How to Unclog your Drain

Some things in our homes are easier to clean than others, but unclogging your drain can be one of the worst.  Like most things, if you ignore it, it’ll only get worse. Here are a few simple ways to unclog your kitchen and bathroom drains!

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningKitchen

Use mix dish soap into hot (but not boiling) water and pour down the drain.  Let it sit for 5 minutes before pouring more hot water down the drain to clear away the gunk.  Repeat as needed!  This works wonders on your kitchen drain because the dish soap de-greases the food and oil buildup from the walls of your drains, allowing them to wash down the sink.

If your kitchen sink is completely clogged, then your best bet is going to be to use a plunger.  Make sure that you have plugged any other drains that it are connected to before you start so that the plunger trick actually works!  Use either a (clean) toilet plunger or a kitchen-specific plunger to flush the built-up residue all the way down the drain.  Then chase the pipes with hot water or dish soap and hot water (see above).

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningBathroom

Pour 1/2 cup of salt down your drain and then chase it with 2 cups of hot (not boiling) water.  Repeat 3 to 5 times until the drain is clear.  The water will melt the soap build-up, and the salt acts as a scouring agent to scrub it away from the pipe walls.

If you have hair clogging your drain, then you’ll want to use a wire hanger that’s been untwisted and hooked at the bottom to pull the hair out.  It might take up to 5 tries to clear out your drain, depending on how clogged it is.  You can also purchase a drain cleaning stick with grooves that will pull the hair up even easier!  Just make sure to wear gloves and to have a trash bag handy because–yuck!

How to Unclog your Drain | Carpe Diem CleaningPrevent Clogged Drains

Some people swear by using baking soda and vinegar to clean their drains.  This combination bubbles and fizzes, but it does not actually break down the fat that usually clogs drains.  It can actually cause metal pipes to corrode over time, so only use baking soda and vinegar if you have PVC pipes.

Make sure that you’re only using this method occasionally to clear out particles and that you chase it with hot water so that any baking soda that doesn’t dissolve is removed from your pipes.

Usually kitchen sinks are clogged by fats or food residue that are rinsed down the drain and stick to the pipes.  Emulsified fats harden as they cool and stick to your pipes, eventually causing your sink to smell and back up.  Take an extra minute when cleaning out your dishes and cookware to wipe food residue and fats into the trash can.  Make sure to pour bacon grease into a can lined with foil, and once it hardens in the fridge, you can toss the grease in the trashcan and recycle the can!

Most bathroom drains are clogged by hair and soap scum.  Make sure that you and your family members are only using the amount of conditioner that you need for each washing.  That way it won’t just wash down the drain and stick to your pipes and the hair that’s down there.  Install a hair catcher for your drain.  You’ll have to clean it out more often than you would the drain, but you’ll save yourself the headache (and the smell!) of pulling out mildewed and rotting hair in the future.

What ways do you keep your drains cleaned out? Remember, we can help to keep your home spic and span in Durham! Call us today to set up a free consultation.

5 Messes that Can’t Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day

If you’re a regular Carpe Diem client, you know the peace of mind that comes from having your home professionally cleaned can give to you and your family.  But what happens when someone makes a mess that can’t wait til your usual cleaning day to be cleaned up?  Here’s what to do if you have one of these five common messes made in your home, and you don’t have time for Carpe Diem to come!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningMuddy Footprints on your Floor

Have your kids or pets run into the house after being caught in a rain storm only to bring mud in with them?  Once you make sure that they’re cleaned off and you can keep the mud contained, grab your mop and get to work!


Go over your floors once with the mop to get the mud and debris off.  Then go over them a second time with your Sh-mop or your regular mop!  Add a cup of vinegar and a 5 to 10 drops of your favorite essential oil to your water to leave your floors feeling and smelling fresh and clean.

Oven Explosion

If your lasagna or favorite casserole overflows in your oven, don’t panic!  Your oven isn’t doomed to being a caked-on, burnt mess.  Once your food has finished cooking, turn off the oven and spray your favorite oven cleaner all over your oven before letting it sit overnight.  In the morning, simply wipe out your oven and scrub away any remaining burnt-on pieces!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningWine on the Carpet

It’s all fun and games, until someone spills red wine!  Sprinkle table salt on the stain immediately and dab (do NOT rub) an old towel on the stain.  The salt will pull up moisture from the wine and remove the stain.  Repeat as needed, and for heavy-duty wine stains, use hydrogen peroxide.  Make sure that you always test hydrogen peroxide on an inconspicuous part of your carpet to make sure that it doesn’t alter the color.

Spilled Food on the Furniture

Unfortunately, we all spill food on the furniture from time to time.  To clean it up effectively, gather up loose food, and put it in the trash can before dabbing the space immediately with a paper towel or an old rag.  Then use dish detergent or furniture cleaner to remove the stain.  Soak up extra liquid with an old towel and allow it to dry.  Repeat as needed!

5 Messes that Can't Wait Til your Usual Cleaning Day | Carpe Diem CleaningFlu Symptoms in the Bathroom

Being sick with the stomach flu is the worst…but cleaning up after the carnage it can wreck on your bathroom is a close second!  One word: bleach.  Though we use green cleaning practices in most of the rooms of our clients’ homes, we use bleach to kill any lingering bacteria in bathrooms.

Wipe up the mess with paper towels, and spray bleach on any surface that may be contaminated.  Let it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it down and letting it dry.  Make sure that any surface that comes in contact with bleach will not be ruined by using it!  You also might want to use paper towels instead of hand towels until everyone in your family is in the clear.  Don’t forget to change everyone’s toothbrushes once sickness strikes!

Tell us below what messes can’t wait for Carpe Diem that happen in your home! If you’re in Hillsborough and need help stat, contact us today!


Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places?

Is dust building up in the hard-to-reach places in your home?  We’ve all noticed cobwebs or a thin layer of dust that’s just out of reach. When dusting (and cleaning in general!) you always want to start from the top and work down to the bottom of a room.  That way you won’t spread dirt to places that you’ve already cleaned!  With that in mind, here are our top tricks to dusting hard-to-reach areas….

From Top …

Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places? | Carpe Diem Cleaning

Ceiling Fans – Dust fan blades with an old cotton or flannel pillow case to avoid having dust fall in your face

Bathroom Fans – Use canned air or vacuum with your attachment to get rid of the dust between bathroom fan slots

Ceiling Corners and Above Kitchen Cabinets – Use your wand vacuum attachment to clean cobwebs in the corners or your rooms and to dust the tops of the books.

Walls, Doors, Ceilings and Door/Window Frames – Clean with a dry mop or a broom with a microfiber cloth rubber-banded on it to catch all of the dust.  Then toss the cloth in the washer and you’re done!  You can use this same method to clean behind furniture or baseboards.

Blinds – Put an old, clean sock on your hand, sock puppet-style, to clean your blinds.

…To Bottom

Dust Building Up in Hard-to-Reach Places? | Carpe Diem Cleaning

The best DIY dusting tool!

Upholstered Furniture – Use the skinniest attachment on your vacuum to get between the crevices of your furniture. Take off all unattached cushions for the best results!

Behind Stove and Refrigerator – Move the appliances out and vacuum away any dust.  Unplug these if you can!

Baseboards – Use dryer sheets or microfiber cloths to remove dust either by hand or rubber banded onto a broom.

Bonus Tip – Before you dust your house, turn the “Fan” option on your A/C unit on.  It will suck up the extra dust in the air to your air filter instead of floating around in the air for you and your family to breathe in!

What deep cleaning dusting tips would you add to this list?

15 Ways to Use Borax Around the House

Borax has dozens of uses, and today we have listed 15 of the most common ways to use it in your house!  Borax is an all natural cleaner whose mineral name is sodium borate.  It’s especially good at cleaning surfaces and clothes and keeping your home smelling fresh.  If you’re interested in using more natural cleaning products in your home, then Borax is a super cleaner that you’ll want to keep on hand!

15 Ways to Use Borax Around the House | Carpe Diem CleaningLaundry Room

Laundry SoapCheck out this blog post for the recipe or watch our video; this recipe makes 5 gallons!

Laundry Booster – Add 1/2 to 1 cup of borax to regular laundry detergent. This will also limit the effect of hard water on your clothes by removing hard water minerals.


Stain Remover – Mix 1 part borax with 2 parts water and soak the stain.  For extra stubborn stains, mix 1 cup of borax with 1/4 cup lemon juice (instead of water) before rinsing out with warm water.

Get rid of a musty smell – Soak clothes and linens in 1 cup of borax for every 1 quart of water for a few hours. Wash as normal.

15 Ways to Use Borax Around the House | Carpe Diem CleaningBathroom

Toilet cleaner – Mix 1/2 cup of borax to 1 gallon of warm water, and scrub all over and wipe it down.

Shower cleaner – Borax can be used like Comet.  Sprinkle it on a damp sponge and scrub down your bathtub and shower.

Soft Scrub – Mix 2 parts borax to 1 part dish soap, and you’ve got homemade soft scrub!

Homemade Drain-O – Pour 1/2 cup of borax into your drain.  Then pour 2 cups of boiling water down the drain (only if you know your pipes won’t melt!).  Let sit for 15 minutes before chasing it with 2 more cups of boiling water.

15 Ways to Use Borax Around the House | Carpe Diem CleaningKitchen

Surface cleaner – Mix 2 tablespoons with 2 cups of hot water and scrub with a sponge.

Clean stinky trash can – Fill your trashcan halfway with hot water in the tub, add 1 cup borax and scrub! Let dry, and it’ll be as good as new!

Drain cleaner – Put 2 to 3 tablespoons of borax in the drain then rinse with hot water 15 minutes later.

Water Spot Eliminator – Add 1 tablespoon of Borax to your dishwasher and your glasses should come out with no water spots.

15 Ways to Use Borax Around the House | Carpe Diem CleaningBonus Tips

Keep kitty litter fresh – Sprinkle a few tablespoons into kitty litter to eliminate odors.  This is safe as long as your cat doesn’t eat the borax.

Adhesive remover – Get sticky gunk, such as a sticker, off with 1 part borax and 2 parts water.  Let this mixture sit for several minutes before scrubbing it off.

Kill pests and weeds – Sprinkle borax wherever ants or roaches are coming into your home to eliminate them.  Sprinkle borax on weeds, but make sure that you don’t get it on your flowers or grass.  This works best with weeds that are coming up through cracks in your driveway and not around other plants that you want to keep alive.

*Warning- Borax can irritate your skin, so take caution when using it.  Also note that it is toxic when swallowed, so keep it far from kids and pets.

3 Reasons Why We Clean with Essential Oils

If you’ve had your home cleaned by Carpe Diem, you know that you’ll come home to a fresh smell on your clean day.  We use orange and lavender essential oils when cleaning our clients’ homes.  Not only do they smell great, but they have anti-bacterial and medicinal properties as well.

Did you know that olfactory nerves are the only ones that lead directly to the brain?  Scents have a direct influence on our brain, and the positive qualities of essential oils go directly to our brain which affects our whole body.

Anti-bacterial properties

Many essential oils, including orange and lavender, have antibacterial properties.  Using these oils in cleaning helps to ensure that your house is clean and disinfected.

Orange essential oil is also known to boost immunity and provide relief from inflammation.  It is a mood-lifter and even keeps insects away!  Lavender essential oil calms anxiety and provides relief from inflammation.  It is an antiseptic and an anti-fungal, which makes it perfect for cleaning.

Medicinal properties

We clean houses for many different kinds of clients, including cancer patients and people who are allergic to commercial cleaning products.  Using essential oils is our way of using a natural, even medicinal, product.  We would rather use essential oils because of their healing properties.  That way, we leave our clients homes better than we found them and not just cleaner.

If you’ve ever used Vicks VapoRub, you know that it helps to clear up congestion.  But did you know that eucalyptus essential oil is the main ingredient in Vicks VapoRub?  Essential oils help many people with allergies and sinus troubles to experience relief, and lavender is one oil that helps to relieve these symptoms.

Calm BedroomFresh, Clean Scent

Using essential oils leaves our clients’ houses feeling so much cleaner and fresher than when we arrived.  We don’t take for granted that our clients trust us with their most valuable asset–their home.  We want them to feel uplifted and calm when they come home on their clean day.  Our orange and lavender essential oils turn that desire into a reality.

Do you want some of these benefits from using essential oils, even when it’s not your clean day?  Try using disinfecting oils such as lemon, thyme, lime, cinnamon and peppermint.  You can use these in spot cleaning between clean days or in personal care items.  Or, diffuse your home with lavender, clary sage, eucalyptus, geranium and peppermint.  These will help with seasonal allergies and colds and will lift your mood, too!

How to Clean Unsightly Grout Mold

Is your shower starting to look grimy?  Do you love the look of tile when it’s clean but can’t bear the grout mold that eventually builds up? Today we’ll explain how to clean the unsightly grout mold in your bathroom to help you seize your clean day!

Deep Clean

If you want to truly deep clean your bathroom and kill the germs that could harm your family, you’ll want to use bleach.  To deep clean grout mold that has built up, use a Clorox bleach gel pen for the best results!

First apply the gel to the grout. Then let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before scrubbing the gel into the grout and mopping up the solution.  Your grout lines should look as good as new!


The best way to clean your grout mold is to stop it before it takes hold in your grout.  Moisture is your bathroom’s the biggest enemy!  Keep the fan on while you shower, and swipe an 18 inch squeegee across your tile after each shower to allow it to dry more easily and prevent mold from forming.  If you have a glass shower door, then using Rain-X will keep water spots from forming!

However, mold will (eventually) start to build up in your shower.  When the dreaded day comes, spray a tile cleaner with bleach all over your shower, and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.  Then simply wash the tile cleaner off with your shower head, and you’re done!

Make sure to always test a new cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous part of your tile first.   Unfortunately, once your grout turns black (as opposed to red or green), it will have to be re-grouted. Clean your shower daily, and bleach it weekly to maintain your grout and to keep your shower sparkling!

Don’t have time to tackle extra cleaning projects or maintain your tile shower?  Give Carpe Diem a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email!

How to Prep for Your Clean Day

Clean DayThis is Madeline, checking in to let you know how you can prep for your Clean Day!  Our clients love how fresh and clean their homes feel on their Clean Day. Our professional teams have some major cleaning skills. But did you know there are some simple things you can do to get an even deeper clean?


A little decluttering can make a huge difference! When a team can spend less time moving around loose items on counters and floors, the more time they can spend on deep cleaning the surfaces of your home.

Here’s how to get the most out of your Clean Day:

  • Floors: pick up and put away any loose items on the floor such as toys, shoes, socks, and phone chargers.
  • Kitchen: clear your kitchen table and counters of dirty dishes, junk mail, and paperwork. Move dirty dishes from the sink to the dishwasher.
  • Bathrooms: clear counters by putting away non-essential hygiene and beauty products. Remove dirty towels.
  • Living Room: remove cups, dishes, and paperwork from coffee tables.
  • Office: clear desk of paperwork or put all papers into a neat stack that can be cleaned around.
  • Children’s Bedrooms: clear the floor and beds of clothing, toys, and art projects.

If you’ve got a little extra clutter in your house (holiday decorations, out of town visitors, and re-model projects are typical culprits), feel free to contact our office to give us a heads up. The better we know what to expect, the better we’ll be able to give your home a truly extraordinary clean!

Mattress Cleaning Guide

Mattress Cleaning Guide | Carpe Diem CleaningIt’s spring cleaning time, which means that now is the time to give your mattress some TLC!  This often-neglected piece of furniture supports us for about a third of our lives while we sleep and deserves extra care.

Here are 5 easy steps to cleaning and caring for your mattress so that it can continue to give you amazing support!


washing machine

1.Wash all sheets and mattress covers.  Make sure that you have a waterproof mattress cover to keep out any dust and dust mites that can get into your mattress.

2. Sprinkle with baking soda and your favorite essential oil.  Cover your mattress with 1/4 cup of baking soda, and let it sit for 30 minutes.  You can also mix 2 to 3 drops of your favorite essential oil into the baking soda to keep your mattress smelling extra fresh!



3. Vacuum up the baking soda with a clean vacuum attachment.  Make sure that you vacuum slowly to pick up all of the baking soda.  This step will also ensure that you clean out any dust or dust mites that may be in your mattress.

4. Flip your mattress over if you have a two-sided mattress.  Want to really extend the life of your mattress?  Ideally, try to flip and rotate your mattress 180° every 3 months (or when the seasons change).  This step is crucial to making sure that your mattress will continue to support you for years to come.


Calm Bedroom5. Re-dress and admire your fresh mattress.  Finally, put your clean mattress cover and sheets back on your mattress with your pillows.  Take in the fact that your whole bed is neat and clean!



pillows, bedBonus tip – Wash your pillows!  Dirt and dust from your body causes pillows to get denser over time if they’re not cleaned regularly.  However, if you have foam pillows, do not wash them in the washing machine; simply spot clean them instead.

To wash your pillows, first remove all pillow covers and protectors.  Place 2 to 3 pillows vertically in the washing machine using gentle laundry detergent on a gentle cycle with warm water.  Make sure to add an extra rinse cycle and wring the pillows out.

Next, put them in the dryer on the low- to no-heat setting and put wool balls in to fluff up the pillows.  Replace their covers, and you have clean pillows to lay your head on again!  Want more tips for cleaning a different type of pillow?  Check out eHow’s tutorial!

If you’re interested in more tips for keeping your home neat and clean, be sure to check out our Facebook page!  Need help with cleaning the rest of your house?  Reach out to us today at 919-68-CLEAN or to schedule your free consultation!

The Amazing Sh-mop + Carpet Cleaning Reminder

Are you ready to get the musty winter smells out of your house and get a jump start on spring cleaning?  The Sh-mop and Carpe Diem’s steam cleaning service will give you back your fresh, clean floors just in time for spring!

The Amazing Sh-Mop

Amazing Sh-mop + Carpet Cleaning Reminder | Carpe Diem CleaningIf you love your Swiffer but are looking for something more eco-friendly, you’ve got to check out the Sh-mop!

The Sh-mop is easy to use and reuse — simply toss the reuseable mop cover into the washing machine and you’ve got a fresh mop.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the amazing Sh-mop!

At Carpe Diem we love the Sh-mop! It helps us clean your hard-surfaced floors easily and effectively, and since the mop cover is removable we’re able to use fresh covers in every house.


Carpet Cleaning Reminder 

It’s almost spring cleaning time!  Get a jump start on your spring cleaning by scheduling your carpet cleaning with Carpe Diem.  We even clean upholstery!  Once your floors are clean and fresh, you’ll be ready to tackle the rest of your home.  Go ahead and download our Carpet Cleaning Checklist to get things started.

You can give us a call 919-682-5326, or shoot us an email to schedule your carpet cleaning today!

DIY Laundry Detergent

ClothesLineWe all want our clothes to be clean and fresh smelling, but many laundry detergents and fabric softeners actually contain chemicals that are harmful to our health and to the environment. In recent years there has been a growing consciousness about what foods we’re eating and what products we’re using to clean our homes, but oftentimes what products we’re using to clean our laundry can end up being overlooked. How we clean our fabrics is actually incredibly important; unless you live in a nudist colony, your skin is in direct contact with fabric almost 24/7! The clothes you wear during the day, your sleepwear at night, the pillowcase your face is pressed against as you sleep, and the towel you dry off with after you shower are all materials that are regularly laundered!

TowelsMaking your own laundry detergent at home minimizes the amount of harmful chemicals and perfumes that your fabrics are exposed to and therefore that your skin (and your family’s skin) is in contact with. And if that wasn’t reason enough, it also costs just pennies per load to make your own detergent. Your skin and your wallet will thank you!

Below you can find our easy step-by-step instructions with photos for making your own laundry detergent out of simple, cost-effective ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. Happy laundry day, everybody!

Laundry Detergent Gel

Ingredients & Equipment

  • ½ bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry Soap, gratedwashing soda + borax + fels naptha
  • 1 Cup of Borax
  • 1 Cup of Washing Soda
  • Water
  • 5 gallon Bucket with Lid
  • Food processor or Grater
  • Old Cooking Pot
  • Cup Measure
  • Long spoon for mixing
  • Rubber Gloves (optional)


1. Measure four cups of water into a cooking pot and place the pot on a burner set to medium heat.


2. Using a knife and cutting board, chop half the bar of Fels-Naptha soap, then use a food processor to shred the soap into very fine pieces. Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor (or do not wish to put soap in your food processor!) you can use a box grater to shred half the bar of Fels-Naptha soap. 


chopped soap

food processor

3. Add the shredded soap to the pot of water and heat until the soap is completely melted, around 10 minutes.

melted soap

4. Fill the 5 gallon bucket up about halfway with hot water from the sink.

5 gallon bucket





5. Pour the melted soap mixture into the bucket of water and add 1 cup of Borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda. Use a long spoon to stir the mixture in the bucket;  be sure to stir the ingredients at the bottom of the bucket (if your spoon is not long enough to reach the bottom you may want to wear long rubber gloves so you can get the spoon deeper).


washing soda

soap mixture





6. Once the mixture is combined, fill the bucket with more hot water leaving two to three inches of space at the top, and stir the mixture again. Put the lid on the bucket and let it sit for at least 24 hours. The consistency of the completed mixture will be somewhere between a liquid and a gel. You can transfer the detergent to smaller containers for easier use.

laundry detergent





**For front loading washers use ½ cup per large load, for top loading washers use 1 cup per large load. Recipe yields 5 gallons, approximately 150 loads.**