Lola Clean Freaks

6 DIY Steps to Clean Grout

6 DIY Steps to Clean Grout

“Sometimes we’re so focused on the biggest, the boldest and the brightest that we look past the little things that actually matter the most."

Too often, we underestimate the power of the small things. We overlook small details without realizing that they actually affect the entirety of the big picture. It might not be the sexiest topic, but the grout in a tile floor is truly a great example.

Stains, mold, dirt and dust can easily impede the looks of even the finest tile in your home. And these tiny particles, if inhaled or swallowed, can lead to serious health problems. Fortunately, you can easily clean grout using simple household products or affordable commercially prepared bleach. Therefore, the only thing you need is time and commitment to make your tiles look brand new again and your home, germ free.

Roll those sleeves up! First, make a paste of baking soda and warm water. This mixture will work with all colors of grout. Apply an adequate amount to each tile and the surrounding grout. It is advisable to wear rubber gloves to prevent scratches and skin irritation from the abrasive mixture.

Eyes on the grout! Prepare a solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Just be conscious of the amount of vinegar you use. It can be harmful to some natural stones such as marble or limestone (see our recent post about this here). Spray it on the grout and tiles where you applied the baking soda and warm water paste. Watch the bubbles come up as the natural cleaning process begins.

Recharge! As you wait for the solution to stop bubbling, fill the spray bottle again with the white vinegar and water solution. Equip yourself with another baking soda and warm water paste. The bubbling usually lasts a few minutes, so you have time to reapply the mixture on the other sections of the floor.

Attack! Go on the offensive against dirty tiles and grout using a nylon bristled scrub brush or an eraser pad. As soon as the bubbling stops, start scrubbing along each grout line. Pay attention to the edges and corners then make these areas clean as well.

Level up! For stubborn grout stains, try adding an ample amount of salt. If you need even more reinforcement, don’t hesitate to use a commercially prepared bleach or chemical as long as it’s cost effective. 

Success! As the dirt and stains surrender, use a mop and warm water to remove the baking soda and vinegar residue. Rinse and change the water often during this process to avoid spreading any remaining remnants.  You can completely avoid this by using The Evolution Microfiber Self-Washing Mop System, as it has a dual compartment bucket - one side deeply scrubs the mop head fibers, the other squeezes out excess liquid fast.

You can also try other household items such as sandpaper, dish soap, lemon and more as cleaning agents. Plan, reinvent and test your tactics for your battle against dirt and stains. After all, you’re not just cleaning the grout, you're protecting your family’s health and wellness and the reward is peace of mind. Do this regularly and make sure you never take the little things for granted again.

“People who overlook the little things often fail the big things.”

Pet Talk: 5 Steps to Keep Your Home Clean and Your Dog Happy

Pet Talk: 5 Steps to Keep Your Home Clean and Your Dog Happy

“If you want me in your life, make room for me. I shouldn’t be fighting for a spot anyway.” 

Sincerely,

Your Dog

Have you ever had to choose between two entities you love? Let’s say between your dog and the nicest stuff you own, which your dog always scratches, bites or destroys? Well, the good news is, you don’t have to.

Animals have very short memories. Hurting them or locking them in a cage as punishment for their past bad behavior won’t accomplish anything. Let’s say you caught your dog chewing your favorite pair of shoes - take a step back and calm down. Unleashing your anger will just confuse your dog and encourage him to chew another object. Instead, use a light touch. Get his attention away from your things by giving him a toy or something else that is acceptable to destroy.

And here are some tips to maintain your home as a haven for your furry friend and your family.

First, don’t skip your dog’s bath time.  To avoid flees and potentially a bad odor, make sure your fur baby gets bathed regularly. Just be wary that too many baths can dry out the skin of your dog, especially during the winter. To reduce the stress and mess of bathing your dog, always remember to place a non-slip mat in the tub. Keep your dog calm by always checking the water temperature. It should be lukewarm or cool to avoid drying out his skin. Play relaxing music. Dry him well with a towel and let him do the shake shake shake! In order to make this a positive experience in his mind, reward him with plenty of treats. 

Keep your dog’s hair under control. Some dogs shed, some dogs don't. It often comes down to whether they have fur or hair - if they have fur, they likely shed, if they have hair, they don't. Keeping your dog’s fur off of your clothes, furniture and floor is a never ending battle. A healthy coat though, sheds regularly. However, excessive fur loss could mean a serious health problem and a lot of cleaning for you. Don't risk clogging up your vacuum - grab a Sticky Mop, pick up any stray hair, and tear off the sheet and throw it in the garbage when you're done.  It's that simple.

Handle accidents as they happen. It's almost inevitable that your dog is going to pee on your rug at some point. Clean up the mess right away to avoid stubborn stains on your carpet and furniture. Don't waste half a roll of paper towels cleaning up the mess, just grab a sheet of Wowables, an old newspaper, or an antimicrobial cloth to dry and clean the area. To be more efficient, use a commercially prepared solution as long as it’s cost effective.

Give your dog his own space. Make sure it’s complete with bed, food and water bowls, and toys. Reward him if he behaves properly. This will serve as his training to stay in one place, making it easier for you to maintain a clean home.

Spend more playtime with your dog. Sometimes all they need is attention and proper training. This will help your dog to improve the skills you are trying to teach him. It also improves their receptiveness to commands. This mental stimulation can make all the difference in their behavior. Bored dogs chew and destroy things. But if you embrace your responsibility as a pet owner, treat your dog as a member of your family, you will never have at them as a burden.
Spring Cleaning: Clean your home like a pro!

Spring Cleaning: Clean your home like a pro!

We love putting things in order. Tidying things up gives us satisfaction. There’s a psychology behind cleanliness that makes us long for organization. We simply love the clean, the organized, and the spotless. We love the fresh air. We love the smell of spring.

And what better way to start the day fresh than a little spring cleaning? Maybe we don’t always enjoy the process of cleaning per se as it can be challenging at times, but we always love the results. Here are some steps to get your spring cleaning done like a pro!

Declutter, donate and get rid. First, learn to accept the fact that you have to let go of things that are no longer worth keeping.  If you want to succeed at spring cleaning, it is essential to get rid of some the possessions you've outgrown like old clothes in the closets and shoes on the racks that you no longer use. Donate those that are still in good condition to a local charity. The less you have, the less you have to put away. Next, arrange your books, magazines, and newspapers according to your level of interest. Put them on shelves or in a box if you don’t always use them.

Dust, wipe and replace. Never underestimate just how much of a difference a dust-free environment makes.  In order to achieve the absolute cleanest ambiance, dusting is a must. It is important not to miss the tops of doors, fans, light bulbs and picture frames. These are the things that we often overlook. A duster that has an extendable handle is ideal. You may also use a vacuum cleaner with a handheld attachment to be more efficient. Wipe the tables, cabinets and windows with a microfiber cloth or dampen a sheet of Wowables with warm water and cleansing solution. Replace any burnt out light bulbs, water in the flower vases, and stained curtains. Once done, open the windows to let in some fresh air.

Fix, strip and launder. Surprisingly, cleaning your bedroom is not as tough as you think. First, gather anything that doesn’t belong in the room. Remove the bed linens and pillow cases so you can launder them. Clean the mattress by vacuuming the top and the sides, then flip and rotate it. Next, replace the sheets and blankets. Empty the trash can and wash it if needed, then take out the trash.

Brush, scrub and dump. Now it's time to clean the kitchen. Get rid of all the things that aren't absolutely necessary. Pay attention to the tiles. Clean the grout with an eraser pad, a scrub brush, or a bath and tile scrubber. Brush the edges and corners of the tiles. Scrub the stubborn stains repeatedly until the tiles whiten. Rinse the tiles and spray some air freshener. Do the same in your bathroom.

Sweep, mop and repeat. It's ok to be tired, but don't give up. You’re almost done. Sweep the floor with a broom or dry sweeper to remove all the dust and dirt residue. And then, start mopping in the furthest corner and move back toward the entrance. A spin mop or flat mop will get the job done quicker and easier than a standard wet mop.

Refresh, reward, rejuvenate. Once done, reward yourself with a nap or prepare a nice snack. Take some time to refresh - put on some tunes and relax. It’s a job well done!

Did you know your clothes steamer can also be used to clean these?

Did you know your clothes steamer can also be used to clean these?

Cheap clothes steamers exist but they likely weren’t your top choice when you bought one. Durability, quality and performance are definitely the most important things you consider when purchasing one. So, with what you spent on your clothes steamer (assuming you own one), are you sure you are getting the most out of your investment? They can do so much more than just get rid of wrinkles!

Before you start

Make sure that the steam output temperature is at 212° Fahrenheit or above to sanitize surfaces. Use only distilled water to prevent clogs and to avoid leaving mineral residues on fabrics. Avoid using the steamer on newly painted surfaces, waxed woods, musical instruments and vintage furnishings. And don’t forget to always read the fabric labels for precautions.

Steam Away

  • Shine your windows and mirrors by steaming away the smudges, dust, and soil. Use a lint-free microfiber cloth as a follow up to avoid streaks.
  • Sanitize your appliances' handles, toilets, sinks and countertops by steaming away all the germs. Point the nozzle of your clothes steamer towards those surfaces and you may not even need to use any chemicals.
  • Remove stubborn grease and baked-on food off your pots, pans and stovetop. Target them with the steamer nozzle to make it much easier for you to just wipe the stains away (we suggest either Wowables or a microfiber cloth). This is very effective on glassware and avoids damages that other abrasive cleaners can cause.
  • Get rid of carpet stains with a blast of your clothes steamer. Steam away the stains on the carpet for about 30 seconds to help loosen it and make it easier to remove. Make sure you hold the steamer at least six inches away from the stain. Use a clean towel to wipe the stained area and repeat as needed.
  • Clean grout. Mold can’t withstand high temperature. Steam away the mold and dirt buildup in the grout. The heat will help to loosen any dirt on the tiled floors in kitchens and bathrooms. Wipe away with an anti-microbial cloth, microfiber cloth, or Wowables.
  • Disinfect your car seats and carpet. Maximize your steamer's usefulness by utilizing it on your automobile. Reduce the tough time cleaning your car's hubcaps and bumpers - steam away the dust along with the stains on car upholstery, carpet, and floor mats. Give your car windows and mirrors a shine too.
  • Refresh foams, sofa and bedding by steaming away odors, dust and bacteria. Just when you thought clothes steamers could only remove wrinkles, it can also steam away your stress. You can now experience a better night's rest on a germ-free bed or take a nap on a clean sofa.

There's certain household items which are really important, thus making them worth a significant investment. The key is to make sure that you are getting your investment back by maximizing the usage of whatever you bought.

5 Ways NOT To Use Vinegar When Cleaning

5 Ways NOT To Use Vinegar When Cleaning

If the Oscars had a category for the best natural cleanser or if Marvel created a kitchen and bathroom Avenger, guest what? Yup, vinegar would be the people’s choice.

Vinegar is the miracle cleaner that everyone's been looking for. Aside from it being cost-effective and having the proven ability to conquer the most stubborn of stains, it’s natural and can easily be found inside your home. However, just like Superman has Kryptonite, vinegar has its limits too and we all should be aware that it can’t clean everything and might even be harmful in certain situations.

Vinegar is a tough acid that can cut through grease and mineral deposits. But vinegar’s acidity can also damage certain surfaces, so it’s important to know which ones to avoid as well as details on what kinds of cleaners you can use as alternatives.

Granite, marble, and limestone. Vinegar is an acid. And acids don’t mix with natural stones. It can cause pitting and make them lose their shine. Acid eats away at the surface and leaves a dull or discolored spot behind. Alternative: You can use rubbing alcohol and water instead.

Hardwood furniture, walls and floors. Vinegar can also damage hardwood surfaces. It removes the chemical finish on the wood which acts as a protective layer and over time, it might also reduce the shine and leave a dull appearance. Alternative: You can just use wax instead and a traditional mop. Just make sure you avoid leaving excess water on your floors.

Egg-based stains and messes. Vinegar causes the proteins in egg to thicken, creating a sticky substance that is even more difficult to remove. Alternative: In this case, use soap and water instead. When choosing a cloth to use, Wowables are a safe bet.

Pearl products. Vinegar damages and dissolves pearl. The calcium carbonate in the pearl will react with the acid in the vinegar and eventually break down. Alternative: It is better to use a soft cloth dampened in a solution of lukewarm water and dish soap.

Wind shields, monitors/screens and smartphones. Vinegar removes the oil-resistant characteristics of the coating on the screens. It weakens the screen protection from dust and dirt which can cause big problems. Alternative: Use a microfiber cloth instead and wipe the screen regularly.

Vinegar is truly a strong entity. However, like people, even the strongest have weaknesses too. As versatile as vinegar is, keep these tips in mind when cleaning so you don't end up with a bigger mess than you started with.
Cleaning Habits That Will Blow Your Mind 🤯🤯🤯

Cleaning Habits That Will Blow Your Mind 🤯🤯🤯

There’s a powerful psychology behind cleanliness. Keeping things clean and organized results in better night's rests, a more active body and more focused mind. And today, with the new technology and cleaning innovations, your weekly  disinfecting, feather-dusting and sweeping routine has been made easier with more efficient and affordable products. This gives us the power to have our home cleaned, when we want.

Our body is made up of thousands of neurochemicals and biologically organized systems. That’s probably why we inherently love order and organization. That goes for cleaning as well. So here is a checklist for you to use, that will also serve as a strategy, to attack your cleaning in a systematic and organized way.

Start by picking up clutter as you go from room to room. The less clutter you have, the less you have to put away. Feel free to assess your belongings and whether you still need to keep them.  Dust and wipe. Arrange your books, magazines, newspapers and DVDs based on your level of interest. Put items you're likely to use again soon on the top of the pile. Do the same with some of the possessions you've outgrown like old clothes in the closets and shoes on the racks. Before you leave each room, spray your favorite scent of disinfectant and prepare to start dusting.

To dust is a must.  Speaking of dust, dampen a cloth (or even better yet a sheet of Wowables) and hit the tops of doors, fans, light bulbs and picture frames. If you're using cleanser, don’t spray too much on glass windows. Instead, wipe them using a cloth or towel that's been dampened with an all-purpose cleaner/warm water mix. These are the things that we often overlook but will greatly contribute in achieving fresher, cleaner air. Face your fears of cobwebs - no one likes them, but getting rid of them is a must. Dust and wipe again. To be more efficient, you can use a hand held vacuum cleaner. And then, it’s about time to spray your favorite scent of disinfectant again. Prepare as mopping comes next.

Don't stop before you mop. Dampen the head of the mop into a mixture of water, lemon, vinegar and baking soda. Start mopping at the farthest corner and move back toward the entrance. Rinse mop after completing a good-sized area. Do not hesitate to create another mixture if needed.  As we mentioned earlier, advances in technology have made cleaning easier and mopping is a perfect example. Items like a spin mop or an in and out mop are significantly easier to use and much more effective than standard cotton deck mops.  For example, a spin mop like The Revolution allows you to never have to touch a dirty mop head again (or spread dirty water around your floor like you do with old school mops).  An in and out mop, like The Evolution, has a dual compartment bucket - one side washes, one side dries - so you're never mopping with a dirty head again.  Plus, the microfiber mop head is powerful enough that you don't need to use any chemicals.

Don't sleep on cleaning your bed. After removing the dust and tidying each corner of the house, it’s time to fix your bed. Inspect the joints and springs of the bed and repair if needed. Straighten the sheets. Replace the pillow cases and blankets. Don’t forget to spray your favorite scent of disinfectant again.

Cook up a clean kitchen. Put away all the things that have nothing to do with the food you are preparing. Sanitize the utensils and equipment. Don’t forget to clean the appliances inside and out. Grab a cloth and wipe down the microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator. Clean the inside of each using an absorbent towel and make sure to read the manual before touching any electrical parts. Don't forget about the floor - hit it with a spin mop or flat mop rather than sweeping and mopping it separately to save time.

Give your bathroom some love. Lastly, give your bathroom a proper cleaning. Replace the rugs, bath mats and wastebaskets. Grab a sponge or scourer to scrub the sinks.  Hit the toilet with a toilet bowl brush. Freshen up any tiled surface with eraser pads. Clean the shower rack and door track. Lastly, spray your favorite scent disinfectant again.  

Set aside a little time each week to devote to these easy steps and you'll keep a fresh, clean home.

How to Clean Your Gadgets: A Quick Guide

How to Clean Your Gadgets: A Quick Guide

First things first, start looking at all the gadgets around your home as investments. Now more than ever, items like your phone, television, computer, and echo devices (Alexa, play Rockstar by Post Malone and 21 Savage) aren't just for entertainment. You use them at home, at work, and definitely can't just easily replace them (especially your phone/computer). That’s why it is important that we educate ourselves on how to take care of our electronics. We must know how to clean and protect our fancy gadgets otherwise you'll end up spending a fortune replacing them earlier than necessary.

Good news. You don’t have to be tech-savvy to take care of and clean your electronics. Just remember these tips to help and guide you - they'll assist you in making your gadgets last longer and allow you to sell them when it’s time to upgrade to something new. DON'T FORGET: Unplug your electronics before cleaning them.

Dust your electronics. Dust is annoying and not good for anyone, including your electronics. Dust buildup blocks essential components like fans, ports and sockets which can result in overheating. This'll definitely ruin most gadgets’ inner workings over time. Use a microfiber cloth or electrostatic duster to clean them while not scratching the screen. Turkey feather dusters work wonderfully, as do items like the Swiffer® 360° Duster.

Wipe spills as soon as they occur. No matter how cautious you are about keeping your gadgets away from any type of food or drink, it seems that spills are inevitable. The first thing you have to do is to turn off and unplug your electronic devices right away. If it’s your cellphone, turn it off and remove the battery right away (if it's accessible externally). Wipe the spill immediately to avoid it from spreading.  You'll want to use something with fast wicking time (industry lingo for how quickly an item absorbs moisture) such as Wowables.  Assess the damage and if you need to, call a professional. Water and moisture can greatly damage your electronics, so always remember to keep them dry and away from liquid. Even when cleaning, never spray the liquid cleanser on directly. It can cause permanent damage by dripping excess liquid or moisture into the essential components.  Instead, grab an anti-microbial cloth to get the job done. If you must use a liquid cleanser, first spray it on an absorbent cloth (we recommend a cellulose sponge cloth or Swedish cloth because they won't leave behind any excess liquid that can damage your devices) then wipe.

Protect your devices. Invest in a waterproof or shockproof case for your phone. They may be a little more expensive but are definitely cheaper than buying a replacement. For your other electronics such as laptop, tablet, and/or echo devices, it’s always safe to put a cloth cover to protect them from spills. You may also consider putting a maintenance mat at the bottom of your electronics. For the screens, put protective/tempered glass covers to avoid direct scratches and damages. Never EVER use a regular, disposable paper towel to wipe your screen (however, Wowables are safe to use). For the push-button devices, such as keyboards and keypads, you may consider using cotton balls dipped in alcohol as they've proven to be super effective.

No stains, no dust, not even electronic damages can beat a regular cleaning routine and smart choices of materials to use. Always read the manufacturer’s manual before cleaning and take care of your possessions no matter how big or small they are. Whether it’s your home or phone, always remember that they reflect who you are as person.
3 Basic Tips To Safeguard Your Laminate Flooring

3 Basic Tips To Safeguard Your Laminate Flooring

Every time you go anywhere you always form your own first impression of the place and the people in it. When you enter someone’s house, you likely look around and keep an eye on the flooring. You may even take your shoes off to be polite. All while subconsciously you check whether the carpet or floors are clean.

So if you’re the type of person that values what others think, then pay attention to your floors as it is key to keeping a clean home. At the very least, spare some time to shine and mop it.

However, cleaning laminate floor has an added level of difficulty. Sometimes it becomes more sticky AFTER mopping.  The key is to understand laminate flooring - start with the basics and learn the best ways to clean it. Here are some tips to get you started...

Let go of traditional

A broom is not the best tool for laminate flooring. As we all know, it always leaves behind some particles or grains resulting in an irritating feeling when you walk on it.  Mopping isn't a great option either as it will just mix up those particles and spread around your floor. Some grains, tiny stones or particles may even scratch and damage your floor. To do it right, you’ll need a vacuum cleaner with a setting for hard floors to remove surface dirt. Be sure to check whether your vacuum has rolling brushes as they might damage laminate floor as well. If you really want to get the job done with no risk of damaging your floor, grab one of our sticky mops - they pick up everything that even a vacuum leaves behind.

Choose to dry clean 

Water, indeed, is a great help when it comes to cleaning. But if you don’t want your laminate floors to swell and ultimately be damaged, water is something that you should not attempt to involve in their cleaning.  Water and other liquids can flow or leak between the laminate boards, so if possible leave water out of the equation.  Dry mops, such as Lola's Swiffer® Sweeper® Comparable Wet & Dry Sweeper Floor Mop and Flexible Dust Mop, are effective for cleaning laminate floors. In cases when you absolutely must use water, use a minimal amount by putting it in a spray bottle, and sprinkle it as needed for a given section. In the majority of cases, a microfiber cleaning cloth will be your best bet as they've proven to be an effective absorbent.  The Revolution Microfiber Spin Mop System and The Evolution Microfiber Self-Washing Mop System are two mops that if used carefully, are also viable options.  One last item that works well on laminate flooring is the Microfiber Spritz n' Mop - it sprays a light mist and has a 17" wide microfiber head so it can be used either wet or dry.

Keep it that way

To protect is always better than to replace.  This calls for you to be proactive, rather than reactive. You exerted effort, money and time in choosing and installing that beautiful flooring and if damaged, you'll have to spend it all over again. Take protective measures instead. If you're pressed for time, just placing mats at the entrances of your home can make a huge difference. You can also implement some rules in your house like taking shoes off before anyone enters.  You may also put maintenance pads on the bottom of sofas, tables, and chairs to protect your floor from any possible damage, leaving it beautiful as it is.

Always remember that the floor is the foundation of every beautiful home.

Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal: Bolder and Cooler

Improving Your Home’s Curb Appeal: Bolder and Cooler

“You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.”

In your home, you share stories and laughter, you give hugs and second chances, you say “thank you” and “I’m sorry”, you celebrate victories and mourn losses, you build your dreams with hopes and welcome individuals you call family.

That’s why regardless of the season, whether you’re planning to sell it in the future or not, it is important that you invest extra effort to increase its curb appeal. Here are some tips to help you out.

Colors speak louder than words. Picking out paint colors for your home's exterior is a priority. You must consider three different complementary hues—siding, front door, and trim—as well as the cost, time and effort you should exert in painting your whole house.

Cultivate your own garden.  Use flowering trees as borders to your entire yard. Trim your bushes and hedges evenly and regularly. Use stones and pebbles decoratively to decrease the amount of grass on your lawn. Group similar flowers and plants together according to their needs such as water, sunlight and soil type required. This way, you can ensure that you treat all of your plants properly and that you maximize their beauty.

Good fences make good neighbors.  Building a good fence is more than just making it look good. It is all about considering the function you want the fence to serve, choosing the right materials, building and maintaining it properly. Select the right type of fence according to your need. It can be a decorative fence that is more about design, a protective fence that’s focused more on security features, or a privacy fence that is more about the height.

Welcome them with a front porch. We love the way a porch functions as an additional living room during the spring and summer months. You can arrange an intimate corner where you can chat with your friends or loved ones. It can be a combination of two outdoor sofas and a table on a corner or two rocking chairs facing the yard.

Lights will guide your home. Illuminate your yard with landscape lighting. You may place decorative area lights in your garden to illuminate your plants and flowers and increase its appeal, especially at night. You may also want to put lighting at the corners of areas such as decks, patios, walkways and entryways in order to light paths.

Clear the path.  Clear out weeds and neaten up your backyard. Repair the damaged areas of your driveway and freshen up sides with stones and pebbles.

Don’t be like the rest of them, darling. Lastly, find a unique door that matches your home design. And, always keep in mind that while other people overlook small details such as the house numbers, you can turn them to a new center of attraction - a head-turning, cool and stylish house decoration. Make them big and bold yet beautiful.

Horrible Cleaning Habits You Need To Break!

Horrible Cleaning Habits You Need To Break!

We all try keeping our homes clean and tidy, but it is never easy! Sometimes taking “shortcuts” to make the cleaning easier is actually making more work for us in the long run; and we may accidentally do things that are less than helpful.

Read more →