Sunday, April 27, 2008

Using Proper TACT in Home Cleaning

Do you remember your mother telling you to wash your hands for dinner after coming into the home from playing outside? Remember the first time you learned the proper use of soap and hot water in hand washing? I know it was a long time ago. But Mother was a genius. Here's why.

Imagine in your mind's eye a pie. This pie has four slices. Unlike the traditional pies, this one only has the four ingredients: Temperature, Agitation, Chemical and Time. The acronym TACT comes into play here. The interesting thing about this pie is how dynamic and universal it is. Understanding the role of this pie will immediately benefit any cleaning task you can think of whether it be as simple as washing a car or cleaning your home's furnishings.

Temperature is the most dynamic of all I think. It is a scientific fact that cleaning solutions (soap and water for example) work at 100 percent using a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder requires more of the three remaining ingredients in variation: agitation, chemical and time. But increasing the temperature just 18 degrees Fahrenheit you have just DOUBLED the power of the same cleaning process. That means at 136 degrees Fahrenheit, you have cut in half the remaining three ingredients: agitation, chemical and time.

But hang on it gets even better! Increase the temperature again just another 18 degrees Fahrenheit to 154 degrees F and you have just DOUBLED the cleaning solution AGAIN thereby cutting the remaining ingredients in half: agitation, chemical and time. How many more times before the temperature reaches a boiling point can the cleaning effectiveness double? Does the term 'steam cleaning' come to mind?

Agitation is the next ingredient and the one I most despise. You know it as scrubbing, scouring, scraping, etcetera. If you have fewer ingredients of temperature, and chemical, you can be assured that agitation and time will be the larger slices. If you perform agitation incorrectly, your biggest slice of pie is time.

Chemical is another dynamic ingredient. There are several chemicals on the market available to multitudes of different cleaning tasks. Among them are different classifications such as natural and organic as opposed to synthetic.

There are also considerations of pH (pHydrion Value) factors. They determine the level of alkalinity or acidic values where water alone is considered neutral.

They continue to be classified as volatile (bleaching) and non-volatile. They may contain solvents (oil based) or non-solvents like odorless mineral spirits also used in dry cleaning (having no water).

They can also be categorized by an electrical component. These being Cationic (Positive charged ions), Anionic (Negatively charged ions) and nonionic (neutral or no electrically charged ions).

Some chemicals contain 'surfactants' which is a name given to agents in a chemical to help in making water 'wetter' by removing hard water mineral deposits thereby softening the water.

Some chemicals even display an EPA registration number and Federal Law Prohibits using the product in any matter other that the prescribed use listed.

It is most important to ensure that proper measuring and mixing of chemicals, also known as a cleaning solution, be met and to test in an inconspicuous area of the cleaning job or undesirable results may occur.

The last ingredient is time. The goal in any cleaning task is to minimize time performing it. If you understand the proper use of temperature, agitation techniques and chemicals for a given cleaning task, then you will clean safely and effectively in a minimum amount of time. The cleaning job will be like a breeze. However, if you violate any one of the three main ingredients then you will be served a huge slice of the fourth key ingredient known as 'time pie.'

So in closing, you can now appreciate the true genius your Mother was in getting you to wash up for dinner. She did not need to understand why it works; only that it does work.

And now armed with the knowledge of the TACT cleaning pie chart you can increase your success in ANY cleaning task around the home.

You now have more knowledge about the principles of cleaning concept than most professional cleaners. It will also aid you in choosing the right method of cleaning your carpets and upholstery. This knowledge also helps you in choosing which company is the most knowledgeable and had the credentials to back up their service performance claims. Most of all, knowing the TACT pie chart can make any cleaning job, well, sweet as pie!

Monday, December 31, 2007

Spring Cleaning 101

The month of March is typically the time when families stop using their heater. It is also noted as the beginning of spring. Many people use this time to get a fresh start in their lives as well as in their homes. Spring cleaning is not just for homeowners. People who reside in townhouses, condominiums, and apartments can also take advantage of this perfect time to remove clutter and get organized. While some people will devote an entire week to spring cleaning, not everyone is fortunate to have such time available. You can spring clean your home in one as little as a day, and in such a way that it will last longer than the spring season itself.

Most people who start a spring cleaning project have good intentions. However, what often happens is that they only do half a job; often losing steam halfway through the project. Problems that creep up and sabotage your good intentions can often be traced to lack of planning. Before you pick up a broom, grab a pen and paper a couple of days in advance and design your plan for the day. Remember to make a list of the items you will need to perform each task. When you design your plan, make sure you include the tasks that each person will perform. Something else you don’t want to neglect to include in your planning is food. Pizza or other quick snacks can provide quick energy that will keep everyone motivated to work. You may also want to play some upbeat music. If you’re not sure what to list on your plan, the items listed below are ideas that can get you started.

Indoor Cleaning A good place to start your spring cleaning is with actual cleaning. Filters and vents can accumulate dust and dirt particles that can cause them to become clogged. With the hot temperatures of summer just around the corner, the last thing you want to worry about is a broken air conditioner. Replace old filters and make sure all vents in the home are free of dust. Excessive dust can also cause allergy problems, especially in young children. Now is also a good time to have your carpet steam cleaned. You can pay someone to do the job for you or rent a machine at your local grocery store for less than $40. Other indoor cleaning tasks include vacuuming your furniture and draperies, flipping your mattresses, and cleaning all your windows. If you have household pets, you should freshen up the area where they spend most of their time. While you’re cleaning indoors, make note to replace anything you discover that is damaged or broken. Areas that people typically neglect include the dishwasher, shower curtain, and kitchen cabinets. Be sure to clean these areas thoroughly because bacteria can become a problem in these areas and cause a host of health problem.

Focusing on the Landscape What people will notice first about your home is its outside appearance. Remove any weeds that have accumulated in your garden or in your yard. If the majority of your foliage is dead, you should replace them with bushes and bright spring flowers. Although you are probably already mowing your yard on a regular basis, be sure you don’t neglect to do so during your spring cleaning.

Getting Organized There are two areas of a home that most people fail to keep organized: closets and garages. It is just too easy to store excessive amounts of things in these areas. Spring cleaning is a perfect time to go through both areas and throw away anything that you no longer need or want. You can set these items aside in a bag and give them to charity.