CARING FOR YOUR HOME

APPLIANCES:

CABINETS:

Cleaning:

  • Use a soft lint-free cloth (can be slightly dampened with water or a spray-type dust remover) to remove dust frequently
  • Clean spills immediately. Use a clean cloth and mild soap if necessary. Wipe dry with a clean cloth
  • Do not use detergents or ammonia based cleaners, steel wool, soap pads, or abrasive cleaners

Appearance:

  • Wood and laminate surfaces may be polished once every few months with a high quality furniture polish
  • Do not use a paste wax type material as was build-up is difficult to remove, it will leave a residue that attracts dust and moisture
  • Do not use polishes containing silicone
  • Scratches can be filled with a matching touch-up crayon available at most hardware stores
  • Do not place mount/small appliances beneath wall cabinets, they will produce excessive heat which can cause damage

Hardware:

  • Inspect twice a year
  • Adjust, tighten, or lubricate knobs, hinges, latches, rollers, and drawer glides
  • Wipe down with slightly dampened soft cloth for cleaning

CARPET:

Cleaning:

  • Vacuum thoroughly and frequently, particularly in high traffic areas
  • Walking on soiled carpet allows the soil particles to work down below the surface of the pile making them far more difficult to remove, this can damage the carpet fibers
  • Change the vacuum direction occasionally to help stand the pile upright and reduce matting
  • *Please Note: for frieze (shag style) use a suction-only vacuum, do not use a rotating brush as the fibers and wrap around
  • Steam cleaning is recommended at least 1-2 times per year (depending on traffic), hot water extraction only
  • Stain resistance allows for easier stain removal, if a stain treatment has already been applied, avoid using other chemicals/cleaners that cancel out the original treatment
  • Please visit: http://shawfloors.com/adx/aspx/adxGetMedia.aspx?DocID=3100 for more cleaning solutions

Appearance:

  • Outdoor walk-off mats placed by entrances will help absorb soil and moisture as well as trap excess dirt, sand, grit, oil, asphalt, or driveway sealer
  • Clean outdoor mats on a regular basis to avoid becoming soil sources
  • Occasionally moving furniture will help to avoid excessive pile crushing
  • Place carpet protectors under the legs of tables, chairs, and any additional furniture to distribute weight
  • Furniture/appliances on rollers or casters without protectors will cause damage
  • Use blinds, shades, and/or awnings to avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Area rugs should be checked for colorfastness before placing them as the color can bleed through
  • Area rugs should be cleaned regularly as well as the pile of carpet beneath, allow it to dry completely before replacing

COUNTERTOPS:

Cultured Marble:

  • Use non-abrasive liquid cleaners only
  • To maintain luster, apply liquid or paste wax and buff
  • Remove minor scratches by wet sanding with a 1200 grit sandpaper, next apply a polishing compound and buff with a machine buffer
  • Temperatures that exceed 145 degrees Fahrenheit can damage the surface
  • Hand-tighten faucets/drains (in addition to ½ turn with wrench only), over tightening may cause cracking
  • Granite:
  • Use natural stone top cleaners or a few drops of mild dishwashing detergent and warm water with a soft cloth for cleaning
  • Too much dishwashing detergent will leave a film
  • To avoid etching the surface refrain from using products that contain lemon, vinegar, or ammonia
  • Clean up spills ASAP (particularly olive oil or red wine)
  • Seal every couple of years, the stone is naturally porous (darker stones require this less often than lighter stones)
  • Natural “pitting” (softer minerals in granite flake off) and “fissures” (visible separation along inter-crystalline boundaries) may occur but do not affect the integrity of the stone

Laminate:

  • Use non-abrasive, clean, damp cotton cloths with mild liquid detergent or household cleaner, rinse with clean water, dry with a soft clean cloth
  • Avoid flooding the surface, water can penetrate and cause the substrate to swell especially near seams
  • To avoid etching, corrosion, and discoloration do not use acid, alkali, or sodium hypochlorite cleaners. Avoid keeping these types of cleaners on the surface, if they splatter or spill wipe them off immediately and rinse area with water
  • Do not use abrasive pads, scouring powders or cleaners as they will permanently dull and scratch the laminate surface making it susceptible to staining
  • Do not chop, slice, pound, or hammer on the surface
  • Do not slide heavy objects across the surface, use place mats, doilies, and trivets when necessary
  • Do not place hot cookware from the stove, oven, or microwave directly on the surface
  • Use trivets, insulated hot pads or other protective devices beneath all hot cookware, temperatures 140 degrees Fahrenheit and above can cause the surface to separate from the core material

Quartz:

  • Use warm water and a damp cloth with a small amount of non-abrasive cleaner that does not contain bleach, clean with warm water and soap on a regular basis to maintain the lustrous gloss and sheen
  • Clean up stains from any foods or liquids immediately
  • Do not place hot cookware directly on the surface, use trivets and hot pads
  • Do not cut directly on the surface
  • Do not use any strong chemicals/solvents on the surface particularly trichlorethane, methylene chloride, nail polish removers, bleach, oil soaps etc.
  • Do not use cleaning products that contain oils, powders, or abrasives

ELECTRICAL:

Maintenance:

  • Examine electrical systems twice a year
  • Check main service panel for rust, water stains, soot stains, or melted wires
  • Check circuit breakers, verify that they are labeled correctly by switching off the breaker and trying devices connected to that circuit, re-label if wrong
  • Tripped breakers can be reset by switching them off and back on, if tripping occurs again unplug all devices from the circuit (if this corrects the tripping there are too many devices plugged into the circuit or a device/cord is faulty), if tripping continues to occur consult a qualified electrician

GFI Outlets:

  • Check all outlets and breakers, push the TEST button once a month to trip the circuit if the RESET button doesn’t pop outward during this test consult a qualified electrician
  • Do not plug Refrigerators or Freezers into a GFI circuit they can trip the circuit which in turn spoils the food

General:

  • Keep tree limbs away from overhead power lines
  • Contact the electrical utility service to locate underground power lines before digging
  • Do not use higher wattage light bulbs than the fixture allows
  • Do not change exterior light bulbs in the rain
  • Do not overload extension cords or use too many when bringing power to a remote device or fixture-check the label for restrictions
  • Plug sensitive electronic devices (televisions, computers, printers, etc.) into appropriate surge protector strips, unplug during lighting storms

FARM SINK (ENAMEL CAST):

Cleaning:

  • Rinse thoroughly and use a soft cloth to dry the product after each use
  • Use abrasive cleaners in the rare occurrence of stubborn stains, sparingly
  • Do not use steel wool, wire brushes or abrasive sponge pads
  • Do not to leave dirty dishes, coffee grounds, tea bags or other staining materials in contact with the enamel surface for extended periods of time
  • Freshen sink once a month by flushing with hot water and baking soda

Maintenance:

  • To protect the surface from scratches, consider kitchen sink accessories such as bottom basin racks and rinse baskets
  • Check the sink twice a year for proper operation. Turn on the hot and cold water and observe for adequate water pressure and drainage.
  • To fix low water pressure, unscrew the piece (aerator) at the end of the spigot and inspect the filter screen. Wash out any trapped pieces of debris, then reinstall
  • To fix slow draining, use drain cleaner, when pouring use a funnel to avoid splashing acid on the basin surface, as an alternative disassemble the trap (“U”-shaped pipe) under the sink to clear any obstruction, place a bucket under the trap (this works well for fishing out small valuables that may go down the drain)
  • Do not use drain cleaners if your home is on a septic system

FIREPLACE:

Maintenance:

  • To ensure proper function have the venting system inspected annually by a qualified service individual
  • Keep control compartments, burners, and circulation air passages clean
  • Due to excessive lint and dust frequent cleaning may be required, before cleaning turn off the gas valve and pilot light
  • Do not remove logs for cleaning (If logs MUST be removed for cleaning, handle carefully with gloves to prevent skin irritation from ceramic fibers, if skin becomes irritated, wash gently with soap and water)
  • Do not use fluids to clean ceramic fiber logs
  • Vacuum surface of logs with a brush attachment or brush logs with a soft bristle brush

General:

  • Do not use any solid fuels (wood, coal, paper, cardboard etc.)
  • Use only gas type fuels indicated on rating plate
  • Turn fireplace off and let cool before servicing, installing, or repairing
  • Do not operate fireplace if any log is broken
  • Leave logs installed in the fireplace for cleaning
  • Expansion and/or contraction noises are normal for steel fabricated fireplaces during the start up or cool down cycle
  • Odor emission is normal for the first burn due to the manufacturing process
  • For first use, it is recommended that you burn your fireplace for at least ten hours, place the fan switch in the off position during this time, please ensure that the room is well ventilated during burn off, be sure to open all windows

Direct-Vent Fireplace:

  • Inspect the external vent cap on a regular basis to make sure debris is not interfering with the airflow
  • Periodically clean the glass door as necessary
  • Do not remove the glass when hot, allow glass to cool before removal
  • Do not use abrasive material, use a nontoxic, non-corrosive, mild-cleaning solution, apply an adequate amount to the glass and wipe off with a damp cloth
  • Do not operate the fireplace without the glass door properly secured
  • Do not operate the fireplace if the glass is broken
  • Replace chipped, cracked, or broken glass, replacement glass door assemblies MUST be supplied by the fireplace manufacturer (no substitute materials may be used)
  • Handle glass door with care to avoid striking or scratching it on hard objects
  • To remove glass door: move access panel by lifting up and out, release two clamps on bottom of fireplace, tilt glass frame out and lift glass frame up until it clears three tabs on top of fireplace

FRAMED MIRRORS:

Cleaning:

  • Use a damp cloth with mild soap and water to clean steel and plastic bodies
  • Do not spray with cleaner, avoid getting chemicals on the edge
  • Use mirror approved cleaner, spray directly on towel then wipe down mirror
  • Do not use any cleaners on wood or decorative framed mirrors it will remove the finish

GLASS SHOWER ENCLOSURE:

Cleaning:

  • Use a soft cloth and spray bottle with vinegar and water solution to wash shower glass as needed (this can also be used on calcium stains caused by hard water)
  • Do not use commercial cleaning products

Maintenance:

  • Use a clean squeegee to dry shower glass after each use
  • Do not let shower glass air dry on its own
  • EnduroShield is recommended by the supplier for glass protectant, it is a permanent, ultrathin, transparent coating which seals the glass surface, helping to protect against etching and staining from hard water, lime scaling and soap scum
  • EnduroShield makes cleaning with water and a mild cleaner up to 90% easier and more effective
  • With regular and proper cleaning, glass maintains its “like new” appeal with less cleaning effort for many years. EnduroShield promotes a more hygienic, healthier shower environment by deterring the build-up of mold and harmful bacteria (it can be purchased online)

HARDWARE:

  • Includes exterior and interior door knobs/handles, hinges, toilet paper holders, towel bars/rings, and the shower frame
  • Use a soft damp cloth with mild soap/detergent to clean, wipe dry
  • Occasional tightening may be required with use

HARDWOODS:

Cleaning:

  • Sweep, vacuum, or dry mop regularly, built up grit can damage the surface
  • Use brush or felt type vacuum head, wheels must be clean to prevent surface scratching
  • Do not use a vacuum with a beater bar head
  • Use hardwood cleaner (for pre-finished wood products) when needed
  • Do not wet/damp mop, or use steamers
  • Do not use oil soaps, liquid or paste wax products or other household cleaners that contain citrus oils, lemon oil, tung oil, silicon, acidic materials or ammonia
  • Remove spills promptly using a soft cloth
  • Do not allow liquids to stand on your floor for any length of time

Appearance:

  • Use interior and exterior doormats at entrances to collect dirt and moisture and prevent them from being tracked onto floor
  • Keep pets’ nails trimmed, and paws clean and free of dirt, gravel, grease, oil and stains
  • To reduce scratches and dents place protective felt pads beneath furniture legs and feet, replace pads as needed
  • Use a dolly and protective sheets of plywood when moving heavy objects, furniture or appliances
  • Remove shoes with spiked or damaged heels before walking on floor
  • To avoid oxidation, aging, fading, and color changes rearrange rugs and furniture periodically so the floors age evenly, too much sun exposure accelerates the aging process (Hint: this is a good idea when you’re on vacation or away from your home for a longer period of time. You can roll up rugs, and move furniture around)
  • Use area rugs in high traffic areas, wet areas (kitchen) and pivot points (e.g., stair landings, room entries, etc.) especially if you have a large family or indoor pets, rugs must be a breathable material to prevent moisture entrapment
  • Maintain proper Relative Humidity in your home between 35%-55%
  • Please remember all hardwood floors will show signs of wear over time depending on the size and lifestyle of your family

HVAC:

Maintenance:

  • Change filters monthly
  • Leave a minimum of 2-3 feet of space between bushes and outdoor A/C unit
  • Do not blow grass clippings directly into the coil of the unit outside (clogs the fins used for cooling)
  • Do not step on or move any PVC drain lines
  • To ensure proper function contact a qualified HVAC contractor once a year for inspection of system and parts
  • Leave setting at the comfortably selected temperature, set backs are not suggested beyond 2 degrees, efficiency is negatively affected when the system has to work to return to the original set point, stop and starts will utilize more energy

HVAC Add-Ons:

  • Humidifier: to ensure function contact a service professional for inspection once a year, service professional should change pads
  • Electronic Air Cleaner: to ensure function contact a service professional for inspection once a year
  • Ultra Violet Lamps: to ensure function contact a service professional for inspection once a year, service professional should replace bulbs

INTERIOR PAINT:

Cleaning:

  • Use a duster to wipe down walls
  • Cleaning Essentials:
    • 1 Bucket for washing solution
    • 1 Bucket for clean water
    • 1 sponge for washing
    • 1 sponge for rinsing
    • Cleaning solution (dawn dish liquid-2 tablespoons per gallon of warm water)
    • Household abrasive cleaner for particularly dirty spots
    • Newspapers to protect floors
  • Do not use a cloth for washing, it may shine a flat surface or dull a lustrous one
  1. Dust the wall thoroughly, use the long-handled duster on your vacuum cleaner
  2. Wash 4-5 square feet at a time starting at the bottom and washing upward (dirty water runs down over a clean surface, which is easily wiped off, if washed from the top down it creates a streak difficult to remove)
  3. Dip the washing sponge in the cleaning solution and wring it out just enough to keep it from dripping
  4. Rub with slow, easy, up-and-down strokes, giving the solution time to soften the soil
  5. Rub stubborn spots with a household abrasive cleaner as described above
  6. Rinse with water using a clean sponge, wringing it so that it will not drip or run
  7. After rinsing, dip the same sponge in water, wring it dry and wipe the cleaned area, be careful not to wipe from the clean area into the soiled area, leave a wet edge
  8. As you begin to wash a new area, start well within the adjacent clean area to avoid streaking, clean the sponges frequently, change the cleaning solution and rinsing water when they become dirty
  • If you plan to paint after washing, let the wall dry thoroughly first.

Appearance:

  • Touch up small areas with paint as needed
  • To cut down surface dust on walls and ceilings change HVAC filters regularly

LIGHT FIXTURES:

Polished Metal Fixtures:

  • Clean on a regular basis using a soft cloth with plain water and a mild detergent soap
  • Do not use any products with ammonia or alcohol
  • Use a non-abrasive paste/liquid wax to provide extra protection
  • Make sure any cleaning or polishing cloth is free of abrasive material
  • Do not use any glass or general purpose cleaners, as most have chemicals which will damage the lacquer coating.

Painted Fixtures:

  • Clean on a regular basis using a dry soft cloth or a soft cloth with water and a mild detergent soap if necessary
  • Do not use any abrasive materials, or cleaners with ammonia or alcohol
  • Do not clean your fixture using a rough textured cloth

Fluorescent Fixtures:

  • Remove lens and fluorescent bulbs from fixture
  • Clean bulbs, lens, and any reflective surface using a soft dry cloth or a soft cloth with water and a mild detergent soap if necessary
  • Replace bulbs and lens
  • Do not use any abrasive materials, or cleaners with ammonia or alcohol
  • Do not use a rough textured cloth to clean any component on your fixture

STAINLESS STEEL SINKS:

Cleaning:

  • Rinse sink thoroughly with a sponge or cloth using soap and hot water after each use
  • Do not use steel wool pads
  • Do not leave rubber mats, wet sponges, cloths or cleaning pads in the sink, food particles and deposits can cause discoloration
  • Do not leave liquid soap to dry on the sink surface, many detergents contain chemicals that can dull the finish, or cause pitting or staining
  • Do not use bleach, even when diluted bleach can cause corrosion when exposed to stainless steel for extended periods of time, rinse thoroughly if bleach comes in contact with your sink
  • To remove smears/fingerprints you can use window or glass cleaner. Rub with cloth
  • For persistent spots or stains you can use stainless steel cleaner, apply with a sponge or cloth, rub back and forth in direction of grain lines, rinse with clean water and dry
  • Remove hard water spots with vinegar, swab and soak for 5-10 minutes, rub, then rinse with a neutralizer, such as baking soda solution, rinse with clean water and dry
  • For “rusty” discoloration and atmospheric stains, you can try glass cleaner, stainless steel cleaner, or vinegar. Just swab with a cloth and soak for 5 minutes. If necessary, rub with a nylon pad. Rinse with clean water and dry
  • Freshen sink once a month by flushing with hot water and baking soda

Appearance:

  • Water quality can affect the appearance of your sink
  • Hard water or water with high iron content may create a brown stain, looking like rust
  • In areas with water that has high concentrations of minerals or oversoftened water, a white film may appear on the sink
  • Dry the sink with a soft towel after each use
  • For undermount sinks, inspect the caulking between the sink and countertop for cracks, if cracks are present remove and replace the caulking
  • Check the sink twice a year for proper operation. Turn on the hot and cold water and observe for adequate water pressure and drainage.
  • To fix low water pressure, unscrew the piece (aerator) at the end of the spigot and inspect the filter screen. Wash out any trapped pieces of debris, then reinstall
  • To fix slow draining, use drain cleaner, when pouring use a funnel to avoid splashing acid on the basin surface, as an alternative disassemble the trap (“U”-shaped pipe) under the sink to clear any obstruction, place a bucket under the trap (this works well for fishing out small valuables that may go down the drain)
  • Do not use drain cleaners if your home is on a septic system

PLUMBING FIXTURES:

Cleaning:

  • Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down the faucet
  • Use only warm water or glass cleaner to remove dry water spots
  • Do not use cleaners that contain abrasives or harsh chemicals (voids the warranty)
  • Rinse any strong cleaners off immediately after use
  • Do not use alcohol or other organic solvents
  • If low water pressure, clean the aerator (the small screen at the end of the spout), a toothbrush dipped in vinegar will easily remove any dirt or trapped particles and should eliminate the problem
  • To avoid surface scratching do not use pads or sponges
  • **If you have a showerhead that is spraying unevenly, it may be clogged with mineral deposits, unscrew the swivel ball nut, using a wrench or channel-type pliers (be sure to wrap the jaws of the tool with masking tape or use a cloth to prevent scratching the finish), unscrew the collar nut from the showerhead; clean the outlet and inlet holes with a thin wire and flush the head with clean water

TILE (FLOOR & WALLS):

Cleaning:

  • Sweep and vacuum regularly
  • To avoid surface scratches from grit place mats inside doors
  • Wipe down showers regularly with a towel or squeegee after use (prevent emollient build up)
  • Use a cleaner designed for daily shower misting regularly (prevent emollient build up)
  • Routine cleaning can be done with hot water alone, or using a mild cleaner designed for tile (if you have natural stone, look for cleaners that are specifically formulated for natural stone)
  • Do not use bleach, acid, or ammonia
  • Use a cotton mop, cloth sponge, or nonmetallic brush
  • Wipe up all spills immediately

Appearance:

  • It is recommended to apply a sealer to natural stone to help protect your tile from stains since it is porous
  • Sealers with an “enhancer” can darken your tile or give it a “wet” look
  • Grout joints can be sealed, keeping contaminates and stains out of joints
  • Apply sealer once a year (or more as needed)
  • Test a sealer’s performance with water droplets, if beading appears the sealer should still be adequate, if water is absorbed into stone or grout joints, surface should be cleaned and left to dry for at least 24 hours before sealer is reapplied
  • If mildew stains do appear in corners of showers, spray with a mildew cleaner and rinse quickly and thoroughly
  • Settling of a house over time can cause grout to crack, the joints can be caulked

VINYL FLOORING:

Cleaning:

  • Wipe up spills as soon as possible using a soft cloth
  • Use vinyl cleaner to wash surface
  • Do not use detergents, abrasive cleaners, paste wax, solvent-based polishes, or “mop and shine” products
  • Do not use a beater bar on vacuum

Appearance:

  • To protect the surface from tearing and scuffing move appliances/heavy furniture on a plywood panel and “walk” the item across the surface
  • To reduce indentation, use floor protectors on furniture (the heavier the item, the wider the floor protector needed)
  • Rolling casters can damage the surface
  • To reduce grit and dirt scratches, place walk-off mats outside (use a non-staining vinyl-backed mat or woven rug that is colorfast, most of these products are identified as colorfast by the manufacturer)
  • Do not use rubber or latex-backed mats because the chemical (antioxidant) used to keep the backing from becoming brittle can permanently stain the surface yellow
  • Sharp objects can gouge the surface

WHIRLPOOL TUBS:

Cleaning:

  • To remove accumulations of bath reside from the whirlpool system, purge once a month or more depending on usage:
  1. Fill the bath with hot water (not exceeding 104 degrees)
  2. Add to the hot water, 4-6 tablespoons of low foaming detergent such as liquid Cascade and 24- 48 oz. of liquid household bleach, (use lesser amounts shown for 5-foot bathtubs, greater amounts for larger tubs
  3. Run the whirlpool for 5-10 minutes
  4. Drain the bath completely and refill with cold water only
  5. Run the whirlpool for 5-10 minutes, then drain the bath completely. Depending on the usage and/or the content of the local water supply, more frequent purging may be necessary.
  • Use non-abrasive liquid cleaners, follow the cleaner’s recommendations
  • Do not use harsh abrasives (can dull the unit)
  • Use warm water and liquid detergents, especially those recommended for cleaning fiberglass or acrylic surfaces
  • Use Lime-Away or white vinegar for hard water stains, calcium deposits, limescale or difficult soap scum, rinse carefully with cold water, wash away any excess paste
  • Use chlorine bleach (with moderate scrubbing) for soap scum, general black grime or algae, rinse carefully with cold water, wash away any excess paste

Appearance:

  • Bath oils, bubble bath soaps, and bath additives may increase the level of residue accumulation, if excess accumulation persists, discontinue the use of such products
  • Do not scrub (damages the finish on the tub floor)
  • To restore a scratched or dull unit, use an automotive polishing compound applied with a clean cotton rag
  • Rub scratches and dull areas vigorously, wipe off residues
  • Use automotive wax treatment, if you use a rubber or plastic “anti-skid” mat, remove it from the unit after each bath to avoid harm to the surface finish

WINDOW TREATMENTS:

Cleaning:

  • Do not use magnetic cleaners (damages light-dimming backing)
  • Regular light dusting maintains a like-new appearance of most blinds, shades, sheers, shutters and window panels
  • Vacuum gently using the brush attachment on any vacuum cleaner (for deeper cleaning)
  • Vacuum using a vertical stroke
  • Blow dust off selected window coverings with a compressed air or hair dryer (non-heat setting)
  • Use a soft cloth or sponge moistened with lukewarm water to spot clean shades/blinds, add mild detergent if needed, blot gently to avoid creasing or damaging the fabric.

Appearance:

WOOD TRIM:

Cleaning:

  • Dust with a damp sponge as needed

Appearance:

  • Treat with good quality furniture polish or wood putty (if stained trim) or touch-up paint (if painted trim)
  • Examine all baseboards, chair rails, crown molding, door frames, and window frames once a year
  • Change in humidity levels can cause shrinking, cracking, and warping
  • Check for corner separations, cracks, and warps
  • Use matching wood putty to fill in cracks or corner separations
  • Repaint with matching color if necessary
  • Use finish nails for warping, set the finish nail heads slightly into the wood using a nail set tool, cover nail heads with matching wood putty (for stained wood) or touch-up paint (for painted wood)