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. This product can be used straight from the bottle and is ready to use. 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 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. 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. All that hard work, you deserve a reward! Just 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. Buy some SNiPER today to realize that in your home!
|Buy a Gallon of SNiPER disinfectant and Odor Eliminator!
|Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator.
Links to guidance and help
http://www.nokout.com/House-Cleaning-with-Nok-Out.html – All around “How-To’ instructions
Check the left-hand column of www.nokout.com, under the heading “How To Use” for MANY more great guides.
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!
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.
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.
In our last blog series, we learned about Indoor Air Pollution that is caused by insufficient ventilation in modern homes which can result in a build-up of toxic chemicals. The build-up occurs because modern homes are so tightly sealed up that when you use these toxic chemicals to clean your home, they are unable to escape to the outside and then simply accumulate each week as you clean your home.
One of the best ways you can reduce the ‘toxic load’ in your indoor environment is simple – replace your toxic cleansers with others that are less toxic.
Grocery Store Cleansers
Rows and Rows and Rows of Cleaning Products line the shelves of the grocery store. It can be intimidating. Do you go with whatever is being advertised heavily? Do you buy what your mother used? Do you decide to take the cheapest (or most expensive) product? A better informed consumer makes an educated purchaser, saving money and time. Here is what you should know.
People use a vast array of different cleansers, deodorizers, anti-bacterials, and other products that can provide cosmetic or a healthy improvement to your home, and they often also remove the harmful bacteria and microorganisms that cause infection and illness. However, many cleaning products leave behind chemical residues that can be as bad for you or worse than the bacteria that they got rid of.
The most dangerous chemicals in your home are corrosive cleansers such as oven cleaner, acid-based toilet bowl cleansers, and of course drain cleaners. Even after use, these aggressive chemicals can cause severe burns, both external, as on the skin or eyes, and internal, burning even the esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
You might think that you’re safer with more common cleansers like bleach or ammonia, but both of these can still be punishing irritants. Not only that, but for children, the elderly, and anyone with asthma or heart or lung diseases, bleach or ammonia can cause extreme and severe reactions and should never be used in areas where they can be exposed to them. Additionally, those two can react with other cleaners off-gas, and make highly toxic fumes, creating deadly chlorine gas.
Many fragrances that are found in cleaning products and odor eliminators – especially those used in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and fabric sprays – can cause allergic or even toxic reactions. Companies often claim that their chemical makeups are trade secrets to avoid divulging the specific harmful chemicals and allergens in their products. (Don’t believe us? Do a google search with the search terms “Are product ‘scents’ safe?”)
Immediate reactions to direct exposure are only one form of danger, however. Far more treacherous is that many cleansers have chemicals in them that are known carcinogens or can have neurological or hormonal consequences after prolonged contact. Avoid any product that has diethanolamine (DEA), triethanolamine (TEA),1,4-dioxane, or butyl cellosolve in it. Again- many products that contain those potentially lethal chemicals don’t even list them, so do your research.
Since it’s difficult to find out the specific chemical makeup of any product, your best bet is to only use an EPA-registered, cleaner that you can be sure is non-harmful. True cleanliness isn’t just about a home that appears to be safe and clean, it’s about making sure that everyone that lives there or even just comes to visit is protected from harm.
The good news is that using Nok-Out odor eliminator or SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator does not leave toxic residues behind. Fragrance-free SNiPER enjoys the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA gives out. It works to kill bacteria, viruses, mildew and other microbes that can cause illness and infection, but will not cause you or your family harm. Our goal is to do good where we can, with you in mind.
Throw them away!
So throw away those products that are ‘fresh scented’ because those scents might well be causing you harm and no one is protecting consumers from this. Get rid of the bleach you use to kill mold, because it doesn’t really kill the mold anyway and absolutely does not kill the spores. Why spend your money on several products when there is one product that can replace many of those items under your sink? Try SNiPER instead. Your home environment will improve as toxicity levels stop climbing.
See all SNiPER products here.
NASA, the US Space Agency, has good news for us!
Because of modern building practices, your home, and our workplaces are built securely to keep outside air OUT, and inside air IN. This makes your home or office quite energy efficient, but also promotes the buildup of whatever chemicals are released from cleaning chemicals, from the outgasing of newly bought products, from chemicals released from printers and toners and other office machinery and so on. This buildup can occur when there is insufficient ventilation that otherwise would allow these chemicals to disburse outside of the home or office.
NASA has been concerned with how to reduce buildup of toxic chemicals inside spacecraft – for obvious reasons! Studies conducted by NASA scientists have identified over 50 houseplants that remove many of the pollutants and gases mentioned above. The study discovered that the interaction of plants and air in closed in situations such as our homes, found that houseplants, when placed in sealed chambers in the presence of specific chemicals, removed those chemicals from the chambers.
Ah ha! This is good news! If we introduce any or all of the following list of 10 plants into our homes, we will have purer air, air free of noxious toxins and chemicals. That something so beautiful and decorative can also be a source of good health, and a longer life is welcome news for all of us!
Check out this link to find a listing of house plants to organically, and with no polluting chemicals, decontaminate your home, and purify your surroundings.
The Top ten Plants for removing VOC’s including formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide from the air:
Areca Palm – Chrysalidocarpus lutescens
|Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) Also called the “Butterfly Palm”. An upright houseplant that is somewhat vase shaped. Specimen plants can reach 10 to 12 foot in height. Prefers a humid area to avoid tip damage. Requires pruning. When selecting an Areca palm look for plants with larger caliber trunks at the base of the plant. Plants that have pencil thin stems tend to topple over and are quite difficult to maintain.
Lady Palm – Rhapis excelsa
|Rhapis excelsa: Also called the “Lady Palm”, this durable palm species adapts well to most interiors. The Rhapis are some of the easiest palms to grow, but each species has its own particular environment and culture requirements. The “Lady Palm” grows slowly, but can grow to more than 14′ in height with broad clumps often having a diameter as wide as their height.
Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea seifrizii
|Bamboo Palm: (Chamaedorea seifrizii) Also called the “reed palm”, this palm prefers bright indirect light. New plants will lose of some interior foliage as they acclimate to indoor settings. This plant likes to stay uniformly moist, but does not like to be over-watered or to sit in standing water. Indoor palms may attract spider mites which can be controlled by spraying with a soapy solution.
Rubber Tree –
|Rubber Tree: Ficus Robusta Grows very well indoors, preferring semi-sun lighting. Avoid direct sunlight, especially in summer. Young plants may need to be supported by a stake. The Ficus grows to 8’ with a spread of 5’. Wear gloves when pruning, as the milky sap may irritate the skin. Water thoroughly when in active growth, then allow the soil to become fairly dry before watering again. In winter keep slightly moist.
Dracena “Janet Craig” (Dracaena deremensis)
|Dracena “Janet Craig” (Dracaena deremensis) The Dracaena grows to 10’ with a spread of 3’. Easy to grow, these plants do best in bright indirect sunlight coming from the east/west. They can adapt to lower light levels if the watering is reduced. Keep the soil evenly moist and mist frequently with warm water. Remove any dead leaves. Leaf tips will go brown if the plant is under watered but this browning may be trimmed.
Philodendron -(Philodendron sp.)
|Philodendron (Philodendron sp.) One of the most durable of all house plants. Philodendrons prefer medium intensity light but will tolerate low light. Direct sun will burn the leaves and stunt plant growth. This plant is available in climbing and non-climbing varieties. When grown indoors, they need to be misted regularly and the leaves kept free of dust. Soil should be evenly moist, but allowed to dry between watering.
||Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelnii) A hardy, drought-tolerant and long-lived plant, the Dwarf Date Palm needs a bright spot which is free of drafts. It grows slowly, reaching heights of 8-10’. The Dwarf Date Palm should not be placed near children’s play areas because it has sharp needle-like spines arranged near the base of the leaf stem. These can easily penetrate skin and even protective clothing.
Ficus Alii (Ficus macleilandii “Alii”)
|Ficus Alii (Ficus macleilandii “Alii”) The Ficus Alii grows easily indoors, and resists insects. It prefers a humid environment and low to medium light when grown indoors. The Ficus Aliii should not be placed near heating or air conditioning vents, or near drafts because this could cause leaf loss. Soil should be kept moist but allowed to dry between watering.
Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”)
|Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”) The Boston fern grows to 4’ in height with a spread up to 5’. It has feathery ferns which are best displayed as a hanging plant. It prefers bright indirect sunlight. Keep the soil barely moist and mist frequently with warm water. This plant is prone to spider mites and whitefly which can be controlled using a soapy water spray. Inspect new plants for bugs before bringing them home.
Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”)
|Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum “Mauna Loa”) The Peace Lily is a compact plant which grows to a height of 3’ with a 2’ spread. This hardy plant tolerates neglect. It prefers indirect sunlight and high humidity, but needs to be placed out of drafts. For best results, the Peace Lily should be thoroughly watered, then allowed to go moderately dry between waterings. The leaves should be misted frequently with warm water.
Explore this further
Modern buildings are amazingly energy efficient and are awesome at keeping your HVAC bills low. But for some buildings, there is a decidedly negative side effect. These homes and buildings are so tightly sealed that in some cases, the ventilation does not allow noxious substances to escape. These toxic substances can build up and accumulate. Over time, this build-up can result in what has become known as “Sick Building Syndrome”. SBS symptoms first began to be reported in the 1970’s when some people – not all – experienced allergy-like reactions, headaches and other symptoms from non-specific causes that disappeared when they left the building. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, irritation of the nose, throat and mucuous membranes.
Since the symptoms disappeared upon leaving the building, the issue became know as Sick Building Syndrome.
According to the “home air purifier expert” there are four main sources of indoor air pollution that contribute to SBS:
- Biological air pollutants
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)
- Combustion pollutants
- Heavy Metals
Biological Air Pollutants are, as the name suggests, come from biological growths and are a frequent source of allergens. If you suffer from allergies, it is likely that this is a source of much misery. This category includes the toxic black mold which grows when there is moisture damage or high indoor humidity. But this category includes much more than just mold, mildew and fungal infections. There are also other sources including dust mites, pet and people dander (skin cells that have been sloughed off), pollen, viruses, bacteria and ‘bioaerosols’. (Wikipedia defines ‘bioaerosols’ this way: “A bioaerosol (short for biological aerosol) is a suspension of airborne particles that contain living organisms or were released from living organisms”. A reputedly potent source of indoor allergens is insect body parts. Yech!
Biologicals may be the most common household sources of toxicosis (from black molds), infections of body tissues, and can result in a hypersensitivities.
Volatile Organic Compounds
These are ‘organic chemicals’ that release vapors at ordinary room temperatures. Wikipedia tells us that, “VOCs are numerous, varied, and ubiquitous. They include both human-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds.” Some sources of information on VOC’s assert that there are more than 400 different chemicals in this category. The EPA has prepared a list of hazardous air pollutants here: https://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/187polls.html. Home air Purifier expert has another list that is perhaps easier to read here: http://www.home-air-purifier-expert.com/household-products.html.
VOC sources can include newly manufactured products such as a new mattress, a stove, painted items. But there are MANY other sources including household cleaning chemicals, personal hygiene products such as nail polish and nail polish remover, glues, furniture polishes, paints. Even the fragrances in the products we enjoy are often not safe. Tobacco smoke has an astonishing list of VOC’s. This list could go on and on and on.
Combustion pollutants include Carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. These gasses are the byproducts resulting from combustion in heaters or gas fired appliances that are not then vented outside properly or sufficiently.
Heavy Metals are not as common an indoor pollutant as they used to be. Lead in paint, for example, has mostly been discontinued. It is not commonly known, but paint also used to contain mercury. Other sources of mercury are fluorescent tubes – which contain a small amount and nowadays, CFL bulbs.
In this day and age, we have clearly mastered our world. We enjoy a standard of living that would have astonished our ancestors of a mere 200 years ago and enjoy a comfort level that was unattainable even a few generations ago. But with this living standard, we have also brought a concentration of toxins into our homes that also would not have been possible in our yester-years.
For most of us, this level of toxicity in our home environment is unlikely to result in sickness and the cleanliness of our homes does result in a healthier environment that allows us to live longer and more happily. But some people develop more or less vague sickness as accumulations of toxins build up in our tissues and this can result in chemical sensitivities that can really affect lives. These people may suffer from “Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or idiopathic environmental intolerances (IEI)”. For more information on this, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_chemical_sensitivities.
The next installment of this topic will begin to address what we can do to protect ourselves.
Online resources for more information
The active ingredient in Nok-Out and SNiPER™ is a substance called chlorine dioxide. This substance has unique properties and is responsible for both eliminating odors and for disinfecting. The wikipedia entry1 for ClO2 tells us, “As a disinfectant it is effective even at low concentrations because of its unique qualities.”
In it’s natural state, ClO2 is a gas like helium or nitrogen. As you might imagine, gases are quite difficult for most people to use. For our products, this gas has been stabilized into a water base. If you examine the ingredients on the SDS, you can see that SNiPER™ is 99.59% water.
Historically, no consumer grade product was developed for 3 important reasons: 1) gasses are hard to use – most of us can’t. 2) In it’s gaseous state, gas ClO2 is toxic. And 3) in it’s gaseous form, it’s useful lifespan is measured in minutes. In our formulation, when ClO2 was stabilized into this water base, all 3 of those flip-flopped. It went from hard to use gas, to easy to use liquid; from toxic to very low toxicity (the EPA gives Sniper a “IV” rating for toxicity – that’s the lowest toxicity rating they give out) and third, it went from from very short lifespan to a lifespan measured in years and years.
“Many evaluations have shown ClO2 compounds to be non-toxic. Five decades of use have not indicated any adverse effects on health. The main areas of use have been disinfecting water supplies, the elimination of unwanted tastes and odors…”2
How Does It Work?
Nok-Out and SNiPER™ are highly selective oxidizers and when they come into direct contact with something smelly, they oxidize that stuff, thus eliminating that odor permanently.
Oxidizers require direct contact with the odor source to be able to do their work. It takes some time for this oxidization process to occur, so if you were to spray onto a hard surface and then immediately wipe it up, there may not be time for this work to take place. it’s usually best to spray, wipe (to smear it around evenly) and walk away, allowing it to air dry. It is during this drying time that Nok-Out does it’s job.
Why Should I Use ClO2? Why Not Just Use Bleach?
The dangers of using bleach are well documented, (do a google search for “is bleach dangerous?” and you’ll see!) but there is no protective agency warning consumers of these health hazards. In the workplace, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires anyone handling bleach to use a mask and gloves when handling this substance. Even scientists in a lab will wear gloves and mask and have good ventilation when using this product. Do you take these precautions when cleaning with bleach in your home?
Unlike bleach, the reaction that takes place in removing odors or in disinfecting when using ClO2 does not result in by-products that are toxic to wildlife or the environment. That environment includes your home! So both Nok-Out and Sniper products can be relied upon to clean and deodorize while not contributing to a toxic home or office.
Additionally, bleach is a strongly corrosive material that WILL irritate the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. These dangers are greatly increased when it is mixed with other cleaners, sometimes forming toxic gasses that can seriously damage your health.
How is Nok-Out and SNiPER™ Different from Bleach?
In our formulation of ClO2, the technology we have is a management system that manages ClO2 in such a way that dangerous by-products are not formed and no raw chlorine is ever released. This stabilized formulation is recognized by the EPA as being of very low toxicity in the 4 categories of toxicity they care about:
- toxicity to skin – level “IV” (the lowest rating they allow)
- toxicity to eyes – level “IV”
- toxicity to be inhaled – level “IV”
- toxicity to be ingested – level “IV”
After thorough testing, the EPA has granted us the lowest toxicity rating they give out.
Is ClO2 Environmentally Friendly?
“Because chlorine dioxide oxidizes but does not chlorinate, chlorinated organic by-products (e.g., THM, HAA, dioxins, furans) typically are not produced. Neither does chlorine dioxide produce appreciable amounts of aldehydes, ketones, ketoacids nor other problematic compounds associated with oxidation of organic matter by other, less selective means.”3 Additionally, toxicological studies have shown that Chlorine dioxide disinfection pose no significant risk to human or animals. So yes, both SNiPER and Nok-Out can be considered as being ‘green’.
Thanks for reading! If you have questions, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866 551 1927.