What would you do if you had a little extra free time? Hang out with friends and family? Learn a musical instrument? Join the gym?
We all wish we had more time, especially during the busy holiday season. More time to shop, to cook and clean, more time to spend with family and friends. Unfortunately time is the only thing that cannot be bought.
Or can it?
There are companies out there that can help with your chores, from catering companies to arrange your holiday parties to cleaning and junk removal companies that help you organize your home. You can even delegate your shopping to gift buying experts. Outsourcing your tasks to these specialists effectively “buys you” more time. This is especially important during the holiday season, when we want to spend as much time as possible with our loved ones. However, Christmas is also the time that our homes get messier than usual, no matter how hard we try to stay on top of things.
Do you know people on your holiday shopping list that already have everything and are very difficult to buy for? Perhaps you're worried that your present will end up either thrown in the trash or passed on to someone else? Well, one solution is an AspenClean home cleaning gift certificate. Our teams of professional cleaners will provide the recipient with a sparklingly clean and healthy home using our own range of all-natural products with organic essential oils. Remember:
“Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” ― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here for?
Do you or your family own a pet?
Most of us have at least one animal in the home, or have had at some point in our lives. If so, I'm sure you can probably think back to some happy memories shared with your loyal companion over the years.
Here at AspenClean, we realize the importance of looking after our pets, which is why we are a Leaping Bunny and PETA certified company, and manufacture all our cleaning products to full vegan standards and never test them on animals.
This December, we are underlining our commitment to animal welfare by donating to various branches of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA and OSPCA) with each sale of our Whole House Cleaning Kit. AspenClean is proud to support the ASPCA® and its mission to save lives. To learn more, visit aspca.org.
Pets spend so much time in and around our homes, which is why it's important to ensure our living environments are pet-friendly too. "Pets groom themselves with their mouths, so residues from cleaning products and other environmental toxins end up in their skin, coat, eyes, nose and throat." says president and co-CEO of AspenClean, Alicia Sokolowski.
All of our products are completely safe for use around animals and children, which makes them ideal for the family home. Chris and Alicia, the founders of AspenClean, actually mix All Purpose Concentrate with some warm water to clean our office dog Dusty!
Purchase our Whole House Cleaning Kit for yourself or as a gift for a loved one and feel great knowing that your decision will help support the lives of animals in North America.
This cheery time of year means get togethers with family, friends and colleagues, wrapping presents, baked goods and a constant train of holiday feasts. If you have pets or children then you'll likely spend more time cleaning up than you will preparing or enjoying the season with loved ones.
Thankfully, AspenClean can help keep things tidy ahead of guests arriving. Before the season catches you off guard, get prepared; make a plan and if necessary book your AspenClean cleaning service before time runs out. You should spend Boxing Day the way you really want, and preferably avoiding the long lines at the mall.
Preparation begins with acceptance. No matter how clean your home is, these messes will happen, especially since nothing makes a mess at Christmastime like enthusiastic baking and decorating. These mishaps happen to all of us, so plan for the following:
The Turkey Dinner
The Christmas dinner is the main and obvious culprit for mess. It can produce gravy stains on the table cloth, mashed potatoes in the rug, a burnt roasting pan and a ceiling-high stack of dirty dishes. If you're using fine china you can't even use the dishwasher on the day you need it most of all. How's that for cruel irony?
The Wrap Up
It's the season of giving, not receiving, but whoever says that is forgetting the time it takes to do all that giving. Even if you're smart and shop online, the wrapping job in front of you is daunting, and it can leave behind a truly horrific mess. Beware the household pet who stumbles upon your wrapping station on the bed before you've cleaned up, because you might just have a furry fury on your hands.The leftover scraps of wrapping paper can be recycled or reused, but who has the time? While you wait to decide how to dispose of the mess, it migrates throughout the house. Then, on Christmas morning it becomes a hopeless cyclone of chaos that threatens to consume everything! And what about the environment or those poor trees? And do you have tape on your socks, sleeves and pants yet? You will... You will.
Some final tips:
- Compile a schedule of cleaning tasks and assign them to family members in advance
- Use recycled wrapping paper if you're concerned about the environment and get your presents wrapped for charity if you are concerned about time.
- Use a second hand table cloth, consider a live tree to avoid shedding
- Experiment with holiday coasters to avoid rings from drinks
- Stuck for gift ideas? How about a Gift Certificate for our Premium Home Cleaning Services?
- Finally, consider AspenClean products for environmentally friendly cleaning that you can do yourself
Removing Common Household Odours
Most of us have so many different odours drifting around our homes that it's a challenge to keep your living spaces smelling fresh and pleasant. Your initial instinct for clearing the air might be to head to your local store and purchase a bottle of air freshener and some perfume. But did you know that most of these commercial products are laden with toxic chemicals that simply mask over the odors as opposed to actually removing them. Here is our list of basic DIY solutions that will treat the most common household scents at source, allow you to enjoy a natural and fresh living environment.
Odour: The fridge is prime cause of odour in the kitchen. With all those ingredients and leftovers packed in together.
Solution: Cut a lemon in half and place side-up on your fridge shelf. Alternatively, place a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into a bowl and leave it to absorb and neutralize all your food items.
Odour: Wet shoes give off an unpleasant, funky aroma, and will wear out faster if you leave them dripping wet.
Solution: Get some newspaper, crumple it up and stuff deep into your shoes. Leave for a few hours, or ideally overnight. The newspaper will soak up all the moisture and also help your shoes to keep their shape. When you remove the paper, your shoes will be dry and ready to wear again.
Odour: This is a common one that we've probably all experienced at some point. Food in the microwave can occasionally explode and leave gunk all over the inside.
Solution: Good news! We have a 10 Second Trick to a Cleaner Microwave that will not only give it a thorough clean but also make your appliance smell nice and fresh!
Odour: Basements typically get less light and ventilation than other areas of the home. This means they often end up with moist and musty air, which can cause breathing and health issues.
Solution: Use a dehumidifier to reduce moisture. Also, consider installing a diffuser infused with some essential oils that will help to purify the air and fill your home with some pleasant scents. Finally, don't forget to open doors and windows where possible to keep the air flowing through the rooms.
Odour: With the amount of use that your coffee pot gets, you should probably be cleaning it more often than you do. It's a good idea to give it a deep wash every once in a while to remove any mold or germs that build up over time.
Solution: Mix some vinegar with some hot water and swirl it around your pot to rinse out any lingering smells. You can also use our SuperScrub Powder as a substitute for vinegar. The tea tree and lavender oils work powerfully to descale and remove bacteria, which is great cleaning remedy for your daily brewer.
Bonus Tip! - Orange peels
Instead of throwing away your citrus rinds, place them over your living room stove. The heat will dry out the peelings and produce a lovely natural scent that will waft through your home. The oils in dried citrus peels also make great firelighters, so chuck a few of them into your fireplace to really get it going!
THE IDEAL SOLUTION FOR BUSY LIVES
As a person who has long given up a cleaning lady because of inefficiencies; I came to AspenClean and have never looked back.
The team that comes to my residence is terrific and know my residence has never been so thoroughly cleaned, and better still they come with all their equipment and non-toxic products which I now use in between their visits. I have made recommendations for this service to friends, all of whom have thanked me for the referral and are now ongoing clients of AspenClean.
I am a perfectionist of the first order and always believed no one could ever clean as well as I can - I am so happy to say that I now have a service that has met my expectations and more!
- Ann Coombs, Vancouver
Ann is founder of Coombs Consulting Ltd., and author of the best selling book "The Living Workplace: Soul, Spirit and Success in the 21st Century".
Purchase AspenClean's range of 100% natural, eco-friendly cleaning products online at www.aspencleanproducts.com.
We're all familiar with the annual spring cleaning tradition, but did you know that autumn is actually the most important time of year to give your home a thorough cleaning? The cooler temperatures combined with dusty, moist living areas makes perfect breeding conditions for germs and bacteria, which can really affect those with weakened immune systems and common conditions such as asthma. The good news is that with a little preparation and some basic planning, you can get your home prepped for winter in just a few short steps.
Use the Right Equipment
While it might be tempting to reach for that old bottle of toxic-laden cleaning product lurking in your cupboard, this isn't the greenest or most effective way of doing things. In fact, combining this with an old rag and some air freshener is probably the worst thing you can do as you'll merely be stirring dust back into the air and covering up odors with nasty chemicals instead of actually removing them.
Instead, we recommend opting for a natural, chemical-free cleaning product or even make your own using basic ingredients like baking soda, lemons and vinegar. Microfiber cloths are the best choice when it comes to dusting and wiping as they use tiny fibres to trap dust and dirt far more effectively than cotton rags. They are also long-lasting and machine-washable, and can be used on everything from appliances to tiled floors to windows.
You probably already have a vacuum cleaner, but if you're serious about maintaining high air quality in your home then it's best to use one with a HEPA filter. These are better at trapping dust particles, dust mites and pollen, which makes them a particularly good choice for those with allergies and breathing issues.
Finally, it's always a good idea to have some spare garbage bags to hand, along with some disposable gloves to protect your skin.
- Natural cleaning product, such as our range of EcoCert certified cleaners
- Microfiber cloths
- Mop & bucket
- Vacuum cleaner
- Garbage bags
- Latex gloves (optional)
With the days getting shorter, clean windows are important for maximising the amount of light in your home. Give them a good spray and wipe both inside and out. Vacuum the windowsills and wash coverings such as drapes and curtains. A large amount of dust can build up in these fabrics so it’s important to give them a thorough cleaning every once in a while. Finally, don’t forget to give your blinds a good dusting with a microfiber cloth.
Carpets should be steam cleaned at least once a year to remove all dust and dirt embedded in the fibres. The fall months are a good opportunity to get this done as we all spend more time indoors during the cooler months. Remember to also vacuum any rugs and doormats.
Tiles and hardwood floors can be mopped with a bucket of hot water and a little dish soap or all-purpose cleaner. Move furniture and appliances to get to those hard to reach areas like corners and baseboards.
Gather your pillows and machine-wash them using a gentle cycle with a little detergent. Afterwards, put them in the dryer on the delicate setting, but be sure to allow ample drying time. It's also a good idea to flip over your mattress to prevent sinking.
Organize your closet by putting your summer clothes into a box or storage container, and wiping down any railings or shelving with a damp microfiber cloth before bringing in your winter wardrobe.
This isn't a pretty task, but cleaning out your freezer is definitely something you should do before stocking it up for the winter months. If you have a chest freezer, take a wooden or metal spatula and scrape away all the built up ice from around the edges. Be gentle, though, as you don't want to damage the insulation material!
Use a microfiber cloth and some warm water and rub down the sides to melt any hard ice blocks. Finally, scoop out all the scraped ice from the bottom. Then sort through all your food items and throw away anything that has expired. You should also group similar foods together so you won't have to spend ages rummaging around for that hidden bag of fries!
Cupboards and Pantry
If you didn't do this at Thanksgiving, be sure to organize your cupboards and pantry now. As salads and sandwiches give way to soups and stews, this colder time of year inevitably means more cooking. Keeping your cupboards and pantry clutter-free will make cooking a far more pleasant experience.
As with the freezer, take everything out of your cabinets and re-organize by grouping similar items next to each other. This is also a good opportunity to stock up on staples such as herbs and spices and dried foods. Be sure to wipe down all your doors and cabinets and do a thorough wash of your cutlery drawer.
Join AspenClean at the Live the Smart Way Expo at Enercare Centre, Toronto on Saturday 22nd - Sunday 23rd October.
LTSW is Canada’s largest health and wellness trade show, featuring a number of high-profile exhibitors and speakers. There will be a range of talks, demonstrations and workshops going on throughout the weekend, covering everything you need to know about healthy living.
Visit AspenClean at Live the Smart Way - Booth #323
To mark this fantastic exhibition, we are running a number of giveaways and promotions including 25% OFF all cleaning products.
Plus other fantastic offers including:
- Cloth Promotion - Buy 2 products and get a FREE microfiber cloth
- Discount on Service - 10% OFF all first-time bookings in Toronto
- Chance to win $300.00 of cleaning services or $100.00 worth of cleaning products!
Clean your drains and gutters this weekend to keep water flowing and prevent blockages and flooding.
With the fall season in full swing, drains quickly become clogged with fallen branches, leaves and debris that can quickly pile up and stop water flowing properly. The result: Lots of flooding and potentially broken gutters and drain pipes that can be costly to replace. As the old adage goes: prevention is better than cure!
Getting Properly Outfitted
Let's face it, cleaning drains is a mucky job. It's a good idea to arm yourself with some boots, a rain jacket and some latex gloves for protection. You may also wish to use a bucket or tarpaulin to collect all the loose debris.
Guide to Cleaning Your Drains
Sweep or scoop away any loose leaves and dirt from drain covers and the edges of paths and roads.
Use a long piece of pipe, a stiff, thin brush, or a wooden tree branch to reach into the drain or gutter and draw out any clogged sections. If cleaning a gutter, you can also take the sections apart and clean them individually.
Optional: Mix a little vinegar with some boiling water and pour down the drainpipe.
Take a hose and spray thoroughly to push out any remaining leaves and get the water flowing again.
- Make sure to remove all debris from the end of the drainpipe or gutter in order to prevent a buildup of leaves and branches.
Taking a Closer Look
We recommend also using this opportunity to inspect the condition of your drainpipes and gutters. Look for any cracks, leaks and/or rust that indicate your drains need some further attention.
Messy Kitchen Cleaning Tips
There’s no doubt about it, Thanksgiving is a busy time of year. Between all the cooking, parties and travelling, your home (and especially your kitchen) can quickly turn into a mess. Follow our Thanksgiving cleaning tips to keep your kitchen organized and sparkling for the holiday!
1) Organize Your Storage
Clean out the cabinets and pantry, wiping down the shelves and cleaning all your pots, pans and other cooking equipment. Rearrange as necessary.
2) Clear Up Counters
Pack away any rarely-used small appliances from the counter top. The extra space will give you more room for cooking and de-clutter your kitchen.
3) Toss Old Food
Clean out the refrigerator and freezer, throwing away expired items and organizing the rest. By doing this, you will know where everything is when you need it, as well as free up space for new groceries.
4) Polish Appliances
5) Spray, Wipe, Repeat
Spray surfaces regularly. This might seem obvious, but a quick spray and wipe every time you cook will prevent things from getting out of control and save you from having to do a big clean up at the end.
The Georgia Straight delivers an award-winning editorial package of features, articles and reviews. Established as the lifestyle and entertainment weekly in Vancouver for nearly 50 years, the Georgia Straight is an integral part of the active urban West Coast lifestyle with over 800,000 readers. Every September, the Vancouver public are asked to vote for their top choice across a range of categories such as Best Dining, Best Radio Station, Best Salon and so forth. The Straight’s annual Best of Vancouver issue celebrates the variety of local businesses across the city that were selected. We’d like to congratulate all the winners and we are honored to be among them in 2016, awarded Best Home Cleaning Service in Vancouver.
First of all, we’d like to extend a big thank you to the organizers. A competition like this is great for Vancouver businesses as it gives them an opportunity to stand back, evaluate their progress and celebrate their success. Secondly, we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who voted for AspenClean. With so many great candidates to choose from, Georgia Straight readers must have had a very difficult time choosing their favourites. Thank you to all of our loyal clients for their warm welcomes, their support of our eco-friendly services and most of all their feedback that helps us improve and reward our cleaning teams. Last but not least, thank you to all of the great people behind AspenClean. This one is for you, and we graciously accept this award on behalf of all our team members and leaders, our customer care team and managers, as well as Dusty (our office dog!) for their amazing contributions day after day. We are proud to keep Vancouver clean and healthy with our 100% natural, ‘A’ rated by EWG products and our amazing teams!
As summer comes to an end, many of us are cleaning, organizing and packing for a move. Whether it be for college, a new job or just a change of scenery, below are some tips to help you get your home all clean and shiny before you say goodbye.
1) Dust, Dust, Dust!
A surprising amount of dust can build up in a home, especially in those out-of-reach and hidden spots. Remember to start work from the top down, using a vacuum to collect dust from high areas. Microfiber Cloths are great for use in other parts of the house as they trap dust, instead of pushing it around. An added bonus – these cloths can be thrown into the washer and dryer and re-used for years!
2) Get In Cabinets & Closets
Moving is a great time to give all cabinets and closets in your home a thorough wipe down both inside and out. Make sure to get into the corners to clean away any dust or grime. If you have a garage, remember to clean the shelving there as well. Our All-Purpose Cleaner infused with organic grapefruit and lavender essential oils is great for these jobs.
3) Attend to the Floors
If you have hardwood or laminate flooring, give it a good wash making sure to get into all corners and around or under any furniture. Our All-in-One Concentrate is very useful for this as you can dilute it, creating the cleaning strength you need for your floors. If your home has carpet, consider having a natural steam cleaning done to get it back to new without those harsh chemicals!
4) Wash the Windows
Windows should be cleaned using non-toxic Glass Cleaner and a Glass Microfiber Cloth to ensure a steak-free shine. If possible, also clean the outside of your windows to make them crystal clear. Don’t forget to dust the blinds, and pay special attention to the window sills and tracks, as these can become very grimy over time.
5) Check Baseboards & Walls
Ensure that the baseboards in your home have been wiped of all dust and dirt. Also check the walls and try to remove any marks or stains. Our all-natural SuperScrub Powder is infused with organic tea tree essential oil, which can help to get those hard-to-clean areas spotless, without leaving any scratches.
6) Make the Kitchen Shine
In addition to cleaning all surfaces, remember to give the outside and inside of your appliances a good wipe down. AspenClean’s Kitchen Cleaner makes it easy to get rid of any greasy build up inside of your microwave, fridge and oven. Afterwards, your kitchen will smell lovely and fresh from the organic Grapefruit and Bergamot essentials oils. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about any chemical residues left behind!
7) Scrub That Tub
Make sure to scrub your bathtub and/or shower as well as the sink, where limescale can build up over time. Start from the top-down, and get into all corners and crevices. Use our Bathroom Cleaner and Bathroom Microfiber Cloth to efficiently tackle these areas, and combine with our SuperScrub Powder for hard to clean residue.
Gender Doesn't Define Domestic Destiny
The idea that the average father spends only 20 minutes a day with his children has been exposed as a myth; in the past 25 years modern family structures have shifted, blurring the line between the roles of mothers and fathers. With more mothers working outside the home, fathers are now included in most aspects of child care including changing diapers, taking the kids to school and even household cleaning. The rising average age of parents, same-sex couples and adoption of children has also contributed to changes in traditional family roles.
“What we’re actually seeing now is a different kind of equality that comes out of complementarity and a more complex set of negotiations based on people’s different circumstances.” - Kerry Daly, professor and chair of the University of Guelph’s Family Relations department
Off-shifting & the Efficient Division of Labour
“If you don’t get more efficient in the division of labour, you’re not going to make it as a couple. You’re going to spend all your time fighting over who’s doing what.” - Ann Douglas, writer and a mother of four from Peterborough, Ontario
The Benefits of an Involved Father
“If we try to judge the care that fathers give by the standards used to study mothers and women, we miss some of the creative ways that fathers are caring for children.” - Andrea Doucet, author of 'Do Men Mother?'
Modern Father Facts
- The average age of fathers is rising: The average age of fathers now exceeds 40
- Work-family balance is a challenge for many fathers: Whether they are on their own or in a two-parent family, the vast majority of fathers in Canada are employed.
- Men don't have to be husbands to be fathers: Today, many children either are born outside of marriage or experience the divorce of their parents while they are still young. Consequently, there are a growing number of men entering unions that include children from a partner's previous relationship.
Pets are a part of our families and we work hard to take good care of them. But did you know the cleaning products we use in our homes may be severely damaging their health? In 2009, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products.
Household Dangers: Why is it important for pet owners to use pet-friendly cleaners in your home?
Pets groom themselves with their mouths, so residues from cleaning products and other environmental toxins end up in their skin, coat, eyes, nose and throat. Furthermore, their feet pads are sensitive and will absorb the chemicals on the floors and surfaces they walk on. Avoiding harsh chemical cleaners is one of the best ways to protect your pet's health; discussed below are common chemicals to avoid.
Glycol ethers are found in many cleaning products that are not pet safe including glass cleaners, carpet cleaners and spot removers. It has been linked to anemia, lung damage and kidney damage in people and pets.
Used for fragrance in household cleaners and deodorizers, cosmetics, packaging, toys, food and many other products, phthalates are known hormone-disruptors. Since hormones control so much more than just reproduction in your pet’s system (and yours), phthalates have been linked to indirect symptoms such as weight gain, cancers and developmental delays.
Used in many de-greasers for ovens, glass and stainless steel, ammonia has a very high VOC, burns mucous membranes and contributes to asthma. If it is mixed with bleach, it creates a poisonous gas which can be deadly to small pets.
Greening Your Pet Care is the first book by Darcy Matheson - pet care expert, television journalist and dog blogger from Vancouver, Canada. The book is a comprehensive guide for safe, green and sustainable pet care; household safety, vet care, nutrition and outdoor activities are just some of the topics discussed. It's the new must-have for environmentally conscious pet owners.
"With our pets spending much of their time on our floors and furniture, it's extra important to avoid using chemicals that could potentially hurt them...animals have a much higher likelihood of ingesting products that can make them sick, and because of their small size and faster metabolism they can be poisoned by a very small amount of toxins."
Household facts sources: