Deep Green Carpet Cleaning: A How-To Guide

Deep Green Carpet Cleaning: A How-To Guide

Spot cleaning can only do so much. If you spot clean too much, your carpet becomes covered in bright, white spots. If you don’t spot clean at all, you leave distracting stains all over your carpet. It may not be within your budget to get a professional steam carpet cleaning done each and every time your carpet begins to look spotty. So what do you do? Here’s an easy, ‘green’ way to deep clean your carpets without breaking the bank. This tutorial was created by the highly trained team at Clean Dry and I hope many of you will take this opportunity to learn from carpet cleaning professionals.

Before you start, you’ll want to clear the affected carpets of any furniture. Take them and move them outside (if the weather permits) or into another room. You won’t need them.

Begin the process with a regular spot cleaning before getting into the heavier work. First, vacuum the carpets. Go several times over the same spots, so the whole carpet is thoroughly vacuumed.

Next, mix together ¼ cup salt, ¼ borax and ¼ cup white vinegar. Apply this paste to the heaviest stains in your carpet. Leave the paste to sit for several hours until it dries before vacuuming over the carpet again.

Next, we use the steam cleaner. Don’t use carpet shampoo, which can contain harmful chemicals. Instead, use hot water, which can get grime out of your carpet on its own when used as very high temperatures. Soak the carpet in very hot water before going over it three or four times with the machine on the suction mode, sucking up as much water as you can. A tip for those messiest spots that are the hardest to get out – adding 1 cup of white vinegar to every 2.5 gallons of water will assist when steam cleaning an especially soiled carpet.

Once you finish steam cleaning the carpets, go ahead and steam clean them a second time. Whether you rented the machine, borrowed it or you happen to own one yourself, using it a second time around will only be good for you.

Let the carpets dry. Open windows to create a cross-breeze. Run the ceiling fan and any standing fans (standing on a non-carpeted part of the floor, of course) to circulate the air in the room. Once they’re nearly dry, you can move your furniture back into the rooms. Just a tip – place aluminum foil under furniture legs, to keep any color from bleeding into the wet carpet. Make sure the carpets dry completely before you walk on them again.

As a final step, properly dispose of the water in the steam clean machine. If you rented your machine from a rental service, call the business and inquire if they take the machine back full of if you’re required to drain it. We also recommend calling your local water treatment center for information on how to dispose of the waste water.

 

Single Mom Home DIY Project: Bathroom Grout Makeover

Single Mom Home DIY Project: Bathroom Grout Makeover

How to Get Your Grout to Look Brand New

Grout can be troublesome. While ceramic tiles are designed to resist stains, deflect grime and last for years, grout tends to absorb dirt and become strained all too easily. You might have tried many different cleaning solutions and homemade remedies on your grout, but nothing seems to get that dark brown stain out from between those shiny ceramic tiles. What can you do?

Remember, when tackling dirty grout, always start out with a mild cleaning solution, and if that doesn’t clean it fully, gradually move on to more aggressive cleaners. Of all the commercial cleaning solutions out there, we’ve found OxyClean to be the simplest and most effective at tackling messy grout lines and dirty tiles. Not only is OxyClean tough on grout, its main component is hydrogen peroxide, a “green” cleaning product that is neither a carcinogen nor a neurotoxin. Simply combine the OxyClean with water, rub onto the grout, and let sit for the recommended time before rinsing it off and brushing away any residue.

You might be tempted to use a rough brush to push the solution into the grout lines. Don’t do that! Using an abrasive brush such as steel wool or Brillo pad will wear down the grout and do more harm than good. In some cases, it could break through the grout, forcing you to get it replaced. Of all the brushes, an old electric toothbrush is the most effective at brushing dirt out of grout. Much like it does to your teeth, the electric toothbrush rotates and scrubs the gunk out of the grout, while simultaneously reaching those hard-to-get or unseen spots.

If you’re having no luck with the various cleaning solutions, consider investing in a steam mop. A steam mop uses high pressure, hot water and steam to blast your flooring and clean your grout. The high pressure created by the machine lifts dirt from inside the porous grout lines, flushing it out and leaving a shiny, new-looking surface in its wake.  Using a steam mop is great on the environment since it uses hot water instead of harsh cleaning chemical solutions.

 

Cleaning with the steam mop is very easy. To use your steam mop, all you need to do is hold the nozzle and direct the steam through it and onto the grout line. Direct the nozzle up and down the grout lines to directly take on the dirt. You want to rent or buy a steam mop that has a strong pressure gauge and can reach ~350ºF, as this is the optimal temperature for cleaning grout. Cleaning mops are very effective when used alone, even more so when used following a more traditional cleaning attempt using a homemade or commercial cleaning solution which are used by the professionals such as Sir Clean Pro. Once you’re finished using the steam mop, use an attached brush, old toothbrush or nylon brush with soft bristles to wipe away any leftover dirt residue. Once you’re done, your tile floor or wall should look shiny and new.

Carpet Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

Carpet Cleaning Tips for Pet Owners

My daughter has been asking, requesting, and even begging me for a pet; specifically a dog. I have not fulfilled her wishes because I know the huge responsibility that having a dog entails. It means getting up early or staying up late to walk the dog. It means cleaning up after the dog during the training stage. It means managing pet hair, accidents, and chewed up shoes. It could mean a huge carpet cleaning or replacement bill. If you are a little more lenient and decide to get your child a pet here are a few carpet cleaning tips for pet owners to ease your mind.

Having pets doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your carpets. A little hard work, active planning, and preparation is all you need to stay on top of things and keep your carpets clean around the hustle and bustle of dogs and cats. Accidents are bound to happen, whether you have one pet or several, but reacting with immediacy and the proper cleaning techniques can make the difference between a temporary mess and a permanent stain on your carpet. Of course, you can always hire a professional carpet cleaner and if you live anywhere near Charlottesville, VA, check out Tidy Guy for some great deals on carpet cleaning.

mom pet owner carpet cleaning tips

Managing Pet Hair

Pet hair can be impossible to get rid of. Many dogs shed, leaving hair in their tracks everywhere they go – across the carpet, on the couch, on your clothes and pillows and blankets. Some dogs shed so much that vacuuming can’t keep up, and you can even risk clogging your vacuum with the hair.

One way to lessen the pressure on your vacuum cleaner is to do a ‘lint roll’ over your carpets before you turn on the vacuum. Wrap an old paint roller in masking tape and attach it to an old broom handle to get the outer layer of pet hair off your carpets before you vacuum. This can also be an effective way to clean hair off your furniture as well. In order to stay on top of your pet’s shedding, vacuum your carpets at least three times per week.

Dealing with Pet Accidents

Accidents happen, always. Sometimes you’re training a new puppy and they don’t make it outside in time, other times your already-trained dog gets too excited to see you and has an accident. Reacting immediately to these kinds of accidents is the key to minimizing stains and damage. Follow these steps to clean the carpet as flawlessly as possible:

  1. First, lay an old cloth over the urine stain on the carpet. Stand on the cloth to press it into the carpet and absorb much of the moisture.
  2. Next, clean the area with a solution made from four drops of liquid dishwashing detergent to one cup of warm water. Work the solution into the carpet’s stain before rinsing it well with a clean, wet towel.
  3. To avoid future stains in that spot, blot the stain with a vinegar and water solution.
  4. After you’re done cleaning put some paper towels down and place a book on top to act as a weight to facilitate moisture absorption.

It isn’t advisable that you use a steam carpet cleaner to tackle pet-related stains. Using a steam cleaner can yield the opposite result, setting the stain and making it impossible to remove. There are many products available on the market that is designed to remove pet-related stains. It’s important to follow directions very closely when using products like this in order to bring about the best results.

A handheld carpet vac (available usually for < $100 online) is a great tool for successfully getting rid of pet stains in your carpet without breaking the bank. Use only warm water in your carpet extractor before attempting to use an enzyme treatment to get rid of any odors. Using water first will rid your carpets of any chemical residues, which can inhibit the enzyme treatment from doing its job. Remember, liquid messes spread easily in your carpet, so immediacy is key to handling these types of stains.

Single Moms and Raising Teen-Aged Sons

Single Moms and Raising Teen-Aged Sons

By Diane Windsor (Publisher, MotinaBooks.com)
Diane@MotinaBooks.com

I remember so clearly when my son was little.  He was seven when his father and I divorced, and we moved out of state.  Sure, we struggled, but we had many good times, too.  I was a super-involved single mom.  When he was in elementary school, I knew all of his teachers.  I attended class parties, and I never missed a parent-teacher conference.

I made sure he was involved in fun extra-curricular activities with other boys his age.  We were very active in Cub Scouts.  The Pinewood Derby was always my favorite event!  Together, we built several cars that won the race!  I was a very proud Derby Mama; I knew how to polish those axels and make the cars go FAST!

He joined a basketball team for several years, and that really helped him grow.  I was there for every practice and game, and I was the mom who kept track of all the players’ statistics.  My son was good at defense, but he never wanted to shoot.  I’ll never forget the one time he was in the perfect spot to get a basket.  The parents were sitting on the bleachers wondering what he would do.  Then, he threw the ball and made the basket!  We all got on our feet and cheered.

But sports were not his passion.  And he decided not to continue with Boy Scouts.

My adorable little boy was becoming one of the most feared creatures on Earth; the teenager with an attitude.  He loved to argue with me.  Everything I said was wrong.  He was still doing pretty well in school, which was certainly a relief.  But home was a different story.  We got along fine as long as he was doing and getting what he wanted.  But when I needed him to do something for me or the household, it wasn’t happening and an argument erupted.

The Challenges of Raising Teen-Aged Sons

Being the mother of a teen boy can be so challenging!  I’m five-feet, three inches tall on a good day, and my son towered over me when he was only thirteen.  His father lived out of state, so I was on my own with this kid.  How in the world would life be bearable until he graduated from high school?

As a mom, I was tempted to just give in to his wishes to make peace in our home.  I certainly did not look forward to the days that, after being at work for nine hours, there would be a huge knock-down, drag-out waiting for me at home.

Truths About Raising a Teen-Aged Son

I needed to remind myself of several important truths:

  • I’m the adult, not him. This was my home, and he was allowed to share it with me.  I paid the bills, and I made the rules.  Even though he is absolutely sure that he knows more than I do, I know that I’m right.  I need to stand my ground and be the adult.
  • Giving in to his demands will not help him. As a parent, it’s my job to raise a child into an adult.  This boy needs to become a strong man, and I need to help him.  This means that he needs to understand that the choices he makes will have consequences, whether they are good or bad.  If he chooses to not complete his school work, he will suffer the consequences of that choice.  It’s not my job to bail him out.  The same rules apply at home.  If he decides not to do a household chore that is his responsibility, I will provide the consequences.
  • Enabling him and bailing him out will not help him. It would have been so easy for me to clean up after him, cook all his meals, and just give in, in order to keep peace in my house.  But is that teaching him how to be a strong, independent man?  No!
  • Parents have more power than we think we do. It seems that many parents today are almost afraid to discipline their children.  It is okay if we don’t give our children every single thing they want.  “No,” is a complete sentence.  We do not need to give them an explanation for the decisions we make.

This difficult time with my son is only a season.  It won’t last forever.  I know that it’s my job to help him grow into a successful young man, and he won’t always enjoy the process!  I’m looking forward to the day, maybe five or ten years down the road, when I hear the words, “Mom, you were right!”

How to Get Off the Child Support #Struggletrain

How to Get Off the Child Support #Struggletrain

Admit it. Getting your baby’s daddy to pay child support can be like pulling your eyelashes out one by one. Why can’t he understand that you both made this child so he needs to help support this child? All the excuses are getting old and tired.

The bills need to be paid.

The baby needs shoes? Food. Uniforms. Doctor visits. Clothes. All the things that make survival possible.

So how can you get him to pay up or get off the #struggletrain? Stick with me and I’ll share a few practical ideas you can start using today to make the struggle less stressful. Hopefully, the following tips will also prepare you to go into the battle with a better strategy.

My ultimate goal is to inspire you to seek a different path to financial freedom.

Reality Check: Honestly, unless you are a baller ex-wife, boo, or side chick, was married to a CEO or a business owner; it will be hard to make a living, much less a life off of child support. You will be more successful taking action on the tips I share in the second half of this article.

A 7-Step (Mostly) Conflict-Free Process for Getting Child Support

child support conflict agreement

Step 1 – Decide How Much You Need

What will it take to raise your child and meet all his needs? Check your food, clothing, utilities, and all the things your child uses and needs. When you have a number divide it in half. This is how much you need from your ex to raise your children. Be realistic about his ability to pay. Next access his finances.

Step 2 – Assess His Finances

How much does your Ex make? You may not know the exact amount but you can research his job position and the average pay for that position. Be realistic about how much he gets paid when you are considering your child’s needs and his income. There may be a huge gap.

Step 3 – Communicate Your Demands

The next step is to say what you need to care for your child. There is a difference between demanding money because you think he owes you something and asking for money because raising a child requires money. I suggest you go as far as itemizing the cost of everything your child will need for the year. Write it on a piece of paper and give it to your child’s father. Wait for a response then go to the next step. Negotiation.

Step 4 – Come to an Agreement

In this step,  talk about the list and decide, together, what he can realistically do. Sometimes it’s just not as cut and dry or black and white as you think. He honestly may not be able to give you everything but can do something. Ask him if it’s truly the best he can do. Keep at it until you both feel this is something you can live with for at least three months, six months, or a year.

Request a review after agreed time limit has passed to see if he’s in a better position to do more. Men need facts to make decisions. They do not rely entirely on their feelings. If you make it about feelings and drama you will get less than you think you deserve and he will make it harder to get it even at the risk of going to jail, back taxes, or anything to keep you from winning.

Step 5 – File the Paperwork

When you have an agreement put it in writing and you both sign it. This is now your contract to keep or file with the courts if that is part of the agreement. If it is part of a child support order, send it to your attorney or complete the forms yourself. The point is to have a record of the agreement and preferably a witness.

Step 6 – Communicate Regularly

Decide how you will communicate and what you will communicate with your Ex. Keep everything brief and business-like so you stay focused on what matters; your child. Keep your emotions in check and do not allow him to bait you into a conversation about your past relationship, your current relationship with someone else, and all the things you or he did wrong. The less you talk about unresolved personal issues when discussing child support the better off you will be.

Decide if you want to tell him about any special purchases you needed to make because of school needs, medical needs, or other needs outside of the usual food, clothing, and shelter he is contributing to with the child support payments. Make a communication schedule that you can agree on and stay within those guidelines.

Depending on how volatile your relationship is you may decide to only use text messaging, only email, and rarely a phone call. You may use a combination of it all. It is up to you. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent.

Step 7 – Wait for the Check/ Deposit

Now you wait for the child support check to arrive. It may feel stressful because you are not sure if it will come. If it doesn’t communicate with him and ask when you can expect it. If it does come send a quick text saying you got it and say thanks the first few times. The more you appreciate his effort and integrity in sending it the more goodwill you create.

How to Get Off the Child Support Struggle Train in 7 Steps

Now that you have tried the tactics to get child support I’d like you to assess how much you can actually survive off that money. Is it enough to pay the rent, car note, buy food, clothing, school project materials, take a vacation? Can you live off that amount combined with what you make at your job? Are you still struggling to make ends meet? Are you willing to think about the reason you are still struggling?

It’s likely that even after all the tactics and strategy, the child support is still not enough or nonexistent because he barely keeping up with the payments or not making payments at all. You can’t even depend on a steady payment every month. The struggle is truly real. So how do you get off the child support struggle train?

I’m glad you asked!

Getting off the #struggletrain won’t be easy but it is worth it if you want emotional and financial freedom.

Step 1 – Create a budget that does not include child support

Save your sanity and simply plan your spending around the money you bring in. You will introduce financial stability into your life and step away from the emotional struggle of depending on a child support check that may or may not come.

Step 2 – Create an Income Increase Plan

Now that you see your budget you are probably thinking to yourself, “This won’t cover all my expenses and it still feels like I’m struggling!”. I get it which is why your next step is to come up with an Income Increase plan. This means you think about ways you can increase your income.

Can you create a side gig? Can you take an online certification course to get a better paying job? Can you sell toys on Ebay? Create a long and short term income increase plan and start on it immediately.

Step 3 – Deal with Your Child’s Father Differently

Clear the negative energy you feel for your ex. Do it by any means necessary because as long as you feel anger, resentment, depression, fear, or hostility toward him, the more he is in control. You are better than that and can control yourself, your life, and your destiny. Anytime we hold negative emotions about someone we give them control over our lives.

Step 4 – Focus on Creating a Life You Love

Focus on what you want. Nothing else. When you learn how to focus only on what you want you get it. All distractions pull you back into a dysfunctional life and none of your dreams can come true. Focus on the goals you had before your relationship went sour, or before you had kids, or before your divorce.

Create a list of your top three goals and add a date you want to reach that goal. Keep the list in a place where you can see it daily. Your bathroom mirror, your bedroom door, or your phone lock screen are good places to keep your three goals visible.

Next Steps to Getting off the Child Support Struggle Train7 Strategies to turn Child support conflict and struggle into a happier conflict-free ending. RichSingleMomma.com

Step 5 – Ask for help

Find someone who has been where you are but is happy and successful. Ask them to mentor you and keep you accountable to your goals. This kind of support will do wonders for your life. The biggest challenge with this is trusting someone enough to open up about your struggles. Pray for the right person to come into your life.

Step 6 – Join or create a support group 

Find a group of women who are positive and want the same thing you want. It should be a group of women dedicated to problem-solving, not problem re-hashing. Whiners and complainers are not interested in forward progress and rarely get past the navel-gazing phase. Skip those kinds of people. Fine solution-oriented groups.

Step 6 – Trust your intuition

In your heart of hearts, you know the right answers for you. Trust yourself to make good decisions and you will. Do the research, ask people questions who have the answers, pray for wisdom, and know you can always start over if you make the wrong decision.

What’s Your Next Move?

There are two schools of thought on how to get the child support you need. Rely on the child’s father, who may or may not come through or rely on yourself, who will always come through. Some say he owes you but I say an unhealthy dependence on child support puts him in a position to emotionally and financially OWN you. I was put on this planet to empower single moms, through my own experiences and through practical solutions.

I’ve shared what I think are two solutions that may satisfy both schools of thought. You can pursue child support actively using the methods I shared in part one. You can even pursue it passively by simply filing paperwork with the state. But I think the second part of this article is feasible and definitely more satisfying. Of course, it’s up to you to choose the best course of action.

3 Secrets to Having the Best New Year Ever (Even if Last Year Sucked)!

3 Secrets to Having the Best New Year Ever (Even if Last Year Sucked)!

Happy New Year and welcome to a fresh start! Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.

Last year sucked for so many people. I had some challenges too so I’m glad 2016 is behind me. Now we have the chance to start again with a fresh new sheet of paper.

We get to write a new story for a new chapter of our lives. There are a lot of opinions about how to make it a great year, how to keep your resolutions, and how to be successful. There are even these lists of 17 things floating around for how to make 2017 great.

Personally, I get overwhelmed with a list that’s over five items so to keep it simple for everyone I only have three things to do to make 2017 the best ever.

Here are my top three tips for how to have the best new year ever

1. Stop caring about what other people think

Listen to your heart stop caring with others think

As I get older I care less and less about what other people think, but this year I cared way too much. Big mistake. I was miserable trying to keep up with the opinions of others. That was a total failure.

This year I’m pulling the rug out from under the opinions of others who are not where I want to be or have not experienced what I have experienced. I’m taking the attitude of Trust, but verify. I have to do a gut check to see if what others are saying, the advice they are handing out like lollipops, is worth the time and energy to follow.

Take a page out of my book and just stop caring about what other people think. Start following your heart instead. You know the answers and if you don’t pray for wisdom and trust that God will give you the right answers and send the right people your way.

2. Do you (improve along the way)

Be an Original and Do You

We live in such a copycat world right now that it’s hard to know what is genuinely you and what is someone else’s influence. Social media plays a huge part in this phenomenon. However, you have to decide to do what you do best and forget about the rest.

Embrace your personality, your quirks, even your dark side. In the process, you will learn to trust and love yourself more so you have more to give your children and the world when it’s time. The hidden benefit of doing you is your level of self-acceptance increases.

When you accept yourself it is easier to make small improvements along the way. It is fun and you don’t feel the pressure of having to change because someone else said you should.

3. Plan for success and focus only on what you want

Focus only on what you want - RichSingleMomma.com

Finally, make a plan for success. How?

Simply decide what you want for the year (I suggest the top 3 things), write it down and post where you will see it each day.

The next thing is to focus only on what you want and ignore the rest. You almost have to have tunnel vision so you can’t see the distractions or the B.S. that is constantly coming up. This is the key and what they mean about living your life on purpose.

If you want to go to school put it on the list. Start with getting information about the school, programs, and enrollment dates. Talk to an adviser about your goals. Then register for a class to test out whether it is right for you.

Just stay focused on the activities that will get you toward your goals. Let the rest fall our of your view.

If you do these three things for the first three months of the year, the rest of the year will be on fire! Amazing! Unstoppable!

Want to learn the secrets to Unstoppable Power?

Grab my course, How to Unleash Your Unstoppable Power, for only $.99 (plus you get unlimited access to 1,000s of other courses for 3 months)! In my course you will discover the 16 steps to living fearlessly and authentically for the rest of your life, one day at a time.