Hidden Health Risks of Dirty Carpets


This infographic was made by the team at Curtice Chem-Dry in Torrance, CA. Be sure to get regular carpet cleanings or your carpets might end up making you or your family sick!


Infographic Text:

Carpets that aren’t cleaned on a regular basis can harbor all kinds of unwanted bacteria, pests, and mold. If left unchecked, these issues can lead to health problems for you, your family, and even your pets. Regular carpet cleaning from Curtice Chem-Dry can protect you against:

Skin Irritation: Dirty carpets can be home to all kinds of irritants and allergens that can cause rashes, swelling, and itching. Sometimes it can even house fungus like Athlete’s Foot.

Carpet Mold: Mold is one of the most prominent issues that stems from dirty carpets. Mold spores can make you and your family sick and if left unchecked cause serious damage to your carpets and home.

Respiratory Issues: Dirty carpets can reduce the indoor air quality of your home causing cold and flu like symptoms and adverse allergic reactions. In serious cases the irritants of your carpet can cause health problems like asthma.

Dust Mites: Dust mites are one of the most common triggers for year-round allergies in the US. Regular carpet cleaning can reduce the amount of dust mites that live in your carpet, allowing you to breathe easier in your home.

Increased Allergens: Many people suffer from seasonal and year-round allergies. Pollen and other allergens get tracked into your home and settle in your carpets. Keep the allergens in your home at bay with regular carpet cleaning.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Choosing a Generator for Your Home

Summer is coming, and for many areas of the country, that means hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, and power outages are on their way. If you live in an area where outages are to be expected, a generator is a valuable tool to have at your disposal. And if you’re considering the purchase of a generator, it’s important to choose one that will meet your unique needs. Here are some factors to consider:

How Much Wattage Will You Need?

The average home requires several thousand watts of electric power, but the amount you’ll need can vary greatly depending on your home’s needs – and your wants. If you want to be able to power your home’s central air conditioning, for example, you’ll need a more capable generator. If you’re more concerned about powering individual devices such as a refrigerator or computer, your needs will probably be much less.

Thankfully, there are many calculators online that make it easier for you to estimate you much wattage you’ll need to accomplish your goals. You’ll find a great example here at Consumer Reports. Calculators such as these help you balance the convenience you’ll need against the additional cost you’ll need to pay for a larger generator and more sophisticated connection.

Standby or Portable?

Once you’ve determined the wattage you’ll need, you’ll have a better idea of the generator you’ll require. The two most common choices are portable and standby generators.

If your needs are basic, and you’re interested in powering smaller, select items in your home, portable generators will get the job done. In these cases, items can be connected to the generator via extension cords. The largest portable generators can produce up to 10,000 watts, and are capable of powering entire homes; providing power to household systems or outlets requires a special generator connection through the home’s electrical panel.

In order to establish the right kind of connection, an electrician will need to install a manual transfer switch or generator interlock kit onto your home’s electrical panel; these devices allow you to manually switch between generator and utility power, and ensure that both cannot power your electrical system at the same time. Failing to do would be a violation of code and potentially dangerous.

If you’ve found that you need more power than a portable generator can provide, you’ll want to consider a standby generator. Larger generators can deliver up to 22,000 watts (22kW); this is enough power to meet the needs of a larger home, including household systems like central heating and air. As you might image, the cost to purchase and install a standby generator will be much more than for a portable system.

The Price of Convenience

Once you’ve established a minimum of what you’ll need to power – and a maximum of what you hope to power – generator pricing can help to clarify your decision. Portable generator prices start in the hundreds for smaller models, and can reach up to $3000 for models that may be able to power a home. Standby generator cost roughly double or triple what you would pay for the largest portables.

Storms are coming, and so are power outages, so don’t wait. Take the next step, and get that generator before you need it – and not after it’s too late.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

How to Remove Ink Stains from Your Carpeting

Since I moved to my current home, I’ve had to deal with ink stains on my carpeting twice – with different results.

My first attempts at removing an ink stain occurred not long after I moved in. They failed, miserably. Thankfully, I was already planning on replacing my carpet. Every time I looked at the stain, I knew that I wouldn’t have to see it for much longer. That stain disappeared with the old carpet.

The next ink stain was a little more stressful, as replacing the carpet again was not an option. I’d either remove that ink, or have to cover it for the next few years. Ugh. But this time, I was attending to the stain immediately, which is a big plus.

If you’re not sure how to deal with a stain, visit the website of the company that does your carpet cleaning. Mine – Rainier Chem-Dry – has some basic tips. Most other professional carpet cleaners offer stain removal tips to try prior to giving them a call.

You probably already know that there’s more than one kind of ink out there. Some inks are more difficult to remove than others. My kind, from a blue ballpoint pen, isn’t as bad as permanent ink. But removing it successfully isn’t assured, either.

For starters, soap is relatively ineffective at removing ballpoint ink. Alcohol is a much better choice – it’s an effective de-greaser, and ballpoint ink uses an oil of some sort as a lubricant. Colored inks, such as the blue one now on my carpeting, are based on soybean or linseed oil.

Most homes have alcohol on hand, in some form or another. Rubbing alcohol is one example. Vodka is another. Provided that the alcohol content is high enough, just about any solution could work.

No matter what you use, you’ll want to test-apply your alcohol solution to an inconspicuous place elsewhere on your carpet. Apply a minimal amount of solution. Blot away with a white towel or something smaller, like a white cotton ball. Make sure that a.) no color transfers onto the towel and b.) the carpet does not change color in any way.

While I didn’t have rubbing alcohol on hand when the ink mishap occurred. I did have vodka. When tested on my carpet, the vodka passed with no adverse effects. But I didn’t apply the vodka immediately. My ink hadn’t had a chance to set, so I blotted away whatever I could with a cotton ball. I didn’t pull up much, but it was a start.

Next I blotted the vodka onto the stain, lightly and gently. My immediate goal was to keep the stain from getting worse, so I used a minimum of solution. I didn’t press hard. I didn’t scrub. I think that coaxing the ink to get onto my cotton ball is probably the best way to describe my process.

The process ended up taking quite a while. It seemed that every time I’d thought that I’d pulled up all of the ink I could, I was able to extract a little more. Eventually, the stain was impossible to see from more than a few inches away. By attending to the ink quickly, and with alcohol, I was able to successfully thwart a potentially ugly stain.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Using Vinegar as a Green Cleaner in the Home

Vinegar is made from fermented wine and is a sour tasting liquid. Vinegar contains acetic acid in a diluted form and according to Joanna Taylar in the book “The Wonders of Vinegar” this allows it to be used in a variety of ways other than cooking. Traditionally, vinegar is used to flavor food but may also be used for therapeutic, cosmetic and hygienic purposes.

Vinegar is available in white, brown and red and has both antiseptic and antibiotic properties. This allows the liquid to be used effectively as a preservative and disinfectant, combating various germs and bacteria.


Money Saving House Cleaning Using Vinegar

Vinegar can be used around the house in a variety of ways to reduce the need for many other harsh chemicals and solutions. Solutions made from house hold products and vinegar can be used for cleaning and disinfecting, are more natural and often cheaper.

A Green Way of Cleaning and Polishing Metals with Vinegar

A money saving way to clean metal is to mix Cream of Tartar and vinegar into paste and use as a polish. Rub on, let dry, wash off with water and dry with a soft cloth. For brass or copper, mix one part vinegar and two parts tomato sauce. Wipe down then dry with a soft cloth. A solution of half vinegar and half lemon juice also works well on brass or copper. To remove tarnish from pewter, dip a cloth into vinegar and salt, rub lightly, rinse with water and dry with cloth.

Car chrome can be polished with a cloth soaked in vinegar. Stainless steel may be polished with a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Mineral build up on aluminium furniture or screen doors can be removed by washing with 1 liter of water mixed with half a cup of vinegar.

Green Cleaning in the Bathroom and Kitchen

A solution of one part vinegar and two parts water will remove lime scale build up on taps and shower attachments. A solution of half water and half vinegar will help remove soap scum from tiles and glass in the shower and bathroom. This solution can also be used to clean mirrors and windows. For a streak free finish on mirror and windows, wipe dry with scrunched newspaper.

Drains can be cleared by pouring in half cup of baking powder, followed by half cup vinegar. After 10 minutes run the hot water for a few minutes to clear.

Vinegar can be used for disinfecting appliances and bench surfaces in the kitchen. Keep a spray bottle with a solution of half water and half vinegar for easy use.

Using Vinegar as a Green Cleaner in the Laundry

Adding one quarter cup of vinegar to a load of washing will brighten colors, soften fabrics, help remove odors and reduce static electricity on the clothes. Undiluted vinegar can also be applied directly to some stains before washing to help dissolve them.

More Than a Money Saving Green Cleaner

A few different types of vinegar can be very handy to have in the cupboard as it can be used for more than just cooking and as a green cleaner. Vinegar also has many health and healing properties allowing it to be used in a whole variety of ways.

Use Vinegar as a Carpet Cleaner

Moisten a towel with vinegar and apply to the carpet. White vinegar can be helpful in cleaning fresh stains such as food spills, pet messes or muddy footprints from your carpets. It is always best to treat any messes as soon as it happens, before it has a chance to set into the fibers of the carpet. The longer the stain sits the more it bonds with the fibers making it difficult to clean, so get to it quickly.

Steam Cleaning
Plain vinegar can also replace chemical cleaners in a home steam cleaning machine. You can simply replace vinegar for the cleaning solution and follow the manufacturers instructions. The entire carpet can be cleaned just as usual. The room will smell of vinegar during the cleaning, but once the carpet dries the smell will completely disappear. No rinsing is necessary.

To deodorize a carpet pour 1 tablespoon of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 cups of warm water into a spray bottle. Shake well. When the mixture stops bubbling, lightly spray onto the carpet. It will smell strongly of vinegar at first. Allow it to dry completely. When it dries the bad odors should be gone.

If you still can’t seem to get those stubborn stains or smells out of your carpet, you should consider calling your local carpet cleaners to get the job done. Pure Choice Chem-Dry Beverly Hills carpet cleaners does carpet cleaning in Norwalk, West Hollywood, and Bel Air, CA. If you want more carpet care tips just visit the page on their website.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Windows Worthy of My Remodeled Kitchen

I’ve lived in my Greensboro home for almost fifteen years, and I’ve never loved my kitchen. But that’s changed over the last few months, as our kitchen has finally been updated to reflect our lifestyle. Almost everything from appliances to lighting to flooring to cabinetry has been renovated or replaced. That is, with one exception: The windows in our kitchen.

While replacing the windows wasn’t part of our original plan, the windows had become the clear weak link in our décor; it was time to replace them, too. Admittedly the windows were old and a bit drafty, but I was expecting to handle the replacement sometime further down the road. But after the renovations, the age of the windows was much more obvious. And once I started learning about the benefits of updating my windows, I soon decided that replacement would happen sooner rather than later.

One thing I learned was that I would not have to replace the entire window frame. My kitchen’s window frames were in good-enough condition to stay where they were. This made for an easier process, with reduced installation costs.

I learned that I didn’t have the best window type for my kitchen layout, and that other options would be much more convenient to use. I had double-hung windows and, to be honest, always took the difficulty in opening and closing them for granted – I’d always have to lean over the kitchen island or the sink to get the job done.

I replaced these with new casement windows that open and close with a much-easier-to-reach crank. Because of the way the windows open, they also provide a wider opening for fresh air to come through. Here’s a link to the selection of replacement window types I reviewed prior to choosing my casements. As it turns out, different windows are much better suited to different roles than others.

I also learned that I didn’t have to take an overly warm kitchen for granted. My windows face south, and sunlight pours in all year long. While the brightness is usually welcome, it also means that the kitchen can get really warm in the summer. My new windows feature a coating that serves to reflect away a good deal of heat. Here in NC, relief from the heat matters more to me than protection from cold. But don’t worry: If you live in cooler climes, there are windows designed for you, too.

Now my new-look kitchen features windows that look and perform better than what I had. I enjoy opening and closing them now, and I’m hoping that I save a little money on air conditioning this summer.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging

Keeping Your Home’s Exterior Beautiful

Many of my friends and family are unaware of the many different aspects of your home’s appearance that can affect its outward looks. For instance, after recently powerwashing the exterior of my home, I received a ton of compliments regarding how fresh and “vibrant” the outside appeared. It’s sometimes crazy how a seemingly small home task can cause a huge benefit.

There are many different ways to ensure that you keep the outside appearance of your home looking gorgeous, so I’ve compiled what I believe are the three best simple ways at maintaining a pleasing exterior: choosing the right building products when constructing or renovating your home, performing an annual powerwash (with a rented powerwasher from your local home improvement store), and picking the right home color for your siding.

Choosing the Right Products

This is one of the biggest things that can affect not only your home’s appearance, but the foundation and structural integrity of the building itself. When planning & designing a new home, or renovating and remodeling an older house, it’s vital that you consider all of the different materials available to you for the exterior. Whether you are choosing a roofing product, a gutter design, or picking a siding material, the material itself is extremely important.

Roofing Products

When choosing a roofing product, you generally have a few options: asphalt roofing, tile roofing, slate roofing, or wood roofing. Each of these choices comes with their own benefits and negatives, so I’ve spoken with roofing professional Tim McLoughlin and his team over at KTM Roofing, based out of Atlanta, GA, to help me list and describe the various products available for roofing, and the pros and cons of each.

  • Asphalt roofing – One of the most popular choices for roofing products, if only for their ease of use. Asphalt roofs are easy to maintain, less expensive than other roofing materials, and, for the most part, looks very well on most home designs & styles. Asphalt shingles are generally long-lasting, but can be subject to types of damage if the shingles are installed in a too hot or too cold climate. It’s vital that roofers begin installing the asphalt shingles during the early morning or evening hours, when the weather isn’t too extreme yet. One of the big benefits of asphalt shingles is that they are recyclable!
  • Slate roofing – Another popular pick for roofing materials, synthetic slate and natural slate roofing can provide that unique appearance for your home that you’re looking for. Some downsides include: a larger cost at the initial purchase, and a tendency to be heavier than other shingles, sometimes requiring additional support for your home’s roof.
  • Tile roofing – My most popular choice for shingles, tiles can provide an absolutely marvelous look for your home, especially if your home has a lighter color tone on the outside. Tile roofs are very resistant to environment damage such as hurricanes and fires, and they require very little maintenance. The only downside is that it can sometimes take a little longer than normal to order all of the tiles, since they are generally made specially for each order.

So, are you ready to begin your quest to making your home’s appearance a little more vibrant and attractive? Check out this easy tutorial on powerwashing your home, and get going!


Posted by Lynn Cooper in Home, Lifestyle, Work
How Stay-at-Home Parents Deal With Outside Interruptions

How Stay-at-Home Parents Deal With Outside Interruptions

Today’s 24/7 moms and dads tackle child care duties, budgets, food, finances, cleaning, and housework. With homeschooling and home-based jobs added to many to-do lists nowadays, stay-at-home parents have a lot of responsibilities. Keeping a schedule and following routines can help give at-home parents and their children stability and security. Parents expect their children to throw a wrench into their schedules, but there are ways to mitigate outside interruptions. Following these tips and tricks can produce excellent results for your home work environment – give it a try!


How to Avoid a Constantly Ringing Phone

Ever notice how young children love to cause mischief while their parents talk on the phone? Some stay-at-home parents feel frustrated when others assume they have excessive free time to chat and socialize. Several strategies come in handy for dealing with telephone interruptions:

  • Choose priorities. Is story time worthy of an interruption by a telemarketer? What about phone calls during mealtime?
  • Set a timer. If friends or relatives call regularly, suggest times to call. Decide on a time limit for social phone calls – say 15 minutes each – and stick to it.
  • Set up a designated time of the day – such as naptime – to place and return phone calls.
  • Subscribe to caller ID and utilize answering machines and voice mail. Don’t drop everything to answer the telephone. If it’s an important call, pick up the phone mid-message or return the call promptly.
  • Take advantage of technology and assign distinct ring tones to important contacts such as children, spouse, babysitters, parents, school, doctor’s office, etc.
  • Get on the local and National Do Not Call registries. Note that nonprofit organizations, businesses trying to collect a debt and political candidates are exempt from the national list. When an unwanted caller gets through, ask to be placed on the internal do-not-call list.
  • When all else fails, take the phone off the hook or turn it off for an hour or two.

Dealing With Noisiness at Naptime

Stay-at-home parents cherish quiet moments. Naptime might serve as the day’s only quiet time, so moms and dads should take advantage of it. Some parents catch a wink themselves, while others do chores, exercise, read, meditate or catch up with friends. Nothing kills the joy of peace and quiet like an unexpected visitor who bangs loudly on the door and wakes a sleeping baby. Here’s how to prevent unwanted guests during naptime:

  • Turn down phone ringers.
  • Inform those who might call or stop by of the family’s scheduled naptime.
  • Ask expected guests to knock lightly or plan to meet them at the door.
  • Place a sign on the door between the knocker and the doorbell. Examples include: Shhh! Sleeping baby; Not a peep! Baby asleep; Naptime. Please knock; and Quiet, please! It’s naptime!
  • Use a white noise machine or other background noisemaker in or near the baby’s room.
  • As a last resort, consider disconnecting the doorbell.


How to Deal With Drop-In Guests

Ahhh … drop-in visitors. Timed just right, their visits often come just before naptime when fussiness peaks or as soon as the family sits down for a meal. They range from solicitors and friendly neighbors to beloved friends and relatives. And they can wreak havoc on a family’s schedule. In all fairness, they can come in handy, breaking the monotony of a stressful or ho-hum day. But on a day when their interruptions aren’t welcome, here are some ideas:

  • Answer the door without inviting the guest inside. Politely ask to return a call or visit after the family’s schedule opens up.
  • Meet the guest outside and offer a friendly greeting. Apologize and say that the family’s on the way out the door and will get in touch later.
  • If the guest enters the house, stay in the front room or foyer and remain standing. This body language sends the message that the visit will remain brief.
  • If the drop-in visitor makes frequent appearances, ask her to call first next time.
  • If drop-in guests consistently show disrespect and ignore requests to call ahead, don’t answer the door.

Stay-at-home parents successfully manage family schedules by handling outside interruptions with consistency and tact. Excessive phone calls, naptime noise and drop-in visitors can turn into annoying disruptions that spiral out of control. Stay-at-home parents who handle intrusions with foresight and a positive attitude can lessen the frustrations brought on by outside disruptions.

Posted by Lynn Cooper in Blogging, Business, Home, Lifestyle, Work
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