PRODUCT CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Cabinets

Don’t neglect cleaning your cabinets regularly. They will become dingy and dull from dust, food splatters, and cooking grease. Avoid using harsh abrasive cleansers or vigorous scrubbing. You can mix one part mild dish soap or distilled white vinegar with two parts hot water. (The heated water helps soften grunge and grease, so you’ll be able to wipe it away more easily.) Use a spray bottle to apply the cleaning mixture onto a microfiber cloth or soft rag until it’s damp but not drenched. Too much moisture can damage your cabinets’ paint, finish, or hardware. Wipe each cabinet door from top to bottom, paying extra attention to any trim or molding where dust and grime tend to accumulate. Remove any cleaning residue by wiping once more with fresh water, then dry thoroughly.

Countertops

Granite:

 Needs to be sealed for protection and should be repeated annually. Cleaning products that should be avoided include vinegar, lemon-based cleansers, abrasives, paste-like cleansers, glass cleaners, and bleach.

You can get a specialty granite cleaner, but all you really need is warm, soapy water to clean the surface. Always rinse the countertops after cleaning them to remove the residue. Wipe down the countertops regularly to keep them clean.

Wipe up spills right away. If you notice a stain, you can easily remove it with ingredients you have at home. A mix of baking soda and water gently removes the stain without damaging the granite. Combine the ingredients to make a paste. Rub the paste into the spot with a soft cloth, and thoroughly rinse the spot.

 

Marble Countertop - Hestia Home Services

Marble:

Acidic and abrasive cleansers are a big no-no for marble counters because they can scratch and stain the surface. For daily cleaning, marble surfaces should be cleaned with soft cotton cloths along with neutral cleaners, mild liquid dishwashing detergent mixed with water, or stone cleaners. If your countertop does suffer a stain, treating it with a poultice based on the type of stain can help restore its color again. Clean, treat stains and maintain Marble Countertops
To keep your marble counter clean and protected, though, sealing it regularly (approximately every 3-6 months) is key so it’s not as easy for stains to penetrate the stone.

Solid Surface (Corian):

Although liquids cannot penetrate these countertops, it is best to wipe up spills as they occur. A damp microfiber cloth used with a standard household kitchen spray should remove most stains. For everyday cleaning, all you need is warm soapy water, ammonia-based household cleaner, or a dedicated countertop cleaner. Diluted bleach can be used to disinfect. Do avoid window cleaners, however, as they can leave a waxy build-up that dulls the surface. Always clean using a circular motion. To prevent film build-up, it is very important to wipe the countertop completely dry immediately after spills and cleaning. See more on the Corian website: https://www.corian.com/-use-care

Solid surface countertop - Hestia Home Services
Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Quartz:

Quartz is nonporous which means it rarely stains, nor does it require resealing over the years. Wipe up spills as soon as possible and avoid quick changes in temperature. To clean quartz countertops, use non-abrasive cleaners such as glass cleaner or basic everyday cleaner that does not contain bleach. Alternately, you can use disinfectant bleach-free wipes. Rinse immediately afterwards with a sponge or wet rag.

  • Look for cleaning products formulated for quartz counter tops.
  • Check with the brand of your countertops online or by phone if you’re unsure whether a specific cleaning product is safe to use on your countertops.

See more info about Quartz vs. Quartzite here: How to Clean and Care for Quartz Countertops | Southern Living

Quartzite:

We recommend using a non-acidic, low pH cleanser such as mild soap and water or stone-specific cleaners easily found at your local retailer. Quartzite countertops should be sealed and resealed periodically (about every one to two years depending on usage).
Decrease stains and damage with use of hot pads and trivets, use of coasters for glasses and mugs, and immediate cleaning of potentially staining substances (citrus, vinegars, wine)

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Floors

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Engineered Hardwood:

An engineered hardwood floor—as opposed to a traditional hardwood floor, made of only wood—comprises several layers. While the surface of the engineered hardwood is genuine hardwood, the underlying layers are typically made of plywood or high-density fiberboard. You should sweep or dry mop regularly to prevent scratches. A microfiber mop is gentle and effective. If you choose to use a vacuum, make sure to use the “hard floor” setting. This will disable the rotating bristle bar, which can leave scratches. When the floors start to get a buildup of dirt, clean them with a damp mop and a mild solution of vinegar and water. Never use a soaking-wet mop because even though engineered floors are moisture-resistant, it’s never a good idea to drench them completely. Since floorboards are generally pre-finished, waxes or harsh chemical cleaners are generally not recommended.

Solid Hardwood:

Most modern hardwood floors are covered with a sealant that makes them resistant to stains. These surface-sealed floors are easy to maintain, but there are also penetrating-seal floors that don’t have an outside sealant and should only be dry mopped during routine cleaning. To clean surface-sealed floors, sweep up, mop with a natural cleaning mixture, and dry any standing water. To remove stains on all floors, treat them with baking soda or a plant-based soap.
Here is what you need to know before refinishing or polishing your hardwood floors: How to Polish Wood Floors and Restore Their Shine – Bob Vila

Luxury Vinyl Plank:

It’s important to note that you don’t want to clean your luxury vinyl flooring with bleach, ammonia, or any high-pH detergents. These cleaners are corrosive and can damage your floors. Instead, you need to look for pH-neutral cleaners. You can also make a simple solution in a gallon of water: add either one ounce of mild dishwashing soap or one cup of apple cider vinegar.
Since standing water can damage or stain vinyl flooring, it’s important to use a microfiber mop as opposed to a string mop and wring your mop of any excess water before using it. If you’re using dishwashing soap in your cleaning solution, don’t forget to go over your floors with clean water when you’re done to give them a good rinse. Dry your floors thoroughly with a clean rag or towel.
If you have a stain on your vinyl flooring, you can try to rub it out using isopropyl alcohol, a water and baking soda paste, or 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Tile:

Ceramic and porcelain floor tiles are fairly low maintenance, while coarse tiles such as slate, marble, granite, or limestone require individualized care and often specific cleaners. How to Clean Tile Floors: Ceramic, Stone, Vinyl, and More (bhg.com)
Sweep or vacuum your tile floors regularly to keep them from getting dull. Ceramic tiles may be resistant to dirt, but sand and grit can dull the glazed surfaces. Clean tile with mild detergent and water using a rag or chamois-type mop rather than a sponge mop. Be sure to change the water frequently while mopping. If your tiles look hazy even after cleaning, you might be dealing with soapy residue. Remove the film with a nonabrasive all-purpose cleaner. You could also try a homemade cleaner with mild acid (such as fresh lemon juice) on ceramic or porcelain tiles (but never on stone tiles). Don’t let your glazed tile floors air-dry as the sitting water will form water spots. Dry the floor with a clean, lint-free cloth immediately after washing.
The real secret to a great-looking tile floor is clean grout. Because grout is porous and absorbs grease and other stains, it can be tricky to keep clean. Here’s how to get your grout to look new:

  • Make a paste of baking soda and water.
  • Rub it on the stain, let it sit overnight, then scrub the stain in the morning with a stiff nylon brush (don’t use metal brushes). Repeat as necessary.
  • Apply a silicone-based sealer to the grout to repel future stains. This works best when done 10-14 days after the grout is installed or renewed.

General Maintenance

Fireplaces/Chimneys:

In Texas, many of our fireplaces end up as displays only, but if you plan to fire yours up, please make sure you do so safely. The National Fire Protection Association recommends both your chimney and fireplace be inspected for soundness and cleaned annually, as build-up of creosote (an oily wood-tar by-product found on chimney walls) can cause fires to flare out of control. Here’s step by step what you need to know about how to keep your fireplace clean: How to Clean a Fireplace (Project Tutorial) – Bob Vila

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services
Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

AC Drain Lines:

Any condensation from the air conditioner first collects in the AC condensate drain line. Because such condensation is fresh water, it offers the perfect environment for the growth of mold and algae. Over time, the pipe can become totally blocked leading to water backing up into the AC’s drain pan. Once that happens, eventually the drain pan gets filled and the water overflows into your home, which can cause excessive damage. Vinegar is a safe choice to use every 1-3 months to keep your lines clean and clear.
Here is a comprehensive step by step, which includes turning off the unit, locating the drain line, cleaning the line, and flushing. You should wear gloves while performing this maintenance. How to Clean Air Conditioner Drain Line Like a Pro | American Home Water & Air

HVAC Systems:

These are some of the things you can do to ensure your HVAC system is working properly. If you notice any problems, you can point them out to your HVAC technician when they arrive to do your spring or fall preventive maintenance check.

  • Use good quality filters, and you should change them every 30-90 days; you will recoup those costs many times over in reduced energy bills. Many modern commercial HVAC units use maintenance sensors that show an alert when filters need to be changed.
  • Check refrigerant lines monthly, even in the winter.
  • Clear debris around outside units and keep your unit level
  • It’s a good idea to replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector at the same time as your home’s smoke alarm. They are often one unit, so you only need to replace one set of batteries every six months.

As transitional seasons without temperature extremes, spring and fall are ideal to inspect and prepare the HVAC system for freezing winter nights or scorching summer days. Note that if the equipment is older, more frequent system inspections may be needed.

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Plumbing

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Drain Cleaning:

Cautionary advice about using store-bought drain unblocking fluids, most of which contain very strong chemicals. Even though they say they are not dangerous to pipes, this may be generally true for one-time use, but they tend to gradually destroy any metal in the system over time.

  • Prevention is the best cure. A good solution is to rinse well often. Hot water goes a long way to help. Once a week or so, use a stopper to close the drain, fill up the sink or tub with hot water, then let it rush down the drain all at once. The large volume of hot water will fill the drainpipe and rinse it better, flushing build-up away.
  • Use Bleach. Pour a cup or two down a drain and leave it sitting overnight before washing it down. It will help degrease the P-trap (U shaped pipe under the sink, tub, or shower) and isn’t hazardous to the pipes. Just use as normal the next day, and it flushes away. Do the bleach trick once a month or as needed and rinse thoroughly, and you shouldn’t have an issue. As usual, with bleach, be careful.

Strainers and filters. You can buy various types depending on the situation, and some work better than others. These can be kind of a pain when they clog and have need to be cleaned, but they might help to prevent further issues.

Garbage Disposals:

Here are some helpful cleaning tips to keep it running great:

  • Use 1 drop of dish soap after every use.After you’re done cleaning your kitchen, pour 1 drop of dish soap down the disposal and turn it on. Flush some cold water from the sink down your disposal, and leave it running for 1 minute to clear out any grease or oil that may have built up
  • Place ice cubes and lemon slices in the disposal to freshen it up.With the disposal off, pour about 6 ice cubes down it and follow it up with 2 to 3 lemon slices. Top it off with 6 more ice cubes, then turn the disposal on. Once the grinding noise stops, flush the disposal with cold water for about 30 seconds, then turn it off
  • Pour baking soda down the disposal to get rid of any odor.If you notice a smell coming from your disposal, pour 1 tbsp (17 g) of baking soda into the disposal, and follow it up with about 6 ice cubes. Turn the disposal on, then wait until the grinding noise stops before flushing it with cold water
  • Turn your disposal on regularly to avoid rust and hard water buildup.The best way to keep your disposal in working order is to turn it on and use it regularly. You don’t have to use it every day, but try to use it at least once a week, if not more often
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Hardware/Fixtures:

Proper care and maintenance of your kitchen and bathroom fixtures are important to prevent plumbing issues. Whether you have a plumbing problem or not, it pays to have the contact information of an experienced plumber. This is one of the many tradesmen you’re going to hire in the course of being a homeowner, should the services of a plumber be needed, you know whom to call.

  • Don’t flush anything down the toilet except toilet paper. This includes “flushable wipes” as they can still create clogs.
  • Clean your showerheads with vinegar. If you neglect to descale your showerhead, it will ultimately get blocked. You can periodically soak your showerhead in vinegar for 24 hours.
  • Cleaning your faucet every day is the secret to keeping it looking new and perfect. Otherwise, hard water stains may build up in your faucet, making it harder to clean. Wipe your faucet with a damp cloth and mild cleanser, then dry with a soft cloth. You can also use a window cleaner.
  • Prevent hair from going down the drain, it can clump together and wreak havoc on your plumbing system. Pick it up after bathing or use a strainer.

Water Heaters:

  • Flush your water heater every six months or so. If you have harder water, or water that contains more minerals, you may want to flush it more often.
  • If you leave town, change your water heater to its vacation setting. The pilot light will stay on, but the water will not be heated.
  • Drain your tank and remove sediment.
  • Check your anode rod regularly, as it’s an important part of the water heater.
  • If you notice your water heater leaking, it may be caused by a loose drain valve. Tighten with a wrench until snug.
  • Test the temperature release valve annually.
  • If your unit is older, insulate its pipes and the heater.
  • Turn the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tankless water heater maintenance: good news about tankless is that they don’t require much maintenance. However, it’s recommended they be serviced once a year.
  • Electric vs. gas water heater maintenance: Both electric and gas water heaters can be maintained in similar ways. Both should be flushed regularly to prevent a build-up of rust and corrosion.
  • If you’re looking for more energy-efficient water heaters, look into hybrid water heaters
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Exterior Maintenance

Roofs:

Regular roofing maintenance and inspections have been proven to increase roof longevity significantly. Not inspecting can in some cases even void your roof warranty. Ideally, commercial roofs should be inspected both before and after severe weather seasons.  Your roof maintenance checklist will help ensure that you do not overlook any of the elements that require inspection. Failure to do so can lead to dangerous and unsafe conditions for yourself and workers on site.

  • You should be looking for obvious signs of problems from the interior, such as leaks, mildew, or mold. Check the exterior surface for any fallen limbs, dirt, debris, or standing water. Make sure there are no missing shingles.
  • If you have expansion joints or flashings, it is extremely important to check there for gaps or leaks. Clogged or damaged drains will need immediate attention. Inspect stairs, crossovers, platforms, and railings for structural soundness. Check specifically for loose parts, surface deterioration, and missing or damaged elements such as rail posts and treads.
  • Make sure any required signs are legible and posted in a prominent place.
  • Previous repairs are often the first thing to fail, especially if they were not done by an experienced professional. Double check to make sure the previous issue has been fixed and still working correctly.It helps to have all your warranty information handy to double check what items can and cannot be replaced free of charge.

Here is a comprehensive list of things you should be aware of regarding your roof maintenance: Roof Maintenance Checklist: 11 Chores to Help Maintain Your Roof | Owens Corning Roofing

Quartzite - Hestia Home Services
Quartzite - Hestia Home Services

Gutters:

Once you get the hang of it, gutter cleaning isn’t that bad, and you’ll feel great when it’s done! Wear a long-sleeved shirt, work pants, and rubber gloves (cleaning gutters can get dirty). Always use a good, sturdy, extendable ladder and place it on a steady surface. It’s best to have a helper around in case you drop something or need a hand with the ladder. Spread a tarp underneath your workspace to collect all the gutter gunk and protect your lawn. You can use a small plastic scoop, a sandbox shovel, or a kitchen spatula to remove the gunk. Clear out any remaining debris with a garden hose, this will also reveal any potential leaks or repairs needed. Aim to complete this once a year.