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Keeping Your Home Clean in Regards to COVID-19

Keeping Your Home Clean in Regards to COVID-19


Tidy Casa has done 20,000+ cleanings. As such, we’re experts in the best and safest ways to keep any home clean. 

After seeing many questions on cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19, we felt releasing some useful information as a must-do public service. 

Without guidance from a professional, fear can run rampant; and it is our goal to squash those fears.


  • The cheapest, most natural, and effective method for cleaning is with soap.
  • Disinfecting and cleaning are different; disinfecting neutralizes the virus via chemicals. Cleaning removes it from a surface.
  • Order of best to least favorable disinfectants: 60% – 95% Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Iodine, Bleach
  • Things that do not work: Vinegar, Ammonia, Witch Hazel, Tea Tree oil, less than 60% Alcohol, using less than the needed amounts of the other disinfectants

Soap is a fantastic substance. With any microbe, its effects will help you. Bacteria, non-enveloped viruses, and other pathogens, soap will force the microbes to release from surfaces and break the water tension, moving the germs to a rag or down the sink. 

However, envelope viruses are unique. The COVID-19 virus (and all coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS) is an enveloped virus, which means that it has a lipid (fatty) layer. 

According to the FDA, soap destroys this lipid layer, stopping the virus from being able to infect you! 

Once again, I highly recommend using soap as your main sanitizing agent throughout the house.

While soap’s primary function is to remove the pathogen, including viruses, from the surface, disinfecting neutralizes the virus where it is at.

My favorite disinfectant is alcohol. 60% – 95% is needed to stop the virus, and it only takes 10 seconds of contact time to do so. You must be careful that you have more than 60% alcohol content. That said, mixing the alcohol with ingredients reduces the percentage! 

91% isopropyl alcohol is perfect. 

Vodka is usually about 80 proof (40%) alcohol and is worthless! If you are going to use expensive drinking alcohol, you would need something like Everclear, which is 120 proof (50%) alcohol or higher. Still not the 60% we’re going for, but it’s getting close.

Hydrogen peroxide with a 0.5% mixture rate can be used but must have 1 minute of contact time. A .05% mixture needs 1 cup of 3% Hydrogen peroxide to 6 cups of water. DO NOT mix Hydrogen peroxide with soap! Hydrogen peroxide breaks down the soap.

In a pinch, iodine will work. 75-150 parts per million (minimal amount) is effective in 1-2 seconds of contact time. However, iodine WILL stain whatever it touches.

My least favorite choice is bleach, it’s toxic, and it is the least effective under short periods. Look on the back of your Clorox Bleach wipes; it needs 4+ minutes of contact time to kill viruses. Most people don’t let their counters soak for 4 minutes, nor should you.

What does NOT work:

  • Vinegar, 10% Malt Vinegar has some signs of killing influenza, but not corona family viruses. Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, sums it up well. “[Vinegar] does have acid in it, and it [can] damage bacteria and viruses, but it’s not something I’d recommend using to prevent the spread of coronavirus.”
  • Ammonia, ineffective toward enveloped viruses
  • Hitch Hazel – not enough alcohol content
  • Tea Tree Oil – has been shown to help cold sores (herpes virus) but not against the corona family
  • Vodka (see above), or other alcohol meant for drinking below 120 proof
  • Be smart, use soap on your hands, counters, bathrooms, light switches, and doorknobs.

A little cleaning and disinfecting knowledge will go a long way in keeping your family safe. That said, finding time to clean and sanitize can be just as hard as doing the actual cleaning.

If you need help Tidy Casa has your back. We’ve added an extra sanitization service to all our cleanings until the pandemic has passed. We’re here to support you and your family. 

Give us a call at (602) 753-5630 to set up an appointment or book one online at any time. 

9 Do-It-Yourself House Cleaning Tips

9 Do-It-Yourself House Cleaning Tips

Tidy Casa is here to help you get your time back so you can spend time with your family doing the things you love. We’ve compiled 9 DIY house cleaning tips to help you spruce up your home!

1. Cleaning Blinds

Here is a way to clean your blinds without having to take them down. Whether your blinds are vertical or horizontal, you can clean them without having to take them down (providing they aren’t cloth blinds). Check out this video for tips on how to clean your blinds. Watch How Here


2. Room Freshener

Looking for a fresh scented smell for your house? Here’s how to get your house smelling great right away! Add Scent boosters (like Downy Unstoppables or any other brand) to a bottle of water and create your own air freshener. Then start spraying throughout your home!


3. Remove Pet Hair

Does your favorite four-legged friend leave your furniture hairy? Your first thought was probably to use a lint roller or tape, but here is a new and improved way you probably haven’t heard of yet. Use a damp rubber glove and swipe your hand across the furniture. If you don’t have rubber gloves you can use a damp sponge. Give it a shot!


4. Microwave Cleaning

Is your microwave dirty? A quick and simple way to clean it is to use a lemon. Yes, a lemon! All you need for this cleaning trick is ½ cup of water in a bowl, squeeze half a lemon in the bowl, and then microwave on high for 3 minutes so it comes to a boil. Next, keep the door shut and let the steam sit in there for 5 minutes. Then lastly, open the door, remove the bowl, and then wipe the inside clean!


5. Baking Soda Magic

Here are 3 uses for baking soda you might not have thought about:

  1. Tubs & Sinks – Sprinkle some baking soda on your tubs and sinks and then wipe with a clean damp washcloth. Rinse and dry.
  2. Tile Floors – Use 1/2 cup baking soda in a bucket of warm water to help mop and clean floors.
  3. Crayons – Clean crayon marks off surfaces by applying baking soda to a slightly wet cloth and rub lightly. Wipe off with a clean, dry cloth.


6. Pet Odors

Does your pet have your house smelling not so fresh? All you need for this simple trick is a water bottle, essential oils fragrant, vinegar, and water. Shake it well and then spray everywhere! Go here for the recipe


7. Grout Stains

Do you have stubborn grout stains? If so, mix a paste of two parts baking soda and one part water. Next, apply it to the stain and let it sit overnight, Then scrub with a nylon brush. Lastly, rinse thoroughly with hot water when you’re done. Your grout will be looking like new!


8. Fresh Bathroom Scents

Use your favorite essential oil of your choosing and sprinkle three to five drops on the inside of the toilet paper roll. This will leave your bathroom smelling fresh every time the roll spins. Spin on!


9. Wood Floors

Are your floors looking dirty and old? White Vinegar and water will clean them without damaging them. First, make sure to thoroughly remove dust and dirt (vacuum) as this can lead to scratches. Next, mix a ratio of one gallon of warm water to a half cup of white vinegar in a bucket. Then submerge your mop into the bucket and ring it out. Lastly, mop away!


If you’re looking for an experienced house cleaning company that services homes across Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, you can trust us!


We take care of all your house cleaning needs, from one-time cleanings, recurring cleanings, deep cleanings, and move-in/out cleanings. Contact us for an instant quote!

The Pros and Cons of Green Cleaning

The Pros and Cons of Green Cleaning

By April Brewster Smythe

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca


Green cleaning provides a doable choice to the tried and true products on the market today. Green cleaning, however, has its own advantages and disadvantages. The pros and cons of green cleaning, in many ways, are two sides of the same coin as will be seen in the following listing of these green cleaning pros and cons.   When used properly with the adequate precautions, standard cleaning products are safe, but of greater concern are pets and small children who could accidentally come into harmful contact with them. Safety issues alone make green cleaning a better choice, and there are other advantages as well. However, there are some disadvantages to using green cleaning even if they are better for the environment.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of green cleaning.


  • Known Elements – Green cleaning and the products used to accomplish a green clean have ingredients that are known to the consumer. This makes a healthier home and an environmentally safer atmosphere. Experts have concluded that even using a regular household spray on a weekly basis can increase the risk of one of the most quickly advancing diseases, asthma.
  • Lower Cost – Many people are under the mistaken impression that buying green or using green cleaning products is expensive. This can be a determining factor for many to stay with the status quo. In reality, the cost of vinegar, baking soda, and some of the other ingredients needed to mix up your own natural cleaning sprays are low.
  • Clear Environment – The antibacterial used in conventional cleaning products enables the release of injurious chemicals into the environment. Green cleaning helps to lessen pollution to rivers, lakes, and oceans, along with the minimization of the impact of ozone depletion and worldwide climate change.


  • Questionable Ingredients: While those green cleaning elements mixed by your own hands are known, green cleaning product manufacturers are not required by law to list all the elements on their packaging.  This can lead to ‘greenwashing’ or the labeling of false ingredients.
  • Greenwashing – In recent years many companies and organizations have begun to see the benefit of using the green movement to market their products and services. This has led to the practice of greenwashing.  Simply defined, greenwashing is shown when any organization uses more time and money saying they are ‘green’ through marketing methods than actually employing the products and services that curtail the carbon footprint.
  • More Time Used Cleaning- While green cleaning products are better for the environment on the whole, they are not as severe. This means that the time spent cleaning can take much longer and ends up not being cost effective.

While there are mixed pros and cons when it comes to green cleaning, it is significant to understand that basically all green cleaning is a step in the right direction towards helping the environment.

However, unlike many products, green cleaning is a theory as well as a product.  Those who believe in ‘going green’ will do so and find the best ways to utilize green cleaning products.  They will read each label for antibacterial ingredients.  They will search the internet for green cleaning recipes.  They will ask intelligent questions of their green cleaning contractors, and suppliers.  Those who believe that it is time to step forward to elevate the environment will use all the tools that are available to them to construct a greener, cleaner home, business, and world.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”. ~ Margaret Mead

How to Escape the Clean versus Organized Trap

By April Brewster Smythe

As a child, Cynthia Lawford’s mother would wash the clothes for the whole family.  She would then fold the clothes and stack them neatly on the stairs that led to the bedrooms of the children.  The plan was for each child (there were five of them, four girls and the youngest, a boy), to bring up the clothes and put them away each day when they got home from school.  This was a good plan, but hardly ever followed and the mother soon developed a sore throat from screaming at the kids to ‘bring the clothes up the steps and put them away!”

In this scenario, everything started out clean.  There was an organizational plan, but no one followed the plan except the mother who tried to execute the plan, but fell ill doing so.  Thus, this family found itself in the common trap known as Clean VS. Organized.

The forgotten trap of Clean vs Organizing is the fact that often when we clean we create clutter rather than organize.  We throw our stuff and junk in closets or little hideaways and clean and de-grease.  Everything smells clean, lemony and pine-sol like, but the house continues to be chaotic.

Many of us clean tirelessly. As we do so, we believe that we are organizing our homes at the same time. We find the ‘right’ cleaning products.  We agonize over natural or conventional cleaning products.  We read articles detailing the proper methods to use in order to clean properly.  Spring cleaning is a ritual for many and there is a right and wrong way to do it…or so we’ve been told.  We are trapped in cleaning and confuse this rabid cleaning with organizing.

Betty Spaulding felt she had found the key to organizing her laundry.  She would wash the towels and then fold them and place them on top of the counters and along the bathtub.  She was halfway organized and found that she needed to find a way to not only organize her laundry, but her entire home.

First, Betty had to realize the clear definitions between cleaning and organizing.  Cleaning or clean is a verb and is defined as ‘making something free of dirt, marks, or mess, especially by wiping, or brushing.”   Organizing is a method.  Organizing takes careful thought and decisions about where to place objects and materials.  There are a wide variety of books, blogs, e-zines, and Facebook groups online that can help the individual develop their own method of organization and decluttering.

In recent times, the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has sparked a worldwide phenomenon in organizing and goes well beyond the simple concept of cleaning.

Kondo’s book has become a worldwide bestseller because she guarantees that no one will ever go back to their cluttering ways and testimonials abound from her satisfied clients.

This journal has covered the Five Secrets of the KonMari Method at length and it is one of the most effective ways to escape the trap of Clean vs. Organized.

However, for those who do not want to go all out and turn organization into a lifestyle there are four simple steps that can be taken to escape the organizational trap.


Short and Simple Escape Plan

  • Get Rid of Things You Don’t Need – This sounds simple enough until you begin to do so. It all depends on what method you are most comfortable with and your own lifestyle.  Kondo of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up recommends going by category.  Other experts cite function and room.  All state that there are three ways to clear the clutter; keep, donate, and throw it away.
  • If it is Room and Function– If you decide to go by function it is helpful to put like with like. If there is no function for an item (and you will find more of these types of items than you may think!) Toss it!
  • Store it – “A Place for everything and everything in its place.” Mom wasn’t wrong when she recited this little ditty over and over again.  It does help to store articles in those places you decide work best for you.  Don’t become a storage hoarder, though.  After awhile, those people who buy numerous storage bins, barrels, dressers and drawers end up cluttered – with no room for anything.
  • Wasted Space – Once the clutter has been cleared away and donated, tossed or kept, most people will find space opens up and devising new ways to place your things and objects will become easy peasy.



These steps will help to escape the trap of clean vs. organized.  As you can see cleaning is an action, a way to de-grime your house.   Organization, however, is a whole different ballgame.  It takes though, decision making and most of all, motivation. 


Invite someone over. Even though we should all work hard on not caring what others think of our homes, in truth, inviting someone over is still a great motivator for house cleaning. Focus on the key areas that a house guest is likely to care about. Clean the bathroom, tidy the kitchen and sweep the entry way. If you’ve still got some energy left, take care of general clutter and run the vacuum.” – From the author of the blog Cleaning up the Clutter


The Five Secrets of the KonMari Method

The Five Secrets of the KonMari Method

And how it can lead to a Greener, Cleaner Lifestyle

By April Brewster Smythe

“Focusing solely on throwing things away can only bring unhappiness.  Why?   Because we should be choosing what we want to keep – not what we want to get rid of.” – Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo, creator of the KonMari Method, and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been fascinated with decluttering since the age of five years old.

In those days, she organized her room, her parent’s rooms, her book bags, and anything else that seemed cluttered and out of sorts.   This small seedling of enchantment with joyous configurations has led Marie Kondo to become one of the world’s foremost authorities on decluttering the spaces we live and work in.

This Japanese business and organizational consultant has been featured on more than thirty major Japanese television and radio programs as well as in The London Times, The Sunday Times, Red Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and many more

Today, the KonMari method is an exhilarating system being used around the world.  Marie Kondo has been asked to speak and give advice to companies like Google.  However, her most indelible mark has been made with those clients she has taken on- and those people who have read her book and put its category-specific strategies into place.  Facebook has numerous KonMari Groups where those who are putting KM practices into use come together to talk about the ideas, the strategies, the obstacles, and yes, the joy that comes with following Kondo’s life-changing techniques.

The KonMari method leads to a greener, leaner lifestyle because the obstacles that stand in our way of doing so are obliterated by the decluttering, organizational system of Marie Kondo.

Here are five secrets in Marie Kondo’s own words that address those obstacles that experts and studies agree prevent individuals and businesses from going green.

  • “All you need to do is take the time to sit down and examine each item you own, decide whether you want to keep or discard it, and then choose where to put what you keep.”  -Marie Kondo.   Experts agree that one of the main reasons going green and clean is so difficult for many is that they are too busy.  The distractions of their lives prevent them from concentrating on environmental concerns.   The KonMari Method helps declutter the home or the business and captures the concentration necessary to choose a greener, cleaner lifestyle.


  • “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” – Marie Kondo.   In America, especially, we have been socialized as a consuming society.  We have been brought up to believe that the more we own the more successful or privileged we are.   This type of thinking leads to a cluttered life and a cluttered home and it does not lead to green living.    The brainwashing we receive from a young age is hard to work through, but these specific questions from the KonMari Method help each person move toward clean and green.


  • “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” – Marie Kondo.  Studies have shown that many people may want to use more green products and live a cleaner lifestyle, but they feel that their small actions will make no difference.   What difference can it make if we take a cloth bag to the grocery or make recycling a part of our everyday lives?   The KonMari Method helps to ‘reset’ your life and installing green changes becomes easier.  Who knows, it might just catch on!


  • “People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.” – Marie Kondo.    There are many organizations and individuals who wish to go green and want to live a cleaner, decluttered lifestyle, but they are overwhelmed by the enormity of the task.   We look at the overload of information on climate change, water shortages, food contaminations, and animal extinctions and hurriedly look the other way.  We can make a start in our own homes by changing our own mindsets.


  • “Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.” – Marie Kondo.   Nothing is harder than change.  We all know this.  It takes enormous outlays of time and energy to create a living space that brings joy.   It also requires a commitment to the specific type of lifestyle that each person chooses to live.

These five secrets are the beginning of a journey that will bring each individual who travels it a new and refreshing change of heart.    One day the person who has read about the KonMari Method will decide to implement the method in his or her home.   They will begin to use a very simple question as they choose what to keep.

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it. This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”  – Marie Kondo