How to Clean House Gutters

1>How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily1>

Cleaning the gutters and downspouts of your house just comes with the territory of owning a home, but it doesn’t have to be a big chore. Although it’s not the most fun task, it isn’t that difficult, doesn’t take that long, and will help prevent damage to your roof and the eaves themselves. Plus, it helps make your house look nicer.

Why You Should Clean Your Gutters

If you don’t clean your gutters, major damage will eventually plague your house when rainwater cannot go down a blocked drain. That blocked water builds up and gets under your shingles or rooftop material, and

rots the wood of your roof, trim and siding, and water can even get into your house, which we all know is not good.

Downspouts that are clogged in fall and not cleaned before the snow falls can become a problem. During warm winter days or the spring when the snow melts, if the melt water cannot go down the drain, tis can cause a big ice lip to build up at the edge or your roof that not only prevents snow from sliding off your roof, but it also puts a massive amount of weight on your roof. This can lead to a damaged roof or even a collapsed roof.

Even if the roof eaves of your house don’t get clogged or overflow each season, it’s just not a good idea to leave decaying debris in your gutters, as it’s an invitation to mosquitoes and carpenter ants.

So no matter how busy or lazy you feel, the little effort it takes to clean your gutters can save you lots of headache and damage costs. It’s definitely worth the effort, and not worth the consequences if you don’t do it. So let’s get to it.

Get the Right Tools

  • Ladder
  • Gloves
  • Trowel or Hand Scoop
  • Trash bag or Bucket
  • Rope (if you do this alone)
  • Garden Hose

Be Safe

If your home is more than one story, you may need an extension ladder. But even if your house is only one story, you could get seriously hurt if you fall. So no matter how many stories you have, make sure your ladder is stable. Either use a stabilizer, or make sure you’re on level ground, or both.

Figure out how you’re going to get your trash bag or bucket down before you start. It will be heavy and awkward, but if you can hand it to someone, or lower it with a rope if you’re doing this job solo, you’ll want to have this planned out before you start. Don’t wait until you’re umpteen feet above the ground, on the roof, balancing a heavy bag, wondering what to do with it.

Gloves don’t just help keep your hands and nails clean, but they can protect your hand from sharp objects. Leather ones will protect your hands better than cloth, as well as keep them cleaner. Make sure they’re the right size so you can do this job safely and properly.

Where to Start

After you have all your tools in place, it’s best to start where the downspouts are, which is typically at the corners, but not always.

Start at the downspouts so you can avoid pushing debris down the downspout and further clogging it, by simply pushing debris away from the drain hole as you clean the gutters.

Do it Right

  1. Simply scoop the debris into your bag or bucket. Use your trowel for the big stuff, and you may need to use your hands for the small stuff and gunk stuck to the bottom. If the debris is wet, I recommend a

    bucket rather than a bag, unless you use an extra sturdy bag. Wet stuff is heavier than dry stuff, so you may not want to fill the bag all the way up.

  2. After all the larger debris is removed, rinse the gutter with your garden hose, spraying toward the direction of the nearest downspout.
  3. You will need to clear any downspouts that may be clogged. If you start by spraying water down the spout from the top, you may just compact the clog so it gets lodged in tighter and becomes harder to budge. The best way is to start at the bottom of the drain spout and shoot some water up so it hits the bottom of the clog by using the spray nozzle of your hose at the highest pressure setting. Then get on the roof and shoot water down the pipe from the top. If it’s a loose clog, this should clear it up. If this still doesn’t clear it up, you can use a plumber’s snake, or if the clog is near the top, any type of long pole, like the end of a rake, will do. Collect the clog at the bottom of the spout after it comes out and put it in your debris receptacle.

Follow all the above procedures for all your gutters and downspouts of your home, garage, or any outbuildings you have that have gutters.

And finally, dispose of all the debris you’ve collected by putting it in the trash, or more preferably, a compost pile. You may already have your own compost pile, or can start one, or often your local city offices can tell you where a free community compost trash receiving site is located.

And that’s How to Clean House Gutters Quickly and Easily!

And now you can sit back and relax as you pat yourself on the back for taking care of business and keeping your property well taken care of. It’s okay to admire your own work, because not only do you now have clean gutters, but also peace of mind.

Prevent Future Problems

Use a stand-off or stabilizer, which not only keeps your ladder stable, but it also keeps your ladder from resting on, and thus possibly damaging or denting your gutters.

Inspect the gutters and downspouts now for any signs of damage. Look for holes, dents, or cracks. If you discover any signs of damage, repair them as soon as possible.

It’s best to clean the eaves and gutter spouts of in late spring or after nearby trees have finished shedding their leaves in the fall. If there copious amounts of trees or rain in your area, you should probably check your gutters more often.

Other Tips

Install leaf strainers inside the eave near the drain hole to prevent leaves from going down, and possibly clogging, your downspout.

You may want to consider installing guards that prevent the debris from sliding off your roof into your gutter in the first place. They won’t stop all falling leaves and branches from landing in your gutter, but can make your biannual gutter cleaning much more easy in the future.

Your local city yard refuse disposal site is also a great place to get free compost for your garden in the spring.

 

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How to Clean Your Patio Furniture

Patio Furniture Care Guide

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How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway

1>How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway1>

The changing colors of fall leaves are truly beautiful but the leaves can leave stains on your driveway so you might want to know how to clean leaf stains off driveway. On a gorgeous, clear fall day, bundle yourself (and your kids) up warmly and head outside to get to work.

2>Teach your kids how to clean leaf stains off driveway!2>

 

3>How to Clean Leaf Stains off Driveway:3> 3>Cleaning:3>

Cleaning the leaf stains off your driveway is a great job that kids can do. Rake or sweep any leaves and debris off the area you are planning on cleaning. Periodically, take time to jump in the piles of leaves with your kids! Dispose of the leaves in compost or green waste. Use a hose with high water pressure to spray off the surface dirt. Sprinkle some laundry detergent with bleach or bleach alternative onto the driveway stains. You may find powdered laundry detergent works better than liquid laundry detergent because of its scouring ability but either type of detergent works. Let the detergent sit on the stains for a few minutes then proceed to scrub the area with a heavy duty shop broom or scrub brush.

 

3>Rinsing:3>

Use the hose with high water pressure to rinse the area, taking off the soap and dirt, and stain. Be careful not to clog up storm drains with leaves at the end of your driveway or on your street

3>The Rest of the Driveway:3>

You may find that the cleaned area really stands out from the rest of the driveway. You may wish to clean your entire driveway by hosing it down, sprinkling laundry detergent all around, scrubbing the driveway then rinsing.

You can now relax and enjoy the lovely reds, oranges and yellows in your trees and all around you, now you know how to clean leaf stains off driveway.

 

How to clean off tree sap from an unfinished wood deck

1>How to Clean Off Tree Sap from an Unfinished Wood Deck1>

It is hard to enjoy time on your deck if it is covered in tree sap! Here’s how to clean off tree sap from your unfinished wood deck. Apply mineral spirits with an old rag. Rub the area well and then wash the area off with dishwashing liquid and hot water (approximately 1 tsp of dishwashing liquid to 1 quart of hot water). Rinse the area well with clean water.

Now that you know how to clean off tree sap from an unfinished wood deck, you can enjoy beautiful sunny summer days on a clean deck!

5 Quick Tips for Spring Cleaning

With warmer months just around the corner, spring-cleaning isn’t far away. Whether you want to clear some of the winter clutter or just feel like a change in scenery, spring-cleaning can make it happen. Now is the perfect time to clean out the garage, basement and/or attic. If there are any items that you don’t plan to use, this article will tell you how to get rid of them while making money doing it. As we all know, this can take a lot of work but a few simple tips can make your spring-cleaning experience a breeze.

Tip 1:

If you are storing away your winter clothes, consider using large plastic storage containers that feature snap-on lids. These can be found in the house wares department at most stores and are very inexpensive. Storage containers are very important to keeping your clothes dust and discoloration free, which may otherwise be a problem if they are left hanging in the closet from one season to the next.

Tip 2:

When packing your clothes, roll them instead of folding. This not only eliminates creases and wrinkles, but also saves a lot of space. You will be able to pack a lot more clothes with this technique.

Tip 3:

Label your clothing containers as &#4548.89 degrees Celsius">8220;Spring&#4549.44 degrees Celsius">8221;, &#4548.89 degrees Celsius">8220;Fall&#4549.44 degrees Celsius">8221; and &#4548.89 degrees Celsius">8220;Winter&#4549.44 degrees Celsius">8221;. This will help you to easily locate your wardrobe inside the closet.

If you have any clothing that you don’t plan to wear or simply have outgrown, consider donating them to a local goodwill or other nonprofit organization. Rather than tossing them out, your clothes can provide revenue for a worthy cause and help the less fortunate to be able to afford clothing that would otherwise be unattainable.

Tip 4:

If you are looking to clear out some knick-knacks or perhaps even some Holiday decorations in order to make room for new ones, consider a trip to the local flea market. Everyone is looking for a bargain and they just may be looking for something that you no longer wish to own. A setup fee is usually required which, depending on the location, can be $10.00 to 20.00 per day. Otherwise, you can always sell items at internet auction sites, including Yahoo and eBay.

Tip 5:

Break down your chore list so that the overall task will be easier.  For the bigger outside jobs like pressure washing driveways and decks etc. hire a company to make the over job of spring cleaning easy.  Then break down the inside room by room and break it down over time to make it easier.

Cleaning up Antifreeze

To dispose of antifreeze and reduce the amount of damage it does to the environment, is to take your car to an auto service center that has an antifreeze recycling machine. Or a designated re-cycle facility.

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If there are no antifreeze recycling machines in your area, then flushing it down the drain is the next best step, though it is illegal in some areas and can still cause pollution. You should call your local waste water treatment facility to determine if they can accept antifreeze. If they can, then you can flush anti freeze diluted with water down your drain one gallon at a time. The best time to flush the diluted antifreeze is usually during the week, when the sewage system is in full use so that the antifreeze can be passed through the system quickly.  If you have septic systems do not flush down the drain.

Additionally, some landfills or garbage transfer stations accept non hazardous antifreeze, in most cases this information can be found online on the company or government websites.

If you have spilled antifreeze do you best to collect as much as possible using towels and or mop and water and dispose the collected antifreeze diluted with water as stated above.

 

Additional Information

Antifreeze should not be poured down storm drains, into rivers or on the ground.

Store Antifreeze in a closed container away from animals, as they can be attracted to its scent.

Do not mix antifreeze with any other waste product that is thrown in the trash.

Use only properly labelled containers to reduce the possibility of mixing chemicals.

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Tile Cleaning

 Tile Cleaning

Tile cleaning can be a chore and the techniques you would use can vary depending on the type of tile you have.  I will list several types of tiles here and discuss some basic tips for tile cleaning of the various types of tiles.

With many colors, textures, tiles sizes, and materials of excellent durability qualities available, in most cases tiles are easy to maintain and clean.  The bigger challenge in most cases is the cleaning of the grout. http://www.howtocleananything.com/general-cleaning-tips/grout-cleaning/

 

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Marble, Travertine

Smooth, hard, cool to the touch and beautifully patterned, marble flooring, travertine and limestone offer the classic look of elegance and create a very luxurious effect.

Available in a wide variety of colors, especially earth tones, and often imitated by other types of tile like ceramic and porcelain.

Marble, limestone and travertine are calcite-based stones and have similar properties when it comes to care and cleaning. Marble is relatively simple to maintain once you know how.

Most problems are simple to solve, however, sealing may be necessary to protect against staining. Using the proper cleaning products requires a little more care and work, but it is a must… the results is a terrific looking floors

Extremely durable and versatile, marble, travertine or limestone floor tile can be used anywhere in your home, even your patio, but are particularly suitable for bathrooms, showers, hallways and formal living areas…

Etching in marble may be a concern, and when it comes to cleaning, using the proper product for marble is a MUST! Taking care of marble requires a bit more work than other types of tile flooring, but the beauty it adds to your home will be worth it… Bear in mind that counter tops are more susceptible to etching than flooring. These types of tiles are cleaned using neutral pH cleaners, no acidic cleaners should be used. Also quickly remove spills like orange or tomato juice for example since they are acidic.  Using soft cleaning cloths and or mops are best when cleaning marble and abrasive cleaning equipment is not recommended when cleaning marble.

 

Granite tile is basically indestructible if you choose the right variety… It can be used in any room with no concern, including an entry way or outdoor patio.

Unlike marble, limestone and travertine, this type of tile does not etch the same way and rarely is staining a problem. There is basically an endless array of patterns and magnificent colors for you to choose from and tile cleaning is pretty easy but it is best to avoid acidic chemicals.

Like most floor tile, granite has maintenance requirements… Depending on the degree of use and wear, polished granite may require periodic re-polishing just like any polished stone floor will.

To help reduce the chance of staining, some types may need to be sealed to may tile cleaning easier.

Slate Tile

Rugged and rustic looking, this tile is definitely unique and loved by many. The distinctive characteristics are easy to spot and adds to its allure, but the up-keep can be over-whelming and is therefore not for everyone.  Slate is more porous and usually uneven so regular cleaning is a must, or using a stone sealer to may tile cleaning is also recommended.  Since slate is more porous it will stain easier and stains can be stubborn.  Grease stains for example are difficult on a floor like this which is unsealed, and you will likely have to resort to using a poultice to remove this type of staining.  For general maintenance neutral cleaner is best and using less detergent is better leaving soap residue behind will only attract the dirt fast and make tile cleaning ore difficult.

Not all slate is alike and the quality can vary widely from soft and crumbly to hard and dense. The more expensive the slate the easier it will be to maintain,

Slate is usually thought of as gray, but it comes in colors, too. You will find green, blue, black, gray, rust and multi-color.

Most slate must be sealed to prevent staining. The cleft (ridges) finish slate is noted for collects dirt easily. Also, any element that is acidic will cause etching (corrosion) if it comes into contact with slate tiles.

Slate may not be the best choice for large flooring areas because of the the up-keep it requires. Having it honed (smoothed) will reduce the time and care needed to keep your flooring looking its best…

Cleaning Natural Stone Flooring

The main factor in cleaning natural stone is the initial treatment of the floor, for easy tile cleaning using a stone sealer is best and if you desire a unfinished look that is not sealed then frequent tile cleaning is necessary.  Consider a wet vacuum so you can use a combination of water detergent and by vacuuming with a wet vac will help keep the tiles cleaner.  Use as little detergent as possible; remember excess soap will attract dirt faster.  Always use a Ph balanced soap or detergent.

 

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is steadily gaining in status as an alternative to stone or ceramic tile. Its characteristics are equal to natural stone tile without the price.  Also, it is more durable, longer wearing and more damage resistant than ceramic, which make it suitable for any area in your home.

Full-bodied porcelain carry the color and patterns throughout its thickness making it virtually impervious to wear and suitable for residential, commercial and industrial highest traffic application.

If you like the stone tile look, but fear the price porcelain tile comes closer to duplicating the look of natural stone tiles.

Nearly maintenance free and cleaning is a breeze with just soap and water and is highly resistant to stains.  There are some porcelain tiles with matte finishes which are designed to reduce the slipperiness or just because the desire is to not have a shine floor.  Thee matte finished floors can be a challenge and can trap the dirt easier, in which case more frequent or specialized tile cleaning is necessary.

Ceramic Tile

Popularity has greatly increased for ceramic flooring as an alternative to natural stone tile. It wears well in light to moderate traffic areas, but is more prone to chipping and wear than is porcelain tile.

Of all the hard tiles, ceramic offers the most choices in colors, shapes and patterns. It’s suitability for any room makes ceramic a versatile tile floor covering.

The finishing glaze may give it a plastic or wet “look” (depending on your choice of color & pattern). None-the-less, it has great eye-appeal and style.

It provides better traction than most stone tiles and is resistant to water and stains. No special cleaning agents are needed; diluted household detergent will work just fine.

Saltillo Tile

Saltillo tile captures the rich yellow-orange colors of the South-western desert clay it is made of. In a class by itself, each tile is made by hand and no two tiles are the same…

Its uniqueness and color cannot be compared to any other floor tile and is what people are drawn to and love…

The downside, clay is very porous and stains easily. In colder climates it may crack and scratch more easily. NOT the best choice for kitchen or bathroom.

Lack of uniform tiles makes them difficult and consequently expensive to install. Saltillo tile should be sealed before, immediately after and every six months thereafter once installed.

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Cork Tile

Growing by leaps and bounds cork tile is quickly becoming the flooring of choice over other types of tile, and especially so for kitchens and bathrooms.

Long-wearing, affordable, rich and warm looking, easy to take care of and easy to install are just a few features why it has gained such popularity!

It’s natural insulating and sound proofing properties, resistance to friction, impact, moisture, dust, bacteria, mold and rot make it suitable for any room!

With so many incredible colors, patterns and designs available, there is something to fit any life style and the creative mind… just imagine.

Cork floor tile require very little maintenance… once installed apply a coat of acrylic varnish sealant, and re-apply the sealant when the tiles begin looking dull.  Otherwise a good neutral pH cleaner is best for cleaning this tile.

Rubber Tile

Made from synthetic materials rubber tiles are square and available in many sizes, thickness, colors, simulated stones, patterns, textures and finish. They are hard-wearing and resistant to most flooring issues, but can mark easily. These tiles are better suited for wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom, utility room or garage, but work well in a child’s bedroom or play room too. They are affordable, practical and very contemporary, with minor drawbacks compared to other types of tile.

Dirt can accumulate in raised or dimpled textures and light colors show the dirt more easily. Special products are needed for polishing the surface and sealing.

Rubber tiles are not difficult to install, but are heavier and harder to handle than cork, vinyl or linoleum tiles.

 

Summary

To summarize there are some consistent things you should be looking for and doing when performing your tile cleaning.  Look at the best way to seal both the tiles and the grout after the tiles have been installed.  Maintain that sealer based on the recommendations of the manufacture, but the basic rule of thumb is when the finish is looking dull you need to re-seal.  This alone is the largest factor in keeping your tiles clean.

Always use a neutral pH cleaner, avoid acidic or alkaline cleaners both will remove floor finishes.  Acidic cleaners will damage some natural stone like marble etc. Some examples of acidic cleaners are CLR, vinegar while bleach is highly  alkaline etc.  The pH of orange juice is 3.0, while baking soda has a pH of 9.0

The speed of cleaning up spills and stains are also important when cleaning tiles.  Don’t let that grape juice take hold and soak into the tile and or likely the grout, clean up as soon as the spill occurs.  Take the time to cleaning your tile really well before attempting to seal, you may have to go as far as using a poultice for removing stains when cleaning natural stone tile.  Going the extra mile before sealing will go a long way to make tile cleaning an easy maintenance task for the life of your tiles.

Steam Cleaning

What is steam cleaning? Here is some basic info on the details of steam cleaning.

Steam cleaning is a term often mistakenly used when referring to carpet cleaning. Typical commercial carpet cleaning machines use wet extraction often using heated water, not steam.  Steam vapor machines advertised these days on late night TV use water heated to a vaporwhich uses far less water than conventional carpet cleaning machines.  The steam vapor machines use very little water measured in quarts per hour compared to carpet cleaning machine measured in gallons per minute.

A steam vapor machine is a cleaning system that uses steam to quickly, clean, and sanitize inanimate surfaces. This method of steam cleaning uses so little water items cleaned dry very quickly. This process is effective enough to disinfect or even sterilize the surfaces. The steam is produced in a boiler that heats tap water to high temperatures (46.11 degrees Celsius">115.56 degrees Celsius">240-310F/46.11 degrees Celsius">115-155C) to produce low-pressure, low moisture (4 to 6% water) water vapor (steam).

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There are many companies that make vapor steam cleaners, with products ranging from higher-end industrial products to inexpensive consumer models.

Vapor steam cleaners are sold as examples of green cleaning since they do not require the use of chemical cleaning solutions. They are growing in popularity because of steam vapor’s ability to kill germs and in some cases disinfect without the use of chemical disinfectants.]Steam vapor has also been cited as effective in killing dust mites in carpet, bedding, and upholstery.

Vapor steam cleaners are often used in hypoallergenic environments because they do not require the use of additional cleaning chemicals, which results in better indoor air quality. Steam has been shown effective in combating mold, bacteria & viruses.
Steam cleaners are relatively new tools used for cleaning that do not require any chemicals. Here we have gathered some useful information for people wanting to know more about steam cleaners or people who are looking to buy one.

Two types of steam cleaners
There are basically two types of steam cleaners. The difference is based on how the steam is created in the apparatus.

Cooler but more humid steam cleaner, without a boiler.
This type will generate the steam without actually boiling water. This means that the steam will not be as hot as real steam but a bit cooler. On the other hand it will hold more water and therefore the steam will be more humid/contains more water.

Hot and dry steam cleaner.
The second type is a system that boils the water and thus creates a very hot steam, above 260 degrees Celcius usually. A boiler fed system creates a very low humidity steam, a so-called dry steam. These steam cleaners are therefore sometimes referred to as dry steam cleaners.

What kind of vapor steam cleaner should I choose?
The boiler fed system is likely best

  • The steam leaves less moisture on the surface. This means that the surfaces you clean dry much faster.
  • Boiler fed systems create much more heat than the non-boiler steam cleaner – steam temperatures over 300 degrees. Due to this excessive heat you need to scrub less and further the heat will sanitize as the high temperatures effectively kills germs and bacteria’s.
  • A little water goes a long way with a boiler fed system; one quart of water produces about a thousand gallons of steam.
  • Less moisture is left in the indoor environment, far better for those suffering from allergies.
  • No chemicals needed.

Portable steam cleaners (hand held steam cleaners)
Portable steam cleaner are made as smaller and more handy devices. The hand held steam cleaners are less powerful than the regular steam cleaners but also cheaper. The applications vary, but are generally for smaller jobs such as cleaning a stove for example.

There are many options for steam cleaning systems on the market today, truthfully I am not convinced it is worth the expense overall. It seems like it just adds a piece of complicated machinery to your cleaning kit when the cleaning really can be done using tried and true cleaning methods.  But no doubt steam cleaning is an environmentally friendly way to clean.

 

Commercial Cleaning

When should you be employing a commercial cleaning company to help with your cleaning?  Certainly as a business you would hire a commercial cleaning company allowing your employees to focus on the work which makes your business successful.  When would you hire a commercial cleaning company for yourself personally? There are a few scenarios where hiring one is essential for sure.  As an example if you have any type of fire damage, you certainly need a trained professional in this case to evaluate and clean and repair any damage should a fire occur in your home.  It may not necessarily mean it has to be a large fire, a small appliance fire and cause significant damage to a home from surfaces affected by the smoke damage which requires professional cleaning to electronics affected by the smoke etc

Another scenario where you would require a commercial cleaning company is if you have water, or mold damage to your home.  A leak or burst pipe and cause tremendous damage that if not properly cleaned or accessed can cause even further damage or health issues if the leak is not repaired properly or cleaned up and dried out professionally.  Even high humidity or warm, moist air condensing on cool surfaces can trigger mold problems. It is always best to have the mold evaluated and removed by a professional cleaning company.

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When you have large volumes of cleaning to be done is another situation where you would require a commercial cleaning company, like a post construction cleaning.  Even a very small renovation will cause enough dust and dirt to make doing it on your own a task too tough to tackle.

The last scenario where you would want to hire a commercial cleaning company is if you just want a greater quality of life, and don’t want to do the cleaning anymore.  Part of it is just not wanting to have to work after you have finished work.  So you can relax when you are home.  Allot has to do with how neat you are in your day to day life, if you are always tidying up after doing the cooking, etc. Then maybe major cleaning is never really necessary.  But if you are like me and have young children and teenagers in the house no matter how neat or on top of it you are a major cleaning is always in the cards each week. Either way, take the time to research the prospective cleaning company you hire, are they experienced in the type of cleaning you need to get done.  Does the company do a lot work in the area where you need the cleaning done? This is important because if they do not do a lot of work in your area when your regular cleaner is sick, they will not be able to replace them easily. Do they have insurance? Have they done police record checks on their employees? These are all things to consider when looking for a commercial cleaning company.

Barbecue info

As summer slowly arrives, the BBQ begins to take more of a focal point.  When it comes to cooking and serving meals from the BBQ we need to cautious of food safety.  Raw meats harbour bacteria that will grow in unrefrigerated conditions.  Some food left in warm sunlight before cooking, even for a few minutes, can become poisonous, as can the dish the meat is on and the hands that touch it.  To insure a safe and pleasant BBQ, be sure to keep meat refrigerated until it is time to cook, thoroughly wash platters, bowls and hands immediately after handling or contact with raw meats.