Category Archives: product recommendations

Do It Yourself Dry Cleaning

Call me frugal, but I would rather not spend a lot of money on dry cleaning. And in this tight economy every dollar counts. That’s why I feel smart using a home dry cleaning system such as Dryel on a few of my dry-clean-only garments every now and then.

The vast majority of my dry cleaning requires ironing, so I’m more than happy to let the professionals handle all of my dress shirts and pants. What I have found out though is that these DIY home dry cleaning systems are ideal for freshening up garments in between visits to the dry cleaners and cleaning sweaters. I think of them as another way to stretch the family budget.

So this is how the Dryel system works. Remove any stains on your sweaters with a stain removal pen and blotter. Spray “cleaning booster” on collars and underarm areas. Put 1-4 garments in the Dryel dry cleaning bag along with one “moist cleaning cloth.” Zip the bag and put in your dryer on medium heat for 30 minutes. That’s it!

You can use Dryel on most of your dry-clean-only items, but garments with serious stains will require professional care. For more information, take a look at Dryel’s FAQs or read this detailed article on How Home Dry Cleaning Works.

Now it’s your turn. Have you tried DIY dry cleaning? Please leave a comment below.

To schedule a home cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600, or visit our website and fill out our online form. Yes, we can help you with your home dry cleaning, and we can even drop off or pick up your dry cleaning at your neighborhood dry cleaners too if it’s nearby. We are here to make your life easier.

Best Way to Store Christmas Ornaments

pictured above in foreground: “Sterilite Show Off Ornament Box Set” from Target

Christmas has passed and the New Year’s celebrations are over. It’s that sad time of year when the Christmas trees must come down. Last year we started using these “show off ornament boxes” to store our Christmas ornaments, and they really work super. Not only do they protect your precious ornaments and save you the trouble of individually wrapping them in newspaper or tissue paper, but they look great and save tons of space.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have any great storage ideas for Christmas ornaments and other holiday decorations? Please leave a comment below.

Please also check out our post Cleaning Up Christmas Tree Needles.

If you need some help cleaning up after taking down your tree, give Maid in Chicago a call to schedule an appointment: (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form for a FREE quote.

How to Clean Mold in Your Home

This is a follow-up to our posts How to Clean Moldy Caulking, Top 5 Tips to Prevent Mold in Showers, and How to Clean a Moldy Shower Curtain, which dealt with mold in the bathroom.

Today I thought we would take a step back and talk about what cleaning products you use to clean mold. Walking down the cleaning aisle of your grocery store, you may be perplexed by the variety of cleaning products you see for mold and mildew. However, contrary to what you see on all of these product labels, the go to product for cleaning mold is simply bleach.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends cleaning mold with a bleach solution of no more than a cup of bleach to a gallon of water. This is the equivalent of filling a 32 fl.oz spray bottle with water and 2 oz. of bleach. Then simply spray some of the cleaner on a cleaning cloth, and wipe away the mold from the affected area.

When cleaning with bleach, always heed these warnings. First, make sure you properly ventilate the area you are cleaning. Second, never mix bleach and ammonia together. It causes a dangerous chemical reaction. Finally, make sure you wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands.

For more information read Protect Yourself from Mold by The CDC. For serious mold problems, consult a mold remediation expert.

Now it’s your turn. Have you ever battled mold in your home? Please leave a comment below.

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.


How to Clean Marble Grout

This is a follow-up to our post “Don’t Take it for Granite. How to Avoid Damaging Fine Stone Surfaces.” I turned to no other than Dan Lundstedt, two-time winner of Sir Grouts’ “Top Franchise Award” (2009, 2010) for some professional advice on how to clean marble grout. Dan is a franchise owner of Sir Grout, an industry leader in grout and tile care.

Maid in Chicago:
What is grout and why is it so tricky to clean?

Dan: Grout is the porous material between tiles. In a shower, grout can absorb mineral deposits, soaps, etc. causing discoloration over time. Prolonged exposure to moisture also causes mold to form in the grout lines, which can be a difficult problem to remedy.

In floor tiles dirt often collects because the grout lines are lower
than the rest of the floor. When floors are mopped, this is where all of the dirty water pools. It is then absorbed by this porous surface leaving unsightly grout lines.

(“before” photo by Sir Grout)

(“after” photo by Sir Grout)

Maid in Chicago:
Maintenance is key to avoid discoloration and staining of grout. What type of cleaner do you recommend?

Dan: Stone should be maintained with a PH-neutral maintenance cleaning solution. Sir Grout’s brand (which you can purchase from me!) is formulated to work on all natural stone, grout, tile, and counter tops.  It is also soapless to prevent residual soap scum, and contains surfactants to help keep the surfaces cleaner longer between cleanings.

To clean shower tiles, wet a cleaning cloth with cleaning solution and wipe the surface. If you are fighting mold and discoloration, a soft toothbrush can be used, but don’t scrub the caulking since that will break the seal and cause more issues and possible water damage.

For marble floors I recommend using a microfiber mop rather than a sponge mop or string mop. Microfibers trap the dirt and prevent it from accumulating in the grout. Alternatively you can wrap a towel around a mop stick, or simply wipe the floors by hand with a towel.

Maid in Chicago:
When is it time to call a professional to clean the grout?

Dan: I like to use an analogy that stained grout is like a dirty sponge. It can be an uphill battle cleaning it because the cleaner tends to work on the surface area dirt. Customers sometimes tell me that after they have cleaned the grout it can appear dirty again after only a few weeks or months. This is due to the grout being more porous after being scrubbed and cleaned with chemicals. When it is poorly stained it is better to call a professional.

We have a process of steam cleaning the grout. Sir Grout steam cleans all grout lines to kill the mold and mildew, then replaces any grout if necessary. Once the grout surface is clean, we seal it with the company’s proprietary color sealant. These tinted sealants are stain, water, mold, and mildew resistant. They restore the original color and keep water from penetrating into the surface of the grout. This prevents future discoloration, leaks, and water damage.

Also, if you see grout cracking or falling out, it is definitely time to have a professional take a look at it.

Maid in Chicago:
Thanks Dan for your helpful information.

If you would like to purchase Sir Grout’s cleaning product or set up an appointment, please contact Dan:

Dan Lundstedt
Owner – Sir Grout and Tile Care
work: (847) 597-8171
cell: (847) 909-4479

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

Cleaning Cloths 101

This is a follow up to our post titled Everything you always wanted to know about microfiber cleaning cloths. As we discussed, microfiber cleaning cloths are especially great for cleaning sensitive items prone to scratching such as stereo equipment and computer screens. However, this brings up another question. What do you use for more general cleaning tasks? Many people use cut up t-shirts and bath towels as rags in their homes. What do cleaning professionals recommend?

At Maid in Chicago we always pack plenty of surgical towels for our heavy duty cleaning jobs requiring supplies and equipment. Rugged and durable, these all-purpose cleaning cloths have a rough surface that powers through grimy bathrooms and dirty kitchen appliances. By using surgical towels, it helps us be a greener cleaning company too, because they can be laundered over and over again.

huck towel

(Picture above: surgical towels by ACS)

Flour sack towels are another tried and true option. According to Ted Parish, whose company ACS specializes in making them, they have a long and interesting history. “During the horse and buggy days, homemakers purchased their flour in 100 lb. cotton sacks. Once the sacks were emptied, washed, and bleached, they had a variety of different uses such as kitchen towels, cleaning and polishing cloths, diapers, and even underwear! Those that could not afford regular bedding sewed them together to make sheets and pillowcases.”

flour sack towels

(picture above: flour sack towels by ACS)

While the days of purchasing 100 lb. bags of flour are long gone, uses for flour sacks have endured. Cleaning companies love that flour sack towels are soft, lint-free, and absorbent, so they make superb dusting cloths and are great on mirrors and windows.  Personally, I reserve them for kitchen use only. They are wonderful for drying dishes, especially wine glasses and other fine crystal. Home chefs like me also use them for wiping up kitchen counters and in food preparation.

In closing, we recommend that you have a few different types of cleaning cloths in your home to choose from. We prefer surgical towels for all-purpose use, but it is handy to have some flour sack towels and microfiber cleaning cloths as well.

If you are looking for a supplier of cleaning cloths for your home or business you can contact our vendor Ted Parish, at ACS tel: (888) 374-5250 x2, e-mail him at, or check out our their website at

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

Everything you always wanted to know about microfiber cleaning cloths

The number of cleaning applications for microfiber seems to be growing. In homes, microfiber cleaning clothes are great for dusting and general cleaning. Microfiber also has very specific applications such as cleaning sensitive photographic lenses and detailing cars. Martha Stewart recommends using them in particular on “surfaces prone to scratching, such as computer and television screens and stainless steel appliances.” Lately, microfibers appear in popular Rubbermaid wet mop heads (see our blog Wet Mop Brand Recommendations), and Apple recommends using the cloths for cleaning iPads.

wonder cloth

(pictured above is the Wonder Cloth by ACS)

To learn more about the properties, uses, and care for microfiber cleaning cloths, I turned to an expert who is also our supplier, Ted Parish of ACS. Below is a summary of a recent interview with him.

What is a microfiber? By definition a microfiber is a synthetic fiber less than one denier. For comparison purposes the size of a human hair is about 10 denier. Unlike cotton yarns, which are measured by a “count” (think of those 300 thread count or more Egyptian cotton bed sheets), the denier measurement scale goes in the opposite direction, so the lower the denier the finer the thread. Because microfiber is thinner than cotton, the space between threads is larger, which enables the cloths to pick up more dirt or absorb more water. These properties make it excellent for cleaning.

What do you use them for? When microfiber first came out its big claim to fame was that you could use the cloths on glass and mirrors without any water. For cleaning purposes manufacturers actually recommend that you first dampen them with water and wring them out before  using them to wipe counters, stove tops, and other things. Dry the clean surface with a separate dry microfiber cleaning cloth or larger microfiber bath towel. The cleaning cloths are also really good for dusting because contrary to cotton, they attract dust and leave no residue.

I heard that you need to be careful when laundering and drying them. Machine wash them just like you would colors. Do not use any bleach or fabric softener. The oils in softener will clog up the fibers. They will last longer if you air dry rather than machine dry them.

Where can we buy them? Feel free to call me, Ted Parish, at ACS tel: (888) 374-5250 x2,       e-mail me at, or check out our website at

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

Product recommendation: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

We recently discovered a great product to take scuff marks and stains off of walls without damaging the paint. It is called Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It’s essentially a white sponge that you dampen with water. As you lightly scrub the wall, the eraser magically takes away the marks, and it eventually disintegrates into nothing. In addition to cleaning spots off of our office walls, it did wonders on a copy machine that had been become discolored over the years.

To schedule a cleaning with Maid in Chicago or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit our website and fill out our online form.

wet mop brand recommendations

Here are some specific product recommendations for wet mop heads and handles, as well as where to purchase them. This is a follow-up to our post on how to clean hardwood floors.

We recommend these Quickie brand products, which can be purchased at Lowe’s. Our favorite mop head is the Quickie Wet Mop Refill With Microban (pictured to the left). The ends are stitched so they will not unravel or get tangled in the washing machine. Note that mop heads with Microban should be air dried, and not put in the dryer. They fit all Quickie 023 series mop handles, including the Quickie Clean Results Wet Mop With Microban (pictured below).

We also like the Rubbermaid Super Stitch Blend Mop Head which fits onto the Rubbermaid Value-Pro Mop Handle. However, they are difficult to find in smaller sizes in stores.  The large 24 oz. is sold at Home Depot and Office Depot, but they are  too big to use without a wringer.  The small (and medium) size is available online at cleaning and restaurant supply companies or at

As we mentioned in our post about cleaning hardwood floors, we recommend using any string mop with a detachable head over a sponge mop or Swiffer. There are many other varieties of Quickie, Libman, and Rubbermaid brand mop heads and handles sold at grocery stores (Jewel, Dominick’s),drug chains (CVS, Walgreens), Home Depot, Target, Ace Hardware, Office Depot, etc. Most will be adequate. String mops do a great job and are cost effective because the detachable heads can be laundered in your washing machine and used over and over again.

To schedule a cleaning or for a FREE quote, give us a call at (312) 829-9600. You can also visit Maid in Chicago’s website and fill out our online form.