Don’t Let Mother Nature Ruin Your Floors

Without always realizing, the conditions from outside can quickly cause damage to your floors—no matter the type. Refer to these tips when a winter storm hits to protect the integrity of the flooring in your home this season!

Utilize floor mats.
Placing a mat in your entryway is the easiest way to ensure clean floors when it snows or rains all day. This encourages your family and guests to wipe their shoes off before entering your home. Don’t be afraid to suggest they take shoes off completely, either!

Invest in a steam mop.
If you’re worried about the damage to your floors, it may be time to invest in a steam mop. The technology in this method effectively gets out tough marks on finishes like linoleum, vinyl, and even hardwood (just make sure your floors are sealed), while being gentle enough to use weekly.

Try to be diligent.
While you can’t be expected to walk around your house with a paper towel roll every time someone forgets to take their shoes off, at least aim to be more attentive to your floors. You don’t want to wait until spring to clean up the spots from snow and sleet, which by then will be harder to deal with.

Cover the carpets and rugs.
Hard flooring may be pesky, but nothing compares to getting stains out of carpets and rugs. On a particularly snowy day, cover your floors with furniture pads. It may seem excessive, but you’ll thank yourself later for not having to do a deep clean of these areas!

Choose cleaners carefully.
The right cleaners (and cleaning methods) can make all the difference to the longevity of your floors. Traditional mopping your hardwood floors is no longer the way to go, and will just add more moisture to the mix. Use a cloth to take care of excess water whenever possible, and be quick about cleaning up areas that are prone to damage.

Follow these cleaning tips to keep your floors looking shiny and brand new this season!

How to Tackle Spring Cleaning in One Month

Care to knock out your spring cleaning in a month? It may seem impossible, but take it week by week, and you’re sure to have a sparkling clean house before April showers give way to May flowers.

Week One: Declutter
Decluttering is a big aspect of any cleaning project. Whether it be your closets, bathroom, basement, garage or other areas of your home, don’t leave this to the last week of your spring cleaning responsibilities. Decluttering and organizing should be done before any major cleaning, as you don’t want to be dusting and wiping things that you may not even end up keeping.

Week Two: Clean
After decluttering, it’s time to start deep cleaning and disinfecting your home. Do a wipe down of your countertops, furniture, and flooring. Don’t forget about those often skipped over areas—like the baseboards, dusty corners, and behind and under furniture. Break out the cleaners (better yet, make your own), put on a winning playlist, and you’re one step closer to making your home brand new again.

Weeks Three and Four: DIY or Remodel
A DIY project or a total remodel can take longer than a week, but is often a part of spring cleaning. When bins are stacked with winter’s goods and the counters are shiny again, you may decide you want to completely redo a portion of a room or an entire area. There are plenty of projects to consider—turning your typical storage bins into hanging shelves, making decorative trays to spruce up your decor, replacing kitchen hardware, or repainting areas in desperate need of a revamp.

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a daunting undertaking. Break up your tasks in a reasonable order to get your home in tip-top shape for summer, and the months to follow!

Home Stain Removal Tricks

As hard as we try to take good care of our homes, stains inevitably happen from time to time. Whether there’s a stain on your carpet, your walls, or even your couch, there are solutions for every classic household spill.

Carpet stains

Vinegar is one of the most versatile household products—excellent for stain removal in laundry and, as it turns out, carpets. For a light stain on the carpet, mix two tablespoons of salt in a half a cup of white vinegar, spread the mixture over the stain, and allow it to dry. Then, vacuum the area. If the stain is bigger or darker, mix two tablespoons of borax into the salt and white vinegar mixture, and follow the same procedure.

If the stain came from dirt or is deeply embedded in the carpet, mix one tablespoon of vinegar with one tablespoon of cornstarch and rub the mixture into the stain with a dry cloth. Leave the stain alone for two days, and then vacuum the spot on your carpet.

Painting your house and notice paint spilled on the carpet? If you catch the spot before it dries, you can mix one and a half teaspoons of vinegar with one and a half teaspoons of laundry detergent and two cups of water. Sponge away the paint and rinse the area with cold water.

Wall stains

If you’ve ever had crayon on your wall courtesy of a young artist, dip a damp rag in baking soda and lightly scrub the area. You can also put toothpaste on the area and scrub it with a rag or brush to remove the crayon stain.

If your walls have scuff marks from moving furniture or bumping into the walls accidentally, you can fill a bowl with warm water and soak a cloth in the water. Then, put a drop of liquid dish detergent on the cloth and scrub the area. If this still doesn’t work, you can mix up baking soda and water to make a paste and use that to wipe the scuff away.

Couch stains

We all love snacking during our favorite TV shows, but it’s easy to fall into a panic when you spill food or a drink on your couch. But there’s no need to stress. First, you need to check the cleaning tag on your couch to see what methods are appropriate for the fabric. “W” means you can clean the material with water. “S” means you cannot use water and need to buy a solvent-based cleaner. “WS” means you can use water or a solvent-based cleaner on the sofa. Unfortunately, “X” means you can only vacuum the fabric. Don’t clean the couch in a way that the tag doesn’t recommend. This could further damage the couch.

If your couch tag has “W” or “WS”, you should first vacuum the couch. Then, mix two cups of distilled water with one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of vinegar. Dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture, and then carefully blot the stain. Then, dampen a microfiber cloth with only distilled water. Finish off the process by blotting the area with a dry microfiber cloth and then pointing a fan on the affected area so that it completely dries.

The next time you spill something, have no fear. There are quick solutions for just about every stain on any surface of your home.

8 Easy Ways to Eliminate Pet Odors from Your Home

If you’re one of those families that has multiple pets, you know it can be hard to keep your home clean and smelling fresh. Here are some tips on how to keep your home from smelling like a pet store!

Bathe and groom your pets regularly.
This will keep excess dirt, oils, dander, and any odors that may be on your pets’ coats from being carried throughout your house. Brushing and grooming can be done more often, since it is just as important. Whenever possible, brush your pets outside to prevent loose hair from finding its way onto and into furniture and carpeting.

Get rid of the hair on your furnishings.
Use a vacuum cleaner with a pet attachment or a lint roller to do away with loose hair at least once a week. If the lint roller or vacuum attachment isn’t working, try using a rubber glove (assuming that a little dampness is all right for your furniture, of course). Put in on your hand, moisten it a bit, and gently glide it over the surface.

Vacuum the floors.
You should try to vacuum your floors once or twice a week, depending on the number of pets you have in your home. This will help lessen the amount of hair and cat litter on the floor that leaves behind those lingering pet smells. You can also use a squeegee to pull up the stray hairs in your carpet that your vacuum can’t get to.

Check your air filters.
Pet hair can build up and clog your air filters. Be sure to change your air-conditioning or furnace filters at least every three to six months.

Be sure to always use disinfectants.
Many odors are caused by bacteria. Try using high-quality sanitizing cleaners that kill more than 99 percent of germs for those lingering odors and surface bacteria. Be sure to use products that are safe for curious tongues and noses!

Eliminate those urine odors right away.
If your pet has an accident inside, clean the area right away using an enzymatic cleaner. These are designed especially for eliminating pet odors and destroying any pheromones and molecules left behind.

Don’t forget to wash their bedding.
If your pet has a bed with a removable cover, be sure to wash that, as well as other pet bedding, at least twice a month.

Keep up with the litter box.
You should scoop the cat litter at least once a day. Keep the litter fresh with baking soda, as this can be used to absorb the smell. Try using a plug-in air freshener in the room where you keep the litter box.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Home’s Air Quality

Air quality is not something people generally think about when cleaning their home, but it has a huge impact on health. There are simple ways to get cleaner air in your home with little to no effort.  

Indoor air pollution  

Chemicals found in synthetic furniture, flooring, and some appliances leak into the air in your home without detection. This, coupled with a lack of air flow, are the culprit for most indoor air pollution. Minor sources of indoor air pollution are excess moisture and unnatural household cleaning products.  

IAQ and how it’s measured 

IAQ (indoor air quality) refers to the air quality as it relates to the comfort and health of the building occupants. IAQ is measured through an IAQ Sensor. Some varieties can be expensive depending on how much you want analyzed, but basic ones are affordable. The sensor monitors and gives feedback on the level of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) in the space that come from paints, sprays, cleaners, and furniture. Here are the basics for reading the feedback from an IAQ sensor.   

What health problems can poor air quality produce or enhance?  

Poor IAQ can produce a wide array of health issues. Minor issues include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Symptoms like these will come and go like a cold, commonly mistaken for allergies. Long term effects after exposure for long periods of time can be different respiratory diseases, heart conditions, and sometimes cancer.  

What can I do to improve my IAQ?  

Have no fear, because there are simple, easy steps you can take around your home to instantly improve your IAQ. Options include: air purifying plantsair cleanersventilation improvements, and natural cleaning products/furniture.  

It can be stressful to hear that our spaces are full of different health risks. Now that you know about IAQ, you can take the suggested steps to improve your living space.  

For more wellness tips visit starthealthy.com/category/health/well-being/