Warmer weather and more daylight hours bring renewed energy to truly enjoy your home with family and friends. Spring is a great time to get rid of the lingering grime and grit of winter to keep your clean home happening all season long. With a thorough home clean, you can create a vibrant living space for your day-to-day life, whether it’s playing with the kids, tackling your to-do list or simply relaxing. Here are three tips to help tackle some of the dirtiest places in and around your home.
(BPT) - Warmer weather and more daylight hours bring renewed energy to truly enjoy your home with family and friends. Spring is a great time to get rid of the lingering grime and grit of winter to keep your clean home happening all season long. With a thorough home clean, you can create a vibrant living space for your day-to-day life, whether it’s playing with the kids, tackling your to-do list or simply relaxing. Here are three tips to help tackle some of the dirtiest places in and around your home.
Wash your windows
You’ll be surprised how dirty your windows have gotten and how much brighter your home, and outlook, will feel once they are clean. First, remove the screens and use a vacuum’s extendable attachment to remove the loose gunk and dust. Then, wash with soapy water and a firm brush, rinse with a hose and let air dry. For especially dirty windows, first clean with soapy water, then move on to an even mix of water and white vinegar. While using a lint-free towel or cloth will help avoid streaks, a car windshield squeegee is the expert choice.
Tackle indoor surfaces
It’s important to make sure guests at your next get-together experience a clean and healthy home — but a full vacuum bag or clogged filter can reduce suction, leaving the dirt, dust and allergens that build up on many surfaces behind. For an ideal clean, make sure your vacuum is at its peak performance by replacing bags and filters. Arm & Hammer Premium Allergen bags and HEPA filters are designed to capture allergens, and need to be replaced every one to two months for bags and every three to six months for filters. If you have pets, use Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Dry Carpet and Carpet and Upholstery Extractor Cleaners to neutralize pet odors and break down lingering stains.
Spruce up outdoors
Winter weather and activities can take a toll on the finishes and surfaces outside your home. Cleaning a few key areas will refresh your home’s look and feel as you spend more time enjoying your outdoor spaces for birthday parties, barbecues and more:
* Siding: No need to get complicated — first, rinse with a garden hose, then scrub the dirty areas with a brush and soapy water and rinse again. Make sure to avoid chlorine-based bleaches to keep surrounding plants healthy.
* Driveway and garage: First, soak up oil, stains and other nasty winter reminders by spreading a drying material, such as sawdust, on the stain. Leave it for one day before scrubbing with soap and water. A power washer can be used for particularly tough stains.
* Grill/barbecue: For gas grills, make sure the propane is disconnected. Then, soak the grates in hot soapy water and rinse. Scrub thoroughly under the hood and on the inside walls with a hard brush, first covering the heating elements, to get rid of grease and particles from last year. Wipe down with a damp towel.
With these tips, you are ready for a clean, healthy (and fun) season. For more tips, visit www.armhammervac.com.
(BPT) - More than 6 million American children — nearly 9 percent of all kids in the U.S. — have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, asthma attacks send more than a million people to emergency rooms, including approximately 24,000 children younger than 15, the CDC reports. Yet health experts agree many of those asthma attacks could be avoided through a range of tactics, including by improving air quality inside homes.
“Most people can control their asthma and live symptom-free,” the CDC reports. Knowing how to reduce or eliminate exposure to allergens and irritants inside the home could help people avoid at least some asthma attacks.
Asthma and kids
More than 47 percent of all asthma attacks occur in children, according to CDC data. KidsHealth.org says asthma is the leading cause of chronic absence from school, and the chronic illness that sends kids to the emergency room most often.
Many factors can trigger allergy attacks, including exposure to allergens inside the home. As the weather warms and parents open windows to bring fresh air into their homes, the breeze that enters can be full of pollen, mold spores and other airborne irritants. What’s more, irritants already inside the home such as pet dander, dust mites, smoke, bacteria and viruses can contribute to asthma symptoms.
Improving indoor air quality
Your home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems play a critical role in the air quality inside your home. HVAC manufacturer Coleman, which makes ventilator systems, air cleaners and ultraviolet irradiation systems to support indoor air quality, offers some tips for ensuring your HVAC system works to clean the air inside your home:
* Have your HVAC system serviced regularly to ensure all components are working efficiently. A well-maintained system can dramatically improve air quality.
* Change air filters regularly, and choose a filter with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The higher the rating, the better the filter will be at capturing airborne particles. Clogged or low-MERV filters may not effectively remove particles from the air, leaving them for your HVAC system to recirculate. In fact, HVAC systems can recirculate contaminants an average of five to seven times per day, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.
* Vent bathrooms and laundry rooms directly outside the home, and ensure vent fans are always working well.
* Any equipment that creates combustion and exhaust, such as fireplaces, heaters, stoves, range tops and furnaces should also vent outside to keep harmful fumes from re-entering your home's HVAC system.
* When you vacuum, turn on your home’s HVAC system. Vacuuming stirs particles into the air, and your running HVAC system can catch those particles and filter them from the air.
* Monitor and control the humidity in your home. Bacteria and viruses, which can contribute to asthma symptoms, thrive in very dry environments. Consider adding a whole-home humidifier, like Luxaire’s Acclimate Whole-Home Humidifiers, to your HVAC system. Through the use of natural evaporation, the humidifiers help maintain optimum humidity throughout the entire house, without the limitations of portable humidifiers that can only affect a single room.
* Air cleaners can support your HVAC system in removing irritants from the air. Like single-room humidifiers, however, portable air cleaners have limited effect. Consider incorporating a whole-home air cleaner that operates as part of your existing HVAC system.
Visit www.colemanac.com/IAQ to learn more about products available to improve the indoor air quality in your home, and to find a local contractor. You can also follow the company on Twitter at @ColemanHVAC.
Studies show the number of people with asthma is growing worldwide. Health experts from the CDC to the National Institutes of Health agree that controlling indoor air quality in homes could benefit children with asthma, as well as asthma sufferers of all ages.
(BPT) - We all know that one person who just adores cleaning. But for the rest of us, it's a necessary evil that gets old very quickly!
Before you tackle that long list of spring cleaning tasks, try some of these cleaning hacks designed to make these chores faster and easier. When cleaning is fun and even effortless, you’ll feel more energized and gain the momentum you need to knock out your list of chores. Afterward, your house will sparkle from top to bottom, which is its own reward!
1. Find smarter tools
Throw out the messy bucket and mop and reach for a smarter floor solution that's efficient and fun to use. For example, the O-Cedar EasyWring Spin Mop & Bucket System has a built-in wringer that offers superior moisture control of the mop, which makes it safe and easy to use on all hard floor surfaces — even hardwood! The hands-free wringer requires a simple press of the foot pedal to easily spin out the water and help finish the job with less mess and faster drying times.
2. Try natural solutions
Commercial cleaning solutions can add extra costs to your deep cleaning session, not to mention the harsh chemicals can leave behind unpleasant odors. Why not experiment with everyday pantry items? These often cost less and are just as effective in their cleaning power.
A simple solution of warm water and vinegar removes built-up grime from your floors, while leaving a clean, rinse-free finish. Just add a half cup of distilled white vinegar to a gallon of warm water and start mopping.
If you dislike the smell of vinegar, add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil — the fresh scent will be like a small reward!
3. Shortcut to shining windows
If you want streak-free mirrors and clean windows without the hassle, Cas Aarssen, author of “Real Life Organizing: Cleaning and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day” and the YouTube channel ClutterBug, has this expert tip: Add a teaspoon of cornstarch to your favorite glass cleaner and shake until dissolved. Cornstarch improves the cleaning power of the solution and makes streaks a thing of the past, so you’ll get the job done more quickly.
4. Use a cleaning method that also protects
Aarssen has an easy tip that will not only shine up your kitchen appliances, it will repel fingerprints and food splatters often left behind. Just spritz on a little wood furniture polish and rub in with a soft cloth until the surface shines like new.
5. Clean up top
Dust can collect on those high, hard-to-reach places, such as decorative molding and ceiling fans, making cleaning day more difficult. To clean your ceiling fan without showering dust bunnies everywhere, an old pillowcase is your best tool. Spritz the inside of the pillowcase with a vinegar and water solution and slip it over the blades of the fan, pulling it back to trap the dust.
For those tough to reach moldings and corners, use a sturdy rubber band to wrap a microfiber cloth around the end a broom, and give those hard-to-reach areas a clean sweep!
(BPT) - A stuffy nose. Scratchy throat. Difficulty breathing. It's bad enough when spring allergy season reaps its ugly head, but when the things in your home trigger your asthma and allergies too, you feel like you're in an endless battle to feel healthy.
"Many household goods are hidden sources of asthma and allergy triggers," says Dr. Cary Sennett, President and CEO of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Fortunately, you can breathe easier by shopping smarter. By keeping a few tips in mind, you'll be able to select products that reduce the likelihood of flares or attacks."
Dr. Sennett and the experts at AAFA offer these shopping tips to limit asthma and allergy triggers in your home.
1. Look for the asthma & allergy friendly mark.
By being selective in what you purchase, you can dramatically impact asthma and allergy triggers in your home. The first step when shopping is to look for AAFA's asthma & allergy friendly Certification Mark. This strict scientifically-based program was created 10 years ago to test products from cleaning supplies to toys and more to ensure they're suitable for families with asthma or allergies. Feel confident when you look for the mark in stores or online. For a full list of products and where to find them, visit www.aafa.org/certified.
2. Avoid trouble cleaning product ingredients.
Removing allergens in the home requires regular cleaning, but oftentimes the cleaning products themselves can trigger asthma and allergy attacks. It's best to avoid products with strong odors. If you must use strong cleaning products, try wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
3. Buy breathable bedding to sleep well.
You spend one-third of your time in the bedroom, so it's important to purchase products that won't trigger your allergies or asthma. Look for bedding where the outer fabric is an effective allergen barrier, plus it can easily be cleaned to remove allergen accumulation. Additionally, bedding must be breathable to ensure comfort and contain no chemicals known to trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
4. Research air cleaners and humidifiers that boost air quality.
Good indoor air quality is vital for families living with allergies and asthma. First, look for the asthma & allergy friendly Certification Mark. For humidifiers, look for options that maintain appropriate moisture levels while sanitizing the water. For air cleaners, look for independent testing that proves the device reduces allergens from the air by removal and not just redistribution.
5. Use a high-quality vacuum regularly.
Vacuuming once a week is important for reducing allergens, but if you don't get a good vacuum you may simply be redistributing those irritants throughout your house. A certified vacuum will have a high quality air filtration system that captures even microscopic particles. Furthermore, the vacuum should not release irritants when you have to change the bag, either.
6. Gift toys that inspire smiles rather than cause sniffles.
For children, a favorite teddy should provide comfort, not sniffles and sneezes. Unfortunately, doctors often recommend removing stuffed toys from children with asthma and allergies. Because stuffed toys are similar to filled bedding products, they can house dust mites and other allergens as well as contain dyes that could irritate a child's sensitivities. Look for toys that earn the certification.
This means that the toy can easily be cleaned to remove allergen accumulation, contains no chemicals known to trigger allergies or allergens, plus the colors will not bleed from rubbing or saliva.
For more smart shopping tips, including what to look for in washers, dryers, paint and more, download the AAFA Certified Products Guide at www.aafa.org/certified.
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