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Cleaning Tips

Using these cleaning tips, you will learn more about some of the tricks we use for making sure your vacation home is cleaned properly and thouroughly.

Stain Removal

Murphy Oil Soap cleans more than just floors. It is a great stain remover when applied before laundering. It works especially well on grass and blood stains. Dab a bit on the stain and launder as usual. For more information visit

Ceramic tile floors

After sweeping the floor, we recommend mopping ceramic tile floors with water and a drop of liquid dish soap. Always change the water when it gets cloudy to prevent dull sticky build-up on the floor. Never use abrasive pads on ceramic. We are Summit County Colorado's top vacation rental cleaning and property management provider. How are we able to do this? Simple....we are efficient and reliable. We understand that finding reliable help in a resort community is difficult at best and we're here to make sure the job gets done.


To clean mildew and build-up from grout use a 1:5 bleach:water solution. Make sure the work area is well ventilated, prior to application. Then apply with a brush, scrub well and rinse thoroughly with water. Never clean colored grout with bleach as this could remove the color. Use a heavy-duty, non-bleach cleaner and scrub brush. After the area is dry, a sealer may be applied to prevent future stains.

Hard water spots

To clean water spots use phosphoric acid. You can purchase a solution that is 4-6 percent acid from the grocery store or a higher concentration solution at a janitorial supply store if you desire. Apply the acid scrub with a soft sponge and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Then rinse the area very thoroughly especially if using a higher concentration acid. Tough, hard water spots might require a multiple applications.

Blinds, etc.

Use a moist fabric softener sheet to dust blinds, TV and computer screens.

No-wax/linoleum floors

Daily vacuuming or sweeping are the best way to maintain linoleum floors. When necessary mop the area with a soft mop, clear water and a drop of liquid dish soap. Never use an abrasive sponge on linoleum floors. Excellent ways to prevent damage to all floors in your home are to keep door mats at all entrances to your home and to remove shoes when possible.

Painted surfaces

Baked enamel (most appliance finishes), epoxy enamel and automotive paints. Surfaces can tolerate mild abrasives, degreasers, and heavy-duty cleaning solutions. Apply with a gentle scrub brush or cloth, avoid steel-wool and harsh scrub pads. Rinse well.

General-purpose enamels: Most often found on interior walls, especially kitchen and bathroom walls. Use a neutral cleaning solution or a small amount of liquid dish soap and water. Apply with a slightly damp soft sponge or cloth.

Latex flat: The most common household paint, flat latex is not as washable as enamels, so you will want to avoid leaving the surface damp for more than a minute or two. Never use a heavy-duty cleaner as this might remove the paint. Use a mild cleaning solution and apply with a soft sponge or cloth. Scrub softly to prevent damage to paint.

Exterior paints: Like indoor paint these area should be cleaned with a mild detergent and rinsed with a hose. A long handled brush can be used. Pressure washers are recommended with caution as these may remove the paint

Pet hair removal

To remove from upholstery you can try a tape brush or tape wrapped around your fingers. Or purchase a hand vacuum with a beater brush or brush roll. Another idea, use a clean rubber soled tennis shoe or sponge, dampen and gently wipe on the upholstered surface.

Another option for both upholstery and carpets, especially at the edges where pet hair tends to collect and vacuums have a hard time reaching, is a "pet sponge". Pet sponges can be purchased at pet supply stores.

Pet stain removal from carpets

For fresh stains, blot the area with an absorbent cloth. Change cloths until no more moisture can be extracted from the stain. Then apply a bacteria/enzyme digester. This can be purchased from a pet store and is an effective way to eliminate both the stain and any resulting odor. Apply the digester and cover with plastic to prevent to area from drying out while the product is working. Follow additional directions on the bottle.

For fresh, small stains without a lot of odor you can moisten the area with club soda and dab, not scrub, with a very absorbent cloth. Dab until all moisture is removed and then repeat if necessary.

The digester product is sometimes effective on old stains as well. Apply as directed and then rinse the area with a one cup vinegar to one gallon warm water solution and then repeat. If the stain or odor remains, call a professional deodorizing specialist.

Soap scum in tubs and showers

The best method is to prevent soap scum before it happens. Wipe shower and bath surfaces with a squeegee or towel after use. For tiles and glass doors periodically apply a light coat of lemon oil, this will prevent soap build-up. If soap scum is a problem, mix a small amount of automatic dish detergent with warm water and apply to all surfaces while they are damp. Allow to sit for 15- minutes and then scrub with a white, nylon backed sponge and rinse with clear water. Repeat if necessary.

Toilet bowl ring removal

A commercial acid-based solution should work. For a stubborn ring scrubbing with a pumice stone might be necessary. Wet the stone with water and keep it moist throughout the entire cleaning. Never use pumice on colored, enamel or plastic toilets.

Wood floors

Apply to small areas with a rag, dry and then move on. Never allow the floors to get too wet or to air dry. Finished wood floors can be cleaned with warm water only until the finish wears off and then they will need to be refinished or waxed to maintain shine.

Candle wax removal

You will need a brown paper shopping bag and steam iron. Cut the bag so that it lays flat. Lay the open bag on the affected upholstery or carpet. Allow the steam iron to warm on a moderate setting. Once warm, place the steam iron on the bag over the stained area and move the iron back and forth. When the bag gets a dark damp spot, use another section of the bag and repeat. Continue until no further wax absorbs into the bag. To remove wax from wood, fill a plastic bag with ice and apply to area until the wax is brittle enough to crumble off.

Marble and granite floors

Marble and granite floors that have a finish must be buffed periodically to keep the floor protected. The finish must also be replaced as necessary.
To clean porous marble or granite use a neutral cleaning solution and polish until dry. If there are scratches you can purchase a restoring agent from a janitorial supply store.
To clean cultured marble or granite fill an spray bottle with all-purpose or disinfectant cleaner and spray to small areas and wipe with a soft cloth. Always keep the work area wet. Do not use powdered cleansers, steel wool, rough scrub pads or scrapers on cultured marble or granite. A little car wax or silicone can be used to bring back shine and fill small scratches.

Kitchen cabinets

Cabinets should be thoroughly cleaned once a year to remove oil-build up. This oil mostly comes from food splatters, skin oil and hand lotions. Most cabinets, even wood, can tolerate chemical cleaning because manufacturers have applied varnish and/or a protective coating to cabinet surfaces.
If your cabinets are plastic laminate (formica or other plastic), metal, painted metal or glass, you can wash them all over with a strong alkaline cleaner or heavy-duty super-market cleaner. Apply the solution with a sponge, let it sit a minute or two, and then scrub with a white, nylon-backed sponge. Then rinse with a damp cloth and wipe dry with a terry cleaning cloth to remove any last traces of dirt and build-up.
To clean wood cabinets, wash oily areas with liquid dishwashing detergent and water. Then wash the entire cabinet with an oil soap solution. Just wipe lightly along the grain with the solution and buff dry immediately with a terry cleaning cloth. If your cabinets are dull from wear or age, spray furniture polish very lightly once a year or so to fill in the pores and bring back some life.

Fireplace hearth

Cleaning fireplaces is hard work as the area is very porous and a lot of scrubbing is necessary. To start, place drop cloths around the work area. Mix high-alkaline cleaner and one ounce of chlorine bleach per gallon of warm water. Wet the surface of the fireplace well with this solution but not so wet that it drips. Scrub the solution into the pores with a scrub brush and then rinse well. If the area is still dirty try a phosphoric acid cleaner. Never used acid stronger than phosphoric as this may damage the brick.

If the results still aren't satisfying, make a poultice of heavy-duty cleaner, bleach and diatomaceous earth and apply it to the areas needing attention. This should draw out any remaining residue. If necessary, repeat these steps until you get the result you want. The color of the brick or stone determines how aggressive your use of bleach can be. Heavy bleaching will whiten a dark surface and cause it to look out of place. You can use a stronger solution on white or light surfaces.

If you're not comfortable taking these kinds of chances with your brick facing, you may want to call in a professional chimney sweep.


Most dirt and dust that is in your home comes through the front door. Placing foot mats outside all entrances to the home will reduce dirt, dust and your cleaning time. Keep mats clean by vacuuming, shaking or washing. Always hang mats to dry so moisture does not remain in the mat. In addition, check cracks and seals in windows and doors to prevent sand, dirt and dust from entering the home this way. Keep vacuum bags, filters, seals and gaskets in good repair to prevent fine dust from being blown back into the air as you vacuum.

Feather dusters typically don't do much but spread dirt around. Try a damp fabric softener sheet. This works especially well on TV/computer screens and blinds.
If the results still aren't satisfying, make a poultice of heavy-duty cleaner, bleach and diatomaceous earth and apply it to the areas needing attention. This should draw out any remaining residue. If necessary, repeat these steps until you get the result you want. The color of the brick or stone determines how aggressive your use of bleach can be. Heavy bleaching will whiten a dark surface and cause it to look out of place. You can use a stronger solution on white or light surfaces.

If you're not comfortable taking these kinds of chances with your brick facing, you may want to call in a professional chimney sweep.


The best way to clean windows and other large glass surfaces, is with a squeegee. It does a faster and better job. You will need a professional-quality squeegee and a window wand. If you'll be cleaning high windows, you also will need an extension pole. The basic process is simple - apply the cleaning solution with the window wand and pull the dirt and water off with the squeegee.

The cleaning solution should consist of a tablespoon of ammonia or five drops of liquid dishwashing detergent in two gallons of water. More detergent is not better and will cause streaking. Dip your window wand into the cleaning solution so that it is moist but not dripping. Wipe the entire window area to loosen dirt etc. Also wipe area around the frame. Then, dampen the squeegee blade and wipe it with a damp cloth before and between strokes. A dry blade will skip and jump on the window instead of gliding smoothly. Tilt the squeegee at an angle so that only about an inch of the rubber blade presses lightly against the top of the window glass. Then pull the squeegee across the window horizontally. This will leave a 1-inch dry strip across the top of the window. By squeegeeing across the top first, you eliminate drips running down. Place the squeegee close to the frame in the dry area near the top and pull down to about three inches from the bottom of the glass. Continue this way across the window, overlapping into the clean, dry area with each stroke, and wiping the blade with a damp cloth after each stroke. Finish with a horizontal stroke across the bottom and wipe any water off the sill with a damp cloth.

Large (picture) windows should be wet and squeegeed half at a time, the top half first. Lastly, if you are going to clean inside and outside you might wish to squeegee horizontally on one side and vertically on the other so that you can see and remove streaks as you clean.

Smoke odor and film removal

To remove smoke from washable surfaces use a degreaser with a few drops of a water-soluble deodorizer (available from a janitorial supply store). To remove smoke film on windows use one part isopropyl alcohol to five parts window cleaning solution.

To remove smoke from non-washable or porous surfaces such a ceilings, professional cleaning is often recommended. Upholstered furniture, draperies and carpeting can be vacuumed and then wet- or dry-cleaned with water-soluble deodorizer added to the cleaning.

Final tips for smoke odor, open windows when weather permits, turn on fans and use vanilla, vinegar or activated charcoal for an easy, inexpensive smoke eater. If you smoke in the home, change the filter in their air circulation systems often.