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.
A new home is a blank slate to be decorated, furnished and filled with memories to come. But first, you need to clean up the previous owner’s dirt. From dust in the corners to grime on the bathtub, a lot of mess becomes apparent when a home is empty. As much as you want to get settled into your new home, it’s best to clean before moving in. With an empty house, you can reach every nook and cranny to get your home truly good as new. Before unloading the moving truck, take care of these essential cleaning jobs.
Be Mindful of What You Bring In
Before you break out the cleaning solution – and before you even pack your first moving box – think about the allergens and irritants you could potentially be bringing into your new home via your old, worn-out furniture. Your mattress, for example, could be harboring microorganisms, such as dust mites, dead skin cells and bacteria, if it’s older than five years. It’s best to replace your old one rather than risk bringing it with you if it’s unhygienic.
Similarly, take a look at your couch and dining room chairs, especially if they’re fabric-based. Furniture pieces in common rooms get a lot of use, and therefore, trap in a lot of germs. If these pieces are relatively new – under about five years old – and in good shape, they may only need to be refreshed. An oxidizing, odor-eliminating spray, such as Nok-Out, can give stinky pieces new life. However, as with your mattress, fabric furniture has a finite life span, so rather than bring them and their germs into your new digs, consider replacing them. After all, this is your fresh start – keep it that way!
Dust High and Low
From baseboards to ceiling fans, no surface in your new home should go untouched. Remember to start high and move down as you go; otherwise, you’ll knock dust onto freshly-cleaned surfaces.
As you clean your new home, be mindful of ventilation. You’ll be stirring up a lot of dust and debris and spraying cleaning solutions, which can irritate your respiratory system. Turn on fans and open windows to maintain air quality as you clean, and choose non-toxic cleaners whenever possible. If you want to be an overachiever, opt for adding an air purifier to help remove bacteria and other pollutants from the air.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
The kitchen is full of hidden messes. Grease, crumbs and dirt hide inside and under appliances, inside cabinets, and in range hoods and garbage disposals. Open everything and clean with a degreasing cleaner; you can make your own non-toxic solvent using this recipe from The Kitchn. (see link below)
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Descale the Bathroom
Mineral deposits can make a clean bathroom look grimy. Arm yourself with white vinegar, baking soda, salt and a toothbrush for tight spaces to clean the unsightly build-up off faucets, shower doors, and tile. If the build-up is severe, it may be simpler to replace fixtures than clean them.
Clean the Carpets
Unless you’re certain the previous owner cleaned the carpets before moving out, add this task to your to-do list. Even if the carpets look clean, allergens and dust mites are probably lurking within its fibers. If you don’t have one already, now is the perfect time to invest in a high-quality cordless vacuum. These models make for quicker cleanup and are easy to cart around. If you realize your carpets need a deeper clean, use a steam cleaner to get rid of any stains or odors, or better yet, tear the carpeting out and replace it replace it with allergy-friendly hard flooring.
Wash the Windows
Washing windows isn’t anyone’s favorite chore, but it has to be done. Bring a ladder and someone to hold it, and spend a dry, overcast day washing the windows and sweeping dirt from frames and screens.
Clean the Gutters
While you have a ladder, take a look at the gutters. Are they full of leaves and debris? If so, take this time to clean them out; you’ll want rubber gloves and a tarp to contain the mess. Once the gutters are cleaned, install guards to spare yourself this chore in the future.
Replace the Air Filter
A dirty HVAC air filter affects air quality throughout your home. Rather than trust that the last homeowner replaced it before moving, install a new filter yourself. It’s a cheap and easy assurance that you’re breathing cleaner air.
Check the Humidity
Even if your home is spotless, dust mites, mold and mildew can thrive if it’s humid enough. To keep these pollutants at bay and optimize indoor air quality, follow HVAC.com’s recommendation and aim for relative indoor humidity between 35 percent and 50 percent. If you’re out of that range, buy a humidifier or dehumidifier to correct it.
Pausing for a deep clean is the last thing you want to in the middle of a big move. However, you won’t regret spending the time to get your home truly clean before moving in. When you handle these tasks yourself, you can rest assured that your new home is clean, healthy and ready for your family.
Keeping Your Home Safe – Sanitizing or Disinfecting?
There is nothing like that feeling of satisfaction when you survey your newly cleaned home. But we all know that just because something looks clean, it doesn’t mean that it truly is clean, because germs that can cause illness are all around us. Some germs, such as Salmonella, E. Coli, canine parvovirus or Influenza can persist on hard surfaces all around us at home, at work and at school. Some can persist on those surfaces for a year or more. For more than a century now, we have been taught to sanitize and clean so as to remain healthy and germ free. Preventing the spread of illness through hard surface disinfection or sanitizing can help keep your family safe and healthy. But what ‘level of clean’ is appropriate for your home?
Here are some tips to help you decide what ‘level of clean’ is appropriate for your home and work place.
What is the difference between Disinfecting and Sanitizing?
A non-technical explanation is that disinfecting means that you kill 99.999% of germs within a certain time limit (usually not exceeding 10 minutes). Disinfecting ensures a high level of clean. Sanitizing means that you kill 99.9% of germs within 1 minute. The difference between 99.999% and 99.9% may not seem like much to you or me, but a microbiologist will tell you it is a big difference. Certainly it takes more work to achieve disinfection. Sanitizing, on the other hand, is a level of clean that is practical and realistic and can be achieved in 1 minute.
How do I Know Whether to Disinfect or Sanitize?
You can think of disinfection and sanitizing as 2 points on a continuum. To the right is disinfected. In the middle is sanitized. To the left is dirty. Disinfection will require a high degree of care to achieve. This means more work. Often, however, that level of cleanliness is what is needed. If, for example, you brought home a new puppy and then discovered that the pup had canine parvo virus, you would need to thoroughly disinfect, because that is a really difficult pathogen that can live for a long time on a wall or something, just waiting for the right conditions to activate again.
Your bathroom, for another example, is probably a place where you would want to get closer to disinfection. In other places, ‘sanitizing’ is likely a level of clean that is ‘clean enough’. We’ll never get rid of all the germs in our homes, but we can find the ‘degree of clean’ on that continuum where our families can live safely and happily.
Where Exactly are These Germs?
High-touch areas where many people will put their hands such as door knobs, light switches, computer keyboards and mice, refrigerator door handles, car door handles, telephones (both desktop and hand helds) even pencils and markers! Any surface where many hands touch is a candidate to spread germs.
Kitchen – the cutting board is a surface that needs to be cleaned regularly and well, lest that chicken you cut up spread germs (such as salmonella) to your tomatoes and lettuce. Sanitizing your cutting boards regularly will go a long way towards keeping your family safe. The door handle to your fridge – in addition to the inside – is another area where you can expect that germs will multiply if allowed. The sink drain area, being wet often, is a growth spot for germs. Add faucet handles to the list
Bathroom – as crazy as this may sound, there are studies showing that the bathroom is cleaner than your kitchen. This may or may not be true for you, but in many homes, bathrooms are the subject of frequent and intense cleaning. Especially when those homes have small children. High touch surfaces here would include the toilet flush handle, light switches, the hand towel, handles to the shower and cabinet doors. Don’t forget the shower floor!
Office – how many of you eat or drink at your desk? I know my computer keyboard is too scary to think about. Then there is also office equipment where many hands other than just yours touch.
Classrooms – all it takes is one kid coming to school with the flu, and it can spread rapidly.
Other hard surfaces that need regular cleaning include countertops, toys, changing tables and remote controls.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
You can dilute SNiPER by 6 to 1 for no-rinse Sanitizing.
First, clean any mess that is present. Then just spray dilute SNiPER onto that surface, and walk away. It’s that easy. It’s that effective. Just one minute to a ‘sanitized’ level of clean!
Can I ‘sanitize’ food preparation surfaces such as cutting boards with SNiPER?
Yes, you can. Clean away any debris first, then spray diluted SNiPER onto the board – and walk away allowing it to air dry naturally. It’s that easy. It’s that effective. Again it is just one minute to a sanitized level of clean.
How do I use SNiPER to disinfect a hard surface?
Pre-Cleaning Instructions: Remove gross filth and heavy soil by cleaning. Thoroughly wet surfaces, by spray, sponge, mop, or immersion, with SNIPER® on to soiled surfaces then thoroughly clean and wipe away gross filth with sponge or cloth.
Disinfect Hard Non-Porous Surfaces: For disinfection of pre-cleaned hard non-porous surfaces such as glass, plastic, painted or finished wood, chrome, stainless steel, aluminum, polyurethane coated hardwood floors, glazed ceramic tile, sealed concrete and linoleum floors.
Disinfect Items such as appliances, bed frames, wheelchairs, chairs, counters, tables, doorknobs, cabinet handles, handrails, light switch covers, tubs, showers, toilets, faucets, sinks, waste containers, etc.
Spray SNiPER® at full strength wetting surfaces thoroughly. Allow surfaces to remain visibly wet for 5 minutes for disinfection of bacteria1. Allow surfaces to remain wet for 10 minutes for virus inactivation2.
1) Allow surfaces to remain visibly wet for 5 minutes for disinfection of Gram-negative bacteria and Gram-positive bacteria, Salmonella enterica ATCC 10708, Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 15442, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ATCC 33591, Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE) ATCC 51299.
2) Allow surfaces to remain wet for 10 minutes for virus inactivation of Swine Influenza virus, Type A (H1N1)* ATCC VR-
333 and Canine Parvovirus* ATCC VR-953.
We all love our pets (Pets are family!) but sometimes they may leave a little mess for us to clean. If that little mess is a hard surface, then it’s usually not a problem – clean away the urine (or other), spray some Nok-Out right there, and walk away allowing it to air dry, problem solved. But if that surface is soft or thick, (think sofa or carpet), then it becomes a bit more challenging to clean and deodorize pet-related issues. Carpet Cleaning with Nok-Out or SNiPER removes the odor and helps your carpet to smell normal again! (and may redeem your pet!)
Puddle on the Carpet
Puddles left in the night will be pulled down deep into – and below – the carpet by the force of gravity. When you wake up, there’s a damp spot on top, but the puddle remains below. As it dries, bacteria get a hold of it and, oh my! It can become terribly stinky. When dealing with a puddle, remember that Nok-Out can only do its work, when it is in direct contact with all of the odor source. If the urine is all the way down to the concrete slab or other flooring, then somehow Nok-Out needs to go there as well.
You can spray right on that spot using a trigger sprayer, but the tiny little droplets that come out of the sprayer will just float on the surface of your carpet and not necessarily go down all the way. This is a great time to dilute Nok-Out heavily and just pour it onto that same area. Allow it to sit for 15 – 20 minutes, then get old towels and spread them out. Walk on them over and over to blot up the excess fluid as much as possible. Use a wet vac if you have one – you want to remove as much of that fluid as possible. Put fans on the area to dry it out as quickly as you can.
Hint: Each one of the carpet strands acts like the wick in a candle and as your carpet is drying, it is also pulling up stuff from deep down in your carpet. This is why ‘spots’ sometimes come back after a cleaning – wicking action. The solution is to remove as much of that liquid as you possibly can, and speed the drying, to reduce this wicking behavior.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
Whole Carpet Cleaning – Professional Cleaning
I recently met a nurse who works 12 hour shifts. She couldn’t always get someone to go let her dog out to pee. As you might expect, her carpet had serious odor issues from repeated peeing. She had had the carpet professionally cleaned, but they only really cleaned the surface – above the mat backing for her carpet. The smelly stuff deep down was still there and her apartment still stank terribly. We found her a carpet cleaner who did Hot Water Extraction cleaning and had the right tool for DEEP cleaning. They poured gallons of water on the areas and then vacuumed it all back out using the deep extraction tool. The water coming up was a horrible yellow color! But after many gallons of water, it started to come up clear again – most of the urine was gone.
We finished up by doing one more round of pouring a couple of gallons of water that had a 20% mix of Nok-Out (5 to 1 dilution) and allowed it to sit for 10 minutes, then deep extracted the remaining fluid and put fans on it to speed the drying. Problem solved! Solution: first, clean away the smelly stuff using the deep extraction process. Then get Nok-Out down there where it can come in contact with any remaining stinky stuff.
Whole Carpet Cleaning – DIY
Renting a carpet cleaning machine or using your own. This sometimes-cheaper solution can work, but these little machines don’t really have the powerful vacuum suction needed to accomplish DEEP cleaning. If you have a real problem (like that nurse) then it may be smarter for you to pull back the carpet from the wall, clean under it, spray with Nok-Out or SNiPER thoroughly, put fans on it and allow it to dry before rolling the carpet back down and re-attaching it to the tack strips. You may be able to do this one-half the room at a time without too much pain. If you don’t have deep cleaning capability, then this is a great method to tackle tough urine issues in your carpet on your own.
If your urine issue is not so severe, these rental machines can work well enough to give you a big improvement. Use less detergent than they recommend and clean the carpet. Take special care to rinse away as much as possible and then make several ‘vacuum-only’ passes to remove as much water as possible. While the carpet is still wet, spray Nok-Out on it at a 4 to one dilution. It is much more efficient to spray a wet carpet than a dry one, because when your carpet is wet, the surface tension is broken and Nok-Out can spread across the whole carpet more easily. Put fans on the carpet to speed drying and reduce ‘wicking’.
Regular carpet cleaning can reduce allergens and pollutants in your home. Spraying it with SNiPER Disinfectant/Odor Eliminator immediately after that cleaning can further reduce pathogens and give your home a much improved Indoor Air Quality.
Kids are at a high risk for harmful health effects when the quality of air in the home is poor or polluted. Their growing minds and bodies — not to mention immune systems — are more susceptible to allergens, illnesses and pulmonary conditions than adults. What may seem like a small issue to fret over, it could cause serious issues for a child. That’s why it’s important that parents and childcare providers understand what factors influence indoor air quality and how to make your your home or facility is setup to reduce air pollutants. We’ve gathered some of the top tips from air quality professionals to give you a solid start on improving your indoor air quality.
Tip #1 Manage Moisture
Both too much and too little humidity — the amount of moisture in the air — in your home can impact the health of your little ones. Low moisture can dry up your child’s mucus membranes, making it harder for their noses and throats to eliminate germs that can cause illnesses. High moisture has its own impacts, too. With high humidity, breathing can be difficult and mold can grow more quickly. You can control moisture by:
• Making sure all exhaust fans, from your bathroom to your kitchen, vent outside, not into basements, attics or crawl spaces.
• Staying on top of quickly fixing any leaks and immediately removing any water-damaged materials.
• Applying caulking around windows, doors and vents.
Tip #2 Hire Professionals
Air quality is a mighty big project for any homeowner. Consider hiring a professional to evaluate your central air conditioning system and ductwork. If necessary, they can install proper venting around combustible appliances and create outside vents for your clothes dryer. A professional assessment of the ventilation and air quality in your home buys you priceless peace of mind.
That being said, there are many tasks you can do yourself. Use simple precautionary steps like opening windows when using cleaners, solvents and chemicals. This will keep the air free of poisonous fumes and chemicals that might only irritate and adult but can really damage a child. Most homeowners are also able to change their own HVAC system’s air filters. Talk with a professional at your local hardware store to get the best, highest quality filter you can. For example, use an air filter to clean the pollutants out of the air in your home, including pollen, dust mites, mold, and bacteria. Air filters should be changed every 90 days — and more often if you have pets in your home or if anyone suffers from asthma.
Tip #3 Watch for Warning Signs
Air quality can impact common and not-so-common childhood pulmonary conditions like asthma, pneumonia, RSV, whooping cough or Childhood Interstitial Lung Disease. While several of these are caused by encounters with people who have the virus, poor air circulation in your home or childcare facility can accelerate the spread of these illnesses. In addition, allergens in the air can make a diagnosed lung condition worse. Take steps to reduce the allergens in your home and then watch out for symptoms like:
• Frequent coughing, especially at night that can disrupt sleep
• Wheezing sounds when exhaling
• Chest congestion and/or pain
• Frequent cold, flu or other respiratory infections
• Difficulty breathing during active play
Tip #4 Get Fresh Air
While the air quality in your home is very important, you’ll also want to find a balance between indoor air and outdoor air. Exposure to fresh air is essential for healthy kids and growing lungs. Be sure to get everyone fresh air with family-friendly activities right outside your backdoor, such as backyard camping, bird watching, gardening or going on bike rides or walks. If possible, especially if you live in an urban area, try to get them out of the city air and into fresher countryside air. Drive to some nearby forests, mountains, national parks or state parks for an hour, a day or overnight.
Air quality can impact your entire family — from adults to kids, even pets and grandparents. Take steps to manage moisture, keep your filters clean and updated, watch for signs of illness and balance indoor and outdoor air. Improving air ventilation relates directly to improving children’s health.
(This article contributed by Amanda Henderson. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you, Amanda!)
How much time do you spend indoors, versus outdoors?
More and more, we are turning into an “Indoor Generation”. Recent studies tell us that modern people are spending less and less time outdoors. Indoors, we can get everything we need. Failing that, we can have home delivery. The problem with this is – indoor air can be terribly polluted, up to five times as polluted as outdoor air. Whether it is the accumulation of toxins released from cleaning products, or mold spores, or excess humidity or just plain old stale indoor air, our indoor air quality at home is quite likely to be much worse than outdoor air quality. And yet, indoors is where we are spending most of our time.
The Velux Group has released facts from many countries documenting “The Indoor Generation”. For Americans, 25% of the population reported that they spend 21 to 24 hours daily indoors. We get up and go to work – where we are indoors much of the day. Then, when we come home, we spend our “leisure time’ in front of the tv. Then we go to sleep and then do it all over again. Now that it is hot, we stay indoors just as much or more, due to the heat. How much time do you spend indoors versus outdoors?
What’s wrong with spending so much time indoors?
Most people don’t realize how bad our indoor air can be. The EPA publishes info telling us that indoor air can be 2 to 5 times as bad as outdoor air, but 77% of the respondents to this Velux Report survey did not believe that indoor air quality is worse than outdoor air. We have talked often about sources of indoor pollutants in this blog before here and here and here. Aside from the polluted air indoors, there are other health issues with spending so much time indoors. People who spend a lot of time indoors tend to be linked with higher rates of obesity, issues with cholesterol and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as various chronic health concerns, such as asthma, headaches, fatigue, and respiratory inflammation.
There are plenty of studies showing that there are LOTS of benefits, both direct, and indirect, to spending more time outdoors. Sleep, for example. More time spent outdoors exposes you to more bright blue light during the daytime. This stimulates you so that you are more alert and productive and helps to reset your internal circadian clocks so that you sleep better at night. Time spent in sunlight will increase the vitamin D available to your body. Look around while you are out and relax your eyes by looking at far-away objects – rather than that computer screen!
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Buy a Gallon of Nok-Out Odor Eliminator
It is blazing hot outside – I don’t want to go out in it!
Being out in the outdoors doesn’t have to be for hours and hours each day. Try spending a few minutes here and a few minutes there outside. Small things you do can have a bigger impact than you think. Take your lunch out and eat it outdoors. You don’t have to sit in the direct sunlight to enjoy benefits.
Look in those places under the sink where you keep cleaning products. Read a bit about how to identify what might be a problem here: http://blog.nokout.com/personal-care-products-contribute-to-air-pollution/. Remember that one of the claims-to-fame of Nok-Out and SNiPER is that they are, at the most basic level, all-purpose cleaners that are suitable for casual use around the house and they will not pollute your home.
Let’s say you are buying a home, and the moment you walk in the door, you get this nose-wrinkling odor that hit’s your nostrils – it’s the dreaded “Old House Odor”. The house may not even be old, but that smell is definitely there. If you are the one trying to sell that house, this is a real problem! It can be a deal killer. This is a mold and or fungal issue and it doesn’t necessarily mean you have an expensive mold problem to fix. But it is a decided turn-off for anyone walking in a door for the first time. Excess humidity is enough to get mold started smelling. You probably won’t find mold actually growing anywhere, but the odor is definitely there. If you do find mold growing, then that is a bigger issue.
Here is what you need to do to handle this.
First, check thoroughly to ensure there are no water leaks, no dripping faucets, no leaks with the toilet water supply, the drain from the air conditioner coil is not blocked and so on. Look closely under each sink and lavatory – feel to see if there is any dampness. Check thoroughly!
Second, dry out the house. If the humidity is not high outside, open the windows and give the place a good airing out. If humidity is high outside, run the air conditioner because this will dry out the inside air. Keep the inside temperature fairly low for several days to allow everything inside to thoroughly dry. If this is not possible, or if some rooms do not have sufficient ventilation, you may need to purchase a de-humidifier for each of those rooms.
What about Furniture?
If there is furniture in the home, be sure and give that old overstuffed sofa the ‘nose test’ to make sure it is not the source of that musty odor. If this turns out to be the source of that odor, you can replace the sofa – or you can fight the fungus that is likely growing deep inside the stuffing by diluting SNiPER disinfectant and odor eliminator by 4 to 1 with water. Spray the sofa heavily. SNiPER must penetrate the stuffing thoroughly and come in contact with the growing stuff. In my personal experience, it took the sofa a week to dry fully, but it has been 6 years now, and the odor has not returned.
If the old house odor persists, then start washing the walls with SNiPER diluted by 4 to 1 with water. Use a rag to wipe down the walls. Do this wherever you detect a bit of that odor. A better option is to use a fogger – they are not cheap, but they are the quickest, most efficient way to treat large areas. With one of these machines, you can literally ‘paint’ walls ceiling and so on with a very thin coat of SNiPER. In a perfect world, someone would go behind you and give those ‘painted’ surfaces a quick wipe down with a rag that is already damp with SNIPER. You are not trying to dry it, but to wipe away anything stuck to the surface of the walls.
Buy a Gallon of SNiPER Disinfectant & Odor Eliminator
Other Odor locations
Another hiding place for those old house odors is the inside of the air ducts. That fogger is a great way to apply SNiPER deep inside the ductwork in your home. Remove the grille, and use the fogger to spray up in there. You are trying to spray enough ‘fog’ inside that it will begin to condense on the interior walls of the ducts. You may also want to check the coils of the HVAC system. Those coils can become dusty and that dust is a food source for molds. Clean the coils thoroughly and spray them with SNiPER. Allow to air dry naturally.
Carpets in the house could also be the source of Old House Odor, so give them the ‘nose test’ as well. Treating the carpet is much the same as treating the sofa. You need to dilute SNiPER by at least 4 to 1 with water, and spray fairly heavily to ensure sufficient penetration in order to achieve contact with all the stinky stuff. Put fans on the carpet, run the AC to dehumidify and try to get it to dry as quickly as possible. Each twisted strand of carpet fiber acts like a candle wick and can pull up stuff from deep down. Speed the drying process to minimize what ‘wicking’ might bring up.
And that should do it! Give Ted a call at 866 551 1927 with any questions.
“Why do my just-cleaned clothes smell bad? What?!? My front-loading washing machine is dirty?!? How can that be? It’s a cleaning unit!” This is a ‘whodathunkit’ thought for sure, but it is also true. The front-loading washer that gets your clothes clean needs regular cleaning too, because it is damp (think mold here!), it has residues from the organic matter that was the ‘dirty’ part of your laundry to start with, and it’s often the least well-ventilated room in your house (that also may never see direct sunlight). I know that in your washroom that machine looks all shiny and clean on the outside, but in the absence of regular cleaning on the inside – your clothes can begin to smell bad and it is the dirty machine that is the culprit. Nok-Out can help your machine be as clean on the inside as it is on the outside and will keep your clothes odor free.
Why does this happen?
Front loaders are HIGHLY EFFICIENT machines that are designed to use less water, less detergent and to be better at cleaning your clothes, while causing less wear at the same time. To a large degree, these same benefits are a source of the problem as well. Most people use too much detergent and there is less water to rinse away the grime, debris and excess detergent. This grimy filmy soapy gooey residue can build up over time and become a food source for the microbes that cause the stink. Because that laundry room has less ventilation, less light and is generally warm, it is potentially a breeding ground for mold, mildew and other micro-organisms. THIS IS THE SOURCE OF THE STINK! Soap Scum being eaten by micro-organisms!
I want to keep my Clothes Odor Free, so – What do I do?
Every wash session
Get into the habit of spending a few seconds to wipe down the gaskets and seals after every wash session. These seals and gaskets are the primary source of odor because if you don’t wipe them down, they will stay wet and often have a load of built-up gunk that is the food source for microbes that are the source of the stink. Use a bit of rag and fold back the seals to get under them and wipe away that debris. Wipe dry the interior of the tub itself as well. Spray the seals and the interior surfaces of the tub lightly with Nok-Out or SNiPER. Allow the door to stay open until the interior has air dried naturally.
I know this will sound crazy, but read the manual that came with your machine – they will have a section describing best cleaning practices. Check to see if your machine has a self-cleaning cycle. Many do. Follow the instructions. Do this once per month.
Remove and clean the little dispensers where you pour detergent and give them a good cleaning.
Find the in-line filter that traps debris coming through the drain and clean it. The access panel is often low on the front of the machine. You may have to remove a screw or three to get at the filter, and there is likely to be water present when you open it up, so have a hand towel around just in case. Just clean the debris and put it all back together.
What else can I do?
Use a “High Efficiency” detergent. You probably need only 2 teaspoons or so! Not two cups! Again, give that manual a quick read and follow their instructions for the right type and amount of detergent to use.
If you ever notice a build-up of white ‘mineral deposits’ from hard water, it can be cleaned away using vinegar.
Don’t overload your washer.
If you add Nok-Out to a wash cycle – DO NOT ADD VINEGAR! Nokout has a Ph of 8.5 making it mildly alkaline. Vinegar is a mild acid and at best, the two will cancel each other out. Stronger acids and stronger alkalines might cause other problems. So use one or the other, but not both.