Tag Archives: Home

Essential Home Maintenance Tips

SmokeAlarmAs we juggle our way from season to season and as busy as we are, it is easy to forget that a lot of things we rely on in our homes actually need looking after. The alternative, a bit like a car with no oil in it, is a messy and expensive breakdown. Here are some of the most essential items that should be checked.

Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers

These are upfront because our lives depend on them. If you are guilty of no maintenance then you can put this right now. Test all the alarms to see if they are working. There should be a test button and if it does not work, you need to replace the batteries. Check your fire extinguishers. Again there should be a test button. Remind yourself that you know how to use them.

Range Hood Filters

These can get real yucky. Once every few months, take them out. Power washers are great cleaners. Alternatively spray with a homemade degreaser and rinse off.

HVAC Filters

It is a bit of a scandal that you can be charged for this service. This is another great way to save some pennies. Every few months take out the filters and clean them off. It is also easy to replace with new ones. It will keep your room nice and fresh and your system will be more efficient.

Plumbing check

So many home floods happen as a result of aging or faulty plumbing connections. If you have a WC or washroom in a closed off part of the house give it a check and make sure it is functioning. Check all the pipe connections in the house that you can access for leaks or even signs of damp.

Washing machine connectors take a lot of pressure and these need replacing on a yearly basis. If you have a flood of any description, make sure you take advice from restorationeze.com. Most damage and health problems associated with leaks come from moisture you can’t see behind walls. Hopefully a little maintenance will preempt any bigger problems.

Check chimney, flues and any grille intakes or extractors.

Your chimney should be cleaned once a year. It can be a messy job, so it may pay to get a professional in. Open and clean any extractors and clear any fans.

Photo Credit Pixabay montemariDrains, Roof and guttering.

You’ll need to get up a ladder but this is an essential check. Look for tile damage and anything that needs replacing. Clean and clear guttering and check your down pipes are working and that drains are running clear.

Rodent and insect infestation.

It can be a good idea to try and dissuade these colonies before the warmer weather arrives. Just double check and lay any bait stations you think are appropriate. Make sure your caulking, window and door seals are in good repair. Check and fill any cracks in concrete or masonry.

Garage, Sheds and Basements.

These are all harbours for the detritus of our lives. Make it an annual family chore! Be ruthless and have a good clear out.

Sit back, tick list.

You’ve done a great job for another season and saved a bit of money!

How To Successfully Baby-Proof Your Home With Ease

Photo by ECohen

Photo by ECohen

Bring a new baby home is both an exciting and daunting experience. If this is your first child, you will nervous and concerned about keeping your baby safe outside the safety of the hospital. To reduce this anxiety and stress, you need to make sure your home is highly baby-proofed before your little one arrives. Use this guide to assist you in making your home as safe and as child friendly as possible to put you at ease and keep your baby protected.

Check your cleaning products

While it’s likely that you will want to make your home as clean and as spotless as possible, you need check the products you are using. There may be harsh chemicals inside your everyday cleaners that could be harmful to your baby. Stick to green cleaning products or make your own from baking soda and lemon. They will make your house gleam without being toxic.

Reduce what you have in the crib

It’s likely you will have been showered with toys, blankets and pillows from your friends and family. But having too many items like this in your baby’s crib can suffocate or overheat  them. Place these item neatly on a shelf nearby instead and only use with your supervision. This will result in your baby having more room to move around and makes it easier for them to breath while asleep.

Invest in a lockable cabinet

As your baby gets older, they will want to explore their surroundings. The easiest way of them to learn about an object is by using their mouth. To avoid any disasters keep all of your medication, and potentially harmful cleaners locked away in a cabinet they cannot reach. Look at your cupboards under your sinks in your kitchen and bathroom and relocate dangerous items to the cabinet. If you have nowhere to put a cabinet, invest in some baby products that deny your child access to drawers and cupboards. This will make it harder for them to open.

Clean up your wires and cords

Wires and cords can be a hazard as your baby can get tangled up and potentially even strangle themselves. Reduce the length of your wires by using a cable box to store them in or place your wires behind TV units that cannot be easily accessed by your child. Alternatively, you could buy wireless products to reduce this risk even more. Look out for long cords on blinds and lights that may also be a potential risk. Tie the cords to they are not in reaching distance for a simple fix. Also, invest in some covers for all of your electrical ports. Even if your baby isn’t interested in the wires, they could be tempted by the electrical sockets and plugs.

Look out for sharp corners

TV cabinets, window ledges and tables can have sharp edges. The last thing you want if for your baby to bump or cut themselves on these edges so use baby bumpers for protect them. They won’t stop them from banging into them but they will reduce the impact and ensure they don’t get badly hurt.

You should now feel confident enough to start making your home a safe environment for your baby. Planning beforehand is essential and if in doubt, ask a professional to install correctly the products you have bought.

GUEST POST: Green Cleaning With Kids

Green-cleaning-with-kidsCleaning chores can be so tiresome. Why not share them with the whole family? It may also prove to be great opportunity to teach your children something useful.

Bringing strong sense of organization and hygiene can be very helpful for the future of your children. That’s why you should encourage them to help you with the cleaning and help them grow into responsible adults. Actually, cleaning with your children can be very good for their character and personality and strengthen the bond between you and them. You could achieve even greater effect if you show them some environmentally-friendly and trustworthy recipes for green cleaning products which they could copy and learn to use during their entire life. Then you will have really taught them something important for their entire life.

In order to teach your children how to be environmentally-friendly you should first explain to them the great difference between natural cleaning products and synthetic ones. Try playing a “Yuk!” and “Yes!” game for example where you will show them how an artificial cleaning product looks like and explain how dangerous it is. You may say it’s a “Yuk!” and make up some story how it can damage the environment and kills little frogs, fish, flowers, etc. You should make sure your child knows the difference between natural and artificial products since early age and grows into an intelligent and responsible adult who will spread awareness and care for nature. A simple childhood game could be nice start.

Green-cleaning-with-kids2Show your children how to prepare natural cleaning products and even help try doing it by himself or herself. Children are very curious and full of energy so anything can get their attention and they will learn an important lesson. But be careful and watch over them to make sure they don’t stain and dirty themselves instead of cleaning your home. Using only natural when cleaning side by side your children is a must. Even if you are tempted to use some fancy chemical for hard stains or to sanitize the toilet, do not! If your child is nearby anything can happen! You should keep only the baking soda, the lemon juice and the vinegar nearby. Actually, when you think about it using natural cleaning products is pretty much the only way you could clean with your children. There is always the danger of staining or ingesting the cleaner when it comes to children. It’s true that baking soda and vinegar can be very unpleasant, especially if they get in the eyes or in the nose of your children but the damage is far lighter than the wounds some petrochemicals can cause.

But after all you should not overdo it and give your children only small and simple tasks you know they could do and enjoy. For example, ask them to clean their own bed and toys or just the table – something simple and easy you could make a game of. That way they will both help you and find use for that unstopping energy of theirs. Teach them simple tasks and make sure to thank them all the time. They will feel useful that way and cleaning will then bring you closer together.

More helpful tips and tricks find at Kensington clean house.

Bio: Ella A. is blogger and content writer with great flair for home improvement, green living and parenting related themes. She likes to share helpful tips and advises with her readers worldwide.

Dizolve Laundry Detergent Strips – Review

Dizolve Laundry Soap

Dizolve Laundry SoapLaundry is always a battle at my house, and usually I’m on the losing end!  At any given time I have piles of laundry tucked away just begging to be washed.  I don’t have a hard time pretending it doesn’t exist but eventually I do break down and try to tackle it.  I’m always looking for convenient, cost-effect solutions to make it easier and faster for me to do!

My kids have sensitive skin so I am always hesitant to try new products with them.  If I make the wrong choice their eczema flairs up and they will itch terribly.  Currently I use “Eco-nuts” for all their laundry, but I am always on the lookout for new products to try.

Anyone who knows me, knows I like to do things the easy way.  Eco-nuts are great for my kids, but they can sometimes be a hassle.  Finding the bag in the laundry can be difficult as well as remembering how many times I’ve used them so that I can replace them.  When I read about Dizolve I was intrigued.  It appeared that it would eliminate these hassles.

DizolveThe first thing I noticed was the packaging.  There is absolutely no plastic used.  For a load of 72 washes the package is slightly smaller  the size of a book.  There is hardly any storage space used at all.  Even better they are light!  This makes them perfect for seniors or anyone who has any issues lifting heavy objects.  Think of how easy it would be to toss the box in your purse and head out to a laundry mat or store them in your camper!

Using them is super simple.  Each sheet contains 4 strips.  Just rip a strip off, toss it in the barrel of the washer with your laundry and you are done. If you have heavily soiled items you can use 2 strips, or half a strip if you are just doing a light load.

I love that they are pre-measured.  So you know exactly how much you are using.  When using traditional liquid laundry soap there always seems to be so much waste.  Either I use too much or too little, with Dizolve strips I can see exactly how much I’m using and there is no waste.  I also know exactly when it’s time to buy more!

So now for the ultimate question…Do they work?  I am extremely pleased with the results.    It took me a few loads to work up the courage to try it on the kids laundry.  I haven’t seen any eczema flair ups or itching.  There is no soap residue and my laundry is clean and scent free.

Dizolve strips work in both HE and standard machines.  I have personally tried them in both. They worked equally as well in both machines. They also work in both hard and soft water, dissolving completely even when using cold water.  They are phosphate-free, biodegradable and safe for septic systems.

Dizolve strips are Canadian made and portion of your purchase payment supports the environmental youth education programs of the Sierra Club Canada or another fundraising cause of your choice.

For more information on Dizolve strips or to order some for yourself, please visit:
Website: http://mydizolve.com/
Twitter: @dizolve
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dizolve/208168661600

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Giant Bubbles and the Bubble Bike

Bubbles and the Bubble BIkeOn Facebook, my sister put on an innocent little post about how to make big bubbles. Pretty simple. I think to myself, “I’m going to try that.” So I began combing the Internet doing more bubble recipe research.

It turns out that there are a lot of big bubble recipes using everyday ingredients… all of them are roughly the same thing. But in the words of Mythbusters, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” Then I discovered the “exotics”. Recipes where you have to order the ingredients online and then wait (something I despise to do) for them to arrive in the mail.

Over the next few days, boxes started to arrive and I started testing. Right away, I didn’t make big bubbles… I made HUGE BUBBLES. Fifteen footers. With a little experimenting, they turned into 25 footers. And instead breaking into nothingness, they would divide into ever smaller bubbles as the wind whisked them away… sometimes almost half a kilometre or more away.

This was a “Happiness Experiment” I did at Peggy’s Cove, NS. The wind was a bit too strong, but you’ll get the idea:

At the same time,  I came across an adult trike that needed to be rebuilt. I bought it and made it road worthy. So I’m playing with bubble mixtures and staring at this trike. Hmmm… Ya know… if I got some pvc pipe and some rope and a motor and…

To make a long story short, I created this:

What’s next for the bike? I’m thinking glow in the dark bubbles with LED UV lights. Or maybe smoke filled bubbles. Or maybe… stay tuned.

Woolzies Dryer Balls – Review

WoolziesMy kids have sensitive skin so I have been turning away from using harsh laundry detergents and fabric softeners to more natural products.  Changing soaps was easy.  I found a local re-seller of Eco-nuts but finding a replacement for fabric softener was harder.

Commercial dryer liquids and sheets are full of chemicals.  There are so many reports of these toxins being linked to cancer and other severe health issues that I hate the thought of having them on anything that is so close to my skin, especially my children’s skin.  Their eczema will severely break out when I use fabric softener, so what is a mom to do?

I switched to those rubber dyer balls, but I was less than impressed.  They were noisy, they didn’t really make my clothes any softer and certainly didn’t reduce any drying time.  Since I didn’t have any better alternative I continued to use them.

Then I was introduced to Woolzies Dryer Balls.  These dryer balls are all natural, and best of all they work!  Each hypoallergenic ball is handmade from New Zealand wool.  One of the first things I noticed when I used them was that they are so much more quiet than my old rubber dryer balls.  This is great because it means that I can do laundry while the kids are sleeping.

So if the balls aren’t making any noise how do I know they are working?  The results speak for themselves.  The Woolzies Dryer Balls bounce around (silently) in the dryer naturally separating clothes which allows the hot air to circulate better and cuts down on drying time.  I notice a minimum of 5 minutes less drying time using Woolzies versus my regular plastic dryer balls.

The Woolzies Dryer balls help maintain the softness of our clothes, which is great especially on the towels.  My husband has noticed that his clothes have less static and wrinkles in them, which is great since I hate ironing.

Using the dryer balls is so easy.  Just toss all 6 balls in the dryer with your laundry and forget about them.  The only thing I find frustrating about Woolzies is finding them when they get tangled in the laundry.

The balls are chemical free. They last for 1000 loads (according to the package). I haven’t tried it personally, but if you miss the scent of fabric softener they include instructions on how to have “heavenly scented” laundry by using your favourite essential oils!

Woolzies Dryer Balls are a great alternative for anyone looking for an alternative to commercial fabric softeners.

For more information on Woolzies please visit:
Website: http://www.woolzies.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Woolzies
Twitter: @Woolzies

 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Organic Cleaner – Remove The Smell Of Cat (Animal) Urine

What a week-end! As usual, my kids and my cat only ever get sick on week-ends. This week-end was the cats turn. He had ended up with a urinary tract infection and we had to figure out how to remove the smell of cat urine from the flooring. The cat pee’d everywhere.

We took him to the vet clinic and they solved his problem and we had to solve the problem of getting rid of the cat pee smell. We checked the protein removers that the vet suggested but I just couldn’t justify the price. So I set out on a search for a greener solution. I found many suggestions and tried a vinegar solution and it worked wonderfully!

Instructions:

Blot up the urine with a cloth and wash several times with lukewarm water. The apply a mixture of equal parts vinegar and cool water. Blot up again, rinse and let dry.

Organic Cleaner – Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Organic Hardwood Flooring Cleaner

Organic Hardwood Flooring CleanerToday I decided I would scrub the hardwood flooring in my living room. It was really nasty, you could see every mark on the hardwood, and with a toddler, 4 month old and a husband you can only imagine how bad it truly was.

I ended up cleaning it twice. The first time round here is the solution I used.

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar

Mix the ingredients all together in a spray bottle and apply sparingly with a clean damp cloth.
This isn’t meant to be used on waxed floors.

I guess I used to much because I was left with a streaky floor, but it did have a beautiful shine. The streaks I could live with, but it was too slippery for my daughter to run on so I decided I had to scrub it again. This time I used

1 part hot water
1 part white vinegar

Again I got down on my hands and knees to scrub the floor while songs from Cinderella went through my head. This is my usual solution and it works great. This time though I was left with much more shine on my floor (a leftover from the previous scrub) and it feels so much better to walk on.

The first solution left a bit of a smell that faded after a short while. The second mixture leaves no odour at all.

I love this organic cleaner compared to the other cleaning solutions I’ve bought and used on my floor. If you have a suggestion on how to improve this solution I’d love to hear it.

Homemade Cleaners: How to remove stickers from flooring and furniture using Vinegar

Organic Sticker Removal on Hardwood Flooring
Organic Sticker Removal on Hardwood Flooring

Organic Sticker Removal on Hardwood Flooring

What little kid doesn’t love stickers? What mommy regrets giving their child a sticker package containing 600 stickers?  Well, I can say my daughter loves stickers and this mommy will never leave her alone with a book of stickers again!  I was dealing with Baby Brother and when I turned around I discovered my floor was covered in stickers.

Peeling them off wasn’t working so I set out to find a way to remove them easily.  I didn’t have the patience to sit there and peel stickers all evening.  I discovered that you can use a little bit of vinegar on a cloth and let it sit on the sticker for a while.  I let it sit for 5 minutes.

The result? The sticker peels up easily and I have a nice shiny clean spot on my hardwood floor!

Frugal Living: Homemade Stain Remover

Organic Poop Stain Remover Baking Soda and Peroxide

Stain

Stain

I don’t know how Baby Brother does it, but somehow he/we always manage to get poop on his sleeper.  Most stains I can ignore, but I really really hate poop stains.  Usually I use a store bought stain remover, but recently I’ve become increasingly more aware of the chemicals we’ve been putting into and onto our body so I thought I’d do a little experiment and try a homemade stain remover.

Mixture

Mixture

Soaking

Soaking

Clean

Clean

I was so impressed with the result I will certainly use it again.  I only wish I could make a batch to have on hand, but I was told to only make what I need as the solution gets weaker over time.

Ingredients:

1/3 Baking Soda
1/3 Hydrogen Peroxide
2/3 cup Hot Water

Directions:

Mix together and “soak” stain for a minimum of 20 minutes.

I was a little confused with this instructions and once I tossed Baby Brother’s sleeper in it absorbed all the water and I was left with a thick paste that I rubbed over the stain.  I let it sit for about 45 minutes and then tossed the sleeper and the rest of the mixture into the washer with my regular wash.  The result was fantastic.

The sleepers had a small poop stain that was sitting on the sleepers for about 45 minutes and also an old food stain around the neck and overall they had a dingy look.  After being soaked in this solution and washed they came out clean and soft. I was told to test it out on a test patch first, but I didn’t.  I’m so happy that this worked.  I will now be using this to pre-treat my children’s clothes instead of the commercially made ones.

Looking at the ingredients of the commercial brand is scary.  I can’t even pronounce half the ingredients.

2-Butoxyethanol
– Octylphenoxy Polyethoxyethanol
– Dowfax C6L
– Tkpp

I don’t know exactly what each of these are, but they certainly don’t sound good. I took a quick look on-line to see if I could find some information on each of the chemicals and found out that moderate respiratory exposure to 2-butoxyethanol often results in irritation of mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and throat.

The cost compare for 1 Litre, using 2.5 ml per stain to treat 400 stains breaks down to:

Store Bought
Cost: 10.75
Cost  per Stain: 0.03

Homemade:
Hydrogen Peroxide + Baking Soda: 9.97
Cost per Stain: 0.02

Do you have any green cleaning solution that you love to use?  If you do drop me  a note and tell me about it!