Words Matter: Why We Say Housekeeper, Not Maid

There are lots of things that make Highland Park Housekeeping different. But this post isn’t about a sales pitch, marketing buzzwords, or shiny before and after pictures.

This is our creed.

Comparing our business to other house cleaning services, one of the biggest and most obvious differences is that we don’t use the word “maid.” We call our employees Housekeepers, and that’s not just because of the handy alliteration with “Highland Park.”

Housekeeping is a skill. Any person with a home to clean can tell you that. It requires knowledge of products and protocols, of services and surfaces. Which cleaner should you use where, and why? How do you address pet hair on sofas? Mold in your shower? What about grease in ovens that just won’t budge? And how do you do all of this while still avoiding the use of harmful chemicals in the home?

These are things all of our Housekeepers are trained in. Each new hire goes through an extensive training and vetting process by our expert Housekeepers, who boast years of experience achieving housekeeping excellence. And because of that expertise, we believe our Housekeepers, our skilled workers, deserve to be paid well. That’s why we pay well above the industry average – an average that we believe is unjust given the talent it takes to clean a house well.

That brings us back to why we don’t use the word “maid.” Take a moment and visualize a maid. What do you see? Someone in an old black and white uniform? Maybe the term isn’t as outdated or snooty as “the help,” but it’s not far off. What about a Housekeeper? A Housekeeper is a person with skill, with knowledge — with organization, urgency, and the expertise to match. We’re a female owned and operated business, proud to employ women (and one man!) as Housekeepers. Our Housekeepers deserve a dignified profession with an appropriate title that allows them to support their families and feel proud of the job they do.

So maid? No thanks. We prefer something more elegant. Something honorable. We are Housekeepers.

How To Protect Your Home From Germs & Viruses

If you’re reading this, you’re probably tired of hearing about coronavirus. I get it — so am I. That being said, with lockdowns beginning to lift and our hometown of Dallas, TX being declared a new hotspot, it’s more important than ever to keep your home clean, disinfected, and free of germs and viruses. Sounds daunting, but it’s easier than you think.

The method we’re outlining below is based on CDC guidelines, but if you’d like to read them over yourself, head to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html .

Step 1: Wash First

Here’s the most important part: You need to actually wash surfaces with soap and hot water before you disinfect them. Washing is what breaks down viruses. Our favorite, environmentally-friendly soap is Seventh Generation Dish Soap, which despite being called dish soap, is great to use on pretty much any surface in your home. Here are the steps:

1. Fill up a sink or bucket with hot, soapy, sudsy water.
2. Grab a  sponge, we love Scrub Daddy sponges, and wash the counter, handle, doorknob, appliance or any other frequently touched surface, making sure to use plenty of suds.
3. Let it sit for at least 20 seconds.
4. Rinse with a wet towel and dry with a fresh towel.

Step 2: Follow Up With Disinfectant

After you’ve washed and dried, then use an EPA-Approved disinfectant (you can find the list here). Many of these products need to sit on a surface before being wiped down, so check the chart under “Contact Time” for the appropriate wait time. For example, we love using Clorox Clean-Up, which has a contact time of 5 minutes. That means we put the disinfectant on the desired surface, wait 5 minutes, then wipe it. 

Be mindful when using a disinfectant with bleach. Never use bleach on marble or other porous stones! Bleach is very powerful and can eat away at these surfaces.

I like to look for the upside of things, so if I’m going to find an upside to this monster virus, I would say it is encouraging all of us to be cleaner, healthier, and more mindful of our daily habits. Seems like a small upside compared to all the downsides, but hey – it’s something.

How To Free Your Home of Pet Hair

Leo is HPHK’s resident Good Boy. We love Mr. Leo and he loves leaving his fur on our couch.

Here’s something that will likely not shock you: I’m obsessed with dogs. Cats, too. I love all furry creatures, big and small, and to my very clean boyfriend’s dismay, I love them so much that I love to have them on my couch, in my lap, and in my bed. When I was younger, my goal was to buy the biggest farm I could and fill it with as many dogs as possible and a full staff to take care of them. A girl can dream.

Fortunately for me, my roommate loves dogs too and is a frequent foster Mom. Needless to say, this love of furry creatures has led my home to be coated in a film of dog hair. All the light fur sticks to the dark surfaces and all the dark fur sticks to the light surfaces, right? It’s excruciating. But – here’s the good news. I’ve consulted the expert housekeepers here at Highland Park Housekeeping to find out how to clean pet hair off of any surface. Read on to hear the secrets!

Tip #1: Clean Top to Bottom

Top to bottom cleaning is a tenant of HPHK. We start up with light fixtures and ceiling fans because all sorts of dust, dirt, and yes – pet hair – hides up there. If you don’t get these spots first, the pet hair will eventually fall on your freshly cleaned surfaces, making any cleaning you did before pretty much pointless. So, start with the ceiling fans, and make sure they are totally pet hair-free before flipping the switch on.


Tip #2: Get the Right Vacuum Accessories

Feeling like you spend 90% of your day vacuuming, and you still find pet hair? That might have to do with the type of vacuum you’re using. If your home is full of furry friends, make sure you get a vacuum with a Hepafilter. Having a cheap vacuum with a low-grade filter will suck up pet hair but blow dander out the back, causing allergies and a dusty look to your home. If you’ve got a pup who loves to lay on the couch, make sure you have an upholstery attachment for your vacuum cleaner.


Tip #3: Don’t Skip Any Part of Upholstery

Speaking of upholstery, upholstered furniture is the best spot for pet hair to get caught. When vacuuming your upholstery, remove all cushions and pillows, then thoroughly vacuum the area underneath them. Vacuum both sides of each cushion and the back of the furniture, if you can reach it. And don’t forget about underneath! These are all hot spots for pet hair to hide.


Tip #4: Shake Out the Rugs

Start at the top and finish at the bottom by removing any throw rugs or mats and shaking them outside, if possible! A good shake will get rid of pet hair and dander that lurks underneath your feet, ready to be tracked into the next room.


Tip #5: If All Else Fails, Make Sure You Have A Good Lint Roller

While not the quickest way to remove pet hair, a good lint roller is great in a pinch. You can find inexpensive ones on Amazon and they work great on furniture, sheets, and clothing.


We love pets, but we hate their pet hair. With these tips, your home can be pet friendly and pet hair-free. The dream!

Housekeeping Your Headspace

If you’re like me, chances are you’ve used quarantine time to reflect. With all of this extra time at home, the mind wanders to how we can elevate everything from our living rooms to our recipe game. Maybe you’ve taken up a new workout routine, or you dove headfirst into the Defined Dish cookbook. Applause all around for any and all improvements, but in my humble opinion, no improvement is more important than that of your headspace.

Elevating your headspace means optimizing your inner voice. Having the best possible headspace makes you the best possible version of yourself – more centered, more focused, and more efficient. Ever heard someone refer to their “higher self?” They’re talking about the voice inside their head that leads them to be the best version of themselves. In order to hear that voice, you’ve got to get your headspace crystal clear.

Headspace begins to take shape first thing in the morning. Everyone knows that much – we’ve all interacted with a family member or a coworker who was stuck in traffic on the way to work, spilled their coffee all over their car, or scrolled Twitter and found something that infuriated them before the sun even came up. It’s not the wrong side of the bed – it’s the wrong headspace. And that headspace, created by your experiences and perceptions from the day thus far, heavily influences your mood, actions, and choices until your head hits your pillow once more. That’s all day, every day. Your headspace really matters.

So – how do you improve your headspace? It seems trivial, but one of the keys to keeping your mind clear is keeping your space clean. Ever feel like when things in your life are a mess, your house is a mess too? Or ever get the sudden urge to scrub your home from head to toe when you’re trying to get your life together? It’s not just you. A cluttered or dirty room sets a stressful and negative tone in the brain that lingers in the subconscious throughout the day. According to brain scientists, it can also lead to lowered cognitive function.

A clean bedroom and workspace are proven to help the brain perform at its maximum potential. Yes, your husband might INSIST that he’s actually MORE organized and works BETTER with all those papers piled everywhere on his desk, but neuroscientists would beg to differ. If you want to think clearly, you have to have a space that’s clear, and vice versa.

So before you turn off the light tonight, do a quick scan of your room. Anything out of place? Does that mirror need quick dust? Those cups piled on your nightstand – can they make the quick trip to the dishwasher? We get it – by bedtime you’re exhausted, and not in the mood to clean, but what if cleaning your room before bed meant feeling more awake all day tomorrow? (Spoiler alert: it does.)

So Marie Kondo your space = Marie Kondo your mind. Really, it’s that simple. Tidy up and tell us what you think. Now I’m going to go meditate. Hey, I didn’t say cleaning was the ONLY step to elevating your headspace.

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