How to tackle deep-cleaning tasks around the house
(BPT) - You know it must be done, but you just don't want to. It's been on the to-do list for far too long. You may try to ignore it, dodge it or even cover it up. It's your mess nemesis — your least-favorite cleaning task — and you dread having to tackle it.
Not all cleaning is equal
While some people enjoy cleaning more than others, everyone can agree that not all cleaning tasks are created equal. In fact, 88% of American adults have a least-favorite cleaning task, according to a new survey from the makers of home cleaning brand CLR (pronounced "clear"). When asked to liken their least-favorite cleaning task to a person, 33% of Americans said it's like a scam caller. When asked to choose between activities, almost half (43%) would rather go to the dentist than handle their least-favorite cleaning task.
Cleaning during quarantine
Considering the extra time people are spending at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, messes are more frequent and can quickly become bothersome. The frequency of cleaning has increased for most Americans over the past several months, but Americans are, understandably, split on their level of cleaning productivity during this time: 53% have tackled a cleaning task they've been avoiding for years during the pandemic and 42% have avoided at least one cleaning task during the pandemic.
Tips for conquering a mess nemesis
Whether it's soap scum, mildew, rust, stinks, stains or spills, it's time to show your mess nemesis you mean business. Follow these tips to get the job done right:
1) Set a date: It's easy to keep avoiding tasks you loathe, so set a time for when you plan to focus on cleaning and be specific. For example, at 10 a.m. Saturday you're finally giving the boot to that lime and calcium buildup on the shower door. Put on some cleaning clothes, play some motivational music and focus on getting the job done once and for all.
2) Stock ample supplies: Stock necessities, such as sponges, scrubbers and rags, before diving into any cleaning mission. Having the right supplies for the specific job makes tasks simpler. Use proper cleaning formulations for your task, such as the CLR line that has products designed to get rid of the grime in areas of the home, from the kitchen and bathroom to the patio, garage and beyond.
3) Follow directions and use safer products: Always follow the directions on any product to ensure you get the results you want without making the mess worse or damaging the items. Use products that clean effectively without unnecessary use of harsh chemicals. Look for products approved by the EPA Safer Choice Program, meaning they’re recognized as a safer alternative to traditional cleaning options that rely on the use of harsh chemicals to be effective, such as bleach.
4) Rally the troops: Whether it's a big mess that requires multiple sets of hands or a tough mess that requires a few people strategizing, help can make a big difference. Even if you need to focus on the mess nemesis while other people handle regular household chores, this can keep things moving forward thanks to teamwork. Get your partner, spouse, kids or roommates in on the action.
Between sorting, washing, pouring, transferring, drying and folding, laundry can often feel like a daunting chore. While you can’t skip laundry completely, you can stop those baskets from overflowing with these time-saving tips.
5 Time-Saving Laundry Tips
(Family Features) Between sorting, washing, pouring, transferring, drying and folding, laundry can often feel like a daunting chore.
While you can’t skip laundry completely, you can stop those baskets from overflowing with these time-saving tips from the laundry experts at Whirlpool.
Sort clothes ahead of time. One way to make laundry more manageable is to sort as you go. Instead of tossing dirty clothes into a hamper, distribute items into separate bins. While the exact division depends on your wardrobe, you’ll want to separate dark and light colors, as well as clothing that needs special care.
Pretreat stains. Once a stained garment makes its way through the dryer, chances are the stain is set for life. Protect your clothes by pretreating stains as soon as possible to help keep even the toughest stains from setting in. If you’re unsure of how to treat a particular stain, such as spaghetti sauce or grass, Whirlpool offers a Stain Guide within its laundry app that provides helpful, step-by-step instructions*.
Keep your space organized. Just like it’s hard to cook in a messy kitchen or work at a cluttered desk, you’re less likely to be productive in a sloppy laundry room. Clean and organize your laundry area periodically so you have easy access to the supplies you need and a clean surface for folding fresh laundry or switching loads.
Take advantage of technology. New smart home technology is making laundry faster and easier, such as Whirlpool’s Smart Front Load Laundry Pair with the Load & Go™ dispenser. This innovative feature allows you to skip a step in your laundry routine by eliminating the need to measure out and add detergent every time you start a load for up to 40 loads**.
Whether you are on the run or across the room, you can control your washer and dryer using an app on your smartphone or a compatible voice-enabled device for hands-free assistance. You can track how much time is left on your load while cooking dinner, assign washing settings while enjoying family movie night or begin a cycle when running errands. Touch-screen technology also guides you to the correct washer or dryer presets, or you can pre-program cycles of your own to tackle specific care settings for items like baby clothing or bulky comforters.
Finish with ease. For some, it’s not the washing that makes laundry a drag, it’s the folding. Hitting the tumble button to shake out wrinkles is one solution, but there are alternatives. Use your dryer’s end-of-cycle buzzer as an easy way to keep track of when a load needs your attention or make folding a fun game with your family.
Find more information at whirlpool.com.
*Wi-Fi and app required. Features subject to change. Appliance must be set to Remote Enable for remote control capabilities. Details and privacy info at whirlpool.com/connect.
**Model WFW9620H. Based on an 8-pound load of laundry. The Load & Go™ dispenser capacity varies by model.SOURCE:
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) - Teenagers are at a point in their life where they are looking to make their own mark and find their own space. You want to give it to them, but as you start considering renovation ideas, how do you create a space your teen will appreciate?
The Boys & Girls Clubs of America knows all about satisfying the needs of teenagers from all walks of life, and since 2009, they have partnered with Lowe's to renovate clubs to ensure they are safe and inspiring places for youth. In 2016, the two organizations expanded their partnership with Renovation Across the Nation, a $2.5 million initiative to renovate one club in each of the 50 states. This year the program will provide $50,000 each to 50 additional clubs — one in each state.
Many clubs that receive this money use it to update their facilities for today’s teens so they have a desirable place to spend time after school. As they plan for the renovations, they get input from teen members and have learned some helpful insights about what teens look for in their own space. You can use these tips as well in your own home renovation project to create a space your teen will love.
* Make it a colorful, distinct area. Teens desire their own space where they can retreat and feel inspired. Paint the room with bright, vibrant colors that add a youthful vibe and select accessories with pops of color you can swap out as their tastes or trends change.
* Incorporate creativity. Giving teens access to items like art supplies, camera equipment and musical instruments encourages them to tap into their passions. Pay attention to what they’re interested in and make sure it has a place in their new space.
* Technology is key. Teens are used to having technology at their fingertips. Flat screens, charging stations and computers are tools that help them explore the future and are key to inspiring innovation. Find ways to infuse new technology, such as mood lighting, into the space to make it feel extra comfortable and cool for your teen.
* Create an environment for studying. Teens need a space that helps them focus on studying. Warm lighting and comfy chairs or bean bags help create a quiet, welcoming space for them to relax and learn. Create a homework station and your teen will have everything they need to stay organized and focused on their studies.
* Design a space they'll want to share with friends. As you're designing your space for your teen, be mindful of them inviting other teens over as well. If the space can easily handle multiple teenagers, it will be a place that can help them build new friendships or strengthen existing ones. At Boys & Girls Clubs, long tables encourage group activities, but in your teen's space it could be as simple as extra seating for their friends.
Creating a great space for your teen is possible by focusing on what makes them unique. Make the space personal and functional with these five tips, and you’ll create a space that your teenager, and their friends, can’t wait to enjoy.
To learn more about the Renovation Across the Nation grants program and in-store donation opportunities to support Boys & Girls Clubs of America at Lowe’s stores, visit BGCA.org. To find products and materials to renovate a room for your teen, visit Lowes.com.
(BPT) - The key to reducing your home's energy bills could literally be at your fingertips, hanging on the wall of your home. Multiple studies have shown the connection between lower energy bills and thermostat settings. In fact, reducing thermostat settings just seven to 10 degrees for eight hours per day can reduce heating and cooling use by 10 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Smarter thermostats, greater efficiency
With smart home automation, homeowners can use a home comfort system to actively manage their comfort and energy usage. This greater ability to match the system performance to individual lifestyles puts the homeowner in a position of power when it comes to managing their energy usage. And in terms of home comfort, that control typically starts with the thermostat.
Thermostats often serve as the touchpoint that integrates with the larger system to provide the simplest, most user-friendly interface for the homeowner. So, it's important for homeowners to understand the different types of thermostats available to them and how they can improve comfort and efficiency:
* A conventional thermostat lets the homeowner adjust the temperature using a traditional dial or control panel.
* Smart thermostats monitor user behavior and dynamically adjust system performance for consistent comfort and maximized efficiency.
* Connected thermostats bridge the gap between the two, offering remote operation, but still rely on the user for direction.
Smart thermostats, like Champion's Momentum Hx Touch-screen Thermostat, manage automation by communicating wirelessly with home heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to maximize efficiency. Smart thermostats learn better than humans, and can automatically adjust temperature programming to match your lifestyle while maximizing efficiency and savings. As part of a complete system, the Wi-Fi-enabled Momentum thermostat allows users to monitor and control systems remotely with an app from any internet-enabled mobile device, and can even notify homeowners of developing problems.
Looking beyond the thermostat
The number of connected households that have smart thermostats more than doubled in the past two years, according to market research firm Parks Associates. With 36 percent of broadband-using households interested in a system that manages and monitors their home energy use, Parks Associates predict that half of all American homes will be smart homes by 2020.
Energy consumption starts with the overall heating and cooling equipment; thermostat watts are just a small portion of energy consumption. Purchasing home automation products designed and manufactured to work with the homeowner's specific comfort system is the best way to maximize performance and energy savings. And, homeowners should start with buying energy-efficient equipment.
"It's important to remember that "smart" isn't just the thermostat - it's an overall connected system," said Jedidiah Bentz, director, Advanced Systems, Controls & Technology, Johnson Controls. "A complete home comfort system goes beyond the thermostat to offer energy saving benefits.".To learn more about Champion home comfort systems, visit www.championhomecomfort.com/smarthome or follow @Champion_HVAC on Twitter.
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