Wacky Wednesday — Kosher Salt

DID YOU KNOW…. If you don’t have a scrubbing product in your cabinets.  Kosher salt, mixed with water  can be used. If you need a tougher abrasive  sprinkle on Kosher salt, and scrub with a sponge or cloth. WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday-Eraser

Did you know that you can use an ordinary new pencil eraser or a larger eraser for lead to remove rust stains on sinks and bath tubs!!

Wacky Wednesday-Coca Cola

Did you know you can use Coke Cola to get stains out of a toilet! It also can to use to remove rust stains.

How To Remove Hard Water Stains

 I have a few clients that I clean for that have wells. Before I started cleaning for them, their  showers, tubs and sinks weren’t cleaned on a regular basis. I had orange stains, blue green stains and pink stains that I needed to remove. From experience these are the methods that I have found that works best.Hard water stains are created because they have a high mineral content. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium. These minerals together create the lime scales and other stains which can be difficult to remove. The longer stains are allowed to develop, the more difficult it is to remove them.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains
  • Acid Cleaners
Removing hard water stains with products containing ingredients such as phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid makes the project a bit easier. These acids break down the hard water stains and will remove them completely. You will need to wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area.
  • Vinegar, Baking Soda, Borax
 Shower Glass Doors
Vinegar is great for shower doors with hard water stains. Mixed 1/2 cup of vinegar and fill the remaining  with water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the door and let it sit a bit.  Remove the solution with a soft cloth. Depending on the condition of the glass you might have to repeat this procedure several times.
Toilet Bowls
Completely drain your toilet bowl. Mix up  1/4 cup of baking soda or borax which ever you have on hand with 1 cup of vinegar. Pour it into the toilet bowl and let it sit for at least 2 hours. Scrub with a toilet brush.
  • Lemon Juice and Lime Juice
Lemon juice and lime juice is a natural way of removing hard water stains. The acid present in these do the same work as the acid cleaners. Cut a lemon or lime in half. Scrub the stained area with one of the halves. It might be cheaper to use the bottled juice?
  • Cream of Tartar and Baking Soda
Sinks and Tubs made with these materials. Porcelain, stainless, enamel, fiberglass, chrome, tile.
Make up a paste using cream of tartar and water and rub it into the stain on these surfaces. If you don’t have cream of tartar to make a paste you can use baking soda.
* The most important thing to remember is to regularly clean these surfaces to prevent the build up.
” Happy Cleaning”

How To Remove Pumpkin Stain From Wooden Furniture?

 Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been a fun time of the year at our house. Carefully selecting the perfect pumpkin to be carved always brought great joy, for our family. It’s about togetherness. Always the night before Halloween or the day of Halloween we would carve our masterpieces. The most amount of time that I spent carving my pumpkin was 6 to 7 hours from scooping to lighting the candle. After all that hard work it seemed sad to me that it only lasted a few days before it had mold appearing in it and then the rotting started. 

This blog I wanted to share tips and warnings on how you can preserve your masterpiece? Also, how can you remove the mold stain from  furniture if you forgot to put a plate or something under the pumpkin?

How Can You Preserve Your Pumpkin After Being Carved

Method One:

Each night submerge it in a bucket of cold water – take it out in the morning.

Method Two:

 My favorite method is, a  spray-on pumpkin preservative called “Pumpkin Fresh,” which you can easily spray onto the carved areas of your pumpkin, then let it dry to create a protective barrier. This liquid anti-fungal solution fights mold, rot and decay from overcoming your pumpkin. The Pumpkin Fresh website atwww.PumpkinFresh.com shows you in full illustrated detail, how it works. Pumpkin Fresh is very clean and easy to use, with no residue, and absolutely no cleanup involved.  Ingredients for Pumpkin Fresh: Water, Sodium tetraborate decahydrate (borax), and sodium benzoate (a preservative and fungicide). The label describes it as a “fungicidal solution.” One other trick to preserving your pumpkin is to use artificial light, such as a flashlight, or fake candle instead of a  real candle when illuminating it. The flame of a candle burns extremely hot; therefore the pumpkin has a probability factor of drying out, and aging much faster, especially if the top of the pumpkin is left covered, restricting the flow of heat from the candle to disperse. Using an artificial source of light is a much safer way to have fun, as well, while still being able to enjoy a lighted Jack O’ Lantern.

How To Remove A Pumpkin Stain From A Wooden Table Top

If  a pumpkin is left too long to sit on a wooden surface without something under it. The pumpkin will start decomposing that will leave a moldy residue marking the wooden surface. Below is the steps to removing the mark.

  1. Dampen a cotton cleaning cloth with warm water.
  2. Squirt a small amount of toothpaste onto the cleaning cloth.
  3. Rub into a circular motion until the stain begins to lift, checking the progress regularly.
  4. Polish the surface with your regular furniture polish or you can make your own non-toxic furniture polish.
Furniture Polish (Wood Surfaces)
  1. Rub toothpaste on wood furniture to remove water marks.
  2. Polish wood with 2 tsp. lemon oil and 1 pint mineral oil in spray bottle. Spray, rub in and wipe clean.
  3. Mix two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice. After rubbing the mixture in, let stand for several hours and then polish with a soft, dry cloth.
  4. Melt 1 tbsp. carnauba wax into two pints mineral oil. Use sparingly and rub hard.
” Have A Safe Halloween”

Spooktacular Month!!

This is my most favorite time of the year. The colors outside are just beautiful here in the Northeast. You have reds, oranges, browns, yellow, when you combine those with a deep blue sky. Wow! is all I can say. The fall season along with the colorful trees, you have color from pumpkins, gourds and apples.
What got me motivated to write this weeks blog, is a client of mine is a teacher and she had a pumpkin sitting on her carpet inside. Without putting anything under the pumpkin, she noticed that fruit flies where gathering around it. That motivated her to take the pumpkin outside. When she lifted up the large pumpkin she got mad that it left a mold stain where it was sitting. This happened the morning I was arriving to clean her house. My first reaction when I saw the stain was vinegar. I poured pure white vinegar on it right from the bottle and let it sit for a while. I blotted the stained area a few times with a clean towel and it started removing the stain just a bit. I blotted the stain until it was dry. I didn’t have time to continue to work on it.
I began coaching my client through emails on how to remove the stain from her carpet. Below are some solutions that I came up for her. Haven’t heard yet if any of them have worked. The difficultly is this carpet is sisal that is a natural fiber but it is like working with braided rope. Instructions Medium bristle brush or toothbrush 3 percent hydrogen peroxide Spray bottle Clean cloth Baking soda 1. Brush  dried mold that may still be present with a medium-bristle brush to lift it.
 2. Vacuum up the residual mold; be sure to dispose of the bag or empty the canister and get the mold out of your home as soon as possible.
 3. Mix one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with three parts water in a spray bottle.
 4.Saturate the stained area with the solution.
 5. Allow the area to dry and saturate it a second time.
 6. Allow the area to soak for 15 minutes before scrubbing with a  medium bristle brush or tooth brush and blot with a clean cloth or sponge to remove the stain.
 7. Cover the area with baking soda and allow it to sit overnight.
 8. Vacuum the area in the morning to get rid of the baking soda and fluff the pile of the carpet back up.

Tips & Warnings You might need to saturate, soak and scrub the area several times to get rid of the stain. Instructions Medium bristle brush or toothbrush Detergent Solution (I use Dawn) Vinegar Spray bottle Clean cloth
  1. Detergent Solution – Mix one fourth (1/4) teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent per one (1) cup of lukewarm water. NEVER USE A STRONGER CONCENTRATION! Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. (See Residue Precautions.) Care should be used in selecting a detergent. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (flourescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy dyes and some fibers.

  2. Vinegar Solution – Mix one (1) cup of white vinegar per two (2) cups of water. White vinegar is a 5% acetic acid solution. It is used most often to lower the alkalinity caused by detergent solutions or alkaline spills.

  3. Warm Water – Lukewarm tap water should be used in most cases to rinse the cleaning solutions from the fiber. Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling.


    Happy Cleaning “

Fact Friday — Winter Asthma

DID YOU KNOW …. People with asthma, winter can be a especially difficult time for breathing. Cold and dry air can be factors that contribute to the challenge. Staying inside to be warm from the Brrrr can also be a challenge, because of dust and if you have pets their dandruff. It is recommended to clean your home or living space weekly, this will help prevent an asthmatic attack from happening. For more information on this, check out the doctors video WHO KNEW?

Fact Friday — Closets

DID YOU KNOW…. Starting the new year off de-cluttering and organizing the closet should be a good practice.  A cluttered closet is one of the biggest causes of house fires. Statistics shows that one in every eight house fires starts in a closet, when belongings are stored too close to a light bulb. A single 40 watt bulb can generate enough heat to catch boxes and clothes on fire. WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday – Vodka

DO YOU KNOW…. This time of the year a lot of people purchase and receive flowers. How can you help those flowers last a little bit longer than usual. Putting a couple drops of vodka and one teaspoon of sugar into the vase of water, and change it every day will help the flowers last longer. WHO KNEW?

Fact Friday — Essential Oils

DID YOU KNOW…. In about a week winter will be officially here in the North Eastern part of the United States. Winter sometimes can make
Northerners grumpy and depressed.
Using essential oils can uplift your spirits and can help change your mood. Oils that you can experiment with to help you combat the winter blues are as such:
  • Citruses: lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine
    These can bring the feelings of: Joy, Happiness, Focus and perhaps Confidence .
  • Lavender:
    This can bring a Calm, Restfulness and Feelings of Self- image.
  • Rosemary: 
  • Brings alertness
  • Sandle wood:
    Contentment, Self -esteem, Self – awareness, Self – image
  • Peppermint: 
    Alertness
  • Geranium:
    Happiness, Positive, Self – esteem and Restfulness
These are just a few that I use during the winter months, experiment and put a few drops on a cotton ball and see if the scent changes your mood. WHO KNEW….

Wacky Wednesday — Olive Oil

DID YOU KNOW  Having Stainless Steel appliances mean getting finger prints and smudge marks on them. If you put a couple drops of olive oil on a rag and rub it on the appliances that it will remove the finger prints and smudges marks. WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday — Vinegar

DID YOU KNOW… That vinegar can be used for  Mold and Mildew in the bathroom.  Mold and Mildew sometimes forms on the grout between tiles. To remove this:  mix half vinegar and  half hot  water in a spray bottle. Spray it on the area, let sit for a few and wipe off with a cloth. No rinsing is necessary. Repeat if needed. WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday — Baking Soda

DID YOU KNOW…. Baking Soda can be used as a fabric softener? Add 1/2 cup of  baking soda to the water in your washing machine and let it dissolve before adding your clothes. Baking soda makes your clothing super soft. WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday — Toothpaste

DID YOU KNOW…
Common toothpaste can be used to soothe a burn. For a minor burn, that isn’t an open wound you can use toothpaste to temporarily soothe the pain. Apply immediately to the area, this will help prevent it from opening or weeping.
WHO KNEW…

Fact Friday- Bon Ami

DID YOU KNOW…
The household cleaner Bon Ami, French for “Good Friend” came out in a bar form in 1896.
On the label is a yellow chick. The company mascot, a chick emerging from an egg, (the newly hatched chick hasn’t scratched the ground for worms and insects. Thus, the slogan is: “Hasn’t Scratched Yet!”
The packaging for Bon Ami is one of the most eco-friendly in the stores. Made completely of recycled paper and bottles, that can be recycled again.
WHO KNEW?

Wacky Wednesday-Coca Cola

Did you know you can use Coke Cola to get stains out of a toilet! It also can to use to remove rust stains.

Every Summer from the time my daughter was born, she has always gotten bites all over her. We have tried everything from sprays with the highest Deet to natural stuff and she still gets them. I have noticed that she gets less of them with the natural stuff. People are always asking her when we are out in public, does your daughter have chicken pox? She’s embarrassed an so am I. I feel sorry for her. Mosquito’s are considered to be the most deadliest insect on Earth. Millions of people each year die from diseases caught from mosquito biting. Diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, and yellow fever. Mosquito’s also pose a threat to livestock and pets. Believe it of not mosquito’s were here long before us. The oldest mosquito fossil dates back as far as 200 millions years, to the Cretaceous period. So you we know the mosquito has a ecological purpose Mosquito’s are aquatic insects, they play an important role in the aquatic food chain. According to Dr. Gilbert Waldbauer, author of the kids book The Handy Bug Answer Book, “mosquito larvae are filter feeders that strain tiny organic particles such as unicellular algae from the water and convert them to the tissues of their own bodies, which are, in turn, eaten by fish.” Mosquito larvae are, in essence, nutrient-packed snacks for fish and other aquatic animals. Why Mosquito’s “Bite” They suck blood from their prey using their proboscis. They primarily don’t suck on blood alone from humans and animals. They also feed on nectar. They need the blood for added nutrients, especially for reproduction. Mosquito’s are mostly on the prowl at dawn and dusk. During these times, they hunt and then strike. Landing on the skin of the victim, they initially apply its saliva to act as a painkiller, to mask its bloodsucking activity. After the application of the painkiller the mosquito will then put out its proboscis, a hollow needle-like structure in its head, and stick it into the skin of the victim to suck blood. As it sucks blood, its abdomen will noticeably bulge as it fills with blood. If you are bitten by a mosquito, you will only feel the itch and pain a few minutes after the bite took place. Pain and itch is then followed by swelling. The itch itself is caused by the mosquito’s saliva – an anticoagulant. It causes our bodies to produce a histamine response and this creates a slight itchiness around the bite area from a slightly allergic response. For people who are more sensitive to mosquito bites, the healing time can take longer than for those less susceptible, so it’s a case of knowing your limits and treating yourself regularly and effectively. Do your best not to scratch that itch. Doing so will aggravate the irritation, making it itchier and more prone to infection. Take care of the bite immediately by using rubbing alcohol, or plain water. Rub a wet aspirin over the affected area. Naturally, do not use this method if the person is allergic to aspirin.One of the most effective home remedies you can use is a banana peel. This can help you immediately ease the pain and itch. Get the peelings of a banana and rub the inside part to the affected area for a few seconds up to a minute. Swelling and itching almost always immediately disappears. Crack an egg and cook the egg for your camp meal. Inside the shell of the egg you will find a flexible membrane. Cover the bite with the membrane and let dry. As it contracts it will draw out some of the toxins. Use your breakfast oatmeal. Oatmeal is renowned for its anti-itching properties, so make a small paste of it and apply to the bite area. Allow to dry, then waste off. Don’t Itch!!! A method that I use during the winter months and especially on jobs with a lot of dust is the neti pot. Yes, it is gross but it works if you use it according to the instructions.

What is a Neti Pot?

A neti pot is a container designed to rinse your nasal cavity. It looks like a little teapot. They are typically used for nasal allergies, relief of congestion and sinus symptoms.

The history of  nasal cleansing began as an ayurveda medicine technique in ancient India. Ayurveda meaning, ” the knowledge for long life,” it is Hindu and a traditional practice in India and an alternative medicine.

How to use it?

If you are making your own:

Use One pint of lukewarm sterile, distilled or previously boiled water and one teaspoon of non-iodized salt in the neti pot. Blend until the salt is dissolved.

Tilt your head over a sink at a 45 degree angle, put the spout into one nostril and pour the solution in the nostril. The solution will pour out the other nostril. It may also run into your throat. If this occurs, just spit it out. Blow your nose to get rid of any remaining liquid, then refill the Neti pot and repeat the process on the other side. It’s important to rinse the irrigation device after each use and leave open to air dry.

Common problems:

The wrong kind of salt. Make sure the salt is non-iodized and free of anti-caking agents. Most table salt is unsuitable for use in the neti pot.The average table salt has iodine, and anti-caking agents. 

If you’re using a neti pot that came with premixed neti packets:

Follow the instructions for the mixture.

How often should you use it?

In studies, people suffering from daily sinus symptoms found relief from using the Neti pot or other nasal irrigation system daily. Three times a week was often enough once symptoms subsided.

However a new study shows that over use of the neti pot actually causes sinus problems. Researchers believe that the mucus in your nasal passages acts as a defense against infection, and flushing it away disrupts your body’s immune function. They recommend that neti pots be used every once in a while to relieve congestion, but should not be used daily for an extended period of time.

Any dangers from using it?

Keep it clean: Make sure you wash the pot regularly with hot water and a little antibacterial soap. Clean it every day.

Don’t use tap water: Use distilled water or premixed packages of solution.

Replace your pot. Get a new one every few months if it is plastic. The hot water and washing can cause the plastic to weaken over time.

Other obvious dangers

Burning:

If it’s burning, stinging, or making your eyes water, chances are the water isn’t lukewarm. Test the water on your wrist and it should feel comfortable. Temperature extremes are one of the most obvious neti pot dangers. 

Neti-induced Ear Problems

When head isn’t positioned correctly:

When using a neti pot, the simplest method is to lean sideways over the sink at a 45 degree angle, giving the water a clear path nostril to nostril. If you feel any pressure on your ears, you need to adjust your position.

Blowing your nose incorrectly:

If you blow your nose incorrectly, the newly thinned mucus can be “blown” into your ear cavities, where it could linger and cause ear clogged feeling or crackling, even potentially an infection if you get really unlucky. 

Bottom line, if you don’t follow the package instructions or take these precautions if you are making your own solution you may have discomfort get and infection or other complications.

“Be Safe”



Household Chemicals and Our Pets

Shadow (Our Dog)

We often don’t think of our pets when it comes time to do our household chores. Spraying for bugs, cleaning toilets, washing floors, setting mouse traps. Our pets are low to the surfaces and their paws can easily pick up chemicals from the floors and carpets. Cats and dogs are also curious, such as small children. Safe guarding our home shouldn’t just be for children, pets are family members too. Most household products do not even warn you of the chemical dangers they could cause.

Common chemicals found in the home are:

Formaldehyde

Perchloroethylene

Pesticides

Phenol Derivatives

Caustic Products

Scented Cleaners and Aerosol Products

Formaldehyde

Pressed wood products that use glues  contain formaldehyde are common construction materials:

Particle board

Hardwood

Plywood paneling

Medium density fibreboard

These are often used to make furniture and cabinets.

Pungent formaldehyde can be found in these products at home:

Cosmetics and nail polish

Glues and adhesives

Foam insulation materials

Mouthwash

Wallpaper

Wrinkle-resistant drapes, linens, and other fabrics

Perchloroethylene

Found in rug and carpet shampoos

Pesticides

What are Pesticides?

Definition from wikipedia:

Pesticides are substances or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest.[1] A pesticide is generally a chemical or biological agent (such as a virusbacteriumantimicrobial or disinfectant) that through its effect deters, incapacitates, kills or otherwise discourages pests.

Most pesticides contain chemicals that can be harmful to people, pets and the environment. Pesticides are regulated in the United States to protect public health and the environment. 

EPA is responsible for ensuring that all pesticides sold in the United States do not cause unreasonable risks when they are used according to label directions and precautions.

 

Here are some examples of pesticide products we use in our homes:

Cockroach sprays and baits

Mosquito sprays

Rat poisons

Flea and tick sprays, powders, and pet collars. 

Did you know that these products are considered pesticides?

Cleaners used to disinfect the kitchen floor.

Cleaning products used to remove the mildew on bathroom tiles.

Household plant sprays.

Lawn and garden products to kill insects and weeds.

Some swimming pool chemicals.

Phenol Derivatives

Phenol is a toxic substance used in many cleaners that  kills germs, such as Pine Sol and Lysol. These have been linked to have caused  health problems in cats and rabbits. 

The fumes from phenols can get into the bloodstream through the lungs. Cats especially have a low tolerance for phenols because they can’t remove these types of toxins from the blood very well.

Caustic Products

Toilet bowl cleaners, detergents and bleach are household cleaners that can have caustic reactions in pets. The Alkaline or Acidic properties if ingested can be mild to severe depending on the amount ingested.

Scented Cleaners and Aerosol Products

* Attention Pet Bird Owners  

Birds are susceptible to toxic cleaners, especially parrots. Their lung system is highly efficient, taking in and processing more air through their bodies than mammals. This means that toxic cleaners can cause not just breathing problems for birds, but a quick death. Any products with chemical fumes or artificial fumes such as furniture cleaners, oven cleaners, drain cleaners and air fresheners plug in and can sprays should not be used.

A message from ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (Click for message)

If you suspect a toxic substance has poisoned your animal, induce vomiting immediately with some warm salt water or a little hydrogen peroxide (dosage varies based on size of animal). Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 4ANIHELP (426-4435). They will guide you through the necessary procedures you must take to save your pets life.

” Be Aware Of Potential Hazards To Your Pets”



 

 



 

 





 

Bugs…BUGS BE GONE!

Spring is here, ever thought it doesn’t feel like it here in New England. Spring and summer brings bugs.

Remember: The number one rule to keeping bugs out is keeping the house clean. So don’t keep any dishes in the sink, keep your counters clean and your floors vacuumed.

No need for chemicals, to get rid of the pests if you get some.

Here are some nontoxic ways to get rid of insects.





Ants

Ants don’t like lemons, yes there are things that ants DO NOT like.

Mix lemon juice and water, half and half. You can mix this right in a spray bottle. Spray where you see ants and at entrance way or where they are entering your home. Other things found in your cabinet they don’t like are: Pepper, Cinnamon or Cayenne Pepper. Another  they don’t like is the smell of Baby Powder. Just sprinkle baby powder on the ants and the area that they are entering.

Boric Acid: Some people use boric acid mixed with anything sweet to rid of ants. Just mix 2 parts sweets to 1 part boric acid. Boric Acid is also effective on a wide range of insects.

Lots of ants: Cornmeal and Grits are one of those foods they like. Spread a little dry Cornmeal or Grits where you see them. Once the ants feast on it, it will expand inside their mighty bodies once they drink water and then they will be eliminated.

Vinegar: can be used to destroy ant trails. Without trails ants will become confused. You can mix it or use it straight.

Liquid Soap diluted with water is an easy way to wipe out pests.

Bay Leaves Cloves, and Cayenne Pepper long been used for ant control. Try putting one of these at their  entry point, and in drawers, shelves, etc., where the ants are going, to prevent them from coming back.

Peppermint can be sprayed around your home’s perimeter and at any entry points.









Silverfish

Silverfish is a common bug we have here in New England.  Silverfish prefer dark areas such as kitchen cabinets. Silverfish also like papery areas such as old books and newspaper stacks, with high humidity. Get rid of these and you won’t have them.

What silverfish eat?

Silverfish like to feed on the glue behind wallpaper.

Starch: Silverfish like paper and this includes photos. Silverfish also like to munch on sugar and can easily get into your cereal boxes. YUCK!

Silk, synthetic fabrics and cotton clothing: so they may be crawling around your clothes in your closet.

Bathrooms: You might find them in your shower or bath munching on your shampoo or shaving cream, they like cellulose ingredients.

Basically you can find them anywhere there is food.

How do you get rid of them?

One way to find out if you have Silverfish is to mix water and flour together to make a thin paste, and then with the help of this paste paint on both sides of a few index cards. When the index cards get dry, locate them in regions where you think you have them. If there are a few irregular notched edges and scrapping on the index cards, then you have Silverfish.





Fruit flies

Clean up any ripe fruit droppings and take out the trash nightly for a few days – fruit flies lay their eggs in overripe fruit.

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural way to get rid of fruit flies. Pour some into  a glass, and place a paper funnel over the container. Fruit flies love the smell fly into the container, but will not find their way back out the funnel ( for 4 to 5 fruit flies…).

Cheap wine apparently they like to drink it. Use the procedure above to trip them.

Fly paper make your own by boiling water, sugar and corn syrup together. Spread the mixture on stripes you can make out of brown paper bags.

Basil deters them. Mix some basil oil with water and spray your kitchen.

Mosquitoes

Natural ways to to kill and Repel Mosquitoes

Cedar oil, Rosemary oil, Citronella oil and Eucalyptus oil. These plant derivative oils must be applied more often than those containing DEET.

Best Tips to Repel Mosquitoes Before They Bother You





To prevent mosquitoes from choosing your area of habitat 

Remove all standing water from around your home. Beware of old tires and other discarded containers such as wading pools, cups, buckets and barrels.

Use mosquito nets around bedding.

Repair window and door screens. Choose screens made from a finely-woven mesh.

Mosquitoes are attracted to lights, so don’t turn the bright one’s on too early.

Exercise indoors. Mosquitoes hone in on body temperatures- and it automatically rises when you exercise.

Avoid salty foods and those containing high amounts of potassium.

Don’t wear dark colored clothing when in a mosquito-infested area.

Don’t wear lotions or perfumed products that contain floral fragrances.

Plants That Repel Mosquitos

Planting Mosquito- repelling bushes and  herbs around your house is a natural way to prevent mosquitoes from invading your area and your body.





Some of the most effective plants that can be found at almost any home and garden store or online are:

Citronella Grass – A tropical plant that’s harvested for repellent sprays and citronella candles can be effective if you live in tropical climates. If not, you can purchase products made from citronella oil.

Rosemary-  Since they’re mostly a tropical plant, you can place them in pots around your deck or patio and bring them inside during winter months.

Mosquito Plants- These plants are attractive. There is a  disagreement on whether these plants actually repel mosquitoes, but it’s worth a try.

Marigolds-  These colorful little flowers produce a scent that naturally repels mosquitoes. Plant them between your garden plants as they’ll also protect them from other types of insects.

Wasps

Make a trap from an old soda bottle to catch wasps. Using a 2-liter soda bottle, cut off the top 1/3 of the way down. Flip the top so that the bottle neck is facing down into the rest of the bottle. Tape or staple the bottle neck to the outside of the bottle piece so that it fits tight. Fill the bottle part with soda or fruit juice. You could even line the top of the bottle with jam to attract them. Wasps will enter the bottle but will not be able to get out. Clear and refill the trap daily.

Remove the nest. If you find a hanging nest, wait until that wasps are less active, ( namely at night ) , carefully approach the nest. Put a cloth or plastic trash bag entirely over the nest and quickly tie it off at the top. Remove the nest from wherever it is hanging, then submerge the bag under water and weigh it down with a rock.





Slugs

Slug can be huge pest in the garden.

Fill bowls with stale beer and place the bowls in areas in the garden where the slugs are most active. Slugs apparently like stale beer, so they climb in to drink the liquid and drown in the liquid.

Other liquids that work as well is Grape juice or tea made with yeast, honey, and water.

Stay BUG FREE!













Shattered Shower Door

 

Convenience and Ease of Cleaning

Glass shower doors are convenient in many ways. They keep water in more effectively than shower curtains. They don’t omit the toxic smells that plastic curtains release. They don’t need to be replaced periodically like curtains and liners. They can easily be cleaned and don’t harbor mold like the curtains do.

Many people do not realize the convenience of having  glass shower doors can be explosive.

What Kind of Glass are They Made of?

The doors are made of special tempered safety glass, required by federal, state, and local building codes and designed to break into small, relatively harmless shards.

Tempered glass is the safest of all types of glass. It’s designed to shatter into small pieces when it breaks which cuts down on the possibility of serious injury. This doesn’t mean tempered glass is completely safe, however, and it can still cut and injure quite seriously. You need to remain aware of the dangers of tempered glass and take adequate safety precautions.

Tempered glass is resistant to a direct  impact, however if your shower door is hit on the edge it can become fractured and it will continue to get worse.

How do you Know if  Your Glass Shower Door is Tempered?

Tempered glass, or safety glass, is formed by sealing two pieces of glass together with a clear resin. Look for the labeling stamped on the glass. Tempered glass is usually properly labeled to satisfy specific building codes.

What can Cause the Glass to Explode?

Most likely the glass had a flaw or the glass was under stress in the frame. 

What Can Happen?

New Warnings About Exploding Glass Door

How can you Insure Your Safety?

Regular Inspection:

  • Periodically check the shower door hardware to ensure fasteners remain secure.  Tighten them if needed.
  • Ensure moving panels are securely attached to the door system.
  • Ensure moving glass panel is not directly contacting the wall or metal during operation. That means checking the panel alignment and making sure the bumpers and seals are in good condition.

     

  • Inspect glass regularly for any chips or cracks, paying special attention to glass edges, notches, and around holes in the glass for hardware.  If there is any evidence of a crack, replace the glass panel immediately.

    Elderly and Small Children

    Families with small children, elderly parents or pets might also consider the added risks of glass shower doors.

    “Be Safe”





 

 

Can Heat From Sunlight Speed Up Chemical Off Gassing?

 

Can Heat From The Sun Cause Chemical Off Gassing From Rugs And Carpets?

This weeks blog  once again comes from an experience at a client’s home. My client lives in a modern home surrounded by windows. It was a beautiful sunny day. I was walking through a hallway to get to the master bedroom, and I was stopped in my tracks with a strong chemical smell. I called to my client to get her attention. I said,”can you smell that?” “It’s giving me a headache.” She said, “where do you think the smell is coming from?” I said, “I think it is coming from the rug.” What should we do? I said, “get it outside.”

Ultraviolet Radiation

The sun’s energy is made up of three distinct spectral components: ultraviolet radiation, visible radiation, and near-infrared radiation.  What distinguishes these from one another is the wavelength ranges that characterize them, commonly measured in nanometers (nm).  A nanometer is very small.  A human hair is over 100,000 nanometers thick.

Ultraviolet radiation is invisible to the human eye and has the shortest wavelengths of the three types mentioned, from 300 to about 380 nm.  Visible light covers the approximate range from 380 to 780 nm, while the near infrared radiation (sometimes called invisible solar heat) has the longest wavelengths, from 780 to 4045 nm.

What is Heat?

Let’s consider what heat is. Heat is the transfer of energy from one location to another.Energy as heat always travels in the same direction: from an object that has more energy as heat to an object that has less energy as heat.In other words, energy as heat will travel from an object with a higher temperature to an object with a lower temperature.

It is called ‘specific heat’.

Area Rug And Carpet Safety

Most materials, natural or synthetic, have some environmental impact, and those used for carpets and rugs are no exception. Whatever you bring into the home has the potential to bring in unwanted chemicals.

Most area rugs combine synthetic face fibers — nylon, polyester, and olefin (polypropylene) – produced mainly from petroleum derivates, with over 100 chemicals added for stain resistance, wear resistance, mothproofing, fungicides, soil repellents, processing aids and adhesives binding the backings and the tufts together. 

Many of these chemicals, as well as fibers themselves, are sources of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC like formaldehyde, and many others), which are a health hazard, and can off gas for a long time. Offensive off gassing comes from glues and rubbers.

Mix these chemicals with the heat from the sun, will speed up the off gassing, causing a greater health risk. The heat from the sun, shining on a rug or carpet causes an Energy Reaction.

This makes carpets generally greater health risk than rugs, but rugs with significant amount of latex (or other) glues – such are those with double backing – are also a concern.

While you are not likely to know the specifics of the rug/carpet chemical off gassing intensity, nor your sensitivity limits, there is no need to take unnecessary chances. 

If your new carpet, or rug, is chemically treated and unprotected, it is always good to keep the space well ventilated for up to a few weeks. 

Options

 Look for untreated area rugs, or those made with low-emission substances and materials. 

Look for a carpet or  rug, made from  natural fiber such cotton, wool, jute, hemp, sisal, and more.

Several products such as window tinting, window shades or Low-E windows are moderately effective at blocking ultraviolet radiation. However, even the best of these coatings still transmits 26% of the UV radiation. 

“Think Before Bringing Anything Into Your Home”

Should Air Ducts Be Cleaned?

This weeks blog we wanted to discuss what are air ducts and if it is necessary to have them cleaned?

The quality of the air we breathe indoors has become an increasingly important environmental concern.

Clean, fresh air is a great concern to many homeowners and building managers as allergy and respiratory problems increase. Today’s tightly insulated energy efficient homes and buildings trap and recycle polluted air. Dirty air ducts also cost you money. Just a .042 inch of dust on heaating or cooling coils reduces the efficiency up to 21%.

Dirt, dust and microorganisms such as bacteria virus, dust mites, mold spores, fungi, yeast and algae collect and breed in air duct systems. These pollutants are force fed into every room whenever the fan comes on, causing allergies and respiratory problems to flare. microbial in nature, they can also create unpleasant odors.

What Are Air Ducts?

Quoting the definition in  Wikipedia:  

Ducts are used in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) to deliver and remove air. These needed airflows include, for example, supply air, return air, and exhaust air.[1] Ducts also deliver, most commonly as part of the supply air, ventilation air. As such, air ducts are one method of ensuring acceptable indoor air quality as well as thermal comfort.

What is Air Duct Cleaning?

Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans (drip pans), fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing.

 Should You have The Air Ducts Cleaned Out?

The Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) says that it isn’t necessary to have them routinely cleaned but only as needed — such as when mold, pests or excessive debris clutter the system. Informed consumers are aware of EPA studies concluding that poorly maintained ducts can be a breeding ground for disease causing organisms. Duct cleaning, performed properly, will remove dirt, dust, and microorganisms such as bacterial virus, dust mites, mold spores, fungi yeast, and algae from the system.

The National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA)  experts argue the need for cleaning depends on a variety of factors, including pets, smoking, recent renovations, local weather conditions and overall home cleanliness.

Beware of Scammers

A growing number of duct cleaning advertisement scams have been recently uncovered. These ads claim whole house duct cleaning or unlimited vents can be cleaned for $49.00, $69.00 or $99.00.

Here is a MSNBC’S video of a scammer

How To Choose A Duct Cleaning Company?

Duct cleaning, if done improperly, can be the worst thing you can do for your air quality.

5 Questions You Should Ask Your Duct Cleaning Contractor

1) Will the contractor inspect your ducts to make sure they are cleanable?

 2) Will the contractor be cleaning the entire system including fans and coils?

 3) Will the contractor provide you with the means to conduct a visual inspection at any time during the cleaning process?

 4) Can the contractor provide references of previous customers with phone numbers?

(Don’t be afraid to follow up)

 5) Is the contractor giving you a guaranteed price before the cleaning? Mold, damaged fiber glass insulation, cleaning/treating coils may become add-on costs.

 Here in Connecticut Duct Diagnostics is a NADCA (National Air Duct Cleaners Association) certified, licensed, and insured company. They are experienced in both residential and commercial air duct cleaning, and hold NADCA certifications as an air system cleaning specialist, ventilation system inspector, and ventilation system mold remediation certification. They are OSHA 10 Certified, Energy Star rated, member of The Better Business Bureau of Connecticut and also a member of CHCC ( CONNECTICUT HEATING & COOLING CONTRACTORS)

They are located at 195 Elizabeth Street, Derby, CT 06418

Phone (203) 734-1532

Website: www.ductdiagnostics.com 

Duct Cleaning Could Be The Healthiest Investment You Ever Make!

Dryer Sheets — Is There An Alternative?

Dryer sheets…What are they? How do they work? Are they safe? Is there an alternative to replace the chemically tainted sheets?

Discovery:

It is believed a scientist by the name of Conrad J. Gaiser developed the concept in the  late 1960′s.He and his wife Audrey lived on the top floors of a four-story duplex. The laundry room was located on the ground floor. Every  time Audrey did laundry she had to run down the stairs to catch the final rinse cycle to add the fabric softener.

Liquid fabric softeners, which are commonly cationic, can’t be mixed with detergents, which are anionic, because the mixture forms a precipitate.

Fabric softeners work by coating surface of the cloth fibers with a thin layer of chemicals; 
these chemicals have lubricant properties and are electrically conductive, thus making the fibers feel smoother and preventing buildup of static electricity Other functions are improvements of iron glide during ironing, increased resistance to stains, and reduction of wrinkling and pilling.

Cationic softeners bind by electrostatic attraction to the negatively charged groups on the surface of the fibers and neutralize their charge; the long aliphatic chains are then oriented towards the outside of the fiber, imparting lubricity.Vinegar works on some materials in a similar way, as the hydrogen ions bind to the anionic groups on the fibers.

 How Do They Work:

Conrad for a number of years worked in the soap and laundry industry. He wanted to make his wife’s life easier. He started treating small sheets of material, probably from Audrey’s sewing kit with fabric softener.  When the sheets were put into the dryer with laundry the heat and moisture warmed up the softener and spread it across the clothing.  Later washing machine manufacturers added an automatic fabric softener dispenser. It is discovered that dryer sheets have many other uses such as warding off insects.

In 1969, Conrad received a U.S. patent for this invention,”Tumble Puffs” and shortly thereafter he sold the rights to Procter & Gamble, which then marketed the product as Bounce dryer sheets.

Are They Safe:

Anne C. Steinemann

  A research conducted  in 2010 at the University Of Washington headed by Anne C. Steinemann analyzed 25 popular fragranced consumer products. One of these categories where Laundry products

( detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets.)  The research showed  that each product emitted at least one chemical that is listed as toxic or hazardous under federal laws. Some of the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) are classified as carcinogens with no possible safe exposure level, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The VOC’s emitted were not listed on the products tested.

Anne states that this is legal because no laws in the U.S. require disclosure of all chemicals in consumer products, or of any chemicals in a mixture called “fragrance.”

Anne compiled more in depth research in 2011 on scented laundry products emitting hazardous chemicals through dryer vents.

“This is an interesting source of pollution because emissions from dryer vents are essentially unregulated and unmonitored,” said lead author Anne Steinemann, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering and of public affairs. “If they’re coming out of a smokestack or tail pipe, they’re regulated, but if they’re coming out of a dryer vent, they’re not.”

“We focus a lot of attention on how to reduce emissions of pollutants from automobiles,” Steinemann said. “And here’s one source of pollutants that could be reduced.”  Steinemann recommends using laundry products without any fragrance or scent. 

Alternative To Dryer Sheets:

Felted dryer balls

 

Felted dryer balls are a fantastic natural, eco-friendly alternative to liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets.Rebecca says,” I no longer  buy dryer sheets.” They work by separating the clothes as they circulate in the dryer, softening clothes, reducing static cling, absorbing moisture and significantly reducing drying time. Reducing drying time means saving $$ on your electric bill!

Dryer balls are perfect for cloth diapers – using fabric softener or dryer sheets with cloth diapers will cause the diapers to repel moisture and leak.

You can use dryer balls for months!! Throw them all in at once-the more the better!

2-4 for small loads

5-7 for large loads.

They are colorfast and will not bleed into your clothing.

I have been using mine for months!

Dryer balls will pill (much like a sweater will) but even if they don’t look as pretty as when you first get them they will continue to do their job just fine

Why wait, by making the change you will be impacting the environment and improving your air quality.

“We must be the change we want to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

  

The Aromatic Plug-In Air Fresheners

Definition

An air freshener is a product designed to mask or remove unpleasant room ordors. These products typically deliver fragrance and other odor counteractants into the air. 

History

Fragrance compounds have been used since antiquity to freshen air and mask odors, For example, the ancient Egyptians were known to use musks and other natural materials to scent their tombs. Over the last 2,000 years a variety of compounds, including numerous spices and floral extracts, have been used for their ability to impart a pleasant aroma. However, it was not until 1948 that the first modern air freshener was introduced. This product, using technology developed by the military to dispense insecticides, was a pressurized spray containing about 1% perfume, 24% alcohol or other solvents, and 75% chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) propellant. This was able to deliver a fine mist of fragrance that remained suspended in the air for a long period of time.

Today as the popularity of these scented air fresheners are on the rise, allergists are hearing more complaints about reactions to these toxic scented products.

Dr. Stanley Fineman

Dr. Stanley Fineman is the president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACCAI). ” I’ve seen patients who say, ‘I go into somebody’s house who has one of these air fresheners and I just can’t stay there. I have increasing nasal symptoms, sneezing and coughing.’ There is no allergy skin test for air fresheners, but people can definitely have a physiologic response to it.”

“About 20 percent of the population and 34 percent of people with asthma report health problems from air fresheners. We know air freshener fragrance can trigger allergy symptoms, aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma.”

Volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) commonly found in air fresheners include: formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, limonene, esters and alcohols. Fineman says a study of plug-in deodorizers found more than 20 different VOC’s with more than one third of those classified as toxic or hazardous.

Respiratory issues

Fineman says consumers should be particularly concerned if someone in the household has respiratory issues. He says studies show that even VOC exposure levels below currently accepted standards increase risks in asthma children.

High concentrations of VOC’s can trigger eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, and even memory impairment.

Despite all this, the home fragrance industry is expected to see continued growth, reaching $8.3 billion in global sales by 2015, so, why the fondness for air fresheners?

The new trend is manufacturers are marketing products to be aromatherapy which implies health and mood boosting benefits although there are no scientific studies to support these claims.

Dr. Stanley Fineman wasn’t the first to warn us about  these dangerous chemicals in air fresheners. A study in 2010 led by the University of Washington discovered that 2 commonly used scented products (like laundry detergent and air fresheners) emit and average of 17 chemicals each. Of the 133 different chemicals detected nearly a quarter are classified as toxic or hazardous under at least one federal law.

Only one emitted compound was listed on a product label, and only two were publicly disclosed anywhere. Even so-called “Green” products were not “safe.”

Gretchen Schaefer, vice president  of communications for the Consumer Specialty Products Association, an industry group, said that VOCs aren’t necessarily harmful.

“Anything that emits a scent — flowers or the scent of pine if you walk through a forest or your Christmas tree- is emitting a VOC,” she said.

In the United States, air fresheners are subject to the Toxic Substance Control Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, which requires that manufacturers inform consumers of risks and ingredients that could contribute to that risk. But some expects say the requirements aren’t stringent enough.

“The Federal hazardous Substance Act requires that the manufacturer put the proper-use information on the label,”Schaefer said.”These products are safe if you use them according to the label instructions.”

More information

The U.S. Department of Labor has more multiple chemical sensitivities.

Considerations

If you are still adamant about purchasing plug -in air fresheners use caution. Read the labels to ensure the product does not contain harmful chemicals. Ventilate the room as much as possible. Be extra sensitive to the amount of air fresheners you are using around small children.

Alternatives

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) suggests that you first try to reduce bad home odors by attacking the source, rather than masking the problem. Identify and remove bad odors. Keep windows open as much as possible. If troubling odors persist, invest in an air purifier with activated carbon filtration. 

Healthy Air Fresheners

Air fresheners need not be synthetic to produce an appealing and pleasant scent. Try adding orange, lemon or lavender essential oils to cotton balls and place throughout the house. You can also simmer spices like cinnamon and cloves in a small saucepan on the stove. These tips will leave your home smelling fresh and give you peace of mind that no harmful pollutants are being ingested.

“Bring The Freshness Of Nature Inside”