One of the important things you can do to maintain a healthy home, is to maintain and improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). The EPA regularly tells us that your indoor air can be up to 400% MORE polluted than outdoor air. Since we spend so much time indoors, it is important for the health of your family that the indoor air not be polluted and instead, be a healthy place to relax, work, sleep, play and to enjoy. Here are some strategies to help you improve your home’s Indoor Air Quality.
Wait – why is indoor air so much worse than outside air?
The main reason is
that homes are built to seal tightly, keeping inside air in, and
outside air out. This has the benefit of keeping our energy bills as
low as possible. On the other hand, anything toxic that gets into
your home, can’t get out, so those toxins accumulate.
sources in your home and reduce those emissions. If you have a gas
stove, it can be adjusted to decrease the amount of pollutants it
releases. Other sources can be sealed or enclosed. New items may
need time to ‘offgas’ before bringing them into your home. New
mattresses are a good example. Paint that bookshelf outside where
any VOC’s released are not inside. Allow it to sit a day or two if
possible to further reduce the volatiles otherwise released inside.
Not allowing pollution sources inside your home is the best kind of
prevention. It’s the easiest and cheapest.
Do not smoke inside
your home. You already know this. It’s solid thinking.
Avoid using bleach as a cleaning agent! There is no good reason to ever use bleach as a cleaning agent inside your home. You have alternatives that are nowhere near as toxic. Avoiding bleach inside your home is an easy way to improve your home’s indoor air quality.
An easy way to improve IAQ is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming in. This is most often useful during mild weather because you can just open the windows. Running the exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room will also increase outside air coming in. Increasing outside ventilation dilutes the pollution that would otherwise accumulate. Modern home construction seals homes tightly to reduce the infiltration of outside air. This results in lower energy bills, but the unintended side effect is that pollutants can’t get out. Ventilation reverses this effectively, resulting in improved home Indoor Air Quality.
The EPA says, “The
most economical and effective way to address indoor air pollution is
usually to reduce or eliminate avoidable sources of pollutants and
then to exhaust to the outdoors the unavoidable particles, gases, and
excessive water vapor that come from normal indoor activities such as
cooking, cleaning, and showering.”
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Filters and Air
In the hottest and
coldest months of the year, it may not be easy to ventilate your way
out of indoor air pollution. This is when filtration can help. Your
HVAC system has an air filter for this reason. When replacing the
filter, choose the one with the highest filtration standard (it
filters out the smallest particles). This can go a long way towards
improving your IAQ.
filtration only removes particles and does nothing to remove
chemicals and VOC’s from your air. There are specialty filters for
this, but they are expensive. It is smarter and more appealing to
use houseplants to remove VOC’s and other contaminants.
Some pollutants are not particulates and wont’ be trapped in a particulate filter. A good example of this is the volatile organic compounds that are released from newly manufactured goods, from paints, glues and so on. One of the best ways to filter out these pollutants is – houseplants. Studies by NASA show that many of your favorite plants will filter VOC’s from your indoor atmosphere. Plants improve your home’s indoor air quality and make your home a better place to live.
products leave no toxic residues and do not form toxic by-products as
you are cleaning. Nok-Out and SNiPER both are definitely ‘green’
all-purpose cleaners in addition to their specialties of odor
eliminating and disinfection. Most disinfectants are poisons – not
SNiPER! At a ph of 8.5, both SNiPER and Nok-Out are ‘green’ and
you can use them throughout your home for everyday cleaning that will
not accumulate poisons in your indoor environment.
One Spring Cleaning Chore that often goes overlooked is cleaning your mattress. Since that mattress is where you spend about a third of your life, it makes sense to give it a good cleaning periodically. Especially, if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Regular cleaning of sheets and linens is the first line of defense, but periodically, your mattress will need an especially thorough round of cleaning and maintenance. Spring cleaning for your mattress is a good idea and can help you breathe easier at night! Here’s how to use Nok-Out and /or SNiPER to do a good job of cleaning it, and help you sleep easier.
A Breeding Ground
Your mattress is likely to come in contact with sweat, blood and other body fluids, and because you are lying in it, it is a warm moist place. That warm moist place is inhabited by bacteria, living and dead dust mites, the feces of those mites (which can cause allergic reactions), dead skin cells, fleas from pets and their feces, and so on. There is a regular ecology of critters living in your bed. Being warm and moist, with all those ‘food’ sources, it is indeed a breeding ground. A good Spring Cleaning of your mattress will reduce that population of critters to a healthier level.
Daily: Leave the covers pulled back and allow the sheets to air out and dry. Run the AC in summer to keep indoor humidity levels low.
Check the washing instruction on your sheets and if permitted, wash your sheets in the hottest water available. Don’t overload the washer! Triple rinse. While the sheets are in the wash, vacuum the mattress. Despite sheets separating you from the mattress, there will still be lots of dead skin cells and vacuuming them up removes a food source for many tiny critters, including dust mites. Pay special attention to the seams and vacuum them carefully. This is where many mites like to hide. If you are allergic to dust mites, this is an important step!
Spring Cleaning for Your Mattress:
Vacuum the mattress thoroughly using some kind of ‘beater brush’ attachment. Inspect the seams carefully, looking for living bugs or eggs. It may be that you can use your carpet floor vacuum for this. The beater brush will shake and scrape loose stuff that has attached to the fibers of the mattress cover. When done, spray the mattress thoroughly with SNiPER and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting sheets back on.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Nok-Out can help with any odors in your mattress, including urine odors. Locate the source of the odor to find where to spray (remembering that Nok-Out and SNiPER both, need to be in direct contact with the odor source to be able to do their jobs) and spray directly on the source – allow to air dry. If the urine has soaked deep into the mattress, Nok-Out also needs to go that deep in order to get to all of the urine, so it may be a good idea to dilute some Nok-Out with 4 parts water and spray heavily. If this is the case, put fans on it to speed drying.
If your concern is for bacterial contamination, use SNiPER. Friendly to pets and people, SNiPER is lethal to microorganisms and can disinfect your mattress without leaving behind any toxic residues. Vacuum the entire bed thoroughly. Spray the entire bed until it is uniformly damp. Allow it to air dry.
The last thing you want to hear when
someone walks into your home is, “What’s that smell?” It’s
even worse when you don’t know how to answer the question because
you have been wondering the same thing.
If you’ve found yourself in this
predicament, it’s time to follow your nose and get to the bottom of
“that smell” once and for all. Let’s look at a path to
freshness that you can follow in order to identify the source of
odors, treat and eliminate them, and prevent them from returning in
with your nose is the best way to begin when attempting to identify
the source of an unwanted odor. For instance, if you can describe the
smell as smelling musty or like dirty socks, it is likely that you
have a mold problem or built-up bacteria in
To find the source
of this kind of odor, look in the most likely sources: leaky
plumbing, areas with poor ventilation such as the bathroom, and
window frames that may have accumulated moisture from the elements.
You might also
experience a burning smell. This could be from appliances
overheating, a dirty HVAC filter, plastic melting in the ductwork, or
exposed electrical wiring throughout the house that’s actually
melting the insulation around it.
Perhaps the most
dangerous odors are chemical or sulfuric in nature. Hopefully, a
rotten egg smell is coming from a running faucet. If it’s not, it
could be a gas leak.
There is another
common odor, the “old food” smell. To find the source more
specifically, take a good whiff from above your garbage disposal and
pop your head in the dishwasher. These are the most likely sources
for smelly food odors.
Finally, your carpet
soaks up more and more odors as time passes, including pet odors and
smells left behind from the many feet that traverse it.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Once you have honmed in on the sources of odors in your home, you can take action to eliminate these unwelcome smells.
Mold—If you have discovered that you are dealing with mold, you first need to repair leaks in your plumbing. Seal your windows and doors as well to keep more moisture from accumulating. Once sources of moisture have been properly sealed, it is time to remove the mold and follow up with SNiPER Disinfectant and Odor Eliminator.
Electrical—You should never ignore a burning smell. If you believe it could be electrical, you can troubleshoot by sniffing out each room. Your nose might lead you to an overheated clothes dryer in the laundry room or a very concentrated area along a wall. If it’s either of those, you might file a home warranty claim and have an electrician take a look. If the smell seems to be in every room, it’s likely coming from your HVAC and being pushed through all the vents in your home. Inspect your air filter.
Gas—If an egg- or chemical-like smell is coming from your sink or shower, you likely just have hard water. It might be time to flush the water heater or service the water softener. If it’s not the water, it’s in the air, which could mean you have a gas leak. You should address this immediately. After all, carbon monoxide poisoning kills 400 people in the US each year.
Food—If the dishwasher or garbage disposal tested positive for “smelly food” odors, it’s again time to break out SNiPER Disinfectant. You can also refresh your dishwasher with vinegar. If you’re already deep cleaning your kitchen, it might be a good time to thoroughly clean and disinfect your refrigerator as well.
Carpet—To really be effective at eliminating odors from your carpet, it is important to use a solution specifically designed for not only the source of the odor but the type of carpet you have as well. If spot cleaning and vacuuming won’t do, you have the option of buying or renting a carpet steamer or you can hire a professional to do it for you.
odors from returning
Now that you have
found where the odors in your home were coming from, you can make and
execute a plan to prevent them from returning. One way of doing this
is to keep up with routine maintenance of your home appliances and
systems. Vacuum regularly, replace air filters and smoke detector
batteries on a seasonal basis, ventilate rooms through open up
windows, and use dehumidifiers or exhaust fans in windowless rooms,
like the bathroom or basement.
The week may have been full and your
house may be unprepared for guests, but no worries. You’ve got
this. With this step-by-step guide you can complete in roughly 30
minutes, you can quickly prep your home for last-minute guests and
even wow them too. Here’s how.
1. Clean and deodorize
A 2018 survey revealed that the first
two things people notice when they walk in your home is how clean it
is and how it smells—for better or for worse.
When you get home, set aside 20 minutes to power clean: vacuum, sweep, wipe down counters and tabletops, load the dishwasher, Use Nok-Out or SNiPER to clean the bathroom guests will use, and spray some Nok-Out into the air using the finest mist setting on your sprayer. This doesn’t have to be an exhaustive clean, just enough to leave it looking and smelling fresh.
2. Eliminate pet hair and odor
Your guests won’t feel comfortable sitting down if there is pet hair on every surface, and they won’t have a very pleasant experience if there’s a lingering pet odor in the air. Vacuum furniture and finish with a lint roller to capture all stray hairs. Spray Nok-Out into the air to brighten the room and eliminate odors. Voila!
Make a sweep of all the trash cans in
the house and empty them. Because you’re in your home every day,
you may not notice some odors, specifically those coming from the
kitchen garbage. Empty all and replace with fresh trash can liners.
That’s one more chore taken care of.
4. If you’re expecting last-minute
If you’re expecting overnight guests,
you’ll want to take a few more steps.
Make sure the guest bed has clean
sheets and pillow cases, lay out fresh towels and washcloths. I also
like to put a few fresh flowers in a vase on the bedside table and
use a fine mister or cold vaporizer to spray Nok-Out and safely leave
the room smelling fresh.
Because you’ll need some refreshments
on hand for your houseguests, quickly scan the pantry and fridge,
writing down your shopping list as you go. It’s nice to have snacks
like crackers and cheese, olives, dips, and veggies on hand for
hungry travelers. Also pick up some sparkling water and fresh lemon
for a cold drink. If you’re short on time, try a grocery delivery
service who will do the shopping for you and deliver to your
home—usually in just a couple of hours.
5. Remember that guests are
One important thing to remember is that
while you certainly want to make a nice impression and make your
guests feel welcome, most people are very forgiving. They know it was
a last-minute request, and ultimately, they’ve come to spend time
For many, the weekly chore list
includes the usual vacuuming, sweeping and mopping; sanitizing sinks,
toilets and showers; dusting and disinfecting all surfaces; removing
garbage from the home; and tidying up around the house. While these
are tasks that most of us are good at remembering, it might also be
important to add at least one chore to our weekly cleaning that
involves an “overlooked mess.”
An overlooked mess is often located in
an area of our home that is hidden from view or is not easily
accessible. For this reason it is often neglected and, over time, can
build up dirt, grime, germs and other invading horrors that pose
risks to our health. Here are five overlooked messes that can easily
become hazardous if not handled.
lies beneath, behind and within the refrigerator
If strange noises or off-putting smells
are coming from the kitchen, it could be time to clean the
refrigerator. First, clean and vacuum its coils. Then, eliminate
debris from behind and underneath it. You’ll need to unplug and
move your refrigerator to do this. And while you’re at it, clean
out the inside of your refrigerator too. Before you fill it up again,
consider using SNiPER
Disinfectant to completely disinfect your refrigerator.
fan of a dirty blade
There’s the old cleaning adage about
checking the top of the refrigerator to see if a house is truly
clean. The same applies to ceiling fans. Because they are hard to
reach, they’re frequently neglected.
And rarely do humans look up these days. As a result, dust can
accumulate over time, adding to allergies and poor air quality in a
home. There are many dusting tools with extended handles designed for
just this task. If your ceiling fan is low enough for a step ladder,
sliding an old pillowcase over the blade will also do the trick.
If you’re a pet owner, it’s all you
can do to keep up with the mess in the yard or litter box. You may be
thrilled that your furry friend is at least choosing to sleep on the
cushion you lovingly provided instead of on your couch. However, it’s
easy to forget—especially since you’re not the one sleeping on
it—that a pet bed will get just as stinky and dirty as fluffy is.
Be sure to buy hardy cushions with removable covers that can be
easily laundered and replaced on a regular basis. And spray it down
Odor Eliminator to freshen up between washings.
That giant metallic monstrosity humming away in the corner of some dark closet in your home, the one with the shiny vents and knobs and scary words and neon notices plastered all over it? It needs love, specifically your love. It needs you to change it’s filter on a regular basis. If you don’t, your house will stink, your lungs will betray you and give way to allergies, and you’ll shrink in horror from your utility bill. Additionally, over time, your furnace could actually break from the lack of maintenance, and without a warranty, you will be paying exponentially more than the cost of changing your furnace filter regularly.
Have you gotten cozy with your oven’s
grease filter lately? Stared into the yawning abyss of your dryer’s
hose? Have you peeked inside your appliances lately? What about your
microwave’s turntable or the refrigerator gasket? Remember that
your appliances have insides as well as outsides and it is necessary
to keep them clean as well since they have the closest contact with
what you put both in you and on you. Clean
your appliances thoroughly,
both inside and out.
While we cannot clean every single nook and cranny of our home every week, simply paying more attention to just one overlooked mess per week will work wonders for our health, safety, and our checking account. Horror movies will always be around, but at least your home will not be the star feature.
Recently I spoke on the phone with a long-time customer of Nok-Out who told me a story from her workplace. They had a temporary worker – a volunteer – who had an untreated incontinence issue. She leaked a little bit of urine somewhat regularly as she moved around in the office area, sitting in different chairs to do different jobs. The cushioning in the chairs was absorbing the urine and once bacteria get a hold of that urine as a food source, the chairs start to stink. The caller was purchasing some Nok-Out to eliminate urine odor from those chairs. It got me to thinking about the difficulty in treating foam cushioning. Here is how to treat smelly cushions for odor – including urine odors.
Problem: Nok-Out works when it comes into direct contact with the odor source. In fact, it can ONLY work, when it is in direct contact with all of the odor source. If you miss a bit of the source, then that missed place will continue to stink. Cushions are thick and are not necessarily as absorbent as a sponge, so it can be a bit of a challenge if urine or other smelly stuff has penetrated deep into the cushioning. How do you get Nok-Out to work for you in this case?
If possible, remove the cushion from the covering. There may be a zipper in the back and if you are lucky, you can pull the foam cushion out and put it back later. You will need a largish tub. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as large as the cushion, but it should be big enough that you can ‘dunk’ large portions of the foam in it. Add water to this tub,and then add Nok-Out. A dilution ratio of 8 water to 1 Nok-Out will work here and will be efficient. Dunk a portion or all of the cushion in your mixture and palm flat, squeeze it down slowly, forcing the air out. Then slowly release the pressure, allowing the diluted Nok-Out mixture to be drawn into the cushion. Do this a couple of times. Treat the entire cushion in this way. This will both rinse away the dried urine and will leave a bit of Nok-Out behind to eliminate the urine odor. Allow it to dry and put the cushion back into its covering. This is the easy, most reliable method.Unfortunately, not all cushions can be removed from the covering. So another plan may be required.
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Even if you can’t get direct access to the foam, you still need to get Nok-Out to penetrate deeply into the cushion to achieve direct contact with any urine source deep in the cushions. But it is not efficient at all to just pour Nok-Out directly on the seat or sofa. We can, however, dilute Nok-Out at a dilution rate ranging from 4 to 1 to the same 8 to 1 in the ‘tub’ method. Put this diluted Nok-Out into a sprayer and go to town on that cushion! Spray heavily. Wait a few minutes for it to be absorbed – and spray again. And maybe again and again as needed, to get this dilute Nok-Out mixture to penetrate deeply. Much like ‘lather, rinse and repeat’, you may have to go through this process more than once to be successful.
Why not just spray the cushions directly with Nok-Out?
You can, but your
success will depend on how deeply you can get Nok-Out to penetrate
into the cushion material. However deep the urine went, Nok-Out needs
to get there also.
Will this work for pet urine also?
Yes indeed. At some level, urine is urine, whether dog, cat, ferret, pot-bellied pig or people. Nok-Out will work as long as it comes into direct contact with the odor source. It will remove ALL the odor if you can get it to come into contact with all the smelly stuff.