The Battle Against Garbage Can Odors
There’s nothing too exciting about garbage cans, except how you feel if you pull a full trash bag out and it bursts and spews all kinds of undesirables all over the kitchen floor.
If you have garbage, such as limp lettuce, fermenting flounder, greasy goat cheese, and much more, you will have odors from it.
Odors naturally occur from bacteria, which is what grows quickly on organic material. And then you have mold adding to the issue. All this fermenting in a dark, damp playground known as your garbage can.
Even if you have a secure trash can lid, the odors have a mind of their own and an evil intent to escape.
There are several things you can do to limit the effect of garbage can odors.
Take out the trash
It may seem simplistic, but most of us wait too long to take out the trash. A smell garbage can inside is terrible – the one outside waiting to be hauled away isn’t much better, but at least it is outside. Make it a practice to take out the trash before the bag is full.
Use quality scented bags
By quality, we mean bags that have a thicker mil rating, as they won’t break as easy. Yes, they cost more and use more plastic. Look at keeping the mil for your trash bag at 2 or above. The scented bags really do a great job hiding, not removing, odors. They mask bad odors and give you more time between taking out the trash before you start to notice odors.
Use baking soda
Baking soda is a typical household fixture. By sprinkling baking soda in the bottom of your garbage can and even in the bag, it helps to limit the odors caused by bacteria. It does this by absorbing odors instead of them being released into the air you breathe.
Give it a hosing
Like all things, garbage cans need to be cleaned. You might say, “I use bags!” but that doesn’t matter. Odors build up no matter what you do, and a good cleaning with baking soda or other cleaning products, and hosing or rinsing out the can, will help keep lingering odors at bay.
And like all things, quality cleaning of the surfaces in your home are better performed by the pros. Do the right thing, call your favorite cleaning company when you need help. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Triage Tips to Save Contents
The main goal for protecting your home from water damage situations is to prepare and anticipate what can happen.
This means many things, such as keeping your sump pump in good working condition, repairing leaky pipes and dripping faucets, and ensuring that during cold weather your home is snug and tight against intruding freezing temperatures.
But things do happen. Pipes break, spewing water everywhere. Flood waters can enter your home and wreak havoc while you are away. Leaky plumbing fixtures can slowly cause damage and spawn mold growth.
When this occurs, it affects not only the building materials of your home, such as the walls, floors, and ceilings, but the contents as well. You know, the valuables you care so much about. These can be anything from stuffed animals to books to photographs to electronic equipment and more. Even mementos that just can’t be replaced.
If any of this occurs to you and your home, use these tips for best content triage strategies.
Before doing any type of work in your home after a water damage situation, make sure you are safe. This means your electricity and power sources are turned off (if appropriate and the damage warrants this), and water has been extracted or reduced to a minimum level.
Before starting work, and during the work process, take pictures of everything. What you can’t dry and save yourself will no doubt be replaced with insurance dollars. But without proof, you might have a fight on your hands with your insurance company.
When contents get wet, damage is minimal — for now. Get those valuables up off wet surfaces and do what you can to dry them out and set them where they won’t cause more damage and where they can dry. Depending on the items, move them out into the sun for faster drying. Documents, pictures, and other similar valuables will need careful handling and professional care.
There are some items more valuable to you than others, and emotions can get involved. Prioritize what you are going to save. Odd are, if you don’t call a professional restoration company right away, you aren’t going to be able to save everything. Electronics and other valuables may be beyond saving. Don’t waste time on what can’t be saved. That’s what insurance is for.
When you have any type of disaster situations at your home, whether from fire, smoke, floods, or water damage, do the right thing. Contact your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Removing Blood and Biological Spots and Stains
It’s not a pleasant task, but it’s one that must be handled, and quickly.
Removing blood, vomit, urine, feces, and other biological spots and stains is a fairly easy chore if the issue is caught quickly. But allow the substance to dry, and your job becomes much more difficult.
What impacts the success of removal of blood and biological substance is what it is on. If on carpet or upholstery, the removal is much more challenging as flushing out the contaminant can actually cause irreversible damage to the fabric. But if on clothing or other washable material, the job can be handled easily.
Here are some tips to remove biological contaminants from clothing and other washable fabrics.
Once you discover there is a biological substance on the fabric, scrap away any excess you can and get it into the washing machine.
Remember, something fresh is probably just a “spot” — which is on the outside of the fiber. Give it time, or don’t remove all the substance when cleaning, and that spot becomes a “stain” — which is insidethe fiber, and very challenging to remove.
Pretreat the area
You do this all the time. Pretreating spots means easier removal during washing. For biological substances, this is important. A quality preconditioning product worked into the fabric, and allowed to dwell for several minutes, means the washing cycle will be more effective.
Control the temperature
You might have heard that hot water can “set the stain.” Not always true. The problem is using hot water opens up the fibers and allows staining substances to penetrate. Incomplete cleaning does this as well. To be safe, keep the temperature warm or cold when washing fabrics with biological spots or stains.
After washing, you may notice the spot or stain is gone. Don’t assume that is 100% true. When wet, the fabric may be hiding the spot or stain. Allow it to air dry. Do not put it into the drier. Hot air during the drying process can set any remaining spots or stains. Once dry, inspect carefully. If you see any remaining spots or stains, launder the item again.
As with all cleaning chores, there comes a time when it is time to throw in the towel and call the pros. Do the right thing and let your favorite cleaning company do the work for you. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Be a Dust Handler
Dust. It’s everywhere. Want proof? Reach over to a cabinet top, a window sill… just about any surface. Rub your finger on them and see what you get.
While dust occurs naturally in homes and buildings, there are some practical steps you can take to minimize how much dust affects the cleanliness of your home but also how much it negatively affects health of your loved ones.
Talk about something you might never inspect, unless you think about it. Give it some thought now. In your bathrooms, look up at your exhaust fans — assuming you have them. Look closely. They are probably covered with dust and hair and other debris, and perhaps the circulation openings are completely clogged up. Use a vacuum to remove as much as you can, and when there is air flow into the fan, use some compressed air to finish the job. Loosening up the dust means the fan will move it on out.
While you vacuum your floors and area rugs on a scheduled basis, you never get as much dust out of area rugs than taking them outside and giving them a good “beating.” Of course, the area rug has to be of a size and weight you can handle. But if you get them outside, drape over a fence or patio chair, and go at them with a broom or tennis racket, you will get much more dust out of them than if you vacuumed alone.
Like your exhaust fans, other areas you might not inspect can be dust collectors. Think about your ceiling fans, trim around doors and windows, pictures and ornaments, any area above typical eyesight. Your favorite department store or online store will have a variety of dusting devices you can use. They also have products meant to, while you clean, attract dust, dander, and debris so you aren’t just moving it around. The main thing is to buy them and use them on a regular basis.
As with any task, performing what needs done on a schedule is important. Keeping a house clean and tidy is a task that never ends. From dusting to carpet cleaning, to hard floor care, and more, the best way to keep it all in perfect shape is to use a quality and professional cleaning service. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Storms, floods, water damage, and other issues that can impact you and your family are always a possibility. You want to be prepared as best you can.
But sometimes, disaster strikes. It can be somewhat containable, such as a pipe that breaks while you are home and able to turn off the water. Other times, it can be flood waters entering your home during a storm and creating havoc with all your belongings.
One important category of personal belongings that can become damaged by water (whether clean water, dirty water, or sewage) and that you would think is easy to clean up would be clothing, or garments. Just think of how many items of clothing are in your home. Can be a staggering number.
The cleanup may not be as easy as you think. Consider these quick tips:
The source of damage
Most of your clothing can be saved, but if the damage is from sewage backup or other bio-contaminants, it is best to discard and buy new. While you want to save what you can, think of the health of your family. Anything damaged by sewage or bio-contaminants is best discarded.
Separate and conquer
Another step is to separate your laundry just as you would normally, but also create a category of “heavy soil” — such as clothing heavy with dried mud. Take those items outside and do your best to break off hardened mud and use a garden hose to remove as much as possible after that, and then after drying, launder them as normal. You don’t want to damage your washing machine by using it for muddy clothes.
Now it’s time to get to business with all those dirty clothes. Use quality laundry detergent and an appropriate disinfectant. Use hot water as practical. Here’s a very important tip. Don’t overuse the detergent. You might think because of the soiling that more detergent is best. It’s not. Use what manufacturers recommend and follow directions. If you need more cleaning, just rewash clothes repeatedly. A repeat washing continues to flush out soils.
Be safe, be smart
As you can see, tackling storm or water damaged clothing can be intensive, and we have only touched the basics here. Often, your damaged belongings are covered by insurance. Check with your insurance carrier. But for all restoration work, no matter the situation, do the smart thing. Call a water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Drying out Water Damaged Papers
With the arrival and impact of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, many have given up their favorite pastime of reading paper newspapers and books. But if you look around your home, you may still find plenty of books, documents, and valuable paper products that you prefer over the electronic variety — or that you just can’t get rid of.
Many of these items end up in the basement or other storage areas, and just when you least expect it, can become damaged from moisture, a broken pipe, flooding from storms, or a failure of your sump pump. Water damage can come from many sources. When that happens, it’s time to dry everything out, and that’s not always easy.
The first step is to wipe off and remove as much excess water that you can, without damaging the paper.
For loose papers, such as documents, lay them out individually on absorbent cloths and then carefully blot. If using paper towels, make sure they are pure white, with no color print on them. Loose papers are fairly straightforward to dry. Some air movement from a small fan can help the drying process. After drying, you can compress the papers to flatten them out.
For books, very carefully open the covers of each book, and stand your books upright on a stack of several, absorbent pure white paper towels. Place several layers of absorbent towels inside the covers, and gently close them. Allow the towels to pull moisture from the pages; replace them as they get wet, checking frequently. As you progress, carefully open pages, perhaps every 20-30 pages or so, and place more towels or cloths inside those pages, closing the book, allowing moisture to transfer into the towels or cloths. Keep the book on its sideas you do this.
Eventually, as the book dries, you can open the pages, and put the book in front of a fan to continue drying out the pages.
What if you have many books or documents, and they are valuable and must be saved and you don’t have the ability to do it yourself? That’s when it’s time to get some professional help. Put your damaged documents or books in the freezer. It’s now time to contact your favorite disaster restoration company for help. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Vacuum Cleaner Maintenance
The job of the vacuum cleaner, whether in a home or office, is to pick up dirt, debris, particulate soil, hair, dander, virtually anything that lands on the carpet and must be removed. In the process, your vacuum cleaner eventually ends up needing a little cleaning attention itself.
When you empty the vacuum collection chamber or replace the vacuum bag, all of that dust, dirt, debris, and hair went into the port that contains the beater bar, and then through a hose, and most likely also through a filter or two.
Keep your vacuum cleaner in great working condition with these simple maintenance tips. Keep it safe and anytime you are working on your vacuum, make sure it is unplugged.
The bag or bin
Some vacuums have a chamber or bin that collects the dirt. If you have that type of vacuum, remove it and empty it frequently, even after each use. Wipe it out if you can and if the type warrants it, rinse it out with water and detergent. If you have a vacuum with a bag, keep an eye on how much dirt it is accumulating. It’s best to replace it when about half full, never more than 2/3 full. If your vacuum bag gets too full, the efficiency of the machine is drastically reduced.
The beater bar
Turn the vacuum over and inspect the beater bar and vacuum inlet assembly. This is where things might get a little gross as you have to physically pull and remove all the hair that has rolled up on the beater bar. Wear gloves. Pull the hair off and keep turning the beater bar until it is completely clean. Use scissors or a small, sharp knife if the hair is difficult to remove with just your bare fingers.
You may need to refer to your owner’s manual for this. Find the filters and inspect according to manufacturer recommendations. Some filters need to be replaced; others can be cleaned. Air must pass through the filters so keep them in good condition. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) might need more attention than typical filters.
One great way to ensure vacuum cleaner efficiency is to have your favorite cleaning company inspect it the next time they work in your home. Call them today. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Danger of Lightning
When warm weather arrives, most of us are subjected to interesting weather patterns and storms. Some of those can include dangerous lightning storms.
While lightning storms can occur at any time, it is more common in warm, muggy, turbulent months, also known as summer. In the United States, some estimates indicate that there are more than 30 million lightning strikes that reach the ground. These can cause property damage, injuries, and even death for those in the path of a bolt of lightning.
The first consideration for lightning storm activity is safety. Anything outside a building is subject to a lightning strike. Remember, lightning is naturally seeking a path to the ground, and if you are out in the open, you might end up being that path. Some feel that cowering under a tree or similar “protection” is going to help. Lightning is not always predictable. You may be hugging a tree and the tree is the path the lightning chooses to get to ground. That means you are in danger.
It’s always best to get inside. Seek shelter in a building that can protect you. Most of the time, it’s your own home. And besides the possibility of lightning striking you, other dangers, such as wind, rain, and flooding, can be dangerous to you as well.
While inside during a lightning storm, avoid contact with items that can conduct electricity: Pipes, cords, electronics such as televisions and computers, items that you use every day but should avoid when there is a chance of lightning striking your home.
After the storm, it’s time to inspect and test what might have been affected. You may have electronic devices that have suffered from the burst of electricity common to lightning storms. You also may have damage to property from the high winds the storm might have generated. There could be flooding in your basement or other areas of the home. Remember, even a well-built home can have water intrude, especially if it is driven by high winds. Check your sump pump, if you have one, is still operating. If it was affected by an electric surge, it may not work properly.
Any resulting damage should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, which means repairs should be paid for. Do the right thing. Contact your favorite restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!