All posts by Jennifer Frye

Ditch Those Carpet Powders For A High Quality Vacuum Cleaner!

Many people are under the impression that getting something truly clean means it not only looks clean, but it also has to smell clean and nowhere is that truer than for the carpets and rugs in your home. Decades ago, scented carpet powders were invented and came onto the home-cleaning scene, promising ways to deodorize your carpet and leave it smelling fresh. In reality, many carpet powders simply deposit fragrance and don’t actually get your carpets any cleaner.  It’s a myth that just because your carpet smells clean, doesn’t mean it’s actually clean! In fact, the scented powder can create the same friction on your carpet fibers as dirt, wearing down the yarn of your carpet!

And an even worse is that some of these powders can create problems not only for your carpets and rugs but for those people in your household who are sensitive to chemicals and fragrances.  If that weren’t bad enough, carpet powders can also damage your vacuum cleaner itself, causing its lifespan to decrease. So maybe it’s time you ditched the carpet powders altogether and considered getting a better quality vacuum cleaner that’s capable of properly lifting out the dust, dirt, grime and pet hair that creates bad carpet odors in the first place!

One of the biggest issues with using a carpet powder is it can clog different parts of your vacuum cleaner. The particles of the powder have a similar makeup as dust or dirt particles and can clog your vacuum’s filters and bags. When the bags and filters are clogged with powder you are having to change them much more often (which can get expensive and tedious) if you want to properly maintain your machine and also keep the suction.

Vacuum bags and filters are pretty easy to replace, other mechanisms – like the belt and motor – are not so easy or cheap to replace. If used frequently, carpet powders can begin to build up as residue on vacuum belts and cause them to slip. The powder can also clog a vacuum’s cooling filters around the motor, which can make your machine overheat. Those powder granules are gritty, and in addition to wearing down your carpet fibers, they can also grind down motor axles and gunk up the motor bearings.

The chemicals and fragrances used in certain types of carpet powders can also be irritating to humans and pets alike. For people with asthma or sensitivities related to allergies, the use of carpet powders can trigger an attack or rash. This extends to Fido as well, as many of our four-legged friends can have some of the same sensitivities as their human companions!

In truth, carpet powders are really just covering up the problem with fragrances. If the sources responsible for creating the stale odors – ground-in dirt, dander, pet hair, dust, and absorbed odors – aren’t removed properly, the problem will continue.

So ditch those false powders! When you invest in a quality machine that does a superior job of removing dirt and contaminants from the surfaces of your home, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes not only in the smell and appearance of your carpet but of your entire household, including the overall indoor air quality. And who doesn’t want that?

5 Brilliant Bedroom Cleaning Hacks

Your bedroom is your sanctuary—a place of rest and a break from the chaos and noise that is life. It should be your relaxation room where you know you can find peace and quiet and revive your healthy, happy life. But…what if it’s a dirty mess? This can cause you to have a negative relationship with a room that should be your safe haven! Because it’s important to keep your bedroom clean and tidy, we’ve got 5 brilliant bedroom cleaning hacks to help you out!

Keep It Organized and Clutter-Free

The first step in creating your quiet, relaxing space is to keep it clutter-free. The more clutter and messes piled up, the less the room will appear—and actually be—clean. Clutter makes cleaning more difficult because it creates obstacles that get in your way.

Utilize storage through bins, baskets, bookshelves, etc. to keep and stay organized. Every night or morning, spend a few minutes going around and decluttering your bedroom so that you start the day with a fresh, tidy look. An organized bedroom will not only give you a clearer space to get a better clean, but also allow you to have a tidy oasis.

Freshen the Air

When you walk into your bedroom to wind down, there’s nothing quite like having it look and smell clean! Use a natural bedroom spray to freshen the area and make the room more welcoming. And the good news is…you don’t have to burn thousands of candles or use harsh chemicals to achieve this! You can make a natural, chemical-free air freshener by using simple ingredients such as lavender essential oil, lime juice and baking soda. A quick spray of this mixture will leave you with a fresh and inviting atmosphere to completely relax and kick back in!

Clean the Mattress

The most commonly used item in the bedroom is the bed itself; in fact, most people will spend approximately a third of their life asleep! Whether you lay down for a reenergizing nap, a good sleep, or a relaxing chance to read, your mattress is essential. You want a good mattress that supports your lumbar so why not have a clean one that supports your health too? Some older mattresses can be flipped—and should be every 6 months—however, some newer mattress cannot be flipped over. If this is the case, cleaning it is essential.

To clean it, remove the bed linen and sprinkle the mattress with baking soda. Let this sit for 30 minutes to an hour and then thoroughly vacuum the mattress. This will leave your bed fresh, clean, and allergen-free…a perfect combination for that afternoon relaxation (snooze!).

Dust Before Vacuuming

Dusting and vacuuming are the two basic cleaning tasks most people think of, especially in the bedroom where dust, dirt and dander can easily accumulate. One hack to ensure a good clean is to dust before you vacuum. If you vacuum first and then dust , you’re knocking debris to the floor right after you cleaned it!  If you dust first, the vacuum is able to suck up any particles that have fallen while you were cleaning.

When you dust, use a spray and an old tshirt, cloth or rag and dust all surfaces that are prone to dust accumulation, like nightstands, bookshelves, tables, headboards, TV stands, and blinds. This hack allows a better clean and a healthier bedroom for you.

Get That Extra Shine

Sometimes all you need is a crisp sunrise streaming through your window or a crystal clear mirror to brighten and freshen up your bedroom. However, mirrors and windows can get pretty grimy, without our even realizing it, due to daily living, particles, pets, or fingerprints.

Cleaning windows or mirrors is often a forgotten chore; however, it’s necessary for a cleaner look and feel. Try mixing ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 cups warm water and ½ teaspoon of liquid soap together in a spray bottle. Spray onto glass surfaces and take some crumpled newspaper to wipe the surfaces down for a lint-free, streak-free clean. Cleaner windows and shinier mirrors can help reflect the fresh, tidy look of the space…creating a cleaner room to match your healthy-living lifestyle!

 

Chemical-free Clean: 5 Natural Cleaning Supplies

It seems like the cleaning supplies aisle at the supermarket continues to get packed with new items: cleansers, scrubs, anti-bacterial, gels, powders…the list goes on. And while each product is designed to clean your surface, it can also bring with it a lot of harsh chemicals, dyes, and artificial fragrances. If your house isn’t well ventilated, these fumes can linger, causing everything from a mild headache to triggering an asthma attack. Many times, it’s possible to get your home just as clean, fresh and sanitized using all-natural ingredients and items that are usually cheaper than brand-name cleansers, and safer for the environment, you and your family!

 

Salt

Salt is inexpensive, natural and comes in different grit sizes, so it can be great to use in lieu of commercial cleansing scrubs. (First make sure the surface will not be harmed by using a scrub of any kind!) Notably, using salt to clean out a greasy cast-iron skillet works wonders, since using soapy water is discouraged for cleaning all cast iron products. You can also use salt as a natural deodorizer: mix salt and seltzer water and spritz on the inside of your refrigerator door; wait a few minutes and wipe down. Salt can also be great for soaking up oily spills.

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural alternative that’s also tough on bacteria, grime and mildew. It’s also inexpensive and — although it has an unmistakable smell — is non-toxic and safe to use throughout your home. Vinegar is great for cleaning cutting boards, removing greasy food film from plastic containers, is great for shining up glass, and can even be used as a natural fabric softener. It’s got hundreds of other uses, too!

 

Lemon

Lemon is a natural deodorizer, and a scent strongly associated with kitchen cleanliness. You can also use lemon juice to polish brass and copper, shine chrome faucets, remove stains from cotton fabric and clean hard water stains on glass shower doors. Lemon is also wonderful for freshening your garbage disposal: throw in a handful of ice cubes, a spoonful of kosher salt, and a few lemon peels. Pulse for 20-30 seconds and voila — the stinky odor and greasy mess is gone!

 

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a favorite standby for natural cleaning enthusiasts everywhere because of its safety and ability to neutralize odor. Did you also know you it can be mixed with water to remove dirt and the waxy coating on produce? You can also use it to clean and deodorize countertops, microwaves, sinks, range hoods, plastic containers, refrigerators and cooking utensils. It also can be combined with water to make a gentle cleansing paste.

 

Steam

Cleaning with steam is a great way to both clean and sanitize a surface. (Make sure your surface won’t be harmed by the use of steam!) Steam is a favorite for kitchens and bathrooms, as it’s great for use on grout and ceramic tile. You can take it outside, too, where it’s perfect for cleaning grease from BBQ grills and grime from patio furniture.

 

 

 

5 Smart Spring Cleaning Tips!

The arrival of spring always brings the desire to start over, tidy up and settle down into a fresh, clean home! It’s tempting to start your entire cleaning list at once — but for the average-sized home, especially ones with pets and/or kids — getting things to your standard of clean can take a lot of time. Making several small changes every day for a week can seem a lot more achievable than doing it all at once.

So clean smarter — not harder! Streamline your cleaning routine to maximize your time and your results.

Tip 1: Go after germs on their home turf

Did you know that a dirty kitchen sink has more bacteria than the average toilet seat? If you can see visible gunk around your sink, handles, sprayer or grooves around the garbage disposal, you could definitely have a germ wasteland on your hands! To get your sink clean, first wash it down with a warm, soapy mix. You can follow this with natural disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide or vinegar. (Just be sure not to mix the two together!) To get rid of nastiness and odor in your garbage disposal, toss lemon juice, salt and a few ice cubes in and turn on for 20-30 seconds.

Approximate cleaning time: 20 minutes

 

Tip 2: Apply the 5 second rule

Cleaning out your closet can take several hours — or even a whole day. If you’re pressed for time but still wanting to accomplish something meaningful, choose a small dresser or chest, and go through each drawer. Pull out every item, and decide within 5 seconds which items to keep, which to donate, and which to throw away. Can’t decide? If you’ve been holding it longer than 5 seconds and didn’t have a gut “I love this!” reaction, it’s probably not a keeper.

Approximate cleaning time: 1 hour

 

Tip 3: Break down vacuuming room by room

If the idea of vacuuming your entire house exhausts you, then decide to just do one room at a time. And did you know — there’s a trick to vacuuming effectively. Start in the farthest corner and work toward the door. Make a few passes with the vacuum over each spot; this ensures you’re extracting the most dirt and dust possible from your carpet or rug. This will not only improve the look and odor of your carpet, it will extend the life of your carpet in general: dirt and debris creates friction which actually wears down the fibers of your carpet. This can make your carpet dull and prone to stains.

Approximate cleaning time: 30 minutes

 

Tip 4: Create a permanent lost & found box

For some families, it’s socks; for others it’s toys or coats or hair ties. If more than two people live in your home, creating a lost & found box can be a great idea. For one thing, it helps direct mismatched clutter into one area. Once established, everyone will always know where to look if something of theirs turns up missing. And the box can be beautiful — there’s no need for it to be an eyesore. In fact, if it blends in with your decor, you might be more likely to use it. Make a quick sweep of each room per week: no strays left behind!

Approximate cleaning time: 5-10 minutes per room

 

Tip 5: Remove pet hair in one sweep

We love our critters…but the fur they leave behind is unsightly and can seem next-to-impossible to remove in a timely fashion. Never fear — rubber kitchen gloves are here! That’s right — regular rubber kitchen gloves (that are just a little wet) are the perfect solution for de-furring an entire velour sofa, set of throw pillows or your favorite chenille chair. Start in the room most frequented by your pets, and run your gloved hands over each upholstered surface. The fur should stick to the glove. When it’s full (or stops sticking) simply rinse off the glove and start the process again until it’s all gone.

Approximate cleaning time: 20 minutes per room

 

Less Mess! 4 Steps to Smarter Cleaning

A clean home is about more than just appearing tidy – it’s about making your living space smell fresher, be more productive and efficient, and ensuring that your family stays as healthy as possible.

  • Contaminants often lurk beyond what is visible with the naked eye: microscopic particles, dust, dander and dust mites can often go unseen, though their effects can be felt, especially by those with allergy or asthma sensitivities. For soft surfaces in your home, vacuuming regularly does an extraordinary amount of good, both in lifting away pollutants and dirt as well as helping to extend the life of your carpet. A great vacuum should come with an accessory kit that will help you utilize your machine to include surfaces like upholstered furniture, drapes, stairs and more.
  • Although the idea of disinfecting surfaces seems like a good one, consider the cleaning agents you use to accomplish this chore. Some common household cleaners are loaded with dyes, artificial fragrances, and untold amounts of chemicals. The fumes and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from these ingredients can irritate eyes and throats, and trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions. Pay attention to the ingredients and take into consideration the needs of both people and pets living inside the home. Many natural choices are becoming available on the mass market, and increasing numbers of people are opting to make their own cleansers with natural ingredients like vinegar, lemon and baking soda.
  • Cleaning an entire home from top to bottom can take hours or even a whole day, depending on how much you have to accomplish and how severe the need for cleaning really is. Develop a schedule that allows you to clean for 20 minutes each day, instead of hours and hours one day; it can reduce the stress and exhausting that comes from scouring a whole home from top to bottom. Tackle one room per day, or limit each day to one chore, like dusting or laundry.
  • Cleaning your home sometimes means finding yourself elbows-deep in a closet or supply room, desperate to get rid of a stack of outdated clothes or old soccer balls. Before you haul everything out to the curb, consider what can be usefully recycled or donated. Reaching out to homeless shelters, pet rescues, and recycling centers – or even hosting a neighborhood trade day – are all great ways to get rid of clutter without further clogging up a landfill.

 

 

 

Choosing The Right Vacuum For Your Home

Not all vacuums are created equal! Depending on your specific cleaning needs, home size, flooring type and health concerns, certain vacuums will appeal to you more than others. With all the different brands available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Deciphering the terminology, understanding the specifications and breaking down the features are all important when it comes to choosing the right machine for your home.

Here are some great things to look for when picking out a vacuum:

Want great suction? Look for cyclonic action.
Conventional vacuums tend to pull air through the dirt in the bag, which can block airflow and limit suction power. Suction is essential for cleaning power; a reduction makes your vacuum less effective. Cyclonic action directs incoming air over the dirt regardless of how full the bag is, which means there’s no appreciable loss in power.

Go for quality.
You can tell a lot about a machine from seeing and touching it. Vacuums made mostly of plastic, with plastic parts, aren’t going to be as reliable or durable as a machine made of higher-quality materials. A die-cast metal body and parts means it’s less likely to break or crack. A well-built vacuum, if properly maintained, can last for decades.

Consider the shape of the brush head.
L-shaped brush heads make for better maneuvering around and under furniture. Bulkier heads can be hard to get around table and chair legs, and often bump into doorframes or stationary objects. A sleeker, L-shaped design still provides the same coverage but with better maneuverability options.

Wheels that move with you.
For canister vacuums, you want wheels that move the way you do. Look for units that have 360 degree caster wheels for superior movement and handling. Wheels that only move back and forth will have you fighting with your machine instead of easily guiding it around the room.

Get the right attachments.
Having the right attachment can add a whole new layer to how well you’re able to clean. A good vacuum should come with a floor tool, a crevice tool, an upholstery tool, a dusting brush and a mini motorized brush head.

Powerful motor and belt.
Two things you don’t want to go out in your vacuum: the motor and the belt. The right fan will provide proper suction for your machine, and a gear-driven belt is designed to reduce or eliminate slippage and breakage.

Filters for air quality.
Much of what is sucked from carpet, flooring and upholstery is susceptible to being blown right back into the environment it just left if the vacuum used doesn’t come with the proper filtration. If you can outfit your vacuum with a HEPA filter (or it comes with one) that’s always a fantastic choice. The more levels of filtration you have, the less likely that dirt and debris will be to reenter your indoor air.

Our pick? The Aire Jett. Designed with convenience, durability, and unmatched cleaning performance, the Aire Jett is built to last.

Untitled design

  • Aire Jett utilizes 5 levels of filtration to remove harmful contaminants from your home
  • Top-mounted power switch and automatic shut off
  • Provides consistent power through cyclonic action, separating dirt from the air flow in the canister; Aire Jett’s cyclonic action directs incoming air over the dirt regardless of how full the bag is, resulting in no appreciable loss in power
  • 360-degree caster wheels
  • Unique die-cast metal body and parts are designed to outlive and outperform the competition
  • L-shaped power brush
  • Ergonomically-designed carry handle
  • Contains everything you need to clean all surfaces in your home, including floor, crevice, upholstery and dust attachments plus a mini power nozzle