Solvents solved: From frat house to your house

Q: With the holidays finally over, how can I get my house sparkling after all the spinach dip dropped on the rug?

 A: If you can't afford a cleaning service, a couple of quick tips can get your house or office looking its best. Start in the bathroom, perhaps the most personal cleaning in the house. The answer is Clorox Clean-UpĀ®– a basic all-purpose cleaner you can find at Lowe's. This cleaner cuts right through the grime and grease that makes you want to keep the door to that little room tightly shut. Most importantly, this all-purpose cleaner keeps your bathroom whites as bright as the day you moved in.

When you move to glass surfaces, forget about pre-packaged products promising a streak-free shine. Instead, mix about half a cup of vinegar with a pint of water to really get your mirrors sparkling. (Be sure to use white vinegar that won't leave your bathroom "vinegary" for days.) Switch to a regular floor cleaner for the rest of the bathroom– a lemon scent is best because it will cut the Clorox smell that got the ring out of your toilet.

For cabinets and wooden furniture, trust the experts like Pine Sol and Endust, but be sure to put the duster on the rag instead of the wood to give your pieces a professional sheen. Also stick to store-bought cleaners for steel appliances to maintain your fridge and stovetop. A trick you might not even think of is 409 on the stairs. Those stubborn scuff marks left by heavy foot traffic up and down hard wood stairs disappear with a dab of 409 on a clean rag.

We at 815 Inc flex our cleaning muscles daily, wiping up after 27 commercial and residential clients. We mop and vacuum– and even detail and paint, if we have to– to keep kitchens and offices clean. But messy houses and offices pale in comparison to the fraternity houses along Madison Bowl and Rugby Road we've had to deal with.

Broken glass, holes in the floor, and discarded kegs are typical. With seemingly non-stop parties, some fraternity houses have some interesting left-overs. For starters, there's usually more female clothing left around than male. And Domino's must be making a killing, as stacks of full and empty pizza boxes line hallways and staircases.

With a steady diet of frat house gigs, cleaning houses in neighborhoods doesn't bother our cleaning crews. But one thing never ceases to amaze. People clean up out of embarrassment before the crews even arrive at houses.

"You hire us and pay us to clean. Leave it the way it is!"