4 Home Inspection Tips for After the Texas Winter Storm

As the electricity ⚡️ comes back on, water 💦 begins flowing normally again, and outside temperatures 🌞 hit above freezing, we will all exhale into some normalcy in our homes.  But before you exhale, it’s time to put on your own home inspector hat and pull out the notepad and phone. 🔎
This time is crucial for picture 📲 and note 📝 taking for insurance claims and more.
As things thaw out and settle, sometimes the hidden issues arise. 🚨 Let’s think about some home inspection tips (some you probably have not thought of) for after this unprecedented winter storm to get your home back up and running quickly.

Four Home Inspection Tips You Never Thought Of After the Texas Winter Storm

How To Inspect Your Home After The Texas Winter Storm

​Check your home like you are Sherlock trying to solve a crime. 🔎
Inspect rooms you rarely go into over the next few days (and month) often. 
​Areas including:
✅the flooring
✅the window sills and baseboards
✅and especially in rooms you aren’t in often.
Water damage 💦sometimes doesn’t show up immediately. So consistently inspect areas you rarely pay attention to.While offering Austin cleaning services, we clean many areas our clients rarely notice in detail as we do. We tend to always see the water damage in the window sills, or the mold building up in hidden areas after a rain storm.
​We are gearing up on high alert after this Texas winter storm, to be on the lookout for more than dust when our Austin home cleaning schedules open back up


Ice Machines and Bacteria 🦠

With Austin and most surrounding areas having a city wide boil notice, even though you may not have used your ice, toss it. The freezer and cold temps do not kill bacteria. Some ice makers like the one shown in the photo, are consistently making new ice. Keep tossing the ice it makes until the Austin boil water notice (and surrounding counties) is lifted.

Update or Create A Home 🏡 Emergency Contact List.

Remember back in the day, our parents had that emergency contact list for us, the babysitter, and more…on the fridge or the wall?
Well, your home needs one for its needs, too. You need a reliable source of contacts for your home for emergency situations – BEFORE an emergency arises.
And, if you already have a list, you may want to take a look at it. Is it old? Does it need some updating? You may need to update contact information or create a new relationship. The keyword here is UPDATE. Take some time to look at it now, before you need the information, so that it will be ready if/when you do.
Here is a list to get you started:
Home warranty number:
Appliance repair:
Carpet cleaner/water extraction:
Garage door repairman:
Pool repair:
Sprinkler repair:
Helpful Tip: Build relationships with these contacts by sending them thank you 😊 🙏 cards (for example: during the Thanksgiving season).  Your home 🏡 is most likely your biggest 💰 investment, that houses most of your material possessions.
​Having a team of professionals on standby for your home is a must. ☎️
(Home Depot and you can’t fix it all every time).

The Garage

The garage is still considered a room, and is sometimes used to house many liquids that cannot take extreme temperatures like these we’ve had during this Texas winter storm. 🥶

Any cleaning supplies or liquids that have not returned to a normal appearance after thawed to room temperature and being shaken or stirred are most likely unusable.

If you must discard them, please check your local hazardous materials department for proper disposal details.

A Personal Note From Penny

Knowing that Austin Plumbers are most likely going to be on the top of everyone’s list this upcoming week, I’m one step ahead of you.
Here are a few local businesses I recommend for your Emergency Home Contact list.

PlumberAlta Vista Plumbing (512) 713-0226
Carpet: BB&B Carpet and Tile (512) 589-6406
Insurance: Christopher Washington Goosehead Insurance (512) 599-9111
Electronics Fix: Longhorn Mac Repair (512) 902-3789
Garage Door Repair: Lake Travis Overhead Doors (512) 910-3667
Personalize your list to meet you and your home’s needs.

I hope you are staying safe and warm. This Texas winter storm showed us Texans what we’re made of. We saw neighbors helping neighbors – folks providing food, heat, water and shelter to some they had never met before. That’s what we’re really all about. 

Please continue to care for one another and, hopefully, these home inspection tips have helped you care for your home as well.

What are some tips you have for inspecting your home after this brutal Texas winter storm? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.  And please don’t forget to follow us on social media!

Why Is My Washing Machine Leaving Marks On My Clothes and How To Fix It Easily.

The last thing I wanted to see after a week of providing Austin Cleaning Services, was streaky sheets out of my own washer. I’m usually one up on the maintenance list at home, but heck, I’m not even wearing earrings anymore (I usually feel naked without my daily earrings) So the rest of the regular stuff is kind of out of sync too.

​Why Did My Washing Machine Leave Dark Marks On My Clothes?

streaks on clothes in a washing machine

I tend to wash once a week since I’m an empty nester now. I ran my darks through a cycle of washing but I don’t dry them, and that’s when I noticed some streaks. I figured it was a stain from work but I should have known better.
Next I washed my white sheets. Can I tell you that the highlight of my days are getting into bed in fresh clean sheets! Mind you, it’s about 8pm so I’m exhausted and wasn’t ready for the streak of luck I had, to now be up another hour trying to figure this dirt out.
Since I didn’t put anything in the dryer I knew it was the washer. I stuck my head and hand in to look for anything inside, but nothing was found. I knew it was the drum.
Funny that something we rely on to clean, doesn’t do it’s job, and we realize we didn’t maintain it to help it routinely work.
Routine cleaning of the washing machine helps it routinely clean your clothes. My washing machine even has a tub cycle clean button, but just like not wearing earrings daily, I got used to not maintaining my washing machine too.

washing machine cycle buttons

So the washing machine drum (especially in front loaders) gets grimy. It collects greasy residue from past loads and sometimes gets a buildup of fabric softeners and grime mixed together causing these marks on your clothes.
I don’t use fabric softener, but I do usually wash all loads in cold water. So I knew it was time to press that Tub Clean.

How To Clean The Drum Of The Washing Machine Even If You Don’t Have a Tub Clean Cycle.

washing machine manuals

Of course most machines have manuals that we store more than read right? Yes I’m guilty too, because I know what to do, but out of sight out of mind happens to the best of us. My machine even has these maintenance things that stick to the side of the washing machine.

No one is looking to the side of their machine or even inside unless they are missing a sock.

If you don’t have. Tub clean cycle, this method works just as good.

Run a heavy duty cycle on Hot and replace the detergent with White Distilled Vinegar in the dispenser.

I ran my cycle this way even though it has the tub clean and washed my sheets again to test it out.

white sheets on a king size bed with pillows

Fresh, clean sheets again!
My extra hour washing cycle could have been prevented if I ran a tub clean, or a cycle of white distilled vinegar a month to prevent it. Unless it’s scheduled like a dentist appointment most of us will forget.

How our Austin Cleaning Service Can Help You.

We can personalize a cleaning service to meet your needs. We have many downtown Austin Cleaning Service clients that are too busy to even realize their fridge has a built in filter let alone how to routinely maintain their washing machine.
We understand busy personally, and can schedule routine maintenance things like this washing machine cycle to your service.
If my own home was on our Austin Cleaning Services Routine, I would have a personalized to do list with dates and more. 

 I guess I need to be my own client so that I too can get my time back.

How To Keep Frogs Out Of Your Toilets.

Finding a frog in the toilet wasn’t the ideal way to end the first day of school, but that’s what happened to my friend Hopee and her Son Myles. When she posted it on Facebook I have to admit I busted out laughing, but at the same time I knew why it happened. Frogs like to….hop around, but not intentionally hop into your home. Frogs and their amphibious capabilities make the toilet not an odd place for them to be found. Now how they got their may be odd.

How Did A Frog 🐸 Get In My Toilet 🚽?

It most likely hopped onto the rooftop pipe and literally fell into the main vent pipe (vent stack) The Vent stack is actually the upper portion of the main drain pipe (also called the waste stack); so a quick hop down this pipe usually leads to the closest toilet. Which in this case was Hopee’s. 😳

How Did A Frog Get In The Vent Stack? 🏡

Since most plumbing vent stacks are on the roof of the 🏡 home, the 🐸 frog most likely hopped from the 🌳tree to the 🏡roof to the drain and straight to Hopee’s toilet 🚽
I knew Hopee’s home had some large older trees around it so I immediately knew how this toilet hop happened. (I’m still laughing 😂 writing this)

🌳 So it’s very important to keep all tree limbs trimmed away from the house. ✅

Some vent stacks can be found on the ground or side of the house as well. (So you can only imagine what could crawl in there as well 😑 )

How to Prevent Frogs From Getting In The Toilet?

Do: Cover the top of the vent pipe with something like chicken wire to keep critters 🐸 from hopping in. Use a material with fine wires and large holes.

Don’t use screen or even fine hardware cloth. They can clog with dirt and end up blocking off the vent. Whatever cover you use, make sure to check it when the seasons change to confirm the vent is “breathing” as normal.

A very cheap Hardware Fix, but if you’re uncomfortable climbing on the roof safely, call a Pro. Please don’t blame me for you or your hubby falling off the roof 😳 Call a Pro!👨🏻‍🔧

My Personal Experience With Rodents In Clients Homes 🏡

Home cleaning in Austin’s areas such as Spanish Oaks, Round Rock and Lakeway have taught us many things besides how to clean surfaces. We’ve connected with many other Pros who are in the know about Home Maintenance. A lot of our clients are busy Moms and traveling 🧳 professionals who barely have time or want to waste time cleaning their own homes. So when we provide Austin with detailed home cleaning services we go beyond the surface. We understand preventative maintenance and try to keep our clients in the know…… before they go 🚽

Thanks Hope 💚💙for keeping it real on a Facebook so we could give you some inside scoop on how to poop without a frog distraction.
Love you 😍

5 Easy Household Things To Do Around The House To Make Her Smile

Any kind of housework doesn’t seem like a sexy thing to do for a man, but there’s a secret to the sexy part. It’s all in….the idea of doing things that go unnoticed, but require a mans touch. Housework shouldn’t really be a sexist chore, but it can be sexy and easy at the same time. Thank me later by anonymously sending me wine to my office with a note 📝 that this blog was a winner 😉


Men, If you haven’t realized it already, lighting matters! Whether it’s for a selfie, or applying morning makeup, it matters to most women. Take a moment and look around your house and change the lightbulbs that are out. There’s so many different kinds and places that they are hiding, that they end up just getting overlooked. The rangetop on the stove, outdoor lightbulbs and more can get you a smile for sure if you change then. 💡

How To Make The Dryer Dry Faster Could Get You To The Bedroom Easier.

Ask her how the dryer is working lately and if you need to take a look at it. You don’t have to call a technician 👨🏻‍🔧 first if the dryer isn’t drying well when you’ve got a flashlight 🔦 and muscles.😉
A clogged vent trap and low circulation of air is a big problem in the laundry room that rarely gets detected till it doesn’t work. Check behind the dryer to make sure the flexible ducting isn’t kinked. Sometimes if flexible ducting is too long it makes the dryer work harder as it isn’t a direct line of heat out the wall but a kinked line of heat mashed up against the wall. When all else fails don’t be afraid to google it. Extra heat can damage clothes and start a fire and the only fire you want is in the bedroom between you two, not in the dryer vent.

It’s Not Just The Trash That Stinks

Taking out the trash is appreciated, but we all know that going the extra mile makes a woman smile. Take the trash cans around the house outside and spray them down with a household disinfectant. Then spray them with the hose and let them air dry. By this point she’s going to be shocked at the effort you’re putting into things around the house with your own chore list. Making her smile now just might make you smile later in other areas of the house 😉

Do You Know How Many Filters Your Home Has?

We all usually think AC air filters when someone asks have you changed your homes air filters right? There are at least 4 filters that your wife would love for you to change for her on a regular basis.
1. The Air Filters on the walls and in the Ac Unit.
2. Range top Filters above the stove that catch grease in the air while cooking.
3. The Refrigerator has a water filter that should be changed at least once every 6 months.
4. The Household Vacuum has a filter that traps dirt and smells that needs to be changed, washed and cleaned at least once a month or more depending on use.
I know it sounds silly by this point, but remember that you’re fixing problems before they exist to make her smile. When she sees you doing things routinely it makes her feel helped happy and grateful.

Hiring Help Gives You Back More Time

We can only do so much before we wear ourselves out. Don’t wait till Mothers Day, her birthday, or the day she’s thrown a grown woman fit, to realize she’s worn out and needs help. You spend a lot of time working and the free time you have shouldn’t be wasted on cleaning blinds and baseboards when it can be shared together making each other smile. Sharing household responsibilities can be appreciated but before you wear yourself out trying to show up and show out, feel free to reach out to us for help. We’ve been providing Home Cleaning Services in Austin for 23 years. Understanding every homes personal needs helps us provide a personal touch to bring your home peace.

How to Easily Clean the Dishwasher to Prevent It From Not Working

When a handyman takes 5 minutes ⏰ and charges me $99💰💰that’s a lesson I’ll learn one time! I’m all about maintenance ✅before money💰 to prevent it from happening again. So here’s a quick lesson to save you money at my expense. You’re welcome in advance 👊🏼!Sounds odd that something that cleans items needs to be cleaned 🧽 to work but it’s true! Dishes  🍽 are tossed in the dishwasher with leftovers 🦴🥗🥦 that can get stuck, stink 👃🏽 ,and build up in places that need to be 🧼 cleaned. It’s not like we are sticking our head in the dishwasher like ever in life 🤷🏻‍♀️…. unless it’s broken! So let’s prevent it easily, so the cost of repairs 💰can go towards Brunch on Sunday rather than the repair man on Monday!


My dishwasher wouldn’t drain so I called a Pro👨🏻‍🔧 because I couldn’t get the water out, and it started to stink! Within 5 minutes The Pro had cleared the issue and charged me $99! 🤦🏻‍♀️That was $99 for 5 minutes y’all! Never again! He didn’t show me how he fixed it, but he did show me what the cause of the issue was.about:blank

4 Preventative Things To Keep Your Dishwasher Working 

  1. The Dishwasher Filter. If you are seeing food particles begin to build up on your dishes after a cycle then it is time to clean the filter. Not every dishwasher has a filter, but most up to date modern ones do. Google the model name of your dishwasher  and find out if yours has one.  The filter can be removed and hand washed and soaked.  Then see if any solids are stuck where the filter was living.
  2. The Air Gap.  Not all dishwashers have them, but if there is a chrome cylinder on the back of the sink then you now know what it is.  It can get clogged even by a fish bone. (Which happened to be the reason my sink wasn’t draining) Unscrew it and clear the visible clog.  Then you can use a coat hanger stretched out, or a wire brush to go down the drain and unclog the air gap.  Water should then flow freely and you will hear the water go through the disposal.
  3. REMOVE THE HARD WATER DEPOSITS FROM THE DISHWASHERGet a brand of White Distilled Vinegar with 5% ACETICIC ACID. Anything stronger will break down the inside components of the dishwasher so be mindful of this.  Take a large measuring cup and fill it with White Distilled Vinegar. Place it in the top rack and set the cycle to run without anything in the dishwasher but the measuring cup with Vinegar.  Do not use the Heated Dry as it’s not needed.
  4. REMOVE THE SMELL FROM THE DISHWASHER  When water is used in an environment that is sealed shut after every use then mold and mildew eventually grow in places you can’t see. Odors build up and are trapped in places beyond where the plates go.  Get some cheap lemon juice and fill the dispenser where the dishwashing liquid goes.  Run an empty cycle and let the dishwasher meet the lemon cocktail of it’s dreams.   

It’s interesting to see the appliance brands they place in the apartments that we provide cleaning services to in Downtown Austin and Downtown Dallas.  Rent is high and you would think that the appliances should match the cost of living in Austin and Dallas but it’s not always the case.  The turnover of the residents in apartment living is high and everyone lives differently.  You have no idea how the last resident lived in your apartment at all.  We would suggest doing these dishwasher preventative tips before you use your dishwasher upon move in.  

5 Money Saving Things Every HomeOwner needs to do in January

After stepping out of bed into water drenched carpet I realized I couldn’t blame the dog and had to blame myself. This was preventable by simply opening the….


hot water heater closet at least once a year to check inside. I would have noticed my drip pan was full and there was moisture in the closet. Yep that’s right my Hot Water heater had leaked from the garage, to the closet, to the bathroom, to the bedroom.
PREVENTION: Ask yourself when was the last time you INSPECTED your water heater. 🤔 hmmmm yeah me either. That’s not a closet I frequent. We usually don’t inspect till there’s a problem. Inspect the drip pan to see if it’s full of minerals and murky water.
This yearly procedure clears out sediment and minerals like calcium and lime that could prevent proper performance. Having a Pro do it could cost about $80-$100
PENNY’S PERSONAL TIP Strongly consider placing your water heater in the garage (if building or remodeling a house) and adding a discharge pipe so that if it does happen to overflow, the water will be directed outside rather than through your walls.


Afyer a cycle was supposed to be complete I opened the washer to soaking wet clothes. I cursed and then fixed it.
Unplug the washing machine from the electrical outlet.
Place a towel down under the machine as much as you can and place a large bowl on the towel.
Open the square box and unscrew the emergency drain. Get ready for the water to flow out so hold the cap and pull it off slowly.
Unscrew the debris filter and wash and clear any dirt you find.
Look inside where the filter was to make sure there is no more debris in there.


I’d rather come home to cold wine than a hot house so let’s prevent that months in advance. Mold and mildew can build up inside the condensation drain line and form a clog. This clog can cause water to back up and overflow inside the AC Unit.
Pour a cup of distilled vinegar in the access opening in the drain line by the AC unit to kill any mold or mildew that has formed.
Yoy should be able to see the liquid and all that it pushed out of the drain on the outside of your AC unit.
Some people reccomend using bleach but since our pets hang out in the most odd places in the yard let’s kee the bleach away from there outside dwellings.


Expired items and mold could be lurking under your cabinets where water pipes are.
Check under sinks! Leaks, broken caulking, or bubbling surfaces are signs of water damage and the longer they go unnoticed the more damage they can cause.
While checking under the sink take a bag with you to remove expired items.



We usually think that cleaning out the filter trap is enough but it’s not. The dryer has air vent duct that leads from the dryer, to the wall and outside. Sometimes animals can build nests in there as well as our own build up from the dryer. Clogged Dryer Vents have been known to cause house fires so check it yearly.


So you’ve opened your washing machine door after the cycle  is complete expecting to just toss the items in the dryer and you are faced with a situation

Dollar bill signs are probably coming across your mind and you’ve probably said a word or two that your mother may not approve of.

Let me make you smile with two ways to go about this…

One – the easy way that you can do yourself (And I am about to show you in this blog)
Two – the hard way that will probably cost more than a dollar. Now let’s try the easy way first….

There is a small compartment at the bottom of the machine.  Open it.


Grab a a towel and or bucket because this is about to get messy, icky and dirty.  Open the large round knob SLOWLY and catch the water that will come out. 

 Now that you have unscrewed the Drain Filter you will see all the icky stuff trapped inside of it.  Clean off the filter.

Now you can screw the clean drain filter back in and all parts back to how they were.

Run a quick RINSE AND SPIN cycle and let the machine do it’s work.


Something may be clogged in the drain hose in the back.
REMOVE the drain hose on the back (again have a bucket handy as water may come out.

Take the drain hose outside and run the hose on a strong force through the hose to push anything that may be clogged in out.  (A small sock could even cause this damage).

Now it’s time to put the hose back on ( Making sure everything is TIGHT & RIGHT before you go to the next step).

Run the RINSE AND SPIN cycle and let’s see if you’ve become your own HandyMan for the day.



Check Out Our 6 Tips to get your home ready for your summer vacation

School is out and summer vacation begins.  It’s something you’ve been planning for quite some time.   Vacation destinations, hotel, restaurants and shopping to try have all been squared away  but don’t forget about home before leaving home. JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE PLANNING A SUMMER VACATION IT DOESN’T MEAN YOUR HOME IS!

Here are 6 tips to prepare yourself and your home for your summer vacation:

If you’re going away for vacation during the summer, make an emergency list to put by the phone for house sitters or babysitters. List numbers for the fire department, police, ambulance, poison control and veterinarian. Also include emergency contact numbers, both at home and where you’ll be on vacation. List a contact that is also local because I doubt you will be answering your phone while surfing.

So you’ve made sure to lock all windows and doors but forgot the biggest door, the garage door.  If you have your household cars parked outside while on vacation make sure to remove all garage door openers from your visors.  This is a huge looked over mistake that most of us forget about.  If a thief gets into your car they can easily open your garage and close it while no one sees them breaking in your inside garage door to your home.
Leaving newspapers, mail and / or garbage containers out for extended periods will draw unwanted attention.  Ask your newspaper delivery service to stop delivery or simply ask a neighbor to put your newspapers inside your home or theirs until your return.
If you are gone for more than 4 days be sure to set your sprinkler system to go on and off while you are gone.  The summer heat is brutal in Texas and within a week I have seen a green lawn go brown.  Texas wildfires are common and so are people that throw cigarettes  out of the windows. 

Indoor Water SupplySimply shut if off!  You don’t want to come home to a flooded home
Do not publicize vacation plans, especially on social networking sites. Wait till you return from vacation to post pictures of your adventures.  Stay clear of checking into places out of town on social media sites such as Facebook and Foursquare.  If you post a check in or a picture most likely one of your friends will like it, their friends will see what they like and you never know who your friends, friends really are.
A mere $5 could make your home appear that you are actually still there.  Stop by Walgreens, or your neighborhood hardware store and pick up some handy timers.  You can set your TV, lamps and music to go off and on when you usually do yourself when you are home.

Now go and enjoy your vacation!

Are you leaving a key for both Santa and the holiday thieves?

While you are busy packing for your upcoming holiday trip think twice before checking into your local airport or updating your status on your favorite social media site.Thieves not only look for piled up newspapers as a sign of vacation, they view your comings and goings online as well.
So with all the excitement of the holiday season stay alert and keep your home and it’s valuables safe by not letting the thieves know you are on vacation. Post pictures upon your return.
Set automatic timers on lamps inside your home.
Stop the newspaper service while you are gone.
Ask a neighbor or two to be on the lookout for your home and any suspicious activity.
Make sure your trash cans are not left on the curb for days.
Most of all just be aware and also make your children aware that posting your personal whereabouts on Facebook or any other social media sites not only let our friends know where we are but also strangers.Santa isn’t the only one watching.

Bring in the New Year with a plan for your home.

With the New year coming in, we begin to plan for many changes that usually fall by the waste side by February or March. Although our homes are usually the biggest lifetime purchases we make, they tend to get forgotten too in the New Years resolutions. However by using calendar alerts and reminders on our cell phones and computers, it can also be easy to stay on track with these new found goals for our homes. For example: Just type in on your calendar for February1st to change your air filters. Life will become busy ( I can guarantee that!) But you are on your computer and cell phone daily,so when you least expect it….A reminder/alert will pop up that you put in, in the beginning of the year. You are now reminded to change your air filters!

Here are a few things that tend to get forgotten. Take the time to mark these in your calendar alert system today so that you are reminded throughout the year.

ALERTS/REMINDERS Get air conditioners and heating systems checked

Have air ducts cleaned

Clean behind the dryer and inside the dryer air vent

Have the chimney cleaned professionallySteam clean the carpets

Clean out the gutters

Take the comforters, duvets and curtains to the dry cleaners

Have the area rugs professionally cleaned

Schedule window cleaners

Set reminders monthly to change air filters on air conditioner units