Keep it clean

Spring means cleaning. And while mopping your kitchen floor and tidying the linen closet is all well and good, some things in the cleaning line are best left to the pros. Some folks, for example, may not feel secure operating a cleaning behemoth that squirts water at pressures up to 3,000 pounds per square inch — and who can blame them? One wrong move, and you’re minus a finger. (Talk about a spring cleaning!)

Happily, however, competent cleaning professionals abound, and they stand ready to serve you. From dusting your car’s air vents to blasting mildew off your roof to scrubbing your baseboards, give them a call and they’ll “spring” into action.

Steam-clean an engine

Auto detailers will use tiny brushes to clean parts of your car that you didn’t know existed.

“You know how your vents have dust in them?” inquires Eugene Shaw, part-owner of Car Spa Auto Salon (90-1/2 Biltmore Ave., 258-2962). Um…

A full detail job at D&D Detail (740 Tunnel Road, 299-8858) includes “steam-cleaning the motor, all the way to the spare in the trunk,” reports owner David Underwood. Ditto for the rest of the detailers we called, who can rattle off the names of car parts needing cleaning quicker than Carl Lewis on speed. Door jambs, floor mats, ashtrays, tire rims, change slots, gear shifts — they’ll all be cleaner than clean when these dudes get through with them.

“With the salt, and the sap from the trees, and road gunk and all that kind of stuff,” it’s important to have your car cleaned, come spring, advises Shaw.

Royce Piercy, owner of Shine-A-Car (40 McCormick Place, 251-2227) puts it this way: “Cars are so expensive and such an investment. It’s just like anything else — you need to take care of it to protect your investment.”

Keeping your car spic ‘n’ span “makes a big difference in the value of the car,” agrees Underwood.

Plus, steam-cleaning an engine will help it run cooler, and make it easier to find leaks and tears in hoses, detailers report.

A full detailing at the businesses Xpress spoke with costs anywhere from $85 to $200 (and usually depends on the size and condition of your car), but you can figure in the neighborhood of $100. Every place had a basic outside/inside wash job for between $9 and $13, and most are offering spring specials.

For an extensive list of detailing options, look under “Automobile Detailing and Clean-Up Service” in the Yellow Pages.

Turn up the pressure

When we say “clean your house” here, we’re not talking floors and toilets. We mean clean your house — whether it’s sheathed with brick, wood or vinyl.

There are fully insured, mobile pressure-washing units in the area prepared to apply 1,200 pounds per square inch of pressure (or more) to your home, roof or driveway.

“Any exterior surface that will take water can be pressure-cleaned,” explains Robert Blake, owner of Carolina Power Clean (684-9893). Though based in Arden, this business rolls all over Buncombe and Henderson counties.

“Everybody thinks we go out and spray a little water. There’s a lot more to it,” explains Barbara Lanning, who — with her husband, Charles — owns Sparkle Wash by Lanning (281-0006).

A thorough pressure-wash can prepare your house for a new spring coat of paint, rid it of mildew, and generally brighten it up, according to those in the business.

And like a full auto detail, a pressure-wash can make a difference in the value of your home. “Preventative maintenance and cleaning takes care of your home and protects the resale value,” says Lanning, who recommends a pressure-wash for houses and roofs every couple of years. “It can be done all year round, but people prefer it in the spring,” she reports.

Rates vary (and depend on the size, height, angles and condition of the home). Carolina Power Clean and Sparkle Wash both give free estimates.

Before investing in a pressure-wash, investigate the business you’re thinking of hiring, both Lanning and Blake advise. Blake suggests asking the company about the type of chemicals it uses, checking its references, asking if it’s insured and inspecting its equipment.

For a more complete listing of pressure-cleaning services, see “Cleaning — Exterior,” and “Cleaning Systems — Pressure, Chemical, Industrial, etc.” in the Yellow Pages.

Clean house

“The only thing we don’t do is vacuum the dog,” proclaims Patricia Banks, owner of Fresh As A Daisy Cleaning Service (687-8700), whose motto is “We are more particular than your mother-in-law.”

They might leave you with a dirty dog, but before they do, the employees at Fresh As A Daisy and the other cleaning services we spoke with will give your house a spring scrubbing from top to bottom, including windows, walls, baseboards, mirrors, light fixtures, lampshades, garage floors and decks. (Most, though, draw the line at rummaging through the junk in your attic and deciding for you what stays and what goes.)

“If you’ve ever had someone else go in and clean your home, it’s just wonderful,” declares Angela Jones, administrative manager of Merry Maids (684-4837), adding, “It’s uplifting.” Merry Maids “definitely” sees a jump in demand at this time of year, she reports. “People don’t want to be inside cleaning their homes,” reasons Jones.

Most cleaning services focus on eliminating dirt, but at the Maid Brigade (254-7400), “We help manage homes,” explains owner Jerry Putnam. His crew of 10 employees tackles everything from “trailers to large mansions” — cleaning, organizing and even going so far as to change adult diapers.

It’s his employees that really make the difference, Putnam points out. Besides passing a national background check and random drug testing, “They have to have that desire to want to do a good job.”

Prices for a thorough house cleaning vary, depending on the size of the house and how much stuff it contains. A few of the services we spoke with offer spring specials, and most give free estimates.

Look under “House Cleaning” in the Yellow Pages for a complete listing of professionals ready and waiting to clean.

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