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8 Cleaning Tasks You Might Be Overlooking

Keeping a neat and tidy house is no easy task, and you’ll inevitably overlook a few much-needed cleaning duties from time to time. Here are eight oft forgotten jobs that are worth the extra effort for a healthier, happier home.

Pet Supplies

When’s the last time you cleaned your furry friend’s bowls? Their favorite blanket? Their toys? Odds are, these items don’t make your regular to-do list, but the good news is that they’re easy to take care of.

Bowls and Hard Toys: Many pet bowls are dishwasher-safe, and you can place them in the top rack with your regular load of dishes. If you’re not sure, it’s best to wash them by hand with hot water and a drop of gentle dish soap. Hard dog toys can also be placed in the dishwasher or washed gently by hand.

Blankets and Soft Toys: Blankets can be cleaned in the washer and dryer, and believe it or not, so can squeaker toys. For a load of pet items, you can use natural, or “free” laundry detergent, but our favorite is several capfuls of white vinegar. This should be added during the rinse cycle for the best results.

Blankets and toys can be dried at a low setting, but if you can, it’s best to let toys air-dry naturally. You may have to squeeze water out of toys to get them totally dry, but once they are, they should be in perfect condition, squeakers and all.

The Crevices in Kitchen Appliances

Whether you’re dealing with a stove or a dishwasher, every kitchen appliance seems to come with its fair share of hard-to-reach places. Under burners, around and behind knobs and the underside of handles can collect lots of dirt and grime. To get at the tightest places, we recommend using a mixture of mild soap and water or baking soda and water on an old toothbrush. Scrub away and then wipe clean.

Trashcans

Trashcans bear the brunt of a lot of germs and general nastiness, and sometimes leaks go undetected. That’s why it’s important to keep your trashcans clean by giving them a good wipe-down on a regular basis. The best way to give them a thorough cleaning is to take them outside and fill them with water, dish soap and bleach. Let them soak, then spray them off with a high-powered hose and allow them to air-dry.

Doorknobs and Light Switches

Doorknobs and light switches are among the most frequently touched surfaces of most homes, but for some reason, they never seem to be on our radar when the cleaning supplies are out. A disinfectant wipe will easily take care of any dirt, germs or stickiness.

Baseboards

Looking for a way to give any room an instant facelift? Cleaning baseboards will make everything noticeably brighter. Run a fabric sheet along baseboards to remove any dust that’s collected or break out the vacuum and use the hose attachment. Depending on the last time you cleaned your baseboards, you may be able to get away with just dusting, but if dirt and dust have collected in crevices, you’ll need to follow up with a wipe-down. Dip a sponge in warm, soapy water and then scrub away any stuck-on grime or stains.

Ceiling Fans

If you don’t use your ceiling fan daily, its blades are probably harboring a thick layer of dust. A duster with an extender will do the trick, or you can look into buying a special vacuum attachment at your local hardware store.

Remote Controls

While your TV remotes may not look or feel grimy, they’re frequently used objects that are susceptible to bacteria accumulation. Remote controls can be cleaned just like light switches. Just grab a disinfectant wipe and go to town. And while you’re at it, you can check the batteries to make sure they’re still in good shape.

Under the Bed

Dust bunnies are notorious for gathering under furniture, and beds can collect the most of all due to their surface area. Whether you have hardwood floors or carpet, your vacuum hose can take care of any accumulated dust quickly and easily. With hardwood, it may also be worth it to follow up with a mop.

Call National Property Inspections for a Full Assessment of Your Home

We have the professional training and experience to help assess the condition of your home’s structure and major systems. Give us a call today to schedule your pre-listing or homebuyer’s inspection.

September 2018: End of Summer

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Building Permits: Why You Need One and How to Get It

As a home improvement guru, you might have the idea that building permits are a nuisance. While it’s true that building permits can be a pain, they actually serve a very important role that makes the process worthwhile. We’ll explain why building permits are a thing, why you need one and how to get one. Learn more

5 Signs You Might Have a Foundation Problem

Foundation issues can easily be one of the most expensive things you’ll deal with as a homeowner. Since literally everything rests on your foundation, you can see subtle signs that might spell trouble all over your house—you just have to know where to look. Learn more

How Long Your Appliances Will Last

Whether you’re getting ready to move into your new home with its own set of aging appliances, or you’re just taking stock of the ones you already own, it’s helpful to know just how much life is left in them. Here’s a breakdown of how long each appliance should last and how you can lengthen their lifespans. Learn more

Expert Advice

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How to Remove Paint from Wood

Removing paint from wood can be painstaking, but it’s definitely worth it for the results. We’ll show you the best tools and techniques to make the process as easy as possible. Learn more

Your Guide to the Humble Hammer

Few tools are more essential and multifunctional than a hammer. Hammers aren’t as simple as they look, though—there’s a variation for every job you can think of, and using the wrong one can be a waste of time and material, or even dangerous. Here’s a handy guide to some of the most common types of hammers and what they’re used for. Learn more

How to Tell If You Have Hard Water

Hard water. Soft water. If you’re not sure what the difference is, or what that difference means for your home, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll explain everything you need to know about hard water and how to tell if it’s an issue in your home. Learn more

Snapshots From The Field

What’s wrong with this picture?

Pictured here is the entrance to the attic in a brand new construction. But there appears to be something blocking the doorway—a roof truss!

When building or repairing a home, blocking any entry point should be avoided at all costs, but trusses present an especially big challenge. Since attic trusses support your home’s structure and help bear the weight of the roof, they play an endlessly important role in your home’s overall condition. Some trusses are more crucial than others, but it’s difficult to tell exactly what the “workload” of each truss is. To keep your home and family safe, you should never cut or attempt to remove a truss without a consultation from a professional engineer.

As for whether the truss blocking access to the attic in this new home will present a problem, it’s still up in the air. At worst, if any mechanical systems have been installed in the attic, it could be impossible to remove them for maintenance or replacement down the road without cutting the truss. At best, the partially obstructed access could prove an annoyance for the homeowners when it comes to placing items in the space for storage or other maintenance matters.

Maintenance Matters

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Do I need a new roof?

If you’ve asked yourself the question, “Do I need a new roof?” you might be wondering exactly how you can tell. Since it’s far better to get your roof replaced on a regular 20- to 25-year schedule than to wait until you experience leaks, we’re here to help you determine if it’s time for an overhaul. Learn more

8 Cleaning Tasks You Might Be Overlooking

Keeping a neat and tidy house is no easy task, and you’ll inevitably overlook a few much-needed cleaning duties from time to time. Here are eight oft forgotten jobs that are worth the extra effort for a healthier, happier home. Learn more

 

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: Which type of furnace typically lasts longer by up to three years, gas or electric?
Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

July 2018: Ready Your Home

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Prune Your Trees

How to Prune Your Trees: The Beginner’s Guide

Trees are a beautiful part of your home’s landscape design, but they need care to look the best they can. Whether you want to prune your trees for aesthetics or because of safety concerns, we’ll show you the tools and techniques you need to do a great job. Learn More

The Best Way to Clean a Glass Cooktop Fast

Glass cooktops are nice, but they can also be hard to clean if something you’re cooking boils over. To save yourself some time and elbow grease, here’s the best way we’ve found to clean your glass cooktop fast. Learn More

How to Save Water: 4 New Ways to Cut Back

Turns out, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to water conservation and keeping your bills low. Learn more about how to save water, save money and be kinder to the planet with these four new tips and tricks. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

True or False: Running your dishes through the dishwasher uses less water than washing dishes by hand.

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

The Best Way to Clean a Glass Cooktop Fast

Cleaning glass cooktops fastGlass cooktops are nice, but they can also be hard to clean if something you’re cooking boils over. Over time these messes get burnt on and become almost impossible to get off the surface by any normal means. To save yourself some time and elbow grease, here’s the best way we’ve found to clean your glass cooktop fast.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Luckily, you don’t need any specialized tools or cleaning products to get your glass cooktop squeaky clean. The following household items are all you’ll need for every step of the job:

  • White vinegar (or any household cleaner)
  • Baking Soda
  • Dish soap (optional)
  • Towels
  • Razor blade

Step 2: Pre-Clean the Surface

Before you get to the burnt-on stuff, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a mostly clean surface. Once your burners are all cooled down, spray your glass cooktop with white vinegar (or whatever kitchen cleaner you have handy), and use a paper towel to remove any loose food debris. Easy, huh? On to step three.

Step 3: Apply Baking Soda

Once you have a clean and dry surface, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over your cooktop (enough to cover the whole surface with a thin layer). Baking soda is great to use for cleaning cooktops because it’s mildly abrasive yet won’t risk scratching the glass. Baking soda is also a bit alkaline, so it helps to break down any stuck-on deposits that the vinegar missed.

Step 4: Let Things Soak

You can go a couple different directions in this step. First, take a towel (big enough to cover your cooktop) and saturate it with hot water. If you want an even deeper clean, saturate the towel in hot water with a few drops of dish soap mixed in. Wring out the towel about halfway and spread it out over your stove. Depending on how heavy the burnt-on deposits you’re trying to remove are, leave things to soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 5: Scrub

After giving the hot towel time to soften burnt-on stains, scrub the surface with the towel, rinsing and wringing it frequently. Repeat this until you see no more baking soda—this is probably as clean as it will get with scrubbing, so don’t waste your time and elbow grease trying to make it perfect with this step.

Step 6: Scrape

For those areas that are especially stubborn, you can use a razor blade to carefully scrape off any remaining debris. Make sure you’re using a fresh, sharp blade (preferably using a scraper handle for safety’s sake). Work in individual areas using small forward strokes—moving the blade side-to-side is a sure way to scratch the glass.

Step 7: Polish and You’re Done

When you’ve successfully removed all that annoying burnt-on crud, finish with a final spray of vinegar wiped down with a damp cloth. Hit it one last time with a dry, lint-free cloth and watch your stovetop shine like brand new!

Call National Property Inspections Today

NPI is your source for helpful advice for every home maintenance task. Our professional inspectors go even further when it comes time for you to buy or sell your next home. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.

Finally: The Best Way to Clean Windows

Window CleaningEver thought you did a great job washing your windows, only to return to streaky glass once everything is dry? Most of us can attest to just how annoying those streaks are. That’s why we researched the best way to clean windows once and for all. Here’s how to get a clear, sparkling finish each and every time.

Get the Right Equipment

One thing you’ll need to invest in for this project is a small squeegee, preferably with a long, detachable handle. You should be able to find a high-quality squeegee for right around $20 at your local hardware store, with higher-end models costing up to about $40 and more basic models available for as low as $5. We recommend a squeegee with a durable rubber blade for the best results.

Here’s the complete equipment list. All these items are inexpensive and readily available at just about any big box or hardware store:

  • Squeegee, as mentioned above, with extra blades just in case
  • A five-gallon plastic bucket
  • Dishwashing liquid, like Dawn or similar
  • Scrubber or sponge
  • Lint-free rags or towels

Get Prepped

Fill your five-gallon plastic bucket with two gallons of cool water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. That’s all there is to it!

Get Started with the Best Way to Clean Windows

Step 1

Dip your scrubber or sponge in the bucket of solution and be sure to wring out the excess water. Scrub the glass all the way to the edge and be sure not to skip an inch. You’ll want to use different angles and really get in there. This helps get rid of the patterns of dust and dirt that rain and wind can cause. Once you feel as though you’re done scrubbing, it’s time to grab that squeegee.

Step 2

Start by cleaning a narrow strip of glass vertically on one side (think a one- or two-inch strip closest to the frame on one side). To do this, tilt the squeegee so that only a corner comes in contact with the glass, then drag downward. Repeat on the other side. This will help ensure you get the soap solution off every bit of the glass.

Step 3

Next, drag the squeegee across the top of the glass horizontally. You’ll need to make sure you keep the top of the squeegee in contact with the top edge of the window.

Step 4

This next part is super important: be sure to wipe the rubber blade of the squeegee on a lint-free cloth or towel after every pass across the window. While it might just be the most tedious part of washing windows, if you don’t wipe the blade, you risk moving the dirt and debris around and creating those infamous streaks we mentioned earlier.

Step 5

Continue to work down the window horizontally, overlapping the previous stroke. As you work your way down, you’ll probably notice excess water accumulating near the bottom of the glass. Taking time to remove these drips is another key step in preventing streaks. Take a clean lint-free cloth or towel and run it along any areas that appear to have water droplets.

And repeat, repeat, repeat till all your windows are shining! If you have to break out the ladder to reach upper stories, we recommend using a ladder stabilizer, and better yet, requesting the help of a friend or family member.

You can use this method to clean the inside of your windows, too. You’ll just need to take a few extra precautions to avoid getting water and cleaning solution everywhere. Try laying down a tarp under any window you happen to be working under.

National Property Inspections Helps You Invest with Success

NPI is your authority on all things home maintenance. Our inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to assess the major components of a home, helping you make the best choice when it comes to buying and selling real estate. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

6 Remodel Ideas for an Easy-to-Clean Bathroom

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

Nobody likes a germy bathroom, and luckily you don’t have to put up with one if you remodel with the right materials. Here are six of our favorite bathroom remodel ideas that will help you keep a clean and shiny bathroom with a lot less scrubbing.

1. Go Groutless

One of the most notorious materials for collecting mold, mildew and other nasties is grout, so why not get rid of it where you can? When you’re remodeling, consider larger tiles with narrow grout lines. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when your hours of laborious scrubbing shrink to minutes.

If you want to say goodbye to grout for good, you can opt for glass or stone veneer surfaces instead of tile. They come in large sheets that are cut to size, so for most areas you can use one sheet with no grout lines at all! These are more expensive, but the tradeoff could be worth it to eliminate this pesky chore and maintain a cleaner bathroom overall.

2. Get a Great Exhaust Fan

Bacteria loves moist places, and if your exhaust fan is underpowered (or you just don’t have one), your bathroom becomes the perfect breeding ground. To determine which kind of fan you’ll need, you need to understand how they’re rated. Look on the box for the amount of cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air each fan moves—if your bathroom is 50 square feet, you’ll want one that’s rated at 50 CFM. If it’s 100 square feet, you’ll want a 100 CFM model. For especially large bathrooms, you may need two fans placed strategically in different areas. From there you’ll have many other options, too, from lights and heaters to motion sensors.

Apart from reducing mold and bacteria growth in your bathroom, a new exhaust fan will also help reduce other signs of excess moisture like cracking paint, peeling wallpaper and warped cabinets.

3. Vinyl Wall Coverings

Trading in your bathroom wall coverings for a vinyl alternative will also make your cleaning routine faster and easier. Vinyl has traditionally carried a stigma of low quality or utility over aesthetics, so we understand if you’ve been hesitant to make the switch in the past. New vinyl wall coverings come in a wide variety of textures, colors and patterns that feel rich to the touch and wipe down easily with little more than a damp cloth. It’s also fairly inexpensive compared to other options like tile, glass or stone. With so many benefits, vinyl warrants a serious look if you want a bathroom that’s easy to clean.

4. A One-Piece Toilet

Cleaning deep down in the cracks and crevices of your toilet is hard work, arguably the worst task you have when it comes to keeping a clean bathroom. You can scratch this task from your routine by replacing your current model with a one-piece toilet. They’re exactly what you’d think – one piece of smooth porcelain with no cracks or crannies for bacteria to hide. You can even find models that hug the wall, eliminating that hard-to-clean space between the back of the toilet and the wall.

5. Open Up Your Space

To make cleaning as easy as possible, it’s best to clear your space and get everything possible off the floor. This is where wall-mounted sinks and toilets, as well as soaking tubs with minimal footprints, come in handy. These features not only make small bathrooms feel more spacious, they’ll also go a long way in keeping you off your hands and knees. No more straining to reach those dark corners!

6. No-Touch Faucets

No longer just for public restrooms, no-touch faucets are becoming popular in health-conscious bathroom remodels. Not having to touch your bathroom faucet limits the spread of bacteria and makes for much easier cleaning. Pair this feature with a wall-mounted faucet and you have an upscale sink with maximum counter space and no corners to clean.

Call National Property Inspections Today!

National Property Inspections helps you keep a clean and healthy home. We also perform full inspections to give you complete peace of mind when buying or selling a home. Call your NPI inspector today to book an appointment.

June 2018: Summertime

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Opening Your Pool for Summer: A Definitive Checklist

Opening your pool for the summer can certainly seem like a daunting task, but we promise it’s not so bad! We’re here to give you a quick refresher course and break the process into manageable chunks. Learn More

10 Barbeque Tips That’ll Save Your Eyebrows

Grilling out is the quintessential summer pastime, up there with baseball and slip n’ slide. But because it involves fire, it can also be dangerous. Avoid mishaps by following a few simple barbeque safety tips. Learn More

Expert Advice

6 Remodel Ideas for an Easy-to-Clean Bathroom

Nobody likes a germy bathroom, and luckily you don’t have to put up with one if you remodel with the right materials. Here are six remodeling ideas that will help you keep a clean and sparkly bathroom. Learn More

7 New Homeowner Tips You Need Right Now

Owning your first home can be an exciting time, but there’s a lot we wish we’d known coming in. Here are seven new homeowner tips that will get you started on the right foot. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

No matter how many homes our inspectors assess over the years, they’re always finding new and interesting finds in the field. The following equipment was found in the attic of a house built in 1955.

So what is it, exactly?

This is a relay box, likely used for an early radiant heating system. Radiant ceiling heat first became popular in the mid-1950s and continued to be favored well into the 1970s. Relay boxes were placed in walls, floors and ceilings to “see” or “sense” objects, including people and furniture, and then slowly transfer heat to them. The air in the room would then slowly get warmer due to the objects giving off heat. The sensation a radiant heating system provided is comparable to being gently warmed by the sun.

The concept of radiant heat slowly fell out of favor over time due to the rising cost of electricity. The systems could also be difficult to access since they were always located among insulation behind walls, ceilings and floors.

Modern radiant heating systems are still available today. Just keep in mind that the installation process is quite involved and that it’s better to build a new construction with radiant heat than it is to replace an existing system with it.

Maintenance Matters

Your Simple Spring Lawn Care Guide

Everyone wants a lush, green lawn when springtime comes around, and fortunately, it’s easy to accomplish. Read on to discover the lawn care guide you need to follow to have the best grass in the neighborhood. Learn More

8 Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Home This Spring

For many, spring and early summer means allergy season and dealing with irritating symptoms for weeks on end. Luckily, you can create a more allergy-proof home during pollen season and beyond by making a few minor adjustments. Learn More

Finally: The Best Way to Clean Windows

Ever thought you did a great job washing your windows, only to return to streaky glass once everything is dry? Say goodbye to stripes and get a perfectly clean finish every time with this easy method. Learn More

Solid vs. Hollow: A Quick Primer on Door Types

There’s more to buying new doors than choosing the best color and style. You’ll also want to know about the different door types and which one is best-suited for your home’s needs. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

Q: How far away from your home should you keep your gas grill when in use?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.

 

How to Clean a Leather Couch in 4 Steps

how to clean leather couchWhen it comes to upholstery, leather is one of the most durable options out there. And while it doesn’t require a lot of routine maintenance, it does still need a little extra TLC from time to time. Learn how to clean your leather couch like a pro with these four simple steps.

Gather Your Materials

We could teach you how to clean a leather couch with those specially-made wet cloths. In that case, it would take little more than wiping your furniture down and letting it dry. But all-in-one products don’t always get the job done. And at any rate, if you still decide to go the wipe route, you can get even better results by prepping your couch first. You’ll need:
A vacuum, preferably with a brush attachment

  • A clean microfiber cloth
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • A bowl or bucket
  • Clean rags

Step 1: Remove dust and any other debris.

You never know what kind of hard-to-see debris might be hanging out on your couch. Before you take any liquid cleaning products to your leather couch, it’s important to make sure it’s completely free of any dust and dirt. Use your vacuum brush attachment to thoroughly sweep your sofa, and be sure to get down between the cushions.

Step 2: Wipe your leather couch down.

Once you’ve given your couch a thorough once-over with the vacuum, grab your microfiber cloth and wipe it down again. You should be seeing a clearer picture of which areas of your couch need special attention due to wear and tear.

Step 3: Mix up an all-natural cleaning solution.

We all know that vinegar is an excellent all-natural cleansing agent. Turns out it’s even great for leather! Mix equal parts vinegar and water in your bowl or bucket to make your cleaner.

Step 4: Wipe down your leather couch.

Lightly saturate a cloth so that’s it’s damp, but not dripping with the vinegar cleaning solution. Then concentrate on the areas that need the most attention first. Lightly wipe the couch, rinsing the cloth often so that you don’t move around any dirt that comes up. Immediately follow by wiping the area with a dry cloth. It’s important to never over-saturate or leave excess moisture on leather for long, as this could cause permanent damage.

For Stains That Won’t Come Up

It’s always better to attack a stain as soon as it happens so that you don’t give it time to set. But if you see a mysterious spot long after the fact, it’s worth it to try and remove it. These methods just might work for tougher stains:

For Ink Stains

If you have a white or beige leather sofa, it’s probably seen its share of ink stains. To remove them, try dipping a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol till it’s damp (the same rule applies here—don’t over-saturate). Then lightly swab the ink stain till it comes up, following immediately with a dry cloth.

For Food and Beverage Stains

We’re generalizing a little here—this solution is really for any unidentifiable blemish. Mix together equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar until the ingredients form a paste. Carefully apply the paste to the stain and let it set for 10 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth and following with a dry one.

For Grease Spots

Grease spots are the trickiest offenders of all because using water on them could help the grease soak into your leather upholstery. It’s crucial to identify them correctly. When in doubt, try sprinkling baking soda on the spot to help absorb any oils. You’ll need to leave the baking soda on the stain for a few hours up to overnight and then gently brush it away.

Call National Property Inspections to Feel Confident in Your Investment

A home inspection helps you invest with success in any residential or commercial property. Call us today to schedule your inspection and receive a comprehensive report, complete with high-quality digital photos.

Speed Cleaning Tips for Your Busiest Days

speed cleaning tips

Who has time to clean every day? Not us! Shave hours off your chore list with these room-by-room speed cleaning pointers.

Conquer it All

When it comes to the best way to clean, the professionals have basically reached a consensus on these best practices:

Always start at one end of the house. Start at one end of the house and work your way toward the other. This helps you simplify the process and focus on one task at a time.

Create a place for everything. Cleaning becomes a whole lot easier when you have a designated place for everything. If you haven’t gotten organized just yet, you’ll likely want to resolve your clutter problems before mastering speed cleaning. Think of it as a step-by-step process!

Once you have a place for every item, it’s a good idea to carry a laundry basket with you room to room. Place all items that need returned to a different room in the basket so that you can put everything in its rightful spot in one sweep once you’re finished.

Plan on saving floors and glass for last. It’s easier to mop, sweep and vacuum all at once at the end of your cleaning session. Likewise, you’re less likely to miss a window or mirror if you treat wiping down glass as a stand-alone, house-wide project.

Bedrooms

  • Place any items that don’t belong in your handy laundry basket. Be sure you’re clearing off the dresser and nightstands.
  • Wipe all surfaces down with a rag to remove dust. Dry duster cloths are convenient, inexpensive and effective at removing debris quickly.
  • Pick up any clothes, shoes or other items that are on the floor and put them in their place or in your laundry basket.

Ongoing: Make your bed every morning. No excuses!

Bathrooms

  • Start your speed cleaning by squirting toilet bowl cleaner around the rim. There’s no need to scrub yet—it needs time to sit.
  • Use disinfectant wipes or a rag and the cleaner of your choice to wipe down the sinks, fixtures, tub and shower.
  • Use a toilet brush to scrub the toilet bowl clean. Don’t forget to flush right away.
  • Wipe the toilet down with a disinfectant wipe or cleaner. Be sure to get the base and surrounding floor.

Ongoing: Keep daily shower cleaner in the shower stall or on the tub ledge and spray down tiles after each use.

Kitchen

  • Unload the dishwasher.• Gather dirty dishes and place them in the sink. Wash them by hand if needed or load them in the dishwasher.
  • Place any items that don’t belong in the laundry basket.
  • Wipe down all counters and the stovetop with a rag and cleaner of your choice.
  • Dry hand-washed dishes and put them away.

Living Room

  • You know the drill! Pick up anything that doesn’t belong and place it in the basket. Pay attention to the floor and any surfaces, like coffee tables.
  • Use a duster cloth to wipe down all surfaces.

(These tips also apply to offices, playrooms, dining areas and dens.)

Wrap up your speed cleaning spree by mopping, sweeping, vacuuming and tackling all glass surfaces. You’ll also put everything that’s in your laundry basket back in its place, room by room.

Call National Property Inspections to Schedule Your Inspection Today

While the speed cleaning is up to you, National Property Inspections can help you maintain your home by assessing all its major components. From the roof to the foundation and every system in between, our expert inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to help you identify potential safety issues and repairs. Call us today to be in the know when it comes to your biggest investment.

May 2018: The Outdoors

Ask The Inspector

Outdoor Kitchen Ideas to Plan Your Dream Cookout

Could your grill setup use a refresh? If you’ve been checking out your neighbor’s slick outdoor kitchen, we’ll show you the key things to keep in mind when planning your own. Learn More

The Best Birdfeeders for Every Backyard

When it comes to birdfeeders, there are a surprising number of options for attracting (and repelling) the right flock. Here, we break it down for you so you can choose the best type for inviting a variety of colorful birds to your backyard. Learn More

Expert Advice

Your Deck Railing Height and Other Safety Stuff That Slipped Your Mind

Is your deck up to the challenge of all those backyard barbeques that are just around the corner? We’ll show you everything you need to know to get your deck up to safety standards just in time for Memorial Day. Learn More

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Any Yard

If you’re sick of devoting most of your free time to yardwork, it may be time to reevaluate your approach. Here are a few low-maintenance landscaping ideas that will help you have a beautiful yard with half the upkeep. Learn More

Snapshots From The Field

Our inspectors are constantly coming across interesting finds in the field. Sometimes they help us identify potential safety hazards, and sometimes they illustrate a maintenance DIY that didn’t quite go as planned. This month’s Snapshot from the Field is the latter.

What’s wrong with this picture?

The skylight on this 20-year-old metal roof was leaking like crazy. That’s because the homeowner attempted to seal it with the yellow spray foam insulation you see around the perimeter in order to keep bats out of the house. This caused significant damage to the flashing around the skylight and entire roof panels to pop up as a result!

This homeowner had the right idea when it comes to dealing with bats—every gap does need to be sealed up in order to prevent their entry into a home. But spray polyurethane foam is not recommended for use on roofing materials, nor is it recommended for use in such large quantities. The homeowner would have been better off ordering an inspection of the roof to discover any holes and then using a sealant recommended for use on roofing materials. Check and double-check your labels, and when in doubt, call a professional for advice.

Maintenance Matters

Speed Cleaning Tips for Your Busiest Days

Who has time to clean every day? Not us! Shave hours off your chore list with these room-by-room speed cleaning pointers. Learn More

How to Clean a Leather Couch in 4 Steps

When it comes to upholstery, leather is one of the most durable options out there. And while it doesn’t require a lot of routine maintenance, it does still need a little extra TLC from time to time. Find out how to clean your leather couch like a pro with these four simple steps. Learn More

How to Hang a Hammock

While we can’t promise that hanging your hammock will be as relaxing as actually laying in it, we’re here to make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here’s how to hang a hammock on your property for the ultimate spring resting spot. Learn More

Painting Upholstery: Easier and More Effective Than You Think

We have to admit, the idea of transforming a piece of furniture with paint seems too good to be true. Believe it or not, painting upholstery actually works! Learn how to achieve a soft, crack-free finish and the best results with the right technique. Learn More

Monthly Trivia Question

Question: What is the minimum height required for a deck railing on a residential deck, according to the most widely accepted code?

Be the first to answer correctly and win a $10 Starbucks’s gift card. Submit your answer to find out if you’ve won.