters become heavy and pull away from where they are nailed to the soffit. Gutter spikes can be hammered back in, but from then on the risk of pulling out is greater whenever the gutter fills with water. The solution, re-attaching the entire gutter with screws, will be costly.
  • Free-flowing gutters move rainwater away from your home and foundation, so it cannot cause harm.
  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says standing water in gutters can breed mosquitoes in summer, which are pesky but also spread West Nile Virus. [1]

Cleaning vs. Gutter Guards

Atlanta gutter cleaning has particular challenges. The metro region is known for its trees and many trees means lots of leaf fall. It’s no wonder installing guards to keep leaves out of gutters is a hot topic every year at this time!

Gutter guard systems come in several basic types:

  1. Screens,
  2. Fine mesh screen
  3. Surface tension caps
  4. Foam or brush inserts and
  5. Hybrid systems.

All are effective to some degree at keeping leaves out of your gutters. The problems come with the small seeds, pods and especially pine needles that penetrate and allow organic matter to build up inside. It seems gutters with guards all still require some gutter cleaning.

Best Solutions for Pine Needles and Other Debris

Those beautiful loblolly pines native to the area shed pine needles that will clog many a gutter in Atlanta. They tend to stick in both foam and brush inserts and the rotting needles can cause them to look black and unsightly. While screens and inserts are among the least expensive guards, high winds and squirrels also easily pop them up making them ineffective.

A September 2010 “Consumer Reports” research study[2] found that fine mesh screen gutter systems did the best job of blocking debris while letting rainwater flow through. Next best were screen systems, followed by surface tension and the other gutter guard systems. Of course, these fine mesh screen systems cost more than regular screen, so if cost is an issue you may want to consider an alternative route.

Gutter guards vs. DIY vs. Professional Gutter Cleaning?

Before you invest, it’s worth estimating and comparing the value of hiring professional gutter cleaners vs. doing the work yourself vs. purchasing an installed gutter guard system.

Compare Costs for Gutter Cleaning

Gutter System Do It Yourself Professional Service

COSTS

An average house needs a 160 ft. gutter. Systems fall in a wide range from $3.25 to $25 per foot. Some cleaning is still required. For a system that will last 10 years estimate between $2,000 to $4,000 Plus one cleans per year. Greatest costs are injuries from ladder falls. Other costs are only hoses and small tools to scoop debris. Sunshine is competitively priced bonded & insured. Based on 160 ft. the average gutter cleaning is $150 x 2 per year = $300 Over ten years that would amount to only

TEN YEAR ESTIMATE

$3000 + $150 per yr. $500 to $5,000 depending on your insurance deductible plus lost time. $3000

Total

$4500

UNKNOWN

$3000

Additional benefits of professional gutter cleaning are:

  • Safety: Your family members are not at risk climbing a ladder. Professional services like Sunshine are bonded and insured for any accidents that might occur on your premises and our teams are trained for safety.
  • Time: A typical professional team of two, equipped with ladders, ropes and harnesses can perform this service much more efficiently than the typical homeowner, leaving you time to enjoy the beautiful fall weekends.
  • Inspection of difficult to reach areas: service workers will notice and report problems with your roof, will re-attach gutters if drooping, and will let you know about any issues that need the attention of a roofer or carpenter.

In Atlanta gutter cleaning is a seasonal task that must be done to preserve the value of your investment in your home. If you have any questions about the best way to get your gutters cleaned, please call us at 770-609-4046 and speak with anyone on our team of professionals.


[1] http://www.cdc.gov/healthyhomes/ByRoom/Yard.html)

[2] http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine-archive/2010/september/home-garden/gutter-guard/overview/index.htm

Why Bonded, Insured & Guaranteed are Worth It

Gutter Cleaning in AtlantaSandy was thrilled with her home’s sparkling clean windows, and doubly pleased because it was such a good deal; half what some Atlanta window cleaners quoted. It wasn’t until six months later, when she received the letter from a law firm, that she realized how expensive it was going to be.  The window washer had fallen from a ladder, had been unable to work, and was now suing Sandy and her husband.  Their home insurance would cover it, but their rates would increase more than the cost of the whole job.  Convinced they were not at fault, Sandy considered hiring a lawyer to fight it, but that would also be expensive with no guarantee of a win.

Getting the right quote

As a consumer, when you compare costs for home services you are often faced with this same question.  You might want to be careful about spending for window washing or a low pressure roof cleaning; or when your neighbor’s Atlanta gutter cleaning quote was so much less, you don’t want to be “taken” for more than you should pay.  The temptation to choose an independent provider, with lower overhead, is understandable.  But lower overhead often means inadequate insurance, or none at all.  What does it mean when a service provider is “bonded and insured” and why should you pay extra for it?

Bonded

When you read “bonded” in an ad it usually means that the company has completed a background check on each employee and has determined that the person has no criminal charges pending or in the past. A background check does not guarantee an employee’s honesty, but it does provide extra assurance that the gutter cleaning, window washing or other professionals working at your property or perhaps even inside your home, have been carefully scrutinized.  Often someone who has a criminal background will not even bother to apply at an Atlanta pressure washing company that does a thorough screening.

Atlanta Window Washing

Insured

Insured service providers should carry liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage, as well as worker’s compensation insurance.  If your Atlanta window cleaners break a window, soil your carpet, damage a valued lawn ornament, or have an accident that involves personal injury, either the company’s insurance or worker’s compensation would pay for repairs, replacement and medical expenses. Insurance may also pay for theft of an item if you are able to prove that it was taken by an employee.

Remember that the value of any company’s “bonded and insured” coverage depends also on the amount of insurance they carry.  In addition to checking their insurance, you should also ask for references of current customers to decide whether the firm is reliable and its employees are careful and trustworthy.

Contact us and leave a comment about your home’s biggest window washing, pressure washing or gutter cleaning challenge.  Ask about Sunshine Window Cleaning’s bonding and insurance coverage.  We’ll not only send you that information, we’ll also enter you in a drawing for a free fall gutter cleaning!

You should be able to trust the service people who come into your home.  Even if you trust the owner or order taker, how will you know the people they send to do the work are honest?  A crew works quickly and even if you are present you can’t keep an eye on all of them all the time.  Accidents that are not covered by an Atlanta residential window cleaning company’s insurance will have to be covered by yours, leading to higher premiums.  Your home is one of your most valuable possessions.  Make sure the company you hire has coverage that includes liability and worker’s compensation.  Any firm that sends people onto your property should make the protection of you and your home a top priority.

Pressure Washing – High and Low

Different jobs require different amounts of pressure and flow to get the job done without causing damage; how much is needed for your task?

Around the House:

If you are in Atlanta pressure washing around your house, you can rent equipment and do it yourself, or hire a bonded commercial firm like Sunshine Window Cleaning. But if you do it yourself, how do you know how much pressure to use for the job? To wash your siding, wash your car or clean your deck low pressure is all you need 1,500 to 2,000 PSI. (Most Coin-Op car washes use about 700psi)

Low Pressure Washing

When Sunshine Window Cleaning does the pressure washing of your house it could be better described as a chemical rinse. To protect your exterior surface, very little pressure is used; in fact, it could be compared to the pressure that comes from your garden hose. It is the cleaning solution that cleans your house. This procedure is also used on wooden items like decks, play areas, fences, and patio furniture.

High Pressure Washing

For concrete cleaning, pressure washing Atlanta driveways or to clean barnacles off boat hulls you are better off with commercial duty at least 3,000 PSI to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. For concrete (driveways, patios, and sidewalks) Sunshine uses very high pressure; 3,500 PSI. No chemical is used because it is sheer pressure that cleans the concrete.

High and Low Flow

The other thing to consider when pressure washing Atlanta homes is the amount of water the unit will push out at a time. Volume is important for rinsing horizontal surfaces or surface cleaning machines. If you are cleaning vertical surfaces, or excess water is a problem, a low flow/high-psi unit is the better option.

Pressure is good for cleaning, but to rinse you need a quantity of water to push the dirt across the horizontal surface. If what you are cleaning comes off easily, but you need to push a lot of dirt be sure to use a high-volume unit with adequate horsepower to get the job done.

Pressure Washing Tips If You Do It Yourself

  1. When pressure washing it is best to wash with the wand aimed downward. At times you have to point it upward, though, especially under soffits.
  2. Always follow the general rule not to drive water directly into cracks or gaps, and avoid shooting water up into soffit vents.
  3. It is especially dangerous to wash directly underneath shingles, because they can be easily moved and are difficult to replace.
  4. Stay away from electrical devices like lights and outlets. You can easily cause a short circuit or break them.
  5. If you are using an electric pressure washer, make sure it is equipped with the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), to protect yourself from possible electrical shocks.
  6. The most common mistake made by DIY pressures washers is stripping loose paint and gouging the wood or other surfaces. This will leave you with time-consuming, difficult wood repairs.
  7. If you will be applying sealer or paint, make sure the wood is completely dry before you begin.

Outdoor Entertaining – Checklist for Getting Ready

Now that warm weather is here, parties move outdoors for a more relaxed, casual environment. What’s the best way to plan ahead so your deck, lawn or patio becomes a beautiful and welcoming space for guests?

1. Pressure washing will get rid of stains, odors and grime that create a generally dull appearance. You’ll feel the difference when your whole outdoor space shines, and so will your guests.

Remember, a successful dinner party doesn’t have to be elaborate. All you need is simple food, good company, and a convivial setting to create great memories that last for years.

2. Clean windows and patio doors will make your home sparkle.

Window washing and silver polishing are part of the ritual of getting ready for a party for some. If you don’t have the time or desire to tackle your windows, call Sunshine Window Cleaning for a phone estimate. Our Atlanta window washing and pressure washing crews will clean everything to your satisfaction.

3. Add clusters of chairs and tables and extra umbrellas for shade, or lots of candles, torches and sparkling light for evening

Window washing and pressure washing Atlanta outdoor spaces will create a great backdrop; you add the magic with twinkle lights, special centerpieces or a colorful splash of creativity that enchants your guests and turns your party into an event.

4. If it’s a lawn party Let guests know ahead so they will wear appropriate clothing and especially shoes. Provide whimsical sunscreen and bug repellant stations so no one needs to suffer.

High heels that sink into the lawn or get stuck between decking are an unnecessary frustration. A few guidelines on what to wear will be much appreciated.

5. Music adds a classy touch, but keep the volume low.

Of course live music is awesome, but if you can’t get a string quartet or your brother-in-law’s Blues band your guests will no doubt enjoy some of your recorded favorites piped into the background.

6. Neighbors will be dealing with parking and noise no matter how polite everyone is – if you are not inviting them, put a note in their mailboxes a few days ahead (for best results, attach it to a bottle of something that will wash away any frustration!).

Refinancing or Selling Your Home?

Five easy ways to boost your curb appeal.

Window washing, gutter cleaning, and pressure washing are just three of the small budget/big impact ways you can give your home a fresh, picture- perfect look:

Create a Grand Entrance

Designers have a secret about how to get that “grand” look. Updated architectural accents like light fixtures and front door accents in a symmetrical composition create an impressive entryway.

Container gardens give a lively, welcoming feel and add colorful appeal to any home exterior quickly and affordably. They should be staggered and asymmetrical to create a dynamic, artful look.

Make an even bigger statement by giving your front door a blast of color or installing a custom wood door — and polish the hardware so it shines!

Add Sparkle with Window Washing

Does it seem like you are never finished with the window cleaning in Atlanta?
Home window products and even some commercial cleaning solutions attract particles in the air so you have to clean more often. Sunshine uses a special detergent blend for window cleaning that lets your windows sparkle longer.

Attend to Downspouts and Gutter Cleaning

In Atlanta gutter cleaning is another repetitive chore, but nothing says run-down like loaded gutters. Gutter cleaning can improve your home’s “well-cared for” look in one afternoon!

Polish the driveway

Pressure washing the driveway is an easy way to subtract years off the age of your home. If your driveway is cracked, stained or has sprouting vegetation, you may be considering one of the new and expensive “makeove” options. But you don’t need a complete repaving. First kill the weeds and repair the cracks. Next, pressure wash with high-power and high-flow commercial equipment to quickly remove grime and stains. You may be completely satisfied. But if you do want to go a step further, dress it up by staining the concrete or adding flagstones. Adding just a row or two of brick or pavers on both sides can give your driveway some flair, with the added benefit of giving you more room to park or turn around if you need it.

Pressure Washing and Paint for the Exterior

An exterior facelift with quality pressure washing automatically transforms the look of a home. At sunshine we recommend a low-pressure chemical wash to remove the grime but leave the paint unharmed.

If paint is already flaking down to the wood, then after washing you will want to scrape and re-paint. The new coat will adhere much better after a thorough pressure washing.

You may be surprised at how good your home looks with pressure washing alone and you could save a bundle! Periodic maintenance by pressure washing the exterior surface is a sure way to keep your home looking its best. Even if you are not ready to sell now, giving your house that “best-kept on the block” look will always make it more sale-able in the future.