9 Things in Your Home You're Forgetting to Clean

9 Things in Your Home You're Forgetting to Clean

Cleaning can be time-consuming and tiring, and few people among us enjoy all that scrubbing and scouring. It can be tempting to simply walk the vacuum cleaner around, wipe down some surfaces, straighten a few pillows, and call it a day. However, there are many benefits to performing a full and thorough clean at least once a month. Getting into those nooks and crannies you usually ignore and spending a few hours cleaning out those forgotten crevices can be incredibly satisfying. It can also prevent the buildup of dust and mold, which can harbor bacteria and viruses if left for long periods of time, and release allergens into the air.

Here are nine often overlooked items in your house that could benefit from a good cleaning, to maintain their functionality and keep your household healthy.

  1. Dishwasher

You wouldn’t think that dishwashers could get that dirty - after all, they’re self-cleaning, aren’t they? Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true, as food debris can collect around the filter over time, creating a scum that’s just perfect for growing bacteria and mold. Removing and cleaning out the dishwasher filter, before running a cycle on hot with a good dishwasher cleaner, will leave everything looking and smelling fresh in no time. The great thing about this is that it takes minimal effort, and you’ll quickly see a difference in how well your dishwasher performs once it is clean.

  1. Ceiling Fans

If your house has a ceiling fan, you probably don’t think much about cleaning the top of it. After all, it’s out of sight up there, so who cares if it’s a little grimy? Ceiling fans are, however, a dust trap, and can collect a thick layer in no time at all. These dust particles are then dislodged every time the fan is in motion, showering you and your family in allergens and settling on other surfaces in the room. This fan inevitably makes the rest of the room dirtier, and creates more cleaning work for you to do! Grab a step ladder and give your ceilings fans a wipe down at least once every few weeks, to decrease your workload and reduce the number of airborne allergens in your home.

  1. TV Remote

You may not think it, but your household TV remote control is a hotspot for bacteria, and it is commonly overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Germs can easily build up in the crevices of remote controls, which are then transferred to your hands every time you change the channel. Giving all remotes a wipe down with disinfectant or an antibacterial wipe once a week can significantly reduce the number of harmful bacteria lurking between the buttons, preventing you or anyone else in your family from getting sick.

  1. Light Switches and Door Handles

Also, often handled, but rarely cleaned, light switches and door handles can become filthy over time. You may not think it to look at them, but these are often coated with a layer of microscopic germs that are invisible to the naked eye. When these are transferred to the hands, they have the potential to make their way into the mouth if you eat without washing first, and you may not think to if you’ve touched nothing more than the kitchen door handle. Giving all switches and handles a once-over with an antibacterial wipe every week can help to keep your household germ-free, which can improve the overall health of your family members.

  1. Pillows

You may be on top of changing your sheets regularly, but have you ever thought to wash your actual pillows? Over time, pillows can become full of dust, dead skin cells, and dust mites, which is bad news for anyone with allergies. Putting them on a hot cycle in the washing machine twice a year, and drying them out on a low heat, can help to keep dust mites and germs at bay.

  1. Toothbrush Holder

Whether you have a wall mounted toothbrush holder, or you simply keep your brushes in a glass by the sink, you probably don’t think too much about cleaning it regularly. However, toothbrush holders are often damp, and in the humid environment of your bathroom, it can be easy for bacteria and mold to take hold. Considering how often you put your toothbrush in your mouth, this is the last place you want to have a buildup of germs! Washing your toothbrush container with hot water and disinfectant when you clean the rest of your bathroom can reduce your chances of picking up any illnesses from your brush.

  1. Washing Machine

Another frequently neglected item is the washing machine, as you probably assume all that hot water and laundry detergent does the job for you. What you may not realize is that laundry can accumulate germs fast when left in the machine, even if it’s only for short periods of time. Remembering to quickly transfer damp laundry to the dryer can reduce bacteria buildup, and cleaning your washing machine once a month or so can prevent germs from taking hold inside the drum. Running a hot cycle with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda is a quick, easy and effective way of keeping your washing machine clean.

  1. Shower Curtain

Your shower curtain is the ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, as all that humidity creates the perfect environment in which to grow. Fortunately, keeping your shower curtain clean is as simple as putting it in the washing machine every few weeks, where the detergent will kill off any germs or spores that may be living in the folds.

  1. Under Appliances

If you are in the habit of simply giving your kitchen countertops a quick wipe down after use, you may be neglecting to clean beneath your appliances. Crumbs can quickly accumulate underneath appliances where they can become moldy. This mold is not ideal in an environment in which you routinely prepare food, so moving everything out of the way for a thorough clean once a week is advisable. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s worth it to keep stomach bugs at bay.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning these often-overlooked household items may seem like a lot of extra work, but many can be dusted and disinfected within a few minutes without adding significantly to your workload. This cleaning can improve the overall health of your family members, and increase the longevity of your household appliances, saving you plenty of money in the long run.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Habits to Keep the House Clean with Kids and Pets

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We all wish to have a squeaky clean house that smells good and shines throughout the day, but keeping a perfectly neat home that too with kids and pets isn’t an easy task. Of course, you can’t spend the entire day organizing things, but you can always develop certain healthy habits that can help prevent messes and eventually reduce the time and effort that goes into cleaning. So for those who are fed up with the tiring chore, here are seven habits that can make cleaning effortless and even fun for you and your family:

Put Things Away After Use

Stacking things in every corner of the house makes the task of de-cluttering and organizing strenuous and challenging. Developing the habit of putting things in the allocated spaces can help cut down the amount of time needed to clean.  So instead of throwing your coat on the chair, make the effort of placing it in the closet or the laundry basket. Similarly, put your shoes in the organizers set up near the entrance- these small habits will make the difference between a messy and a tidy house.

Use a Timer

To stay on top of your cleaning keep track of time using a handy tool such as a stopwatch or a timer. Decide a 10 or 15-minute slot during the day when you can consistently clean without any disturbance then set the timer and get working. Continue cleaning until the timer beeps; this will help you develop the habit of fast-paced cleaning. If you have extra time choose as many slots as you can without stressing yourself. Remember the goal is to get things done on time so don’t set targets that you won’t be able to follow or longer durations that might slow you down.

Follow a Cleaning Routine

In a house with kids and pets, there are multiple cleaning chores, and we can’t handle all of them at once. Instead of panicking (which I understand can be difficult) set your priorities; pen down the most crucial task that can be done in the available time and schedule the others for a later time. I have never been a fan of making lists, but once I started listing and prioritizing; I felt focused and had better control over things.

Fix specific times for particular tasks, for instance, load the clothes into the washer first thing in the morning to avoid the dirty laundry from piling up. Similarly, don’t leave the dishes after dinner for the next day, run the dishwasher after everyone is done and you will have a clean kitchen. You can

No Dirty Paws or Shoes Allowed Inside the House

Whether it’s your kid’s shoes or your furry companion’s paws, both can be a means of tracking dirt and mud inside the house, and in turn, your floor will require frequent cleanup. The best way to prevent it from getting messy is by assigning a dedicated spot at the entrance to take off the shoes. As for the dogs that keep coming in and out, keep a towel to wipe their paws or a paw mat at the doorstep. You can even dip their feet in water after returning from a walk outside to ensure that all dirt is removed from your pup’s paws.

Clean Up “Accidents” Quickly

Cleaning up messes made by your kids or pets immediately can help save a lot of effort and time. Keep the require supplies and cleaners handy and get in action when you spot an accident. For pet messes on carpets blot the area using paper towels and use a vinegar & water solution followed by baking soda to get rid of the smell.

This prompt cleaning approach works with all tasks, so keep organizing and putting things away as you go and you will notice that your house appears a lot less messy at the end of the day.

Look For Easy and Smarter Ways to Clean

Instead of working harder, look for smarter ways of cleaning up. Invest in the correct tools and supplies, for instance, get a vacuum with powerful suction to get rid of pet fur from your house. You can create some powerful cleaning agents yourself using ingredients from the kitchen. However, if you want to buy commercially available cleaners then get a few and see what works best for your house. Stick with these specific ones only as using ineffective techniques or products can significantly increase the time required for cleaning up.

Assign Responsibilities to Every Member of the House

Approaching cleaning as a practice where each member of the household participates can have multiple benefits. When everyone else around you is working, it acts as a source of motivation, and you somehow don’t feel upset about working anymore. Set aside an hour each day when you decide to bless the home by handling one major chore. Assign age-appropriate responsibilities to your kids as well; this can play a significant role in teaching them life-skills such as self-efficacy and boost their self-esteem. Begin by asking them to clean up their toys or make the bed. If you feel your children are old enough then assign them pet-related chores such as helping with bathing the dog, cleaning the parrot’s roomy cage, putting the cat’s toys away, etc.  Reward your kids after they complete the allocated tasks.

As much as these habits can help, the most important thing is to relax and tell yourself that you can't be perfect all the time. Focus on the problems that cause 80% of the mess, and hopefully, you will be able to stay on top of these chores.

 

Author Byline:

Danica Boyd is a bird enthusiast and nature lover. She has been keeping pet birds for several years and now has tons of practical experience in caring for birds. She writes for the team behind https://www.birdcagesnow.com/.

7 Tips to organize your small living room to look royal

Are you looking for ideas that can keep your room cozy and aesthetically pleasing? Have you been searching for the ideas? Then this article is exclusively designed for you. Organizing your small living room will make a quite difference, it will make your living room to be appealing, attractive and extremely beautiful- it can serve as a veritable space for relaxation.  Below are 7 favorite ways you can make it to look really royal:

Use neutral colors for a small living room

 Try as much as you can to use neutral colors on your furniture upholstery, ceiling, floors, and walls. People subscribe for neutral colors or palette, because it creates a calming environment and imparts instant sophistication. If your small living room is not well beautified with neutral colors, it won’t make them attractive. You are strongly advised to do everything humanly possible to ensure your living room is beautified with awesome neutral colors.

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Select small-scale furniture

If you really want to make your living room to look royal, then you will never go wrong by selecting furniture that will dominate the space or overpower the room. Choosing a sofa with a tightly upholstered back and thin arms is much more preferable than the one with a multi-cushion back and substantial arms.

 

If you have a small space, then you can do without a couch, instead you may choose four chairs with a coffee table or a loveseat. When you want to select chairs, try to look for armless chairs, because they won’t take much space unlike the ones with arms.

 

Keep a stylish carpet at the center of the living room

Keeping a stylish carpet in the center of your living room will truly beautify your room, and thereby make the living room to have a dramatic and cool look.

 

Do not forget the side table

 Your living room needs a nice side table- adding a side table will truly make it to look attractive, and beautiful. Also, please do not forget to put a decorative lamp and other beautiful accessories around the side table.

 

Give a good window treatment to your living room

Make optimal use of the window curtains; if you have small windows, then try using window blinds. Let your window curtains be long so that it will be easier and safer for them to touch the floor of your living room.

 

Install smart lighting

You need to time to choose good lighting; let the lighting be hung or attached to the walls from above, so that it can effectively and efficiently save room on floor space.

 

Decorate with miniature paintings

Sometimes in interior design, we see how wall arts are not fully treated well; often times they are seen by some people as an afterthought. We are here telling you that you shouldn’t be so, because you will miss out lots of amazing design. If you select thoughtfully, you will see that that appropriate wall art can perfectly provide for all your room.

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Decorating your house with miniature paintings will create a harmonious interior and will surely mesh with the space in your living room. One of the smartest decisions you can make today is to design your interiors. 

Our best advice is that you should be looking for a wall art and try as much as you can to get a wall painting you love. Choose the paints that will match your décor of your small living room. This is good, and we are confident you will never regret engaging in this.

Conclusion

If you meticulously follow the ideas discussed in this article, you will achieve multiple benefits. Do all you can to make your living room to be beautiful, look really appealing and awesome. Please don’t forget these ideas; use neutral colors for a small living room, select small-scale furniture, Keep a stylish carpet at the center of the living room, do not forget the side table, give a good window treatment to your living room, install smart lighting, decorate with miniature paintings and lots more.

 

Author Bio:

Perfect Agent understands just how important it is to have a committed and experienced real estate agent in the process of selling or renting a property. It helps customers find, compare and choose a real estate agent to sell or rent their property. Also offer the best service in the real estate industry by connecting customers with top performing real estate agents.

6 Tips For Keeping Your Carpet Super Clean

Stains and messes can easily become a huge problem on carpet. As a result, you'll have to pay extra attention to ensure it stays in good shape. The good news is that there are plenty of tips you can use to help keep the carpet clean. Consequently, problems won't be able to build up and force a carpet replacement that could be costly and time consuming.

Regular Cleaning

The most important tip to make use of is regular cleaning. This includes vacuuming and giving your carpet a good steam cleaning on a regular basis. You can consider this maintenance for your carpet, ensuring that dust and other bits of debris don't build up.

As a result, your carpet will be more durable and likely have a longer lifespan overall. While regular washing might seem like more work, it's still going to require a lot less effort than some other flooring options such as hardwood. If you are looking for an affordable machine, TheHouseWire provides an interesting review about the best carpet cleaner to use at home. If you love the softness and warmth of your carpet, then regular care is well worth it! If you are looking for

Blot, Don't Rub!

Accidents can happen, so it's important to know how to handle any spills that show up in your carpet. The first thing you'll want to remember is to avoid rubbing the stain. While it might seem like rubbing is the ideal way to scrub out a stain, it can actually make the problem worse.

What tends to happen with rubbing a stain is that the stain substance ends up getting spread to nearby fibers that it wasn't on before. In addition, it can be rough on the carpet and result in the fibers losing durability before they otherwise might. Try blotting instead!

Try Hydrogen Peroxide

From time to time, the messes on your carpet can include blood. Oftentimes, this can be due to a small (but messy) accident. Many worry about being able to get blood stains out of their carpet, but don't fear! There is a solution.

When it comes to blood stains, hydrogen peroxide is key to resolving the problem. Start by using a gentle cleaner to get the majority of the stain up. Then, add hydrogen peroxide to the remaining stain and it will work to dissolve germs and eat away at any remaining blood in the carpet.

Try Shaving Cream

If you're looking for a substance that can handle just about any carpet stain, try out shaving cream! This isn't an option many people think of, but it's a great choice for the vast majority of carpet stains that can occur.

For tricky stains, you can add some shaving cream to the blemish and then allow it to rest for about 30 minutes before blotting it up. This should work to remove the stain, but you can also try using a little bit of vinegar afterwards to make sure every bit of the problem is resolved.

Begin Away From The Door

When you're cleaning the carpet, it's a good idea to begin in the area farthest away from the door. You can also choose to work your way toward another room, so that you have somewhere to go while the carpet is drying where you won't have to step on the newly-cleaned carpet.

In addition, it's a good idea to make sure that you work in a straight line. That way, you'll be able to make sure that every inch of the carpet is covered. Furthermore, it's wise to take it slowly to do a thorough job rather than rushing through it.

Try a Portable Spot Cleaner

Portable spot cleaners are an ideal way to handle the occasional stains that can show up. This little handheld tool adds the power of a motorized brush to ensure the entire stain gets lifted up quickly. You also won't need to worry about dragging a large carpet cleaner into the room for one little spot.

If you select a tool that avoids heat as a method for cleaning, then it will also be less likely to cause damage to your carpet. Whether it's a pet stain, coffee stain or something else, this type of small cleaner can be an ideal solution.

Conclusion

Overall, there are plenty of ways to keep your carpet clean and handle stains that can occur in your carpet. By following these tips, you'll have an easier time keeping a clean carpet and cleaning out any stains that do happen to occur.

Just remember that depending on the kind of carpet you own, you may need to tailor some of these tips to work better for your specific carpet. If you're getting a new carpet, or recently got a new carpet, you can also talk to the contractor or an employee from the company you purchased it from to get some tips.

 

5 Tips For Delightfully Decorating Your First Condo

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More and more people are choosing condos for living these days and if this is your first time owning one, maybe you’re in search of some inspiration when it comes to decorating it. It’s true that condos are very easy to maintain and they make a great living space. You’ll just need a couple of fun ideas to spruce yours up. Here are a couple of just such inspiring ideas.

 

Only Keep What You Need

A clutter-free space is the best environment to live in. A clean and open area with just a few necessary belongings is the way to go. In order to achieve this, try letting the size of your condo dictate the amount of stuff you have. If your bachelor or one bedroom condo is on the smaller side, consider keeping less stuff around so that space feels more open. The best way to achieve this is to have a place for everything. If a certain area becomes cluttered, then you’ll know it’s time to go through those things and get rid of some. You should try to make this a habit and you won’t need to worry about clutter anymore.

 

Brighten Up The Place

In order to have a bright condo, you should pay attention to wall color, drapes, rugs and furniture as well. Try mixing up neutrals and darks with brighter colors on your walls. Add a couple of mirrors around your condo to allow the sunlight to bounce off of them. For example, you can place one large mirror across from the window, or hang a couple of smaller ones around the condo. Light bulbs can brighten a space if you choose them wisely. Namely, you should base your decision on the lumens and not wattage; this is because lumens are used to measure the overall brightness, while wattage is the amount of energy a light bulb uses.

 

Try Drapes

Give your condo some warmth and style with drapes. If you want your space to stand out, choose solid and sharp-colored drapes. Dark drapes can block unwanted sunlight, whereas sheer white drapes let a lot of sunlight in for a brighter space. Choose neutral drapes for a warmer, calmer space and tall ones to make a condo feel bigger. In order to brighten a room with dark-colored walls, hang pastel drapes as they can soften the overall vibe. (For more inspiration and ideas involving drapes, check out some of the interior design solutions used in Square One Condos.)

Make A Small Garden In Your Balcony Area

Having some greenery around your living space really does miracles for your mood. A few minutes spent around plants can really clear your mind and give it a boost. You can transform your balcony into a small garden by choosing your plants wisely. Start by smaller and low-maintenance plants like Pothos or Aloe. When your plants get too tall, simply cut them to the length that you consider ideal. You can add a coffee table to put your plants on or even a chair, depending on the space you’re working with. You can also plant some edibles like strawberries, cherry tomatoes, lettuce or other leafy greens.

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Choose Accessories To Decorate Your Condo

With just a little bit of creativity, you can decorate even a smaller space with appropriate accessories. You can hang up bookshelves on the walls to save up space and stock them with not just books, but decorative objects and pictures as well. Use clear chairs or a glass-top table in your dining room to visually expand the space. Make a cozy corner where you can enjoy a good book or a cup of tea. Another idea would be to simply add an armchair with a comfy cushion or a blanket over it. Also, consider placing colorful hampers around the condo to serve as storage units for umbrellas, hats or kids’ toys.

 

Conclusion

Any condo can become a stylish and inviting environment to live in with the help of a few simple DIY ideas. A balcony garden, brighter space or a clutter-free area become easy projects with the help of ideas listed above. Try one, several or all of them and you’ll see how your condo will transform from a good living space to a great and inspiring one.

The Best Mops For Every Floor

Mops are a key tool that no homeowner can live without, yet it can be surprisingly tricky to find the best mop for every type of floor. Too many people end up using the wrong type of mop to carry out different cleaning tasks, and finding that it doesn’t produce the best results. Even worse, some people use a mop that hasn’t been cleaned properly, pushing it from room to  room and moving the dirt around.

Knowing the different types of mops available and the different functions that they are best suited to is key to getting your home and floors as clean as possible, so this is our basic guide to the best mops for every possible kind of floor – you’ll be amazed at the difference!

Cotton Mops

A classic cotton mop may be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “mop”. Made from heavy cotton, this mop is best used for a single clean up operation of spillages or fluids since they are capable of soaking up a large amount of liquid. They are also very affordable, and so can easily be disposed of when worn out, although they aren’t necessarily the most economical solution since they will need replacing fairly frequently.

Blended Mops

A blended mop can be spotted by its stitched bottom. This type of mop is best saved for heavy household tasks which require plenty of absorbency since it can easily mop up large spills without any difficulty. The advantage of a blended mop is that it is not only very absorbent but also more long-lasting than a standard cotton mop. It can be cleaned many times before it has to be thrown away making it a more economical choice. Perfect for use on vinyl floors or linoleums, a blended mop is a staple for every bathroom and kitchen.

Flat Microfiber Mops

The benefit of a microfiber mop is that it is perfect for low moisture household cleaning tasks. Ideal for use on quarry or ceramic tiles that have grout lines, this type of mop requires very little liquid to get the job done, and this is vital for tiles where keeping excess moisture to a minimum is necessary. Although a microfiber mop costs more than a standard cotton mop, it will be lighter and easier to use, and is also more economical since it can be washed countless times and re-used. If you have the right handle to fit to your mop, you can also use it to clean tiled walls too thanks to its wide cleaning path and light weight design. Remember, when you wash your microfiber mop, you need to launder it in a separate wash from other fibers and cottons, and you should also avoid using fabric softener, high temperatures and bleach when washing since they could damage the mop’s fibers, shortening its lifespan.

Steam Mops

If you’re ready for a high-tech solution to your cleaning problems, a steam mop could be the answer. Designed to be easy to maneuver and lightweight to use, steam mops use electricity to heat water inside its canister to an extremely high temperature in order to get your floors hygienically clean. If you want to be sure your floors are absolutely spotless and free of bacteria, a steam mop is the solution, and because they leave very little moisture on the floor, it will take very little time to dry. Even better, steam mops are suitable for use on all kinds of hard floors, including laminates, hardwoods, linos and tiles, so they are a multi-functional option for any home. You can find out all the information you need to know about choosing the right steam mop to suit your needs on https://steamclean.reviews/ - an essential resource for anyone who needs to select a model to fit their budget.

 

Cleaning and Downsizing Tips to Make the Process as Smooth as Silk

There are many upsides to downsizing.  Moving into a smaller, more manageable home can ease your maintenance burdens, which means freeing up time and money for enjoying your golden years.  However, the actual process can feel pretty painful in some ways.  Here are some tips for making your move as smooth as silk.

Start eliminating “stuff.”  While it may feel like you should find your new home before deciding what to keep and what to part with, it can be such a time-consuming process that you’re better off starting earlier.  On top of reducing the amount of items you own, you also have the emotional issue of eliminating belongings.  You can gather some supplies, such as a few boxes and some tape, and take your time working in sections.  My Move recommends considering the influence of weather when you are deciding where to work on sorting and organizing.  Some of the toughest areas to cull are greatly affected by weather conditions.  Your garage, workshop, basement and attic probably accumulated a great many things that will bring memories forward, such as hobby- and holiday-related items.  Choose mild days when you can spare some time for focusing on those areas.

Clean out.  You should make only two piles when doing your sorting - “yes” and “no.”  You can go back through your “no” pile later and divide items by giveaways, garbage and items to sell.  Avoid keeping duplications of the same thing.  Assess your old or worn-out furniture; you may have bulky items that are better off being rehomed.  If your mattress is older than 7 to 10 years, it’s probably at the end of its life cycle.  You might decide it makes the most sense to keep it until it’s time to move and buy a new one for your new place.  Check online mattress reviews for your best buying options.  To help with your smaller decisions, one idea is to ask yourself if you would replace each item if it were lost.  If you have items you wouldn’t replace and aren’t worth your time or trouble to sell, consider putting those things at the curb in a box labeled “free.”  Excess spatulas, plastic cups and such are not likely to be worth your gas to take to a charity or thrift shop.  If you want, you can send a monetary donation instead, and you’ll likely be surprised at how quickly those things are snatched up from the roadside. 

Find the right place.  When deciding on your smaller home, there are several factors to consider.  HGTV points out location is always a big player for homebuying.  Consider the proximity to shopping centers, public transportation, major highways, and medical care.  This is your opportunity to support your lifestyle in new ways.  For instance, you may wish to be close to tennis courts, grandchildren or a dog park.  Write out your priorities, then think of whether you prefer a house or condo for your future.  A one-level home with easy landscaping chores and maintenance-free siding can mean easier upkeep for your senior years, or you may choose a condo to pass the burden of care onto others.  USA Today recommends researching association fees relating to potential choices so you aren’t in for any financial surprises.  

Cleaning up.  Once you find “the one,” you’ll have even more work to do.  You need to box up the remainder of your belongings, clean your old house top to bottom, and move into the new place.  Cleaning in and of itself can be a major undertaking, and while your home is for sale, you want it spotless.  An online cleaning checklist can keep you on track, or you may wish to hire pros to manage the work.  When it comes to packing your things, be sure to label boxes clearly with room and contents.  Many seniors hire senior move managers to assist with the process, or you can recruit friends and family for help. 

By starting early, you can make downsizing much easier.  Sort and prioritize carefully.  There are many benefits to downsizing, and you’ll enjoy the best results with a thoughtful and organized plan.

5 Home Improvement Hacks for Summer 

By Emily Young

Bringing warm weather and long days, summer is the perfect time to tackle home improvement projects. You don’t need to worry about sleet or snow derailing your plans, and you can take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight.

Some homeowners schedule major renovations for the summer—like remodeling the kitchen or landscaping the backyard. But you can make positive changes to your house even if you don’t have a lot of spare time or money. These simple summer hacks will help you create a happier, safer, and more comfortable home.

 

1. Clean Out Your Clutter

When you open the shades and emerge from winter hibernation, you start to notice how much stuff has accumulated over the last few months. What you need is a good summer cleaning, especially if you’re planning to host any backyard barbecues or overnight guests.

Enlist help from friends or family, and lead a day of decluttering. If taking on the entire house is too intimidating, start with just one room. While sorting through items, ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this? Do I need it still? Does it make me happy?” Separate everything into distinct piles: Keep, Donate, Recycle, and Throw Away. Take discarded items to the trash or a secondhand store immediately, and revel in how open and light your home feels.

 

2. Go Greener

An energy-efficient home is not only good for the planet but also good for your wallet. Even if you’re not ready to install solar panels or switch to low-flow faucets, you can still implement beneficial green upgrades in your house.

Install a programmable thermostat so you only run the air-conditioning when people are home. Updating your house’s insulation helps it stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Replace drafty windows and broken shutters, and swap out incandescent lightbulbs with long-lasting compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). You’ll make your home more ecofriendly and save on your monthly energy bills.

 

3. Boost Security

Home security is always a priority, but it’s even more of a concern for travel-heavy times like summer. Before you leave on a trip, you want to know that your house is in good hands and that everything will be there when you return.

Think about what will give you peace of mind while you’re traveling. Do you need a straightforward alarm system with window and door sensors? Are you interested in surveillance cameras or 24-hour professional monitoring? Do you want complete remote access to security controls? Research home security systems, then find and install the best one to suit your needs.

 

4. Enjoy the Outdoors  

It’s a typical summer dilemma: you want to spend more time in your backyard, but it’s too hot during the day, and bugs are a nuisance at night. Instead of letting your home’s outdoor spaces go to waste, look for ways to solve the problems that keep you inside.

Create more shaded areas. Plant trees along the perimeter of your yard to provide natural shade, or add a wide umbrella, awning, or pergola to cover your patio furniture. If you have a larger budget, invest in a screened-in porch that protects guests from both the elements and the bugs.

For additional relief from mosquitoes, try a combination of outdoor deterrents. Set up circulating fans to keep the air (and the bugs) moving. Dispose of any standing water that could become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and place citronella candles or lanterns in strategic locations throughout the yard.

 

5. Give Your House a Makeover

After enduring months of winter weather (and perhaps years of wear and tear), your home’s exterior could use a little TLC. Freshen it up, and you’ll notice an immediate boost in your curb appeal.

Grab a sturdy ladder, a pair of work gloves, and a garden trowel, and clean out all the debris that’s accumulated in your gutters. This job is best done in warm, dry weather, and your future self will be grateful during the next big storm.

Next, hire a professional—or if you’re confident in your DIY abilities, rent equipment—to pressure wash your house. Pressure washing can rinse away unsightly layers of grit and grime on siding made of wood, brick, aluminum, steel, and traditional stucco. Do a deep clean of the outside windows with a bucket of hot soapy water, a squeegee, and a chamois. If your exterior is due for a complete facelift, replace the siding or touch up the paint.

This summer, savor spending time at home, both inside and out. Complete just one of these home improvement hacks, and enjoy the rewards for the rest of the coming year.

6 Airbnb Bathroom Essentials Often Forgotten by Hosts

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(This blog post is targeting customers looking for rental/airbnb cleanings).

Although extremely rewarding, running Airbnb businesses is a time-consuming job. If you want to be a successful Airbnb host, there are certain tasks such as setting the right price that will require considerable time and careful consideration. Luckily there are other tasks such as getting the bathroom of your Airbnb listing ready that requires less time. That being said, furnishing your bathroom with all the right essentials can be just as important in determining the success of your Airbnb business.

Even though your guests might not be spending that much time in the bathroom, it is still a sacred space after all that Airbnb hosts should give the necessary thought too. The bathroom should boast all the essential items that guests will need during their stay. If you do not know what you need to add to your bathroom to make sure that all your guests have a truly comfy stay, here are the top six Airbnb bathroom essentials that are often overlooked by Airbnb hosts.

 

Get hooked on hooks and shelves

There are certain things in life that you can never have enough of - hooks and shelves fit this category. Enough shelves and hooks are for sure a must-have fixture for any bathroom.

Make sure that there is a hook next to the shower so that your guests will be able to get their towel after they have enjoyed a refreshing shower. Also, be sure to add a hook behind the bathroom door as your guests will want a place to place their wet towel and clothing.

Shelves are just as important! Your guests will need a place where they can place their personal items such as a loofah, facial cream or facecloth.

 

Foot towel

One great (and inexpensive) way to sweep your guests off their feet is by including a foot towel in your bathroom. Apart from the great impression it creates, it will make sure that your guests' stay is even more comfortable.

One of the most unpleasant experiences is to be greeted by a cold tile floor after you have enjoyed a warm shower... When that happens, your guests will definitely notice that you failed to pay enough attention to the finer details. Also, when you remember to add a foot towel, guests will not grab the closest towel to dry their feet. So, it is really a win-win for both guest and host!

 

A small trash bin

Hosts many times forget to include a small trash bin in the bathroom. It might be small (and for sure not a focal point), but it makes it a lot more convenient for your guests. Your trash bin should definitely have some type of liner to make it easier for your guests to take out the trash if your house rules require that they do. Ideally it should also have a lid to offer the necessary discretion.

 

A disposable toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste

So, your guests are all dressed and ready to hit the sheets only to discover that they have forgotten their toothbrushes and toothpaste at home. Let us be honest, it has happened to everyone at least once.

Not all your guests will use the toothpaste and disposable toothbrush that you have placed in the bathroom, but it is still a very easy way to make a great impression. After all, when it comes to being a professional Airbnb host, it is all about the finer details and extra attention.

 

First-aid kit

All the sightseeing and walking that your guests will be doing might just lead to a headache or a blister or two. So, your guests will be extremely grateful to discover that you too have walked the extra mile by providing them with a first-aid kit. After all, you will only be too grateful that a guest grabbed a Band-Aid instead of your new white luxurious Egyptian cotton towels.

 

Air freshener

Another bathroom essential that will come to the rescue of your clients is an air freshener. One easy way to make sure that a romantic weekend remains romantic is to include a can of air freshener in the bathroom. Many times guests are traveling with a loved one and the last thing that any guest wants to discover is that there is no air freshener at hand when it is already too late…

Lastly, always double-check that you have communicated to your Airbnb guests that these bathroom essentials are in fact there for them to use. There is nothing worse than a guest thinking that the toothbrush which you have placed there for them to use is instead a used one that your cleaners forgot to throw away. Luckily, with the help of Airbnb vacation rental software like AirGMS, you can automate your guest communication so that a specific message about these bathroom essentials gets send to your guests after they have checked in. So, there is no real reason why any misunderstandings should occur.

 

How to Find a Pet-Friendly Cleaning Service

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With pets in the house, maintaining hygiene can be a difficult job. No matter how hard you try to keep your pets away from ticks, fleas and dirt, bathe them regularly and train them, there will be days when you come back to find “accidents” around the home. Even if you maintain a strict cleaning regime and use the right products & tools, it is always best to get the professionals to come in once in a while and give your house a complete clean-up. Most pet-parents do want to get professional help, but they have a hard time finding pet-friendly cleaning services that are efficient and affordable at the same time. Even if a company does advertise to be safe for your pets, how can you be sure? What exactly does one need to look for in such companies? These are questions that might puzzle you so keep on reading as we discover the answers to these queries.

How to Find a Cleaning Service?

Thanks to the technological advent we can now quickly look up for cleaning services in our area. You can try searching on websites such as Yelp or even use Facebook as various companies today have active social accounts. Once you have shortlisted the ones you like, it is now time to get answers to the essential questions.

What to Look for in an Efficient Cleaning Service?

Some companies may ask you to remove your pets from the house for a day. It indicates that the products they are using may be harmful to your pets or their staff may not be comfortable working with pets. A service that is safe for pets will have experience in working alongside all sorts of animals from dogs to cats, fishes, birds and even reptiles.

When choosing a service, inquire about the kind of products they will be using. Certain chemicals can be poisonous for pets if ingested so make sure they use products that are free from such toxic substances. Here is a list of the contents that need to be avoided:

  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Formaldehyde used in household cleaners
  • Perchloroethylene used in carpet cleaners
  • Phenols
  • Phthalates
     

Ask What Tools or Machines They Will Use

Also, check if they are equipped with the right tools and machines. For instance, a significant problem for households with pets is dander. It can get into the carpet and settle in the fibers which becomes difficult to remove using a regular vacuum cleaner. To clean the carpets thoroughly and reach all the dander in the carpet a vacuum system with High-Efficiency Particular Air (HEPA) filtration is required. It not only removes all pet dander but also keeps it out of the environment during vacuuming.

Be sure to check if they use eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning solutions as these are in most cases safe for pets.

Before finalizing the deal get them to visit your home and meet any pets that they might have to look after, in case you won’t be able to stay at home when they come.

AUTHOR BIO:

Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

How to Make Your Home Safer and Healthier

Your home should be a haven where your children can more around freely without fear. This is also the same with people who do not have their families yet. It will always be better to live in a home that is safer and healthier. One of the things that should be considered is the design. The whole house should be made comfortable for everyone who is living there. And most importantly, it must be safe all the time. This is one of the suggestions that you will find whenever you will ask people who are expert in safety and Medicare stuff. But aside from the design, there are other smaller things that you should not forget because underestimating these aspects will surely affect the safety and health of your family members. Here are some suggestions on how you can make your home safer and healthier:

 

Control dust under the house

Regular cleaning is a requirement to secure the house from any dirt. If you are cleaning, you also need to control the dust that is accumulated under your house. Sometimes, this is left unnoticed since we do not really pay attention to the parts of the house that we do not always see. Freeing your house from dust will help you maintain the health of your family. There are different dangers that dust can do to your health. This is harmful for those who are suffering from asthma or cough. It can worsen the situation of the person. And for those who are healthy, they also have the tendency to develop acquired asthma if the house is dusty.

 

Filter water before use

Gone are the days when tap water is clean and you can just drink from the water running from the faucet. This is the case in most cities now where the source of water has already been affected by water and land pollution. If you want to make sure that the water you are using in the kitchen will not cause harm to the health of your family, you should consider some methods of filtering before using it. There are different diseases that can be a result of unclean water and you do not want your household to be part of those that became victim of this. This is why you should filter the water first.

 

Eat healthy and organic

Health related issues that are connected to the food that we are eating is increasing every year. A lot of people in the cities are obese and some people have developed diseases that are not present in their genealogical history all because of the food that they are eating. If you want to guard your health and that of your family, you should consider eating healthy and organic food. Do not rely on the food that you find instantly from the convenience store. Organic food has better nutritional status compared to processed food. It will surely be perfect for you and your family.

 

Ditch pesticides

There are instances when pests start to make you feel uncomfortable as they reveal their presence inside your home. The first thing that most people would think of whenever they deal with this problem is to rely on pesticides. This is helpful in eliminating the pests but it can be harmful to your health. The substance that is being used in pesticides can be harmful to the lungs. And if you have children, it can also be dangerous especially if you fail to keep it in a secure place. Instead of using this harmful substance to eliminate pests, you can consider some alternatives that you will find in your kitchen.

 

Always use non-toxic cleaning products

One of the mistakes that most of us commit is choosing cleaning products that are harmful to the health. Before you add a product to your grocery basket, you should check the label first and identify the materials where it is made of. Toxic cleaning products are dangerous at home especially if it is not managed well.

 

Use low-VOC paint

We usually consider repainting the house to make it look new. But there is still danger in this so you need to be careful in choosing the pain that you will use. Always check the label and find the tag that says, “low-VOC.” The smell of the paint when inhaled can affect the lungs and the respiratory area.

 

Ventilation is the key

The window, the door and other exit areas are the keys to good ventilation. If you want everyone to be comfortable, work on the ventilation. Open the window in the morning to let air flow. Always let air circulate even in the bathroom to make sure that everyone is getting enough oxygen.

 

Your home should be the best place to stay after a very tiring day. Take care of it and you will surely reap the comfort that it brings.

 

Author Bio:

Ryan Varela is the CEO of Boost Health Insurance which provides customized and affordable health care plans for thousands of customers across the United States. Ryan has nearly a decade of experience in the health care industry and continues to serve the greater need to educate and deliver access to affordable options to those who need health care the most.

 

 

 

Top Tips for Decluttering Your Garage

When you buy a new home with a nice big garage, you may go into it with big plans to have a nice place to keep your car and bikes and a little workbench in the corner for your messy welding or carpentry projects.

It’s a wonderful idea, but all too often the idea and reality don’t mesh, and people end up using their garages as a storage area for old appliances, tools, gardening equipment, kids toys and anything else that doesn’t have a place in the main home.

A cluttered garage is a dangerous garage. The garage is one of the most common locations for household accidents, and the amount of stuff that is stored in it is a huge reason why there are so many accidents.

Decluttering your garage will make it a much nicer place to work on your car and your other projects, and can make your home feel more spacious too. Here are a few tips to help you get your garage clutter-free. 

1. Be Ruthless With Your Clutter

Over the years you’ve accumulated a lot of clutter, and when you’re tidying up, it can be tempting to look through it and to put it away again because it has sentimental value. It’s very hard to declutter by doing that. It’s important to treat de-cluttering the same way you treat bringing new stuff into your house.

Ask yourself:

-          Do I actually need this item?

-          Will I ever use it again?

If your answer to either of those questions is a “no”, then you should get rid of the item.  Try to do this in an environmentally friendly way:

-          Sell the item online

-          Give it away on your local Freecycle

-          Hold a garage sale

-          Donate it to a charity store

-          Recycle it

-          Dispose of it in a skip

If you prioritize selling of giving away items, then you’re putting less “stuff” into landfill.

 

2. Use Every Inch of Space for Storage

Storage doesn’t have to mean cupboards and shelves. Hanging pockets can be useful for small tools, and hanging racks and other vertical storage solutions such as the wall storage systems from Gladiator Garageworks help you to make the most out of your space. You can hang everything from helmets to bikes and kids scooters so they’re not taking up floor space. The same applies to tools. A tool board for bigger tools that won’t fit in a box can be a brilliant solution and will save space while keeping your most frequently used tools within arm’s reach.

You can get storage boards that you can put hooks into, and customize to store the items that you want to store based on their size and shape. This makes it easy to make the best use of every inch of space.

 

3. Have a Place for Everything

Finally, when you’re putting your newly emptied-out garage back together, try to have “zones” for everything. Tell yourself that the back corner is for your woodworking bench. The front opposite corner is for the kid’s scooters and bikes. Your gardening gear is kept near the entrance, and you’ll have space for the car, with a lift, if necessary, kept in the middle.

Lay out the garage so that everything is in a convenient place. Why put your pressure washer and gardening supplies at the back so you have to try to maneuver them around the car every time you want to mow the lawn and wash your drive?

Use home planning software if you have access to it, because this will make it easier to figure out what goes where. Better Homes calls it’ getting in the zone’, and it’s good advice!

Take some time to “spring clean” your garage, and you’ll feel like you have an entire extra room in your house, making your hobbies and projects so much more fun to work on each holiday weekend.

7 Mistakes that make your home Unhealthy

When choosing and buying our homes, comfort, security, and serenity are some of the critical features we look for. Most of us are aware that keeping our homes clean will also help to keep it healthy, but do we really pay enough attention to healthiness of our homes?

Recent studies have shown that due to the increased time we spend in our homes, they are now one of the leading causes of common illnesses. You may be left to wonder what exactly would be causing this, especially if your hygiene levels are top-notch. General hygiene may not necessarily be the root cause as most people might assume. The leading cause of poor indoor air Is down to mold and mildew growth. There are well over 100,000 different species of mold alone and they can thrive in environments hidden to the naked eye.

We shall discuss a few factors that may contribute to an unhealthy home that may be draining your pocket in terms of medical bills.

 

Number of plants in living spaces

You may be surprised that your favorite in-house plants are a leading cause in this category. Despite the fact that they add to the natural appeal and beauty of the house, having too many plants is not advisable as  moist conditions and warm environments contribute to perfect habitation for the growth of mold. The soil holding the plants provides this environment for these microorganisms, and with time, they multiply exponentially and have a detrimental effect on our respiratory systems and health in general. Mold spores are frequently whipped into the air, which are then inhaled or absorbed through other orifices like the eyes.

To avoid plant enabled mold growth, you can reduce the number of plants in the home and only place them in well lit and ventilated rooms. This, in turn, reduces the conditions in which mold thrives.

 

Hidden mold and mildew

If the conditions are right, mold can grow at an alarming rate and doesn't require damp soil from your plants in order to prevail. As long as mold and mildew has enough damp and humidity in the air, it has 99% of what it needs to flourish. Sunlight is the antithesis of this, which is why when we think of mold growth we think of dark and dingy basements where the sun doesn't shine. The usual places to look are in poorly lit and ventilated areas of your home. Mold especially loves to hang out on fabrics and soft furnishings like carpet. However, at times it can be extremely difficult to locate. All too often it can be found hidden behind wall paper, under floor boards or inside dry walls with very few signs you have mold in your house. If this is the case for you, then investing in a mold test kit might help – but in severe cases, you may have to hire a mycologist to come and perform a full home test.

 

Ignoring your gutters and drainage systems

Gutters and drainage systems are vital features in a house, and we cannot overlook their importance. However, gutters and drainages accumulate debris over time and if you do not clean this up, the buildup creates a favorable environment for mold growth.

Probably one of the easier mold growth issues to deal with, as it's usually very easy to detect and clean.  Just make sure you stay on top of them, as Gutters and drains provide high levels of damp that Mold spores will continually come back to. Frequent cleaning both indoors and outdoors is the only answer.

 

Having too many In-house fabrics and textiles

However beautiful you fabrics and textiles may be, they may be making your home a health hazard.  Carpets, rugs, mats and almost any form of upholstery act as perfect hideout places for microorganism and pests that exist in the house. The absorbent properties of fabrics and textiles mean that they can accumulate moisture and if they are not aired or placed in the sun to dry, they will be a haven for microorganisms and pests. Not just Mold this time, dustmites love to make soft furnishings home too. Reduce the number of these items and ensure they are cleaned or vacuumed as well as aired out frequently.

 

Poor storage techniques                                        

Frequent de-cluttering in the home allows you to create more space in the house and access hidden areas that may be pest hideouts.  Get rid of items you do not need in the house. You may also purchase storage cabinets and drawers to enable you to store things you do not frequently use.

Always read storage instructions on items to avoid fires and other hazards in the home.

 

Ignoring water leakages and damages

Water is a crucial factor in our survival as human beings, but the damage resulting from it could be massive. Poor maintenance of water systems in the home results in moldy areas, damage to walls, floors, and fabrics. Always look out for any signs of leakages in the house, for example dripping, dampness, pools of water, moldy patches, chipped paint and discolored surfaces. In case you notice any of the signs contact your plumber immediately as these may lead to costly repairs and medical bills from the treatment of respiratory problems.

 

Allowing dust to accumulate

Dust accumulation in the home is one of the leading causes of allergies and asthma. Not only does it increase the occurrence of these illnesses, but it also makes the home very unappealing. To prevent this, simply schedule a day for the general dusting of the surfaces and home in general and if need be, increase the number of times. HVAC filter systems and furnaces should also be changed frequently (at least once every month).  The systems accumulate dust and dirt which hinders free air flow into and out of your home. Not only do your energy bills rise, but breathing problems will also be evident.

 

Conclusion

Many mistakes make homes health hazards. The points discussed above are the basics and most ignored. More often than not, these mistakes in the home are the key causes of illnesses. Ensuring that each aspect of the house is not neglected is one of the significant preventative measures. However small these issues may appear, they are key to ensuring that our homes are safe havens.

Get your home in shape for summer

Getting Home Ready For Summer

The air of spring! This is the season when you can give your furnace a much-needed break.  Homeowners will need to make a summer checklist that includes much-needed repairs from the pool to the gutters, so that the warmer months will be a breeze.

Reopening your pool

It’s time to pull back the cover on your pool. You will need to inspect your cover, first. You’ll need to check if there is standing water on your pool cover. If so, do not attempt to move the cover as the water and debris could slip into your pool. If the water on your cover does dump into your pool, you will have to drain your pool. The best way to get rid of standing water is to pump it out with a cover pump.

Once you have safely removed the winter cover from your pool, you will need to test the pool’s chemical balance. It is best to call in a professional to obtain a water sample from as deep in your pool as possible to get an accurate reading. 

Once you have taken the necessary steps to make sure your pool is operable, you will need to make another checklist: pool safety.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is among the top 10 leading causes of death. As a result, you should make your small kids wear a wrist alarm. It looks like a watch, but it sounds when it gets wet. Otherwise, take time to invest in swimming lessons to prevent accidents. Plus, swimming is fun and great exercise.

 

Take a look at those gutters

The easiest way to check your gutter’s performance is to wait for a rainy day. You will need to check if the water is properly emptying from the downspouts. If water is overflowing at the edges of the gutters, it’s a strong sign that debris clogging the gutters or downspouts.

Most debris can be scooped out by hand or removed by a leaf blower. You could also flush the gutters with a garden hose to remove small particles and twigs. Use a plumber’s snake to clear stubborn clogs. Most importantly, if you are using a ladder, be sure to take safety precautions.

 

Inspect your trees

Your trees are an excellent reason for you to spend some time outdoors and give them a good visual inspection. You should check for fungus and rot. If a tree also has structural problems, such as split branches, there is a good chance that disease has taken hold. Lack of leaves, soft spots, and open wounds are all signs of trouble. If you notice any of these signs, you should call in an expert.

When it comes to your lawn, fortunately, you can let the sun and soil do the work for you during the spring. If you prepared your lawn over the fall season, now is the time you reap the benefits of your fall handiwork.

Summer is a time for warm memories and family fun. Take some time to make sure your home is ready for your own peace of mind.

 

 

 

 

 

How to be More Sustainable at Home

Do you ever find yourself reading about others committing to an eco-friendly lifestyle, and wonder how you can make a difference in your busy life? You don’t have to dramatically change the way you live in order to have a positive environmental impact, and it’s important to realize that every little bit you can do makes a difference. In the spirit of Earth Day, we’d love to share some ways that you can make a difference in your own home, and listed below are a few tips to help get you started….

Keep the Flow Low

You can conserve water easily by installing low flow options for your toilet, shower head and other faucets throughout your home, and save money in the process. While a standard toilet uses about 7 gallons of water per flush, a low flow toilet only uses 1.6 gallons per flush--which will help to significantly lower your water bills over time. Water conserving shower heads are a more affordable option, but will still save you a considerable amount of water, with only 15,000 gallons being used per person within a year. Not to mention the energy that you will save from not having to heat the reserves of water in your tank. You can find some great options at your local Home Depot!

Upgrade your Lightbulbs

There’s been some debate over which type of eco-friendly bulbs are better for your home, but if you haven’t already, consider switching to CFL or LED bulbs. This will have a positive impact on decreasing the carbon footprint of your home, while also being more cost effective. LED bulbs would be the best option, lasting longer than most bulbs and using about 10 percent of the power. Whichever option you choose will get your home one step closer to being a positive impact on the health of the earth! 

Use Green Cleaning Supplies

The cleaning supplies that you use in your home can have a direct impact on the quality of the air you are breathing in. Many generic cleaners have toxins and unwanted chemicals that pollute the natural air. Chlorine and Ammonia are two unhealthy ingredients that are widely used in store-bought solutions, and can cause skin irritation, headaches and coughing. There are many green, safer options that are readily available and approved by the EPA, or if you are a DIY person, you can make your own cleaners from simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

Bring in Earth Friendly Furnishings

Recycled and sustainable furnishings can be a great addition to any space, from rustic mason jar decor to investing in dining furniture made from recycled natural resources. There are so many companies today that create home decor and furnishings that are made with sustainability in mind. When you are looking to buy furniture for your home, make a note to ask about eco-friendly options and companies that have been certified by. the Sustainable Forestry Initiative(SFI). These companies create products that are made in a safe and intentional way, and are marked with a little green shield!

Unplug your Appliances

It seems obvious to many people that we should keep home appliances and lamps turned off when not in use because they can be wasting power and running up the electricity bill. What you may not realize, is that you may still be wasting energy if you leave them plugged in. This phenomenon is known as vampire power, or phantom load, which refers to the draw of electricity and energy from a product that is plugged in. It may take a little extra effort, but unplugging your devices and lighting pieces after you are done using them will lower your electricity bill, and in the long run decrease the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the air.

Cold Wash and Hang Dry

Washing your clothes with cold water will save the energy it takes to heat the water and is also easier on your clothes. You can also save some power by hanging your clothes on a clothesline or drying rack, rather than running them through the dryer. This win-win situation will save you money on electricity and conserve energy, while saving your clothes from dryer wear and tear.

Take your Banking Online

The days of paper statements and getting your bills in the mail are coming to an end--or at least they should be. Paying your bills online is an easier alternative to paying them through the mail, and making the switch to digital will cut down significantly on wasted paper and carbon dioxide pollution from driving to the bank. In fact, many financial institutions now even offer incentives to go paperless and do your banking online through their website or mobile app. However, when online banking, it’s especially important to defend your devices, connections, and accounts from cyber criminals seeking to use your information to commit identity theft.  So do your research, weigh all your options, and consider the web to help make things easier and environmentally conscious!

 

Path to the Sold Sign: Cleaning Tips Checklist for Home Sellers

When selling a home, it is important for homeowners to showcase their property's best features, thus impressing potential buyers. One of the best ways to truly impress home buyers when they walk through the door is with a properly staged home. One often-overlooked factor of home staging is maintaining a stunningly clean, fresh-smelling home. These cleaning tips help home sellers get everything ship-shape before the first showing.

Clutter

Deciding how to remove excess items can be difficult for sellers to determine, simply because the definition of clutter is so subjective. As a general rule, buyers prefer to see a beautiful home that is easy to imagine as their own. Clean, spacious rooms are the primary goal. Sellers should clear out anything that might look messy, and limit the amount of decorations that focus on their families. When in doubt, people should keep in mind that less is usually better than more.

Windows

A home’s windows have a way of brightening up the space, inside and out. Clean, sparkling windows with well-kept window treatments create an air of deep care for any buyer who enters the driveway. Windows should be sprayed clean and then wiped periodically on both sides to remove dirt or spots. Drapes may be easy to vacuum or take down for washing. Blinds and shades should be wiped or dusted regularly.

Kitchens

As one of the most-used rooms in the home, the cleanliness of the kitchen can send a strong message to future buyers. A spotless kitchen offers a lot of potential, even if it is not particularly large or recently upgraded. Every visible surface should be scrubbed well with the appropriate solutions and wiped down daily to prevent any future accumulation. The insides of cabinets and under the sink also require a thorough clearing and wiping.

Bathrooms

The bathroom is another part of the home where buyers expect only the best care. Bathrooms can also be difficult to keep clean, especially over weeks or months of regular showings. Like the kitchen, the bathroom needs every surface perfectly clean and dry for buyers to see. Using the bathroom’s ventilation equipment and wiping down wet surfaces with a dry towel will help to minimize signs of excess moisture.

Furniture and Flooring

Attending to fabrics and carpet, which cannot simply be wiped clean, may call for a different approach. Upholstered chairs and couches can hide crumbs or pet dander around and under the cushions. Vacuuming the furniture helps to eliminate the debris effectively. Carpeting should be shampooed, and then vacuumed daily to remove dust, dirt, and other particles that buyers might see.

Preventing Damage

Of course, it is possible to clean a little too ambitiously. Sellers should take care to avoid damaging any of the surfaces or fixtures in the home with the wrong kinds of cleansers or cleaning materials. Hard flooring like hardwood or tile may need special cleaning solutions to avoid staining the surface. Countertops made of granite and other natural materials might require designated cleaning products to reduce the likelihood of bleaching or scratching. Planning to keep each room generally clean from one day to the next cuts down on the chances of mistakes made in a hurry.

Invisible Cleaning Concerns

Although buyers rely most on their sight to determine if a home is properly clean, they use other senses to get a feel for the space, as well. Odors, however faint, may make a buyer think that a home has issues hiding beneath the surface. Sellers should ask an objective party, such as their real estate agent, to identify odors and make a plan to correct them. The best solution to an odd scent in a room is to remove the cause. People may benefit from looking for long-term solutions to problem odors like pet smells, mildew, or mold.

Cleaning a home is actually an ideal way for sellers to maximize their resale value and gain buyers’ interest quickly. By following these cleaning tips during their preparations, people can simplify the home selling process and exceed buyer expectations from the first day.

7 Ways to Clean your Home with Smart Gadgets

Who doesn’t want to have a clean and sparkling home??? This not only improves one's wellness but also enhances the mood and gives a sense of pride. However, some people see cleaning as a frustrating task to be accomplished since it is tiring and time-consuming. Good thing there are helpful tools that can make cleaning a lot easier and bearable. Read on and learn some of the state-of-the-art gadgets that you can use in cleaning your home.

1.    Smart Sweeping Ball

The Smart Sweeping Ball is the best solution to light cleaning tasks such as sweeping the floor. It is usually made from a microfiber material that allows better absorption of dust and dirt particles. This also comes with a built-in sensor for detection and obstruction prevention. The Smart Sweeping Ball is good for everyday use and as a bonus works well in entertaining your pets at home especially cats.

2.    Magnetic Window Cleaner

The Magnetic Window Cleaner helps you to easily wipe your dusty panes and windows. Forget about those days when you suffered from muscle aches due to the use of newspapers in cleaning. This electronic gadget effectively cleans your windows by just simply wedging and moving the magnetic pads places on both sides of your windows. The Magnetic Window Cleaner is a perfect tool for flats and elevated units to ensure safety while cleaning.

 

3.    Smart Robot

The Smart Robot is the perfect answer to your dusty and dirty floors. It is an automated machine that allows you to vacuum or mop your floors depending on the degree of dirt and stains. This can be used in different types of floors including tiles, stones, and wood. The Smart Robot is a must have to get mopping done without putting too much effort on your part.

4.    Spot Clean Carpet Cleaner

The Spot Clean Carpet Cleaner is the answer to your carpet and hard surface needs. This gadget easily cleans and tackles the dirt, hair, dust, and other debris present on your carpet and floors. It can navigate your entire home and even conquer every area to ensure that everything is perfectly cleaned. The Spot Clean Carpet Cleaner can intelligently return to its self-charging dock when the task is already done.

5.    Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

The Robotic Vacuum Cleaner works perfectly better than humans. This intelligent tool can stretch and crawl even in hard to reach areas and corners of your home. Despite its small size, this vacuum can work efficiently and effectively. The Robotic Vacuum Cleaner allows you to clean your house by just simply clicking and controlling buttons from your phone.

6.    Sanitizing Wand

The Sanitizing Wand is a tool that will totally burn off the germs in your home. It kills the microscopic organisms present in a matter of seconds using the UV light technology. This easy to use gadget can also help wipe-off odor-causing bacteria present in surfaces such as in your kitchen countertops and bathroom sink. The Sanitizing Wand is a must-have for sensitive people and those suffering from allergies since it doesn’t use any harsh chemicals.

7.    Neato Botvac

The Neato Votvac is a powerful tool that efficiently cleans large areas of your home. It can track down and deep clean twice as many dirt, allergens, and hair strands present no matter where they are hiding. This is also equipped with smart navigation and mapping system to ensure a more efficient path. The Neato Botvac series is equipped with an advanced technology and continuous updates are being done to ensure better home cleaning at all times.

With the fast pacing and busy lifestyle, people tend to lack time in doing the basic tasks such as cleaning. True enough, the development of smart and innovative gadgets have helped a lot to ensure a clean home despite the busy schedules. There are numerous products available that will surely fit you and your needs. Check them out and see these product reviews for better guidance and information towards a healthy and better life.

5 Must-Have Cleaning Tools for Every Home

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Every home must have certain cleaning tools; hardworking tools that will help the cleaner get the job done quickly and efficiently.

There is no doubt that if you don’t have home cleaning tools or if you don’t keep your home clean, it will expose the inmates to health hazards and may discourage few friends, colleagues and associates from visiting.

The beauty of having these must-have home cleaning tools is that they will enable you to manage, organize, and stay on track daily, weekly, monthly and annual cleaning assignments.

Thus, you will never regret having these cleaning tools. In this article, we will be sharing 5 essential cleaning tools that will make your home have a sparkling look. The ideas discussed in this article have been tested and highly trusted.

 Take time to read this article, and abide by the principles mentioned, they will surely help to keep your home clean or in a top form. Here are the best cleaning tools you need to have in your home today:

Broom, dustpan and mop

This is very important because if you have any hard surfaces like linoleum, cork, tile and wood, then you will need a broom, dustpan and mop to get them clean efficiently and on time. One of the best reasons why people use dustpans is because it enables them to clean all kinds of spills, or dirt in their homes.

Scrub brush

Cleaning your home with a simple cloth or sponge is good for simple stains, but it is not the ideal especially if you want to clean tough stains. You need to invest some funds in getting a scrub brush with a grip handle.

One of the reasons why this is good is because it is easier to hold as well. Scrub brushes can be used to clean the walls of your shower, bathtub, grout on the floors, and sink. Always look for a medium sized one, which can perfectly clean those hard to reach corners.

Spray bottle

Spray bottles is one of the things you really need to keep around your home always. So that, if you have to rinse anything in your home, you can use spray bottle successfully anytime, any day without stress.

Microfiber cleaning cloths

It is important to have microfiber cleaning cloths- they are as important as having white towels.

It could be super helpful to keep them in your home at all times. With microfiber you can keep the surfaces clean with just a little water. It won’t scratch or leave streaks behind.

Vacuum cleaner

You need vacuum cleaners around your home- these machines will help in keeping allergies at bay and floors clean. If you don’t have this machine, it might be extremely difficult for you to keep your home sparkling.

If you browse through the internet, you will read many amazing stories shared by users on how vacuum cleaners have helped them to keep their homes in a top form. Thus, the importance of having vacuum cleaners in your home can never be overemphasized.

Even if you don’t have money to buy other machines mentioned above, make sure you keep vacuum cleaner around your home at all times. You will never regret doing this.

Guide To Putting Your Garage In A Good Use (Even If You Don't Have A Car)

The humble garage is something found on most single family homes all across the United States.  At first mention, you might think of a damp, dusty and utilitarian space that serves little more purpose than storing your car or the past fifteen years worth of Christmas decorations you pull out at the end of November.  Not much thought goes into how else to utilize the space, unless you decide to get creative.  Why not repurpose your garage for something new and exciting?

We’ve put this article together in the hopes that it may inspire uses for that sad and dusty place called a garage that you may not have taken into consideration before.  Go ahead and read on about the ways to make use of your garage (that don’t involve storing your car) and see if it inspires you to try something new.

Image Credit: Elite Garage Door Of Lynnwood

1.       The Man Cave

Let’s start off with the most obvious one as it’s probably the one that you’ve heard of through TV, the movies, the radio or your friends.  The Man Cave is the be-all, end-all of personal space.  Whether you’re a sports nut, a rare collectible aficionado or the ultimate ‘geek’, the man cave is your place where you can be unapologetically YOU. 

 

With some simple fixes and elbow grease, you can lay down custom flooring to hide the ugly concrete beneath while providing some cushioning for your feet.  Deck out the walls with your favorite posters or display your rare collectibles while you lounge on that used sofa you bought from your neighbor’s yard sale and watch the big game on your Wall Sized smart TV.  There’s no limit to what you can do when you want your space to reflect who you are.

 

2.       The Workshop

A more practical use of the garage would be to utilize your space for a personal workshop.  If you have power tools and table saws, you’ll need all the space you can get to organize and arrange you space so that you can focus on what matters.  Utilizing custom shelving, you can have your materials at the ready to cut, rip, and sand down into whatever project you’re working on.  Just remember to have a good shop-vac handy to clean up the mess.

 

3.       The Personal Gym

Why spend your hard earned money on a fitness club every month when you can have one in your own home?  Lay down some high quality rubber flooring and setup your equipment for an efficient workout routine whenever you need it.  You can store your weights and loose equipment along the walls while leaving the main floor open for the heavy lifting stations and equipment that might be too bulky for the living room.

 

4.       The Recording Studio

Who doesn’t want to be a rock star, right?  With some acoustic tiles and creative use of black paint and hairspray, you can convert your garage into your own personal recording studio.  Jam out with your bandmates or lay down your demo tracks to upload to your website.  Even if you don’t play that often, you’ll at least have a space dedicated to your passion with all your favorite band posters cheering you on.

 

Daily practice is key to mastering any instrument so even if you just rock out on the weekends, your son or daughter in the school band will also have a nice space to practice without disturbing the rest of the house.  You could also setup your video camera and make quality content for your DIY YouTube channel if you wish.  The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

 

5.       The Play Area

This is one application that often goes overlooked but can make a parent’s life easier.  Too often your little ones will run around the house and be at risk of tripping over power cables, running into hard coffee tables or otherwise hurting themselves.  Kids are active and they play with passion, but what if you had a dedicated space where they can expend that energy safely while protecting your great grandmother’s heirloom dinner plates from crashing to the ground?

 

The garage has plenty of space available for a playroom but you need to prepare it properly.  Putting up soft walls and laying down child friendly play mats are a must if you want a safe and functional playroom.  You can also get creative with storage bins for all the toys sure to be strewn about in the aftermath of a child’s wild imaginary adventures.  With some simple video camera setup, you can safely monitor your children from the next room if need be, though we would certainly recommend staying with them at all times.

 

You see, the boring old garage, once thought of as a place to store your car and your unwanted junk has so much more potential than most people realize.  You only need imagination, a budget you can stick to and a plan and you can convert your garage into something truly special!

Tips For Keeping Indoor Air Fresh When You Live With A Smoker

It’s true that can be hard to keep your house smelling fresh when you live with a smoker. 

So today, we will be sharing some tips on how to keep indoor air fresh when you’re living with a smoker.

1.     Find a good air purifier

An air purifier is one of the fastest and best ways to keep indoor air fresh when you’re living with a smoker. However, it is extremely important to educate yourself in this technology before you buy one.

Not all air purifiers are designed to get rid of smoke – in fact, most of them are designed to eradicate air pollutants and allergens. Therefore, it can be challenging to pick one that is particular to cigarette smoke and smell.

If you want to find the most logical choice for this particular agenda, checking air purifier recommendations for cigarette smoke and odor is a good place to start.

 

2.     Use natural ventilation

One of the most important things to remember on your quest to keep the indoor air fresh when you live with a smoker is not to yield to synthetic ways. Air fresheners and the like may provide you temporary relief, but they have long-term side effects that are synonymous with the harmful effects of nicotine itself.

In order to stay away from these “Volatile Organic Compounds” you should go for more natural hacks. You should open the windows to let in some fresh air every hour or so. You can even use sliced lemon pieces to get a natural citrusy scent in your homes. Or even a bowl of baking soda left in the relevant space can help eradicate the pungent smell of a cigarette smoke.

 

3.     Go for indoor plants

Trees and plants are nature’s own way of sucking out the pollution from our environment, and it’s also one of the best ways to keep indoor air fresh when you live in enclosed spaces.

According to studies, many houseplants are able to eliminate toxic agents from the air. Don’t fret if you live in small apartments or tall high rises – you simply need a nice, sunshine filled window sill and you’ll be set for life.

Some prime choices for such indoor plants include Snake Plant, Peace Lily, Chrysanthemum, Money Plant, Silver Vine and English Ivy.

 

4.     Recycling the air

If you feel like continuously opening your windows to let in ‘fresh’ air can bring in outdoor pollutants, then it’s time to get tech savvy. You can install trickle vents to better purify and cycle the breathing air in your homes. If this technology doesn’t seem like the right fit, then you can definitely go old-school with exhaust fans. They can continuously recycle the indoor air and are pretty long lasting to boot.

 

5.     Activated & Bamboo Charcoal

Many people are unaware of the inherent cleansing qualities of activated or bamboo charcoal. It’s a natural air purifier and features some highly absorptive qualities that are perfect for eradicating toxins from indoor air. So, if you live with a smoker and want to keep the air fresh in your home, then you can use activated or bamboo charcoal to absorb the nicotine toxins.

These are some small, but impactful tips, that can go a long way in keeping your indoor air fresh when you live with a smoker. Try them out today and see for yourself how much fresher your home can smell!

 

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Patrick Holmes
Patrick is an indoor air quality specialist at Home Air Quality Guides. His passion is to help people create cleaner, healthier and more comforting environments inside their homes by sharing expert advice that's easy to follow. He enjoys writing in-depth articles on air purification, household cleaning tips, home maintenance advice and more.