How to Unclog your Drain

Some things in our homes are easier to clean than others, but unclogging your drain can be one of the worst.  Like most things, if you ignore it, it’ll only get worse. Here are a few simple ways to unclog your kitchen and bathroom drains!

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningKitchen

Use mix dish soap into hot (but not boiling) water and pour down the drain.  Let it sit for 5 minutes before pouring more hot water down the drain to clear away the gunk.  Repeat as needed!  This works wonders on your kitchen drain because the dish soap de-greases the food and oil buildup from the walls of your drains, allowing them to wash down the sink.

If your kitchen sink is completely clogged, then your best bet is going to be to use a plunger.  Make sure that you have plugged any other drains that it are connected to before you start so that the plunger trick actually works!  Use either a (clean) toilet plunger or a kitchen-specific plunger to flush the built-up residue all the way down the drain.  Then chase the pipes with hot water or dish soap and hot water (see above).

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningBathroom

Pour 1/2 cup of salt down your drain and then chase it with 2 cups of hot (not boiling) water.  Repeat 3 to 5 times until the drain is clear.  The water will melt the soap build-up, and the salt acts as a scouring agent to scrub it away from the pipe walls.

If you have hair clogging your drain, then you’ll want to use a wire hanger that’s been untwisted and hooked at the bottom to pull the hair out.  It might take up to 5 tries to clear out your drain, depending on how clogged it is.  You can also purchase a drain cleaning stick with grooves that will pull the hair up even easier!  Just make sure to wear gloves and to have a trash bag handy because–yuck!

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningPrevent Clogged Drains

Some people swear by using baking soda and vinegar to clean their drains.  This combination bubbles and fizzes, but it does not actually break down the fat that usually clogs drains.  It can actually cause metal pipes to corrode over time, so only use baking soda and vinegar if you have PVC pipes.

Make sure that you’re only using this method occasionally to clear out particles and that you chase it with hot water so that any baking soda that doesn’t dissolve is removed from your pipes.

Usually kitchen sinks are clogged by fats or food residue that are rinsed down the drain and stick to the pipes.  Emulsified fats harden as they cool and stick to your pipes, eventually causing your sink to smell and back up.  Take an extra minute when cleaning out your dishes and cookware to wipe food residue and fats into the trash can.  Make sure to pour bacon grease into a can lined with foil, and once it hardens in the fridge, you can toss the grease in the trashcan and recycle the can!

Most bathroom drains are clogged by hair and soap scum.  Make sure that you and your family members are only using the amount of conditioner that you need for each washing.  That way it won’t just wash down the drain and stick to your pipes and the hair that’s down there.  Install a hair catcher for your drain.  You’ll have to clean it out more often than you would the drain, but you’ll save yourself the headache (and the smell!) of pulling out mildewed and rotting hair in the future.

What ways do you keep your drains cleaned out?

Closed for Labor Day + Get $20 Off a Deep Cleaning When You Schedule a Carpet Cleaning!

We will be closed for Labor Day on Monday, September 4th!  Be sure to contact your branch manager to reschedule your cleaning for another day.

 

Deep Cleaning + Carpet Cleaning Special Get $20 Off a Deep Cleaning When You Schedule a Carpet Cleaning! | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Are your carpets looking dingy after tracking dirt in the house this spring?  Start your back to school season off with clean carpets and a clean house, courtesy of Carpe Diem!  Until September 15th, get $20 off a deep cleaning when you schedule a carpet cleaning! Go ahead and download our Carpet Cleaning Checklist to get things started.

You can give us a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email info@carpediemcleaning.com to schedule your carpet cleaning today!

5 Messes that Can’t Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day

If you’re a regular Carpe Diem client, you know the peace of mind that comes from having your home professionally cleaned can give to you and your family.  But what happens when someone makes a mess that can’t wait til your usual cleaning day to be cleaned up?  Here’s what to do if you have one of these five common messes made in your home, and you don’t have time for Carpe Diem to come!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningMuddy Footprints on your Floor

Have your kids or pets run into the house after being caught in a rain storm only to bring mud in with them?  Once you make sure that they’re cleaned off and you can keep the mud contained, grab your mop and get to work!

 

Go over your floors once with the mop to get the mud and debris off.  Then go over them a second time with your Sh-mop or your regular mop!  Add a cup of vinegar and a 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to your water to leave your floors feeling and smelling fresh and clean.

Oven Explosion

If your lasagna or favorite casserole overflows in your oven, don’t panic!  Your oven isn’t doomed to being a caked-on, burnt mess.  Once your food has finished cooking, turn off the oven and spray your favorite oven cleaner all over your oven before letting it sit overnight.  In the morning, simply wipe out your oven and scrub away any remaining burnt-on pieces!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningWine on the Carpet

It’s all fun and games, until someone spills red wine!  Sprinkle table salt on the stain immediately and dab (do NOT rub) an old towel on the stain.  The salt will pull up moisture from the wine and remove the stain.  Repeat as needed, and for heavy-duty wine stains, use hydrogen peroxide.  Make sure that you always test hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous part of your carpet to make sure that it doesn’t alter the color.

Spilled Food on the Furniture

Unfortunately, we all spill food on the furniture from time to time.  To clean it up effectively, gather up loose food, and put it in the trash can before dabbing the space immediately with a paper towel or an old rag.  Then use dish detergent or furniture cleaner to remove the stain.  Soak up extra liquid with an old towel and allow it to dry.  Repeat as needed!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningFlu Symptoms in the Bathroom

Being sick with the stomach flu is the worst…but cleaning up after the carnage it can wreck on your bathroom is a close second!  One word: bleach.  Though we use green cleaning practices in most of the rooms of our clients’ homes, we use bleach to kill any lingering bacteria in bathrooms.

Wipe up the mess with paper towels, and spray bleach on any surface that may be contaminated.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it down and letting it dry.  Make sure that any surface that comes in contact with bleach will not be ruined by using it!  You also might want to use paper towels instead of hand towels until everyone in your family is in the clear.  Don’t forget to change everyone’s toothbrushes once sickness strikes!

Tell us below what messes can’t wait for Carpe Diem that happen in your home!

 

What to Plant in Your Fall Garden

Now is the perfect time to start planning and planting your fall vegetable garden!  Most plants should be planted in late July or during August for the best yield.

What to Plant

Here are some delicious veggies you can plant in July:

  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • Winter Squash
  • Lima Beans
  • Snap Beans

How to Plant Your Fall Plants

First remove any weeds or old plants that are not producing well at this point in the summer.  Then till the soil about 6 – 8 inches deep before fertilizing the soil with 1 – 2 lb. of fertilizer for about 100 square feet. Water your soil lightly, and you’re ready to plant your fall plants!

When planting seeds in the summer, remember to plant them deeper than you would in the spring (usually 1.5 – 2 times as deep). The moisture level of the soil will be lower due to summer heat and less rainfall.

If you choose to use plants from the hardware store that have already been started, then make sure to lightly water them for the first week after transplanting.

Then shade your seedlings and young transplants with newspaper or burlap cloth so that they are cool enough to germinate.  The soil shouldn’t be warmer than 85°F, which can be difficult this time of year.

Don’t forget to cover your plants during the first frost of the year!  In North Carolina, we usually have several more weeks left in the growing season after the first frost as long as plants are protected.

Click here to get more info on how to plan your Fall Vegetable Garden! 

Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places?

Is dust building up in the hard-to-reach places in your home?  We’ve all noticed cobwebs or a thin layer of dust that’s just out of reach. When dusting (and cleaning in general!) you always want to start from the top and work down to the bottom of a room.  That way you won’t spread dirt to places that you’ve already cleaned!  With that in mind, here are our top tricks to dusting hard-to-reach areas….

From Top …

Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places? | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Ceiling Fans – Dust fan blades with an old cotton or flannel pillow case to avoid having dust fall in your face

Bathroom Fans – Use canned air or vacuum with your attachment to get rid of the dust between bathroom fan slots

Ceiling Corners and Above Kitchen Cabinets – Use your wand vacuum attachment to clean cobwebs in the corners or your rooms and to dust the tops of the books.

Walls, Doors, Ceilings and Door/Window Frames – Clean with a dry mop or a broom with a microfiber cloth rubber-banded on it to catch all of the dust.  Then toss the cloth in the washer and you’re done!  You can use this same method to clean behind furniture or baseboards.

Blinds – Put an old, clean sock on your hand, sock puppet-style, to clean your blinds.

…To Bottom

Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places? | Carpe Diem Cleaning

The best DIY dusting tool!

Upholstered Furniture – Use the skinniest attachment on your vacuum to get between the crevices of your furniture. Take off all unattached cushions for the best results!

Behind Stove and Refrigerator – Move the appliances out and vacuum away any dust.  Unplug these if you can!

Baseboards – Use dryer sheets or microfiber cloths to remove dust either by hand or rubber banded onto a broom.

Bonus Tip – Before you dust your house, turn the “Fan” option on your A/C unit on.  It will suck up the extra dust in the air to your air filter instead of floating around in the air for you and your family to breathe in!

What deep cleaning dusting tips would you add to this list?

Interview with Team Leader Veronica

This is Daly, Carpe Diem’s Branch Manager, checking in today with an interview of Veronica on her 2 year anniversary with Carpe Diem!

How did you start at Carpe Diem? 
I was referred by a former Carpe Diem employee who I am related to.
What do you like about Carpe Diem? 
I love working with each team member at Carpe Diem!  Carpe Diem is a very friendly environment, and I love what I do here.
Any advice for preparing your home for a cleaning?
Leave your home free of clutter so we can give you the best possible cleaning.  Place items that are trash in the trash can.

As of this month, Veronica has been with us for two years — first as a cleaner and then as a team leader! Veronica takes good care of her team and always arrives at Carpe Diem in a timely manner.  She lives here in Durham where she raised her children and now has grandchildren who live near her, too! Thanks for being a quiet and dependable team leader, Veronica!

Kids’ Summer Activities that Aren’t the Pool

Summer break is now halfway over!  Are you beginning to run out of fun activities for your kids to do?  Today we will give you ideas for indoor and outdoor activities that will keep your kids busy and while they make great memories on the last stretch of these summer days.

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem CleaningTake a Hike!

If you want to get out of the house and go on an adventure, then geo-caching is perfect for your family!  Use the GPS and compass apps on your phone to go on a real life treasure hunt.  Get the coordinates for caches near you at geocaching.com.

 

There are so many fantastic hiking trails in the Triangle including the Eno River State Park, Duke Forest, Bolin Creek Trail, Neuse River Trail, Umstead Park and more!  Going on a family hike involves less planning than geocaching but is still a fun way to see more of our beautiful state.   A color scavenger hunt around your neighborhood or town is another creative way to get exercise and look at familiar places in a different light.

Backyard Fun

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem Cleaning

If you’re wanting to keep your kids busy in the back yard, then here are some ways that they can play hard and get dirty — without dirtying up your house!  Just make sure to hose them down before letting them come back inside. ;-)

Make moon sand in a large bin by mixing together 9 cups of flour and 1 1/4 cups of baby oil.  Add cookie cutters, sand castle molds and more to keep your kids entertained for hours.

You can also make bouncing bubbles and break up the day while mixing up an old favorite activity!  Simply mix 1 cup distilled water with 1 tablespoon of dish soap and 1 teaspoon of glycerin and use your favorite bubble blowing device.  If you want to make giant bubbles, simply 10x the recipe and use cut off old t-shirt sleeves to form bigger bubbles.  Who doesn’t love playing with bubbles?

A newspaper snowball fight is a fun way to get some energy out!  Just make sure to set ground rules, including clean up, before the “snow ball” fight begins.  Then give your kids old newspapers or mail flyers to ball up and have a pretend “snow ball” fight.  You can even make a spider web with painter’s tape and have them throw the newspaper balls at the web to see if they can get their newspaper to stick!

Kids' Summer Activities that Aren't the Pool | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Inside Adventures

Stuck inside on a rainy day?  Or do you just need extra activities to keep your kids busy during the heat of the day? We’ve got you covered!

Try making a laser beam obstacle course in a hallway or between a large couch and a wall.  Your kids will get their energy out while staying occupied in a confined space — that’s a win-win!  For longer-lasting results, involve your kids in making the obstacle course, and they’ll be able to fix it when the tape inevitably starts to come off the walls.

Everything is more fun inside of a blanket fort!  Whether your kids enjoy reading, playing board games, making Lego creations or more, making a blanket fort in your living room or in their room is a fun way to mix up their environment and make fun memories.

Does your child enjoy baking or playing with playdough?  Then try making Jell-O playdough and cookies with just one recipe!  If your child loves mixing ingredients, then you should try making rainbow slime.  Simply mix equal parts liquid starch and glue together, divide, and add food coloring!  If you really want to mix things up, you can add glitter or glow in the dark paint to your slime.

Bonus tip: Make a boredom buster jar filled with these ideas and others!  Simply list an activity (or a chore) on a piece of paper and put it in a jar.  When your child says, “I’m bored,” you can point them to the jar instead of figuring out what to do on the spot!

Communicating Scheduling Changes with Your Branch Office

clean oven

Hey!  This is Daly, Carpe Diem’s Branch Manager, checking in to remind you to communicate with your branch office this summer.

If you are on vacation and need to skip a week or add a deep cleaning or carpet cleaning to your regular cleaning, just let us know!

 

You can call the office 919-682-5326 or email info@carpediemcleaning.com to change the time of your cleaning.

Thanks and have a fantastic rest of your summer!

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem CleaningIt’s almost that time again!  The 4th of July is always a great time to celebrate our country’s independence and the freedom that we enjoy year round.  What’s a better way to celebrate than by watching fireworks with friends and loved ones?

Today we’ll tell you where the best places to watch fireworks in the Triangle are so that you can pick the location nearest to you!

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Downtown Durham

Durham – Durham Bull’s Stadium

The Durham Bull’s Stadium will have fireworks after the games on July 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th this year.  Find this year’s schedule here.  Come out and cheer for the Durham Bulls (and Wooly Bull!) and stay after the game to see the fireworks!  The stadium will open to the public for free in the 7th inning, so if you’re not up for a whole baseball game, you can catch the end and still get a great seat.

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Kenan Stadium

Chapel Hill & Pittsboro – Kenan Stadium

If you’re in Chapel Hill on the 4th, head on over to Kenan Stadium, home of the Tar Heel football team, for the best seats!  Doors open at 7pm, and fireworks start at 9:30pm, and there will be a watermelon eating contest, face painting, music and more!

Check out their website for more information.

 

Best Places to Watch Fireworks in the Triangle | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Downtown Raleigh

Raleigh – Fayettville St.

Raleigh’s 4th of July celebration lasts all day long!  For a fun-filled day, come to Fayettville St. to hear music, watch street and aerial performers, check out the hot dog eating contest, kids’ zone, just to name a few.  This event will be held from noon to 11pm.  Fireworks will start around 9:30pm!

Find the schedule for the day on their website!

 

Make sure that you stay hydrated during these events by drinking plenty of water, and have a plan in place for parking your car before July 4th arrives.  Whether you celebrate 4th of July all day or just in the evening for fireworks, you’re sure to have a blast!

Interview with Assistant Manager Andi

 

This is Daly, Carpe Diem’s branch manager, checking in today with an interview of Andi on her two-year anniversary at Carpe Diem!

How did you start at Carpe Diem?
A friend told me about the job, and I originally applied to be a cleaner.  Eventually, I became a team leader and am now the assistant manager.  I’m in the office most days, but you’ll also see me in the field now and then!
What do you like about Carpe Diem?
I love my Carpe Diem co-workers!  Everyone has the opportunity to grow here as a person and within the company.  If you ever have a family emergency, you always have support from everyone!
Any advice for preparing your home for a cleaning?
My top tip for preparing your home for a cleaning is if you notice your shower glass doors with soap scum spray any type of de-greaser and let it sit. By the time the ladies get there, it would be much easier for them to clean.

As of this month, Andi has been with us for two years — first as a cleaner, then as a team leader, and now as our assistant manager!  She is a fantastic liason between our ladies in the field and in the office.  She fills in the gaps all the time, and we don’t know what we would do without her!  She lives here in Durham with her husband and three daughters.  Thanks for being a dedicated and helpful assistant manager, Andi!