Your Healthy Home Checklist

It’s strange how we often fear the pollution and other harmful influences outside, and never even stop to think of the safety of our homes. You instantly assume that the very fact that you call your house a ‘home’ makes it a healthy and a safe place to live in, but that is far from being true. Nothing good ever comes without effort, and in order to clean your house of toxins and other dangers, you have to invest some time and work. Since there are different health hazards lurking from different areas of your home, you have to devote special attention to each of them. Here is a short checklist, so that you don’t miss out any of them.

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Clean Up Your Cleaning

You think that your house is actually clean after cleaning? Think again. Most of the products contain pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that pollute the indoor air and worsen (and perhaps even cause) various health problems, such as asthma. Get rid of all of them, and use organic products or homemade cleaners. Baking soda, lemon, essential oils and vinegar can replace most of the conventional cleaners.

Is Your Furniture Safe?

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Your furniture may be baby-proofed when it comes to covering the edges, but does it contain any toxins? Plastic chair can add a modern charm to your dining room, but they can emit polybrominated diphenyl ethers and other toxins. Stain-resistant fabrics might be very useful, but they can contain perfluorinated compounds. The best materials for furniture are certified sustainable wood, reclaimed wood, and bamboo. Look for materials that are treated only with natural substances, like naturally tanned leather and natural wood finish. If you own any foam stuffed furniture, make sure you keep it well-covered.

Another View on Healthy Cooking

Healthy cooking includes preparing organic and nutritious produce, but that is only one side of the coin. The pots, saucepans and other cookware will also impact the quality of what ends up on the plate. It doesn’t matter how handy non-stick or Teflon cookware can be, if overheated, it can release dangerous toxins into your meals. Don’t take that chance and replace it with glass, stainless steel or cast-iron whenever possible.

Purify the Air

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Indoor air is burdened with many pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can be found in wall paint, dust mites, mold and mildew, carbon monoxide and radon. First test your home for radon and carbon monoxide and take steps to reduce them. After, get rid of carpets (since they collect dust mites), and steam clean the furniture and the drapes. Mold is a common problem in households and it can lead to allergies and troubles with respiratory system. To resolve it, find the best air purifier for mold, while keeping in mind the air quality in the room and the price range.

Check Water Quality

Water is another essential resource that can be contaminated with various toxins. City water may contain led if the pipes are older and well water can be exposed to impurities from the soil. Bottled water isn’t always the best solution, as there are no special regulations determining whether it’s healthy enough or not. Your best way to healthy drinking water is installing water filtration systems.

Minimize Sound Pollution

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Noise is annoying, there is no denying, but it can also be very harmful. In fact, it can seriously impact the mood and increase stress levels. Although there are no ways to fully eliminate noise from your surroundings, you can do your best to minimize it. Turn off the electronics when you’re not using it, soundproof your home (sealing window frames, putting furniture against the walls, use rugs to dampen the sound) and mask the noise by running a small water feature or a white noise machine.

Follow these tips and your home will become your safe haven, instead of a source of constant threats for you and your family. A healthy home will show its worth by contributing to sustainability, minimizing waste and optimizing the use of resources.

For more useful articles, visit our blog at http://olyfurnitureworks.com/blog.

 

How to Properly Vacuum Your Furniture

Everyone knows carpets need to be vacuumed regularly. But if you want your furniture to remain fresh, new and clean, it must be cleaned often too.

In this article, we’ll go through the five steps to keeping your furniture looking as good as new. While we focus on sofas, the same steps can be used for other types of furniture – including mattresses and chairs. The process takes less than 15 minutes but can make a big difference to the appearance and lifespan of your furniture.

Start with the Upholstery Brush

One of the most common vacuum attachments is the upholstery brush. The form of this often-overlooked tool varies depending on the brand of vacuum, but it is usually a wider attachment than crevice or dusting brushes. Some upholstery brushes also come with a strip of fabric to remove dust from fabric covers.

Start vacuuming the furniture with a side-to-side motion and short strokes. Each stroke should overlap the last, as this removes dirt ingrained into materials such as velvet and suede. Don’t be afraid to apply some pressure to the tool either, as this helps the vacuum provide a more thorough clean.

Spend a few minutes with the upholstery brush until you’ve vacuumed the entire piece. This is probably the most important step in the process and should be repeated at least once per week.

Clean Under Cushions

Next, use the vacuum’s hose to quickly clean underneath cushions and along edges of the furniture. Dust and dirt can quickly build up unnoticed in these areas, but they only take a few minutes to clean.

If you can’t remove cushions from your furniture (some sofas have them built-in), use the crevice tool to remove dust and dirt that’s fallen down the sides.

Get Rid of Pet Hair

Dog and cat hair can be frustratingly difficult to remove from cushions – especially if your pet has a habit of sleeping on the sofa. A typical upholstery brush or hose may struggle, which is why pet vacuums tend to come with a motorised attachment. These provide more power and are almost essential for removing stubborn hair.

After going over your furniture with an upholstery brush, clip on the pet hair attachment and complete another pass with short strokes. If you don’t have a pet, you can skip this step – although using a motorised tool can remove much more dirt and dust.

It’s recommended that pet owners clean sofas and carpets at least every other day, with a more thorough clean once per week. If you don’t have time to vacuum this often during sociable hours, consider getting a quiet vacuum cleaner you can use in the mornings or evenings without waking the neighbours.

If someone in your household suffers from pet allergies, however, then you may want to clean daily. Regular vacuuming can keep pet dander to a manageable level while relieving allergy symptoms.

Note: make sure you check the manufacturer’s instructions before using a motorised tool. While these are safe to use on most furniture, they may scratch materials such as leather.

Don’t Forget Underneath and Behind Furniture

Once you’ve vacuumed the furniture itself, it’s a good idea to clean underneath and behind. The amount of dirt and hair that can build up is frightening, and in extreme cases these areas can be suitable locations for mould.

This step is usually easier with a cylinder vacuum, as the floor heads have a larger range of motion. There are, however, upright vacuums with a low profile and handles that can tilt almost to the floor, allowing you to vacuum under furniture more conveniently.

The good news is you can use a regular floor head for these areas, so this job doesn’t take long. You also don’t need to clean behind furniture every week – once a month is probably fine for most houses.

Tackle Stubborn Dirt Sports

Vacuums are great for quickly getting rid of the majority of hair, dust and dirt from furniture. But what if there’s a stubborn area your vacuum is unable to remove?

The easiest way to get rid of dirt spots is to use a soil release product. These are sprinkled onto the affected area and rubbed into the fabric to help loosen dirt. Once the product has done its job, you can use your vacuum to suck up the dirt. Make sure you test the product on a small hidden area of your furniture first though.

Summary

Vacuuming your furniture doesn’t take much time, but can have a dramatic effect on the longevity and attractiveness of the piece. While the exact methods vary depending on the shape, size and material, the five steps in this article can be applied to almost any type of furniture. Give them a try and let us know in the comments if you have any questions.

How To Remove Musty Smells From Wood Furniture

The musty smell of mold, mothballs, or other contaminants is one of the major problems with buying used furniture. Especially for antique enthusiasts, nothing is worse than finding an amazing piece of furniture at a thrift store for a bargain price, but with an odor that makes it unusable. Luckily, this is something that can be fixed!

antique-chairAntique enthusiasts have long known about the tricks to remove odors from furniture. With enough experience, restoring old furniture can even become a source of income when you are on the hunt looking for lovely furniture and then, fixing it up and making it like new. Or you just may have found a lovely piece that you want to use for your home. We will go over the steps you can take to remove odor to restore an older piece of furniture and get it into top shape.

STEP 1: WIPE ALL SURFACES

Wiping off a piece of wood furniture might seem obvious, but there are more surfaces than meet the eye. With an old desk or dresser that smells bad, the bacteria causing the smell could be hiding anywhere. Step one to solving this problem is to take all the moving pieces out and wipe off everything. The insides and outsides of drawers, the places where the drawers sit, the undersides of surfaces, and every other place where wood touches air. Good cleaning products for this include plain vinegar, a specially designed wood soap or an anti-fungal detergent. For extreme cases, use all three!dresser

STEP 2: ABSORB THE ODOR

If the smell persists after step one, the next step is to use chemicals that soak odors out of the wood. Good substances for this step include vinegar, cat litter, charcoal, coffee grounds, or baking soda. Fill a bowl with your odor absorbing substance of choice for each enclosed area, and leave it there for a few days. This means the inside of drawers, cabinets, or any other space that can be closed up.

STEP 3: DRY IT OUT

old-furnitureSome stubborn smells may be related to accumulated moisture from the environment. Wood and fabric are prone to taking on moisture from the ambient air, which creates a breeding ground for odor-producing mold and bacteria. This is identifiable if a piece smells like an attic or a basement. The solution to moisture related odors is to let the piece sit in the sun and fresh air to dry out for a day or two. For humid areas, outside might not be the best idea, so instead the piece should be left in a small enclosed room with a dehumidifier.

STEP 4: SAND THE FINISH

If the odor still persists after all the previous steps, a more intense approach is required. If the odor is caught in the original finish of the piece, the only solution will be to sand that finish off and reapply it. This is a much more labor intensive process but worth it in the end. Sand all the surfaces until the natural wood is showing and then, let the wood breathe until the smell goes away. If the odor still persists, using step two of absorbing the odor with vinegar or similar should remove it. After the odor is gone completely, apply a new stain or finish of your choice.table

Most of the time, an odor can be removed by fairly mundane means. However, sometimes a piece with extensive damage will need to be sanded off and redone. Either way, almost no piece of furniture is completely ruined to the point that an odor cannot be removed. If you have an expensive piece of furniture that you just can’t get the smell out of, try these steps to return it to like new!

Joe Crivello is the owner of AmeriDri, assisting customers with water damage and mold removal and inspection. In business for 25 years, his firm is IICRC certified and holds an A+ rating with the Colorado Better Business Bureau. If you are in Colorado and need assistance with water or mold damage, learn more by visiting AmeriDri.com.

For more useful articles, visit our blog at http://olyfurnitureworks.com.

Quick and Easy House Cleaning

Keeping your home clean is extremely important, because it can affect both your physical health and your overall mood. However, sometimes it can take up a lot of time, especially if you own a big house, or if you haven’t cleaned for some time because of your busy schedule. Here are some tips and tricks for cleaning that won’t take long and that will keep your house pristine.cleaning1

Kitchen

A clean kitchen is a must, since you prepare your food there, and you shouldn’t risk having germs and bacteria around your food. You should wash the dishes after every meal and tidy up every time you cook, which will save you a lot of time when cleaning the rest of the kitchen. You should have these tips in mind when getting down to business:

  • cleaning2The stove is the dirtiest part of the kitchen, so you should leave it for last. Therefore, you might want to start from the right side of the stove and go clockwise. This will prevent you from spreading grease around the room and it will be easier to clean.
  • Disinfecting your sink is of utmost importance since it’s fraught with bacteria. You can make your own homemade cleaning solution to keep the sink stainless and bacteria-free.cleaning3
  • Cleaning the oven is not an easy job, but if you do it properly and with care, you’ll get your oven sparkling. You can use oven cleaners, but it’s important to remember to protect your eyes and skin. Always read and follow the instructions, since some cleaners are meant for warm ovens and some for cold ones. Finally, you should rinse it with water so as to remove traces of the cleaning solution.

Bathroom

cleaning4After taking a shower, there is always some water left in the corner of the bathroom, and this is the perfect opportunity for mold to appear. In order to avoid this, and any other inconveniences you should always make sure to clean the remaining puddles of water and to keep the rest of your bathroom dry.

  • Wash the curtains regularly, since they are frequently wet and they can easily become mold breeding grounds. You can use bleach to wash them, but don’t forget to rinse them with water.
  • When it comes to the toilet, sprinkling some baking soda into the bowl and then scrubbing it with a toilet brush will have an amazing effect. When you finish washing the bowl, move on to the outside of the toilet which you can clean using an all-purpose spray.
  • You can keep your shower or tub clean using nothing other than lemon oil. There’s nothing more relaxing than having a bath in a clean tub after a long day at work.cleaning5

Bedroom

When cleaning the bedroom, you should start with taking off the dirty sheets, and putting up the clean ones. Afterwards, move on to putting away all the clothes lying around, emptying the bins, and cleaning your nightstands. You can always contact the home cleaning services that will do the work for you if you don’t have enough time, or when you simply want a break. They will vacuum and tidy your bedroom, but also the rest of your house efficiently, and on weekly or monthly basis, depending on your agreement.

Living Room

cleaning6Living rooms usually get cluttered quickly, especially if you spend a lot of time here. Therefore, put all the items back in their place, decide where to stack your magazines and try to keep them there. Dusting should be done regularly, at least once a week  especially if you have allergy issues.cleaning7

Hygiene should be one of your priorities when it comes to keeping your home in order. Although cleaning your house from top to bottom can be quite tedious and exhausting, it doesn’t have to be – all it takes is doing it on a regular basis. After all, you’ll enjoy your cup of coffee more after finishing all the dirty work.

For more useful articles, see our blog at http://olyfurnitureworks.com.

Discover How to Properly Vacuum Blinds and Curtains

Keeping your home clean is often a top priority, especially if you suffer from allergies. Everyone likes to have a clean house where they can sit and relax without mess around them. However, what people often forget about are their curtains and blinds. These can be excellent places for dust to gather, as well as cobwebs and small pieces of debris.

While they may be easy to forget, they can also be a huge trigger for allergies, so it is important to keep them clean. Of course, you may be asking how to properly vacuum your blinds and curtains. Here’s a guide to the process so you can achieve the best possible results.vacuum1

Curtains

When it comes to vacuuming your curtains, it should be done once or twice a month, depending on how dusty your house becomes (rural areas are prone to more dust in the home). When vacuuming, you should use an upholstery nozzle as it offers softer suction and a better overall clean for your curtains. Keep the nozzle of the attachment clean at all times to prevent dust and dirt spreading.

The reason you should vacuum your curtains instead of wash them is that when exposed to the sun for an extended time, they will not always tolerate washing and the material could deteriorate. This is also why you should be careful having your curtains dry cleaned. Unless they are severely stained, try vacuuming them instead.vacuum2

Blinds

If your blinds only have light dust on them, then it may be worth using a cloth or an old sock to give them a clean. After all, they work very well at picking up dust and dirt. If they are stained in some way, try soaking them in hot water in your bathtub for a short amount of time before scrubbing.

However, if they are wooden blinds do not expose them to large quantities of water – use a diluted white vinegar mix instead as this is better for the wood.

If your blinds have thick dust, then it is worth using either the upholstery or the dusting attachment on your vacuum cleaner (whichever you have to hand) to give these a thorough cleaning. The attachment will ensure the dust is not sprayed around, something that traditional dusting can’t necessarily prevent. Plus, if you suffer from allergies, many vacuums come with hepa filters that capture indoor allergens, so you are less at risk of a reaction.

For pleated shades and fabrics, you should never use water or any kind of cleaner on these if you wish to preserve the texture and appearance. For these, a light use of the upholstery attachment will often be enough to get the job done and leave them looking fantastic.

 To Conclude

If you follow the advice above for correctly vacuuming your curtains and blinds, you are sure to have an exceptionally clean home. With these little tips and tricks, you can combat dust and debris quickly and effectively. Don’t forget about your blinds and curtains, keep them clean and keep allergens out of the home as a result.

For more information, see our other blog posts at http://olyfurnitureworks.com.

About the Author

Will is a freelance writer, his blog can be seen here . If you are interested in more information on anything Vacuum related, then check out his ultimate vacuum guides for more details