Condo Cleaning: The Good? The Bad? The Ugly!
For most of us, if we think of cleaning a condo or an apartment, we envision wiping the counters with a disinfectant, vacuuming the carpets and a general dusting.
Of course, for those who clean condos, apartments and houses daily, we know those obvious and superficial touches are only the tip of an iceberg similar to the one involved in the historic Titanic event.
While most tenants look acceptable in public, and generally speaking, manage to have guest areas of their condo looking decent when expecting visitors, the ugly truth is that, in reality, many ignore or hide the unpleasant chores that should be addressed, some on a daily basis.
Children. We love them, but…children love to congregate at windows bringing along, of course, their peanut butter and jelly laden fingers with them to smear on the windows after t\ruining the blinds. While the bent and broken blinds may not be our particular problem, the windows are, and the windows are often forgotten. The tenant may have lived in the unit for several years and still has never remembered or taken the time to wash the windows. While at a glance they may look acceptable, they’re bound to be covered in layers of the inevitable dust that invades every aspect of our lives whether we see it or not.
Still, dusty or dirty windows may be considered a minor problem in the light of other cleaning problems we’ll soon find after a brief look around.
While generally the living area may not appear too bad, a closer inspection may reveal a lot going on that the vacuum cleaner is not going to take care of. We may find chewing gum embedded in the carpet, or worse. Much worse. Pets of course present an ongoing problem. Pet waste can build up to a very unpleasant odor, particularly that of cats. Most of us know that a litter box is all a cat need. It doesn’t require training or coaxing. Just show the litter box to a cat, even a small kitten, and there’ll be no problems in that area…but cats do love to claw furniture and other fabrics. Again, clawed carpeting, etc. should not be our concern.
The bedrooms too, usually don’t look too bad upon first inspection. But of course, over the years dust can pile up uncontrollably, and many tenants appear never to consider proper dusting.
The real challenges are the kitchen and bathrooms.
Frequently refrigerators are in deplorable condition and have to be completely disassembled on the interior to thoroughly clean each and every part including the interior walls. This in itself can take up a good part of a workday. The range is probably next, often not having been cleaned in years. Down around burners and in ovens, burnt and dried debris from countless episodes of boiled over pots and of oven spatter again present an ugly uninviting challenge to any person, especially a person who has learned to be cleaning conscious.
Cupboards of course can be disastrous along with the area beneath the kitchen sink.
Heading toward the bathrooms we’re likely to find marks on the walls. If these can be removed, they should be included in the job. Children have a habit of decorating walls with pencils and crayons as well as with the familiar peanut butter and jelly finger painting system.
Often the bathroom(s) present an even greater challenge than the kitchen. During a tenant’s sojourn over a year or more, the wax rings around toilets may have begun to give, allowing raw sewage to seep creating an ugly and depressing cleanup. Tenants may not even notice this, living under these conditions from day to day. Mold too can build up especially around tubs and showers. This presents not only a cleanup problem but a serious health hazard as well and must be addressed.
There is already plenty of information on the Internet and (for employees) training in the proper chemicals and compounds to best clean anything from fingerprints to dried paint, that it would be superfluous to attempt to include them here, but following we do have some advice for a person who may just be starting, or contemplating a job in the house cleaning industry. For that matter, every tenant or homeowner should seriously consider the following words of advice.
If we’ve ever watched a professional painter go to work, we might see something of interest. He/she doesn’t just jump in and start slapping paint on a wall and then go slap some more on another wall, continuing to jump around here and there. If he did, he’d never get the job done right and end up feeling tired and frustrated. We’ve watched painters, men in their sixties, paint an entire condo in one day, never seeming to hurry, never getting all sweaty and tired and never smearing paint all over their nice white overalls. This is because they have a system.
We too, in the cleaning industry, need a system. A good general rule is to start at the very back of the unit and start cleaning. We move forward as we go, taking it one step at a time without flitting back and forth, and finally, we come to the exit. Using the painter again as an example, we’ve all seen the comic effect made by a painter who paints himself into a corner. Well, we don’t want to do that, and we don’t want to be told the following day that we missed one or more important cleaning items because of our lack of a system. Therefore, it’s vital that we develop, or adapt a system to our own use.
Again, the Internet, that marvelous encyclopedia, can offer entire lists that will exactly meet our needs. Just as we can download recipes, we can download cleaning lists that will provide us with all the information we may need to do a proper job, no matter how ugly and disgusting the cleaning job may be!