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Cleaning & Organizing Tips » 2015 » March

Spring Cleaning: 11 tips for a more effective clean-up

Spring Cleaning: 11 tips for a more effective clean-up
News from Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

This article is reprinted from Wine Country Real Estate, a special advertising section of The Press Democrat.

With spring on the horizon, it’s time to fling open the windows, breathe the fresh air, and clean out corners that were neglected all winter. In addition to feeling good, there’s another reason for this old custom: it’s good for our health. And it should go deeper than a more-vigorous-than-usual regular cleaning. Over the years, as I inspect homes prior to putting them on the market, I’ve seen many problems stemming from ignoring these hidden spots.

Check your Furnace Filter

Ideally this should be done every 3-6 months. If it’s thick with dirt and dust, the filter’s not working very well and neither is your furnace. Fuel efficiency suffers when the filter is dirty. While you’re at it, check any other filters in your home.

Check Smoke Detectors

Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every spring. Some people do this when they change their clocks. Then you don’t have to try to think back to when you last changed the battery or wonder whether the smoke detector will work…………… continues on Santa Rosa Press Democrat

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Department of Health offers tips for cleaning up after the weekend’s heavy rains

Department of Health offers tips for cleaning up after the weekend’s heavy rains
News from TCPalm:

The Florida Department of Health is offering tips to residents who are cleaning up after this weekend’s heavy rainfall.

Flooding may have made well water unsafe to drink, if flood waters covered the well. Until the well can be disinfected, boil or disinfect all well water used for drinking, making ice, cooking, washing dishes, washing wounds or brushing teeth.

Bring well water to a rolling boil for one minute and cool before use. Common unscented household bleach (4 to 6 percent active ingredient) can be used effectively as a chlorine disinfectant. Disinfect the water by adding 8 drops (about 1/8 teaspoon) of unscented household bleach per gallon of water, and then let it stand for 30 minutes. Repeat the procedure if the water is still cloudy.

More information about disinfecting a well can be found on the health department website at www.MartinCountyHealth.com or calling 772-221-4090. The Health Department can also provide information on state certified labs that provide well water testing.

To prevent mold growth, remove and discard any items that came in contact with flood waters and cannot be cleaned and dried, such as drywall and insulation.

When possible, drain any standing water around homes to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Do not allow children to play in flood waters. Flood water may be contaminated…………… continues on TCPalm

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Spring Cleaning Tips That Remind You Where You Forgot To Clean
News from Huffington Post Canada:

 |  By Lisa A. Flam, The Associated Press

If you’re like some people (ahem) who put up window treatments and never give them a second thought, even as dust accumulates, this might just be the season to pay them a little respect.

No need to stress out about adding another task to your spring-cleaning to-do list: You don’t have to clean curtains, shades and the windows themselves THAT often. And many times, it’s not that difficult.

“In our experience, the windows and window treatments are something that people avoid cleaning because they’re not entirely sure the best way to do it,” says Betsy Goldberg, home director of Real Simple magazine.

“It’s not hard,” she adds. “It just takes a little bit of time.”

If simply removing dirt isn’t reason enough to clean, consider that dust can dull the fabric of curtains and shades. Household odours can linger. And washing helps preserve the fabric, especially for window treatments that get a daily dose of sunshine, says Tammy Kupernik of retailer Country Curtains.

“If you don’t wash them, the sun will break down the threads,” she says.

…………… continues on Huffington Post Canada

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Restaurant inspections: 3-2

Restaurant inspections: 3-2
News from Toledo Blade:

Published: Monday, 3/2/2015 – Updated: 13 seconds ago

Recently released inspection reports of Lucas County food-service operations.


Original Pancake House, 3310 W. Central, inspected Jan. 6. Several rugs, towels, and cardboard in various places in the back kitchen. All surfaces must be smooth, easily cleanable, and nonabsorbent.

Uncle John’s Pancake House, 3131 Secor, inspected Jan. 6. No test kit available to check quat sanitizer concentration. Provide proper test kit. Corrected. Bottle of deodorizers stored above food product. Store poisonous or toxic materials so they cannot contaminate food, equipment, utensils, or other food-contact items. Owner discarded chemical.

Pizza Hut, 1654 Ralston Circle, inspected Jan. 6. Food employee touching ready-to-eat food with bare hands. Corrected. Measuring cup handles touching foods on prep table tops. To prevent contamination, food employees may not touch exposed, ready-to-eat food with bare hands except when washing raw fruits and vegetables. Food touching packaging below and to one side of a splash guard sink; dried splash drops present on packaging.

River Diner, 2040 Ottawa River, inspected Jan. 6. Red beans in walk-in cooler at temperature above 41 de…………… continues on Toledo Blade

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Industry pans bill targeting detergent pods
News from The Hill:

Cleaning product manufacturers are calling a bill to impose stricter standards for single-serve laundry and dish detergent packets unnecessary.

“Manufacturers have already made major changes to their packaging including the addition of easy-to-understand safety icons, improving warning labels to advise proper use and storage instructions, and changing to opaque packaging so the laundry packets are not visible from the outside,” the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) said in response to the Detergent Poisoning and Child Safety, or Detergent PACS, Act  introduced in both the House and Senate today.

The bill, authored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) would direct the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to issue new rules requiring safer, child-resistant packaging for liquid detergent packets within eighteen months of the bill’s passage.

Filled with colorful liquid detergents, lawmakers and consumer product safety advocates say the single-serve, bite-sized pods are dangerous because they look like candy. From 2012 to 2013, the National Poison Data System received 17,230 calls involving children who had ingested the chemicals in the packets. 

But the ACI, which has a consumer awareness outreach program to educate parents and caregivers about the safe w…………… continues on The Hill

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Child poisonings from laundry detergent packets prompt legislation

Child poisonings from laundry detergent packets prompt legislation
News from Redding Record Searchlight:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Highly concentrated laundry detergent in brightly colored, palm-size packets are proving so tempting to young children that 17 members of Congress filed legislation Thursday to make the toxic products less attractive to kids. 

Poison control centers nationally have reported 899 calls so far this year about small children ingesting or otherwise coming in contact with the chemicals.

The packets, first introduced in America three years ago, triggered calls for safety improvements early on. The product is an innovation designed so consumers can transport detergent in smaller and more portable containers.

Legislators have called for tougher safety requirements for them, so far unsuccessfully.

The new bills introduced in Congress would mandate standards from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to reduce the toxicity of the detergent and require safer, child-resistant packaging within 18 months.

“Anyone with common sense can see how dangerous it is to have liquid detergent in colorful, bite-sized packets that children will inevitably swallow,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California), who introduced a House version of the bill. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 11,713 calls last year regarding c…………… continues on Redding Record Searchlight

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Do you know how to clean pillows?
News from Treehugger:

Pillows collect a lot of dust, skin cells, and bacteria that need to be washed out. Fortunately a washing machine and dryer are all you need for most pillows.

Pillows are easily forgotten while cleaning the rest of the house. Just because you change the pillowcase doesn’t mean the pillow is clean. A pillow’s weight can actually double over the course of its lifetime, thanks to the dust, sweat, dead skin cells, mold, bacteria, and other allergens that accumulate. (Yuck!)

Here’s a quick test to see if your pillow is worth salvaging: Fold the pillow in half. If it doesn’t bounce back immediately, it’s probably best to pitch the pillow and buy a new one. If it springs back with a bit of life still in it, then toss it in the washing machine.

If a pillow is filled with feathers, down, or polyester, then you can put it in the washing machine. Wash two at a time, so as not to unbalance the machine. Squeeze out as much air as you can before putting it in the machine. Use hot water and a mild natural detergent. Add a cup of baking soda for smells or white vinegar for mold and mildew.

Dry on a low heat setting using at least two dryer balls. (You can make your own by tying a tennis ball in a sock, although there are some concerns about off-gassing when a tennis ball is heated. Alter…………… continues on Treehugger

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