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Springtime Organic Gardening Tips

ORGANIC GARDEN PHOTO

You trust Harmony Clean, Inc. to make the inside of your home sparkle with healthy, earth-friendly cleaning products, but are you treating your garden with the same care?

Organic, chemical-free gardening is more sustainable for your family’s health, wildlife, the soil, and the water supply, but oftentimes people choose to “quick-fix” their gardens with synthetic fertilizers and harsh pesticides. By adopting organic practices in your garden, you can still enjoy a thriving garden without sacrificing the health of your family or the environment overall.

Our friends at Go Green Lawn Services, an organic lawn care company  in West Chester, have put together a guide to help you improve the sustainability of your garden this spring.

Recycle your eggshells

Plants like to be sunny-side up, too! Instead of tossing eggshells after your next breakfast, rinse them, dry them, and save them for your garden. The extra calcium will help your tomatoes and peppers grow. Additionally, crushed shells can be used to deter pests like snails and slugs.

Get salty

Most commercial fertilizers use magnesium to help plant roots take up important nutrients. Sprinkling epsom salts into your soil can improve seed germination and nutrient absorption naturally, eliminating the need for harsh chemicals. For curling leaves – a sign of nutrient deficiency – sprinkling epsom salts around the base of the plant can nurse it back to health quickly.

Mix up some homemade herbicide

If weeds are taking over your garden, commercial grade herbicide is not your only answer. In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of white vinegar, ½ cup of salt, and a little squirt of dish soap. Then spray the roots of your weeds. Be very cautious that you don’t accidentally spray your vegetables!

Plant strategically

Select plant types that are well-adapted for the soil, temperature range, and sun exposure in your yard. Also consider the wide variety of plants that naturally suppress weed growth and deter pests. With a little research and planning, you can plant garden beds that require minimal help to keep bugs and weeds at bay.
Using organic practices in your gardening and lawn care helps to preserve our community and protect the health of your family. All of Go Green’s lawn programs are certified organic and use EPA approved fertilizer, weed control, and insecticides, packing a big punch for your lawn and a gentle touch for the environment. If you’re ready to give your backyard a treat, call Go Green Lawn Services today!

Meet our Professional Cleaner of the Year Nominee

BUCKS COUNTY HERALD MELISSA NOV 2015

Each year the Association of Residential Cleaning Services International (ARCSI) gives an award to the Professional Cleaner of the Year.  The criteria includes impeccable client feedback, helping others, leadership, and professionalism.  This year, out of over 5,000 employees represented through ARCSI membership, Melissa was one of only six people nominated. Our local newspaper, the Bucks County Herald, impressed with her accomplishment, featured her on page two!  We’re all super proud of Melissa and all she does to enhance each and every customer experience as well as her kindness shared with everyone.

Harmony Clean, Inc. owner quoted in national magazine article!

Have you taken your vacuum cleaner in for a tune up lately? This is just one of several tips that Harmony Clean, Inc.’s co-owner Vicki Brown shared with Real Simple magazine for their online article, “Timesaving Tips From Professional Housecleaners.” If you drop it off right before leaving for vacation they can tighten any loose belts, detail clean it, and give it a tune-up while you’re away. This will ensure it is running strongly and efficiently when you need it most and with a HEPA filter, it will actually help improve your indoor air quality each time you vacuum. When it’s time to start cleaning, Vicki also suggests turning off the ringer on your phone, shutting down your computer, and keeping the television off. If  you are distracted you lose focus and often end up either double cleaning areas already cleaned, or simply losing track of your efforts and missing areas completely.

As a locally owned Doylestown, Pa. house cleaning service, we’re honored and excited to be included as a house cleaning expert in this national online magazine. Click here to read all 9 tips.

Exciting Earth Day Giveaway

HARMONY CLEAN, INC. BEST BUCKS UPCYCLED BANNER BAGSEveryone recognizes the Best of Bucks/Mont red logo. After winning this prestigious award several years, I realized we had a bunch of outdated banners but didn’t want to toss them into the landfill. That’s when the idea struck me to upcycle them into something useful and reusable, said Vicki Brown, president.

Harmony Clean, Inc. has been a leader in the local green movement since founded in 2003 when we started providing earth-friendly, non-toxic house cleaning services to the Doylestown and surrounding areas. Our green community outreach began when we hosted our Green Inspiration Contest and continued when we co-founded the Green Collaboration and sponsored several free community Earth Day Events. Last year’s event included 25 local and green vendors showcasing everything from organic clothing to natural foods and body care products. This year we are honoring Earth Day by asking people to briefly answer one of the three following statements:

Earth Day is important to me because __________________

(or) My favorite Earth Day green-living tip is ______________

(or) My favorite Earth Day green-living product is _____________

Five random winners will be selected to receive a fashionable one-of-a-kind upcycled vinyl tote bag that is both reusable and extremely sturdy. Click here for your chance to win.

And, stay tuned to our Facebook Page where we’ll  post contest responses each week to continuously promote a green-living lifestyle, products, and services (including green house cleaning!) in Bucks County, Pa.

Celebrate with Cookies!

Okay, so maybe your house cleaning service is not exactly where you’d think to turn for a new cookie recipe. But, if you found your way here, we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with this gluten-free treat that is easy to make and absolutely delicious! Happy Holidays from Harmony Clean, Inc.!

COOKIE COLLAGE - ENJOY Chocolate Apricot Gluten-Free Cookies

1 ¼ cup almond meal

1 cup gluten-free flour such as Bob’s Red Mill

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/3 cup real maple syrup

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch fine sea salt

Unsweetened apricot jam

one oz dark chocolate broken into pieces , sea salt to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Mix together the almond meal, gluten-free flour, baking powder and coconut palm sugar.

In a separate bowl combine coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and whisk to emulsify.

Add dry ingredients into wet and stir well to combine until dough forms together. Let rest 10 minutes.

Roll into meatball-size balls and place on prepared tray. Using your thumb, create a well in the center of each cookie. Spoon about ½ a teaspoon of jam into the center of each cookie and top with a chunk of chocolate. Sprinkle with a touch of sea salt and bake 9 to 10 minutes until browned on the bottom. Makes about 20 cookies. Enjoy!

Labor Day Cleaning Frenzy

klēnto make something free of dirt, marks, or mess, especially by washing, wiping, or brushing.

fren zē - a state of uncontrolled excitement or wild behavior.

If you saw me darting around the house this afternoon you would surely describe my ‘state’ as frenzied. Thankfully, the uncontrolled part was kept to a minimum, while the excitement part came to a peak after 4 hours of non-stop wild cleaning culminating in a new state I call superb satisfaction.

Whether you clean your own home or are one of our stellar clients who uses our house cleaning service in Bucks County, PA, there comes a time when you can’t help but roll up your sleeves and get in it. For me, it all started when I noticed the screen at the back of my hair dryer was covered in lint. Since there’s a grate covering the screen, this project required a toothpick and vacuum hose. Then, since the vacuum hose was already out, I used the round brush attachment to gently lift away dust from my laptop’s keyboard. Next I found myself removing a few window screens and vacuuming them front and back.

A pit stop in the bathroom revealed the fan vent was dusty even though wiped regularly. It needed to come down for a good scrubbing. And so the list continued and with each task accomplished my pleasure grew. Yes, I really do enjoy cleaning! What a rewarding way to spend half a day of a long weekend. And I’ll surely be even more pleased next time I fire up the hair dryer and experience its new clog-free gusto! Happy Labor Day!

Early Spring Cleaning tips from Harmony Clean

HARMONY CLEAN SPRING CLEANING TIPS

HARMONY CLEAN SPRING CLEANING TIPS

If you enjoy the results of a good spring cleaning of your home but agonize over the work itself, having a written action plan will help keep you focused and motivated. It also makes you more efficient so you can finish quicker and enjoy spring sooner. Here are a few of our own pro tips!

Write down your goals or intentions to keep yourself on track. For example, you may want to dust and polish every surface but don’t want to go on a flier cleaning out the junk drawer. Make a plan and commit to stick to it. Once you have a plan, stock up on all supplies, tools, and equipment before you begin. Change the bag and filters on your vacuum and check the belt for wear.

Efficiency Tip: use an extension cord with your vacuum cleaner to save time and to reach into far corners more easily.

Checklists are great and make you smile when you cross things off! A sample of spring cleaning vacuuming items might include:

- carpet crevices where carpets meet the walls

- lampshades

- beneath sofa and chair cushions

- heater vents and return air vents

- ceiling fan blades

- refrigerator coils

- dryer hose

Set a timer. Give yourself a specific amount of time to spend on each task. A timer with a five minute warning is perfect!

Play upbeat music. Whether it’s your favorite playlist or a new selection from Pandora, music helps get you get into the cleaning groove and makes the task more enjoyable!

Have a food plan. That way you won’t get hung up thinking about what you may want to eat, or eating something quick and easy that you may regret later.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Doylestown house cleaning and office staff learn pet safety.

PET SAFETY

Frankie visits the Harmony Clean office.

Dr. Christina Moore from the Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holiday House Pet Resort shared important pet safety tips at our staff meeting at Harmony Clean. Kim, our in-house dog lover, took diligent notes and offers these helpful highlights:

7 foods to avoid feeding your dog or cat: chocolate,  onions, grapes and raisin, fatty fried food, macadamia nuts, avocados, garlic,  Xylitol (the artificial sweeten found in gum and candy).

Protect your pet in the winter. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, or honk the car horn prior to starting the engine. Check dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold weather injury and damage such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During walks, your dog may be exposed to deicers, antifreeze or other chemicals that could be toxic.  Once back inside, wipe down or wash pet’s feet, legs, and belly to remove debris. Both cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia so in colder weather their time outside should be limited.

Basic advice for handling an injured pet - if your pet is injured, it could be in pain and is also most likely scared and confused. You need to be careful to avoid getting hurt, bitten, or scratched. Pain and fear make animals unpredictable or even dangerous.

*And the tip that sticks with me the most…..Dogs prefer to be pet on the sides of their face and neck, not the tops of their heads like most people think when first greeting the pet.

For more information or to find out about their next pet safety seminar, call 215.345.6000.  At Harmony Clean, we care about the safety and welfare of your pets. If there is ever a special concern with how our house cleaning service staff should handle an ill or injured pet in your home, please contact our office at 215-230-7700. Thank you!

Clean Eating

Clean Eating is a path toward cleaner, more familiar ingredients, and simpler ways of shopping, eating, and living. Following this path begins with understanding, and then follows with action!

Clean Food Grocery shopping can be too overwhelming to stop and read every label, but you’ve probably noticed the long list of ingredients in many packaged foods. Do these ingredients really belong in our foods? Clean eating begins with a clean list of ingredients that are simple and familiar. Don’t be fooled by the “organic” label; just because a food (like chips or cereal) has organic ingredients, doesn’t mean that it is the healthiest option. Clean foods are also free of harsh chemicals. The “Dirty Dozen,” is a list of the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables, identified as most important to buy organic.

Clean Planet, Clean Conscience From an environmental perspective, clean eating means that your food has not traveled far in order to arrive in your kitchen. The average food travels almost 1,500 miles before reaching your table! Nowadays, many foods come from all over the world. Importing these foods requires fuel and transportation that release carbon emissions into the air. Not only is this harmful to the atmosphere, but “fresh” foods that travel far distances are picked before they are ripe, so they lack their true flavor and lose nutritional benefits the longer they are away from the garden/farm. Try purchasing foods that are in season from a farm in our local area. When you purchase food from farms you know, then you can learn more about their practices too, which helps ensure that your food has been grown or raised in ways that you support.

Clean Feeling Finally, do you know that nice feeling you get when you take a deep breath of crisp, fresh air?  This is how it can feel when you shop for food in a more local, sustainable way rather than navigating your way through a busy and overwhelming supermarket. One visit to a local farm market can allow you to talk directly with a farmer, meet a young calf, get some fresh air, and bump into like-minded, friendly people!  Buying food in this way can be rejuvenating.

5 Easy Steps Toward Clean Eating:

1.  ”Clean” out your fridge and pantry.  Reduce foods that have lengthy ingredient lists.

2.  Buy organic or low-spray fruits and vegetables when possible.

3.  Take a cheat sheet of the Dirty Dozen with you when you go shopping.

4.  Visit local farms and farm markets so that your foods don’t travel so far before you eat them.

5.  Get to know a farmer!  Knowing the people who produce your food allows you to ask questions and develop relationships that are beneficial to your health!

Thank you to  Jessica Kirwan-Shaw, of the  Doylestown Food Co-op for sharing her thoughts on another form of ‘clean’!

Welcome spring!

MAMAS SUNNY DAY MARCH APRIL 2013

We love this sunny ad designed for us by Brown Dog Design and printed in

Mama’s Lil’ Guide, March/April 2013.

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