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Post Series: A Month Without a Dirty House
Woman cleaning the floors

We’ve spent the first part of the month talking about purging the excess stuff in our life and getting organized. Now let’s dive deeper and take a look at some helpful tips for cleaning our homes. I reached out to Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, to get some advice on how to keep our homes clean.

PC: When cleaning your home, which room do you prefer to start in and why?

MR: A few years ago, Molly Maid conducted a cleaning confessions survey, and 63% of respondents agreed that bathrooms are the most despised room to clean in the home. As a mother of two sons, I’m no different – so I start there and every other room seems easier.

PC: Are there certain cleaning products you find more helpful than others?

MR: Here are some of my favorites:

  • Microfiber cloths are a far superior tool for dusting as they collect dust instead of spreading it around like old-fashioned feather dusters or other cleaning cloths. They also remove 99% of bacteria by simply dampening the microfiber cloth with plain water, making it great for use on countertops, dinner tables and daily cleaning.
  • A handheld vacuum is a great cleaning tool/product for removing dust and debris from bathroom floors and crumbs from the kitchen floor.

PC: I’ve heard the words “deep cleaning” a lot lately. What does this actually mean (is there such a thing as shallow cleaning)? And how often should I be doing it?

MR: Molly Maid completes more than 1.7 million cleanings per year, so we know the difference between deep cleaning and maintenance cleaning. There are some rooms that simply require more thorough and more frequent attention, like once a week or at least every other week, and these include bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens.

Examples of deep-cleaning projects include:

  • Change bedding, using the upholstery attachment on the vacuum to dust in crevices between the mattress and bed frame. Smelly mattresses will benefit from a sprinkling of baking soda for 30 minutes before vacuuming. Remake the bed with a freshly laundered mattress pad, sheets and pillowcases.
  • Dust nightstands and furniture with a clean microfiber cloth.
  • Remove towels and rugs from the bathroom and wash and dry them.
  • Sweep and mop tile floors with an appropriate product. You can make your own solution by filling a clean bucket with one gallon of hot water mixed with one cup of distilled vinegar.
  • For the bathtub/shower – fill a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and hot water. Spray the tub and toilet and let it sit for 15 minutes. Scrub the tub with a sponge and use a hard, bristled brush in the toilet.
  • Use another spray bottle with a diluted vinegar solution. Mix ¼ cup vinegar, ½ tsp. of dishwashing soap and two cups of water, and spray the countertops and fixtures. Wipe and shine with a clean cloth.
  • Replace clean rugs and towels for a fresh space.
  • Remove all food from the refrigerator and throw out questionable leftovers and expired items. Spray all surfaces with our diluted vinegar mixture (used in bathroom for countertops) and wipe with a clean cloth. Put back remaining items.
  • Pull appliances away from the wall, if possible, sweep behind them and wipe the edges for spills.
  • Use the appropriate product to clean for your countertops. For laminate surfaces, our undiluted vinegar solution is perfect.
  • Frequently forgotten items that collect dust and debris are light fixtures, ceiling fans, blinds and cabinets. Dust with a damp cloth prior to performing chores in a room.
  • Run the self-cleaning cycle on the oven. Avoid fumes by setting the cycle and heading outside with any small children or pets.

PC: My wife and I cook most of our meals, and afterward there’s a disgusting brown and black grime that remains all around the sides and bottom of our metal pans. Is there a way to get this off? Should I just buy new pans?

MR: Here’s Molly Maid’s guide to tackling the toughest dirty dishes. If this technique doesn’t work, then you may need to purchase new pots and pans.

What you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Vinegar
  • Dishwasher detergent
  • Dish soap
  • Towel or rag
  • Scrubbing brush or coarse sponge
  • Baking soda

Step-by-Step Guide:

1) Safety first — put on some rubber gloves to keep your hands free of grease and oil.

2) Grab the dirty dish and fill it with hot water and a few drops of the detergent.

Pro tip: The hotter the water, the better. Hot water can cut through tough messes. Just be careful not to make the water so hot that you’ll burn yourself. The only exception to the rule is dairy-related foods. Dairy tends to grow stickier with warm water, so cold water is best for cleaning cheesy dishes.

3) Let the pan soak for anywhere between 20 minutes and two hours, depending on the dish’s dirtiness.

Pro tip: If you’re cleaning a regular (not a nonstick) stovetop pan or pot, put the pan over a burner set on high to speed up the degreasing process.

4) After soaking, empty the water and pour some baking soda into the pan.

5) Using a wet, coarse sponge or brush and a few drops of dish soap, scrub the pot — really put some elbow grease into it.

6) Using hot water again, wash the soap off your pot.

7) If there’s still some residue, repeat through step six until clean.

8) If your pot appears burnt and steps one through seven aren’t helping, try covering the surface area of the pot with baking soda and pouring vinegar into it — wait while the chemical reaction occurs and wipe away with your soapy sponge.

9) With freshly cleaned dishes in hand, use a dry rag to wipe away the remaining water before storage.

PC: Do you have a checklist that people can use to keep their homes clean?

MR: If you visit the Molly Maid website, we have a printable house cleaning checklist to help you organize a plan. Being organized will help make the task far less daunting. Also consider asking others in your household for help. Even small children can help clear clutter.

PC: When is it time to call in Molly Maid?

MR: Most Molly Maid clients use our service weekly, bi-weekly or monthly so we can tackle the deep house cleaning tasks, and they manage the clutter and daily tasks like loading and unloading the dishwasher and keeping up on laundry. Others call us occasionally and we see a huge spike in these requests at the same time when gift certificate sales spike: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, summer party season and from Thanksgiving to Near Year’s.

The person who typically calls for our service is a woman who is busy with children, aging parents and work – inside and outside of the home. When you feel you can’t keep up with deep cleaning priority areas of the home or you want to carve out time to do something else more important, it’s time to call Molly Maid. We create customized cleaning plans for each customer and can fit nearly any budget. Using a professional house cleaning service is less of a luxury and more of a necessity in many busy homes.

PC: What advice would you give to someone who struggles with cleaning their house?

MR: The best advice we can offer is to make cleaning a routine so it does not become overwhelming. By corralling clutter on a daily basis, you will avoid the stack of papers and miscellaneous items on your table, couch or counter. Designate a space for your incoming mail, and a five-minute cruise through common areas with a laundry basket can help easily collect items that need to be returned to their proper places.

Our home service professionals are efficient because they use our secret to never missing a space while cleaning: working from left to right and top to bottom. Forgotten spaces include baseboards, tops of shower enclosures and ceiling fan blades. By regularly cleaning a room from top to bottom and left to right instead of starting in the middle of the space, you will see dust, build-up and grime you may have missed in the past.

It’s also more fun to clean with music on, so crank up your tunes, set a timer for 30 minutes to an hour and focus on one space at a time.

There are so many tips and tricks to saving time while cleaning. Visit Molly Maid’s Cleaning Institute for more ideas.

PC: How often should the house be vacuumed?

MR: Carpet can easily collect bacteria, germs and allergens that you can’t see visually. Vacuum carpets and area rugs several times a week, and if you have an infant or toddlers, daily vacuuming is recommended. The vacuum can remove surface debris easily.

PC: How often should the sheets be changed?

MR: Molly Maid completed a cleaning confessions survey in 2013 and 37% of respondents said they only change their bed sheets once per month. We highly recommend changing bed sheets once each week.

PC: How often should I clean the bathroom?

MR: On a daily basis, you can minimize your shower door scrubbing if you use a small squeegee to remove water from glass doors. You can also use a small, handheld vacuum to remove dust, hair and debris that collects around cabinets and baseboards.

Every week, clean your shower/tub, toilet, countertop and fixtures.

Once a month, pitch empty items from cabinets to prevent clutter build-up from product containers.

PC: My wife and I just moved into our new house, and we already have marks on the wall. Do you recommend products for cleaning the walls?

MR: If you have a semi or glossy paint finish or wall paper, using a slightly damp microfiber cloth may be enough to remove marks. Tougher marks may benefit from using a slightly dampened and squeezed Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser®.

PC: How do you organize your laundry? We’ve tried keeping a laundry basket in the closet, but our clothes end up on the floor again and again.

MR: The average family of four will run 400 loads of laundry a year. With 365 days a year, save yourself some time and run one to two loads a day. If that is unreasonable, simply increasing the frequency throughout the week will help alleviate laundry day.

Whether you are doing laundry for an entire family or just yourself, sorting your laundry is a simple and easy way to save time both when washing your dirty laundry and putting away your clean clothes.

Making sure that your closets are clear of clutter can also save time during your laundry routine. Clothing is less likely to become wrinkled and doesn’t need to be washed as often when stored in a clutter-free closet where air can circulate. Not sure which clothes you want to donate? Change the direction of your clothes hangers and when you wear an item, put it back the other way. After a year, you’ll have an idea which clothes you don’t wear that can likely be donated.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Microfiber cloths are really fantastic – I use them for probably 90% of our cleaning needs. Also, it’s pretty amazing just how great our stainless sink looks if it gets rinsed with some dish soap and then wiped with microfiber at the end of the day! I used to have to scrub my sink with Bon Ami every other day to keep it looking good, but now the house cleaner does it once every two weeks – the rest of the time the sink looks spotless.

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