Light Switchplates

Light switch plates are an excellent place for germs to spread from family member to family member.  Take the time to wipe these down with the regular cleaning chores.  Spray a general purpose cleaner on a cleaning cloth and wipe.  Don’t ever spray the switch plate directly or use too much water since you are close to a power source.  For heavy restorative cleaning, I have taken switch plates off the wall, washed them in the dishwasher and then put them back.  Door jams are also often over looked for cleaning and they are often touched by people, mostly children going in and out of rooms.

Keep your vacuum odor free

Lately, we have received many requests for information about what to do about odors that occur when one uses their vacuum. Understand that just due to the nature of what a vacuum is used for – namely picking up and storing dirt & dust – it is not realistic to expect a vacuum to be completely odor free (especially as it gets older).

However, there are some simple, effective procedures you can follow that will go a long way to keeping this problem under control:

1) Make sure that all the filters in the vacuum are clean or, if necessary, replaced if needed. Dirty, moist filters are an excellent medium for the growth of mold, mildew and other odor sources.

2) Look at the dust bag or dirt cup. Often they have never been washed or cleaned even after years of use. Certainly smells will emit from any area where dirt & dust are collected. Even the use of new paper filter bags can’t prevent some residue from collecting in the compartment they reside in. Take some time to wash out – with mild detergent and water – the unit’s dust bag or dirt cup. **Make absolutely sure any component of your vacuum it completely dry before using. **

3) If you have an upright vacuum or a power-head the roller brush and fan chamber may need to be wiped out and all debris removed. Do what you are comfortable with; ie.,clean the parts you know you can easily put back together. (Many vacuums are designed for easy access to the beater bar and fan chamber). At very least you can wipe down the underside of the vacuum.

4) Check out any hoses and attachments. Do they need cleaning? Removable pieces can be washed in a sink of soap & water. DO NOT soak hoses that have a power line within them. These and permanently affixed hoses can be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth attached to a pole.

5) Finally, there are available several products that can be added to your vacuuming process that lesson odors and add a scent to freshen the air. Our favorite is an environmentally friendly blend which you sprinkle a tablespoon on your carpet and vacuum into a freshly changed filter bag or emptied dirt cup. There are several pleasant scents that last till the next bag change.

We hope that these steps help with any vacuum source odors you may have. Remember to always unplug your vacuum before ever working on it. Also, since most odors in your home originate from your carpet, your vacuum reflects how clean your carpets are.

How to clean Chandeliers

General Information:
To clean chandeliers, there is an easy way and a not so easy way. The not so easy way may be necessary if there is a heavy accumulation of grime, or if the chandelier is located near a kitchen where grease might soil the surface. Both methods require you safely be able to access the fixture. Many newer chandeliers, and commercial units are installed on a winch that can raise or lower the unit with the turn of a switch.

Tools & Technique
The easy way requires the power to the unit to be off. It is a good idea to turn off the breaker to be certain.
Using small plastic bags, cover each light fixture and secure with elastic bands.
Mix a spray of warm water and rubbing alcohol in a 10-1 ratio.
Place a heavy towel under the chandelier, and spray the mixture onto every crystal.
Allow the fixture to drip dry, there shouldn’t be any streaks and the crystals should sparkle like new.
Allow the whole unit to dry for 24 hours before restoring power.

The hard way is similar, only harder. Much harder.
Remove 10 or 12 crystals at a time, any more than this and you run the real risk of having a much different looking chandelier by the time you are finished.
Dip each crystal individually into a bucket of the same mixture. For greasy films, add a few drops of dish washing soap.
Rinse each crystal individually. Then lay out each on a terry towel.
Polish each crystal and return it to its place on the chandelier.
These crystals will break, and chip each other so dip and rinse only one at a time, and try using a clear bucket so you can see what you are doing.
This is very labor intensive, and once you start you are committed to finish because the dirty crystals look like hazy chunks of plastic next to the clean and polished ones.

Writing on the walls…

Are your children budding artists?

If your children have decided to use the bedroom walls to create their latest crayon masterpieces, you’ll get excellent results by dipping a damp rag into baking soda and then using that mixture to scrub it off.  Its the home remedy that my Grandma used.

Although a quicker way is to use a Magic Eraser, which, as a professional cleaner for the past 20 years, in my opinion is one the best cleaning products I have seen for quick cleanups. WD-40 does work very well at removing crayon marks, however you have to clean off the oily residue after with soapy water.


Picture a home overflowing with millions of tiny spiders. Imagine the family living with this insect infestation. Their carpets, their beds their furniture are all covered with teeming clusters of tiny bugs. Every day these arachnids are eating, sleeping, defecating and dying right there on the couch while junior is watching TV, or on the bed while mom and dad are having a nap.
Now look around your house because, even though you don’t see them, they’re everywhere! We are talking about dust mites, microscopic anthropoids that are one of the leading causes of allergic reactions in the home today. Dust mites are extremely small. With an average size of 250-300 microns they are invisible to the human eye. Dust mites are oval shaped with eight hairy legs, no eyes, no antenna and a tough translucent shell. Their favourite food is flakes of dead skin. There’s nothing a dust mite loves more than to curl up in a warm, humid environment like your couch or mattress and munch away on a meal of human skin.
It’s actually not the dust mites themselves that cause the problem, it’s the proteins found in dust mite droppings that cause an allergic reaction in many people. Completely eliminating dust mites would be difficult if not impossible to do, but there are some steps that you can take to minimize your exposure to dust mite feces and reduce the symptoms of any allergy sufferers in you home
Encase your mattress, box spring, and pillows in dust mite proof covers
Wash bed linens once a week in hot (130° F) water
Vacuum frequently – make sure the allergic person is out of the room first!
Use a high-grade vacuum with a double-thick disposable vacuum bag and a high efficiency HEPA filter
Make sure the vacuum canister is tightly sealed
Don’t forget to vacuum upholstery and drapes
If possible, limit the amount of stuffed toys in the household
Treat carpets with a special tannic acid spray to denaturalize the dust mite protein
Consider replacing carpets with wood, vinyl or tile flooring
Dust frequently with a damp cloth or special, allergy dust cloth that will limit dust redistribution
Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity level below 45 %. Dust mites thrive in a humid environment.
Dust mites are the most common allergen in the world. Unfortunately you’ll probably never be able to entirely rid your house of these invisible invaders. If, however, you take a pro-active approach and follow some of our simple guidelines, you can at the very least provide a cleaner, healthier environment for your loved ones.

Cleaning Perspectives

Cleaning things is a terrible waste of time. Everything just gets dirty again, so what is the point? It is the definition of fruitless, universally true, and ultimately a colossal waste of time and energy. At the end of our lives, no one will ever say “Gosh, what a shame, and they were always so clean.”, or “My, it was so sudden but her house was always so tidy” In fact more people will likely be wondering how long before we turn to ashes or dust, cause that’s the last thing anyone needs is another pile of dust.

An uncle of mine was (and is) a farmer. He has never washed his truck. Ever. It must be an antique, and although the rain has kept some of the blue paint visible, for the most part it is a rolling mud covered chunk of rust. I believe the cohesiveness of the grime is holding it together. In any case his axiom was that if God put it there, he could take it away too. His reasoning was great, although he wasn’t completely consistent himself, as each winter he does plow the snow. I liked his thinking, so I adopted it, which was great until my boss asked me to tidy the public washrooms, and as an articulate, albeit lazy 16 year old, I asked why bother cleaning it, if it was just going to get dirty again. Towards the end of a rather lengthy lecture, he brought up showering, and asked if that’s how I felt about personal hygiene. Needless to say I quickly shut up and proceeded to scrub the toilets.

I have learned that there are tricks to having people think you are a clean freak, without dedicating your life to cleanliness. The most important things to remember are extra bedrooms, crawl spaces and the garage don’t count in cleanliness tests. They are like the FREE spot on a bingo card. Simply toss all of your junk into one of these FREE zones, and make the rest of your house look less cluttered, and cleaner. Be sure you can still close the door though, as falling debris can pose a hazard, which brings up our next tip. Closets. They are as good as gold, and what are the chances someone will look? Life is like Vegas, always play the odds.

My aunt used to have elaborate turkey dinners, which we often attended. She had obviously cooked all day judging from the number of courses, but when we sat down to eat dinner, the kitchen counters were clear. No pots or pans or mixing bowls. Just the beautifully presented platters and a spotless counter. My Mom once asked how she managed to clean everything up before the meal, to which see replied “don’t look in the oven”. She is a professional cheater. What a scam! Had my Mom not asked, to this day she would be revered as a miracle cleaner.

We all have the basic instinct to cheat. When going out on a date, it is a known fact that men will remove all of their junk from their cars, and toss it in their apartments. Meanwhile the female dates take all of the junk from their apartments and toss it into their cars, in anticipation of their boy friends arrival. This continues through the courting process and ultimately sets up everyone for a huge disappointment when they start living together. No wonder there are so many divorces.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in personal hygiene, and some semblance of order, however watching a sunset, reading a book, or playing catch with the kids, in my opinion, is a far better investment than vacuuming, scrubbing the shower, or doing laundry. At least I hope that is what they say about me when it is my turn to become dust on your mantle.

by Ken Pukanich

Built in vacuum

Built in vacuums are great. They have many advantages over tradition vacuums, in that they are more powerful, require emptying less often, deliver dust AWAY from the main living areas, and the hose is light and easy to use on stairs and in tight corners.
There are some dis-advantages too. Because they need emptied less often, they often don’t get emptied at all! And because they are more powerful, some people try to suck up everything from pine cones to toys to small family pets. And that long hose? All it takes is an errant piece of stalk from a wisk broom to start clogging everything up. These problems often create another big disadvantage, which is when the vacuum does get blocked up, there is often no easy way to clean out the system.
The first task is to determine if the blockage is in the main vacuum cannister itself, in the PVC piping, or in the hose or attachment. The first thing to check is the main vacuum cannister, usually located in the basement, garage, or utility room. Is the bag full? Empty it to be sure and get the maximum suction. Is the vaccum portion of the unit sealed tight? Are there evident blocks in the PVC pipe that lead into the cannister?
Try turning the vacuum on with the manual switch at the cannister, and then open the closest hose receptacle to the main unit. If there is strong suction, try plugging in the attachment hose. If there is no suction on the hose, then the hose itself is where your blockage can be found.
Usually, by plugging in the hose, and going down the length of the hose, bending and jiggling it, one will dislodge the debris that is caught. Be sure the hose is plugged in, and the vacuum is on, so the debris will be sucked out as you dislodge it. If this does not work, get a broom handle (or similar thick piece of round wood) and insert it in one end of the hose. Pull the hose together over the stick, then pull it off the other end. Continue doing this to push the stick through the hose.
If your hose is clear and the blockage is not on the first hose receptacle, check each receptacle further away or on the levels above to try to detrmine where the blockage is. Once you determine where the block is, use a residential size plumbing snake or an electritions fish wire to poke the debris in the PVC piping. Turn on the vacuum unit using the manual ON/OFF switch on the unit – or plug the hose into another outlet to turn the vacuum on.. The suction of the vacuum will help pull away the debris as you poke the blockage. If this is not successful, and if you.have a crawl space, it will make access to most of your system very easy. You will find that the PVC pipe should NOT have been glued together, which usually makes for easy disassembly, however runs up interior walls to higher floors will still be inaccesible.
If the blockage is not in the PVC piping, the hose, or in the cannister unit, you will need to contact the manufacturer or distributor to have a technician check out your system.

Baseball Gloves

Now that summer is over many of you will be putting away your baseball & softball gloves until “spring training” next spring. Here is some advice on how to keep that glove in top shape and ready for next season Many types of treatments and care have been suggested over the years for baseball and softball gloves.
Some of these are safe and some, unfortunately, may damage glove leather. We recommended that one of the best and safest leather cleaners and conditioners is untreated petroleum jelly. Professional glove repairmen and leather specialists agree that this is one of the best applications, both for cleaning and conditioning glove leather.
During the break-in period, treat your new glove with a light application, working it into the leather. This will reduce the stiffness of the new leather and facilitate a faster and more comfortable breaking in procedure. Also, at the end of the season, take a generous amount of petroleum jelly and thoroughly cover the outside and inside of the glove.
Don’t ignore the laces or hard to-get-to areas, both inside and outside the glove. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess to remove grit and grime. This will also remove and help neutralize much of the salt and acid buildup inside the glove caused by perspiration, a chief problem to the leather lining, usually made of softer leather. We do not recommend neatsfoot oil, linseed oil or silicon-type spray as these tend to close the pores of the leather, causing it to dry, harden, and become heavy over an extended period of time and through repeated use. Petroleum jelly keeps the pores open and in effect, keeps the leather “alive” while also providing a softening condition.
Basically remember that leather is skin and leather experts tell us not to treat glove leather any differently than you would your own skin. Prolonged harsh temperatures, excessive water soaking (especially use of hot water), abrasives, the salt and acids produced from perspiration and excessive dryness all or individually can be harmful to the glove leather.
Also, continued exposure to sunlight may result in fading of the leather color. Be careful about sealing gloves in plastic bags for over 12 months. We hope this gives all you players a good idea on how to care for your glove until the next time you hear those words so near and dear to our hearts – PLAY BALL!!


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