Safe Humidifier Use Eases the Pain!

Safe Humidifier Use Eases the Pain!

The cold dry air of Winter is a real pain – dry eyes, dry itchy skin, dried-out mucosal membranes in the nose and throat, and so on. When suffering from this ‘winter condition’ many people turn to the use of room humidifiers or vaporizers for relief, and this is a great idea! Safe humidifier use eases the pain caused by the cold air of winter because breathing moist air can soothe the respiratory tract and ease congestion and coughing. But too much moisture can be a negative rather than a positive.

Humidifier as Biological ‘Farm’

Many molds and fungi infestations can exist and perhaps thrive, on humidity they pull from the air. Excessive humidity can also increase growth rates for dust mites,  contributing to allergic reactions. And since humidifiers and vaporizers are wet for long periods of time, they can become a little ‘farm’ for the growth of biologicals such molds, mildews, fungi and so on. When a humidifier is allowed to operate as a ‘mold farm’ they can spread spores and other biological elements around a room. Yuck! So let’s look at how to use a humidifier safely.

The key – as with so many things in life – is balance. We need to find the ‘Goldilocks zone’ that is not too humid, and not too dry. Not too humid to prevent runaway growth of biologicals and not too dry to provide relief from that itchy feeling.

Hitting the Goldilocks Zone

A ‘hygrometer’ is a nice little tool to accurately measure the relative humidity. They are available starting at $4 or so (for a cheapie) that  might last you through the winter. Between 45 and 55 percent relative humidity will be enough to feel comfortable but not so much as to allow biological growths we prefer to inhibit.

Humidifier / vaporizer maintenance becomes a safety issue if you start using one regularly. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations carefully! If your water has a high mineral content, calcification can build up on furniture, walls or other areas in a room. Use distilled or de-mineralized water to minimize any buildup. Change the internal filters regularly.

As a further deterrent, you can add a bit of SNiPER disinfectant to the reservoir to prevent growth of mold inside your unit. Periodically, add four ounces to a quart of water in your machine. This will be sufficient to keep your machine clean and free of biological growths.

With good cleaning and maintenance, a humidifier or vaporizer can provide comfort and health benefits during the months of cold dry air. Be safe! Keep that machine clean and safe, and it will keep you more comfortable and healthier.

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There is a  great way to treat a room for odors, where you don’t know the exact source. Learn more here: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html

As part of your normal weekly cleaning, remember that humid air will often condense near windows. Spray a bit of SNiPER there every week  to prevent the growth of mold in the little puddles of condensate near those windows.

Living the mold-free life is good for you, good for your family and good for anyone who visits your home.

Seal your home to lower your energy bills – here’s how

Seal your home to lower your energy bills – here’s how

Brrrr! When these cold winds blow, we all put on an extra layer of clothing and hunker down inside. And if you want to reduce your energy bills, you can get to work to seal your home against that cold so that you will enjoy lower energy bills. The Federal Energy Star program tells us “Most people can save as much as 20% on their heating/cooling costs just by sealing all the air leaks in their house”. This is especially true if you live in an older home.

Those Leaks are Money! What you can do about it.

  1. Check your weatherstripping around doors and windows. Maybe you can just get the caulking gun out and go around repairing things that need a bit of love. But if it’s too far gone, weatherstripping is cheap.
  2. Check the places where there are gaps and holes in your walls, such as behind the electrical outlets, where plumbing comes out of the walls, floors, ceilings and under the sinks. If you can feel air moving, seal it up!

Ted’s Tip: Light an incense stick and watch the smoke to easily see where air is moving, and more important, where it is coming from or going to. Seal up those places and come back later with the incense to make sure you got it all. Be quick though, you don’t want to smoke up your home!

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  1. Foam gaskets can go behind switch plates and outlets in walls to stop the flow of air.
  2. Look for dirty spots in your insulation that could mean air flows. If it is dirty, it could be trapping dust as it goes by, thus alerting you to a small air leak. Repair any leaks with low-expansion foam.
  3. Other dirty spots may indicate unwanted air flows near ceiling and floor joists. You can seal these leaks with caulk.
  4. That foam sealant is also great for closing larger gaps around windows and baseboards. Smaller gaps can be sealed with caulk.
  5. Check your dryer vent as a place where air leaks may occur. That foam is really handy stuff and is useful for sealing around these vents.
  6. Check the weatherstripping around doors at the bottom very carefully. If there are gaps or the material has hardened, replace them with pliable materials that can seal properly.
  7. Check fireplaces and chimneys. Sealing these requires fire resistant materials. Also check the flue, An open flue in an unused fireplace can leak an enormous amount of air.  Be sure and check that the flue itself is not   warped or damaged and thus, unable to seal properly.

What does this have to do with Nok-Out or SNiPER?

Spending a little time and effort to seal up your home can save you plenty in energy bills. So it is well worth doing. Now that after you have sealed your home effectively, it is important to think about what cleaners you use. The reason is that now that your home is sealed up, if you use cleaners with toxic components, how will you get that toxic stuff out of your tightly sealed home? If that toxic stuff can’t escape, then it will begin to accumulate and the indoor environment in which you live, can become much more toxic than the air outside. This is how “Indooor Air Pollution” can become a problem.

Both SNiPER and Nok-Out are easy on your indoor environment.  Use one or both of these instead of bleach or ammonia and breathe easier in your home.

See our previous blogs regarding IAP here:

https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-part-1/
https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-sick-building-syndrome-part-2/
https://blog.nokout.com/indoor-air-pollution-the-green-solution/
https://blog.nokout.com/allergy-season-and-indoor-air-quality/

Six Reasons to Choose SNiPER to Kill Mold and  Remove Odor

Six Reasons to Choose SNiPER to Kill Mold and Remove Odor

Now that all the waterlogged homes from Harvey and Irma are drying, there is a real need for products that can kill mold, mildew, and fungus infestations and the spores that accompany all this wetness. But so many of the disinfectants out there are highly toxic and are a real danger to your health. What to do? Why choose SNiPER?

There are 6 great reasons why choosing SNiPER is a good decision for you and your family.

  1. High degree of efficacy. Many cleansers can kill mold, but not that many can also kill the spores. SNiPER kills the spores too!
  2. Very low toxicity. The EPA rates all disinfectants and assigns them a score in each of 4 categories of toxicity: Toxic to skin, toxic to eyes, toxicity if inhaled and toxicity if ingested (eaten or drank). SNiPER receives the lowest toxicity rating that the EPA hands out in ALL FOUR categories. You can apply SNiPER without needing to wear gear to protect you from the disinfectant.
  3. Non-corrosive product. Because of its non-corrosive nature, you can put SNiPER into your favorite fogger to make application a breeze! Quick and easy application is the third big reason to use SNiPER for any kind of disinfection. It also means you can apply SNiPER and walk away – you don’t need to come back later and wipe toxic residues away.
  4. Ease of application. SNiPER can be applied using a hand pump sprayer, a pump-up garden style sprayer, a fogger (either ULV or electrostatic). You will not need to wear special gear to apply this product.
  5. Hypo-allergenic. SNiPER is unlikely to trigger any allergic response from people suffering from asthma or other allergies.
  6. Many odors are associated with mold, mildew and the like. SNiPER will eliminate odors at the same time it disinfects.
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SNiPER is a Proven Solution for your Disinfection needs

Taken together, it is easy to see why SNiPER is considered to be among the top products to use against biological infestations resulting from prolonged wetness. It is strong enough to stop these biological problems dead in their tracks, but it does not contribute to a toxic household. In our formulation, SNiPER can kill the mold and the spores safely, without endangering your home with toxic cleansers. You can breathe easy!

How to Use SNiPER to Kill Mold

https://www.nokout.com/Cleaning-Mold-and-Mildew.html
https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Musty-smells.html
https://www.nokout.com/Basement-Mold-and-Mildew-Removal.html
https://www.nokout.com/Get-Rid-of-Black-Mold.html
https://www.nokout.com/Mold-and-Mildew-Problem.html
https://www.nokout.com/Keep-black-mold-out-of-your-shower-stall.html
http://blog.nokout.com/to-fog-or-not-to-fog/
http://blog.nokout.com/water-damage-small-flooding/
http://blog.nokout.com/flood-recovery/

To Fog, or not to Fog

To Fog, or not to Fog

Using a fogger is an excellent way to apply Nok-Out or SNiPER very efficiently.  It is especially useful when you want to apply over large areas – such as your basement, or the whole of your house. A fogger is simply an electric sprayer. A good one will be adjustable and you can  dial the droplet size up or down. Using the smallest setting, the droplets are around 15 microns across and are nearly invisible they are so small. At this size, the airborne droplets can float around on the air currents in a room.  When dialing in the larger droplet size, the volume of spray is increased and so it sprays out much greater quantity of liquid.  The larger size droplets will not ‘float’ in the air as long as the smaller size droplets.  Foggers are tools used by professionals because they allow you to be  efficient and they are fast.  Many consumers use them also, for the same reasons.

If your basement has a tendency to get a little damp at times, a fogger is a great way to spread a very thin coat of Nok-Out or SNiPER very evenly over large areas.  It is quick and takes only a few minutes to ‘fog’ large areas.  Being able to spray such a thin coat makes it efficient, because you don’t use much of the spray, so it can help you be efficient as well as effective.

How to use a fogger

You can ‘paint’ the walls and other surfaces you would like to spray, treating the fogger as if it were a ‘paint sprayer’.  A larger droplet size makes this very quick.  Or you can spray the air until the atmosphere becomes saturated with moisture. At this point, the excess moisture will begin to condense onto literally every surface in the room. When you start spraying the air, the little droplets will also come in contact with mold spores, dust and dander and will fall to the ground where they can be vacuumed up easily.  In this way, you can lay down an extremely thin layer of Nok-Out or SNiPER onto literally every surface of a room.  This is perfect for some things, such as when you are trying to get rid of smoke odor, which, as you know, get’s onto every surface in a room.  Fogging a smokers room is the perfect way to get Nok-Out or SNiPER to come into direct contact with residue from smoke, whether it is fire or tobacco.

When ‘painting’ surfaces using a fogger, the idea is to spray enough that the surface gets wet.  But not so much that the liquid begins to run down the wall, or that puddles form on horizontal surfaces.  In this way, you can be most efficient in your use of Nok-Out or SNiPER.  This efficiency and ease is what using a fogger is all about.

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Uses for a Fogger

  • sanitize a locker room or sports facility using SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator
  • get rid of cooking odors with Nok-Out
  • remove smoke odor (tobacco or fire) using Nok-Out
  • treat large areas using SNiPER for mold, mildew or fungal infestations (SNiPER)
  • hotel smoking rooms  (Nok-Out)
  • remove smoke odor or musty odors from upholstered furniture (Nok-Out)
  • remove smoke odor from cars (Nok-Out)
  • basement odors (SNiPER for microbial related odors, Nok-Out for non-biological odors)
  • sanitize or disinfect a kennel (SNiPER)
  • sanitize or disinfect a day care center, or elder care center (SNiPER)
  • hospital or clinic settings (SNiPER)
  • micro-sanitizing of mouse droppings (SNiPER)

At Nokout.com, we like the ‘Fogmaster Jr’ and keep them in stock. It is available here: https://www.nokout.com/Fogmaster-Jr.html. A more professional fogger is the RL Flo Master 1035B.  Foggers are very nice tools, but they are expensive. Maybe you only have a one-off need for this type of application. In this case, you could consider using a ‘vaporizer’ or room humidifier or a pump up atomizing sprayer, etc., which will be much slower, but can also put Nok-Out or SNiPER in vapor form into the air. It is really slow though, and if time is an issue, may not be a good alternative. See: https://www.nokout.com/Vaporizer-How-to-use.html to see if this may be right for you.

If you decide you need a fogger, be sure that the one you get is NOT a ‘thermal’ fogger because the high heat will damage and reduce the effectiveness of Nok-Out or SNiPER.

Smelly Shoes – we can fix that!

Smelly Shoes – we can fix that!

Smelly shoes can stink-up an entire living room. Just ask the parents of any teenage boy! It is an odor that is powerful, pungent and potentially embarrassing. And it doesn’t just happen to teenage boys – I’ve fielded dozens of phone calls from women complaining about it in hushed tones and a quiet voice. But thinking this problem through and applying Nok-Out or SNiPER correctly can eliminate this smelly shoe problem.

The Problem: BROMODOSIS   (Yep – Frank Zappa did not just make up that word)

Here is the good news: It is NOT your feet that are the source of the smell. It is the excreta from microbes that you smell. Microbe poop! After you have washed your feet – they don’t smell anymore. (If you are really concerned, you can spray your feet down with either Nok-Out or SNiPER and allow them to air dry.) So it is not your feet that stink – it’s the microbes feeding on your sweat that are the cause of smelly shoes and smelly feet.

Let’s first think about what causes “Stinkfoot”. It’s sweat, that is trapped in the shoe, providing food for microbes that feed upon the salts and other chemicals in our perspiration. Inside your shoe, it is warm and a bit damp and dark – perfect growing conditions for many microbes. When you wear the same pair of shoes day in, day out, your perspiration accumulates leaving the salts behind after the moisture has evaporated. You wear that pair of shoes again the next day and a new accumulation occurs, and so on. At some point, the moisture and salts get pushed down deep into seams, crevices and pores of the shoe material and the shoe becomes impregnated with all that stuff. By this time, you might not be able to take the smelly shoes off and stay in the same room with them. Yuck!

Nok-Out (or SNiPER) Can Remove the Odor From Your Smelly Shoes!

Here is what to do.

Before you start, bear in mind that our products do their work when they come into direct contact with the odor source. Without contact with all the smelly stuff, Nok-Out or SNiPER will not be able to do what they do.

If possible, remove the inner sole and spray it with either Nok-Out or SNiPER. Wipe it down carefully and then spray it again, this time, allowing it to stay wet up to 10 minutes. Spray again if necessary to keep it wet.

Turning to the shoes themselves, bear in mind that it probably took many months of wear for the shoes to get really smelly, so a light mist sprayed into the shoe just won’t cut it. You’ll need to spray it heavily enough that it will seep into the seams and crevices where it can come into direct contact with all of that smelly stuff.

1) Spray heavily, then use a washcloth to wipe down the interior of the shoe. Hopefully, you’ll be able to wipe away a lot of the dissolved material.
2) Spray heavily again. Try to open the shoes up a bit so that there is air getting in all the way to the toe area.
3) Allow the shoes to dry thoroughly. Repeat as needed.

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TIPS

– When you get a new pair of shoes, be proactive and don’t wait for them to start smelling. After wearing them, remove the inner sole and spray them lightly with Nok-Out or SNiPER, and let them air dry fully before putting them away.  Do this regularly, and a problem will never develop.

– If possible, don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. Give them a day to dry and air out thoroughly. If you go with this prevention method, there is a good chance that your shoes – and feet – will never become really stinky.

– Wear socks. Socks absorb sweat and will thus reduce the amount of ‘food source’ that is deposited into the shoe. The below-the-ankle socks available for both men and woman today really make this a no brainer.

Smelly Shoe Humor

Just to put things in perspective:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9FBQ1O5F8k The song “Stinkfoot” by the late, great Frank Zappa.

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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