Outsource these projectsSpring is the time to address the household cleaning chores you've been putting off all year. But if tacking these jobs is more than you can handle right now, hiring outside help may be the solution you need. Here are three chores that if left to the pros will leave you with a lot more free time and give you the biggest bang for your spring-cleaning buck.
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1. Washing Windows Depending on the type and number of windows you have, washing them yourself can turn into a multi-day project. Professional window-washing services will usually clean the windows (inside and out), screens, and sills as part of the basic package. Some will move furnishings and protect floors and surrounding surfaces at no extra charge. The total cost will be based on your location, the number of windows, and any extras like blinds or storm windows that you also want cleaned. Call several services to compare what they offer. Most will provide free estimates for your consideration. Check the websites of associations like the International Window Cleaning Association to locate certified members in your area.
2. Cleaning Carpets Deep cleaning carpets is not a particularly easy job to do, even if you own a machine. So once every year or so, it's a good idea to call in a professional carpet cleaning service. Even the Carpet and Rug Institute recommends it and many carpet manufacturers require professional cleaning to uphold the terms of the warranty. Don't select a service just because you have a coupon or saw an ad. Call several services and request on-site estimates. Be wary of those that provide phone or web estimates only. When they arrive and see the actual job, they often quote a higher price that you may then feel compelled to accept. Expect any service to pre-treat spots and stains and move small pieces of furniture, like end and coffee tables and chairs. If it's not already included, we recommend purchasing an application of a stain-repellent finish to help protect against stains and dirt. Finally, ask any service you are considering whether or not it guarantees its work and will return to treat any stains that reappear after the carpet dries.
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3. Restoring Hardwood Floors A new professional in-home cleaning service is Bona's Deep Clean System for hardwood floors (above). Bona, with its network of professional floor refinishers, is now offering consumers the opportunity to get hardwood floors cleaned more thoroughly and deeply than they can do themselves with just a mop. Bona technicians use a special machine coupled with a commercial-strength, wood-safe cleaner to gently scrub floors and lift away built-up dirt, even from narrow cracks and crevices. There's no need to vacate your home or move furniture and according to Bona, 500 square feet of flooring can be cleaned in less than one hour. After cleaning, the technician can apply a fresh coat of polish to the floor, if desired. Consult the Bona website to locate a contractor in your area.
For any professional service you hire to do work around your home, always ask for:
- A written estimate that includes the work to be done and cost
- Proof of insurance and how any potential damage to your property will be handled
- References from previous customers (and call them)
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