Ideas to Help You Keep a Healthy Home in the Heat of Summer

Ideas to Help You Keep a Healthy Home in the Heat of Summer

It’s that HOT time of year again, when we button up our homes tightly, to keep the cool air in, and the hot humid air out. This is great for keeping your electric bills from skyrocketing, but it also has an effect on our indoor air quality. Here is how that works – when your home is buttoned up tightly, there is little outside ventilation available.  That ventilation ordinarily would dilute any accumulation of toxic chemicals released as by-products from the use of some cleansers.   And that is the problem – tightly sealed homes trap indoor air. Since we spend so much time indoors during these HOT months, it become extra important to pay attention to maintaining the quality of your indoor environment and a healthy home.

Principles of a Healthy Home

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is promoting 8 “Principles of a Healthy Home” that they hope will help you keep your indoor environment as healthy as it can be.  We are happy to share this with you here.

1. Keep your home Dry Mold and moisture increase allergens and asthma triggers, and can cause deterioration of your home.

2. Keep your home Clean Clean homes help reduce pest infestations, dust, and exposure to contaminants.

3. Keep your home Pest-Free Many pest treatments pose risks for families with health problems or expose young children and pets to poisonous residue. Non-pesticide treatments are best for a first line of defense.

4. Keep your home Safe A majority of injuries among children occur in the home. Falls are the most frequent cause of residential injuries to children, followed by injuries from objects in the home, burns, and poisonings.

5. Keep your home Contaminant-Free Chemical exposures include lead, radon, pesticides, and environmental tobacco smoke. Exposures to radon gas, carbon monoxide, and second-hand tobacco smoke are far higher indoors than outside.

6. Keep your home Ventilated Studies show that increasing the fresh air supply in a home improves respiratory health. Air filters in HVAC units collect and protect families from many particulates found in the air.

7. Keep your home Maintained Poorly-maintained homes increase the risk for deteriorated lead-based paint in older housing which is the primary cause of lead poisoning in children less than 6 years of age.

8. Keep your home Temperature Controlled Houses that do not maintain adequate temperatures may place the safety of residents at increased risk from exposure to extreme cold or heat.

Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator SNiPER Kills Mold
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

Other ideas to maintain the highest standards for indoor air quality

  • Use an extra air filter if you have pets because  pets release ‘dander’ and shed hair. You can tape a 20 x 20 air filter to the back of a 20 inch box fan to make a very effective DIY air filter. They work great and can reduce the load on the filtration in your AC unit.
  • Clean your carpets regularly. Carpets act like a filter and catch dust, dander, hair, dust mites, cockroach and mice allergens as well as  other particulates. Cleaning this accumulation helps keep your indoor environment its cleanest.
  • Avoid the use of hazardous cleaning chemicals. Use Nok-Out instead! It is a multi-purpose cleaner that can be used all around the house. See: http://blog.nokout.com/replace-your-toxic-household-cleaning-chemicals-for-a-safer-home-environment/ for more on this idea.

Links to more information regarding Indoor Air Quality

 

Allergy Season and Indoor Air Quality

Allergy Season and Indoor Air Quality

Suffering from Allergies? Runny nose, teary eyes, congestion, sneezing got you down?

It’s the time of year that some of us dread – the coming of Allergy Season. Indoor Air Quality is directly related to our experience of allergy season because we spend a lot of time at home, yet is something most of us take for granted. We have air filters for our HVAC, our car, home, and office too, that trap particulates to prevent us breathing them in. This is a good thing because  much of that stuff masquerading as dust is actually pollen, spores, dander and other nearly invisible biological material that can irritate eyes, nose and throat and in some cases, can provoke a headache, dizziness or fatigue.

The degree to which allergy season affects you can vary widely. The blessed among us may never notice anything at all. Allergy sufferers, on the other hand, may dread the arrival of spring and/or fall because of the load of pollen, spores and other stuff floating in the air. Some of the immediate effects of breathing these are very similar to the symptoms of a cold or the flu, which may cause a bit of confusion.

These ‘pollutants’ in your home or office may have many sources:

  • combustion by-products
  • tobacco products
  • new construction (new floors, carpets painted surfaces, cabinetry
  • newly manufactured furniture such as mattresses that emit VOC’s
  • dirty HVAC filter
  • high humidity inside your home
  • things that continuously emit ‘fragrances’ or other odor masks
  • outdoor sources such as pesticides, and human-caused environmental pollution such as smoke and particulates arising from manufacturing and construction

For many of these a great solution is simply to open the windows and air out the home or office – but this is not always practical, or desirable if the outdoor air is filthy.

Filtration Helps

Fortunately, we have filters in our homes that help. If you suffer during allergy season, you should not skimp here. Purchase HEPA air filters with the finest filtration ratings you can find, and replace them regularly. There are other filtration sources in the home as well – your carpet is one of them. Drapes and curtains are another. A too-full vacuum cleaner bag can release particulates right back into your home.

How can you reduce ‘allergy triggers’ (allergens) in your home?

Remember that we can’t change conditions outdoors much, but we can have a positive effect on our indoor environment!   Don’t let allergy season get the best of you. Here’s how you can make a difference in your home.  With a little effort and knowledge, you can restore your indoor environment, to be comfortable  at home during allergy season.

1) Place doormats both outside and just inside entryway doors – one on each side of the door. Cleaning your shoes on both of them will help keep floors clean – and the air, too. Clean the mats as part of your weekly housecleaning. If this is unappealing, consider removing your shoes on entry to your home and wearing house shoes while at home.

2) Change your HVAC air filter regularly. Increase the air filtration with the use of an additional air filter. You can make a DIY one with a 20 inch box fan to which you tape a 20 inch square HEPA air filter. (The better quality air filter you get, the better this simple device will work for you – and, it’ll take some of the load off of the HVAC filter, allowing your HVAC filter to last longer and consequently, to run more efficiently).

Also, have your drapes/curtains and carpets professionally cleaned regularly. It is amazing how much filtration is provided by these household items, so keeping them clean will reduce allergens noticeably.

3) Dry wet items quickly. This will prevent the growth of mold and spores. Mold can begin growing on almost any surface within 24 – 48 hours. Put a squeegee in your shower stall and use it before you leave the shower every time. With mold, prevention is far and away the best solution.  Manage the water to manage the mold!

4) Dust and vacuum often. Replace your vacuum bag with a new one when it gets 2/3 full, because a full bag will leak particulates back into your home environment. Dust mites, animal dander, fleas and other small insects can be controlled effectively by frequent vacuuming.

5) Take control of indoor humidity levels by using the vents in the bathroom after a shower, and by using the vent over your stove when cooking (but only if it is vented outside the house). Use dehumidifiers in your basement during the times of year when it becomes damp.

6) Reduce your use of cleaning products that leave toxic residues. See: http://blog.nokout.com/replace-your-toxic-household-cleaning-chemicals-for-a-safer-home-environment/ (The Indoor air pollution blog entries are relevant also, part 1, part 2 part 3.) Non-toxic Nok-Out and SNiPER disinfectant are good alternatives for your bathrooms and even the kitchen.

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How to Speed Clean Your Home

How to Speed Clean Your Home

How to Speed Clean Anything

Have household chores gotten the best of you? Do you find yourself putting off the inevitable, or just smear around, and NEVER really deep clean? Nok-Out/SNiPER Products will help you to Speed Clean your house, and get it DONE!

In many households, the whole family is responsible for household cleaning. Many hands make speed cleaning easier and more fun! Whether you share the load or not, these tips will speed up your tasks, and improve your speed cleaning skills.

Here is how to do it.

Focus Your Mind and Stay on Task Until You Are Done…

Take cleaning gadgets out of your tool box. They may be great for mini cleanups, but for speed cleaning they are superfluous. Invest in sturdy, well made tools, replace old worn-out mops and sweepers. Cast off terry towels that are threadbare, and re-purpose your present towels, or purchase them in bundles from your favorite shop.

Begin the job with a general pickup. Clutter begone! (At this juncture, it is easy to get distracted by the disorder. Don’t let it happen!) What to do, you say? Throw away paper items and don’t begin to choose what to keep or toss. If you haven’t looked at it for 12 months, it’s a goner. (The Speed Cleaner doesn’t keep things for later review. You have to make an instant decision, it stays or it goes. If it stays, place the item, photo, curio, etc in it’s place. If it goes, Let a local charity organization deal with the issue!)

Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator  SNiPER Kills Mold
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator NokOut Odor Eliminator

Invest in a Tool Box

Choose a container that is lightweight and handy to tote, but big enough to hold all your most commonly used cleaning supplies. Keep it filled with products like this:

  • glass cleaner or multi surface cleaner,
  • furniture cleaner/polish,
  • SNiPER and /or Nok-Out for disinfection and deodorizing,
  • Tile Cleaner
  • brushes, rags, wipes

You may be able to simplify further by making your own cleaning products.  (See www.everydaycheapskate.com for great cleaning product recipes.)  Inside this tool box you should find sufficient cloths, brushes, and goods to clean your house. Add a plastic bag, a feather duster and any other nook, cranny or specialty tool you like using.

Dusting and Polishing Furniture, Vacuuming the Floor. Make every movement count. When using a multipurpose cleaner or furniture polish, spray the cloth rather than the surface. With one hand apply the cleaner, and with  the other hand,using a dry clean cloth polish the surface as you go along. (This requires ambidexterity. Don’t waste time on this if it is impossible for you. For some of us, walking and chewing gum at the same time is as far as our multitasking goes!) Continue wiping and cleaning all surfaces in that room.

Dust and wipe first, then vacuum.

Fetch the vacuum cleaner, and tackle the floors. Move furniture monthly, or weekly if crumbs or other clutter is underneath. Determine which electric plugs allow you to change plugs the fewest times.

Focus your laser eyes on the Floor! In your mind, block off the room into a grid, and vacuum the room using this grid. Empty the vacuum tank as needed, and apply a spray of Nok-Out each time. If you have a cleaner that uses bags, spray the exterior of the bag every time you replace it.  If you have a bag-less cleaner, spray Nok-Out into the container. Mop well used areas (bathroom, kitchen). For areas that are not so busy, try once every other week.

Housekeepers, husbands, children, and anyone else who is responsible for house cleaning duty on a regular basis. This set of instructions works great when you have a goal, the tools, and the method. However, there WILL come a time, when speed cleaning is not enough. Although it may bring a frown to your face, dirt and grime tend to collect over time, even with all of your good cleaning habits. When it is absolutely necessary for your wellbeing and good health, the Nok-Out blog has a plethora (a lot of) hints and guidelines for deep cleaning. Check out this link to specific deep cleaning techniques:

Links to guidance and help

http://www.nokout.com/House-Cleaning-with-Nok-Out.html – All around “How-To’ instructions
https://www.nokout.com/Suggested-Dilution-Ratios-when-Applying-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Remove-odors-from-concrete-tile-or-brick.html
https://www.nokout.com/Area-Rug-Cleaning-with-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Remove-odors-from-concrete-tile-or-brick.html
https://www.nokout.com/Cleaning-Mold-and-Mildew.html
https://www.nokout.com/Kitchen-Clean-Up-and-Disinfection-with-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Rerigerator.html

Check the left-hand column of www.nokout.com, under the heading “How To Use” for MANY more great guides.

Tidy up and then you’re done. Everything has a place, and everything has found it’s place. Look around and view serenity and calm. You are done!

Don’t let the sparkle blind you when you dance out of your clean house!

SPRING-CLEANING!  Time to get ready!

SPRING-CLEANING! Time to get ready!

Tips for a Refreshed and Immaculate Home!

Spring Cleaning is a ‘mental thing’. When the outside air warms up, even a little bit, and we open the windows to let that fresh breeze waft through the house, something happens. The ‘spring-cleaning-gene’ wakes up, you see your home in a new light, with new fresh smells mingling with old, stale odors, and not all of them fragrant! In the corners, along baseboards, in your closets, other odors present themselves. And, you know, you just know it in your bones; it is time to do something about the clutter, the dust bunnies, the soiled door knobs, and the general malaise that winter doldrums engender.

First of all, remember that Nok-Out and Sniper will not contribute toxins to your household.  Using them is a great way to keep the air in your home clear of toxins that other cleaners leave behind.

Here is how to organize your spring cleaning tasks, and finish them in record time.

1. Begin by Minimizing the Mess:

  • Take a dispassionate look at every room. Do you see clutter? Remove every non-essential item and make two piles. One is a ‘keeping pile’. The other is a (YES, you can do it!) ‘throw-away’ heap. Depending on your penchant for keeping/not keeping things, this is hard. It can feel brutal. If this item hasn’t been used or found necessary for 3 years, it belongs in the throw-away heap. Especially, this is true in your closet. Anything that has gone un-worn for 2 years – take it to the Salvation Army.
  • Bag it up. Put it in your car, truck, vehicle. Don’t look back.  It’s part of your history – not your future.  Take a photo of the throw away pile.  You can share it (with your spring clean story) – or throw it away too!

2. With the rooms de-cluttered, your home may already look neater, and fresher, and really and truly, you have done the hardest part of all.

  • Take a hard look at the corners, baseboards, door handles.
  • Move furniture around to peer underneath and around.
  • Smell pillows, upholstery, and window coverings.
  • Make note of window sills, check for dust on the tops of picture frames, and other household knick-knacks and treasures.
  • Now, you know where dust, dirt and odors are hiding in plain view. You have a plan of action. Tackle each room, methodically, with intention, and full of energy. You will need: clean cloths, your cleaning equipment, and a Super Cleaner to fully restore your home to fresh,clean and sweet smelling.
  • There are many cleaning supplies to choose from. Only one, can disinfect, clean and deodorize at the same time – SNiPER. You can use this product can be used straight from the bottle.  Use Nok-Out full strength to get rid of odors or diluted to suit the cleaning job at hand.

3. Jot down all of the tasks you will be doing for each room. (This may sound over-the-top, but it is so easy to get distracted from the main task, and waver off into a side job that is not essential to your goal…a clean, shiny, sweet smelling home). Delegate  tasks to other household members. Now, you are mentally prepared to begin the task with a notion of what needs to be done, you have your cleaning supplies at ready, and you are set to go!

  • The best advice in a general cleaning such as this, is to monitor your time. Depending on the amount of work to be accomplished in each area, set a time limit for the room you are attacking. (Re-read #3!) It is easy to get sidetracked when you begin a big job, and by being consistent and staying on-task, the work goes quickly.
  • There is (of course!) that extra job that becomes apparent, the one you overlooked in setting your time schedule. Mentally add the time it will take to remedy the snagged carpet, or soiled pillow, and continue. DO NOT get bogged down in another big job, like cleaning the blinds, or washing windows now!  Tasks like this require you to spend one whole day performing such a time consuming task. It belongs in spring cleaning, but should be allocated to another day. (Some people also put baseboard cleaning and repainting into this category. It’s your call.)

4. Take breaks as you need them. Drink plenty of water. Housekeeping is a thirsty job!

5. When you have reached the end of the tasks assigned to one day, retrace your steps to each room, or area that you have worked and note if any corners have been neglected, or if you missed a soiled spot, or if you see something else that didn’t get on the list and needs another wipe or spray.

6.  When you have finished for the day, take a few moments to reward yourself.  After all that hard work, you deserve a reward!  Reach around and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done (even if you didn’t quite finish, and there is more work for the next weekend).

Systematically cleaning, reviewing your work, and then storing cleaning supplies (noting when a cleaner is almost empty, or when it wasn’t successful) will put you in a good place for day-to-day and week-to-week cleaning , whichever is your preference.

It really is a lot of work to do a major cleaning, but it’s really quite necessary as well.  Imagine how great you will feel when your home is pristine again!  Imagine your home free of pent-up odors, clean and fresh smelling.  Get some SNiPER today to realize that  in your home!

 

Buy a Gallon of SNiPER disinfectant and Odor Eliminator!  SNiPER Kills Mold
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator. SNiPER Kills Mold

Links to guidance and help

http://www.nokout.com/House-Cleaning-with-Nok-Out.html –  All around “How-To’ instructions
https://www.nokout.com/Suggested-Dilution-Ratios-when-Applying-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Remove-odors-from-concrete-tile-or-brick.html
https://www.nokout.com/Area-Rug-Cleaning-with-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Remove-odors-from-concrete-tile-or-brick.html
https://www.nokout.com/Cleaning-Mold-and-Mildew.html
https://www.nokout.com/Kitchen-Clean-Up-and-Disinfection-with-Nok-Out.html
https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Rerigerator.html

Check the left-hand column of www.nokout.com, under the heading “How To Use” for MANY more great guides.

Stinky Dirty Diapers-Remove that Odor with SNiPER!

Stinky Dirty Diapers-Remove that Odor with SNiPER!

Issues related to odor and bacteria in baby diapers

Horrors!

Diaper Pail first:

Horrible smells drift lazily around the bathroom or nursery. Smells that gag, cause men to faint, and make a person wonder if a baby was such a good idea after all. The Diaper Pail reeks of old stale urine and poop.

Wait! Maybe you don’t know about SNiPER. I’ll explain that later, but for now, let’s just examine how to stop that smell every time it happens!

Some simple remedies are just common sense. Your retching makes you forget them. Let’s be calm and keep going.

You don’t need any fancy contraptions to have a clean diaper pail.

Try to limit the number of dirty diapers that accumulate in the pail. This may mean more trips to the garbage can outside, but it does keep that nasty-smelling air from leaking into the baby’s nursery.

Another good tip. Always spray SNiPER into the empty pail. Spray SNiPER into the plastic bag insert. Keep the lid open to allow SNiPER to dry a bit. (It is during the drying process that SNiPER does it’s job.)

Regular air fresheners only mask poop odor. They really don’t have a long life span, even at that. The SNiPER formula is long lasting because it removes the odor completely (until another dirty diaper is dumped in the pail!)

Spray SNiPER in the pail both before and after tossing the dirty diaper.

Wash or spray SNiPER in the diaper pail often-at least once a day. This simple act cuts out much of the bacteria in the pail and in the air and helps keep the home more sanitary.

Both chlorine bleach and ammonia are sometimes used for this detail. Chlorine bleach is not at all safe in the nursery-anywhere. The fumes can be a powerful irritant to a baby’s sensitive skin and lungs. Ammonia is useful sometimes as well, but ammonia doesn’t have any antibacterial properties and is not safe for tender skin. Nor are the chemical air fresheners we tend to use. Particularly in a nursery, added chemicals in the air are a problem. A baby’s sensitive and brand-new lungs do not need harsh chemicals. Just fresh, clean and odor-free air. SNiPER, on the other hand, releases no unwanted or unsafe cleaning byproducts which may cause harm.

Diaper Bags:

Keep a clean plastic bag in your Diaper bag. You can also spray in inside the plastic bag before use. Allow it to dry. On your return to home, Dispose the bag and its contents. Some moms will shake the contents of the plastic bag in the toilet, and then dispose the plastic bag properly. Spray the interior of your diaper bag with SNiPER, and let dry before the next use.

Other Baby Issues:

Of course, after each diaper change, baby’s bottom must be washed. Use SNiPER to ensure that the baby’s bottom is clean and safe from bacteria collecting there. SNiPER is proven to be harmless by independent lab analyses. This link: https://www.nokout.com/MSDS-SNiPER.html, supplies you with the assurance that no dermal issues exist when used as directed. Dip a clean cloth in SNiPER, squeeze excess moisture, and gently wash the affected area. You can warm the cloth, then spray it with SNiPER.

Does anyone still use cloth diapers? These diapers really save lots of money! Research indicates that even if you use a diaper service, cloth diapers save as much as $2000.00 over disposables. Cloth diapers are also known to keep down diaper rashes. However, a combination of cloth and disposables makes a lot of sense. Disposable on-the-go, and cloth for every day economy and regular use. One of the ‘cons’ regarding cloth diapers are they are messy to clean. You WILL be doing laundry more often.

Babies and diapers become a personal issue for moms. Time, money, ease of use, and safest for the baby are primary questions for the new, or experienced Mom. Remember SNiPER. Your best friend in the nursery and beyond!

Buy a gallon of SNiPER for $49 – including shipping
If you drop something on the floor, will you still eat it?

If you drop something on the floor, will you still eat it?

The NY Times has an interesting article written by a doctor who claims, “I’m a doctor. If I drop food on the kitchen floor, I still eat it”.

He goes on to talk about studies (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16134485) that have been done on how ‘germy’ (my word – not his!) are various places around the home and office. They sampled many locations around the house and came up with measures of how ‘germy’ those surfaces really are, before any cleaning or disinfecting has taken place. Some of the results may surprise you!

The kitchen floor was found to have 2.75 colonies per square inch (of coliform bacteria). The refrigerator handle had 5.37 colonies and the kitchen counter had 5.57 colonies. He goes on to the bathroom where the toilet seat that we all think of as being so easily contaminated, only had 0.68 colonies! But the flush handle for that toilet had 34.65 colonies!

That is a great illustration of what are known as ‘high-touch areas’ – places where many hands touch regularly. These high-touch areas then, are places where our fight against harmful germs can make a difference. The refrigerator handle, the flush, lever, are fairly obvious places, but what about other high touch surfaces – such as your phone! “One study, for instance, found that about 95 percent of mobile phones carried by health care workers were contaminated with nosocomial bacteria. Of those contaminated with staph aureus, more than half were contaminated with methicillin resistant bacteria (MRSA).”

How about the money in your wallet or purse? Many studies have pointed out just how germy money is, but how often have you seen someone pay cash for a sandwich and then eat that sandwich immediately?

The ‘germiest’ thing around your home is most likely – the sponge in your kitchen sink, which was found to have around 20 million colonies per square inch!

Buy a quart of SNiPER now. If you need it, you’ll be glad you have it on hand!! SNiPER Kills Mold

There are so many things we touch every day – atm machine, keyboards, light switches, steering wheels, and so on. We have been touching those places day-in and day-out for all out lives and are still here to tell about it, so really, it can’t be that bad. But if you are concerned about it, then there is something you can do.

Use SNiPER to disinfect or sanitize. Generally speaking, sanitizing is referred to as killing about 99.9% of bacteria (not including virus) on some hard surface within 30 seconds; typically, food preparation surfaces are sanitized. Disinfection destroys multiple organisms including bacteria and some viruses. ‘Disinfectants’ are regulated by the US  E.P.A. To be allowed this designation, you must demonstrate that the product kills 99.999% of selected microbes in 5 – 10 minutes.

SNiPER meets the disinfect standard when used full strength and allowed to dwell on the surface for the full 5-10 minutes. You can meet the ‘sanitize’ standard when you dilute SNiPER by 6:1 (Water: SNiPER). Typically for sanitizing, you can simply spray and walk away, allowing it to air dry.

We have instructions for how to sanitize your phone here, http://blog.nokout.com/clean-the-germs-from-your-devices-safely-with-sniper/. We also have articles for how to clean and disinfect your fridge here: https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Rerigerator.html, disinfect your kitchen https://www.nokout.com/Kitchen-Clean-Up-and-Disinfection-with-Nok-Out.html your microwave https://www.nokout.com/Clean-and-Disinfect-your-Microwave.html and your bathroom here: https://www.nokout.com/Remove-Bathroom-Odor-and-Disinfect-too.html.

The Take-Away

If you have survived until adulthood, you have done so despite coming into direct contact with germs passed via the ‘high-touch’ areas, so in all probability, you are tough, with a strong immune system that protects you. But at certain times of the year, concern that illness-causing germs get passed from person to person increase. If it is being a difficult flu season, then perhaps an easy and effective way to limit the spread of pathogens is to treat the high touch areas with a good disinfecting product. (If you are worried about what may be on your hands, spray them down with SNiPER, and allow them to air dry.) SNiPER is the perfect solution. With it’s very low toxicity, its high efficacy and ease of application, SNiPER can help reduce the likelihood that some nasty pathogen comes into your home. Buy some today, because if you need it, you’ll be glad you have it!

If you have any questions, call Ted at 866 551 1927.